The symptoms of uncertainty
Various commentators have made the point that the media hype over the events at the Fukushima nuclear power station is unjustified in view of the thousands of victims of the earthquake and tsunami, whilst to date, the number of casualties from the reactor incident is in single digits.
That is not the issue. The deaths caused by the quake or tsunami were an act of nature that man was powerless to prevent. And it is tough to say it, but once the elderly and young bereaved of their care givers are helped, the long term effects of the natural disaster will fade, to be replaced by re-building and new hope.
People are worried about the power plant due to the uncertainty associated with radiation. Unlike most other threats, not only is it invisible (in all senses of the word), but there has been a history of cover ups, confusion and misleading information on both sides each time there is a nuclear accident anywhere in the world, from Windscale to Chernobyl.
As you sit reading this now, no matter where you are located, how do you know how much radiation you are being exposed to, whether it is natural radon or a leak somwhere? You’ll know if there is a gas leak – you’ll smell it, you’ll know if there’s a fire breaking out in the room next door – you’ll see the smoke if the alarms don’t alert you first, you’ll know there’s a virus spreading because your friends and family will suddenly become ill, you’ll know the weather is changing because you have a thermometer somewhere in your life and can look outside, and you’ll know there’s a tsunami on the way – you’ll hear the screaming and sirens.
But you will have no idea if a particle of plutonium from reactor 3 has entered your body until it’s too late.
And that is the problem. Uncertainty.
Accurate information is hard to come by due to special interests/politics, genuine confusion and technical limitations on site caused by the catastrophic damage to the plant.
Fight back club: a) Globally crowd source radiation detection equipment, monitor it, and act accordingly. b) Reduce your reliance on ‘the grid’
Related: Am I the only one to have noticed increasing incidences of cancer amongst younger people – including ones own friends and family? Is this nuclear leaks over the last few decades?, plastics?, local radon?, overconsumption of processed foods and chemicals in contemporary life? All of the above? Who knows.