Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has stated he thinks the tsunami-induced crisis at the Fukushima nuclear reactors could in the worst case “ruin eastern Japan,” and that he is “incredibly knowledgeable about nuclear power.”
His comments to a cabinet advisor were reported by Jiji, Japan’s major news agency:
“In the worst case scenario possible in the current situation, we must consider the possibility of eastern Japan being ruined.”
Consequently, he is said to consider Tepco to be insufficiently alarmist, saying “their sense of crisis is extremely weak.”
Perhaps worst of all, he reportedly considers himself an expert on nuclear power – “I’m incredibly knowledgeable about nuclear power.”
He does hold a degree in applied physics, but has only worked as a patent attorney and then as a politician, so his level of expertise in fixing broken reactors is doubtful at best.
Tepco’s handling of the crisis has been less than reassuring, but the international consensus amongst experts on nuclear power and various nuclear energy bodies is that a nuclear explosion is impossible and Chernobyl-level contamination of a large area unthinkable.
The actual situation at the reactors has seen various explosions, fluctuating levels of radiation leakage and reactor temperature and pressure, and is evidently far from under control.
Concern generally centres on small amounts of mildly radioactive vapours being blown over a wider area – just what would possess Kan to make such mass-hysteria inducing prognostications of a nuclear wasteland engulfing half of Japan is not clear, but it is unlikely to be common sense and good judgement.
Assuming, of course, that he and Tepco do not know something about the crisis nobody else does.