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14 Mar, 2011 20:37

“Situation in Japan might be creeping towards disaster” – nuclear consultant

“Situation in Japan might be creeping towards disaster” – nuclear consultant

The unfolding situation in Japan might turn into a radiological disaster, independent nuclear consultant John Large told RT.

According to Large, the consequences of the situation unfolding around the affected nuclear plants are difficult to predict at the moment because the Japanese government is “quiet and not releasing information.” Still, John Large believes that chances are great that the situation might follow the worst case scenario. “It looks like [the situation] is creeping towards a radiological disaster,” he told RT.“What we are seeing here is a wind change as well. Initially, the wind was running to the north-east, now it’s run to the east. And the real fear is that the wind will swing around to the south and run into Tokyo. That is a real problem,” he concluded.

Richard Thornburgh served as Governor of Pennsylvania in 1979, having to deal with the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. The incident was the most significant nuclear energy disaster within the United States. According to Thornburgh, what is happening in Japan illustrates that we are actually helpless in the face of natural events. “There has been a re-thinking of the viability of using nuclear power around the world," he said." I think there will be much more careful scrutiny of using nuclear power.”"You can’t assure against every kind of natural disaster,” he added. “Life is not risk-free.”

Recent events at Fukushima nuclear plant have been triggered by Friday's powerful quake, which was followed by a giant tsunami that left almost 2,000 people dead. According to media reports, the fourth blast hit the facility’s Unit 4 on Tuesday. This follows the third explosion, which happened at Unit 2 just hours before the latest blast. The recent developments come after two other explosions at the Fukushima plant, which occurred at the facility’s Unit 3 and Unit 1 on Monday and last Saturday, respectively.Engineers had been trying to use seawater to cool the reactors at the complex to avert a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. Up to 160 people might have been exposed to radiation since the first explosion hit the facility in northeastern Japan on Saturday, and the radiation level is said to be increasing.

According to Christopher Simons from International Christian University, after the latest explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant the risk of radioactive contamination is high, but such contamination will most likely be restricted to a certain area.  “In an event such as this, the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from a steam explosion will be quite large, but it will be relatively contained to a geographical area around the plant,” he said. “As we saw yesterday, the exclusion zone has been increased from 10 kilometers to 20 kilometers. People inside that zone will certainly face an increased risk of radiation, but people who will have the most danger will be the people who are working to stop this disaster at the moment: that is the emergency workers and military personnel around the plant.”