Radiation Contamination Effects from the Japanese Nuclear Disaster
The world watched in horror as Japan coastal cities were swept away by an earthquake generated tsunami. This was followed by an even more serious calamity, the explosions in the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. The damage both to the Japanese national sprit and general economy resulting from this nuclear disaster cannot be underestimated. Indeed, the contamination after effects will linger for many years to come, affecting key industries and the general population with health and safety consequences that may not be visible for decades.
One significant problem is in the area of food contamination. As a major consumer of high grade fish used in sushi, Japan must contend with the potential of dangerous and costly food contamination.
While there is clear cut concern for food contamination world-wide, it is not believed that the contamination will reach levels that jeopardize the health and safety of areas outside of Japan. Even so, domestically it is a different story. The Japanese government has installed numerous safeguards including measurement by Geiger counter of all fish and shellfish products, as well as distributing radiation detection devices to all affected municipalities and local enforcement authorities. Radiation measurements are being taken not only of food products, but also other organic material such as clothing, and related consumer items.
The Japanese nuclear disaster contamination after effects seem to have a domino effect in terms of how one disaster can affect so many areas. Water contamination leads to food contamination, radioactive food contamination leads to human radiation exposure, and so on. The economic implications of this are extreme because by cutting off water and food supplies to contain the problem you are also essentially cutting off the life blood of a country. Having to spend money to import rather than export for income, spending money on Geiger counters, dosimeters, and similar radiation detectors to continually monitor radiation, while cleaning up the mess, will ultimately cost a fortune.
Dealing with the Japanese Nuclear Disaster Contamination After Effects
Overall the disaster has not reached the level of the Chernobyl disaster but the long term Japanese nuclear contamination effects will likely remain unknown for some time. So far it has been mostly contained.
While Japan has been able to contain most of the radiation and harmful materials, they have not been able to contain the criticism and the claims of cover ups and conspiracies. Reliable data on ionizing radiation levels were hard to come by, many governments were forced to rely on their own remote nuclear radiation detection devices, which are limited in their ability to measure radiation intensity.
One example where Japanese radiation contamination directly affected the United States was in Sitka, Alaska, a town supported by tourism and fishing. Japan is the largest buyer of herring eggs, considered to be a premium product in Japan. Due to the nuclear disaster Sitka had very few orders for the eggs to be shipped to Japan. Moreover, with orders that were received, fisherman were forced to purchase expensive radiation monitoring equipment as well as hand held Geiger counters in order to check and verify product safety. Of particular concern was gamma radiation with can be deadly if gamma contaminated material is ingested.
It will take decades for the radiation released from this disaster to completely dissipate. In the meantime Japan and the world must remain vigilant to ensure that dangerous radioactive contamination does not enter the food chain and generate unpredictable and potentially life-threatening long term health effects. In other words, buy a Geiger counter – it could save your life!