What turned Fukushima from a medium-ranking industrial accident, of the kind that happens perhaps eight or ten times a year, into a disaster, with a reported death toll among the evacuees of over 1000? It wasn't the radiation, writes Malcolm Grimston.
In common with Three Mile Island, Fukushima doesn't seem to have caused any deaths from radiation; even at Chernobyl the demonstrable death toll which resulted from radiation exposure was small compared to events like Bhopal or the Banqiao dam failure.
What created the human misery at Fukushima was the response - not the immediate precautionary evacuation, but what followed and ironically what preceded. Read more...