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Japan Ignored Own Radiation Forecasts

Japan Ignored Own Radiation Forecasts

Gray smoke rises from the Fukushima plant in this March 21 file photo. (AP photo)

Japan has a state-of-the-art forecasting system that predicts the trajectory and magnitude of radiation leaked into the air, but Japan didn’t act on its own information, according to the Associated Press.

The forecasting system, SPEEDI, was built in 1986 at a cost of 11 billion yen ($140 million). The system uses weather conditions and the amount of radiation vented into the air to predict the size and trajectory of radioactive plumes. Despite taking part in a drill in Hamaoka, Prime Minister Naoto Kan didn’t understand how SPEEDI worked or its utility. Information from SPEEDI was not passed up the command chain and was not used in considering the evacuation area around the faltering Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Had the government considered information from SPEEDI, they would have known to evacuate Karino Elementary School, six miles away, rather than use it as an evacuation shelter.

Minuscule amounts of radioactive iodine-131 from Fukushima have now turned up as far away as Kansas.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]