Definition in the News: Meltdown

One of the not so good things about working in finance is trying to dissect information.  To have some working knowledge about things that you hope never to have to use again.  What makes “media” popular is by stoking fears and confirming bias.  In some ways you are probably reading this because of the word meltdown in the title.

After yesterday when news broke about a meltdown and the market began to break I wanted to know exactly what it meant.  I know that the connotations for me was death and destruction big clouds of smoke.

Once again I am not physicist or nuclear scientist.  What I found is that nuclear meltdown is the heating of the core to a point in which it causes damage. That is an informal definition as you imagine the seriousness of the situation requires specifics.  Currently the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) using a rating scale from 0-7.  Anything above a 3 goes from an incident to an accident.

The problem with this scale is that the country is charged with reporting it. To simplify, meltdown is broad.   If/when the INES issues a scale we can have some idea of the seriousness.  As with any news we get numb to it but the INES number should be a better barometer.  To my knowledge they have not released one.

Source: IAEA

While this article is about defining a word there are people behind the definition and they are in my thoughts and prayers.

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