Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Now What? From the 47 Ronin to the Fukushima 50

The 47 Ronin assault Kira Yoshinaka's mansion

Last week we all witnessed the horror of a tsunami wave racing across the plains of Sendai like the wrath of some dark agent, destroying everything and everyone in its path.

Shortly afterward, we all became increasingly aware that the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima complex was more dire than initially reported.

It's a bit surreal to see the way all of this is unfolding, to see our reaction to it. There is widepsread reporting and awareness, of course, about the immensity of the tragedy that has struck Japan, but just the same, we seem to be whistling in the dark and trying to wish away the reality of what is occurring at Fukushima.

I watch the content of the news, I watch the content on Facebook, but for the occasional rumblings underneath, we are going about our daily lives trying to consider the ramifications of this as little as possible. As a society, we still seem to be obsessed with stories built around the likes of Charlie Sheen and Vanessa Hudgens. Pity the Libyans and the Bahrainis who have been suddenly forgotten altogether.

As of this morning, I'm hearing that the idea of pumping water into Reactor 3 has become too dangerous and risky due to the high levels of radiation, and the option of a water cannon is being contemplated. If the Fukushima 50, who seem to be on a one-way mission and upon whom so much of the world's hope lies, fails to get these reactors under control, it's likely that a Hail Mary pass will be thrown to the US miliary.

We read assertions that the Fukushima 50 is not afraid to die. They're three men over, but in their willingness to lay down their lives in what might become a suicidal effort, I'm reminded of the Japanese story of the 47 Ronin.

Trying to repair damaged cooling systems with battery power, pumping in sea water while containment buildings explode around the reactors, dropping water from helicopters, using water cannons from a distance.... has each measure become more primitive and desperate?

If none of these work....?


crystal said...

It is really awful what;s happening in Japan.

There's a defunct nuclear reactor where I live - Ranch Seco - scary :(

Jeff said...

Ranch Seco is kind of creepy, and well-named according to the circumstances.

Now I hear they are trying to run a power line out to the Fukushima plant to get the cooling systems going again, but I could have sworn I heard in the earliest days that the coolong systems themselves were damaged and that's why they couldn't get them going on battery power last Saturday. Lots of confusing information out there...

The scariest thing is, a meltdown was once considered unthinkable and unacceptable under any circumstances. Now it's another "one of those things we'll need to learn to live with." If we can learn to live with a nuclear meltdown, could we learn to live with a nuclear war?