The world should be grateful to Japan. Once Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a samurai from the Saga principality, was asked: “What is the true meaning of a samurai?” And this meaning hasn’t changed from ancient times to the present day. It’s in self-sacrifice for the salvation of mankind even if the path of the samurai leads to death.
On March 11, 2011, 200 Japanese volunteer liquidators, divided into 50 shifts, silently waited for their turn. Wearing protective suits and heavy oxygen devices, they cooled burning Fukushima-1 reactors. As we can see from their recent posts on the Internet, they are kamikaze. Most of them are aged people. Not knowing what awaited them, they said goodbye just in case. They are not just samurai, but heroes in the imagination of people. So, in March 2011, Ukraine found a younger sister born of a nuclear element and represented by Japan. And history of the Chernobyl tragedy has become a reference book for the Japanese how to avoid the mistakes of Chernobyl.
Child of Hegemony
The Chernobyl explosion is a humanitarian catastrophe of the 20th century. It’s a child of hegemony, a closed society, “gray” technologies and unjustified experiments.
All the fuel and the core of the RBMK-1000 reactor exploded at the 4th power unit of the ChNPP, operating at maximum capacity. The reactor had no containment field. As a result, 190 tons of radioactive materials were simultaneously released into the atmosphere. Isotopes of uranium, plutonium, iodine-131, cesium-134, cesium-137, strontium-90, having got out of the reactor, rushed around the world in search of victims. Ukrainian firefighters, looking into the eyes of their own death, fought against the infernal elements for two weeks.
According to official figures from the IAEA, the accident killed 50 people, and 4,000 died of radiation. The number of victims in Ukraine reached 3 million 427 thousand people, including 1 million 260 thousand children. From 600 to 800 thousand people took part in the liquidation of the consequences of the accident. In addition, the consequences of the explosion killed 4,000 to 10,000 people. Tens of thousands of them became disabled. At one time, Academician Alexei Yablokov proved the death of 985,000 people from an explosion at the Chernobyl NPP. But no one has dared to comment on this figure. However, according to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 504,117 people died in medical institutions in 1987-2004.
Radiation disaster: 10 minutes to rescue
In the next 50 years, living without a mortal risk is impossible in the 30-kilometer zone of the ChNPP. The molten reactor is still full of fuel and radioactive waste. Besides, there is still no official answer: what to do with the contaminated area? Just imagine. The territory of the Chernobyl Zone is larger than Singapore or Luxembourg. The impact of “sleeping” radiation on life and health of the population living near the Zone isn’t fully understood.
John Vidal, the Guardian’s environment editor, was on a business trip to Kiev several years after the Chernobyl accident. He claims that he saw “children with gene mutations” in hospitals. They were adolescents with stunted growth. It’s no secret that after Chernobyl, an acute demographic crisis and rapid depopulation began in Europe.
As a result of the accident at Fukushima-1, there was a maximum seventh level of danger in Japan. Descendants of the samurai didn’t allow a humanitarian crisis, despite the fact that it was an unpredictable eco-technological disaster for global development. A nine-point earthquake off the island of Honshu, causing a tsunami, raised a 10-meter Pacific wave at a speed of up to 850 km/h.
From that point on, residents of the coastal Japanese prefectures had less than 10 minutes to rescue.
This deadly wave flew 3 kilometers in a second and washed away absolutely everything. The disaster killed about 30,000 people. But only 15,896 were officially killed. 160,000 Japanese lost all property and housing. Six reactors of Fukushima-1 and Fukushima-2 were automatically shut down. The disaster, which wasn’t accounted for in the safety systems of NPPs, destroyed the cooling systems of 40-year-old American reactors. Radioactive vapor escaped from them. As a result, cesium-137, cesium-134, iodine-131 and plutonium got into the atmosphere.
Chernobyl and Fukushima: does nuclear power have a future?
The elimination of the consequences of Fukushima-1 will last for tens of years. Initially, the Japanese government provided 12 billion US dollars for this. But this is not the final amount against the backdrop of total losses of $300 billion. At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, they amounted to almost $150 billion. The cost of eliminating the consequences of the accident reached more than $18 billion. Therefore, the Japanese government has set aside a reserve of $47 billion to fund reconstruction work.
The Bank of Japan, amid the collapse of the Japanese stock exchange, offered a $12 billion loan to the bank branch of the affected regions. This ensured timely replenishment of financial assets and saved them from bankruptcy. As a result, Japanese economy recovered faster than the human mind mastered the logic of countering the elements.
The Japanese have studied the Chernobyl accident well from the point of view of social and psychological adaptation.
Hiding the scale of the Chernobyl disaster and the lack of anti-crisis measures didn’t allow Ukraine to effectively cope with the consequences of the accident. This coincided with the historical instability and unpredictability of socio-political development, a deep internal financial and economic crisis in the USSR. In contrast, Japan was able not only to restore, but also to build up the economy and livelihoods in the radioactively contaminated territories. Of course, taking into account the problem of the physics of the half-life of radioactive substances.
What is the dry residue after the two largest man-made disasters in the nuclear industry? There are definitely more skeptics about the operation of nuclear power plants. They are adamant that Chernobyl and Fukushima should stop further development of the peaceful nuclear industry. Perhaps, this is a natural consequence of an atomic phobia, or there is no alternative to make NPPs safer.
Time gives a chance for a real energy revolution. First of all, this means the creation of new modern security systems in the field of nuclear energy. Experts insist that the world needs a global discussion on energy balance. Otherwise, nuclear power plants will actively develop the countries of the “third world”. Such a model of the world energy market, according to the principle “come what may – the main thing is not on my territory”, is already being discussed.
Geopolitical games or compromises with nature
Traditional exhaustive energy sources such as coal, oil and gas are objectively losing their role. It’s despite the fact that they make up 56.3% of the world’s electricity generation. The nuclear energy crisis will aggravate their consumption and accelerate their non-recoverable resource. As a result of global warming, we are getting used to climate change, which carries risks from natural disasters.
Natural gas resources won’t be sufficient for everyone. And the hope for renewable energy is increasingly becoming overconfidence. The production of biofuels from corn or other types of grains has raised the prices of food group. This doesn’t contribute to overcoming world hunger. In addition, intensive soil fertilization helps to the ingress of a colossal amount of nitrogen dioxin into the air.
The development of solar and wind energy takes time and new technologies. It’s vital especially for storing such energy. This question hasn’t been resolved yet. Of course, it’s difficult to imagine a large metropolis, densely surrounded by huge noisy wind turbines that cover the horizon.
There are 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine
There are 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine, 13 of which have been in operation since the 1980s. With the existing economic and energy problems, the country had to constantly maintain its nuclear development on our own. Except for the support of the EU and the world community in closing the destroyed Chernobyl power unit with a new safe confinement. Therefore, the main problem is the safety of national NPPs, based on the lessons of Fukushima.
A geophysicist Guichard Gross said that the earthquake off the Japanese island of Honshu shifted the axis of rotation of the Earth. The explosion at Fukushima, together with the civilizational rise on the Arab Mediterranean coast, shifted the political and economic axis. Humanity has witnessed the simultaneous tectonic movement of geopolitical and civilizational processes. So, it’s high time to act. We need to consolidate efforts, carry out correct reforms, seek compromises with the nature of the Earth and humanity absorbed by the Internet. They want a safe world. But we would like these words not to be an empty illusion.