Protestors angry at the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis have been demonstrating across Japan. An estimated 2,500 people marched past the headquarters of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and created a human chain around the building of the Trade Ministry that oversees the power industry. They are demanding an end to nuclear power in Japan.
Many schools and open spaces have remained open despite high levels of radiation, and information has been withheld, not only from the public but from nuclear and emergency workers. There is much mistrust of government, the nuclear industry and of academics, who, it is believed, cooperate with the industry. One Fukushima resident said Tepco kept telling them it couldn’t possibly happen. Does that sound familiar?
Immediately after the explosion it was labelled a grade 4 accident, but a month later it was upgraded to 7. The government has increased the permissible dose of radiation in schools, food and discharges into the sea, including in Tokyo.
There is much depression, and family breakdown, as pregnant women leave Fukushima. 80,000 residents within a 12-mile radius of Fukushima have been allowed to return home for two hours to collect their belongings, dressed in masks, goggles and protective clothing. The towns will be uninhabitable for years, maybe decades. Sunflowers have been planted to absorb caesium.
Only 11 of Japan’s 54 reactors are currently operating, with more scheduled to close for maintenance in the next few months. The total volume of radiation-contaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture that may have to be removed could reach 100 million cubic meters.
For much more, see http://online.wsj.com/search/term.html?KEYWORDS=YUKA+HAYASHI+&bylinesearch=true and the September 21st edition of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which is a special edition on Fukushima. It is at http://www.icontact-archive.com/xNL0qQCSSQU61TQn1ZB3dLVwC23miCCZ?w=4