PM Kan: “At Worst, Eastern Japan Will Be Ruined”

pm-kan

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.

fukushima-ruined-reactor

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.

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170 Comments

  • Kan doesn’t seem big on leadership skills. You don’t rally people in a crisis by scaring the living shit out of them.

    He could take a cue from Winston Churchill and read the speeches he made when they thought German invasion was imminent during the Battle of Britain.

    Those 50 nuclear power workers who stayed on the job at possible risk to their own lives, this is their “Finest Hour”

    Give the people something to believe in.
    I guess that’s the difference between a statesman and a political hack.

    • I’d agree… however apparently scaring people is the only way to make them stop being so FUCKING STUPID ANYMORE!!

      Even these so-called ‘experts’ seem to be keeping everything downplayed on what the potential is for this shit to happen. Yes, they should be fucking scared. And that fear should then be used to say ‘maybe we should get more and more people in, perhaps from America, who could be struck worst should there be an actual meltdown?”

      Yes, scare the shit out of them. Nuclear power is horrible, horrible shit.

      Consider for a moment. Coal power may cause pollution, but if there was an explosion, people could come in days later and begin repairing. And pollution may be horrendous for our atmosphere in the long rung, but nature can take care of it in much less time.

      Chernobyl is UNIN-FUCKING-HABITABLE by humans for the next several thousand years! This guy is RIGHT! And YES they need to be scared! GET SOME MORE MOTHERFUCKERS IN THERE TO FIX THIS SHIT YOU IDIOTS!! MORE!! HELPERS!!

      ENGLISH, MUTHAFUCKA!! DO YOU SPEAK IT!?

      NO…?

      FUCK!!

      • @houselife
        They’re Japanese so back to you MUTHAFUCKA!! JAPANESE, DO YOU SPEAK IT??

        then you say you agree with kazaza2 then you state a contrary point?? make up your mind moron…

        • The last part was a joke, at least, the rest of it was serious. You’d understand if you’ve ever seen Pulp Fiction in English.

          Only an idiot would call this ‘freaked out by the media.’ Because… well they’re an idiot. This is definitely something to be exceptionally nervous about. Apparently people have gotten so stupid and ignorant that they don’t quite realize what exactly nuclear energy does to humanity if we lose control of it.

          I had at least believed people weren’t stupid enough to make it out to be something like ‘media hype,’ and then I’m proven wrong. I overestimated people yet again.

        • Chernobyl is theoretically habitable, (not that I’d recommend it)
          I had a larger equivalent dose of Radon in my basement prior to renovation (25pCi/l) than you get in most of the exclusion-zone. (can’t remember the exact figures in Sievert… but it was close to what you get the directly next to the reactor sarcophagus around this time.. 5-6µSv/h?)

        • You are definitely freaked out. I’d suggest that you do some research on the damages that have happened in the past incidents. Then carefully evaluate just what is the worst case scenario here. It isn’t as bad as you think it is. Chill out, man.

        • Chernobyl also had a graphite core a 1950s design.
          Here the reactor is over heating due to the decay of short half life fission byproducts Chernobyl they had an out of control fission reaction compounded by burning graphite .

          Still this plant is old and should be replaced with a pebble bed reactor or molten salt reactor type plant vs repaired.
          I suggest a different location too instead use a river or go through the effort to build canals or pipelines vs locate it on the edge of the ocean.

  • Well so far there hasn’t been any real chance of a major probem. Sure theres been some pretty dicey moments, but unless somthing really unlikely happens now it seems things will get better. Yes theres been a release of radiation, but it could of been ALOT worse.

    Watching the video explaining the whole incident step by step showing the failsafes when they kicked in really shows how safe nuclear power is now. If a plant built 40 years ago can handle a incident like this I can only imagine how safe a plant built today would be.

    • Reading the article, are we sure those comments are in the same context?

      That is to say, did PM Kan say that Eastern Japan would be laid to waste, and that was due to Fukushima reactors and TEPCO taking the situation too lightly…

      Or, was the first comment (tsubureru: laid to waste, bankrupt) rather about Eastern Japan falling on hard economic times due to the disruption to e.g. power supply, industry, manufacturing supply chains, etc?

      The rest of the comments might just be him being frustrated with TEPCO’s evasive answers telling him stuff he knows isn’t true.

      • There is a lot of BS and conflicting opinions on what’s really going on flying around.

        It’s hard to separate the good info from the sensationalist rubbish.

        Eastern Japan becoming “no men land” is probably the absolute worst case, but the probability of that happening is probably pretty low unless everything goes wrong.

        The TEPCO is also probably just being cautious with their words. Most of the plant’s electronics are down, chances are they don’t have the info to draw a confident conclusion.

