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3 Years Later: A Fukushima Worker's Eyewitness Story

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the is-that-just-the-regular-ominious-music? dept.

Japan 148

Lasrick writes "Tuesday, March 11 is the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. In this article, a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station gives his eyewitness account of what happened there in the immediate wake of a massive earthquake and tsunami that caused three of the station's reactor cores to melt." The witness, says the story, "was promised anonymity as a condition of providing his account."

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Jeez has it been 3 years (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440537)

cause hearing about it every fucking day distorts the age of the event

Yeah. (5, Funny)

o_ferguson (836655) | about 7 months ago | (#46440621)

Almost like this story has a half-life of some insane number of years...

Re:Yeah. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46440749)

We will be reading about it in 50 years time, as they finally concrete over the last of it. If I live that long it will be interesting to see what they end up doing with the site.

Re:Jeez has it been 3 years (0, Troll)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 7 months ago | (#46441191)

Well, this is why nuclear power is so dangerous. If something bad happens, the bad is here to stay.

Re:Jeez has it been 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441461)

AGW OTOH can be quickly reversed.

Re: Jeez has it been 3 years (1, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | about 7 months ago | (#46442955)

And amazingly, when anyone brings up conservation and alternative energy, people scoff, deride, and make fun of it or try to claim it's too expensive. Global warming and climate change are expensive. Nuclear accidents are expensive. Using less energy is cheap by any rational or reasonable measure.

This message *is not* brought to you by the American Petroleum Institute.

Re: Jeez has it been 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46443029)

Maybe you should turn off your power guzzling computer you dam hippie. Get off my lawn

Re: Jeez has it been 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46443169)

Global warming and climate change are expensive. Nuclear accidents are expensive.

Jumping into a lake of lava can be hazardous to your health. Being in the same room as someone smoking a cigarette can be hazardous to your health.

when anyone brings up conservation and alternative energy ...

To ameliorate against AGW, we need both to increase energy efficiency (conserve) and to employ the full gamut of alternative energies, including nuclear. Using nuclear energy is dangerous. Not using nuclear energy is perilous.

Re:Jeez has it been 3 years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441205)

One thing you probably did not hear over the years is that the americans have dominated the cover-up, firstly, deflecting the risk which should be covered by GE, Boise-Cascade, GEIS (now SwissRE), and Dearborne-Madison.
Secondly, and much more sinister is the american vision in the new century; they want (and commandeer) to see Japan become aggressively militaristic, increasing budgets to buy american weapons, while on the side compiling of-the-books weapons-grade fuel under the Fukushima-cloud. They push the S.Koreans to protest against Japan, they push the Chinese in Taiwan to enter disputes with Japan, they invest heavily in mainland-Chinese gas/oil exploration companies, the Taiwanese equivalents, and the Japanese equivalents, fostering the disputed maritime-claims, thereby circumventing the National Interests of all four. The Japanese and Koreans are so busy antagonizing each-other, they are nearly oblivious to the Wall Street NAFTA-on-steroids TPP/FTA undermining Asian Power.

  That's not all you did not hear about.... while the world was shocked by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake/Tsunami and Fukushima, nobody seemed to care that Libya was demolished, paving the way for a fake-Arab-revolution soley for the benefit of the only middle-eastern nuclear power.

So, as a result of these avoidable tragedies, will Japan become a member of the nuclear-club? If so, it sure-as-heck ain`t democratic. Will the Japanese working-man, taxpayers, and hard-earned-cash-savings and capital buildup be depleted in the interests of the dastardly PNAC-look-east policy?

Even the Chinese are seemingly drugged by american spin-meisters, opting to focus on Japanese (Asian) "aggression" in Asia, all-the-while ignoring the Opium-war, the Boston-Brahmins, Vickers and Samuel-Samuel, the Flying-tigers, and the American military buildup in violation of the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

There are 2 and a half million war-dead honoured at the Yasukuni Shrine, and the millions and millions more who died in Korea, in Vietnam, and other theatres involving the americans is not published nor commemorated.

Fukushima is an ongoing tragedy, rooted in the criminally negligent designs of american influence in Asia.

Re:Jeez has it been 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442673)

now that I heard about it, I still don't give a flying fuck

Re:Jeez has it been 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441683)

I hear you, brother. I, too, cannot stand it when hard news gets in the way of my episodes of American Idol or Survivor.

Re:Jeez has it been 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442367)

You DO NOT hear about it "every fucking day" - that's a fucking exaggeration if ever there was one.

Reminds me of (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440559)

Joey Buttafuco. Buttafuco.

God says... (1, Offtopic)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 7 months ago | (#46440581)

C:\TAD\Text\WALDEN.TXT esh round and unmixed seed. First look out for worms, and supply vacancies by planting anew. Then look out for woodchucks, if it is an exposed place, for they will nibble off the earliest tender leaves almost clean as they go; and again, when the young tendrils make their appearance, they have notice of it, and will shear them off with both buds and young pods, sitting erect like a squirrel. But above all harvest as early as possible, if you would escape frosts and have a fair and salable crop;

Re:God says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440607)

I'm assuming you were high on some crappy fake weed and jacking off in the mirror as you wrote this post.

.
o yea, fuck beta

fusion? (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 7 months ago | (#46440605)

Is fusion the answer to all our energy problems? Is it practical at all and will it be cleaner / safer than fission ?

Re:fusion? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440637)

Fission isn't unsafe. Gross neglect and building reactors in areas where very destructive natural disasters are know to happen is unsafe.

Re:fusion? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46440701)

Just blame the guy who can't speak English. Ah, Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?

Re: fusion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440757)

Not unsafe? The likelyhood of failure is higher than you think! Trying to contain the atomic dragon is a fools errand. The story dosent end with safe operation, even if that was possible? The waste products are still a major unsafe factor! Radioactive metals contain much more power than you realize. Not unsafe, tell that to the people affected by ionizing radiation, everyone on earth has an increased risk of cancer due to the atomic age! Don't be fooled by lack of published data linking it up! Radiation in your body from fusion isotopes are detectable! No where on the planet remains unaffected.

