Today five years have passed since one of the most horrendous catastrophes in human history shook the world. Warlike headlines and page after page of dystopian hysteria drowned most other news in media for days and weeks. Iâ€™m not referring to the tsunami in Japan 3/11/11 that killed almost 20Â 000 people and left 300Â 000 homeless. That part of events was overshadowed from the beginning, and soon forgotten entirely.
The catastrophe was of course the breakdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the same tsunami. To this day not a single individual has been injured from radiation, let alone killed. And despite continuing horror narratives about global pollution there will never be any deaths attributable to ionizing radiation from this accident. We are in other words dealing with an extremely unique example of an unbearable tragedy in which not a single person will be affected by the main evil: ionizing radiation.
Thatâ€™s not to say that the harmful effects were nil. Thousands of people were debilitated in different ways by forced evacuation. They had to leave their homes and property and try to resume their lives in often primitive temporary shelters. After the similar accident in Chernobyl it was confirmed that the harm to many people were caused primarily by the forced relocations. And these harms included illnesses and premature deaths.
Like in Chernobyl the evacuations in Japan were based more on political and medial exaggerations than on knowledge in radiation biology and toxicology. (Swedish public radio did broadcast almost continuously on Fukushima for days after the accident. They seemed to find every nuclear power antagonist and self-proclaimed expert alive, and fill their schedule with endless repetitions of the same scaremongering. A few times a day they let through some scholar educated in science and with expertise on the subject, who considerably moderated the fear with some real knowledge. Often enough those interviews were ended in their most interesting phase with the usual â€œtimeâ€™s upâ€.)
This five-year commemoration has passed surprisingly quiet in our media. Our main paper (Dagens Nyheter) had a couple of mentions the past week, one of which dealt with resettlement of villages now opened again, a process so far slow, in part because original inhabitants have become rooted elsewhere.
Perhaps this relative calm in media to some extent depends on appreciatedÂ clearing of minds. Hopefully even journalists at last have comprehended the fact that not a single person has been injured by radiation, proving that nuclear energy has some great advantages, also when it comes to safety. But thatâ€™s probably to have too high a regard for these Knights of Truth.