Plutonium is forever

I have been doing business in Japan for 20 years, consulting for big and small companies, speaking at conferences, writing for Japanese publications, and helping both American and Japanese companies do business with each other. For years I flew to Tokyo once a month, generally in my role as giver of bad news, which I could get away with as an American. Throughout those 20 years I have been astounded by the energy and discipline of Japanese industry, and by its turgid impenetrability. For a country known for advanced technology, Japan is astoundingly resistant to outside ideas, as the current earthquake and nuclear crisis show yet again.

You’d think they’d want our help, and they do […]

By |March 30th, 2011|2011|87 Comments

Flea powder may be saving lives in Japan

There’s a 40 year-old nuclear reactor cooling-down right now in Japan following the big earthquake in that country. Actually there are 11 such reactors cooling-down, automatically brought offline by the 8.9 temblor, but one of those reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi generating plant is not going gracefully and 3000 people have been moved from their homes as a precaution.

Good idea.

I worked as an investigator for the Presidential Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, 32 years ago, and a few months studying the plumbing TMI’s Unit 2, which is actually younger than the errant Japanese reactor, gives me a very healthy respect for the danger in Japan.

That Japanese reactor shut down […]

By |March 11th, 2011|2011|116 Comments

Three Mile Island Memories

tmi2This past weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.  If you are old enough you may remember where you were at that time and what it was like.  I remember VERY well because I was on my way to the crippled plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Our President at the time, Jimmy Carter, was also a micro-manager and a former nuclear engineer: he wanted his own eyes and ears on the scene.  Our little group eventually coalesced into the Presidental Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, led by Dartmouth College president John Kemeny, who was also the co-author of BASIC.

The lessons of Three Mile Island have been, for […]