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Thank God Japan is well prepared

Mar 15 2011

This could sound outrageous. This could sound awful and even offensive. Please forgive me for saying this. But.

Thank God the reactor disaster is happening in Japan.

As you might know, I was born in Russia before moving to the UK. Or - to be precise - I was born in the USSR. I was nine years old when Chernobyl happened. And I was watching all the lying TV reports claiming that "there's only 7 people dead, calm down, everything is under control, nothing to worry about". The government even refused to take help from the international community.

And there was my father. A rocket scientist working for the military, he's been sent to that plant a couple of times. And he was telling me the truth. That the firefighters who came to the scene were never even told it was a nuclear reactor (so they wouldn't get scared). That a dozen of firefighting units had only two (2!) Geiger counters (devices that measure radiation) and only one of them was working. So it was 3:00 AM (two hours after the explosion) before they actually realized that the radiation levels were dangerous. That none of the firefighters wore any protective gear. That they were not told how dangerously radioactive the smoke and the debris were. Most died from radiation exposure within three weeks.

The truth that, contrary to safety regulations, a combustible material (bitumen) had been used in the construction of the roof and the rest of the building (that's why the fire was so difficult to fight). That the plant operators were given respirators and potassium-iodide tablets and were forced to continue working. That the reactor was shut down only 4 hours after the explosion. That the janitors were cleaning the building with bare hands and wet rags the next day.

So thank God it's Japan. Not Iran or North Korea. And not some backward country that wouldn't be able to handle this. I am sorry for saying this. I have lots of friends living in Japan and God knows we all wish this never happened.

Japanese are exceptionally well prepared for natural disasters. They are disciplined professionals. Their cultural background emphasizes code of honor. And I am sure that all those heroes who continue working on the nuclear plant despite the radiation levels are doing everything they can to save us from another Chernobyl. Our prayers are with them.



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