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.