Sunday, December 18, 2011

"a cold shutdown condition"-an irrelevant use of the term

I believe that many people in Japan feel strange that the officials call it "a cold shutdown condition" even when the things (fuel rods) that heat up the pressure vessels in those crippled reactors are already gone (melted away). The temperature inside the reactors may be reduced to a certain degree, but they are stable as long as water still continues to cool down the vessels--so things have changed little for months. They are only "stable" in this sense. Declaring "a cold shutdown condition" is indeed performative one. The term itself has no content like the broken pressure vessels. The officials wanted to declare something anyway and they did it on Friday. Moreover, the problem whether the reactors can be stabilized is one thing--the problem whether the people can go home is another. But the officials and the media conflate those problems.

The biggest problem for me on Friday was, however, that the world media including the BBC, AlJazeera, etc., repeated the official announcement verbatim. AlJazeera aired a nuclear scientist praising the way the Japanese officials handle the disaster. And I only feel how strong the nuclear industry is.

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