Re: fusion? (3, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about 7 months ago | (#46440875)

Not unsafe? The likelyhood of failure is higher than you think! Trying to contain the atomic dragon is a fools errand. The story dosent end with safe operation, even if that was possible? The waste products are still a major unsafe factor! Radioactive metals contain much more power than you realize. Not unsafe, tell that to the people affected by ionizing radiation, everyone on earth has an increased risk of cancer due to the atomic age! Don't be fooled by lack of published data linking it up! Radiation in your body from fusion isotopes are detectable! No where on the planet remains unaffected.

All of humanities activities carry with them a certain degree of danger. The more energy involved, the more dangerous they become. A significant amount of effort must be placed in decreasing those dangers, but there will always be danger.

Unless you plan to give up your computer, car, mass transit, pretty much all mass produced goods, and go back to an egrarian lifestyle, you will have to deal with industrial accidents. Engineers are pretty good at preventing known types of accidents from re-occuring, but the unknown will always cause bad things to happen. Claiming that Nuclear is worse than the alternatives just betrays your own ignorance. Indeed, we had all been largely ignorant of fossil fuels consequences for decades, but the use of Oil, Gas and Coal may have had far more dire consequences for the future of humanity than all of the radiation disasters put together. The liklihood that something else, we have been doing since the dawn of the industrial revolution, will be the death of us all is greater than the chance that nuclear will be our downfall.

In the end, so called "renewable" resources may be our best bet, but they are not sufficient for our needs currently, and may never be, and who knows what genie those technologies have bottled up for the future.

In the far distant future, mankind will have solved universe spanning power production using some technology we cant comprehend yet. In 1000 years, who knows what breakthrough power generation system we will use, but holding our breath waiting for a breakthrough will overwhelmingly likely end with all of us sitting in the dark. In 500 years, we most likely won't be using fossil fuels anymore because we probably wont have any more to use), and I'd give long odds that if we still have a global economy by that time, the underpinnings will be a fission or fusion power grid. Nothing else has the where-with-all to produce the power we have come to demand.

Re: fusion? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46442817)

Unless you plan to give up your computer, car, mass transit, pretty much all mass produced goods, and go back to an egrarian lifestyle, you will have to deal with industrial accidents.

But we could have a lot less industrial waste if we cut out the unnecessary industrial output that's associated with a throwaway culture. We shouldn't be replacing all these things all the time. Cars should be made with polyurethane bushings and heim joints instead of these shitty ball and socket tie rod ends, for example, so that they will actually last. Instead they shake themselves apart and the labor costs for replacing what could have been lifetime components become so high that it's cheaper to buy another vehicle.

In the end, so called "renewable" resources may be our best bet, but they are not sufficient for our needs currently, and may never be, and who knows what genie those technologies have bottled up for the future.

Really? You're going to FUD on renewables? You have an agenda of greed, and it's particularly transparent.

Re: fusion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442851)

RIGHT... SO THERE'S DANGER TO EVERYTHING.. LETS JUST ADD EM.ALL UP AND HOW LITTLE DANGER THERE REALLY IS.

BETTER YET, LETS ADD A MASSIVE REACTORS 3 TO THE EQUATION.

NOW LETS ADD ALL THE LITTLE DANGERS . SOMETHING NOT EVEN THE FUCKING FDA DOES ON A SMALL CHEMICAL.SCALE.

KEEP SMOKING SHIT. MAKE IT QUICKER.. /.this bitch

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Re: fusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442869)

how did he I use all caps ? avg. what ? brilliant.

fuck beta

Re: fusion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46443483)

Egrarian? Fuck beta.

Re: fusion? (0)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46444081)

The liklihood that something else, we have been doing since the dawn of the industrial revolution, will be the death of us all is greater than the chance that nuclear will be our downfall.

More than likely it will be an accumulation of our errors that will back us into a corner. Nuclear, due to the geological timeframes involved in the radioisotope decay, is already in that mix whether we choose to admit it or not. It is inevitable human enriched radioisotope effluents (from whatever source) will affect the the human genome because of the way they behave in the environment and the food chain.

In the end, so called "renewable" resources may be our best bet, but they are not sufficient for our needs currently, and may never be, and who knows what genie those technologies have bottled up for the future.

Every technology has a begining and is developed. The amout of raw energy that falls on the surface of the earth is well beyond what we consume and in fact, wind is more scaleable as advancements can be fitted in a modular way that is not available to large 'up-front' infrastructure projects like Nuclear or Coal power stations. Solar thermal works at night and many other technologies exist that have not even been explored.

As for the genies they hold, well Wind has an infrasound issue, so you shouldn't live to close to them and you can be severley burned by solar power, however none of these technologies are known to output carbon that exceeds the energy used to produce them and to this day there has never been a report of a Wind power plant that has spewed out radioactive isotopes.

I'd give long odds that if we still have a global economy by that time, the underpinnings will be a fission or fusion power grid. Nothing else has the where-with-all to produce the power we have come to demand.

I think that the odds are short that we will *have* to control the radioisotope inventory we have and that the neccesity to do so will be an infrastructure project so large it will change the very nature of the worlds economy. In the same way our generation is facing a carbon legacy from previous generations, future generations will face a radioistope legacy that they will be forced to solve.

Right now peer reviewed science shows us that the current Nuclear power industry does not provide a Net Energy return simply because of the energetic inputs from mining and the energetic inputs to decommission the reactor.

I support the development of a reactor that addresses the issue of 70,000 tons of Pu-239 currently stored in reactor sites around America, simply because it's irresponsible for our generation to foist this issue onto later generations.

Unfortunately, because there is no geologically sound Nuclear waste dump in operation it's totally inappropriate to discuss building a new reactor facility until a proper containment facility is available. Yucca mountain is not a suitable site because it is made of pumice and geologically active evidenced by recent aftershocks of 5.6 within ten miles of a repository that is supposed to be geologically stable for at least 500000 years. The DOE's own 1982 Nuclear Waste policy Act reported that the Yucca Mountain's geology is inappropriate to contain nuclear waste, and long term corrosion data on C22 (the material to contain the Pu-239 and mitigate the ingress of water - yet another Yucca problem) is just not available.

We need something made of granite. A human made structure with the potential to last 10000 years, so it has to be an engineering project of that scale, because the logistical problems of transferring the 70000 odd tons of Pu239 to the "waste repository" (in reality - containment facility) are so involved that you want to get it right the first time and only do it once.

Even doing that, just the infrastructure project will probably take 30 years to complete, but there is more to it than that.

I was a big fan of the Integral Fast Reactor [wikipedia.org] , and in a way I still am. But the reality is 3rd and 4th generation reactors are a pipe dream because our material science is not advanced enough yet to produce a reactor design that will last thousands of years. If you are going to build reactors then do it properly and build a Terra-watt scale nuclear reactor facility the belly of a massive granite mountain with an attached waste facility that chomps up all your remaining plutonium or end all commercial nuclear activity altogether. As for the PBMR [wikipedia.org] this reactor has some serious design flaws that, upon a closer examination of the design, makes them no better than RBMK [wikipedia.org] as they age, especially when you are talking about a reactor design that lasts a inadequate 4-5 decades.

Nuclear power is energy intensive *after* the energy has been produced simply because our technology - especially material sciences - are not adequate to produce a Nuclear reactor (preferably a IFR style but safer) that has a life span that matches the geological time frames of the fuel. This exposes to all the issues associated with de-commissioning reactor sites every 4 decades or so. We need a reactor design that lasts at least 1000 years and is a closed loop, i.e. the plutonium goes in and nothing comes out (except electricity and possibly hydrogen). In short the smart thing is for us to do is stop producing toy nuclear reactors, while we still can, and build a dedicated place to store the plutonium (ie a granite mountain) that is also a suitable place to build a Terra-watt scale reactor that satisfies those characteristics.

I don't hide the fact that I don't like the constant failure of the Nuclear Industry. But I'm also being realistic. I realise that the only way out of this mess is a well thought out and designed project because we have no other choice due to the nature of the materials. You have to redesign the entire industry, and it's a long term solution, but a much better legacy for future generations than a long term problem that will last a minimum of 25,000 years.

In the meantime we need to invest heavily in undeveloped, low externality, energy solutions like solar, wind, geo-thermal and micro-generation so there is enough energy *available* to carry out such an infrastructure project properly.

This is why I support reactor research but not commercial nuclear power, because so far the entire nuclear industry has been an unmitigated failure marred by industrial accidents and incompetence. Any honest and realistic examination of the *facts* cannot draw any other conclusion of the Nuclear Industries characteristics to date.

Re: fusion? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46441003)

Not unsafe? The likelyhood of failure is higher than you think! Trying to contain the atomic dragon is a fools errand.

Do you know how many people die on the toilet each year while "straining at stool"?

Maybe we should ban that.

Re: fusion? (1)

cyborg_zx (893396) | about 7 months ago | (#46444015)

Now, now, we'll have no facts on risk analysis here.

Radiation is scary and must be stopped at all costs.

That's why I'm starting a Kickstarter to blow up that most nefarious of radiation sources - The Sun.

Re:fusion? (4, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | about 7 months ago | (#46440831)

"areas where very destructive natural disasters are know to happen"

That describes the entire nation of Japan pretty much. The earthquake and tsunami of 2011 isn't even the biggest natural disaster in Japan in the last hundred years, the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 killed more than 100,000 people in Tokyo. The Kobe earthquake in 1995 killed about 5,000. The Japanese write books with titles like "Japan sinks!" and make animes like "Tokyo Magnitude 8.0" but they love their country even if it is actively trying to kill them.

Next time you've got a half-day in Tokyo go over to the Metropolitan Towers, the city's local government building near Shinjiku. There's a free observation gallery you can visit on the 36th floor and on a clear day you can see Mount Fuji to the south-west. That's an active volcano, by the way, less than 100km from where 30-odd million people live and work. It's at the corner of three active tectonic plates, the source of the 1923 earthquake I mentioned.

As for "areas where very destructive natural disasters are know to happen" why do people live in the Mississippi valley with its killer tornadoes (550 dead in 2011 alone)? Do Americans like taking risks that much?

Re:fusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440863)

As for "areas where very destructive natural disasters are know to happen" why do people live in the Mississippi valley with its killer tornadoes (550 dead in 2011 alone)? Do Americans like taking risks that much?

False equivalence. Orders of magnitude difference.

I suggest you choose a better example: why do people live in a city that is entirely below sea level and is subsiding further every year? New Orleans can be a port without having people dwell there.

Re:fusion? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 7 months ago | (#46440953)

Tornadoes kill people and destroy townships in central US pretty much every year -- 2011 had an exceptionally high body count, driven in part by a single tornado that wiped out a town and killed over 150 people, but it's usually 20 or 30 minimum even in a quiet year. The Great Tohoku earthquake of 2011 actually killed very few, probably under a hundred people and they were the first substantial deaths from an earthquake in Japan for over a decade. The tsunami that followed killed about 20,000 people but it was the first really serious tsunami for a long time and from the records the biggest to hit Japan in a millennium.

The second biggest death toll in 2011 in japan was from a couple of typhoons that his the south of Honshu in the autumn, killing over 90 people. Japan is just a dangerous place. Then again the annual death toll in the US from firearms balances things out somewhat.

Re:fusion? (-1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 7 months ago | (#46441239)

From the records it is certainly not one of the biggest (or the biggest) hitting Japan in a millennium.

It is the typical historian (scientist) bullshit: oh, that xxyy tsunami was reported to be 39 shakku high.

Well, we know all old historians liked to exaggerate numbers ...

Lets assume it was perhaps 20 shakku high, that already is impressive! (Oh, and that was emperor Bla Blub, how long was a shakku at his reign?)

Historians always second guess historical reports. I don't know why. They never fit their "view of the world"?

Reports of Tsunamis in the range of the 2011 one, and above, are a hundred fold in jap. history. However those history books are written by long dead historians who had their own non trustworthy agenda. (* facepalm *)

Re:fusion? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46442805)

We don't need to wonder how big the tsunamis in the region were because they planted a marker at the highest point an earlier big one reached. It said don't build below here. Guess where they put the nuclear plant, and then didn't put the backup generators on pylons? The disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was guaranteed to happen given a large enough timescale. Sadly, it was that.

Re:fusion? (1)

mad flyer (589291) | about 7 months ago | (#46443281)

geez, someone who actually followed the news... so rare these days...

Re: fusion? (1)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about 7 months ago | (#46443083)

I'll tell you why people live in New Orleans. The Saints, the food, the music, Bourbon St./French Quarter, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and good weed!

Re:fusion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440989)

"Next time you've got a half-day in Tokyo go over to the Metropolitan Towers..."

Aww, man, shut the fuck up. Stop being such an asshole. Seriously. It's unbecoming.

No (4, Informative)

justthinkit (954982) | about 7 months ago | (#46441131)

The U.S. is going away [slashdot.org] from fusion.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441465)

yes. the americans are also not allowing the Japanese to break free from stupid ip and joint ventures in nuke-power generation.
if japanese were free from american big brother, japan would perfect thorium reactors?

Re: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442889)

tell big american brother to find another family.

"Independent Investigation"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440657)

excerpted from the forthcoming book The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Disaster: Investigating the Myth and the Reality, written by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

But it must be true, because you read it on the Internet.

Re:"Independent Investigation"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440725)

Personally I'm waiting for the slashdot armchair nuclear scientist version.

Re:"Independent Investigation"? (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#46441329)

And you shall have it.

Apparently, all the familiar sorts of electrical generation and fueling compounds come with an environmental cost.

Pick your poison: mine coal, crude oil and gas, harness the splitting of the atom, invest in wind and solar collection, damn mighty rivers... there is a documented downside to every way we generate power.

The dottie armchair nuclear scientist in me would argue new nuclear technologies are being kept on the shelf using FUD-like tactics while several of the finite energy options are being used up. This is happening despite the fact that the renewables aren't ready yet to sustain a reliable grid.

Re:"Independent Investigation"? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46444031)

This is happening despite the fact that the renewables aren't ready yet to sustain a reliable grid.

This is becoming less important. Factory work is becoming more automated and the core of the "smart grid" concept involves electricity producers informing electricity consumers as to when they are permitted to use power. Industrial users are already being moved to these sort of systems but the vision is for entire societies to participate in essentially cooperative power distribution. The power can be used when the power is there, aside from the demands which basically keep people working. A little more stock will have to be carried so that the workers can keep assembling the widgets, but more and more widgets are now being assembled by machines as well.

Summary (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46440715)

When the power went out things got difficult, communication became harder, the plant was already badly damaged. The tsunami made things a lot worse, and general confusion prevented people taking effective action. On paper it was a recoverable situation that should have been safely dealt with, in practice human nature doesn't cope well with this kind of crisis.

Re:Summary (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about 7 months ago | (#46442505)

Good point: maybe these things ought to remain on paper.

Re:Summary (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 7 months ago | (#46443407)

I'm an engineer by training. My natural inclination is to assume the worst and seek evidence showing that things aren't quite that bad.

Reading TFA, I was struck by how the manager seemed to assume the best and sought evidence showing things were worse. When workers told him they couldn't read the coolant water levels anymore, rather than assume the worst (the cooling water had all evaporated) and order seawater to be dumped in (killing the commercial life of the reactor), he repeatedly asked the workers if they were sure. They told him they couldn't be sure there was no water because they couldn't read the levels, and he took that to mean the water levels might be ok so he wouldn't have to make the hard decision to dump in seawater.

Re:Summary (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 7 months ago | (#46443879)

IIRC, dumping in sea water would not only kill the commercial life of the reactor. Sea water becomes much more radioactive than non-saline water when radiated with neutrons (I think the neutron capture of Cl-35 is to blame, but I am in no way sure), so the cleanup also becomes much more elaborate.

Re:Summary (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46443725)

in practice human nature doesn't cope well with this kind of crisis.

What "nature" does cope well with flying blind? Before we blame this on the yoomans, perhaps we ought to consider whether an optimally rational actor would have done any better?

Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (5, Insightful)

Will_Malverson (105796) | about 7 months ago | (#46440719)

Almost 20,000 people died because they lived close to the ocean.

A few dozen people might wind up with cancer someday because Japan uses nuclear power.

The obvious conclusion? Nuclear power is bad and should be eliminated immediately.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440755)

200,000 people are homeless from the evacuation and will probably die in school gyms.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442563)

With Japan's birthrate, it's not like those school gyms were going to be used for something else.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0, Flamebait)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 7 months ago | (#46440777)

Other estimates are that a gew hundret thousand might get cancer. Who is right?
No one. As it will be impossible to descide in most case from which cause the cancer came ...
Your claim and conclusion is just bullshit.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 7 months ago | (#46440855)

Sure, hundreds of thousands in Fukushima prefecture will get cancer. They are right.

Why? Because, as the japanese ministry of health reported in 2006 - some 43% of women and 53% of men get cancer at some point in their lives in Japan. And there are several hundred thousand people in Fukushima prefecture, hence the perfectly accurate and totally meaningless prediction.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 7 months ago | (#46441155)

He predicted a few of those would be from the accident.
And that can not be proven.
Likely it won't be a few, but many, however that can not be proven either.
So in 40 years "wikipedia" will write: "there was an increase in cancer, some related it to the accident, however there is no conclusive study that the accident was the reason".
The conclusion by /. readers in 40 years will be: the danger of radiation is overrated, as we have no conclusive death from Fukushima.
Germany treated after the chernobyl incident roughly 1000 Ukrainian children who suffered from Thyroid Cancer.
In this case the cancer rate was like a factor of 10 - 100 above the expected value, and the time relation was undeniable. In Fukushima the spread fallout is much less, so the finding a undeniable relation is much mode difficult (scientific speaking).

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441241)

Thyroid Cancer.
In this case the cancer rate was like a factor of 10 - 100 above the expected value, and the time relation was undeniable.

Citation needed!!

The only correlation was between children that drunk the milk of the cows that fed on the grass immediately after Chernobyl. The cows died from their exposure.

So I'm sorry, but comparing mega-doses that kids from Chernobyl area got because of contaminated milk, cannot be compared to the rest of the population or Japan in general, because the rest of the population did not suffer from any cancer-rate spikes. If Soviet Union was not in denial with Chernobyl and warned people not to eat contaminated produce/milk/etc., there would be no detectable cancer rate increases.

And where was the predicted spike of leukemia? That didn't happen and leukemia is most sensitive (most induced by radiation) of all cancers.

Crazy people, like Greepeace, predicted *millions* of people will die because of Chernobyl. And today, they continue to issue ridicules numbers. They still believe that most of today's cancers are caused by 1950s and 1960s nuclear tests despite evidence to the contrary. For example, they'll say that lung cancer from smoking is because tobacco contains extra radioactive polonium and not because of the milliard of chemical carcinogens it contains.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

tsotha (720379) | about 7 months ago | (#46441851)

Likely it won't be a few, but many, however that can not be proven either.

There's no reason to believe this is true. The LNT model is known to overestimate cancer incidence, and even using LNT we get "few" and not "many".

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46441009)

Well, that's the problem isn't it, we don't really understand it well enough and can't say for sure what the long term effects will be. We don't even know exactly what happened at the plant because parts of it are still inaccessible. Anyone who claims it isn't that bad is talking bullshit too, because they don't know either.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (3, Insightful)

bidule (173941) | about 7 months ago | (#46441067)

Who is right?

Those who use the almost 30 years of studies on Chernobyl instead of counter-pulling sensationalized numbers. Anyone coming up with numbers larger than those studies have their arm so deep in bullshit that their shoulder smells.

Despite the accident being much worse and the fallout being over land, the numbers affected are counted in thousands, dixit: "for a total of 9000 Chernobyl-associated fatal cancers". You could reasonably claim that Fukushima should affect one tenth that number and use 1000 as the death cap.

Back of the envelope calculations, but at least it doesn't smell.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 7 months ago | (#46441185)

Fukushima area was evacuated much quicker.
Fallout was lower.
That makes a back of the envelope calculation more difficult.
On top of that there are many claims that the Chernobyl death toll was much higher, too.

But: you are right, for a sensible estimate your approach is right.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

bidule (173941) | about 7 months ago | (#46443199)

Why, thank you!

I am glad to see some can maintain a NPOV on this subject. We need more like you.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441339)

Or, we might look at the actual data instead of, you know, spilling bullshit. Oh there's none? No, quite the opposite, things get published all the time by scientists in some of the most prestigious venues, but these accounts are not publicized in the mass media, for they are not scary. So let's look at something from this year [pnas.org] . Conclusions? "The mean annual radiation dose rate in 2012 associated with the accident was 0.89-2.51 mSv/y" and "the extra lifetime integrated dose after 2012 is estimated to elevate lifetime risk of cancer incidence by a factor of 1.03 to 1.05 at most, which is unlikely to be epidemiologically detectable." Scary, right? They say that people do get an extra 3-5% chance of getting cancer, so "0.89-2.51 mSv/y" has to be huge, right? Well if you live in the US, as opposed to Japan, you are going to be getting 1.9 mSv/y more exposure, for there is more radon in the air in the US than there is in Japan [wikipedia.org] . And these are country-wide averages, so I am sure that in a country as vast as the US, in some places you will be exposing yourself to a significantly more radiation. This goes to say that if you don't worry about where you live in the world and don't know the local natural radon activity, you shouldn't be any more worried about the Fukushima accident. Not so scary after all? Well, the mass media thought so too, so they've kept silent. In all fairness, this data does not include radiation dosages from 2011, the year of the disaster, but the data shows that there is hardly any increase of mortality there, either [wikipedia.org]

I live in the country with the freest press in the world [wikipedia.org] , so you'd expect there to be less fearmongering. Maybe so, but here's my story. On the day of the earthquake, I was in Fukushima, actually making my way through the city to Tokyo in order to fly back home. Granted, I was not near the coast, but that should hardly matter to ill-informed journalists. When I returned to my home country, the press were waiting for the passengers with video cameras, for the flight that I'd booked months ahead happened to be the first out of Tokyo. I was interviewed, and the journalists asked questions like "were you scared?" and "is it because of the nuclear threat that you flew out?", and my answers were quite categorically "no". Was my interview aired? Also no, but people who had left the country, even though they'd been visiting the southern parts and in no danger whatsoever spilled their guts and cried out of fear for the cameras, had their takes on the subject shown. Makes better TV, I'll have to give them that, but not a very objective one.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

tsotha (720379) | about 7 months ago | (#46441865)

I live in the country with the freest press in the world, so you'd expect there to be less fearmongering.

Quite the opposite. I would expect to find less fearmongering in less free countries.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46442377)

Quite the opposite. I would expect to find less fearmongering in less free countries.

Like in North Korea, where the state does not try to scare population into believing that the West might attack any moment and replace their utopia with slavery or whatever it is that the spawns of devil do?

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46442603)

I see more fearmongering in the less free countries. The Nazis were constantly fearmongering about the Jews and such. The more free you are, the less you monger.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46443077)

Nuclear power plants have no right to cause cancer for anybody, anywhere, and especially not for people who don't work at the plant.

Anything less strict than the restriction above is reckless endagerment and should cease.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46443733)

Nuclear power plants have no right to cause cancer for anybody, anywhere, and especially not for people who don't work at the plant.

And Japanese society's need for power outweighs a few hypothetical cases of cancer. If we applied your standard to driving, we wouldn't be - since any cars on the road increases the risk of death for everyone in cars or near them.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46443799)

You make the same mistake that many on Slashdot do which is to assume that all radioactive material is the same and that mSv/year is the only number you need to look at.

The Japanese government set the limit it 1mSv/year before the disaster, and with good reason. The type of material released from this kind of incident bio-accumulates and can sit for years or decades inside the body. That is what causes cancer, not external radiation levels that usually can't penetrate the skin.

The limit was raised to 20mSv/year in some cases, but not for children who are particularly vulnerable. As well as having growing bodies that are more likely to accumulate the caesium released by Fukushima they are also more likely to come into contact with it, playing as they do outdoors and on the ground and getting dirty all the time.

I too was interviewed in Tokyo shortly after the accident (actually in Akiba) and said I wasn't too worried. My interview was aired on a daytime TV show... I have their card at home, but can't recall the name now. I didn't fly out for a couple of weeks, as I was scheduled to. I agree that the western media distorted what was happening though.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 7 months ago | (#46443937)

The main problematic isotopes from Fukushima seem to be I-131, which decays too fast to bioaccumulate, and Te-129m and Cs-137, neither of which bioaccumulate. In particular, caesium has a biological half life of app. 70 days, so it will not sit in the body for years or decades.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

Megane (129182) | about 7 months ago | (#46442105)

One of the people in charge of Fukishima died a few months later from cancer. He got it from smoking.

