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Japan raises the ongoing nuclear crisis to 7 in Fukushima

Japan raises the ongoing nuclear crisis to 7 in Fukushima

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

TEPCO and the nuclear crisis in Fukushima
TEPCO and the nuclear crisis in Fukushima

The government of Japan clarified that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis is now rated 7 and this puts it on par with Chernobyl which had the same rating.  However, the government stressed through several agencies that radiation discharge and other important factors were 10% of what Chernobyl was. 

Despite this, it is clear that the government is worried about ongoing events and while the health effects are still being played down it is obvious that the amounts of radiation being released is accumulating.   Therefore, it is further evidence that containment policies by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and the government have partly failed.

I stress partly, because at one point it was touch and go to whether certain reactors would blow up or if the entire Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant would go into complete meltdown.

However, the radiation leakage over more than one month is adding up and this is why the government upgraded the rating to 7.  This fact also shows that the government is being transparent because the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) knows that the people of Japan demand openness even if the news is negative.

Minoru Oogoda from Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) stated that “We have upgraded the severity level to seven as the impact of radiation leaks has been widespread from the air, vegetables, tap water and the ocean.” 

This statement is in line with what the government stated because the increase to 7 is based on the accumulative factor and this alone makes it very different from Chernobyl. 

Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan, stated that “Step by step, the reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are moving toward stability.”

It is worth stressing that around 28,000 people are feared dead (many people are still missing) because of the potent tsunami which followed the 9.0-magnitude earthquake.  However, no fatalities have resulted from the nuclear crisis in Fukushima and several agencies, and the government, are claiming that the risk to health is extremely low. 

Despite this, it is worth pointing out that while the government of Japan has taken major measures in order to safeguard people who are close to the nuclear power plant.  This applies to an exclusion zone, banning certain produce from being sold on the open market, and implementing policies to prevent water usage.  The real long-term impact is still unknown and cancer clusters may emerge or may not; because opinion is still divided but other nations like the United Kingdom do share the same opinion and have supported the government of Japan to the full.

The level rating of 7 means that Fukushima joins Chernobyl which had the same rating. Kyshtyn (Russia – Soviet Union) was rated 6 and Windscale (UK) and Three Mile Island were both rated 5. 

It is worth highlighting the fact that of all the above mentioned then Japan is unique because the nuclear crisis was triggered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake which then unleashed a brutal and destructive tsunami.  However, all the other nuclear problems which were rated so high were because of human failure and nature was not the reason.

Also, while earthquakes have killed millions of people collectively in so many nations and the same applies to a huge loss of life because of tsunamis. The same does not apply to nuclear disasters because the loss of life collectively is relatively small when we compare this with the five most destructive earthquakes or the five most potent tsunamis.

This is not downplaying radiation and the current crisis in Fukushima but it is factual and some elements in the media may be clouded by their anti-nuclear agenda. 

However, it is true that the radiation factor and earthquake/tsunami factor is very different.  They are destructive in different ways and while reconstruction can start fully in areas outside of the exclusion zone in Fukushima; the same does not apply to areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Also, the fisheries sector is being decimated in areas close to the nuclear plant and similar problems exist to farming.  Therefore, radiation will continue to damage the local economy and more alarming, albeit without any data which can apply yet; is the future possibility of cancer clusters.

This unknown fear will hinder recovery surrounding the stricken nuclear plant and certain economic sectors will suffer greatly throughout 2011. Also, the future of the area close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant looks bleak and local people will continue to have a torrid time within the exclusion zone and close to the exclusion zone.

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Japan

 

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The ongoing Fukushima crisis and the psychological war in Tokyo

The ongoing Fukushima crisis and the psychological war in Tokyo

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Radiation fears

Radiation fears

The ongoing nuclear crisis at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is creating a hefty weight and this applies to the psychological impact.  It still remains to be seen what the long-term consequences will be but the psychological impact is impinging on many parts of Japan. 

