First thing I read on my FB wall today, was about an acid rain scare here in the Philippines. It was said to have been brought about by the recent eruption from a nuclear plant in Japan due to the 8.9 magnitude earthquake.
Then, a text message from my mother-in-law also saying the same thing came. So I wondered.. is this true at all? I researched and thanks to one of my FB and highschool friends, I was able to locate a website saying that it’s a hoax. And another one from GMA News, saying that it’s not true. Read on :
PAGASA: No acid rain in PHL from Japan
State weather forecasters on Monday denied rumors circulating via text messages that there will be “acid rain” in the Philippines supposedly because of radioactive clouds from quake- and tsunami-stricken Japan.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said there was no basis for such claims.
“Yung hangin galing sa Japan papalayo kaya di makakarating sa atin. Hindi totoo ang ulan may kasamang acid,” PAGASA forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said in an interview on dzBB radio.
(The winds from Japan are moving away from us. It’s not true that these winds contain acid rain.)
An earlier report on dzBB radio said several text messages had been circulating that acid rain may fall on the Philippines because of the looming nuclear emergency in Japan.
Japanese authorities are now scrambling to prevent a meltdown of its nuclear plant in Fukushima, after its cooling systems failed.
DOST: ‘Chernobyl’ scenario may be gone in few days
Earlier on Monday, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo said Monday a “Chernobyl scenario” of radiation clouds from a failed nuclear power plant in quake- and tsunami-devastated Japan may subside in a few days’ time.
Montejo said while they are not discounting a leakage from the nuclear plant in Fukushima, the threat is small and there is “very little” threat to the Philippines.
“There is no immediate threat to the Philippines … (We are) very optimistic in a few days pwede na natin bitawan yan (We are very optimistic in a few days we can declare no threat to the country),” Montejo said in an interview on dwIZ radio.
Montejo also said the National Security Council was to meet later Monday so it can update President Benigno Aquino III on the situation.
He also assured the public the Philippines’ nuclear scientists are monitoring the situation along with the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.
“Lahat na nuclear scientist nakabantay sa radiation (Our nuclear scientists are monitoring the possible radiation),” he said.
Montejo also said one of the supposed nuclear plant explosions was actually a “calibrated vent,” adding the plants had redundant safety precautions in place.
Such safety precautions included containment vessels that would keep radiation from getting out of the plant, he said.
“May redundancy para manigurado. Karamihan na nuclear plant ganoon ang design talaga (There are redundancies in place. Most nuclear plants are built that way),” he said.
Early warning systems
Meanwhile, Montejo said the DOST is now working on putting in place an early warning system for tsunamis, which he said may be completed in two years.
“This can give you five to 15 minutes’ warning but at least magkakaroon tayo ng warning (but at least we can have some sort of warning),” he said in a separate interview on dzXL radio.
He also said they are installing water level monitors so they can determine water levels in various parts of the country in real time.
Tips on coping with radiation emergencies
Do not panic, protect yourself from radiation exposure, stay indoors and close windows, and watch out for emergency information from TV and radio.
These are the four main points of an 11-year-old response plan drawn up by the government for a radiation-related emergency – like possible radiation from a nuclear plant in quake- and tsunami-stricken Japan.
The National Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (RADPlan) was approved and signed on Nov. 24, 2000, according to a primer posted on the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.
While the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Sunday there is no immediate emergency yet from the nuclear plant meltdown threat in Japan, it will implement the RADPlan once there is a threat.
“In the event the Philippines will be affected, the NDRRMC will put into action the existing National Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (RADPLAN) that covers nuclear emergencies such as this,” the NDRRMC said in a news release on its website on Sunday.
“The RADPLAN establishes an organized emergency response capability for timely, coordinated action of Philippine authorities in a peacetime radiological incident or emergency. Participating agencies such as the PNRI and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) are given authority and responsibilities for coordinating activities of other agencies involved,” the NDRRMC added.
Under the plan, the OCD will coordinate all non-nuclear response activities, while the PNRI will coordinate all nuclear response activities.
It gives the public four basic actions to take in case of a radiation-related emergency:
Do not panic. Remain calm.
Protect yourself from radiation exposure. Make effective use of the principles of time, distance and shielding:
Time: Radiation dose is reduced if exposure time to the material is kept at a minimum;
Distance: Exposure dose is decreased the farther you are from the radiation source;
Shielding: Thick, heavy and dense materials such as concrete, lead, earth or steel reduces the radiation intensity.
Stay indoors and close your windows.
Watch out for emergency information from television and radio.
If one suspects an area may have radioactive substances:
Keep time spent near the device to a minimum.
Stay as far away as possible from the material and warn other people. Ask authorities’ help to keep people away and to secure the area.
Contact the PNRI.
The PNRI lists four types of radiological emergencies:
Emergencies from fixed nuclear or radiation facilities
Emergencies occurring in the transport or loss of radioactive materials
Emergencies from foreign sources having environmental or health impact on Philippine territories, including the possible entry of contaminated food, scrap metals and other materials
Emergencies from nuclear-powered ships
Emergencies from re-entry of satellites with nuclear materials as components
There are three levels of radiological emergencies:
Level 1: Alert: A radiation-related accident has occurred in a nuclear-related facility but the event has not directly affected the Philippines and the popularion in particular
Level 2: Site Area Emergency: A radiation-related emergency occurred and has been confirmed to affect a specifically defined area in the Philippines, or area within the site boundaries of a nuclear radiation facility
Level 3: General Emergency: The radiological emergency has been confirmed to affect wide areas outside the boundaries of the affected facility, or its effect has already been felt. Actual or projected radiation doses are beyond the prescribed limits for members of the public.
In a national radiological emergency, 12 government departments, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; the Offices of the President and Press Secretary; and Philippine Red Cross will be involved as members of the National Radiological Emergency Response Organization. – VVP, GMA News
Thankss to all resources. So, what’s my take? As a mother of 3 young children, I am a known worrier. And to take necessary or UNnecessary precautions, I WILL PLAY IT SAFE and stay indoors for at least 24 hours.