On the radio this morning, I heard a so-called nuclear “expert”, whose name I didn’t catch, unfortunately, commenting on the Japanese decision to send helicopters to drop water on the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. His comments shocked me. Rather than highlighting the unprecedented situation that Japanese nuclear scientists find themselves in at this time, and accepting that they have a very difficult task to do, he chose to criticise their efforts.
It can’t be that often that a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world is subjected to an 8.9 richter scale earthquake, followed by a tsunami, followed by snow and high winds. I’m no nuclear expert, but I have been greatly impressed by what I have heard, seen and read of the Japanese scientists’ response to this disaster. It is more than likely that all of the workers at that plant have lost family and/or friends in this terrible natural disaster, but this has not stopped them continuing to work to try to ensure the safety of their people from a man-made disaster as well. Nobody could possibly have foreseen a disaster on this scale, so they are doing what they know to do, and dealing with each problem as it arises, whilst always thinking several steps ahead.
However, this is apparently not good enough for our nuclear experts. Rather than rushing over there to help, they appear on the news criticizing Japanese efforts. Of course, dropping water from helicopters must be a last resort, and does make it look a little like they are grasping at straws, but what option do they have? The BBC News “expert” even commented that “if” they were trying to cool the nuclear rods with this water, it “wouldn’t work”. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but surely the Japanese scientists know this? These are not laymen who are attempting to avert this crisis, they are respected scientists and workers who have presumably gained many qualifications and years of experience in the nuclear industry.
To me, this is a typical example of the imperialist attitude that many UK officials and people of authority resort to in these situations. “Johnny Foreigner” can’t possibly know what he is doing, and it falls on us, as the Big Brother of the world, to explain it to them in words of one syllable.
The BBC news in particular has been trotting out these nuclear “experts” ever since the earthquake and tsunami weakened Fukushima, and as far as I can tell all they have done is criticise the Japanese, theorise without full possession of the facts of what is going on in the plant, and make alarmist statements to further terrify both us and the hundreds of relatives and friends of people caught up in the disaster who are anxiously watching the whole thing unfold from their living rooms in this country.
So, why not cut the Japanese nuclear officials a bit of slack for a while, news hounds? They have no choice but to approach this unprecedented situation in the best and most proactive way they can. I’d like to see you and your “experts” do better in the same unique set of circumstances.
Let’s save the carping and criticism at least until this is all over, whatever the outcome is.