Rob Lyons, this week’s editor of Spiked online notes the following in his editor’s comment, which prefaces the issue: Turning a blind eye seems to have become an international trend this week. In Japan, the world’s media and governments seem so obsessed with the remote possibility of disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant (deaths to date: zero) that coverage of the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami (official death toll: 6,911 and counting) takes second place. In the Middle East, the Western powers are preparing to bomb Libya in the name of freedom while ignoring an authoritarian crackdown in Bahrain. As ever, it seems that political agendas have trumped the human significance of events.
The following is Mr Lyons’ article underlining the extent to which spin-doctoring takes precedence in today’s world. It was posted online on March 16th.
Five lessons from Fukushima
Rob Lyons, Spiked
Alarmist talk of a nuclear crisis in Japan reveals just how fearful modern society has become.
The world’s media has spent the past four days obsessing about one thing. No, not the deaths of thousands of people in Japan after the terrible combination of an earthquake and tsunami, with whole towns simply wiped out. Instead, the focus has been on what might happen at a Japanese nuclear power plant where no one has died, so far, and where the likelihood of serious harm seems remote.
Here are five lessons we really should learn from Fukushima:
1. Fukushima is not Chernobyl
The world’s worst nuclear accident, which occurred in April 1986 in the former Soviet Union (in what is now northern Ukraine) was utterly different from what is happening at the moment in Japan. The only connection is that Chernobyl and Fukushima are nuclear power plants. In Chernobyl, a safety test on an operating reactor went horribly wrong, leading to an explosion that exposed the reactor core. A fire burned for several days, lifting tons of radioactive material high into the air to spread over Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, with significant quantities carried over most of the rest of Europe.
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Five lessons from Fukushima (2)