Earthquake leads to more than 1,300 dead and a radiation problem in Japan
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
It is now being reported that more than 1,300 people have been killed during the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami which followed. At the same time nuclear reactors have been badly damaged and this is leading to even more problems in parts of Japan. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the full extent of the earthquake is still ongoing and sadly the number of deaths will probably keep on rising.
Another side effect of the earthquake is a possible radiation threat because two nuclear reactors had power failures and a huge puff of smoke could be seen. However, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is playing down current fears about the radiation threat and he is clearly trying to reassure the people of Japan.
At the moment details about the radiation threat is still sketchy and it is unclear about how serious the threat is therefore patience is needed. Yet during the current mayhem it is difficult for many people to keep calm and the nuclear safety agency needs to clarify what is really happening.
A state of emergency was taken at five nuclear reactors and the Fukushima Daiichi power plant Unit 1 was badly hit but the full extent of the radiation leakage remains unknown. The nearby Daini facility was also badly damaged. Therefore, the images which have been shown may look dramatic but it is not known if the looks are misleading or if a real crisis is unfolding?
Edwin Lyman, who is a nuclear expert at the US-based organization called the Union of Concerned Scientists, commented that “The events that occurred at these plants, which is the loss of both offsite power and onsite power, is one of the rarest events to happen in a nuclear power plant, and all indications are that the Japanese do not have the situation under control.”
More alarmingly Edwin Lyman stated that “It’s a dice roll whether or not the containment will retain its integrity and prevent a large radiological release.”
Turning back to the earthquake and tsunami it was reported that a ship carrying around 100 people is missing and at least four trains are also unaccounted for, including a bullet train in the region of Miyagi.
More than 100 aftershocks have been felt since the original 8.9-magnitude earthquake and the earthquake alongside the tsunami caused major devastation in Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, and other parts of Japan.
Sendai was particularly hit and this sprawling port witnessed the after effects of the tsunami. Therefore, reports have stated that hundreds of dead bodies could be seen.
The local official in Kurihara which is located in Miyagi stated that “We were shaken so strongly for a while that we needed to hold on to something in order not to fall.”
Places like the town of Kesennuma and Ofunato which is a port town have badly been hit and the list of places will continue to grow over the next few days. The mixture of the earthquake and tsunami is adding to the complexity of the situation. Therefore, many towns along the coast have been destroyed by the tsunami and ongoing images are raising fears that the death total is being underestimated.