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Nuclear Power Runs Amok: Laurence Kotlikoff and Eugene Stanley
The worst case. These three words have been at the back of everyone’s mind ever since the Fukushima reactors began malfunctioning after being swamped by a tsunami. Remarkably, these reactors have been at the front of few experts’ mouths.
Many experts have shied away from describing worst-case outcomes, which are terrifying to contemplate and risky to mention. The risk isn’t just panicking the public. Crying wolf can threaten one’s expert status.
The bias toward calm, cool expression has been on full display in this crisis.
The Japanese are particularly good at the stiff upper lip. The authorities have serially indicated that exploding reactor housing is not a big problem, that released radioactive steam is not a big problem, that the significant cracks in containment vessels are not a big problem, that burning spent fuel ponds are not a big problem, and that the contamination of food and water is not a big problem. To top off all this, Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s president, Masataka Shimizu, made a formal apology “for causing such a great concern and nuisance.”
Earth to Shimizu: This isn’t just a nuisance.