k, real question:
How soon do you see this being fully resolved (minus cleanup) - Can you guess any kind of time frame? I know it's far from the doom-and-gloom the media would like us to believe, but in your opinion: how bad is it?
Well, as long the japanese NRC isnt lying, the worst should be behind us. They need to be more open with their reporting. We are getting minimal information which is highly frustrating. We dont have any EOP (emergency operating procedures) that cover the extent of damage, but that is why they give the SRO's latitude to "go on the fly" so to speak. So everything is unknown. Its really lame how quiet they are being to their own community.
So, in short this wont be "fully resolved" for a few years. INPO and NRC gave us some new stuff that we have to go over (think of a massive safety checklist) so the inident in japan is going to have some existing effect over here as well. the worst SHOULD be over, but again, we're just going off what they are telling us. Prognosis looks good.
Anyway, plant cleanup will take a while. Those reactors are NOT usable again, so they will need to deal with that. Id imagine it will be akin to TMI-2 unit.
Edit : guess I should answer your question. In my subjective opinion, I think its a little worse then what TMI was. Chernobyl was a 7, I think TMI was a 3, so this will probably rate around a 4. 0 is day to day operations. No one will die, and there will be no major consequences on the environment either. At worst, we are talking a couple square blocks that wont be usable for crops
Yes, your thoughts about the media doom and gloom are 100% accurate. The amount of irresponsible reporting has gotten out of control. People in california are freaking out. By the time any radiation crossed the several thousand miles, it will be completely and utterly inconsequential. Yet secretary of commerce is recommending people buy iodine. I think our public announcement to have people evacuate 50 miles didnt help anything. Yes, just a safety precaution, but completely unnecessary. An atomic bomb has a 12 mile protective zone (3 or 4 mile kill zone, depending on the bomb). hiroshima and nagasaki still stand today. That should be a pretty good testament of things. They havent released any significant amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.
Status of casualties:
2 TEPCO employees have minor injuries
2 subcontractor employees are injured, one person suffered broken legs and one person whose condition is unknown was transported to the hospital
2 people are missing
2 people were 'suddenly taken ill'
2 TEPCO employees were transported to hospital during the time of donning respiratory protection in the control centre
4 people (2 TEPCO employees, 2 subcontractor employees) sustained minor injuries due to the explosion at unit 1 on 11 March and were transported to the hospital
11 people (4 TEPCO employees, 3 subcontractor employees and 4 Japanese civil defense workers) were injured due to the explosion at unit 3 on 14 March
17 people (9 TEPCO employees, 8 subcontractor employees) suffered from deposition of radioactive material to their faces, but were not taken to the hospital because of low levels of exposure
One worker suffered from significant exposure during 'vent work,' and was transported to an offsite center
2 policemen who were exposed to radiation were decontaminated
Firemen who were exposed to radiation are under investigation
The IAEA continues to seek information from Japanese authorities about all aspects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
If I fall into a vat of radioactive waste will I get super powers?
grow a third eye.