As Japan Struggles with a Triple Threat Crisis, Anxiety Builds Worldwide
Published: March 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm
The earthquake that hit Friday was the worst crisis Japan has faced since World War II with estimates of the death toll from the disaster rising upward of 10,000..
The quake moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis. The damage from the quake quickly became a triple threat and the biggest challenge Japan has faced in modern times.
First the Japanese people had to deal with the effects of the devastating 8.9 earthquake, followed by over 300 aftershocks that measured 5.0 or higher. While all that was happening Japan had to deal with a powerful tsunami that wiped out everything in its path, including the sudden disappearance, and presumable death, of countless thousands of people who happened to be in the path of the tsunami.
Sadly, the devastation of the tsunami was so massive that it caused emergencies at five nuclear reactors, creating a situation that rapidly escalated out of control, spreading to other reactors, and causing radiation exposure that necessitated the distribution of hundreds of thousands of Potassium Iodide tablets to Japan's population.
Japan was one of the most earthquake-ready countries on Earth, yet all that preparation and money spent still could not protect the people from the power of Mother Earth. Once again the world is reminded of the sudden destructive potential of natural disasters, which gives us pause to ask the question, “How prepared is the rest of the world to protect their nuclear reactors from a meltdown in the event of a catastrophe?”
Japan depends upon nuclear power for nearly 30% of its overall energy needs. Bad news for nuclear power is bad news for oil prices. Bloomberg News reported that there would be a global impact if Japan cannot get the nuclear reactor back under control. Quoting Ken Curtis, former Vice-Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc in Asia, Bloomberg reported, ““A meltdown, which would cause massive immediate damage, would also set the nuclear industry back decades. This would have vast implications for the global energy equation and perforce the world economy.”
As Japan battles to prevent a meltdown at a nuclear power station, over 300,000 people were evacuated, “with many seeking refuge in shelters, wrapped in blankets, some clutching each other sobbing.” Already questions are being raised about the reliability of nuclear power. The Citizens Nuclear Information Center said, “A nuclear disaster which the promoters of nuclear power in Japan said wouldn’t happen is in progress. It is occurring as a result of an earthquake that they said would not happen.”Continued on the next page