|Dai-ichi nuclear plant today|
After most emergency workers were evacuated yesterday, about 50 remained inside the plant. They have had to perform emergency tasks in extremely difficult conditions – battling to keep the nuclear reactors from entering meltdown and fighting off outbreaks of fire. Dressed in protective gear, they have had to pump seawater into the failing reactors to try to keep them cool, and all their work has been carried out in conditions of escalating radiation.
"I'm fairly sure the workers inside are being subjected to high levels of radiation," said Rianne Teule, an anti-nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace. "The information we have is they are working in 15-minute shifts to reduce exposure."The 'first responders' at Chernobyl knew they were going to die, by most accounts.Chernobyl's 25th anniversary happens to be near...as in next month. I have read extensively, over the last two decades, on the biggest nuclear accident to ever happen on terra firma. Probably because I have lived in the shadow of the San Onofre nuclear plant in southern CA for years and years and I have never liked nor trusted nuclear energy.
Why? Because the so-called experts don't know enough about it and no country has yet to figure out how to dispose safely of the spent fuel and other radioactive items that stay deadly for thousands of years.From the Indy writeup again:
Japanese authorities have not released information about maximum doses of radiation workers will be exposed to, or whether they will be replaced. But with a finite pool of workers available, unless the problem is brought under control, they will ultimately be exposed to dangerous doses – or the work will be abandoned. There was speculation yesterday that volunteers from other plants and retirees might be called in.
Such calculations are familiar to those who worked at Chernobyl, site of the worst nuclear accident in history in 1986, when reactor number four exploded. After that catastrophe, a volunteer group of older experts travelled to the site to offer their help, on the principle that the longer-term consequences such as cancers, which emerge many years later, would matter less to them. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the earliest responders, such as the local firemen, were exposed to doses of radiation so large that many of them died within weeks. Later, the Soviet authorities flew in hundreds of thousands of workers to aid the clean-up operation. Some of them worked for as little as 15 seconds before they had reached the maximum dose and were sent home.Our leaders tell us how safe nuclear generated power is.How it's the greenest of technologies.
They lie. They lie to us most likely because they are probably lied to by the so-called experts, who are usually pro-nuclear energy in the first place.
Too bad they do not consult scientists that have no vested interest in building nuclear energy plants only keeping them safe, like those at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who are now giving daily, if not hourly tele-conference briefings on what is going on and what can actually be done. Those are the folks who I read and listen to. I also want to know what the veteran scientists in Russia think, those who are still alive and dealt with Chernobyl in the days, weeks, months and years after that catastrophic event took place.
Of course even I know there is no comparison between the Chernobyl nuclear plant and Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Chernobyl didn't even have a friggin containment building for starters. They also didn't evacuate the closest city, Pripyat, until a day and a half after the meltdown occurred.
But that said...this latest of fresh hells can still become a nightmare that rivals Chernobyl in many respects. We can only hope that it doesn't....and that Japan doesn't bury the truth like the Russians did, 25 years ago next month.