Explosion causes concern

By Doug Newhouse |

A third explosion within the space of four days at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in north-east Japan has foreign experts very concerned that full containment of structural integrity at the plant may now not be possible, amidst real fears that there could be large-scale radiation contamination in the area.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been refreshingly candid throughout the crisis warning that the level of radiation at the plant has risen to an alarming rate, with a very high risk of radioactive material escaping into the atmosphere.

Should this happen, then the negative impact on Japan’s tourism industry will be very long term, never mind the huge cost to the country’s economy if an effective ‘no go area’ emerges in the north east of the country. 

The fall-out from last Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami is already the worst crisis to hit Japan since the second World War, with some experts now warning that the death toll could eventually rise to 10,000 as the rescue efforts reach previously inaccessible parts of north-east Japan. Police in Japan say that thousands of people still remain unaccounted for, including hundreds of foreign tourists.

It also seems almost inconceivable that in a well organised society such as Japan that millions of its citizens have spent a fourth night without water, food, electricity or gas and that more than 500,000 have been left homeless. But such is the power of Mother Nature to remind everyone who is really in charge. 

Radiation levels around the Fukushima plant have now been recorded at eight times the legal limit for exposure in one year, with all three reactor explosions caused by cooling system breakdowns. Efforts to cool the reactors by pumping in sea water are continuing.

The prospect of a further earthquake and more resulting tsunamis is also of great concern, with more than 50 aftershocks recorded after the main earthquake hit last Friday. Alarmingly, eight of these shocks have been recorded at a magnitude of six on the Richter scale and there have already been alarms raised resulting from fears of new tsunamis.

Countries that are maintaining foreign advisory notices for their citizens not to travel to Japan, or at least to Tokyo and the north east regions are numerous and many are also advising their citizens to leave those areas where infrastructure is already under great strain, including Tokyo. 

Countries that have already issued these advisories include: the UK, US, France, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia and several others.



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