I want to refer to Shisaku’s blog this morning, where he highlights maps of the Cesium fallout in Japan.
Immediately after the March 11 disasters in Japan, when the Fukushima reactor, as we now know, went to “melt-through” status, I posited that Fukushima was going to be a slow-motion Chernobyl. It obviously was not a Chernobyl–because Chernobyl just blew up in 1986. But that it was going to be something bad, on the order of Chernobyl.
Sure enough, time is bearing out the prediction:
Chernobyl created a “dead zone” within the old USSR. Many people are now saying that the area around the Fukushima reactor will be a dead zone for years, similar in size to that of Chernobyl.
People miles and miles away from the Chernobyl reactor were subject to fallout from the explosion. The amount of radiation was not extreme, of course, but radiation makes people think about the risks of nuclear power.
Internet know-it-alls proceeded to run Geiger counters to show that background radiation in the Kantou and Tohoku region of Japan was no more than background radiation in major cities throughout the world. But these people had no answers about hot spots, nor assurances of where the Cesium landed. In short, no one really knew.
Many people in the Tohoku region–from first-hand accounts–explained that they lost faith in the government. This happened in the Ukraine with Chernobyl, too, and is considered one of the reasons the Soviet Union fell. When the overlords in government treat you like cattle, you maybe play along, as long as they aren’t killing you and your children. When life or death seems to be in play, though, you stop being so docile. This is what happened in the former Soviet Union. And, apparently, this is what is going on in parts of Japan right now. As I said it would.
Science depends on all the theories being put out there for testing. The notion that some Japan-side expats wanted the debate to be shut down immediately in March shows that they are more like ideologues with an agenda than people who really honor and appreciate science.
It will be interesting to read more in the future about what is actually going on with this slow-motion technological mess.