Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Japan ignored its own radiation forecasts and jeopardized hundreds of school children who were directly in the path of the radioactive plume.

Japanese officials withheld information and denied the facts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, including ignoring predictions from their country’s own radiation forecasting system, in order to limit costly and disruptive evacuations and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry.

The depth of the neglect was reported by the Associated Press and corroborated with an ex-government source in Japan by Bellona, as well as by reports in the New York Times.

Bellona’s nuclear physicist, Nils Bøhmer, has insisted throughout the crisis that Japan has been withholding information about radiation dangers. Powerful political forced within Japan have created a culture of closed-mouthed, unquestioning deference to nuclear power, Bøhmer has said.

“This is another example of the disarray of the Japanese nuclear community, including the industry and the Government,” said Bøhmer.

“This shows the urgent need for drastic changes in the Japanese nuclear industry, if nuclear energy should have a future at all in Japan,’ he said

The sweep of how much information had been withheld from the Japanese public has only begun to be revealed in the past two days.

Radiation forecasts ignored, jeopardizing children

According to reports, Japan's system to forecast radiation threats was working from the moment its nuclear crisis began on March 11, after and earthquake and tsunami pummeled the Fukshima Daiichi plnat 240 kimometers north of Tokyo.

As officials planned a venting operation certain to release radioactivity into the air, the system predicted Karino Elementary School would be directly in the path of the plume emerging from the nuclear plant – but the report was useless as no one acted on it.

Instead of clearing out the school, which is 10 kilometers from the plant, it was turned into an evacuation shelter. Read More