Who’s afraid?

The black-yellow symbol for radioactivityWhenever I talk about my plan to emigrate to Japan, people get curious. Interestingly, the question I hear most often is: “But, Fukushima – are you not afraid?”

Short answer: Nope.

Long answer: No. But look at this: Where I live right now, the two closest working nuclear plants are about 100 and 150 km away, respectively. If I do move to Kyoto, the nearest nuclear plants will be about 80 and 100 km away, respectively. I don’t think that makes such a big difference, really.

The distance between Kyoto and Fukushima is about 600 km. Of course, that’s not much of a distance for radioactive fallout to cross – just remember Chernobyl in 1986. There, a large part of the fallout travelled as far as Central Europe, that’s more than 1500 km.

The admittedly big problem of Japanese nuclear plants is the frequency of earthquakes in Japan. Every day, somewhere in the country, the earth shakes, more or less. Also the fact that virtually all of their plants are situated near the coast (for cheap and easy access to cooling water, I assume) does nothing to instill a really secure feeling into me, I agree.

Still, let’s not forget that most of the nuclear accidents the world has seen so far had much more profane reasons that earthquakes and tsunami: fires in the plants, operator errors, failures of the cooling system.

So, no, I’m still not afraid. No matter where you live or what you do, there is no absolute safety, no complete danger free zone, that’s the way it is. And in the end only one thing counts: To be scared to death still means to die.