Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Well, as if the typhoon wasn't keeping the major news networks busy, just when the sun came out my building shook here in Tokyo. The slowness of the shaking compared with other tremors I've felt here told me that it must not be centered in the Kanto plain.

Turns out, it was western Japan that got hit. A fire broke out at a nuclear energy plant, apparently the largest in the world, but was quickly extinquished. Reports said that some radioactive material may have leaked during the fire. This is worrisome. You would think that a fire, or an earthquake, unless it was catastrophic, which this wasn't (unless it was your own house that fell, of course) would not damage the reactor facility in such a way as to cause a leak. Safety for the public has never been high on Japan's list of priorities. Lots of waste, unsafe practices by corporations and government for years and years in the race to industrialize and later, energize their economy during the so-called 'bubble' economy (roughly '88-'93).

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan (AP) - A strong earthquake shook Japan's northwest coast Monday, setting off a fire at the world's most powerful nuclear power plant and causing a reactor to spill radioactive water into the sea—an accident not reported to the public for hours.

Let's hope this small emergency will stimulate better safety and back up procedures at these plants.



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