(CCU Student) The nuclear crisis in Japan is a tragedy on top of a tragedy. It has not caused major damage, but the Japanese officials have finally decided to tell the truth as it is instead of trying to fluff it up in order to make the people feel better. This is actually how many wish to speak for the entire disaster in general. One reason may be the technological access that has recently caused rebellion in the Middle East. If anyone within the danger zone (or any family member in contact with them) has the ability to access world news they can get the full story from sources other than Japan to find out the truth. With their new way of handling this disaster in hand they finally disclosed that reactor 2 unit 4 of the Fukushima plant has likely been damaged and is leaking harmful radiation. –Prime Minister Naoto Kan gave a brief address to the nation saying, "The level [of radiation] seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out." (WSJ)— Now an eighteen mile radius has been evacuated in preparation for more damage, though it is unlikely that this will turn into another Chernobyl despite everything, and this would not be happening at all if they had had the ability to maintain normal safety measures to circumvent the dangers that are happening today. However, not many nations will go through a 9.0 earthquake that moves it, by a considerable margin, towards the United States, nor will they be struck by a 10 meter wave (about 30 feet) shortly afterwards. When dealing with this it is safe to say that the ability of the workers to react within normal parameters had been stolen from them. The fact that this reactor has not obliterated Fukushima like Chernobyl can be attributed to the efforts the Japanese plant workers.
Are they out of danger? By no means no, but I do know that this will not be like Chernobyl at all. Chernobyl made it possible to have the safety measures in place at every plant world-wide that are precautions against similar accidents. Though, no matter the outcome, naysayers will take this disaster and run with the idea that nuclear power is never a good source of energy despite evidence to disprove them. It is safer, cleaner, and cheaper than many methods in use today which is why Japan uses it in the first place. Approximately 2/3 of the country relies on nuclear energy as their primary source of power.
What needs to be taken into consideration is it is not an everyday occurrence for two major natural disasters to hit the same area in the same day. Also, since Chernobyl, nuclear plants have not been taken lightly. They are handled as one would handle a wild beast: with a great measure of respect. Since 1986 there have been no major disasters because of the standards set in place. These standards are being used in Japan, and the only reason this malfunction is because of the two-for-one natural disaster. All the affected plants were near the epicenter of the earthquake in near the shoreline hit by the tsunami, and if they had not been prepared for either event in any capacity the plants would not be there and that entire region would be a nuclear wasteland by now.
So instead of massive media induced hysteria, we should listen to those with more knowledge on the subject and discover ways that we can be of assistance (besides monetarily) of the Japanese community. We will not know what happens until after everything settles, but the need over there is great whether or not a nuclear disaster is added to the mix.