American Elephants

It Begins… by American Elephant
August 14, 2012, 10:43 am
Filed under: Humor, Japan, News | Tags: , ,

Fukushima ’caused mutant butterflies’

Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies from near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, scientists said Tuesday, raising fears radiation could affect other species.

Around 12 percent of pale grass blue butterflies that were exposed to nuclear fallout as larvae immediately after the tsunami-sparked disaster had abnormalities, including smaller wings and damaged eyes, researchers said. [more]

Just sayin’


3 Comments so far
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Mothra vs. Godzilla! Great flick! I wish somebody would still make movies like that. They are so much fun, and great for pre-teens.

Interesting — and disturbing — news. Problem with Fukushima is that it really is special. Badly designed back-up system at a bad location. Had the plant been sited just a few tens of meters up the hill, most of the damage would have been avoided.

The human factor can be dismissed less easily, however. Having worked for an electric company once (and participated in working groups with other utility folks), I know the mind-set, and it is almost military. (Indeed, most of the employees at my plant were ex-military.) There are ways to do things, and dissension is not encouraged. This works most of the time, but not when things are happening fast and furiously and thinking outside the box may be required.

Still, when it comes to radiation, I’ve always been perplexed why the nuclear industry does not make more of the fact that, under normal operation, a coal plant emits more radiation (and in a more dangerous manner: in the form of fine, air-borne particles) than a similarly sized nuclear plant. The answer I get is, we’d rather not remind the public of radiation, nor get into a slagging match with coal-fired utilities, many of which operate both coal plants and nukes.

Even gas-fired plants may contribute to radiation. The Marcellus shale, for example, has elevated radioactive concentrations that are approximately 25-30 times above background concentrations. And the drilling and dewatering processes enhance the concentration of radium in the drilling fluid.

We need a better national debate on nuclear power, but I doubt we’re going to get one.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

The nuclear industry probably makes it too complicated. Simple facts, endlessly repeated. The small neighborhood nukes are an interesting development. My understanding of Fukushima is the same as yours, but the Germans have been scared into shutting down theirs. There was a time when every shoe store had an x-ray machine to make sure kids’ shoes fit. Great outcry about dangers.Whole body scans at the airport — only concern about exposing your private parts. The Elephant recommends “Trollhunter.”


Comment by The Elephant's Child

“Simple facts, endlessly repeated.”

Well, at least the French got that right.

Thanks for the recommendation on “Trollhunter”. I’ll try to find it.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

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