Friday, March 11, 2011

The mysterious delivery of magical coolant by the USAF? Or was it just more sniper fire?

Among the thousands of tragic stories emanating from Japan today, following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami, is the scary tale of serious damage to five nuclear reactors at two sites in northern Japan. Here is what The Washington Post is reporting:

Japanese authorities declared a state of emergency Saturday for five nuclear reactors at two quake-stricken power plants as military and utility officials scrambled to tame rising pressure and radioactivity levels inside the units and stabilize the systems used to cool the plants' hot reactor cores.

Radiation surged to around 1,000 times the normal level in the control room of one reactor, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said. Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday that the temperatures at two other reactors at a different power plant were rising and that it had lost control over pressure in three reactors there.

Though no significant release of radioactive material had taken place, the earthquake, which forced the automatic shutdown of 11 of the country's 55 nuclear power plants, is certain to rattle confidence in nuclear power in Japan, where people have long been sensitized to the dangers of radioactive releases, and in the United States, where foes of nuclear power were already pointing to the Japan crisis as a warning sign.

One other thing in the Post story caught my attention. The Hillary Clinton whopper:

In a statement that confused nuclear experts, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday morning that U.S. Air Force planes in Japan had delivered "coolant" to a nuclear power plant affected by the quake. Nuclear reactors do not require special coolants, only large amounts of pumped water.

"They have very high engineering standards, but one of their plants came under a lot of stress with the earthquake and didn't have enough coolant," she said, "and so Air Force planes were able to deliver that."

I was watching TV when she made that statement. I didn't know enough about cooling a nuclear power plant this morning to know she was full of shit. It just struck me as good that our military was doing some good. But it turns out Sec. Clinton was either fed some bad information or she just made the whole thing up.

An Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, however, said he was unaware of any deliveries being made by Air Force planes related to the reactor issues.

"To our knowledge, we have delivered nothing in support of the nuclear power plant," Lt. Col. John Haynes said. "Obviously, we stand by to assist with anything they might need." He said the Air Force had received no formal request for help.

This is the second instance I can think of where Hillary was caught in a completely indefensible lie (though possibly one, in this instance, in which she was just repeating what an aide told her). The earlier lie was when she was running for president, she made up some bullshit about landing in a plane in Bosnia and saying she came under sniper fire. No aide fed her that. She just invented the situation, which every other witness who was with her on that flight said they never came under fire of any sort.

State Department officials later said Clinton misspoke.

Misspoke is really the wrong word here. It is the same word Hillary used to excuse her Bosnia lie. If Mrs. Clinton had meant this morning to say something like, "Our deepest sympathies go out to ... the people of Japan," but instead of Japan she got mixed up and said Korea or Jordan or China, it would be fair to say she misspoke. But that's not what happened here: Sec. Clinton told a huge whopper about our Air Force planes carrying magical nuclear power plant coolant, when our Air Force planes did not fly into that area, when they were not called on to fly into that area, and when this magic coolant does not exist.

That is not misspeaking. That is lying.

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