Friday, March 25, 2011

Nukes, Japan, Talk Radio, and Reality

The situation regarding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants is extremely serious if you're Japanese. Efforts to get the damage caused by the recent Tsunami under control is not succeeding, and at least one worst case scenario is realistically possible. The #3 reactor, the most dangerous of the three since it is driven by Plutonium as its fuel source is also the most damaged. Nothing attempted so far has manged to cool the reactor to safe levels. The core appears to be leaking. Radiation emissions have reached a much higher, more critical level. While few will say it directly, a meltdown looks quite possible. How that would affect the other three reactors with various degrees of damage too is hard to determine.

What won't happen is that any of these reactors could explode like a nuclear bomb explosion. What could happen would be environmental and atmospheric exposure to extremely dangerous radiation. Still, there is no evidence the reactor would explode wide open like the 1986 Ukrainian Chernobyl disaster from the Soviet Union. Currently, adding to the overall scare is reportage that "millions" died from cancer suggesting Chernobyl was the cause. This is not true, but the death toll was significant. 336,000 people were relocated to uncontaminated land. Territory in the Ukraine and Belarus remain contaminated today. 31 people were killed directly from the Chernobyl explosion, but the radiation deaths are harder to determine. Of the many cancer deaths over the likely geographic area, how many were truly caused by this disaster?

The World Health Organization reports 50 deaths as of 2005 appear certain and the overall toll over time could reach 4,000. Greenpeace, an activist environmental group believes the death toll could reach 200,000. Where are the millions that scare monger talk radio hosts suggest? 

We report this neither to minimize Japan's emergency or use Chernobyl as the big scare. Chernobyl is the one fatal nuclear disaster so far. Three Mile Island suffered a complete core meltdown, but there was not one death. Fukushima Daiichi will be worse than Three Mile Island. Predictions are just that and we do not know what the end of this story will be.

Worst case scenario is a lot of precious land could be ruined rendered unusable for countless generations. How much radiation reaches fatal levels and how many people will be exposed is not possible to be calculated yet. What is for certain, residents in the United States have absolutely NOTHING to fear. Might Geiger counters make a little more noise -- yes. Is that indicating a danger -- no. We are exposed to radiation sources daily, and x-rays, CAT scans and MRI's subject us to higher levels. We exposed ourselves to radiation for years with CRT tube televisions and computer monitors. Plasma TV's emit radiation too.

No matter what happens in Japan, there will not be enough radiation crossing the Pacific Ocean to hurt even Hawaii.

So how should society deal with those who use the public airwaves to misinform us, scare us over insane speculations, lie about how the government is dealing with the disaster, and suggest us to do irresponsible things like taking prophylactic doses of Iodine supplements?

Fear mongering on the Japanese reactor problem is all over the Internet, but few are more conspicuous than the mastermind behind and, Alex Jones. Early, Jones boasted to his audience and on video, that he has obtained a huge quantity of iodine capsules so his people will be safe. Now today, in his absence, his substitute host cranks up the paranoia machine even to a higher degree. This makes Glenn Beck look rational.

We present this to show the kind of nonsense that's fueling the fear. That any radio station licensed to serve the public good would broadcast such nonsense is appalling. This is Paul Wilson filling in for Alex Jones. The insane paranoid conspiratorial message is the same.

If this program is broadcast in your community, you must write, email, or call station management and tell them what you think of such irresponsible programming. To the extent that listeners might believe such outrageous spin becomes the station's responsibility for allowing it to be broadcast.

We must demand better of the broadcasting industry in our country. While individuals' freedom of speech allows them to lie and scream "the sky is falling" this does not mean broadcasters can continue to provide outlets for serial liars, vicious demagogues, and filthy fear mongers.

Please join us in demanding responsible (regardless of political stance) broadcasting. This cannot stand.


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