Hat Trick of Doom

We’ve got a hat trick of disaster going on here in Japan. First, the earthquake hit, causing a tsunami, which then flooded the backup generators to the cooling system at a nuclear power plant, which then caused an explosion in one of the reactors. We just got word that there was another explosion at another reactor on the site a couple hours ago.

The Japanese news keeps saying, “There’s no radiation released and this is not a dangerous nuclear event.”

That’s what they said after the first reactor explosion, then we hear on the foreign news – oops! they’re giving out thyroid pills to people in the area and there are cases of radiation sickness. The affected people were workers and/or people living near the plant and they say there’s less than two dozen, but who knows? That was before the explosion at the second reactor.

Tokyo is pretty far from the nuclear power plant in Fukushima and while I’m not personally worried for myself,  this business of downplaying what’s going on is unfair. I understand they want everyone to stay calm and all, but this seems like a dangerous game to play.  Lying to assuage people’s fears and then apologizing later seems to be the thing Japan does when the have a nuclear accident.

Japan seems like a technologically advanced nation, and in some ways it really is, but there’s huge gaps in knowledge and training. In 1999, some untrained workers at the Tokaimura nuclear conversion plant were mixing uranium IN A BUCKET when it went critical. No lie. In a bucket. Uranium. This does not bode well for nuclear safety in this country.  I know Japan has no natural resources and so has to rely on nuclear energy, but it’s giving me the creeps right now.  I’m not anti-nuke at all and I truly believe it’s better than the alternatives, especially for Japan, but I think with the power of this energy comes the responsibility to be totally transparent about the risks when it goes wrong.

So I’m staying inside with my windows shut. Just in case.  Painting nails sort of calms my nerves, which are a bit frayed from the “nuclear event” and from the aftershocks we’ve been experiencing regularly.

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About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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13 Responses to Hat Trick of Doom

  1. Libby says:

    You need a hug! *HUG* 🙂

    I agree 100% with what you’ve posted. Lying and downplaying the dangers will most likely lead to more harm than good, and it’s sad and kind of pathetic that the Japanese officials would do that. I believe the reason for them doing so is more than just keeping citizens calm and financial markets relatively at bay/stable. It probably has to do with the fact that the Japanese are extremely prideful people, and they do not want to “lose face” or be shamed that because they are viewed as a technologically advanced nation, they are expected to have contained the nuclear explosions in a safe manner. The day before, I recall that they were trying to contain a nuclear meltdown by flooding the nuclear containment with sea water. I have never heard of such measures, and it seemed it was a last act of desperation in my humble opinion.

    Also, about the Tokaimura nuclear plant accident, from what I’ve read, it was caused by bringing together too much uranium enriched material to a relatively high level, causing a limited uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction (quoted from the World Nuclear Association website)… but you could be right since the WNA didn’t state the specifics.

    Sorry if I rambled on.. it’s almost 4am PST, and I’ve been writing my research thesis for 12+ hours, and needed a “writing break”, and your post was the 1st interesting and thought provoking one in my Google Reader!

    Glad to know you are okay!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Keep up with the posts about Japan! They’re really insightful

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Thanks- I hope things will settle down. It looks like a third reactor has exposed fuel rods and the water has boiled off, which probably means a third explosion will happen.

  3. Minta says:

    I’m glad that you’re okay and am keeping the rest of Japan in my thoughts. Take care!

    Also, thanks again for the help with finding solvent resistant glitters for frankening. I recently found some that actually said they were solvent resistant at TBK Trading. Got them in this weekend and I gotta say, they’re awesome. Same with their frankening bases (I got the ones for pigment and glitter suspension). Unfortunately the bases only ship in the continental US, but if you want to try a source for new glitter for frankening, I can verify they’re awesome. 🙂

  4. nevertoomuchglitter says:

    Thanks Libby! Glad to provide you with a little break from thesis writing.

    You are very correct about the “saving face” aspect of things here- the seawater thing was a last-ditch effort. Reactor #2 is about to go as all the water has boiled off and the fuel rods are exposed. #1 and #3 already had an explosion. People have been evacuated for an approx. 30 miles radius but that would still be too close for me!

    The WNA report about Tokaimura is correct- there was too much uranium in the mix, but reports frequently fail to mention the fact that it was mixed in buckets by untrained staff (probably out of respect for the workers and their families). After the 2 workers died of radiation poisoning, all the details came out. Apparently there were no safeguards in place to deter staff from doing this sort of thing. Yikes!

  5. Doo says:

    Glad to hear you’re alright! I’ve been watching the news very closely – as I did when the Tsunami hit in 2004. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now with all the uncertainty. I hope everything calms down.

    I read that people there in Japan are more worried about the after quakes than the nuclear radiation – but here the top news is nuclear plants and whether they’ll explode. I think it’s a matter of perspective also: you there in Japan can feel the quakes and your bodies respond to it. It’s a constant reminder of the threat. To us, far far away, there’s another threat that could happen here (where tsunami’s can’t hit) also: the nuclear radiation. In that way maybe the Japanese media isn’t hiding things but putting them into perspective from where you are right now.
    The main thing is to be safe and there’s still a possibility of another big earth quake.

    I hope it helps to know you’re not alone. Here in many countries experts are tackling the problem, trying to find a good solution for Fukushima.

    All the best to you! I hope you can relax with some color therapy with the nail art 🙂

  6. Tiffany says:

    Well, you are in my thoughts, I find the situation even all the way where I live, which is an island in the Caribbean, incredibly frightening. I’m so happy to know you are safe.

  7. Zara says:

    *hugs* I’m glad you’re okay for now, and I hope it stays that way!

  8. Aunt Lizzie says:

    stay safe and keep us updated

  9. Rebecca says:

    It seems so irresponsible that they have this technology for nuclear power but don’t have a definite way to protect people when something like this happens. Obviously, no one could predict the natural disasters, but you’d think they’d consider that it COULD happen one day…

    Anyhow, I hope you’re safe and sound and continue to be that way!

  10. Arie says:

    Hi Jen, nice to hear from you.
    Have you think maybe leave Japan for a while?, or ask for help to the American Embassy and go to Russia to catch a flight to USA, just my humble thinking.
    The nuclear situation worries me.
    I hope for all the best, stay safe.
    xx

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