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Do you think the Fukushima nuclear disaster is worse than Chernobyl?

35 Comments
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"Worse" is obviously factually incorrect. It could be argued that it was on a similar level, but most of the evidence points towards it being much less devastating, although of course very dangerous.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not correct. Most of the media reports point to it being less devastating. The actual evidence and scientific data, however points conclusively toward it being much worse in radiation released over time, type of particles released, number of melted cores (3) and fully exposed cores (20), as well as population affected by the fallout. Moscow drivers never had plutonium and strontium particles showing up in their air filters. For those who are not into science so much, spoon feed: if it's in your air filter, it's also in your lungs. And there are about 30 million people in Kanto area alone who all have lungs of one form or another. Anyone know what the population of western Ukraine and Belarus are combined? Hint: much less.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Kinda a little early for all us "nuclear experts" to call this one way or the other. The Fukushima plant is not completely stable, yet, nor are the effects of exposure to radiation quantifiable & comparable to Chernobyl in terms of long-lasting effects on humans, the environment, etc. Things definitely seem worse, mainly because there was less info coming out about Chernobyl at the time of the accident.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah, there are nuclear physicists coming out of the woodwork lately. Sheesh.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is it "worse"? A remarkably stupid question. These sorts of things are decided by data, not polls.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Moderator: No, we are asking readers about their perceptions, not whether it actually is or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We will know in 10 to 15 years when cancer rates increase. Right now, how high of an increase it will be, nobody knows.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't think in this case perception has anything to do with anything. If you live near Fukushima, it's worse. If not, ??? There's not even any real consensus on the long term impact of Chernobyl outside the exclusion zone, so I doubt there's going to be any real consensus about Fukushima for at least that long either.

I personally don't think it's anywhere near as bad based on the information at hand, but the crisis is far from over as well.

@cjsavoie

Moscow drivers never had plutonium and strontium particles showing up in their air filters

Moscow is over 1000km from Chernobyl. Ask Kiev drivers, or someone living in Belarus.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This question comes much too early and is not precise enough. Fukushima is anything from stable and still almost anything can happen. We don't even have enough information about the damages to the reactors or the whereabouts of the molten fuel so all we can do now is some more or less educated guesses. Making comparisons based on such guesses isn't particularly useful, is it?

When you ask about "worse", what does it refer to? The amount of radioactive material released? Then it seems Fukushima is worse already now. The human damage? In terms of deaths as an immediate result from the catastrophe Chernobyl has been worse so far, but in terms of long-term health problems it remains to be seen. In terms of economic impact, probably Fukushima will be worse, although there is not much data available for Chernobyl and we should not forget that it was one of the final nails in the coffin of the former Soviet Union.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The crisis is still ongoing and JT asked its readers about their perceptions . This type of poll is more appropriate when the crisis is over or at least under control. Which one is worse, hard to say but hope that the people in Fukushima could return to a normal life in the near future.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What is different this time is the (feigned?) indifference of the local and international mainstream media. Compared to the hyperbole and fear that was generated by Chernobyl, it does seem to me that this is being given the tread quietly treatment.Why? This event has a much more prescient threat to the American continent than Chernobyl. What I can say is that data and info has been delayed, testing of radiation seems deliberately random and adhoc, there seems to me to be an orchestrated effort to assure people that things are safe, yet even in Chernobyl people were evacuated from such 'hotspots' reasonably quickly.Yet the govt will give out 40,000 dosimeters and test the health of 2 million plus people? What I have picked up from my Japanese friends is an attitude of 'we are scared, we want out, but we have no choice but to stay, so we kinda don't want to know'...and whatt I am picking up from the Japanese government and Tepco is 'we are scared, we want out, we don't have an answer, but we can't afford panic,riots or the destruction of our economy,so we don't wanna tell' All these geiger counters around the place are picking up radiation...but meanwhile reactors 1 and 4 are spewing out hot particles of cesium,Curium,Strontium and Plutonium gamma which won't be detected by the kind of equipment people can but on Ebay or yahoo auction.Let alone what is ending up in the drink. Worse? who knows. I changed my re-entry status the other day because I think the time is coming when I have to uproot my family and flee,for the sake of my 16 mnth yr old..I think it is equally as bad and has vast potential to become much much worse. When you worry about radioactivity in the rain and then most of the food you eat every day,then life becomes a nightmare.I am living in Japan now, so here and now is worse.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

i voted yes, because there should have been lessons learned, safety adhered to, real reports since fukushima is about 30 years later.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

what a useless question! voting yes or no means exactly what? yes--you've tuned in continuously to trash news sites, ahem, and tv to be in such a panic to believe anything, instead of concentrating your energy on how to help. no--you're trying to compare the situation to something that happened years ago, in a totally different set of circumstances, making the comparison utterly useless.

