60 Minutes: Fallout!

Uploaded by bearishtrader on 12.08.2011

On Japanís eastern shores where thousands of people once lived there are now only neat
piles of rubble and an eerie silence to mark the tsunami that so devastated a nation. But
itís not long before that silence is shattered signalling thereís another disaster looming.
Whatís it saying, Frank?
>>FRANK JACKSON: Itís nothing like itís said before.
>>LIZ HAYES: Weíre heading for ground zero of Japanís nuclear crisis the meltdown of
the Fukushima power plant. Itís more than 20km away, but already weíre picking up its
deadly fallout.
>>FRANK JACKSON: The radiation is building, the further we go in so itís going to be
too dangerous to carry on.
>>LIZ HAYES: So we actually have to stop here.
>>FRANK: Yep. Iím not willing to take you any further.
>>LIZ HAYES: Radiation expert Frank Jackson and his Geiger counters tell us weíve already
come too far. Even the protective gear is not enough?
>>FRED: Gamma is the strongest form of radiation it will go through most things apart from
>>LIZ HAYES: Well, thatís the type of radiation we want to avoid.
>>FRED: It is. Yeah.
>>LIZ HAYES: Fukushima a major supplier of Japanís power once looked like this. These
shocking new images show the moment the tsunami smashed into the plant triggering a series
of fires and explosions. Just 200 kilometres from Tokyo, three of the six nuclear reactors
at Fukushima are now in meltdown and deadly radiation has already leaked into the sea
and air.
>>MICHIO: They say the reactor is stable, yes, thatís true. Stable like youíre hanging
on the edge of a cliff hanging by your fingernails and that one by one your fingernails start
to crack. Thatís stability. In other words, itís a race against time.
>>LIZ HAYES: If you thought nuclear disaster had been averted in Japan, then meet physicist,
Michio Kaku.
>>MICHIO: If youíve been exposed because youíre an atomic worker, even after youíre
long dead and buried your gravesite will be radioactive. Your great grandkids can come
with Geiger counters and see that great granddaddy still has radiation at his gravesite.
>>LIZ HAYES: Are you serious?
>>MICHIO: Iím serious
>>LIZ HAYES: The death and destruction, the displacement of so many families has been
quite shocking and radioactive contamination just adds another layer to what is already
an unspeakable tragedy, these were obviously peopleís homes but because the nuclear plant
is just 20 kilometres the decision to return rebuild may well be out of their hands. More
than 135,000 people have been forced to evacuate. The streets, in towns and villages are now
mostly deserted. And locals have been told their food and water may be contaminated.
Shall we test these?
>>FRED: Thereís the same as an X-ray according to this.
>>LIZ HAYES: So every time you have a cabbage you have an X-ray.
>>FRED: Yep.
>>LIZ HAYES: These are Japanís radiation refugees, thousands who are now living in
cardboard shelters sleeping on the floors of public buildings with few possessions and
little privacy and facing a future that doesnít seem to offer much more. When you look at
this I do feel like Iím looking through someoneís window. People have gone to a lot of effort
to try and make a cardboard box home.
>>CHIA: Yeah, Iím surprised to see there are photographs and all the book shelves built
>>LIZ HAYES: Many Japanese people, like Chia Matsumoto fear their country will never fully
recover. Do you think youíll ever be able to take food, water, the air you breathe for
granted again?
>>CHIA: Ah, knowingly no, I donít think so. I just have to believe that thatís safe to
eat or drink. But somewhere in my mind Iím sure I know and I always suspect or always
doubt is this, I have to ask myself ìis this is okay, or if I do this, is it going to show
in my health in a few yearsí time. I already do.î
>>MICHIO: These are guinea pigs in some sense. Human guinea pigs to see exactly how radiation
disperses in the environment and exactly how itís incorporated into peopleís bodies and
into their childrenís bodies and as the years and decades go by weíll see an increase in
>>LIZ HAYES: To get some idea of what that means for the people of Fukushima, weíve
journeyed to the only other place on earth that has seen such a disaster. This is Pripyat
ñ once a city of 53,000 people, purpose built for Chernobyl workers and their families now
a ghost town.
>>SERGEI: In the morning it was 34 hours after the accident, they told people to get document
and get outside of the building.
>>LIZ HAYES: But the people of that town thought they were leaving for just three days?
