Yesterday, a mother with a couple of children, one infant and the other toddler, has come to see me at the office. She was worrying about the radiation to her children due to the nuclear plant accident. I told her this area has been relatively spared with the fallout of the radioactive substances through the nuclear plume. Around the time of the accident, however, she has had the children stayed at her parents' home south of here. That area turned out to be relatively heavily contaminated with the radioactives as the contamination map in this post shows the flow southward.
There is no data published of the contamination for the 10 days or so after the accident. It is highly suspected that there has been heavy contamination occuring in the areas in the two directions from the nuclear plants; one is the most disastrous contamination in northwest direction. The people around the crippled nuclear plants were told to evacuate this way at that time. That is, they went to the most densely contaminated area. The other direction of the plume headed to south along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It was not so dense as the first route but still made spotty fallouts down to Chiba and Tokyo.
Wasn't is possible for them to avoid being contaminated by the fallouts? Yes, the SPEEDI system could predict it in the beginning. This system acts for radiation contamination prediction in case of severe accident of nuclear plants. It had been designed, established and maintained by a governmental agency spending over one hundred million Yen for years. It could work for this case. But they haven't published the data for the people involved. Later, the governmental agency excused that they hadn't had enough data to make accurate prediction. This could never be the reason. Later inspection revealed the prediction by the SPEEDI at the time of the accident had been fairly accurate and reflected the actual contamination. If they had had the data enough, it should not have been a prediction but an actual measurement. The prediction was really necessary for the evacuees to lessen the chance of radiation.
In reality, some evacuees had gone, as told above, to the northwest area that has been revealed to be contaminated in the worst manner later. In the southern area, the people did not know the fallouts were occuring on them and have never evacuated anywhere or, at least, haven't taken any measures to avoid radiation while the fallout went on, like this mother and her children.
Why did the bureaucrats or the politicians let them know the prediction? There could be a few answers. Our bureaucracy has been a tight system where they won't do anything without precedent cases. They could not do any thing in such a disaster which they had not expected. They are willing to publish least facts or data to the people in a kind of paternalism. They are apt to control the people by the biased information. The most probable reason may be that they tried to lessen the apparent external radiation level, that is closely related with the compensation for the late sequelle of the radiation.
The government or the governmental agency responsible for this predicition has kept their mouth shut regarding this issue. The person responsible for this issue should be brought to the suit. It is a crime of non compliance to their responsibility.
I was pleased to know this mother became aware of the danger to have nuclear plants in our earthquake rich country and she had started action against any nuclear plant. It seems the people has learned what they should do at present.