Quite how this is going to play out is unknown at the moment. But this is good news:
Naoto Sekimura, a professor at the University of Tokyo, told AP a major radioactive disaster was unlikely.
\”No Chernobyl is possible at a light water reactor. Loss of coolant means a temperature rise, but it also will stop the reaction,\” he said.
\”Even in the worst-case scenario, that would mean some radioactive leakage and equipment damage, but not an explosion. If venting is done carefully, there will be little leakage. Certainly not beyond the 3 km radius.\”
A partial meltdown in one of the light water reactors at Three Mile Island in 1979 resulted in the release of radioactive gases in the most serious incident in the history of the US nuclear power industry. The reactor was eventually brought under control despite a series of errors.
As we all recall about Three Mile Island, the actual health damage done by release of radioactivity was, to any reasonable level of accuracy, around and about zero.
Indeed, cancer levels rose in areas which did not get any of the vented radioactivity due to the stress by more than cancer levels rose in areas that did get some of it.
We are of course going to have to wait and see how this plays out.
But there will undoubtedly be those who tell us that this shows how dangerous nuclear is. Mustn\’t build it because what about earthquakes?
To which a reasonable response would be, if it does manage to survive an 8.9 earthquake, the seventh largest recorded, I\’d say it was pretty safe myself.