Those who think Japan's Fukushima disaster is today's headlines and tomorrow's history need to take a good look at the Chernobyl disaster, which to this day is a continuing threat to the people of Ukraine. It will be hundreds of years before the area around the destroyed reactor is inhabitable again and there are disputes over whether or not Chernobyl's nuclear fuel still poses a threat of causing another explosion. There is also a teetering reactor core cover and the deteriorating sarcophagus itself that may collapse and send plumes of radioactive dust in all directions.
The deteriorating "sarcophagus" containment building at Chernobyl.
The New York Times article "Lessons from Chernobyl for Japan," reflects on the Chernobyl disaster and how its legacy still looms over us today as a very real threat. Those who believe in a quick fix for the Fukushima disaster would be wise to remember Chernobyl's legacy. More importantly, with tens of millions of lives at stake, nation actors that have the ability to assist in mitigating this disaster now, but choose instead to squander their manpower and resources elsewhere (like in Libya), must remember that their actions today will be remembered and judged for centuries to come.
Below is a sobering look at the Chernobyl disaster and the many men who fought and died trying to contain it. There is also the little known tale of the scientists who over the years have risked their lives to assess and direct the management of the threat Chernobyl's destroyed reactor continuously poses. We must look to history and take the catastrophic effects of Chernobyl's disaster to heart. Downplaying the threat in Fukushima, Japan today needlessly puts millions of people at risk who might otherwise begin making preparations to leave the area on a long-term basis.
Knowledge is power, ignorance can literally be death. Part 1