The country of Japan was rocked by an earthquake and a tsunami on March 11, 2011. Now, the country is facing a nuclear event because some of its nuclear reactors are melting down. According to CNN, “an ‘explosive impact’ occurred Tuesday morning at the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, a day after a hydrogen explosion rocked another reactor.” The nuclear situation in Japan has become quite serious. The nuclear reactors are having issues staying cool because the generators have been flooded by water.
According to arirang, “as efforts to contain the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant raise concerns of a possible ‘Chernobyl’-style disaster the International Atomic Energy Agency said a worst-case scenario would be unlikely.” Hopefully, the IAEA can help the country of Japan find ways to stop a nuclear meltdown. Nuclear power plant workers have tried using sea water to prevent the meltdown of the reactors but time will tell if a meltdown can be avoided.
How People in Japan Can Protect Themselves against Radiation
Iodine tablets help to protect the thyroid from exposure to radiation. The Japanese government needs to distribute them quickly to people who are near the nuclear sites. Unfortunately, these tablets only protect the thyroid, so other parts of the body will still face the risk of cancer and other ailments due to exposure.
People need to flee any site that might have nuclear radiation leaking from it as soon as possible. Radiation poisoning becomes worse as the body absorbs more of the radiation. Time is crucial, so finding a safe place to go needs to be a top priority.
According to nyc.gov, “increasing the shielding between yourself and a radiation source (with protective barriers such as walls and buildings) will decrease your exposure. Depending on the type of radioactivity effective shielding could be as thin as a piece of paper (for alpha radiation) or as thick as a lead-lined wall (for gamma radiation).”
This means that people should avoid going outside and should stay inside of a building and keep all of the doors and windows closed. It is important to avoid having any air get into the building because the air will be contaminated with radiation particles.
What to Do If another Earthquake Takes Place
If another earthquake takes place in Japan, people need to act quickly. According to FEMA, “drop to the ground; take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.”
People should make sure to keep away from any windows because the glass will break and could cause injuries. Find a doorway to brace yourself for the initial shock and any aftershocks that follow after the earthquake. Doorways are pretty safe because things will not be falling on people as much as they would if they were, say, in the middle of a room. Never go outside after an earthquake; wait until you get the all clear and at least an hour has passed from the last aftershock.
If outside during an earthquake, try to stay away from any structures or wires and make sure that the area is clear of potential debris. This will help reduce the likelihood of injury from falling items.