APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Western vs. Japanese reporting....

As mentioned here, TEPCO has begun pumping the radioactively contaminated water from No. 2 plant over to the site radwaste building, which is south of the reactor buildings. This is being done through temporarily installed hoses, and pumps.

We all knew this was coming... and what it entails. Let's look at the headlines used to relay the fact that the operation had started.



Thanks to Fintan Dunne, we're now on to how this actually works. Note the key term "nuke" in that headline; we all still associate that term with nuclear weapons, so they'll use it every time they can. The 'pumping out radioactive water' part is surely meant to imply that they're just spewing radioactive water all over the place, in the ocean, the sky, everywhere and you're sure to be alarmed enough to read the story because of the key words and deliberate phrasing.

Which has nothing to do with journalism. But that's OK: true journalism in this country has been dead for many decades.

Even so, keeping that lowered standard in mind, I still think whoever wrote that AP headline is the idiot of the day.

I'd like for all our regular readers here to keep an eye out for this kind of trick.. this kind of implication.. and make sure to either have a laugh at it when you see it or else leave a comment wherever you do see it. It would be great if we could get them to report facts without slant. They won't... because they don't know how.. but it would be nice.

5:00 AM Eastern Tuesday 4/19

Note: When we say 'true journalism is dead' we mean EXCEPT for Fintan Dunne.


  1. Any idea as to why they cannot pump more than 250 tons per day?

    That seems like a very low flow rate for industrial pumps...

  2. @jl: They're no doubt limited by the hoses they've had to run .. it's a long way from No. 2 plant to the radioactive waste processing building.

  3. Evidently the budget does not run far enougth either. How can there be a shortage of hoses and pumps one month after a disaster like this that goes on without end?

  4. its not necesacerily an issue of budget, hoses arent particularly efficent at maintaining flow rates over distance, because they tend to be far more delicate than pipes, and tent to have mmore resistance to flow.

    because of the distances involved, the challencg is to pump as much water as possible without overpressuring the hose near the pump.

    higher flow rates could be acheived with booster pumps placed along the path, but this increases the risk of leakage, or burst hoses.

    building pipe to the radwaste facility would be difficult to do quickly because it would need to resist aftershocks without leaking.

  5. i think i shud say u dared to say "true journalism is dead",not many are so outspoken as you to tell the fact.i love this post.for a general person "nuke" means something for which Saddam Hussien was killed for,and also that former President couldnt pronounce the word Nuclear as it is but would say "nucular",which never existed anywhere in the world.and wonderful media supported the Former President faithfully,till the world relations got tensed up between countries.these tension not yet eased.Wow such media is not a powerfull voice,but a lying mouth that speaks blunders that hisyory can remark the (respective) Nation not reliable to be believed .

  6. In a story about Fukushima "nuke plant" means nuclear plant and is clearly not a weapons reference. Yes, "transferred" is more accurate than "pumped out" but there seems to be some paranoia about the press here. Maybe its justified in some cases, not so much in these examples. I see far more pronuclear bias in the media: "No immediate health effects" is not a complete statement, for example.

  7. @jl, If hoses are the technology of choice then two hoses and two pumps doubles the flow. With sufficient hoses and pumps, with manifolds at each end, it gives the same result as a short length of hose with a single pump. There are no insurmountable problems caused by distance to get adequate flow, if the required number of hoses and pumps are provided.

  8. @David: How old are you? People my age and older think weapon when we hear the word "nuke."

  9. @will davis @david Agreed-- All that's required to confirm this point is to do a Google image search of the word, "nuke." It's pretty clear how that word is interpreted by the majority.

  10. Wait a sec...! I showed this to a friend of mine who saw the names of the AP article's writers: MARI YAMAGUCHI and YURI KAGEYAMA are both based in Japan...

  11. @クリス: Well, they're working for the AP, and they might be American born. All kidding aside it's still really clear what was done here.. and don't be surprised if some US editor didn't slap that headline on their story.