See the light bulb above my head? Lesson Learned!
My first post on Fukushima is still the most widely read. Alas. I’m a radiological control technician who wasn’t paranoid about a radiological situation. Never good. Never acceptable. So I’ve been “hotwashing” myself ever since.
Where did I go wrong? What was the first cause, the primary mistake? I had to know in order to answer the most important question of all:
How do I never make that mistake again?
I turned a nifty phrase in “incalculable danger”, got generous links…then steam began venting and cores melting and hydrogen exploding and fuel pools leaking and spent fuel smoldering, all at once, with my brain sprinting like a hamster on a wheel and making about as much progress.
How did Fukushima have several quiet days after the event and only then have the Hellmouth open?
No lesson learned.
Then a couple of days ago we learned the site went six days without electricity. That monstrous tsunami took out the electrical backups, the backup-backups, and the backup-backup-backups in one fell swoop.
And I thought, “well, that explains most everything”.
But still, no lesson learned.
It’s only now, right now, the realization: I wrote the post assuming that they had electrical power.
Not even an assumption, really. It wasn’t even a consideration. Of course they had power. They couldn’t possibly not have power.
But they did not have power.
Lesson Learned: the Japanese are different from Americans.
Because we’re different.
I love this country. Not “warts and all”. Nope, I’m a “despite the warts” guy. And one of those warts is, we do a lot of whining.
A lot of whining.
The Soviets covered up Chernobyl as much as they could for as long as they could. The Japanese weren’t covering up, so much. They just didn’t share.
Well, Americans share. You can’t shut us up, that’s how much we share.
In my NRC days I worked about a dozen nuke plants. And I guarantee you, cross my heart and hope to die… if any of them lost power they would share that information.
THEY WOULD SHOUT IT AT EVERYONE WHILE DEMANDING THE WORD GETS PASSED ALONG!
That’s my lesson learned: Peoples are different.
Alas again. It’s so basic and obvious and undeniable that I’ll probably forget it immediately.