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Just how bad is the Japan nuclear crisis?

Dear News Media:
Remember back in ’50s and early ’60s, when we set off something like 900 atomic bombs in Nevada? And how we just let the fallout blow wherever and it landed all over the eastern US? And how it wiped out life as we know it and all that was left from Colorado to the Atlantic were six-legged rats battling two-headed cockroaches in the glowing ruins? Yeah. Exactly. So shut up with the panic already.

That's the American version, link thanks to Instapundit. The BBC version was more erudite.

Yesterday on Material World Quentin Cooper talked to Professor Andrew Sherry, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute, and others about the science and engineering of nuclear power stations and the effects of different sorts of nuclear fallout. The show clearly and rationally explained the issues, and to my surprise reached the same conclusions as those posted above about the dangers.

Time will tell.

Since 1660, the Royal Society's motto has been "Take nobody's word for it."

Update: "The data are not consistent with a major meltdown or release of core material, which would make it more like Chernobyl. Secondly, the data don’t indicate any zirconium, which not only is evidence against a core meltdown, but also suggests there have been no 'burning fuel rods', no 'fuel rod fire'."

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