On Thursday I had a meeting with a magazine editor looking for a story about earthquakes and Nelson. The very next day we were confronted with the horrifying but gripping images from the Sendai earthquake. I’ve been to Sendai a few times, enjoyed the nearby beautiful Matsushima archipelago. I have many Japanese friends to worry about. But the tragic earthquake and tsunami are actually not my real topic. I found myself bursting into print in the weekly newsletter for my Rotary Club (editor’s privilege). Here’s what I wrote last Sunday 13 March:
“When the first news came out concerning the Fukushima nuclear reactors, especially reports that backup diesel generators had failed, I became very worried indeed. It was as if all the process engineering stuff in my head, almost an obsession for the first 20 years of my working life, popped up to the surface again. I brushed up on BWR type nuclear reactors and tried to make sense of the often completely garbled news accounts.
I had been looking forward to an event at Lake Rotoiti which began last Saturday afternoon, the annual Antique and Classic Boat Show. The weather forecast wasn’t good, so around mid-morning I looked up the Lake Rotoiti WebCam. It looked as if it was pouring down, you could hardly see the water. Then I realised that was the picture a couple of hours earlier. As I fast forwarded I saw a miraculous change. About half an hour earlier the rain had stopped and the skies cleared. The view was pretty much the same as the sight that met me when I arrived shortly after lunch: