Lessons from Japan
In 1945 the catastrophe was inflicted by the enemy. In what remains till date the most horrendous attack on human beings, over three lakhs were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and many more continued to suffer because of radioactivity related ailments. Today it is self-inflicted catastrophe for Japan . What makes the tragedy of this most ill fated nation on earth, from the point of view of nuclear mishaps, more ironic is that it had resolved not to develop a nuclear weapon programme. The Japanese argument was that they would not like any other human population on earth to suffer the way they did in 1945 attack. In spite of this noble resolve they chose to go ahead with a big nuclear energy programme for power generation. They would have never imagined that their nuclear power plants would one day bring back the nightmares of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to haunt them.
There seems to be no end to the horror at Fukushima . The emergency crew is on the job to contain damage round the clock but new reports of radiation release pour in every day. In a ridiculous attempt to allay public fears first the Tokyo Electric Power Company reported a radiation level is water at the reactor No. 2 in Fukushima Daiichi plant to be 1 crore times higher than permissible limit causing panic among workers but later retracted it claiming it to be erroneous and conveyed the radiation levels were in fact only 1 lakh times higher! Should that be considered a cause for relief. Even one lakh times higher radiation levels can be fatal for human beings. Already radiation release from this accident has affected large parts of water, soil, food in this area and probably made it inhabitable, at least for some time to come. Already people are leaving the place as they don’t consider it safe living here.
One can only salute the emergency crew members who are trying to bring the plant under control knowing full well the dangers that their government is exposing them to. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki people had no choice as they were caught unawares. In Fukushima even though the earthquake and tsunami caught them unsuspecting, the scientists who built the nuclear power plants were well aware of the dangers involved in this technology.