Monday, August 20, 2018

Earthquakes and Fukushima Daiichi

On August 18, 2018 I received an "elevated earthquake risk due to coronal holes" from my earthquake alert application.

An hour later a very large 7.9 earthquake shook Ndoi Island in Fiji.

Fiji and Indonesia have since been shook with earthquakes, with one rated a 6.3, located 6km NE of Sembalunlawang, Indonesia and one rated 6.7, located 283km S of Sigave Wallis and Futuna, and yet another rated 6.9, located 4k S of Belanting Indonesia.

I wish I had a visual representation to post here but I do not.

Perhaps it is enough to say that the South Pacific area is shaking quite a bit more than usual.

It is in the context of this wildly active earth upon which we live that I offer you screenshots of Fukushima Daiichi from today.

The plant looks extraordinarily steamy. The temperature at the time these screenshots were taken was 75F, with precipitation at 10% and humidity at 89%. 

The increased steaminess has been building over the last week or so.

I cannot speculate on the cause(s) but its clear that the entire site is extraordinarily vulnerable despite the heroic efforts of Fukushima workers to shore up the plant (in the face of their potential exploitation--see report here ).

Japan is hardly alone in facing aging nuclear reactors that are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons.

A recent editorial in The Los Angeles Times described San Onofre nuclear power plant just west of Interstate-5 (in the heart of Southern California's main transportation channel) as a "Fukushima waiting to happen" because of the volume of vulnerable radioactive waste buried and stored at the aging site:
Chappel, Steve (2018, August 15). The San Onofre nuclear plant is a 'Fukushima waiting to happen'. The Los Angeles Times. Available,
Why are we unable to address our most significant catastrophic risks engineered into human infrastructures? The late and great German sociologist Ulrich Beck offered one account using Fukushima Daiichi as an example
“... We have a system of organized irresponsibility: Nobody really is responsible for those consequences. We have a system of organized irresponsibility, and this system has to be changed.”
Beck observes that the denial of responsibility—the system of organized irresponsibility—requires the populace and the state to assume costs of disasters. In this important sense, Beck points out, “this is a contradiction to capitalism and the market economy. We have the same discussion actually in relation to the banking system; it's quite similar. Actually, the banks should take care of possible crises, and maybe they should have an insurance principle as well. But they don't, so actually the state has to take it. This is socialism; this is state socialism.”