There is a saying that “when the roof leaks, comes the horrendous rain the whole night”. I am sure all of you know what it means– when a situation is already bad enough, more bad things are happening.
This is indeed what has happened in Japan. First there is the big quake, then the tsunami, then the nuclear crisis which the French (experts in nuclear facilities) classifies as level 6, just a level below Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen. We have now the threat of certain coastal areas in Japan which may be flooded during the high tides expected tomorrow with the super-Moon at its nearest distance from Earth since 1993. then there is the extreme cold climate and blizzards. How how unfortunate, and my heart is with the Japanese people…
Out of this grim picture, we have seen the heroic acts of the workers at the Fukushima plant. The 50 or so workers (one report listed it at 150 rotating in shifts) know that it is now a suicidal mission to work close to the failities and yet they have no qualm going in after withdrawing very briefly. radiation exposure can cause instant death, but even if they can avoid that by using some forms of protective gears, the long term effect is almost certain… cancers of the various kinds..
I salute these unnamed heroes.
Then I saw another picture of Japanese lining up to receive food and water. It was so orderly, no asking for more, just quietly taking what was given to them and nodding in thanks. In many other countries, people will be rushing and pushing each other to get to the front of the queue.
There is also a report from wikileak that some experts had actually warned the Japanese government that a nuclear facility would not be able to withstand a quake above a magnitude of 7.0 and it was unsafe to build such plants in Japan and yet the government still thought it safe and went ahead. This is typical of government s everywhere.
This actually raise a very significant point for countries planning to have nuclear reactor to generate electricity. Nothing man-made will be safe forever. No matter how many safety features you can put into, there is always the unknown factor, Mother Nature and human error.
China has announced that it is suspending all future nuclear plants pending a review. I thought that is prudent and what a responsible government should do.
In Malaysia, our 2nd in command has said that we are going ahead with our nuclear facility. The reason being that we have the experts and we have no Earthquake.
Can our expertise be better than the Japanese, or the American or the Russians? We have the Chernobyl incident, the Three Miles island incident which were not caused by natural disaster. In both cases, human error played an important part, even though Chernobyl had also certain design faults.
Malaysia is a small country. If we have a nuclear reactor in West Malaysia and an accident happens, the radiation is going to affect the whole peninsular. Prolonged exposure to long term low level radiation is still harmful and raises the risk of developing a cancer many many times. Radiation fallout will affect land and rivers, and thus our food chain will be affected. Mind you, this effects are not just temporary but long term. The worst thing about radiation is that it is something you cannot see or feel.
I have mentioned in my last post that it will be unfair to the people if the government insists on going ahead. The least it can do is to suspend and review the project.
It is really sheer arrogance and political insensitivity to insist on proceeding with the project when the Japanese crisis has not even been contained.