New questions arise about Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant

New questions arise about Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 7:42am

New questions are emerging in Japan about the government's response to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It's come to light that Japan's system to forecast radiation threats was working from the moment its nuclear crisis began. Further complicating matters, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and others involved in declaring evacuation areas never saw the reports and neither did local authorities.

Reports from the forecast system were sent to Japan's nuclear safety agency, but the flow of data stopped there. So thousands of people stayed for days in areas that the system had identified as high risk.

In one of the most shocking examples, as officials planned a venting operation certain to release radioactivity into the air, the system predicted an elementary school would be directly in the path of the radioactive plume. But the prediction helped no one, because nobody acted on it. Instead of being cleared out, the school was turned into a temporary evacuation center.

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