wrong time, no, just a stupid question

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it will turn out to be worse than Chernobyl in the long run. There is just too much ongoing incompetence involved in the initial stages. The government is reluctant to come up with a plan, reluctant to press TEPCO to take real action, reluctant to take care of the people affected, and reluctant to actually acknowledge that there is the potential for the situation to turn into unmanageable crisis. We see an ever changing parade of TEPCO official spokesmen who have no clue what the guy before them has already said. TEPCO continues putting its stock share prices before honesty and action. The Government is mired in politics and power struggles. As one poster pointed out in comparison to Chernobyl, there are a lot more people that this meltdown can potentially affect and it seems the Fukushima area is expendable at this point. Nothing will change in the current Government/TEPCO muddle unless Tokyo actually becomes threatened and the outcry for action comes from there. Japan revolves around the almighty Tokyo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Worse in terms of severity... I'm gonna say no. Worse in terms of management and the ensuing long term consequences of this 'management'? HELL YEAH IT'S WORSE!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What made Chernobyl a disaster was also the lack of controls on the food chain after the disaster. It seems Japan is also heading in the same direction.

So it is too early to tell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Economically, then Fukushima is almost certainly worse than Chernobyl. However for virtaully any other criteria then Chernobyl is worse. Fukushima has badly affected the local area. But it is mostly a localised issues.

Chernobyl was a massive explosion which sent radiation high into the atmosphere which meant that it could affect a greater area. Parts of the UK were severly affected by it and there is still land which cannot be farmed. The population of Kanto is 30 million? Compare that to the population of Western Europe.

Too many people have an opinion on this, but don't know what happened at Chernobyl.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Chernobyl did not pollute the ocean, which is one mark in its favor.

Chernobyl is now to a great extent stabilized and predictable, to the point where tourists groups can be taken in by bus.

Chernobyl is 25 years down the half-life road.

Fukushima is fresh, and every day carries the potential for much greater disaster. The rickety rod pool at #4 is supported by scaffolding until they can pour concrete to support it against future quakes. 500 tons of water is poured through three melted reactor cores every day and this highly polluted water is about to overflow out of the contaiment buildings and down to the sea. Fukushima is pulling alongside, IMHO, with the ever-present danger that it could get a lot worse before it gets better.

Every nuclear disaster makes the future worse for all of us..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The disaster is not over so there is no way to tell , is there? The reactors are not in a shut-down mode and continue to spew radiation out. If the nuclear fuel has breached containment and is melting through the earth beneath then it is only a matter of time until underlying groundwater dispersed plutonium,uranium and the heavier radioactive elements start making their way out into the ocean. Unless that is prevented the potential for a massive catastrophe is upon us

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Potentially much worse, but it's a long way from being over yet, so obviously it's hard to speculate. I think the proximity to one of the worlds biggest and greatest cities, a generally densely packed population, the pontential for more earthquakes and natural disasters to effect it's stability in the future, it's location right on the sea all lean towards a very precarious situation indeed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

