News Containment Effort Fails

I’m not a nuclear expert, and far from unbiased. I can’t silence anyone with tech talk or claim to be objective. I do have a bachelors in science and am fairly good at reading between the lines and noting what is not said. I’ve also worked in various jobs and see the same human dynamics in all of them– human error, corner-cutting, and shortsightedness. All these factors combined to make the Fukushima nuclear disaster much more damaging than the natural disaster dictated. Safety systems turned out to be poorly designed and the corporate response was disrespectful of the workers who bravely continue to work in the plant and the public who needed honest answers.

I hope that the six to nine month timeline for getting the nuclear reaction under control will be met. Japan and the world don’t need any more radioactive pollution. The new talking point is that radioactive pollution is no big deal (actually an old talking point with the industry), but as long as the story gets out events will prove that this disaster is really as bad as Chernobyl.

Here is the latest– low-level radiation over time is deadly, and the evacuation zone will be enforced. Residents allowed in will wear protective gear and undergo decontamination.

Almost six weeks after a devastating earthquake and tsunami sparked Japan’s worst-ever nuclear crisis, the country’s government is stepping up restrictions on the movement of people near the Fukushima Daiichi plant. From Friday, police will have the power to detain anyone with a 20-kilometer radius around the plant.

When the government first urged residents living near the plant to evacuate, a day after the March 11 disaster, few realized they would be gone for so long. Many fled unprepared for months away from home.

Rather than the anticipated sudden and large release of radiation, the Fukushima Daiichi plant has continued to emit harmful particles for weeks, albeit at lower levels.

The plant operator expects it will take up to nine months to bring the reactors under control, so the emissions could continue for some time.

Faced with the lower levels of radiation and a need to collect personal belongings, some residents have been making trips back.

Journalists have also been venturing into the area and their images of abandoned pets have sent some animal charities in.

The government has lacked the ability to enforce the evacuation order, but that is changing.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced the new policy.

Edano says the government is declaring the area off-limits under the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Law. It gives the police the power to detain anyone entering the zone for up to 30 days and imposes a fine of up $1,200.

In a concession to residents, the government will organize buses so that people can visit their houses. One family member will be allowed to travel in; they will have to wear a protective suit, and go through decontamination when they leave.

Each visit, of which several might be permitted, will last about two hours

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