It is abundantly clear that more than 20,000 people have been killed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake which unleashed a potent and deadly tsunami.  Therefore, while the tsunami was the “real killer” in Iwate, Miyagi and others prefectures hit by the tsunami. It is apparent that for many people in Tokyo and other prefectures which escaped the deadly tsunami, that the “psychological war” is radiation.

It may seem absurd to some people that many Tokyoites, and people from other prefectures including Kanagawa and Saitama, are so scared by the possibility of radiation entering the environment. 

However, it is clear that the ongoing crisis at the nuclear stricken plant in Fukushima is generating many problems, even if these problems are not realistic or based on factuality.  This is because of the mass uncertainty surrounding radiation and how it can impact on people and their health.

Therefore, even miniscule readings in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama, are setting off alarm bells and this applies to some Japanese nationals leaving for a small break; foreign embassies closing and relocating to other parts of Japan; an increase of foreign nationals leaving Tokyo and the surrounding region; a huge reduction of tourists who were going to visit Tokyo; a scramble for bottled water because of a minor radiation reading which was not deemed dangerous and a host of other factors.

It is also true that other Tokyoites are not worried and many people are just trying to focus on the lighter side of life or focusing on bread and butter issues. 

However, the impact of possible radiation and the never ending saga at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant is creating unforeseen problems and this applies to companies relocating, a huge reduction of tourists visiting Tokyo and other factors which are hindering the economy.

I am sure that people in Iwate, Fukushima, and Miyagi, must be wondering about “how surreal events are in Tokyo” compared with the huge loss of life which was unleashed on so many towns and villages along the coast. 

Also, for people in Fukushima within or near the exclusion zone, it is obvious that the impact is a million times more severe for them and clearly Tokyoites have escaped the real ravages of the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation leaks from the stricken nuclear plant.

Yet just like the huge reduction of tourists who are refusing to visit Tokyo it is all about the psychological damage and irrespective of what government ministers are saying; it is obvious that people are divided about the real impact of the radiation crisis in Fukushima.

Therefore, while some people are hoarding bottled water and other essential products in Tokyo it is also abundantly clear that many people are not. 

On March 25 the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency stated that high level radiation was detected in the reactor’s turbine of the No. 3 reactor.  The main spokesman, Hidehiko Nishiyama, did reassure people that currently it appears that no cracks or damage to the reactor vessel appears to have happened.

According to Nishiyama the high level radiation which led to workers being contaminated was because of overheating fuel rods which are believed to have melted partially.  Nishiyama also made it clear that further verification is needed before concrete conclusions can be given to why workers were exposed to very dangerous levels of radiation.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan stated that “The current situation is still very unpredictable. We’re working to stop the situation from worsening.  We need to continue to be extremely vigilant.” 

Therefore, while police officers and the Japanese military are looking for dead bodies in Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and other coastal regions where the earthquake and tsunami struck; the psychological war continues in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures.

Many people will be relaxing with friends this weekend in Tokyo but others will be hoarding bottled water.  The surreal nature of everything at the moment is beyond understanding and fashion shows and exhibitions will continue to be held across Tokyo.

In Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, the smell of death is factual and so many have been killed and thousands of families and many communities have been torn apart.   

The deadly tsunami killed more than 20,000 people but not one person appears to have died from radiation.  However, the huge reduction of tourists and people leaving Tokyo is not because they fear a tsunami but it is because of the psychological war which exists within many people.

Therefore, while real tragedy storks northeastern Japan and the impact of radiation is strong in Fukushima; the soft underbelly of Tokyo and people in distant lands is factual and until the nuclear crisis is resolved then little can be done to end the psychological war within many people.

I and millions of others fear little in Tokyo but for millions of others it is different; however, when all is said, it is clear that Tokyoites are lucky to escape the ravages of March 11 and the real menace of radiation which is infringing on the people of Fukushima.

http://moderntokyotimes.com  (please visit)

 

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