Friday, December 16, 2005

An Example of Content Free Media

Update: Well, the BBC expanded the story referenced below. As of the lunch hour here, it read completely differently than the way it did early this morning. So, I must say good job to the BBC, it appears that given some extra time they were able to address all of the issues I had below. The end lesson appears to be that reporting in the Internet age is much more dynamic than your daily newspaper.

I tend to believe there are only two categories of potentially viable long-term power sources, nuclear (including fission, fusion, and thermoelectric applications) and geographically limited (wind, hydro, tidal, solar, etc.). Unfortunately, nuclear power has been given a bad name. As the technology has advanced to the point where many of the shortcomings of fission power generation can be addressed, it is time to start overcoming some of the bad press that fission power gets.

Along comes this story. Go read it, I'll wait.

That is some pretty frightening stuff. It's also why I like seeing by-lines on stories. What exactly is this story saying? "...levels at the plant were half those recorded at the Chernobyl plant in 1986." Now '86 was the year of the reactor meltdown at Chernobyl, but I had to look that up. "Investigators said the radiation posed a danger..." What kind of danger? How wide an area does the danger cover? How long can people safely stay in the area? For that matter, what is causing the radiation? The quote from Kuznetsov seems to indicate that there is a stockpile of radioactive waste (spent fuel, low level contaminated material, what?) that is accessible to the public. Well, yeah, of course if people can wander into the plant that would be bad. The same is true of pretty much any power generation or distribution system.

Here we have a fine example of the news reporting a quote instead of getting the entire story. A better take on the story can be found here.

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