no need to speculate, after more than 3 months, TEPCO cannot follow their plan to solve this. it will take a decade or more and the radiation leaking continues...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not a nuclear winter, but it is a nuclear 'snow job'! The mismanagement and coverups of the severity of this disaster are nothing short of disgusting! One of y mates in Ibaraki has recorded alarmingly high levels of radiation around his house, yet the J-Gov, between sh!t fights, is stating there is nothing to be concerned about outside the exclusion zone. What a load of cow's poo!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At this point in time "no". Or at least "probably not". But it;s far too early to rationallyanswer this question. As for perception, I'd also say "no". But then you;d have to be oild enough to actually remember Chernobyl to make a comparison.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Agree with "cjsavoie". The Chernobyl disaster happened on the soil of our "enemies", the commies, the USSR. America and the rest of the west had a romp in the park pointing out how inferior Soviet technology was back then. But with Fukushima, the truth is being revealed drip by drip, allowing the News Cycles to dry up, allowing people to lose interest. My opinion is that Fukushima is worse, especially since the ocean contamination is not being taken seriously and there hasn't been a serious effort to measure contamination levels in Japan. We find out about Tea when it shows up in France, glowing in the dark. When the cancer cases begin in a few years, we'll know. (;_;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They're both tragic. Regarding Fukushima situation, nobody really understands the long term damages and to the environment, the wild life and the human health problems. The true assessment will take alot longer, maybe decade or more. Also, the problems of inhabitable towns and the loss of identity for many people who were attached to the land. These families lived in a same area for generations and generations. The mental anguish cannot be measured. You still cannot trust what J-goverment and TEPCO's media release. They need to come clean and provide better transparency of the progress.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Agree with "cjsavoie". The Chernobyl disaster happened on the soil of our "enemies", the commies, the USSR. America and the rest of the west had a romp in the park pointing out how inferior Soviet technology was back then

Apart from Western Europe you mean? Which was covered in radioactive particles. Tea from Japan arrived in France and contained high levels of radiation. Compared to Chernobyl where in 2003 there were still 400 farms in the UK where lamb sheep farming couldn't be done because the levels of radiation in the land were too high. That's 17 years after the explosion. Get a map and then try the 'west was having a romp' argument again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It has the potential to be worse. Chernobyl's radiation amount readings were also hidden from the local population. It's way too earlier to say either way. To those who use relative (and smug) expressions like "it is mostly a localized issue" are not paying attention to the spread of contaminated food, wildlife and ocean life. I'm guessing such arrogant statements are based on external agendas and not science.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is localized compared to Chernobyl. Not arrogant. Nor an agenda. But based on studying the effects of Chernobyl.

As I said as of 2003 400 farms in the UK were still directly affected by the Chernobyl disaster and as such Fukushima is a localized issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Chernobyl was a much worse accident than Fukushima. That is a fact. My "perceptions" are based on the facts. I can't understand how others cannot find out the facts and base their answer to this question on facts only.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fukushima is definitely way worse. This is not the 80s its 2011 and the Japanese still blunder from one mistake in handling this matter to another. And the mess is not only not over by now it will not be over for a loooong time.

Chernobyl was bad, but in the long run it will be nothing compared to the madness going on here, if only because the japanese government doesn't have the balls to send people to their death in the reator trying to stabilize and fix it like the russians did back then...

Don't forget, nobody knows how far the corium has eaten its way into the earth by now and how much of the ground-water down there will be contaminated by this extremely dangerous material...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Chernobyl was bad

There speaks someone who clearly doesn't know what happened at Chernobyl.

So far, only one person has tried to use facts as to why they think this one is worse. Everyone else has just said it's worse because it is.

It's clear that many people who have an opinion on this have limited understanding as to what happened in Chernobyl. This is bad. It's bad for Fukushima, it may be bad for the Eastern side of Japan. It may even be bad for the whole of Japan.

But it's not comparable to Chernoby because Chernobyl is STILL affecting Western Europe. Gooddonkey and my last posts were rated as bad. I'm assuming that Gooddonkey is old enough to remember Chernobyl and i'm also assuming that whoever rated our posts as bad isn't. I suggest that you read up on that disaster and learn the facts before you start rating posts when you clearly have a lack of kowledge on the subject.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

No, for a number of reasons. Another basic difference lays in the fact that while any kind of information about what actually happened to Chernobyl such as the contamination of the soil, etc, came out years after the accident, in Fukushima there is no attempt to hide what is going on. Plus, even if they would like to, the whole world is watching. Yes, there were the annoying comments like "i repeat, there is no direct effect to human health" by the you-know-who, but overall, everything is being monitored properly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes it is twice worse compared to Chernobyl.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Which is worse: A killer shark or a killer crocodile? That's essentially the same question. They can both kill without taking protective measures - and sadly the Japanese govt. don't seem to be taking many.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's certainly less devastating than Chernobyl (even though not all reactors blew up). In Japan the tsunami killed more people than the earthquake and radiation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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