As of this morning, hopefully still, 50 workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan were struggling to prevent perhaps the worst industrial accident in history.
These men have no doubt toiled for several restless nights without power or supplies, and each is slowly being poisoned by the siteís leaking radiation. There were originally 800 workers at the plant, but after an 8.9 earthquake, 30-foot tidal waves, radioactive fires, three hydrogen gas explosions and radiation exposures, their numbers have been whittled to a skeleton crew of 50, through evacuation, injury and death.
In the capital of Tokyo, 170 miles away, officials reported detecting radiation readings 20 times above normal for a period of time. Tokyo is one of the worldís largest cities, a futuristic super-sprawling metropolis with more than 30 million inhabitants living in the area. There is a concern that prevailing winds may shift, releasing nuclear material toward the city.
All residents within 12 miles of the plant who were unable to evacuate are being told to remain inside their homes with their windows and doors closed.
The Japanese government has assured the public that even in the case of a meltdown involving several reactors, the incident would still not develop into a situation as catastrophic as the one seen at Chernobyl in 1986.
Though I, like some in the Japanese public, I suspect, doubt the governmentís version of events. After all, three days earlier officials reported everything at the plant was under control and the declaration of emergency was just part of proper procedure. Even the following explosions at the plant seemed cast as ďall part of the emergency plan.Ē
In reality, things are just as desperate and dire as any worst case scenario could have foreseen. Another factor in the Fukushima plant is it contains several troubled reactors and stores other radioactive materials. In the event of a breach and meltdown, an evacuation of the workers would be unavoidable and without their efforts to contain the other troubled reactors and materials, they would also meltdown, culminating in a series of radiation leaks from each.
The fallout from such a event is hard to imagine, especially in conjunction with the earthquake and tsunami. Experts have called the entire countryís economic future into question.
In the wake of the two natural disasters, most survivors had to confront unprecedented devastation and death tolls that may reach into the tens of thousands. In one city alone, police have reported they believe 10,000 local resident died in the incidents.
Much of the area around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was completely decimated; in fact the nuclear plant is one of the largest surviving structures.
Though rescue and restorations are already underway, there is no way the country can move forward until their deepening nuclear crisis is resolved. The emergency is not over. Just asked any of those living on the Island of Japan who are still experiencing aftershocks every few minutes. Their nerves remained frayed and people are increasingly drained.
Elsewhere in the world, Libyaís civil war seems to be taking turn for the democratic worse as Gadhafiís paramilitary and mercenary forces seized several rebel towns in the last few days using heavy tanks, motors and air support. Their force is barreling towards the rebels capital city and an impending blood bath can be seen approaching on the political horizon. It appears the world may be forced to decide to intervene or not; either course carries consequences.
While Western nations debate to aid the pro-reform rebels in Libya, Saudi Arabia and other gulf states decide to send their troops into the country of Bahrain to help quell popular protest movements gaining support there. An interesting contrast worth remembering.
Maybe itís the technology and media, but I donít think any of us has ever lived in such a small world.
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