why I am not worried about japans nuclear reactors either


There’s a few negative comments on this article that seem to fall into two categories. 1) berating for the same couple specific faults (eg, a mistake in logarithms and whether this old design had a core catcher), and 2) ad hominem attacks.

In a case where someone’s giving uncollaborated evidence, then it makes great sense to ask more about that person and their background and motives. Examples: tobacco companies saying their studies show smoking is fine, when only they have done studies. Or, a sole eyewitness to a crime.

However, all the background checking the commentators want to do on this author is a waste of time: the article aims to spreads information that a small portion of society (but many 10s of millions, surely) already has: how reactors are designed, what can go wrong, and what all the backup plans are. This article could be written by TEPCO or Areva and be as truthful and believable.

If you didn’t read a lot of popular science magazines when you were a kid, and keep current on the topic on wikipedia on sleepless nights, you may not know this information. But I did, I do, and it jives quite well with my understanding.

Rather than (or in addition to) taking my word for it, or studying reactor design yourself, consider this: why are the people conducting ad hominem attacks are so busy “dissing” the author, not the facts?  My guess is that if the facts were wrong (eg if he said eating a uranium fuel rod was good for you), you’d see as much commentary about the bad information as we did about whether it has a core catcher. I take the absence of such commentary as supporting evidence that the article is fundamentally correct. (Although the author may be wrong about the core catcher on this particular reactor, I don’t think that changes the main brunt of the article and anyway its good to know that its now current practice.)

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