mike watkins dot ca : March 17 2011 Archives

March 17 2011

Japan Nuclear Status Feed

For the duration of the nuclear crisis in Japan I'm producing a XML (Atom) feed of the status reports published by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc. (JAIF) The JAIF site is checked every 10 minutes for updates; they seem to be updating a couple times per day.

News readers can subscribe to the feed at: http://mikewatkins.ca/japan_status.xml

Now included in the same feed are any post-earthquake updates from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). In addition the feed includes earthquake reports from the U.S. Geological Survey, limited to earthquakes near Japan, Hawaii, Canada and the U.S. west coast - with a magnitude of 5.4 or greater.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is maintaining a daily update log.

Another compiled source of information on the disaster is available from http://nirs.org/ - organized chronologically, this PDF may be of interest.


The feed is produced using Python and lxml to both parse the original HTML and construct an Atom tree and serialize it to an XML file (which now validates as Atom unlike the first cut!).

Nuclear Power: Worse Than All Of The Above?

From the irony of the day department:

The masthead motto of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc. is:

Nuclear Power, with No Emission of Carbon Dioxide, Contributes to the Prevention of Global Warming!

A new masthead reportedly will read:

Nuclear Power, Our Emissions Are Radioactive!


Nuclear Power, With No Emissions of Carbon Dioxide, But Plenty of Caesium or Iodine and Maybe A Little Plutonium Oxide Too, Contributes to the Prevention of the Global Population!


Nuclear Power, We Might Be Even Worse Than Global Warming

Status Reports

See the links for direct access to regular status reports on the Fukushima nuclear power plan incident, in particular the regular intra day reports from the Japanese nuclear industry council which well show the changing conditions. These reports, however brief, provide better information than the vast majority of reporting seen since last Friday.

Nuclear Conservatives

The events unfolding in Japan should remind us that the Harper Government had tried to put a limit on the potential liability nuclear industry operators in this country would face.

On the surface Bill C20 (lapsed due to one of Harper's many prorogations) sounds like a good thing - raising the liability cap from $75 million to $650 million, but these amounts are a pittance. To put the amount in perspective, the cap in the U.S. is in the tens of billions, and chances are their courts would extract oh so much more. A nuclear incident in Canada could easily affect as big a population centre with similar economic impacts as would occur in the U.S., so why the low limit?

Money isn't the most troubling aspect of the Conservative sponsored bill. The far more sinister by-product of the bill is a move to sideline Canada's courts by the appointment of an administrative tribunal, at the discretion of the government. At the best of times leaving the politicians in charge doesn't leave me with a sense of comfort but when it comes to nuclear safety in Canada we've seen the Harper government demonstrate it shouldn't be in charge.