Legal Nurse Consulting News: What Will Be the Outcome of the Crisis in Japan?
Monday, May 09, 2011
The catastrophic events in Japan currently have organizations all over the world monitoring the affects. Japanese authorities are currently planning a supplemental budget, in an effort to immediately inject money and resources into hardest hit areas. Officials are trying to apprehend the overall economic impact of this disaster. Meanwhile, the determined technicians and engineers fighting to prevent a full nuclear meltdown are at a disadvantage as radioactive material still seeps into the surrounding area of quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant. Plutonium, radioactive iodine, and cesium have been detected in soil samples and sea water surrounding the plant.
Reports indicate that there may have been partial meltdown in 3 reactors. These reactors were in operation when the quake hit. However, they are designed to shut down when quakes strike. Emergency diesel generators pump water around the reactors to cool them down. The failures of the back-up generators lead to the damage encountered. The external steam suppression unit was damaged during a hydrogen explosion in the building surrounding the reactor, which is causing radioactive materials to leek in the Pacific Ocean. It was reported in March, 2011 that the water was contaminated 361 yards surrounding the facility.
Plutonium is a key component in modern nuclear weapons. Accumulation of plutonium in large amounts should be avoided whereas a critical mass will self generate a nuclear reaction. When inhaled or ingested in smaller portions, it can irradiate internal organs and cause lung cancer. If larger amounts of plutonium are ingested or inhaled, it can cause acute radiation poisoning and death. Long term exposure to plutonium may cause the particles to remain in the lungs or move to the bones or organs. These particles will continually expose body tissue to radiation and remain there for a long time. This will expand any form of cancer that has developed. Tokyo's Electric Power Company has detected 5 areas with plutonium in the soil. They say the amounts are small, but will need to be monitored to make sure the levels do not rise from further contamination.
Reports show that radioactive iodine and cesium have been detected in the atmosphere and is being washed down by precipitation. Cesium is used as a catalyst promoter, boosting the performance of other metal oxides in the capacity and for the hydrogenation of organic compound. Radioactive cesium will cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding. The long term effects are loss of consciousness, coma, and even death. It is very water soluble and can be spread through rain and currents. However, cesium when in soil does not rinse into the groundwater. It bonds to the soil particles and stays towards the top, thankfully not allowing it to reach plant roots. The only way cesium may enter plants is by falling leaves.
Japanese authorities have forced about 80,000 residents out of a 20 kilometer radius surrounding the nuclear complex. They say it could take 6 to 9 months to shut the reactors down safely. Meanwhile residents are able to re-enter for only 2 hour timeframes to try and collect their belongings. People forced out of the area are able to apply for compensation in the amount of $12,000 (US dollars).
The workers trying to get the Fukushima nuclear plant under control have reported multiple counts of insomnia, signs of dehydration and high blood pressure. They are at risk of developing depression or heart disease due to the harsh conditions and exposure.
This was a horrible disaster that will have side effects for years to come. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased the nationwide monitoring of potential exposure routes including precipitation, milk, and drinking water. However, Japan will need to strictly monitor these levels to help protect their citizens and prevent any more devastation to their survivors.