This is by no means an easy post to write. Every day, I venture onto a news site and channel, and see the news about the devastation in that country. This soon after the Haiti earthquake, to watch this is painful. And most of all, it’s extremely humbling to see just how vulnerable to nature we still are as a species. No matter what we invent to withstand it, nature still rules supreme over everything and everyone. That we cannot forget, especially as we gather to help Japan recover from this.
However, that said, there are a few things that need to be talked about that cannot go ignored.
The nuclear situation, specifically. And I will be frank, I am very frightened for the people of Japan and, considering proximity, China as well.
On the US news, I see the nuclear situation covered with a statement that it may be a worse disaster than Chernobyl of 1986. To me, that is utterly frightening, because in one fit of sleeplessness, I began to research that incident. And what I found made my hair curl from halfway across the world. The one thing that I found that completely disturbed me was that, until the radiation in Chernobyl set off alarms in Sweden (think about it!) the nearby town of Pripyat’ was not evacuated.
As a result, the after-effects are ongoing. One of the elements released when Chernobyl blew was a radioactive isotope of strontium, which has a half-life in the three figures. In other words, it is still very much radioactive to this day. The town of Pripyat’ remains frozen as it was in April of 1986, devoid of people and setting off the Geiger counters of anyone who thinks to venture there.The people and the nature around the area had suffered immensely, and the people who have been exposed to the radiation are continuing to suffer the after-effects. The firefighters from the area who had gone in to extinguish the reactor fires have all either died within a very short time of going in there, or have had an uphill battle against cancers and radiation sickness since. They knew the risks, but they had to go in there. That was their duty. Their lives ensured that others have survived, because Chernobyl could have been much worse, no matter how bad it already was.
This is what Japan is facing right now, as the brave 50 workers inside the power plant are working against time to contain whatever damage is there. The core containment units at the plant, as very recently reported by BBC and ABC News, are rumored to be cracked, and even the slightest crack is a threat of meltdown. It is pretty much now a race to save the rest of the country, which already had the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki to show exactly what nuclear damage can do. It is also a race to make sure that the radiation, what of it that had leaked out already, does not contaminate the ocean, seeing as Japan is an island country, and it is an island country that just had its coast shift by eight feet.
So yes, the situation is bad. And, considering historical precedent, I think it’s a lot worse than what the media would have you know. And, considering how the House has moved to defund NPR at an emergency meeting, I think the situation in Japan is pretty damn close to a Chernobyl-like level. It’s a pretty fair assessment that the fifty plant workers inside the Fukushima Daiichi plant right now are heroes in their own right, and will either not come out of the plant alive, or will not see very long after they do.
Considering what Chernobyl radiation had done to the nearby flora and fauna (look up the Red Forest to see how the radiation affected the local plant life), this scares the living crap out of me. Granted, it’s halfway across the world. But we are a global people already, and it is safe to say that the rest of the world will feel the after-effects of this too.
I have to commend the rest of the world for coming together in this. The Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is encouraging that Japan will be rebuild from scratch if need be; hundreds of thousands are homeless, hungry, and the countries from across the world are accepting refugees who are concerned for the radiation threat. Donations are being funneled to Japan in the relief effort. And the power plant operating Fukushima is tossing around entombing the plant in concrete, which was done in Chernobyl to contain whatever radiation that was – or, I should perhaps say is – still coming from the ruins of the reactor.
However, the radiation is preventing a lot of what could be done, namely to reconnect power to the cooling pumps. And the Fukushima 50 are struggling. The reconnection of the power to the pumps is hampered by the radiation.
Please donate to the American Red Cross, people. I cannot put enough of an emphasis on how important this is.
And also, a small announcement. If any reader of mine will purchase either Book 1 or Book 2 of The Index Series, be it as an e-book or a hard-copy book, I will donate the entire proceeds of my royalties to the Red Cross continuously through the end of April. Because, seriously, to hell with profits. There are certain things that are more important, such as helping a fractured country get itself back together again as it struggles with preventing Chernobyl Part 2 atop the natural devastation that it suffered.
I know my readers are across the world. So let’s help out a part of the world that needs us now.