As time goes on and the situation in Japan fails to resolve, we have to deal with the reality: There will be radiation from Japan’s meltdowns and it will affect the health of (at least) local populations. After watching the situation unfold, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that there has to be a definitive strategy to stop the radiation hazard once and for all. This is it:
Pour hundreds of tons of concrete over each malfunctioning reactor to form a containment module over each reactor, and then declare the power plant complex and at least several square miles around it to be an Exclusion Zone, never to be entered for purposes of living or working or research without government permission.
Will an Exclusion Zone Work to Contain Radioactive Fallout?
This isn’t fantasy, this is exactly what was done with the Chernobyl meltdown. It was clear then (as it is now in Japan) that there was no way the plant would ever function again. There was a significant radiation danger, with radioactive materials with half lives that approach 20,000 years (like Plutonium). We know that concrete is a reasonably successful shield to radiation, not as good as steel or lead, but effective if the fuel rods are entombed in large quantities of the stuff. This is the solution, a dead zone never to be exploited by humans ever again.
In 1986, The forests around Chernobyl turned reddish-brown and died for several miles around the reactor, earning the area the name “The Red Forest”. Yet within a relatively short time, the animals that survived returned, and have reclaimed the area. The trees, though stunted, are growing. They’re all radioactive, and probably always will be. That’s why human don’t hunt them, eat them or chop them down. Yet they don’t have 2 heads, and elk, deer, wolves, wild pig, owl and perhaps even bear live normal yet radioactive lives in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
And this will be the future, in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. No, it doesn’t exist yet, but it will. Just a bit of general preparedness wisdom.