Japan has a lot of heavy smokers.

OMG BAN THE NUKES!

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0)

edxwelch (600979) | about 7 months ago | (#46440805)

> Almost 20,000 people died because they lived close to the ocean.
> A few dozen people might wind up with cancer someday because Japan uses nuclear power.
Yes, the Japanese were lucky the meltdown happened at the same time as the tsunami. As the tsunami is worse, then the meltdown "doesn't count." Hurray for the amazing logic of pro-nuke fanboys.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46440883)

I think you missed the point big time there. The potential death toll from the most severe nuclear incident in recent memory is fewer than the number of people who die by slipping in a bathtub each day, and absolutely dwarfed by all the things that actually kill people like smoking and car accidents. This makes nuclear energy a remarkably safe thing, which is in stark contrast to how it is portrayed by alarmist facebook posts.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46441495)

Quick, ban oceans. It worked for extra large sodas right?

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 7 months ago | (#46442931)

>As the tsunami is worse, then the meltdown "doesn't count." Hurray for the amazing logic of pro-nuke fanboy

The point is Japan had a horrible natural disaster, that natural disaster was made no worse by having nuclear power in terms of life lost, despite the Japanese making almost the worst case decisions all along. IE at the time these plants were made, the only other realistic option would have been to build at least 30* more coal plants than nukes, those plants would have caused more people to be in the path of the storm, and would have exposed the local people to more radiation over their lives than the nuclear plant disaster did. If they build nuclear plants to current standards this wouldn't have been a disaster at all. So compared to today's options, nuclear is still realistically as safe of option as any. You would be better putting more effort into what housing building standards caused the 20,000 deaths and rebuilding nuclear, than the other way.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1, Insightful)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 7 months ago | (#46440827)

And had the nuclear plant not melted down, another 20,000 people could've moved back into the area and attempted to devise ways to survive the next tsunami. But as it is, the meltdown has rendered a big swath of land uninhabitable. The tsunami would've killed those 20,000 either way. But the nuke didn't have to be there making things worse.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#46440877)

So if another tsunami hits that (evacuated) area, does that mean we credit the meltdown for saving 20,000 lives?

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46441083)

Not even close.

The nuclear disaster causes a lot of people to lose their homes and businesses. Not out of fear, because the area was contaminated well above safe levels and is still being cleaned up. It also forced all nuclear plants in the country to shut down. Even if Fukushima has been fine most of them would have needed to be taken offline for checks and repairs due to the quake being well above their design limits and the damage to them that was immediately evident. In a country with lots of earthquakes that is a major weakness.

During the down time fault lines have been discovered below some of the plants. As technology improves these previously unknown but serious issues have come to light.

Even if you are willing to discount all the health issues as unproven or irrational fear based you can't deny the shear cost of cleaning up Fukushima. There is a reason that nuclear facilities can't get insurance and it has to be covered by the government.

Comparing the disaster to the deaths from the tsunami is meaningless. What is your point? Both were tragedies, both were bad and steps are being taken to recover and prevent them happening again. Seriously, what exactly is your point?

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 7 months ago | (#46443093)

>Comparing the disaster to the deaths from the tsunami is meaningless.

Do you even realize that the earthquake was the root cause of every death? From your post, you make it sound like the meltdown, and the earthquake were unrelated. The point being you suck as risk analysis if you don't understand that when a once in a 1000 years tsunami strikes a area, people will die in that area. The added risk to life caused by also having a nuclear plant in this area was a insignificant increase in the average risk to the people living in the area. That is why it is important to consider that a natural disaster that killed 20k people that less than 10 of those deaths are due to nuclear plants. While your correct the rational decision is to try and prevent as many deaths as possible in the future. But resources are limited, so dedicating those resources according to the most preventable paths makes the most sense. Nuclear power was probably the safest option available in 1970, every other option would likely have ended in more death and destruction in this tsunami than the one built. Should they have done more, obviously, was nuclear the correct answer
(IMO) obviously.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441197)

You are a horrible person who sucks at math.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441425)

The obvious conclusion? Nuclear power is bad and should be eliminated immediately.

I'm sorry, what the hell? How many people would have frozen to death in the 40 years that the plant was not there waiting for a solar panel or wind mill to heat their house?

Seriously, please. Stop with the myopia.

On the long run (1, Interesting)

stooo (2202012) | about 7 months ago | (#46441561)

>> A few dozen people might wind up with cancer someday because Japan uses nuclear power.

Nope. The first years it was close to 600 in the direct vincinity:
https://nuclearhistory.wordpre... [wordpress.com]

The number is not considering the widespread ingestion of contaminated agricultural produce, and is exponential over the years (or at least over the firt 300 years)

On the long run, Fukushima takes more lives than the tsunami. Much more.

Re:On the long run (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 7 months ago | (#46441717)

That 600 was NOT cancer deaths. Note from your link:

A total of 573 deaths have been certified as âoedisaster-relatedâ by 13 municipalities affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

And

A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster.

Note that "radioactivity-casued cancers" are NOT included in that description, mostly because there hasn't been time for such things to manifest, much less for people to die of them.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about 7 months ago | (#46442231)

Wish I had mod points for you. +1

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46443625)

Almost 20,000 people died because they lived close to the ocean.

A few dozen people might wind up with cancer someday because Japan uses nuclear power.

The obvious conclusion? Nuclear power is bad and should be eliminated immediately.

The gestation period of most cancers is about 6 years. Which means that even the direct effects of the Fukushima disaster won't start appearing until 2017. Radioisotopes analogue micronutrients when presented to a metabolism. Plutonium (pu-239) presents as Iron. Iron is highly sought after in oceanic metabolisms and therefore complete uptake of pu-239 into the food chain is guaranteed. This is the nature of bio-accumulation and the effects are cumulative.

pu-239 has a half life of 25,000 years and is fatal to humans at a dose of around 1-10 micrograms [oppenheimer]. When ingested it will trigger leukemia or lung cancer that will cause the patient to suffer and, eventually die. When the person is buried the isotope will eventually make it's way into the water table, if cremated the ashes will carry the radioisotope back into the air. Eventually it will be back in the food chain and the cycle will start again over and over for it's half-life and beyond into the daughter products half-lives. Other radioisotopes analogue other micronutrients and, inside the body, they are cancerous.

