environment

Piled Higher and Deeper, and more

April 5, the Vancouver Sun brought us a “Special to the Sun” written by Patrick Moore PHD, titled Fukushima is nowhere near as bad as Chernobyl.

“Stephanie Goodwin’s letter comparing the incident at Fukushima with Chernobyl highlights that we can’t depend on Greenpeace to provide factual information on environmental issues.

“Two credible sources make it clear the Fukushima incident is nowhere near the same magnitude as Chernobyl.

“In an interview with National Public Radio in the U.S., Evan Douple of the Hiroshima-based Radiation Effects Research Foundation stated, “There just isn’t any evidence that there are enough exposed people at high enough doses to expect to see any health effects that are measurable . . . “

Once more Vancouver Sun editors serve up dogmatic drivel from a nuclear industry flack who is at odds with scientific consensus, again. As a news reader, if you prefer worthwhile content, look beyond the Vancouver newspapers for a steady diet of real journalism. To the Financial Times, for example.

Fukushima crisis on par with Chernobyl
By Jonathan Soble, Michiyo Nakamoto and Gwen Robinson in Tokyo
Published: April 12 2011 04:06 | Last updated: April 12 2011 07:44

“Japan has raised its assessment of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station to the most serious level on a seven-step international scale, equivalent to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

“The country’s nuclear regulator said on Tuesday it had increased its assessment by two notches on the International Atomic Energy Agency scale to reflect the potential impact of continued leaks of radiation on human health and the environment.

“ ‘We have not stopped the release of radioactive material from Fukushima Daiichi station, so there is a concern that [the eventual contamination] could be equal to or greater than Chernobyl,’  said Junichi Matsumoto, an official at Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator.

“ ‘If 100 per cent of the radioactive material escaped from the reactors, it is possible that the accident would exceed Chernobyl,’ he said

Moore provides us with a quote from Dr. Evan Douple of The Radiation Effects Research Foundation (formerly the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) but the expert is quoted differently and more extensively in the New York Times where Dr. Douple said,

“there was no indication of a threshold, or a level below which acute radiation exposure would have no effect, or a smaller effect than would be predicted based on higher exposures.”

More from the Financial Times, April 13, 2011

“Rather, said Japanese officials, the move to upgrade the crisis reflected the first comprehensive contamination estimate since the plant was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“Prize quote of the day was from Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, who said: “In contrast with Chernobyl, we have been able to avoid direct health risks… The assessment level of 7 may be the same, but in terms of its shape and content, the process has been different.”

“What he meant, said experts, was that the plant had so far released so much radiation on a cumulative basis over one month – as opposed to the massive amounts of radiation released by Chernobyl in a short time – that the government felt compelled to boost the accident’s severity rating.

“Disturbingly, as the Wall Street Journal noted on Wednesday, a spokesman for plant operator Tepco admitted on Tuesday that the total level of radiation released could eventually exceed that of Chernobyl.

“Equally disturbing was the explanation from one nuclear safety expert, who told the FT’s Cookson that the upgrading “does not mean the situation today is worse than it was yesterday. It means the event as a whole is worse than previously thought”.

The Vancouver Sun has a record of serving up dogmatic drivel from industry flacks who are frequently at odds with scientific consensus. By accommodating Patrick Moore’s hucksterism, the newspaper protects the interests and reputation of nuclear advocates. The policy applies to other industries too: private schools, fish farming, mining, private power generation, secret contracts with Private/Public Partnerships, untendered government contracts and, of course, natural gas production. Whatever is good for the business elites, whatever is desired to further commerce,
As a news reader, if you prefer worthwhile content, look beyond the Vancouver newspapers for a steady diet of real journalism. To the Financial Times, for example.

Read the earlier post about Patrick Moore in the Vancouver Sun, Who creates and pays for news stories.
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