Mar. 15th, 2011

solipsistnation: (ChNPP)
MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub -- this is the current best in-depth article on what's going on over there with them nuke plants, including status as it goes along.

The best article to start with there is Why I Am Not Worried About Japan's Nuclear Reactors, which, if you read it over the past few days when it was on a different site, has been updated by other MIT nuke folks. It's an overview of the technology and what's going on with it now. A reassuring paragraph:

"It is worth mentioning at this point that the nuclear fuel in a reactor can never cause a nuclear explosion like a nuclear bomb. At Chernobyl, the explosion was caused by excessive pressure buildup, hydrogen explosion and rupture of all structures, propelling molten core material into the environment. Note that Chernobyl did not have a containment structure as a barrier to the environment. Why that did not and will not happen in Japan, is discussed further below."

This article is a simple explanation of what's up over there. It has some nice diagrams of a similar reactor and is a little lighter reading than the one above.

There's also some awful diagram showing clouds of radiation over the West Coast of the US floating around the internet. Note that the link there is to snopes.com. There's a reason for that-- it's bullshit. There's nothing even close to that going on over there. That's, like, all-out nuclear war-level fallout, not a couple of reactors melting down in relatively controlled circumstances.

Overall, people are panicking over what, while not actually _nothing_, isn't worth panic. It is worth wary observation, but we aren't going to be all getting mohawks and driving around in stripped-down cars covered with spikes squabbling over food and gasoline any time soon.

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