Additionally, the mutagenic effect of these isotopes will also manifest new diseases into future generations because of the effect it has on the human genome. Birth defects will become more common.

Japan and, more than likely the west coast of the US will face increased rates of cancer and birth defects. If it follows the science that was available from Chernobyl before the funding was cut for that science we are facing some staggering numbers. IAEA has interdiction orders on the WHO publishing information on the effects of Nuclear accidents promoting the ignorance that justifies the trivialization of a serious event that's confusing even when you have access to good information.

It's clear that most people here concentrate on the reactor technology, because it's technology. However the effect on the Human species will still occur whether you are ignorant to it or not and it will continue to do so long after everyone reading this is dead. The opportunity we have is to resolve this issue with all of the resources of the international community as this disaster continues to get worse everyday.

We have the energetic resources to deal with this in our generation. If we don't I have little doubt, that future generations will look back at this time and point to us as the most selfish, insular and ignorant generation that has ever existed.

Re:Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 7 months ago | (#46443977)

Plutonium (pu-239) presents as Iron. Iron is highly sought after in oceanic metabolisms and therefore complete uptake of pu-239 into the food chain is guaranteed. This is the nature of bio-accumulation and the effects are cumulative.

Plutonium would be present in the ocean as PuO2, right? Which is highly insoluble. Do we have any measurements on the bioavailability of plutonium in ocean environments?

pu-239 has a half life of 25,000 years and is fatal to humans at a dose of around 1-10 micrograms [oppenheimer].

That depends highly on the form. If it is ingested as PuO2, only 0.04% is taken up, the rest is excreted. Granted, it might be much more bioavalable if it is bioaccumulated.

When the person is buried the isotope will eventually make it's way into the water table, if cremated the ashes will carry the radioisotope back into the air.

Not if it is present as the oxide, which it will surely be after cremation. The oxide is unreactive (unless it is reduced), and heavy, so dust will settle relatively quickly.

No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (3, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 7 months ago | (#46441029)

At least none in the designated evacuation buildings deemed to be safe and high enough, where hundreds upon hundreds of people died. Where are the eyewitness reports of how those were crushed? (Oh right.) Where are the accusations of mayors and emergency planners who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people?

One thing is for sure. You don't care about people. You don't care about their lives, as was made abundantly clear [wordpress.com] on wikipedia. You don't care about what people lost. Some 400.000 people lost everything, in many cases even friends and relatives, not to mention everything in their households. Documents, photos, clothes. Their homes? That goes without saying. And that's the problem.

I wanted to make the suggestion that everyone of the 100,000 or so people affected by the nuclear accident be paid half a million dollars. A family of four would get $2,000,000. Enough to start a new life. The problem is not the cost. $50bn is about a year's worth of coal, oil and gas being imported to replace nuclear power in Japan. The problem is the other 400,000 who will rightfully say that their losses were so much worse, that they should easily be entitled to get even more money.

Yes, it's a terrible accident and an avoidable one as well. It has been known since 1966 (p.50) [nrc.gov] that the Mark I BWR containment is unable to withstand a meltdown under any conditions, because it is too small. In case of a meltdown you either vent the containment in a controlled manner, or it leaks uncontrolled. Japan only saw the need to install filtered containment vents in any of its nuclear power plants in 2013 ... they must have had a problem in one of their nuclear plants or something. Strangely enough, neither Germany or France needed that kind of reminder to get to that point. They did it a quarter of a century before that. (And yes, it was after Chernobyl. But it's not like the Japanese never heard about that one.)

Re:No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (1)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about 7 months ago | (#46441519)

I do not mean to be insincere, but why would the government or anyone else for that matter directly pay the victims of a natural disaster $500,000?

I can understand a large amount of money being diverted by the government or charities to help the victims recover, either physically with homes or psychologically with mental health services.

But paying them money directly might not be such a good idea. It could make them targets and victims once again when people try to prey on them, abusing their emotional distress to try to take their money.

It takes time and effort to heal, not necessarily money.

Re:No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (2)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 7 months ago | (#46441583)

You're absolutely right that the money is not a solution especially because it would put them into an eternal hell of discrimination (which is already the case because a lot of Japanese treat anybody who got anywhere near radioactivity as if they had some infectious disease). I was tempted to write more on this, but the comment was long enough as it was and I thought the reference to the tsunami victims was enough to show the problems with that.

The most important thing that should be done is to talk rationally about radioactivity. But so long as the anti-nuclear shills keep screaming at the top of their lungs, this is not going to happen - but this is exactly where the psychological problems and the trauma are coming from. It is also where a lot of deaths [upi.com] are coming from and the reason why the evacuations that were supposedly going to safe peoples lives were so incredibly botched that people people died in the vehicles they were evacuated in. [thelancet.com] Which is hardly surprising, when hospitals are evacuated and incapacitated patients are put in hospital gowns and driven for over 100km without any medical attention.

The blame for the terrible death of those people rests solely with an international movement that is spreading fear and panic in order to gain political power, without any regard for the people they harm. And this harm is much worse than the radiation they claim to be protecting people from.

Re:No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46442791)

The most important thing that should be done is to talk rationally about radioactivity. But so long as the anti-nuclear shills keep screaming at the top of their lungs

The most important thing that should be done is to talk rationally about whether humans are mature enough to manage nuclear power safely. It stands to reason that we are not because we're underutilizing the technolgies that we have just to keep the fissibles out of our atmosphere when we burn coal. We're lazy, greedy, self-destructive monkeys and I simply don't trust any of the monkeys with nuclear power.

When we learn to care for people to whom we have no obvious connection, we'll be ready to use power systems with the potential to deny our use of an area for thousands of years.

Re:No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 7 months ago | (#46443647)

The most important thing that should be done is to talk rationally about radioactivity. >

If you were talking rationally about it you would be talking about radioisotopes, their bio-accumulation in the food chain and, their effect on the human species.

Re:No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 7 months ago | (#46442531)

I do not mean to be insincere, but why would the government or anyone else for that matter directly pay the victims of a natural disaster $500,000?

