The Earthquake in Japan has shocked the world with its intensity and devastation, and moved the political tectonic plates in Europe.by Wrinkled Weasel
Germany has suspended plans to extend the life of its ageing nuclear power plants in the wake of the Japanes earthquake. Switzerland has followed, putting "blanket authorisation" for nuclear development on hold.
This is not logical. Nothing has changed. There has been no seismic shift in the seismology. So why have two wealthy European governments suddenly announced a U-turn and should the UK be doing the same?
I am not a geologist but I am certainly a cynic. Angela Merkel has three German state elections to face in a few weeks, and the anti-nuclear power lobby is strong.
The Guardian reports:
It was inevitable, then, that the earthquake in Japan would trigger yet more debate over Germany's nuclear future. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Stuttgart this weekend to protest against Angela Merkel's plans to extend the life of 17 German nuclear plants for an average 12 extra years – an event given extra bite following the crisis in Fukushima.
After the demonstration, the chancellor appeared on TV to reassure voters that Germany's power stations are safe. "The events in Japan are a critical moment for the world," said Merkel on Saturday evening in Berlin. "Germany can't just carry on as if nothing has happened," she conceded, ordering immediate safety checks in all nuclear power stations.
Well Angela, I have news for you. Germany can carry on as if nothing has happened, and so can the rest of the world, because nothing has changed about the nature of earthquakes; they are not getting worse and neither are they getting more common, they are only getting more reported, with pictures.
We still have such a thing as the grandly titled British Geological Survey. It was the first in the world, founded in 1835, when Britain still had a bit of credibility. But I digress. The BGS, and indeed any other credible recorder of global seismic activity will tell you these simple facts:
- Earthquake acitivity is not increasing.
- Clustering may make it look that way
Clustering affects all natural random phenomena and it is something which gets the press in such a tiswas. A few weeks ago you saw headlines like "Seven more die of xyx3453 Flu in Retford". The truth is, thousands die of flue every year, year in, year out. Most of them either have pre-existing medical conditions, or they are simply too old or too young to fight it. All it means that the nature of randomization means that the effects will be, obviously, not nicely spread out.
Switzerland is interesting because the Swiss are naturally cautious. It is highly unlikely that the guys at CERN allowed the building of a highly complex piece of kit in an area prone to serious earthquakes, but they do happen, even in Switzerland, all the time. One took place in Evian les Bains, just across Lake Geneva in the French shorline, last week. Evian is just over 50 km from CERN, but they had nothing to worry about because it had a magnitude of 1.8, as opposed to one of 9 or nearly 9 in Japan.
And what about the UK? Well yes, we have had a few this week too. We had one in Argyll and Bute in February, magnitude 1.3 and one near Dingwall, Highlands, also in February measuring 1. Germany's last quake took place on St Valentine's Day with a magnitude of 3.9 Magnitude is calculated by using a raft of data, but the designation, shown as a number does not readily reveal the seriousness of such an event, for magnitude increases exponentially. In the official classification of "Normal", "Big" and "XXL" the German event was "Normal". In other words it was no different from the thousands of minor movements of the earth which take place all year round. (Source Geofon, Potsdam)
|propaganda or what?|