Monday, May 14, 2012

Everyone be scared! Kodak had nukes!

Gizmodo has this article wringing their hands about Kodak's hyper secret nuclear bomb factory under New York City! (Well, okay, Rochester). Why, they "could have started their own nuclear war if they wanted"! We're all safe now, though. It was dismantled in 2006.

Okay, let's dismantle the article. According to the article, 3.5 lbs of uranium is "not enough to create a nuclear bomb". No shit. You need 115 lbs to even reach critical mass. Nonetheless, the article warns us, "illegal arm merchants are seeking small amounts like this to put them for sale in the black market [and] the government doesn't want Iran or al-Qaeda getting their hands all over the atomic candy for obvious reasons." Very obvious reasons. I mean, like, just off the top of my head, we don't want al-Quaeda to have the ability to do neutron radiography testing. And god forbid Iran set up a lab and test materials for impurities! We'd all be doomed!

But we made it through by the skin of our teeth. Although everyone in New York State was walking around above potential nuclear holocaust for a while, there's no problem now, because those 3.5 lbs of uranium are... uh, not there anymore. You see, until 2006, they were dangerously stored "in a closely guarded, two-foot-thick concrete walled underground bunker in the company's headquarters", but now, thank goodness, they're, you know, gone. Poof. So, although the thrust of the article is 'oh no, there was uranium' and 'what if brown people got it', we don't have to worry, presumably, because uranium evaporates or something when the reactor it's in is dismantled.

This kind of "we almost lost Detroit" nuke gasping makes me sick. 470,000 people die annually from coal and fossil fuel energy production. By contrast, 64 people have died as a result of the meltdown at Chernobyl, predictions for deaths as a result of the Fukushima meltdown run as high as 100, and the high estimate of deaths at Hiroshima is 166,000. So first of all, don't bother me pissing your pants about nukes until something actually happens, and second, if we switched over to nuclear energy, we could let a plant go full Hiroshima every year and still be saving lives.