I can understand a large amount of money being diverted by the government or charities to help the victims recover, either physically with homes or psychologically with mental health services.

Power. The disaster had a human component of insufficient preparation, with Fukushima being the most famous part of it. Letting the government maintain control over relief funds can very easily turn into extortion: "I have this nice house. You could have it... If you told all these nice journalists there was nothing more we could had done."

It doesn't necessarily have to be the intention of the government. A badly traumatised person is hypersensitive to danger, and will perceive everything in terms of possible threats. But also, Japanese culture does seem to put a lot of value in saving face and loyalty to the superior, so a bureaucrat might experience a conflict of interests and misjudge, perceiving his duties to include things they don't.

Also, having money lets people to reintegrate to the economy, while having access to aid services doesn't. Poverty and trauma are a bad starter combo for rebuilding your life.

It takes time and effort to heal, not necessarily money.

It takes time and security to heal, and that includes financial security. As long as you have to divert all your energy into ensuring basic necessities, you will at most cover over the scars. And untreated trauma is a nasty thing: it twists your perspective and leads to irrational behaviour. Apart from this leading to personal tragedy, having hundreds of thousands of irrational people in a stressful situation is a recipe for trouble.

Re:No eyewitnesses of Kamaishi or Ofunato survived (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46442623)

FEMA does, as do many other governments as part of flood or earthquake insurance. It's a subsidy to the insurance industry, not welfare, but it's done to protect the liability of insurance companies in areas prone to certain disasters.

Two comments... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46441123)

ONE: On the safety of certain technologies

I once learned buildings must actually be planned to fall by themselves... in a controlled way. Were a building to be made absolutely resistant to catastrophe, no one would know what would happen if a catastrophe big enough happens. Instead, it is planned to break at anticipated points, allowing for a safer evacuation.

Can something like a nuclear reactor ever be made so as to be called 100% safe? I guess not. Yesterday it was an earthquake (of all things!), but there's lots and lots of stories about far more insidious ways a building could crumble, or pipes rust or even a broom fall over a lever -- not to mention action by ill-intended groups.

But the problem is that it can be made 100% safe as a matter of fact... for the first few years. Then people will gladly sign and approve the contruction of these monstrosities. After N-1 years, it's obvious things changed and nobody else feels safe, but trying to close the monster is met even with accusations of radicalism... which leads us to...

TWO: On the impaired workings of organizational decision processes

Yoshida - probably disregarded as insubordinate, yet may have avoided a recator explosion by refusing orders.

Snowden - hated on the USA, considered a hero for the rest of the world for risking his personal life to make a better world.

Petrov - decided to trust human beings and not missile detection equipment, preventing unnecessay retaliation and saving lots of lives.

Without the insight of these and many other anonymous heroes, organizations would certainly lead us to grave decision errors -- as is the case with innocent people put to death after due process. Except that, in certain cases, it's not a person, it's a city, a country or even the entire world. Failing with a single person is something to regret for life; that our social devices create unnecessary disaster and even wars -- that's a stain which affects the entire species, not just the directly involved.

It's hard to make someone who failed admit his error; for organizations, it could prove entirely impossible. On the contrary, certain organizations develop methodical approaches to minimise discussion or to lead it to dead-ends... forum pollution, damage control and many other tactics are used.

Nowadays it's all a political struggle. When confronted with the impossibility to make organizations work as intended, interested parties create new organizations (starting e.g. as action groups or syndicates) to somehow fight -- figuratively or literally -- the first ones. This in turn creates new opportunities for organization misbehaviour, as that is akin to vigilante justice. We need find/invent new ways to monitor, control and deal with organizations, preferably in a way that is more transparent and less politically charged.

Bravery (2)

masonc (125950) | about 7 months ago | (#46441657)

I followed the disaster as it happened on twitter and the news, and like everyone was shocked by the deaths. I find that the criticism of the workers and TEPCO who were put in the most awful of circumstances was disingenuous. How many organizations would have done better? Put yourself in the place of one of the workers on site; power is out, your family may be dead, the water has risen and swept away most of the town, and the reactors around you have cracked in the earthquake. You have no communication, you may be about to be radiated. Many of the workers were evacuated only to be sent back in. What bravery.
We never appreciate the people who face death and do their job.

Re:Bravery (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46443293)

It's like Abu Ghraib: the grunts get the most blame and management gets off with a minor hand-slapping. If that many people were torturing that much without management noticing, then management was AWOL.

Re:Bravery (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46444017)

I find that the criticism of the workers and TEPCO who were put in the most awful of circumstances was disingenuous.

Uh no. Fuck TEPCO. Everything they've said since the accident has been a lie, or gross incompetence of a totally unacceptable order. The workers have been heroic. TEPCO has been pathetic.

Nothing New or Interesting (0)

fullback (968784) | about 7 months ago | (#46441907)

The article offers no insight that I didn't know three years ago. I live 90 miles from the Fukushima plant and I've posted several times about what that time was like, as it was happening, from Japan.

No one is living (or dying) in school gymnasiums, as someone above said.

What? (2)

FrankDrebin (238464) | about 7 months ago | (#46441957)

massive earthquake and tsunami that caused three of the station's reactor cores to melt

Also, cold weather caused the Challenger to explode.

Re:What? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46442801)

massive earthquake and tsunami that caused three of the station's reactor cores to melt

Also, cold weather caused the Challenger to explode.

Thank you. This disaster was caused by GE, Tepco, and the US and Japanese governments. It was guaranteed to happen by design. Whether that design was malicious or idiotic is irrelevant.

Will be exposed (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 7 months ago | (#46442139)

The Japanese government and Tepco will do their damnedest to root out/discredit this guy who they will label a traitor. The last thing they want are other people writing the narrative.

Not worth reading beyond... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 7 months ago | (#46443127)

The article doesn't worth reading beyond this paragraph:

"Ultimately, Yoshida would make headlines when he famously disobeyed instructions from TEPCO headquarters to stop using seawater to cool the reactors. Though he was later reprimanded, his disregard for corporate instructions was possibly the only reason that the reactor cores did not explode."

Obviously, the author doesn't know what he is talking about. A nuclear reactor doesn't explode. It melts. Some hydrogen gas may explode, however it has nothing to do with a nuclear explosion.

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