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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Catastrophe

We know from history that the Japanese people are stoic and courageous and never surrender. Because they showed no sign of ever giving up during WWII, America's war plane Enola Gay dropped "Little Boy" a 8,900 pound atomic bomb on Hiroshima on the 6th August 1945 and within eight days, Japan surrendered and the war was finally over.

I think we can see that same resolve of 'no surrender' in the way they have handled their nuclear disaster - they haven't asked for any help and are desperately trying to solve the problem themselves. But if we can believe the news media, Washington grew impatient and took matters into their own hands. The Pentagon is getting ready to send up to 450 radiological and disaster specialists to the site.

Japan's nuclear safety agency last night raised the Fukushima accident level to five from four but France's Nuclear Safety Authority has already rated it at a six. The Chernobyl disaster is the highest at seven.

Admiral Robert Willard who will head the US Mission said "I have requested a force of about 450 radiological and consequence management experts to be available to us. They are on 'prepare to deploy' orders." The Admiral believes a joint American-Japanese effort could avert a serious meltdown within the six Fukushima nuclear reactors.

He wouldn't be drawn on the suggestion that Japan had been keeping information secret from the public but according to the New York Times, the US is up to date on its own information - they were sending out unmanned aircraft equipped with radiation-detection equipment and image monitors. About 17,000 US military personnel are helping the Japanese with the relief effort, but they have been ordered to stay outside an 80km radius of plant. The Japanese continue to operate a 20km exclusion zone.

President Obama has called for a review of safety of their own 104 nuclear power plants. Public anxiety is running high and he is trying to assure his people that harmful raidation was not expected to reach the US.

The Japanese people are in dire straits, half a million people are homeless, they are grieving for lost family, it's freezing cold, there is no electricity, hardly any food, limited water supply, and now the country has to endure the fear of a nuclear catastrophe. And never one word of complaint.