Japan’s Ongoing Nuclear Crisis

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The Japanese nuclear agency has doubled its previous estimate of the amount of radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Even with the increased estimate, the amount of radiation released since the disaster began on March 11 is only about 15 percent of the radiation leaked at Chernobyl, but the plant is still leaking, and officials said the damage from meltdowns at three different reactors is more extensive than they had previously reported.

In a 750-page report to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Japanese officials acknowledged that they were “unprepared” to deal with a disaster of this magnitude. The report also includes a number of notable admissions. From the BBC:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says more evacuations are being considered. Monitoring shows the lie of the land and wind patterns may be causing a build-up of radiation in other areas.

And from Bloomberg:

Many workers at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant were without personal dosimeters to measure radiation exposure for weeks after the March 11 earthquake because the tsunami soaked their devices in seawater, making them unusable.

So while the nuclear crisis may have faded from headlines in the US, the latest news is a reminder that residents and officials in the country will be dealing with this for some time. The disaster has also caused political stirrings in the country. Last week, after an unsuccessful “no confidence” vote in the lower house of the parliament, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he may resign over the Fukushima situation once they reach “a certain stage in tackling the disaster and I’ve fulfilled my role.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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