Saturday, 26 March 2011

Japan Nuclear Crisis-Governments and industry doing the usual spin while disaster turns into catastrophe.

It has become obvious to many that the scale of this disaster is being hidden from the public.

Avoiding panic is generally a good idea, but a some panic is probably in order here. Actions being taken in response to this disaster are being driven by forces distorted by many agendas. As a result, actions that should be taken to keep the disaster from multiplying into a complete catastrophe are not being taken.

There is nothing new about our being lied to, but Fukushima presents our entire population with a new and unprecedented level of danger. Huge and entrenched interests; government, industry, and private are trying to spin this disaster like they did with Bhopal, Chernobyl, Deepwater Horizon, and many others.

The first part of good disaster spin is to minimize the scale of the problem. The powers that be are hiding and distorting the facts about radiation release from Fukushima and about how damaged the plant really is. They hope to contain the event and then downplay how bad it really was for ever after. Releasing the data, evacuating the responsible areas, and entombing the plant are all actions that defeat this spin effort. So actions to protect the spin are taken instead of actions with the most hope of actually mitigating this disaster.

Unfortunately, the worst case scenarios at Fukushima become more probable with every hour's passing. This is not Bhopal, where the chemical fire eventually ran out of fuel. This is not a BP oil well in the gulf that can be capped and forgotten. This is not even Chernobyl where one reactor was stabilized and entombed by a massive government effort.

As the spin machine run by the powers that be tries to decide where this event fits between Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, I would draw a different comparison. At Fukushima we have three Three Mile Islands each of which has also suffered physical plant damage comparable to Chernobyl which prevents repair of cooling function. A total of over 1.7 million kg of spent fuel is in danger of melting and burning. This event dwarfs Chernobyl and Three Mile Island combined. It may end up dwarfing every nuclear event in our history, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fukushima has no comparison and will almost certainly set the new benchmark.

Core vessels have been breached. Steam/hydrogen explosion of a containment vessel and/or a major rod fire are probable events soon. Once this occurs, further efforts to stave off complete catastrophe become next to impossible due to lethal radiation levels around the plant.

The results of this spin, deception, and misdirected action will have global consequences on a scale never seen before. If there was a time in history where our entrenched powers need to change their ways and act in the best interests of humanity, it is now.

Continuing to hide from the reality at Fukushima may be a critical mistake.

It seems to me that the first step in dealing with a problem is to understand its scope. The world needs full disclosure immediately. A massive and well directed response must be undertaken immediately.

Scott Nance blogged at that, "Three groups – Friends of the Earth, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Physicians for Social Responsibility – announced Friday that they have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get to the bottom of what led the U.S. government to call for a 50-mile evacuation radius for Americans near the Japanese reactor crisis in Fukushima."

I applaud the effort, but we need more and we need it yesterday.

The world needs to know the facts, and appropriate action needs to be developed and implemented to respond to the worst nuclear disaster in our history. If we act quickly and are lucky we may stave off the unthinkable. If we continue with business as usual it may cost us more than we can afford to pay ...


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting up such an informative blog. I wonder if you have any information about how badly the worst case scenario might affect Japan, its neighbors, and the world?

    Will it make all of Japan virtually uninhabitable? What about close neighbors, like Korea, China and Taiwan? Will the radiation travel around the whole world for years, causing a cancer pandemic?