Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fukushima, Great Britain: What happens when bad news happens at home?

Have you noticed, how, sometimes, when something happens in a far-away, unfamiliar place, it's hard to grasp the scale of the thing? It's like, I know how far it is from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I know what if feels like to get in the car and do that drive. But when it's a place I've never been to and I hear about it in the news, I struggle to grasp the scale. For example, how far is it from Fukushima to Tokyo? I've got no idea!

Well, I thought it was time to bring Fukushima a little closer to home. What if Fukushima was in Great Britain.

The official exclusion zone around Fukushima is 20 kms and it's very likely that nearly all of that area will remain uninhabitable for the rest of our lifetimes. But in fact very high, unsafe levels of radioactivity have been measured more than 35 kms (22 miles) away.

In the case of Fukushima, the radioactive plume blew in the north-west direction. A similar event in a different place would, naturally, have different results. Wind direction, wind speed and who knows what else would cause a different fallout pattern. Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to impose a 35 km fallout radius on a map of Great Britain, at each of the nuclear power stations.

Here are the results.


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