>>SERGEI: For three days, yeah
>>LIZ HAYES: So they left everything?
>>SERGEI: Ah, basically yes.
>>LIZ HAYES: No one will ever go back there will they?
>>SERGEI: Thatís for sure.
>>LIZ HAYES: In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the former Soviet country of Ukraine
exploded. Sergei Ivanchuk was 16.
>>SERGEI: When it happened, nobody in this country in the world knew how bad it was,
even the director of the power plant, even the people who worked there. I think the first
people who realised that it was bad those fire fighters that you know the first victims
that died first night.
>>LIZ HAYES: Those fire fighters were brought here to this now abandoned hospital. And down
in its basement are their discarded contaminated uniforms their boots, coats and even a cap.
You know, whatís shocking about this Sergei, is that 25 years later itís still incredibly
>>SERGEI: Definitely.
>>LIZ HAYES: It is a terrible reminder of the horrors those rescue workers faced of
not just a fire but an invisible enemy. I actually donít feel good about being here.
I think we should go.
>>SERGEI: Yeah, sure.
>>LIZ HAYES: And when it contaminates a community, this can be the result. At Kievís radiation
hospital, built specifically for Chernobyl victims children born years after the disaster
are today battling cancer and other illnesses believed to be caused by the contamination.
How do you feel about that? Itís something you didnít see but affects you?
>>GIRL: I understand it was very terrible, this time it was so bad.
>>LIZ HAYES: The containment vessel in Chernobylís 4 number reactor ruptured during a safety
test sparking a series of explosions and a fire spewing a cloud of radiated particles
across Europe.
>>MICHIO: Helicopters came in with boric acid, sand, concrete to protect the crew and dumped
5,000 tons of sand, concrete, boric acid and just buried the reactor. It took years to
do this and created a sarcophagus.
>>LIZ HAYES: Today reactor 4 is an industrial blight on the Ukraine landscape. The concrete
cover you see a mere band aid over a molten core thatís still hot and some fear is still
melting. And there are plans to build yet another sarcophagus as this cover is breaking
down. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster is still far from over. To this day there is a 30 kilometre
exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl. And visitors must first get government approval
to come here, because high radiation levels are still being recorded. This device is purely
to detect the radiation in the air and this area is supposed to be very radioactive. Now
if I put it down here, it becomes very active. Mask on. Everyone who comes here must be tested
for contamination because radiation is in the air and in the soil and in the food. How
many people are being affected still to this day around Chernobyl?
>>IRYNA LABUNSKA: I think itís since 1986 over five million people.
>>LIZ HAYES: Scientist Iryna Labunska has been testing food from areas affected by Chernobyl.
The one thing I feel I now know and that I should know is where a nuclear reactor is
anywhere in the world because it has the potential to affect me even if I donít live in that
>>IRYNA: Yes, because as you know Chernobyl fallout was over the world. Still now in England
we have some pastures which are not used for grazing of animals because they still have
contaminated with caesium from Chernobyl.
>>MICHIO: All of us have a piece of Chernobyl in our bodies. Realise that we could take
Geiger counters, simulation counters and see and actually see that radiation from Chernobyl
has been incorporated into our flesh and tissue.
>>LIZ HAYES: And that will be the same with Fukushima?
>>MICHIO: Thatís right. In fact the whole world will be exposed to the radiation from
Fukushima. It means that the radiation went over the Pacific Ocean, sailed over the United
States and is now circulating around the entire earth.
>>LIZ HAYES: So weíre already getting it?
>>MICHIO: We are already getting radiation from Fukushima.
>>LIZ HAYES: Do you fear that Fukushima will become the Chernobyl of Japan, a dead centre
and a place that people can never go back to?
>>CHIA: I think unfortunately it will become that way and has to be that way, or it has
to be kept that way.
>>LIZ HAYES: This nuclear disaster brings with it an enemy its victims canít see or
smell yet has the power to take everything from them, a cheap reliable energy source
that could now cost them dearly.
>>MICHIO: Every nation of the world that has decided to go nuclear has to reassess the
real dangers. Whatís going to happen over a 100 year, 500 year time frame? These things
happen. They donít happen often but when they do happen they could wipe out the economy
of a whole nation and so nations have to democratically decide for themselves, are they willing to
take the risk?