Aftershocking: Frontline’s Fukushima Doc a Lazy Apologia for the Nuclear Industry

By: Friday January 20, 2012 3:00 pm

There is much to say about this week’s Frontline documentary, “Nuclear Aftershocks,” and some of it would even be good. For the casual follower of nuclear news in the ten months since an earthquake and tsunami triggered the massive and ongoing disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, it is illuminating to see the wreckage that once was a trio of active nuclear reactors, and the devastation and desolation that has replaced town after town inside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone. And it is eye-opening to experience at ground level the inadequacy of the Indian Point nuclear plant evacuation plan. It is also helpful to learn that citizens in Japan and Germany have seen enough and are demanding their countries phase out nuclear energy.

But if you are only a casual observer of this particular segment of the news, then the Frontline broadcast also left you with a mountain of misinformation and big bowl-full of unquestioned bias.

 

The Party Line – September 16, 2011: Though Nuclear Crisis Continues, IAEA Can’t Force Safety Overhaul

By: Friday September 16, 2011 3:26 pm

On Monday, September 12, an incinerator explosion at a French nuclear waste processing center killed one, injured four, and created just enough nuclear news to edge this week’s other nuclear story right out of the headlines.

The explosion, which is reported not to have caused any leak of radiation, was at a facility that reprocesses used nuclear reactor fuel in order to create a more toxic, less stable form of fuel commonly known as “mixed oxide” or MOX. MOX, which is a tasty blend of uranium and plutonium, was in at least some of the rods in some of the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility when it suffered catastrophic failures after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami–and the presence of MOX fuel made the fallout from explosions at the Japanese plant more dangerous as a result. (More dangerous than already extremely dangerous might seem like a trivial addendum, but it is of note if for no other reason than the manufacture and use of MOX fuel is what nuclear power proponents think of when they call it a “renewable resource.”)

The NeoCons’ Long Animosity Towards Mohammed el Baradei

By: Friday January 28, 2011 1:45 pm

It’s not at all clear that Baradei will serve as the kind of leader in Egypt that he seems to want to. But given that Baradei is one of the few opposition leaders the US press seems to understand, I think it worthwhile to review the Neocons’ long-standing attacks on him.

This Disaster is Brought to You By . . .

By: Saturday May 15, 2010 9:00 am

With all the concern about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I thought it would be helpful to put the corporate citizenship of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton into perspective. This isn’t the first disaster with corporate sponsorship, after all.

The Iranian Showdown – Sorting Through the Dueling Threats

By: Monday November 30, 2009 8:04 am

On Friday, the IAEA voted overwhelmingly to censure Iran for its uranium enrichment activities, including what they consider a the illegal construction of a secret enrichment plant near Qom. The 25-3 vote for censure included not only Western powers but China and Russia, which have been reluctant to impose sanctions or penalties on Iran. The response inside Iran has not been positive. One official intimated that Iran could pull out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to which it is a co-signer, and Sunday the regime announced a plan to build ten new uranium enrichment sites. Unfortunately, an increasing hardline stance both in Tehran and Western capitals could spark an unnecessary action.

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