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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A boring video -- and may it stay that way

The operator of the nuclear meltdown site at Fukushima has done the Japanese media one better, and after months of delay has set up a live video feed of the four trashed reactors. It is here. Alas, there's no apparent way to embed it on this blog.

But if you head over to that site, it's a decent view. From left to right, you've got reactors 1 to 4. Reactors 5 and 6, which are not nearly as bad off but still have issues, are behind the camera.

Having watched the scene for quite a while, we're pleased to report that nothing of interest has shown up on it despite the tropical storm that has been passing through there. And let's hope that nothing will.

The operator, Tokyo Electric, has been anything but transparent all through the ordeal so far, however. And so if anything frightening should appear on the screen, you've got to wonder if they'd actually show it. The only other live video feed is a telephoto shot from many miles away, here. It's often obscured by clouds and fog.

The real problem at the moment doesn't appear on any camera. It's all the radioactive water they're creating trying to keep the reactors and waste pools cool. The spillage to the ocean (to the left from this viewpoint) appears to be out of control, and heavy rains won't have helped any.

Comments (3)

I like that individual American citizens are streaming their geiger counters to a national map here - so you can see some information from ordinary people.

Bill, can you post a link to that national map?

This letter was given to Hiroko Tabuchi, a Tokyo-based business, economics and tech reporter for The New York Times.

Hiroko Tabuchi wrote:

When Tomoko-san, a mother of two in Fukushima City, heard from an NGO worker that I was going to be in Fukushima to report on a story about radiation levels at local schools, she was kind enough to volunteer her time to speak to me – and handed me this letter. I promised to translate it and share it with you. So here it is:

Letter Translated:

To people in the United States and around the world,

I am so sorry for the uranium and plutonium that Japan has released into the environment.The fallout from Fukushima has already circled the world many times, reaching Hawaii, Alaska, and even New York.

We live 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the plant and our homes have been contaminated beyond levels seen at Chernobyl. The cesium-137 they are finding in the soil will be here for 30 years. But the government will not help us. They tell us to stay put. They tell our kids to put on masks and hats and keep going to school.

This summer, our children won’t be able to go swimming. They won’t be able to play outside. They can’t eat Fukushima’s delicious peaches. They can’t even eat the rice that the Fukushima farmers are making. They can’t go visit Fukushima’s beautiful rivers, mountains and lakes. This makes me sad. This fills me with so much regret.

Instead, our children will spend the summer in their classrooms, with no air conditioning, sweating as they try to concentrate on their lessons. We don’t even know how much radiation they’ve already been exposed to.

I was eight years old when the Fukushima Daiichi plant opened. If I had understood what they were building, I would have fought against it. I didn’t realize that it contained dangers that would threaten my children, my children’s children and their children.

I am grateful for all the aid all the world has sent us. Now, what we ask is for you to speak out against the Japanese government. Pressure them into taking action. Tell them to make protecting children their top priority.

Thank you so much,

Tomoko Hatsuzawa
Fukushima City
May 25, 2011


To add your name to a group letter calling for the Japanese government to protect the children of Fukushima, see:


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