Monday, 21 March 2011
When the Tchernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in 1986, the Soviet government sent thousands of army draftees and miners to dig tunnels or clean away debris before erecting the steel coffin to contain the radiation.
These people did not realize fully what they were asked to do: to face certain death within weeks or months or long, painfull illnesses. They suffered for the common good and I can only hope they are honoured by their people for this.
But what unfolds right now in Fukoshima is of an entirely different kind. The Japanese people know what radiation means and most certainly those who fight the monster right on spot. These days I frequently have a look at NHK World, the Japanese news channel in English and saw there those Tokyo Firefighters shaking hands before trying to spray water on those melting nuke rods. Normally, the Japanese are a kind of poker face nation but here I saw they were fighting back tears.
To do this you have to be nearby and nearby means death, a very unpleasant slow death. They were volonteers I have been told and if the word Hero has any meaning they are.
They face death out of their own choice so that others may go on living! Heroes.
As to nuclear power plants, they should have been scrapped since long. This technology is just too dangerous for dumb human species. I have been working in industry all my life and we had the saying "something that can go wrong, will go wrong, one day".
This "Sword of Damocles" hangs above our heads and this for thousands of years because nobody knows for certain what to do with the nuclear waste. Even without Tsunami, earth quakes or terrorist attacks we are all facing this threat due to our collective stupidity. And this technology is not even cheap, one of these lies we are being told from time to time. There was a Tchernobyl type power plant in Eastern Germany, shut down about a months after reunification. Now, more than 20 years later, the plant is still not totally dismantled at a cost of about 1500 Million Euro or nearly 2 Billion US Dollar! Just dismantling.
As to the waste, nobody know what to do with it. There is not a single place on Mother Earth where the geologists can say "this hole deep down is safe for the next five thousand/ten thousand years". But the search for a waste dumb goes on, worldwide, to the tune of Billions of Euros or Dollars, Billions, really, no exageration. So, for the time being, the stuff remains somewhere behind each power plant, safely stored away in big costly steel drums. But in forty, fifty years, those containers have to be replaced. Everywhere, all over the world! And so on, and so on and so on. No need for a Tsunami or a king size quake to shiver a bit. No need to panic either, those are old facts, nothing new, no surprise here.
Last not least: don't swallow anti-radiation iode pills. They are useless unless your home adress is Fukoshima or Tchernobyl. Better sit under a table with a pillow over the head.