THE PROBLEM OF THE JOURNALISTS AND THE SCIENTISTS TO INFORM WELL ABOUT FUKUSHIMA

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Image by Beacon Radio via Flickr

As maybe everybody around the globe I follow the news about Fukushima through my local news (I also follow Japan Times, BBC and THE GUARDIAN)

On TV quite oft there is a special program of a few minutes that talks about Fukushima. I imagine that maybe something similar may happen in Australia, India, France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba or the US.

In these special programs I see a journalist and a scientist talking about the Fukushima disaster. And when I see what happens I imagine that this maybe happening around the globe!

And what happens?

What happens is that the journalist and the scientist seem to come from two different planets! The scientist normally is a Nuclear Physics teacher at University or somebody who works in Nuclear Safety agency or sometimes in a hospital and knows about radiation.

I have realised that the journalist and the scientist seem to speak diferent languages. It is true that sometimes the scientist explains himself – they are normally men – quite well, but sometimes you have the feeling that he feels uncomfortable. On the other hand the journalist sometimes seem to me to be asking some questions that are non-sense.

For example, the journalists asks if radiation has already reached our country? Then the scientist says that radiation has reached the country but in a ridiculous way. I think that in this case the journalist is not informing us but just bringing more chaos. This is not what a journalist should do. A journalist that makes an interview to a scientist it seems to me that the first thing that has to do is to read a lot about the subject! So that the questions have a meaning! So, the journalist has to know a bit. A say that because when I see the interview I have the feeling that the interview it is been done in a very wrong way!

I dislike that some people do not give importance to nuclear dangers but I also dislike people who act in an irrational way. The quantity that one gets in an x-ray is much much bigger that the quantity of radiation that is reaching Tokyo or any country. So, I find sad that some journalists translate their lack of knowledge to the public by emphasizing wrong questions.

The problem with Fukushima is not at all the radiation that is detected thousands of kilometers away – it is important for science but it is not a danger because is so small. The problem with Fukushima is that the world is full of nuclear plants and we rely on them to live as we live.

When I was a small boy, one day I passed with a bycicle near a Nuclear Power Station. My bycicle punch and I had to change the tyre. I remember I was almost crying. I was so afraid to be next to the nuclear plant. I thought it may explode at any moment or that I would get so much radiation that I would get sick.

Well, I still consider that nuclear energy is a danger but now I realise I should have not been so afraid. Nuclear energy can be very dangerous but this didn’t mean I was going to die just because I was near the plant for two minutes. I had been very irrational.

So, I think that when we talk about nuclear energy it is necessary we know more about the risks.

And with some journalists who bring more fear than necessary or scientists that try to use its superior knowledge of nuclear physics to try to give an image of nuclear energy is safe I think we have to move forward.

Well, I hope one day the journalists know more about science and scientists know more about how to express them to a general public.

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