460 is the Unluckiest Number

by Liam Scheff

Q: Is 460 a troubling number?

How about “460 tons?”

A: Tons of what? Cheese doodles?


French fries?


Unspent nuclear fuel sitting on the 3rd and 4th floor of a shaking building already damaged by tsunami-earthquake trauma?

Why, yes. That 460 IS a troubling number.

Four-Hundred-Sixty tons. (Metric? Short?) if we mean “ton” as in “2,000 pounds,” don’t we mean…. 920,000 pounds? Of radioactive fuel? (hmm. 460 times 2,000…. carry the 1…..line up the zeroes….)

920,000 pounds? Of nuclear fuel. I mean, correct me if they’re using a different meaning of “ton.”

So, 460 tons of nuclear fuel, which, if allowed to fall or become uncovered will…ignite? Sending deadly – as in, “we’re gonna kill ALL of you” radioactive rain, air, earth, sea and sky down upon everyone in its path?

Hm. Sounds like an Exciting Movie!

Maybe just a little toooo exciting, don’t you think?

But this was 2011! It MUST be different Now!

“The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it. The 7-story building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. The roof has been blown away. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk.LINK

But that was last year! It MUST be different NOW!

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said Friday that the company delayed acknowledging contaminated water was leaking into the sea even though obvious signs of leaks were detected in May because officials were waiting until they were certain there was a problem before making such a “major announcement.”

Rather than proactively inform the public of potential risks, we retreated to negative thinking and tried to gather more data to ensure there was a problem because it was going to be a major announcement,” Hirose said. “We’ve been trying to reform, but we repeated the same mistake. Obviously, our effort is not enough. We are really sorry.”

TEPCO last detected spikes in radiation levels in underground and seawater samples taken at the plant in May. The company says the contamination is limited to just near the plant, but the extent of the contamination is unknown. Most fish and seafood from along the Fukushima coast are barred from domestic markets and exports. LINK, LINK

But. But. But! But… But I wanna keep living in a fantasyland! Can’t anybody else just take care of it? Puh-puh-puh-Puhlllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze?

No. No, it’s got to be us.

We’re so very, very sorry.




  1. Love this song…I used to listen to it on the radio when I was just a kid. I imagine, rightly or wrongly so, that it’s John Cleese doing the spoken word portion. Nice way to lighten up a fairly dark subject, using “Wings”…unless your goal was to make it creepier and darker still. There might be success there as well. ;)

    Why haven’t I heard about this potential catastrophe via the news?

    • Of course, I’m being sarcastic. The “news” doesn’t actually tell we human beings the “news”.

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