    • I’m thinking the same thing for something 40 years old it did well.
      They just had it in a poor location and the back up generators poorly protected.
      If they had better back up power or even a Sterling driven pump to cool the reactor it would have been ok.

    • Could you post a link to that video?
      I’m really interested in the security measures of modern reactors.
      I need something to talk some sense into all those panicking people over here…

    • Yeah, and that plant was designed to withstand a 8.2-richter earthquake, not a 7 times(!!) stronger one. So even the initial design was pretty solid.

      As far as I know, the worst thing that could happen is an area with a few km radius being somewhat radioactive for a decade or two( even Tshernobyl has lower radiation than the natural radiation in my home town, ofc there much of the radioactive fuel was aerolized[that even a word? :D] thanks to using graffite in the reactor ).

  • “just what would possess Kan to make such mass-hysteria inducing prognostications of a nuclear wasteland engulfing half of Japan is not clear”

    Hm. Maybe the fact that there are more than 200 tons of spent fuel rods stored in Fukushima Daiichi? Seems to be enough to ruin quite a bit of territory if distributed by smoke and fire.

    I really, really wish the best for Japan and its people. But the danger is real.

    Let’s hope tepco get’s everything under control again.

    Cooling a reactor by dropping water from helicopters is not exactly by the book, you know …

  • There isn’t enough radioactive material at the plant (including spent fuel at reactors 5 and 6) to create a Chernobyl event, even if the reactors were graphite moderated and capable of the same sort of explosion.
    And as for the people who want to use this to ban nuc plants are too dangerous, a 9.0 earthquake centered in Tokyo would have brought down hundreds of skyscrapers, killing tens of thousands of people (dead right now, not “maybe of excess cancer in 30 years”).
    Should we stop building skyscrapers?

      • In theory it’s enough to poison a good sized region but the fuel/waste in question is in ceramic form and thus not is very mobile in the environment.

        It’ll tend to stay put and compared to the incident with the BP oil platform it’ll be fairly easy to clean up.
        Then there’s the added safety of the flask they are stored.transported in which can survive being hit by a train.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mHtOW-OBO4
        The only ones of worry are the still hot ones which would be cooling in a pool.
        Really those rods should be reprocessed like the do in France vs stored on site.

        • “Really those rods should be reprocessed like the do in France vs stored on site.”

          They will be reprocessed. The current reprocessing plants are Tokai and Rokkasho. Actually, the current state of Rokkasho is unclear. Latest information says they were running on backup power after the quake. Wikipedia says:

          “Reportedly there are about 3,000 tons of highly radioactive used nuclear fuel stored in Rokkasho at current, that could overheat and catch fire if the cooling systems fail.”

          The spent fuel at Fukushima is just in intermediate storage. And according to the document quoted above, they plan to build a dedicated storage facility.

          “and compared to the incident with the BP oil platform it’ll be fairly easy to clean up.”

          I disagree. Oil can be chemically (or biochemically e.g. bacteria) removed. Nuclear waste must be removed mechanically and stored until naturally degraded (which, for certain plutonium isotopes, means some million years …).

          I hope you are right with the rest.

        • The problem is there is no good way to dispose of nuclear waste right now, there probably never will be in our lifetimes. Anyone who actually knows anything about nuclear power and the concept of linear time will easily know that it’s an utterly terrible energy method. It is actually the most expensive form of energy we have.

          Japan is another case, however, since they have no natural resources to speak of anymore. They must import, so nuclear energy is fiscally sensible for them, at least in theory.

          Either way, we must stop being lazy and get rid of this crap. The only reason anyone could defend nuclear power these days is because of complacency and lack of knowledge. There are plenty of other energy solutions that are on the verge of breakthroughs and NEED the resources to finally breach into the new energy age that we need to bring the world into its next level.

  • With the Radiation it is clear this is where the past myth of Godzilla came from and I am not the first to say that since this started but now as those plants over heat the posibility exists. How long till Godzilla appears and how long now till the Japanese build the Gundam to finish and fight it?

  • Es evidente que las autoridades japonesas estan minimizando el problema para no crear una especie de histeria entre los habitantes, aunque en la realidad se puede evidenciar que el problema con los reactores ya esta empezando a escapar de su control, como prueba de ello se puede mencionar el hecho de que ya empezaron a pedir la ayuda de expertos internacionales en el tema nuclear para asesorarlos con soluciones para el enfriamiento de los reactores.
    Por otro lado todas estas declaraciones por parte de los politicos sumado al estado de incertidumbre que se vive ahi, esta creando serios problemas economicos al japon. Escuche que japon esta 200% endeudada desde hace años es decir que por cada 1 dolar que gana japon en produccion, exportaciones y demas debe 2 dolares a otros paises.
    Con los problemas economicos que viene arrastrando Japon sumado a los problemas que se originaran de ahora en adelante por el terremoto me parece irrisorio las medidas que el prefecto de Japon y los demas candidatos a la prefectura de Japon estan tomando como por ejemplo: el ban al anime, manga y juegos, que obviamente causara que los ingresos al japon en materia economica disminuyan (aunque no de manera significativa), pero considerando lo mencionado antes, Japon no se puede dar el lujo de perder ingresos.
    Termino deseando fuerza al Japon para que se sobreponga a esta crisis.

