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March 29, 2011

Japanese ignored Tsunami threat

By Ai Lung Nguyen - March 2011.

ENVIRONMENT - The Japanese government admitted Tuesday that its safety precautions were insufficient to protect a nuclear plant against the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the facility and caused it to spew radiation. An overhaul of safety standards is in the works.

The Fukushima Daiichi struggle has unfolded with constant missteps and accidents, including an incident where two workers were drenched Tuesday with radioactive water.

A level of imcompetency has plagued the disaster relief efforts as a plethora of other incidents have led to serious doubts about the quality of the workers at the nuclear plant, hired perhaps because of their willingness to risk their lives in exchange for money, and not because of any engineering background.

The March 11th tsunami which killed over 25,000 Japanese (some people are still missing and not confirmed dead) has unveiled a lack of education and safety standards amongst the workers.

Damage from the tsunami exceeds $310 billion, the most expensive natural disaster on record, and has crippled Japan's economy. Coupled with the incompetency of the workers its a shameful exhibition that will hurt Japan's reputation for years to come.

More Accidents and Gaffs:

The Japanese government has been telling residents near the disaster zone to stay indoors and that this will protect them from the radiation. (Radiation goes right through walls, stone, etc. Only lead walls slows down radiation, although not completely.)

Specks of Plutonium has been found in earth samples found near the plant, the result of debris from explosions inside the plant. If someone collected enough Plutonium (10 kg worth) they could make a small nuclear bomb. The region should be sealed off by the Japanese military and they should be checking all people leaving the zone for radiation levels to prevent plutonium smuggling.

The Japanese have been dumping radioactive water into the ocean because they don't know where else to put it. Trucking the water and storing it somewhere safer has not occurred to them. The radioactive water is now causing many countries to be skeptical about fish imported from Japan.

The dirty radioactive water in question includes plutonium debris as well.

There has been proposals that the water could be stored in oil tankers instead, but the Japanese government seems to be too busy bickering. For now the water is being poured into poorly dug trenches, causing the water to seep into the ground and into the local drinking water, rivers and the ocean.

Another mishap happened Tuesday, when three workers trying to connect a pump outside the Unit 3 reactor were splashed by radioactive water that gushed from a pipe. They were supposed to be wearing radiation protective suits meant to be waterproof but ended up soaked with the contaminated water.

Last week, two workers were hospitalized with severe burns after issued ankle-high protective boots and told to walk through highly radioactive knee-high water.

There has also been a lot of miscommunication and lies company from TEPCO, the utility company in charge of the nuclear plant and cleanup has been lying constantly about the radiation levels being released (the same way BP Oil lied about the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico).

“This quake, tsunami and the nuclear accident are the biggest crises for Japan,” says Prime Minister Naoto Kan, saying that Japan was grappling with its worst problems since World War II.

But Naoto Kan is hardly able to do anything. He is being hampered by opposition lawmakers like Yosuke Isozaki. “We cannot let you handle the crisis,” says Yosuke Isozaki. “We cannot let you be in charge of Japan’s crisis management.”

You would think Japan would learn to work together in such a crisis, but apparently there is always a few bad eggs who would rather resort to partisan politics.

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