A pair of thin robots on treads sent to explore buildings inside Japan’s crippled nuclear reactor have returned with disheartening news: radiation levels are far too high for repair crews to go inside.
Nevertheless, Japanese officials remained hopeful on Monday they could stick to their freshly minted “road map” for cleaning up the radiation leak and stabilising the plant by year’s end so they could begin returning tens of thousands of evacuees to their homes.
“Even I had expected high radioactivity in those areas. I’m sure [Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), operators of the Fukushima Daiichi power station] and other experts have factored in those figures when they compiled the ‘road map’,” Yukio Edano, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said.
Officials said on Monday that radiation had jumped in a water tank in Unit 2 and contaminated water was discovered in other areas of the plant, underscoring the growing list of challenges facing TEPCO in cleaning up and containing the radiation. They also described in more detail the damage to fuel in three troubled reactors, saying pellets had melted.
Workers have not been able to enter the reactor buildings at the plant since the first days after the cooling systems were wrecked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 27,000 people dead or missing in Japan’s northeastern coast.
The message here is that problems must be faced four-square before they can be solved.
This is not just Japan’s problem
- The technocratic elite in Japan is not facing the meltdown of multiple nuclear reactors and the creation of huge swathes of ‘no-man’s land’ in their small country
- The financial elite in the USA is not facing the meltdown of its financial bubble economy and the loss of the ability to ‘print its way out of debt’ when an alternative to its currency is adopted, shortly, to settle international payments.
- The political elite in Thailand is not facing the meltdown of the Bangkok Empire in the face of demands of Thai citizens in every part of the country outside the capital for control of their own government.
Denial solves nothing and measures undertaken in denial make the problem worse than it already is. The sad, funereal strains of the music must be faced eventually… better sooner than later.
As ever in human affairs, the difficulty is
- in admitting reality,
- accepting that changes must be made, and
- making the changes.
Contrary to intuition, the problems all lie at step number 1. Thereafter it’s just a question of putting one foot in front of the other, marching to solution land.
In fact, the final dropping of denial, thereby making a solution possible, is, if not a joyful occasion, certainly one of liberating relief which energizes everyone suffering in the present to envision and effect their solution.