The Australian Prime Minister gets an honourable mention, but the seals get pride of place. The nuclear crisis becomes more cryptic, and adds unstable fuel to the fire.
Julian Gillard is Australia’s Prime Minister. She is currently in Japan and is visiting the tsunami hit regions. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Japan’s NHK news service has neglected to inform its viewership the extent of international support provided to Japan following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. Australia’s Prime Minister is here, and it was not announced why. Consequently, I’m sure many Japanese people must be wondering ‘why?’. Obviously she is very well trained for the media. NHK showed a picture of her squatting before a Japanese child with a Koala toy held out for him to take. The face of the koala was plain to see for NHK viewers at home, but the child receiving the toy would have been looking at the back of the koala’s head. Gillard had perhaps one minute of news time dedicated to her posthumous visit. The very next news story was about children from the tsunami hit region visiting a zoo (one minute), and viewing a seal show (two minutes). Australia apparently provided support, according to Yahoo news, and Australia Helps.com.
Rumours about the true extent of the crisis don’t provide comfort. Apparently within a week of the crisis beginning, it was known to TEPCO that it was in fact a level seven (highest rating) of nuclear disaster, but perhaps not revealed the true extent of the crisis to the government, and so the public by the government that this was a level three event. This was later upgraded to five, and set to level seven about a week ago. Furthermore, it is being learnt that the TEPCO workers in Fukushima saw water spewing out of one of the reactors soon after the first M9.0 earthquake, before the tsunami hit. This is despite the nuclear disaster being blamed on the tsunami swamping the diesel generator that was providing electricity keeping the cooling systems running. Furthermore, the extent of radiation leak was not reported, and NHK did not do their own independent investigation. Consequently, it was only when people began to do their own measurements was their doubt being cast on the credibility and reliability of the governments and TEPCO’s reassurances. Admittedly now, there is now better modelling and understanding of radioactive particle drift that is occurring in the skies in Fukushima.
Nuclear Crisis: Fear for the worst?
NHK, citing government media releases, has stated that the mandatory evacuation zone has expanded from ten kilometre radius to twenty, and includes some up-wind regions thirty kilometres from the Fukushima plant. Though, this is not because of any immediate danger, but staying there for a prolonged length of time might prove detrimental. However, these reports have the added tag, “and in case of unforseen events” (imprecise paraphrasing). Essentially, if feels like the government and TEPCO know that there is a high risk of a disaster occurring, but they don’t want to alarm the public, though hedging their statements. The government has been criticised for not properly informing the public about what is occurring, what their risks are, and what to do about it. Tonight, NHK reports that the fuel storage tank in the number 4 reactor building has water at ninety degree Celsius, which is about 50 degrees higher than normal. Also, direct injection of water to the tank has caused damage to the storage vessel, and the addition of water in the future needs to be done carefully. Again, it feels like hedging statements. What if the vessel breaks? Will the public know what to do? Is this the chief concern and the reason for some towns being evacuated 30 kilometres away? Simply too many unanswered questions.