Close the Lid on Bad Reporting: Radioactive Waste Spill

I read an Associated Press report reprinted in Forbes magazine on the Japanese earthquake and came across the following:

“Tokyo Electric Power Company also said about 400 barrels containing low-level radioactive waste at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant were knocked over, and the lids had come off 40 of them, as a result of Monday's deadly 6.8-magnitude quake. The announcement revised the company's earlier estimate of 100 tipped barrels. “We made a mistake in calculating the amount that leaked into the ocean. We apologize and make correction,” Tokyo Electric said in a statement. Spokesman Jun Oshima said the amount of radioactive water that leaked into the Sea of Japan was still “one-billionth of Japan's legal limit.””

Ok, tell me if I'm off-base here.

Sometimes immediate analysis is ‘begged' by the information being reported. Without it you're a steno service for information that doesn't make sense.

So would we assume that barrels of radioactive waste, especially barrels stored near flowing water, would be constructed in a such a way that the lids don't come off if the barrels are knocked over.

If so, then the report that 40 barrels of radioactive wastes were knocked over and the lids came off BEGS for a follow up sentence as in:

1. the lids were built to withstand X force and this was 2X; or
2. it is unclear at this time why the lids came off.

So to not have either sort of sentence is to put out a faulty product on the part of the Associated Press (A.P.) and Forbes.

[thanks to martin schwimmer]

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