Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator today:

It has been quite surreal to observe ‘experts’ 10,000 kilometres away from the scene insisting there is no public danger from the dramatic events unfolding at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants, while the nuclear authorities on the spot ordered the immediate evacuation of more than 200,000 residents, began the distribution of iodine tablets — given to minimise the threat of thyroid cancer — and recommended those that remained within a 20-kilometre radius of the plant close their windows and cover their heads in wet towels.

Meanwhile, Ben Sandilands writes on his Plane Talking blog:

At 11.50 am NHK was reporting government officials as saying ‘a low level of harm to human life’  is occurring in the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant where all three active reactors have now suffered explosions.

This morning’s explosion in the No 2 reactor is however different. The radiation level outside the complex has been recorded as being eight times in excess of the annual safe limit for human exposure every hour.

Reports of a serious rise in radiation levels at Ibaraki, halfway between Fukishima and Tokyo have appeared in the national media.

While something may have been lost in translation, the government health officials quoted by NHK appear to be confirming human harm, but only ‘small’ harm.

Our rolling wrap chronicles this exchange:

TimeOut Tokyo magazine are tweeting (in English) what’s happening on Tokyo’s government news channel, NHK. They tweeted the conference by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) announcing the latest explosion, noting how difficult it was to get information and how frustrated journalists were finding it:

@TimeOutTokyo: The reporters seem extremely unsatisfied with TEPCO’s explanation.

@TimeOutTokyo: TEPCO seems at an embarrassing loss for answers. All are just sitting silently, as though they can’t hear the questions.

@TimeOutTokyo: Basically, NISA has said that the explosion is to do with the suppression pool, but TEPCO are being reluctant and hazy about confirming.

@TimeOutTokyo: NHK cuts back to studio. Anchor says, “Well, basically we learnt nothing new there.”

@TimeOutTokyo: PM Kan admits that he saw the explosion on TV, but nobody informed him officially for an hour. He tells TEPCO: Pull yourselves together (NHK)

And as we go to press, a resident in Tokyo live streams their geiger counter and all eyes watch the radiation levels rise:

Nothing lost in translation there.

Peter Fray

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