Tokyo governor Naoki Inose criticized the media’s coverage of current events at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Speaking at his last press conference before the host city is chosen for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, he said people should not believe fear stories and said the Japanese government was addressing the water problems at the plant.
I find these remarks troubling. How has Japan addressed the water problem? They are planning to build an ice wall to stem the flow of contaminated water into the Pacific. The wall will take nearly 2 years to build and may not even work. In the mean time 300 tons of radioactive waste is flowing into the Pacific daily. A flow that started more than 2 years ago, but was never disclosed. Meanwhile new storage tanks are being erected at the rate of 1 every 2 and a half days. With 1000 tanks already on site, the volume of contaminated water being stored is more than 338,000 metric tons. Water which Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority chairmen, Shunichi Tanaka, has said will have to be released into the ocean after most (but not all) the contaminants have been filtered out.
Given the above,and with tanks already leaking and vulnerable to earthquake damage, would you say the Japanese government has taken control of the situation? I also like all the remarks made by nuclear power industry experts about “safe levels of radiation”. That’s like saying we are releasing murderers into your city, but don’t worry, because chances are you won’t be one of those killed.
When Japan opens the door for international help on this problem and offers real solutions and not bandaids, then we can say don’t believe scary media stories. Until then, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the handling of this crisis.