Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So How is the World Press Doing?

I have beat on trustworthiness and clearly communicated information needed for people in any disaster to make informed decisions. Several Japanese media outlets have expressed some aggravation at the way the foreign press has fanned the flames of fear with sensationalized and inaccurate reporting.

From the Japan Times:

" According to another "fact," authorities have been warning those in a position to leave Tokyo to flee the city immediately, because another severe quake or an eruption at Mount Fuji could spark a meltdown at the "Shibuya Eggman nuclear reactor" — which in reality is a live house, or concert hall, in Tokyo."

And from the Japan Probe"

"Hikaru added: ‘There is a lot of anger in Japan against the French. We are not particularly close to that country and their officials have been coming out very publicly and accusing the Japanese of mishandling the power-plant disaster.

‘How dare the French attack us when they are always the first to collapse and run away at the first sign of any trouble?’"

And recently on all the major US main stream media outlets there has been the report of radiation levels 1600 times normal 12 miles away from Fukushima. The International Atomic Energy Agency report did indeed state that measured level of combination beta/gamma radiation was measured at level of 2 to 161 microseverts per hour compared to a background radiation of 0.1 microseverts per hour. That is a high dose rate. It is cause for concern. It is not a cause for panic.

For emergency workers at the plant, 100,000 microseverts (100 milliseverts) is the maximum dosage recommended before they are removed from the site for precautionary treatment with stable iodine for example. Younger people who would be more susceptible to radiation exposure should closely monitor reliable official announcements to find if they should evacuate the area and where would be best to relocate. If that level is sustained, those evacuation notices will be announced. At the maximum tested radiation rate, residents would have nearly 13 days to determine where and if they need to relocate before they were exposed to one half the limit of plant emergency workers. That has not been reported in the press, nor has that the readings will be monitored to see if they are sustained or a short term spike that may not require any action.

The press has made note of past situations where the electrical utility company TEPCO, has been reprimanded for failures to perform various tests of equipment. The press has not to my knowledge made attempts to determine the degree of the issues nor any corrective action taken on the dated irregularities.

The US announcement that US citizens should be evacuate from a 50 mile radius of the incident has also been sensationalized. Evacuation of non-essential personnel from an emergency area is common practice. Staged evacuation greatly simplifies the overall evacuation should it be required.

The Japanese people are industrious and intelligent. They have a reliable government worthy of trust in this situation to do the right thing. Under the extremely difficult conditions they are doing an admirable job which should have much more focus in the foreign press.

Just my thoughts.

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