Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fukushima crisis continues

By Anthony Vasquez

More than nine months after the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to affect people’s livelihoods.

Despite the Japanese government’s announcement earlier this month that the plant has finally been shut down for good, doubts linger that the government has been honest with the Japanese people. A government panel recently found that plant operators did not take into consideration the possibility of a tsunami overwhelming the plant. According to their report, Tokyo Electric Power failed to plan for the disaster.

Furthermore, the government was not transparent in releasing information to the public. In their Dec. 26 article, Bloomberg reporters Tsuyoshi Inajima and Stuart Biggs quote from the report: “Information on urgent matters was delayed, press releases were withheld, and explanations were kept ambiguous.”

The meltdown of three reactors at the Japanese nuclear plant on March 11 is the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl incident which occurred in 1986 in the former Soviet Union. A 12.5-radius area surrounding the plant is a no-go zone. NPR's Frank Langfitt reported last September that in Fukushima City, more than 50 miles from the plant , children wear radiation monitors. The Japanese government estimates that some areas will not be safe for two decades.

Further reading:

Christmas in the Radiation Zone
By Chris Williams
December 28, 2011