Japan is facing one of the worst crisis since WW2: An earthquake, a subsequent Tsunami and now, worsts of all, a nuclear power crisis. Thousands died, and millions are now in huge danger. Japan is indeed facing a tragedy.
The earthquake was not just a strong one: was the 6th in the list of most powerful earthquakes ever registered (i.e. since ~1900) - an incredible 8.9 Richter. And, bear in mind, the Richter Magnitude Scale is logarithmic.
Here in UK the main topics about this are:
- how Japan is coping with the tragedy
- how other countries can help or are helping
- the consequences on the Japanese economy and, of course, the consequences on the rest of the World economy
- the nuclear power crisis
The first 3 are not in my focus here: not because they are non important. On the contrary. But I'd like to focus on the empathy, and the fear, generated by the nuclear power crisis.
All sort of good and bad experts are brought in by news channels to help understanding what the hell is a "total melt down" and stuff like that. You can read this article from MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub to grasp a bit what the hell is going on. But be careful with the outcome: - I believe is slightly bias, even though it has a very good, plain english explanation.
It's serious business in two senses:
- it's seriously concerning how unsafe even modern, most advanced nuclear power plants are risky
- it's business, because it just is so - there are entire economies at stake here
By now you must have already read or listened all the different experts talking about the possible scenarios, what can and cannot happen, why we are not going to face another Chernobyl and stuff like that. For the sake of humanity, I do hope they are right.
Here no one is hiding the fact that the radiation level is hundred, thousands times higher than normal around the plant, and that people are being screened for radiation and all the sort of bad things that a situation like that causes.
What I'm "appreciating" (if you can talk like that about this kind of stuff) is also the concrete approach that, for example BBC News, is taking on the matter: yes, this is raising concerns about the safety of building nuclear plants in UK, as well as the rest of Europe. It's safety at play. But it's also, no need to hide, business.
No one is trying to minimise what happened, and how much dangerous the situation is. Even if UK does have nuclear plants, there is a concrete approach:
- nuclear plants are risky
- UK is a land with very minimal historical seismic activity
- we need to prefer better sources of energy
Personally, I'm heavily against nuclear power: I just think you never know what nature has ready for you. You shouldn't risk this much. But at the same time I understand how much important is energy for modern economies.
The debate is strong, and there are all sort of parties involved, pushing for their own view.
In the meanwhile in Italy, stuff like this happens:
What do they argue about? Tozzi is explaining why nuclear power is dangerous and how bad is the fact that as per today, we still have not one single place on earth to store the radioactive waste produced by nuclear power.
Testa, evidently trying to banalise the issue, says that Tozzi is exaggerating, and that he is not really an expert (of course, how could he be - he is just a geologist!!!).
Tozzi, offended but still arguing, explains that Testa, and investors like him, are defending nuclear power because they have already plans to build in Italy 4 plants. That is one of the main topics at the moment in Italy.
Testa, after more arguments, shuts up in silence, but when the discussion moves on from them he says:
If you say again that I make money with nuclear power investments, I'll smash your face
Of course, the host tries to calm them down, but... WTF?
No, this is not the only case in Italy: politician and business men of my beloved country of origin has been bragging about how nuclear is still safe since Friday. On Friday, in particular, was a non stop flow of interviews. Before anything started to happen to the nuclear plants, the main topics where:
After the earthquake, japanese nuclear reactor are still intact - this demonstrate that nuclear energy is safe
Japan has even more earthquakes than Italy: it's safe to build some here
Saying that nuclear plants in Japan are at risk, while it has been shown how good they resisted to the earthquake, it's disgraceful and offensive for Japanese people
They didn't wait for the nuclear plants emergency cooling systems to run out of energy backup!
Now, the situation is escalating: another explosion just happened in the 4th Fukushima reactor. The situation is getting out of hand. Japanese, famous for their advanced engineering and technology, are at their knees.
Italians are, worse than a stereotype, very "sentimental" people. And that's what scares Italian Nuclear lobbyists: Italians might, for once, get their act together and start pushing back on the plan of building Nuclear Plants. After all, they voted AGAINST any form of Nuclear Power in 1987, just few years ago.
But with our current government, the Italian inability to remember history, and the right amount of Talk Shows and alleged experts on TV , a Popular Referendum with the 90% (!!!) of the voters agreeing against nuclear, can easily be ignored and forgot.
That's how fucked up my country is.
I'll leave you with something to think about. The earthquake that struck and destroyed l'Aquila in 2009 was a 5.8 Richter. "Just" 5.8!!! And that city is now a ghost town.
What do you think: can we Italians be trusted to build a Nuclear Reactor in the middle of Europe? If we do build it, I would buy a ticket for the moon.