Let's Not Freak Out Over Japan's Nuclear Crisis

It's far from another Chernobyl
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2011 12:45 PM CDT
A cyclist rides past a giant banner 'Nuclear kills the future' during a nearby demonstration on March 13, 2011 in Paris.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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(Newser) – America is positively freaking out over the state of Japan’s nuclear reactors, with some calling for a halt to the development of new nuclear plants. But that’s a wild overreaction, opines a Wall Street Journal editorial. The media’s done a poor job of putting the tragedy in Japan in proportion: The quake killed hundreds, and released a thousand times more energy than the nuclear explosion at Hiroshima. “In simple human terms, the natural destruction of Earth and sea have far surpassed any errors committed by man.”

In a separate piece, William Tucker breaks down the technical workings of the reactors, and concludes that there’s little danger. “None of this amounts to ‘another Chernobyl,’” he says. Chernobyl had massive design flaws that these Generation II reactors don’t; their containment structures have held. “If a meltdown does occur,” he concludes, “it will be a disaster for the Tokyo Electric Power Company, but not for the general public.” For another (paywall-free) dose of realism, click here.

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