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March 28, 2011

The Latest Fukushima Photo Bucking For Icon Status

This is the latest Japan nuke crisis photo bucking for icon status. Why?

1. Like a still from a horror movie, it makes you fear for the worst wondering what freak act of science has occurred under the tarp.

2. This has a little bit of a victim sheet/coroner feel, as well.

3.  How do you spell d-e-n-i-a-l. If you’ve noticed, the reactor story seems to be slipping out of the headlines pretty fast. I’m wondering how much that has to do with the possibility, at this point, that people are both transfixed by the story, but also don’t want to face the reality/consequences of a real live nuclear power plant accident.

4. The ad hoc masking tape job on the Tyvek suits suggests that the danger has gone beyond-the-book in terms of how to respond to a crisis that won’t go back in the box.

(photo: Kyodo/Reuters. caption: Military personnel prepared to transfer workers exposed to radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to a hospital. March 25, 2010.)

  • Enoch Root

    Fukushima: Next door to a Planned Parenthood location.

  • Gasho

    This disaster is Fricking HUGE. If the media were functioning properly in this country or around the world, we’d all be getting 10 minute updates on this and nobody would care if it were the exact same information we got 10 minutes ago. As it is, the story has lost it’s zest because it’s unfolding too slowly for the editor’s taste at CNN or whatever other news channel has stopped showing it.

    This scene with the tarp is inexplicable.. what the hell is going on that the affected person can apparently walk away, but cannot be seen ??! The tarp is blowing against their faces and they don’t seem concerned by that.. no blood showing anywhere .. but keeping something secret is worth using 7 or 8 workers to cover up. These guys have important jobs to do.. what is going on?

    We should all be very afraid. There is so much fuel in those complexes. They say it’s not as bad as Chernobyl … but what if one reactor gets past the point of manageability? What if nobody can get close enough to fight it and it ALL goes south? All 6 Reactors and 20+ years of spent fuel rods.. There ain’t no tarp that’s gonna cover that up. No sir. And if you think this isn’t a global problem, think again.

    • psychohistorian

      Fukushima has 10 times the fuel than Chernobyl and plutonium to boot. There are potentially cracks in 4 reactors that are not self healing. If, but probably more when one or more of these reactors goes critical it will either takes the others with it or at a minimum spread its explosion to one or more of the spent fuel tanks. The radioactive fuel in the spent fuel tanks either becomes part of the explosion chain or is blasted to who knows where.

      Yeah, we need some global adults to step up and take charge to assure society’s future.

      As to the picture,
      I looked beyond the obvious kabuki and saw the solar collector in the background.

    • psychohistorian

      Fukushima has 10 times the fuel than Chernobyl and plutonium to boot. There are potentially cracks in 4 reactors that are not self healing. If, but probably more when one or more of these reactors goes critical it will either takes the others with it or at a minimum spread its explosion to one or more of the spent fuel tanks. The radioactive fuel in the spent fuel tanks either becomes part of the explosion chain or is blasted to who knows where.

      Yeah, we need some global adults to step up and take charge to assure society’s future.

      As to the picture,
      I looked beyond the obvious kabuki and saw the solar collector in the background.

  • Nemo

    The Japanese government is probably thanking the Libyans for distracting the media from the goings on at Fukushima. The cover up and obfuscation has been going awhile. This literally brings it out into the open.
    Still the message seems to be “Nothing to see here, just move a long.” The Japanese government and the nuclear industry are trying to lull us. Remember the peaceful atom? Now we are supposed to believe that nuclear energy is green.
    Blue tarp greenwashing.

  • http://doran.pacifist.net/ Doran

    With only one face partially visible, this is a perfect image of the nothing to see here, please move along attitude of both the Japanese and U.S. governments. Hiding the faces of the workers prevents any humanization. While the suits may have in the past given an impression of scientific knowledge, the masking tape tends to reinforce the we’re hanging on by our fingertips impression of the Japanese response.

  • Progressive Mom

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….”

  • Royfoxart

    so scary.

    the randomly applied tape around the legs is almost the scariest element of all for me – don’t they have safe suits that are safe?

  • nj progressive

    The tape on the Tyvek suits is pretty standard for hazmat. I was the staff member in charge of a hazmat abatement project at a historic structure, as the first phase of a restoration, removing asbestos pipe wrappings and removing layers of lead-based paint from historic woodwork. When I had to go into the work site, I suited up in Tyvek, with a full-face respirator, and Tyvek booties and vinyl gloves, taping the sleeves and ankles over the gloves and boots. I then passed through a containment chamber and into the work area. When I left, I had to strip everything off. There was even a shower area for the abatement workers.

  • omen

    “we’re in over our heads.”

  • omen

    “we’re in over our heads.”

  • tinwoman

    Completely futile. That tarp will protect none of those men. And I think everyone knows this.

  • None

    This put me in mind of that shot from The Right Stuff in which all the astronauts are walking in slow motion towards us in their spacesuits. Here comes the bright future striding towards us.

    Now the future’s coming again, but we can’t tell what rude beast might be slouching towards us behind the cheap, mass produced tarp.

  • bks

    They’ve made 500 square miles of Pacific Ocean radioactive … so far. Today they dumped diaper absorbent, sawdust and newspaper into a pit of hyper-radioactive water. Complete failure. This is not the denouement, this is the second act.

    –bks

  • Dominic R

    This is a case of a little information fuelling misguided imaginations and shows the danger of a news media that craves news that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood action film. You’ve all happily run towards such exciting doomsday conclusions.

    Tape is usually used to seal suits and the reason for the tarp might be simple: privacy.
    People in the news spotlight tend to cover their faces to avoid having their images splashed everywhere, and the US military reacts with fury if injured or dead soldiers are photographed. So it makes sense that these very human workers should be aiming to protect their privacy as well.

    Secondly, the public’s general lack of knowledge about nuclear power and the risks leads to knee-jerk reporting and conclusions, so eloquently displayed in the comments. The process of cooling down these reactors will take months, which is a news cycle we can no longer deal with; we want disaster ASAP, 24/7 in HD and surround sound!

    People are imaging that this’ll turn vast swathes of Japan into a nuclear wasteland and pollute the pacific for generations to come. That really doesn’t look like it’ll happen, sorry to disappoint you all.

  • Longs4

    I am curious as to where exactly you found this image? Im curious about its original context.

  • Robgormleynj

    The facts after one year are that there were no deaths due to radiation from Fukushima. The background radiation levels in the evacuation zone aren’t high enough to cause any short or long term health issues. Radiation is all around us from: smoking, cosmic rays from the sun, decay of earth borne materials, etc. The lack of deaths and low levels of background radiation after the plants being subjected to such forces is a testament to the safety in the design of the plants.  Changes are needed: water tight areas designed for larger tsunamis, more robust spent fuel pools designs and instrumentation, underground switchgear relocated. 

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