Thursday, March 17, 2011

Politico-Diplomatic Considerations

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko's statement yesterday indicates some serious problems between the US and Japanese governments. Jaczko describes a much more dangerous situation at Fukushima than does Tepco and the Japanese government.

Let's consider the possibilities. Both Jaczko and the Japanese government are unlikely to be right.

If Jaczko is wrong, he has contributed needlessly to concern among the Japanese and has provided information that could damage other nations' perception of Japan.

If the Japanese government is wrong, or, worse, concealing information, it is endangering other nations' citizens in the country and potentially neighboring nations.

I suspect it's possible to argue that both could be working from different information from different times, some of it incorrect. One would prefer to believe that they are sharing information, but the chaos of the earthquake-tsunami aftermath and, yes, nationalistic predelictions on both sides could hamper that.

Dan Yurman (@djysrv) has tweeted the suggestion that American spy satellites might have picked up a temperature signature from the spent fuel pool at Fukushima #4. I'll note that there was an American helicopter that flew through a steam (smoke?) cloud at Fukushima and needed decontamination. There are also American ships in the area that can take air samples. Infrared data and air samples could be what Chairman Jaczko is relying on. Air samples would be the better evidence for troubles in the spent fuel pool.

On the other hand, and there always seems to be another hand, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu testified quite differently earlier yesterday. Was it too early for him to have the evidence that Chairman Jaczko had? Or is there something wrong with what Jaczko is saying?

To be continued. I hope to do some analysis on numbers today that may shed more light on what is happening at Fukushima.

[I've updated this post here.]

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