    • esas medidas las tomó el prefecto de Tokyo, hay manga y anime sin censurar en las otras prefecturas. no confundamos las cosas.
      además tomando este artículo en buen inglés, de verdad esta tragedia podría arruinar bastante el Noreste de Japón, económicamente hablando.
      este es el momento para que nosotros naciones pobres devolvamos al Japón toda la ayuda que nos ha proporcionado.

  • I think the experts are pretty funny people, saying there is no problem and everything under controll while people are dying to prevent a nuclear meltdown.

    And, of course, most of the physics that are asked are payed by the atom friends. Thats always reassuring.

    • I find it funny how some other experts say the opposite, with no other source but their ass. Kind of like you are doing there.

      The last time I checked. There was two people missing. Not to say that isn’t unfortunate.

  • they are minimizing the treat, maybe there is little risk of an explosion or it’s not as large a Chernobyl, but the contamination by radioactivity treat is there. and is bad because it affects the sea, and it’s species. and the sea is in constant movement, it’s not limited to an area.

    I heard in my local news a comment that pretty much supported this thought.
    saying the risk here was of poisoning the sea creatures.

  • This fear is your competing power companies at work. Push out nuclear so coal, oil, and gas can come in some more.. Isn’t it obvious? Same thing going on across the world… omg radiation! wait… what are the risks with the other forms of power we are using? O that is right .. covering half the worlds land with water after global warming.. not like tsunamis, hurricanes, or cyclones ever killed anyone though.

  • Everything is fine, nothing to see here.

    Communications are down, but satellite images show the nuclear power workers are actually having a cookout since their indoor cafeteria isn’t working due to the earthquake.

    The explosions were merely fireworks celebrating the situation is under control.

    The entire mess, mostly fox news fault, is the be blamed for iodine stocks rising. It’s all just a ruse to make money.

  • im Winston Churchill ooo would you like some tea i would becaus im Winston Churchill, would you like a crumpet i would because im Winston Churchill would you like to ware knickers i would because im Winston Churchill

  • Worst case they’ll have to clean up the local site.

    If the reactors were leaking even a 10% the radiation Chernobyl did you would not even be able to use an HD camcorder near them.
    The video would have snow and the CPU would constantly crash.
    You certainly would not get a clear picture like that.
    In fact the radiation level at Chernobyl when it blew up would likely corrupt the NAND flash leaving you with no pictures at all.
    A vidicon a tube type image sensor had trouble and standard film was partly exposed in the camera which is why all the footage of Chernobyl looks the way it does.
    An example of a worse case failure mode for a BWR is SL1.

    http://www.radiationworks.com/sl1reactor.htm

    This only contaminated to local area because the fuel was an oxide vs metallic in Russian reactors.
    You can drive right by where they buried SL1.
    In this case it went prompt critical vs simply over heating from the short life fission products decaying.

  • Arte: You know as well as anyone that TEPCO has a shady history. It wouldn’t be surprising if they were not only witholding facts from the people, but also from the government.

    I believe that Naoto Kan is not only better educated on the subject than 99% of the population of earth due to his degree, but he also is not alone, and has not only knowledgable advisors of his own, but also is in contact with the some of the best scientific minds of the international community.

    I wouldn’t shrug off his words as nonsense.

  • The fear of Radioactive contamination is a big issue that it would also effect the environment and Economy of Japan.Japans lucky because China and North Korea are not Invading there country as of yet because now Japan is dealing with this issue.

  • I’ve known intellectual property attorneys who work with scientists and engineers in developing their products (to make sure the finished product can be protected by patent or copyright). Kan might be knowledgeable about nuclear power.

  • wow… what on earth could this guy be thinking to come out with news like that.

    it’s like if you were on an airplane that suddenly had an engine die and the pilot comes over the intercom to tell everyone “well at worst we’ll make a pretty decent flaming hole in the ground and none of you should expect to survive”

  • Japan needs new baby fast! Em otaku shutins better start fucking. This whole tragedy just shows that an aging population with few young people doesn’t fare well in disasters like this.

  • reminds me. on interview with experts they all said that all those fire’s couldve been extinguished some days ago and those explosions couldve prolly be prevented but the japanese pride and their *system* just forbids it. they dont let experts handle the job but they go like *i know this shiz and my son is better than you. he will handle it* then his son is like* omfg what do i dooooo… lets get da choppa and try to drop some water on it!*

    why teh fawk they dont just get fire hoses and fill that shiz with water? -.- thats what majority of experts around the world said.. lol.. so simple.

