Fukushima, a scary situation
This past week, Japan came out and made some dire announcements about the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, which was damaged during the earthquake in 2011 Ė and thatís saying something. Furthermore, the solution isnít nearly as clear-cut, or safe, as anyone thought it would be.
To put it briefly, if the burnt-out fuel rods arenít taken out quickly enough, terrible things will happen. And if the fuel rods arenít taken out carefully enough, even worse things will happen.
Experts describe the consequences of any slip-up or contact between the fuel rods during extraction as being potentially ďapocalyptic,Ē according to media reports.
Nuclear chain reactions and leakage of irradiated water into local aquifers could mean that Tokyo might have to be evacuated and that the entire northern region of the country could be uninhabitable. Let that sink in Ė an entire very densely populated city and the whole north half of a country could be seriously affected.
And if that wasnít enough pressure on those in charge, there are 1,300 of those fuel rods that need to be individually removed, one at a time.
The plant itself also happens to be sinking. Another containment tank for irradiated water has sprung a leak, and the water charted in at 80-million Becquerels of radiation per liter, as opposed to the modest 150 per liter that the water was measuring since the earthquake.
In light of all this, my question is why are we only finding out about these enormous problems now? Itís almost been three years since the earthquake that caused problems at the plant, and the situation has never fully been contained.
The effects of the leaking irradiated water are reportedly been felt all over coastal Japan, and the west coasts of Canada, the United States, with mutated fish and kids with thyroid problems coinciding with this unprecedented release of irradiated water into the ocean.
Why arenít more people, more organizations, more governments getting involved in this issue? I realize any call for assistance from China, powerful as they are, would be a lost cause, given their unfriendly diplomatic relationship and dismal record of past relations with Japan, to say nothing of their own disregard for the condition of their own environment. That, however, shouldnít stop anyone else.
This is not something thatís going to just get better on itís own. It started out bad, itís getting worse, and if something much more drastic isnít done very soon, it will get much, much worse.
This isnít just Japanís problem. Irradiated water is pouring into the pacific at a reported rate of 300 gallons a day. Authorities in Tokyo are estimating that the cleanup will take over four decades. They donít have four decades Ė we donít have four decades. That radiation is getting drawn up into precipitation, itís getting carried, and doing enormous damage enormous distances from its source.
Russia ought to help out Ėtheyíre close enough that theyíll feel the effects if thereís another meltdown and Iím sure they have some ideas on how to get things rolling, having had to deal with Chernobyl 27 years ago.
Iím looking at Canada and the US, as well. Since the US Navy is in the process of boosting its naval presence in the Pacific, and the Canadian Navy is considering doing the same, it would only make sense to chip in with the clean-up in any way they can.
This isnít going to go away and it canít be swept under the rug Ė the Japanese need help, and they need it soon.
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