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A scary thought that came true

Tsunami, a natural disaster, has done what human beings could not have done at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Chetan Chauhan reports.

world Updated: Mar 19, 2011 00:48 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Tsunami, a natural disaster, has done what human beings could not have done at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

"Not even I can do any harm to nuclear reactors," declared the chief technical officer at Diiachi's nuclear plant four years ago when journalists from Asian countries visited the plant as part of climate change awareness programme of the Japanese government.

"Everything is controlled by computers. Even a small error triggers the system, which automatically switches off the system ending any possibility of the radiation leak," the official said, while showcasing the reactor safety aspects on a simulator and a proto-type of the main reactor at the office of the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

It was a chilly December 2007 morning with snowflakes providing a blanket to the reactors. Then, we were made to walk down the prototype with each process of the reactor explained in detail.

The visit appeared convincing on safety aspects even as I saw number of homes close to the installation. A thought about the residents' safety in case of leakage from reactors hit me.

But, the official's powerful presentation over-powered the thought. Now, I see the thought has become a reality in such a short span of time.

Our two-hour visit was restricted to main office and a bus tour of the reactors explaining how the plant works.

The reactors in chambers were as high as a skyscraper and were spread in an area almost equal to a soccer field.

The possible devastation they can pose has now become clear with the news of radiation expected to reach Russia and United States and its devastating impact on mankind.