  • I hear all of them rescuers sent from EU and US promptly started packing up in order to flee from radiation. At the time being, Russia has the most amount of rescuers working on disaster sites, and instead of evacuating, they just keep sending in more people to handle the aftermath.
    Nevertheless, the Japanese government found it fit to bluntly reassure Russia, that regardless of their generosity at this time of crisis, Japan won’t reconsider their political ties with Russia, and will continue on bitching and trolling them after the crisis.

    • “I hear all of them rescuers sent from EU and US promptly started packing up in order to flee from radiation.”

      I heard nothing of the sort. Got any sources?

      People like bankers and other businessman seems to be feeing Tokyo though.

  • As if Japan needed more negative news; haven’t these people stated enough? Granted you should let people know what’s going on; stating that this is likely (even if remotely) is not something you should be doing right now. Save it for when it actually looks like it is going to go that way… which it looks like it is not…

  • Artefact said: “Assuming, of course, that he and Tepco do not know something about the crisis nobody else does.”

    What? Has the Fukushima Daiichi plant somehow been secretly producing nuclear-grade fissionables? Are they secretly using Soviet RMBK designs (like Chernobyl) that are (or were, anyways) capable of producing the kind explosions required to make an accidental dirty bomb?

    Kan’s degree in applied physics is 41 years old. I’ll grant, that’s the same time as the Number 1 reactor was put online, but can you honestly believe that someone who hasn’t been actively researching or working in the industry for 41 years will remember important details about nuclear reactor functionality? Hogwash. In a few months everyone will feel foolish for following a “nuclear scare.”

    • “Has the Fukushima Daiichi plant somehow been secretly producing nuclear-grade fissionables?”

      They have been burning plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel in reactor three which is more dangerous than the usual uranium fuel. Not exactly a secret though.

  • The problem is not exactly an explosion but rather the molten radioactive fuel rods could melt through the ground and into the groundwater.

    Humans don’t control nuclear power, they merely try to contain the unavoidable damage to the environment. Even if everything seems to work out fine, we and the coming generations are left with uncontrallable nuclear waste. You think that stuff is safe underground in salt mines? What a joke.

  • Notice all news organizations and the Officals there are not speaking of one bigger problem. All the Ocean water that has entered and left the plant to spread radioactivity all around every Island in Japan with the currents. The Water the Water the OCEAN.

  • You know this whole earthquake/tsunami thing wiping out a part of Japan, reminds me of so many manga’s with similar plots. Like some crazy weather event about halves Japan, and the destroyed part becomes outlawed with bandits and gangs being forbidden to cross over if your from the safe side of Japan. There’s allot of them out there with this kind of plot, I find it ironic now that it could actually happen.

  • Wow lots of fucking morons on here. Since so many morons don’t understand, allow me to explain! there are 6 reactors total and they cannot be cooled. With out cooling, the core is so hot it will eventually melt through the container and spew radiation not only on the immediate area but the region and carried to other areas of the earth through winds. Now if that inst bad enough the material that doesn’t go into the atmosphere will literally melt the ground when it hits and sink into the earth and poison the ground, water, everything. That is just the reactors, the spent fuel sitting in cooling ponds have lost water and soon as the water drops enough they will catch on fire and do the exact same thing as well. The spent fuel totals around 8-10 reactors worth so in actuality about 16 reactors worth of radiation is about to coat the earth! What does that mean for you? Radioactive material is carried from thing to thing through the food chain just like potassium. Radioactive particles land on grass, cow eats grass, cow gets slaughtered for steak, you eat steak, you are now radioactive from dust particles that flew up into the atmosphere and settled on the other side of the world. This is seriously some deep shit that people need to pull there heads out of there ass and realize. This has the potential of the human race all over the world to have a new life expectancy of about middle school age.

  • Just give Japan Hawaii, move the people there, purge the Hawaiians (who are just fake Japanese anyway), and sink the actual japan into the ocean in a nuclear fury. Then build a giant fan to send the radiation at Russia. It’s their fault anyway, they created nuclear meltdowns.

  • Why did they ban me from the forum?
    I was trying to have a discussion with odyssus.

    How to legalize loli bride?
    Is it possible?
    How to turn the tide?

    Oh, BTW, Nate-Dogg just yesterday died at 41.
    My Dad died in his early 60s.
    Many people we hear about, men especially, die at these ages.

    But we hear people say “people used to die at 40, they live to 120 now!”. Maybe women, not men, not in my family.

  • Psalm 46
    For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth.A song.

    1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
    2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
    3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
    4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,the holy place where the Most High dwells.
    5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
    6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
    7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
    8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
    9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
    He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields[d] with fire.
    10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
    11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.