Submitted by IWB, on March 12th, 2016
Interview with nuclear engineer Hiroaki Koide (translation by Prof. Robert Stolz, transcription by Akiko Anson), published Mar 8, 2016 (emphasis added):
As for the scale of the [Fukushima] accident… we simply don’t know… all the measuring equipment was destroyed at the time of the accident…
The Japanese government has reported estimates [of] 1.5×10^16 Becquerels of Cs-137, which would make it a release of 168 times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima bombing. And this is only material released into the atmosphere…
But I myself think the government’s numbers are an underestimate. Various experts and institutes from around the world have offered several of their own estimates… some two or three times higher than the government’s numbers. According to these other estimatesI think that the release of Cs-137 into the atmosphere could be around 500 times the Hiroshima bombing.
What has been washed into the sea… is likely not much different from the levels released into the atmosphere. Even today we are unable to prevent this release. And so if we combine the amount of Cs-137 released in the air and the ocean together, we get an estimate several hundred times the Hiroshima levels. And some estimates suggest the Fukushima accident could be as much as one-thousand Hiroshimas…
The amount released into the atmosphere from the explosion during the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant was 800 to 1000 times the Hiroshima levels. Put simply, these estimates place Fukushima on par with Chernobyl…
[T]he radioactive material released from Fukushima has been dispersed across the globe… everyone on earth has been exposed to additional radiation… An increase in cancer will be the result…
Not a single nuclear expert or policy maker ever seriously considered the possibility of an accident like this… I had been commenting on the possibility, referring to some results of simulations. But still I would have thought the kind of disaster that happened at Fukushima was some kind of impossible nightmare?yet it actually happened. It was like the worse nightmare becoming a reality… all those pronuclear people surely never gave it a moment’s thought. And so when it actually happened, no one had thought about, let alone built a system to deal with it.
Fukushima 5yrs Later: “Fuel Rods Melted Thru Containment, Nobody Knows Where They Are Now”
Today, Japan marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic and catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan, killing 20,000 people. Another 160,000 then fled the radiation in Fukushima. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, and according to some it would be far worse, if the Japanese government did not cover up the true severity of the devastation.
At least 100,000 people from the region have not yet returned to their homes. A full cleanup of the site is expected to take at least 40 years. Representative of the families of the victims spoke during Friday’s memorial ceremony in Tokyo. This is what Kuniyuki Sakuma, a former resident of Fukushima Province said:
For those who remain, we are seized with anxieties and uncertainties that are beyond words. We spend life away from our homes. Families are divided and scattered. As our experiences continue into another year, we wonder: ‘When will we be able to return to our homes? Will a day come when our families are united again?’
There are many problems in areas affected by the disaster, such as high radiation levels in parts of Fukushima Prefecture that need to be overcome. Even so, as a representative of the families that survived the disaster, I make a vow once more to the souls and spirits of the victims of the great disaster; I vow that we will make the utmost efforts to continue to promote the recovery and reconstruction of our hometowns.
Sadly, the 2011 disaster will be repeated. After the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, Japan was flooded with massive anti-nuclear protests which led to a four-year nationwide moratorium on nuclear plants. The moratorium was lifted, despite sweeping opposition, last August and nuclear plants are being restarted.
Meanwhile, while we await more tragedy out of the demographically-doomed nation, this is what Fukushima’s ground zero looks like five years later. As Reuters sums it up best, “no place for man, or robot.”