I have not until now commented on the BBC’s coverage of Fukushima. The reason is that the safety of nuclear plants is a fearsomely complex subject, as I discovered many years ago when I covered for the BBC parts of the endless inquiry into the Windscale station. Even the experts were bamboozled by the evidence and obfuscation that went on.
But it’s becoming pretty clear now that, short of highly unusual new developments, what is happening at Fukushima falls far short of nuclear catastrophe. Far more important in human terms is the immense suffering that the Japanese are enduring in consequence of the tsunami itself. They have lost their homes during a bitterly cold winter and thousands are being forced to take shelter wherever they can, including in the compounds of nuclear power stations. And ironically, one of the biggest hardships they face is lack of power.
But nothing will stop the BBC in its greenie crusade. For the newsroom, Fukushima continues mostly to be an opportunity for full-scale anti-nuclear propaganda. Never mind the suffering, let’s focus on Armageddon. Yesterday, for example, Chris Hogg excitedly led a scarefest report with the news that radiation levels off the Japanese coast are at 1,250 times safety limits. Shock, horror, hold the front page, let’s evacuate everyone. Mr Hogg then goes on to amplify his alarmism by larding the piece with words like “unpredictable” and news of people being taken to hospital. The tone is undisguised hatred of nuclear power.
The place for such garbage should be the spike. Here, Anthony Watts explains why. First the radiation levels involved are well within safety limits, second, a nuclear plant that is 40 years hold has survived being battered at a level higher than it was ever predicted, and third the real story of Fukushima is the humanitarian distress.
To be fair, some at the BBC are not happy with this flagrant alarmism. The fragrant Fiona Fox of the alarmist Science Media Centre here warns on the BBC College of Journalism site that much of the reporting of Fukushima has been overblown. But as Ms Fox is a partner-in-crime for most of the green frenzy at the BBC, it’s definitely a pot/kettle/black lament.