April 14, 2011
Not an apocalyptic thriller
This video, shot by a crew of Video News Network reporters, reminds me of the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker. The "stalker" is a mule who guides people into the "Zone," an wasteland devastated by a meteorite strike. Their destination is "The Room."
At the center of this zone is the Fukushima power plant. It's just as unearthly and weird as the movie. Despite the squawking radiation meters, they are never in much danger. The Geiger counters finally peak at 112 μSv/hour within a mile of the plant.
They didn't hang around, so shouldn't have gotten much more radiation than a single dental X-ray (5 μSv), about what you'd get every hour flying cross-country in a commercial jet. The average annual radiation dose for Americans is around 3600 μSv.
Radiation is one of those things that you don't think about until forced to by circumstances. But like the universe itself, we were born in radiation and will spend our lives absorbing and radiating it. It's not a question of whether or not, but of how much.
In Stalker, The Room is said to be a place where wishes are granted. The wishes in this case are obvious, but only time and a lot of hard, dangerous work can make them come true.
Apocalypse not now