Friday, April 22, 2011

Cost of disasters to be paid for out of what?!

Japan today widened the evacuation zone to more areas outside of the 20km exclusion zone around Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  The new areas includes tens of thousands of people and thousands of farmers.  The prime minister explained that cumulative radiation exposure posed a health risk to residents. 

Except that it won't.  That is, unless there is evidence I'm not aware of that radiation levels in those areas are higher than what is safe for humans.  The move is merely precautionary in nature, and will cost millions of dollars.

Tepco president Masataka Shimizu today confronted angry evacuees in a shelter in Fukushima, apologising to them individually in an effort to repair Tepco's tortured public image.  He copped a fair amount of abuse for his efforts; some people blamed him for their homelessness; others demanded compensation, one guy suggested he move the nuclear power plant next to his home in Tokyo.  It's understandable that evacuees were pissed off, but ... really, people.  None of the evacuees offered him thanks for decades of cheap, safe, carbon-neutral energy.  Nobody thrust the plans for a working fusion energy plant into his outthrust hands, and nobody vowed to cut their own personal energy use by 80% so that the whole country could be powered by renewable sources.

The next news announcement really made my day.  The government announced a new supplementary fiscal budget to pay for reconstruction after the quake, tsunami and nuclear emergency.  It will cover rebuilding infrastructure, subsidising the recreation of the fishing industry, evacuation and accommodation for hundreds of thousands of people, compensation for farmers affected by radiation etc etc.  All in all, 4 trillion yen, about 45 billion Australian dollars... to be paid for...out of funds set aside to cover the gap in the pension plan!

And just to top it off, Tokyo Disneyland is now open.

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