Archive for March, 2011

Nuclear Reactors Without Us

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

While witnessing the escalating crisis in Japan’s already beleaguered, ravaged, coastline, I was reminded of a book I had read a while ago that puts the spiraling nuclear apocalypse into a bleak—and hopeful—perspective.

The non-fiction book is titled “The World Without Us,” by Alan Weisman and was released in 2007.  In it, Weisman explores the concept of, “If the human race vanished tomorrow, what would happen to our creations and the world at large?”  The one chapter I am reminded of is the one devoted to nuclear reactors.  Unmanned, what would happen to them?  I like Weisman’s explanation because he explains the scenario in layman’s terms, interspersed with vivid imagery.  It’s both morbidly realistic and at once hopeful—in the aftermath life still goes on. For those who are still struggling to understand what exactly is happening up at Fukushima Daiichi, I recommend reading this book (of course his other chapters are also quite good!)

I have provided an excerpt below on Chapter 15, the chapter devoted to nuclear reactors and warheads: how they work and what happens when the system fails.  The doomsday scenario involves Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Plant, but as American and Japanese reactors are essentially the same in design (or so I have heard), it can be used a roadmap for Fukushima Daiichi.  So far it’s been turning out exactly as Weisman has predicted.  He also touches on Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

(more…)


Ravaged Japan

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

“I used the deadwood to make the fire rise
The blood of innocence burning in the sky
I fill my cup with the rising of the sea
Pour it out in an ocean of debris…”
— Linkin Park, “Burning in the Skies”

A morbid gray haze lingers in the still air. The colors have all vanished.  Even in sunny, sleepy Ehime the pallor of the sky can be seen, blanketing the city.  Voices have ceased, leaving only the low hum of the television screen. All eyes are upon that screen, as the scene of unimaginable horror unfolds in an area not so far removed.

March 11, 2011 — A magnitude 9.0 earthquake that originated off the coast of Sendai (near famous Matsushima Bay) generated a 7-meter tsunami that  ripped through the Tohoku region of Japan.

(more…)