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Friday, 9 September 2011

Hubris or political expediency?

The future has arrived. Threat of nuclear meltdown was all too real in the last six months...

Japan’s heavy reliance on nuclear power is now seen as a serious mistake. Naturally, it’s easy to be wise after the event. And, to be fair, the damage sustained by the Fukushima nuclear plant was not in the Chernobyl league, serious though it is. Considering the tremendous forces that the plant withstood, the engineering safeguards seem to have worked – if only just. Hubris prompted siting many nuclear power stations on the cusp of the quake-prone archipelago. Maybe financial and political expediency had something to do with it.

Near the Fukishima Daiichi plant is the ghost town of Minamisoma, which suffered the loss of several hundred residents during the disaster. Then the remaining thousands were evacuated. Their lives and livelihoods are on hold until something can be resolved. How many more lives are in stasis – perhaps due to government intransigence?

See Charlie Whipple's website for a lot of detailed background and even moving images.


ChuckTyrell said...

Many special programs on Japanese TV as the 6 month anniversary approaches (tomorrow here). The focus seems to be on the psychological toll and the hubris of people who can't return to irradiated homes. One of the ministers in charge of the reconstruction process (new cabinet) toured the Fukushima area and commented that he'd see a "dead town." He was probably right, as the likelihood of people being able to return in their own lifetimes is remote. Still, the uproar was deafening. All the refugees who left the village said he was saying they could never go home. Personally, I think it is false encouragement to give these people hope that they can return any time soon. Perhaps any time at all. The damage caused by earthquake and tsunami were terrible, but people who escaped earthquake damage were driven from their homes by radioactive fallout.

Nik said...

Thanks, Charlie, for that additional insight. Like most modern problems, there's no easy answer, as the next post attests.