School Life in South Korea and Finland

South Korea and Finland – what a stark contrast in school life.

Student life in South Korea: cram school till midnight, four hours of sleep are the norm, school attendance in high school till 10pm, high cost of cram school education, study for exams only, pressure to get into a top-notch university, etc.

Finnish students have a 20-work school week. This allows them to spend this extra time outside of school to do practical things:  meeting friends, spending time with family, having time to earn some money on the side, reading for pleasure, etc.

福島の復興か?犠牲か?Clean up or Mess up for Fukushima?

 Posted: 22 October 2013

Makiko Wood, a high school teacher from Japan who currently resides in Germany, shares the following information about the clean up of the mess in Fukushima, set for November 2013. 

繰り返される事故、放射能汚染、汚染水漏れ・・・。あの地震から2年半経った今でも、深刻な状況が続いています。そして、東電の場当たり的な対応もさることながら、今何が起きているのか分からない現状に苛立ちを感じます。海外のブログでこんなものを見つけました。日本で知らない人もいるのではないかと思い、紹介します。

11月に福島第一原発で、ある重大な作業が始められる。それは、福島第一原発第4号機のプールに保管されている、高度に放射能汚染された使用済み核燃料およそ400トン(重さ300kg、長さ4.5mの核燃料1535本分)を取り出すというものだ。更なる地震が発生した場合に崩壊する可能性がある建屋から避難させるのだが、地震により以前ミリメートル単位での作業を制御していたコンピュータが壊れたため、クレーンでのマニュアル作業で行うのだ。この作業には大きな危険が含んでいることは言うまでもない。

大量のプルトニウムを含んだこの使用済み核燃料の放射性物質は、広島に落とされた原爆の14,000倍と言われている。もし、この使用済み核燃料が、取り出し作業中に落下したり破損することになれば、最悪の場合、大爆発やプール内でのメルトダウンを引き起こす可能性もあり、そうなれば、東京や横浜を含む広い範囲に、莫大な量の放射能を放出することになる。世界核産業動向年報2013では、「コントロールなしでの4号機からの使用済み核燃料の取り出しは、史上最も深刻な放射能災害を引き起こすだろう」と報告された。(中略)

Watch the video at raw for beauty: http://rawforbeauty.com/blog/no-one-is-watching.html

海外に住んでいる私だから、福島第一原発の情報に疎くなっているのか・・・。それとも、日本人が知らされていないのか・・・。両親に聞いてみると、     この危険な作業を行わなければいけないことももちろんそうだが、国民に周知されていないことも問題です。福島に住んでいる私の両親は、地震後も政府を信じ、政府やメディアの発表をもとに、福島に残りました。一方、東京に住んでいる姉は、地震以降、一度も実家には帰っていません。情報を信じるかどうかは、個人が判断するものですが、「秘密保全法案」が国会を通ろうとする最中、判断基準となる情報を得難いことに憤りを感じます。

Repeated accidents, radiation contamination, leaking of radiated water… It is still a severe situation in Fukushima after two and half years from the earthquake. I feel irritated about the actual statement, because we are not informed what is happening as well as ad hoc steps of TEPCO. I found some information about Fukushima in an overseas blog and I would like to share it for people who might not know about it otherwise.

A delicate operation is about to start in Fukushima in November, which is to remove 400 tons of highly radiated spent fuel rods – 1535 fuel rods, 300kg of weight and 4.5m long each- from the pool in damaged Reactor No.4 so as to evacuate the rods from the damaged reactor building. However, the delicate and dangerous operation has to be completed manually with cranes because the computer which is used to control process that memorized the exact locations of roods down to the millimetre was broken by the earthquake.

This operation is obviously fraught with danger. This spent fuel which contains deadly plutonium is equivalent to 14,000 times amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.  If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks, or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst-case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large nuclear fire.

Any of these situations could lead to massive releases of deadly radionuclides into the atmosphere, putting much of Japan — including Tokyo and Yokohama — and even neighboring countries at serious risk.  Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt said recently in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.”

I wonder whether I am not abreast of the information by TEPCO or people, in general, who live in Japan are not informed. I asked my parents about is. It is a big problem that both we have to face the dangerous operation and we are not informed about the operation, or anything for that matter. After the earthquake, my parents still live in Fukushima, believing the government and the media. On the other hand, my sister who lives in Tokyo has not been back to our parents’ house since the disaster happened.

It is personal decision what they believe, however, as the law of secrets is about to pass the National Diet (国会 Kokkai), I am very irritated by the actual statement. It is hard even for people who live in Japan to get the right information to make a sound judgment.