Nuclear Accidents, Radiation and Panic

Japan’s recent double catastrophe which included both an earthquake and a tsunami has undone the lives of thousands of people. The impact of the two natural disasters has not only claimed lives directly but is potentially threatening the lives of several other survivors and the people of neighboring countries. All this is because of the explosion of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

Nuclear Accidents: Nuclear accidents are not something that the world doesn’t know of or has not witnessed. The first nuclear accident occurred in 1952 in Canada only five years after the nuclear reactor was set up.

As far as Japan is concerned, it witnessed its first fatality of a nuclear accident in the year 1954. Although, this was because of a hydrogen bomb test that was conducted by the US and was not concerned with the Japanese mainland directly. It was not until 1999 again that Japan saw fatalities due to radiation. While two workmen were killed, one was exposed to radiation.

In 2004, Japan witnessed another nuclear accident, this time claiming the lives of five. Japan went on to claim that this was the worst nuclear accident that ever happened to their country post the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII.

But, March 11 of 2011 was far more superior and unprecedented. The tsunami that wrecked the north-eastern coast of Japan went on to destroy 4 nuclear reactors at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant as the cooling systems of the reactors of the reactors were severely damaged. The reactors exploded Hydrogen allowing it out into the environment.

Radiation: More than any other country in the world, it is Japan that knows what are the possible results of radiation. But, this radiation accident was uncalled for and as such Japan was in no way prepared for this. The accident of 2004 does not even come close to 2011 in terms of destruction and fear. Japan has already identified contamination levels of vegetables to be far higher and has asked people to stop consuming leafy vegetables.

It is not just the Japanese civilians who are now facing the risk of a nuclear radiation, but the Taiwanese and the Chinese are also fearing a direct impact of the radiation. While the Taiwanese government has asked fishermen to not fish in Japanese waters, what happened in China was really unexpected.

People of China went on a shopping spree wiping out all the available salt and groceries from the aisles. The government of China had to assure people that there was enough reserve of salt to address the current panic among public.

Now, the US has also stopped imports of vegetables, fruits and milk from Japan amidst fears of contamination from radiation. Now that the US has done this, several other nations could also follow suite.

There are rumors that the particles of radiation have also spread as far as Iceland.

While most of the panic comes from lack of awareness among people, various government agencies are also concerned about lack of sufficient information from the Japanese front. Japan still insists that most governments are over-reacting to the situation and as such there is no danger to humans.

The Japanese economy has already incurred heavy losses taking down the global economy along with it. It is time now that we stop spreading panic among people and help Japan handle this situation. Of all the nations in the world, if there is any country that can effectively handle calamities and the aftermath, it has to be Japan.

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