Japan Plans to Spend $473 Million to Protect the Realms of Men From Radioactive Water Leaking From Fukushima

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 3 2013 2:13 PM

Japan Plans to Spend $473 Million to Protect the Realms of Men From Radioactive Water Leaking From Fukushima

_69623952_fukushima_ice_wall_624

The Japanese government says it's willing to spend 47 billion yen (about $473 million) to help the Tokyo Electric Power Company build a semi-permanent wall of ice that will prevent radioactive water from leaking out of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant that was crippled after a tsunami in 2011.

Radioactive waste is obviously a serious matter, but it's hard not to think of George R.R. Martin and the Wall built across the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms to keep out the Others. In fact, this reminds me of a worry I've long had about long-term storage of nuclear waste. The issue is that it's very difficult to credibly signal the presence of something dangerous over a long period of time. Egyptian tombs were inscribed with many warnings about the curses that would befall grave robbers, but later generations of thiefs and archeologists simply dismissed those warnings as myths. And conveniently for us, they are just myths. In Martin's story, though, generations of peace leave people believing that stories about the Others are just myths leading them to leave the defensive structures under-manned and under-serviced but they're not myths. I have at least some doubts that you could effectively label any kind of containment system in a way that would be consistently believed. Radiation is almost too weird of a concept—"if you open this barrier tiny invisible particles will give you cancer" sounds an awful lot like a curse.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.