I have been reading every news release on the incident since the earthquake. There has not been one single (!) report that was accurate and free of errors (and part of that problem is also a weakness in the Japanese crisis communication). By “not free of errors” I do not refer to tendentious anti-nuclear journalism – that is quite normal these days. By “not free of errors” I mean blatant errors regarding physics and natural law, as well as gross misinterpretation of facts, due to an obvious lack of fundamental and basic understanding of the way nuclear reactors are build and operated. I have read a 3 page report on CNN where every single paragraph contained an error.
This fits with what I understand about the physics of radioactivity after taking the free course Physics for future Presidents by Richard A. Muller.
I wish that every story about radioactivity would have to contain the fact that no substance can "catch" radioactivity by being by another radioactive particle. The only way for a substance to be radioactive is if the molecule is inherently unstable by location in the periodic table. If you see concern over water used within a nuclear power plant, it is because water can dissolve parts of the radioactive materials not because the water has in any way become radioactive itself.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and other fiction are to blame for America's current misunderstanding of nuclear science. I don't understand why my high school physics class didn't cover anything about radioactive science.
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