Unlike previous nuclear disasters, Fukushima is contaminating a high density population center of 127 million (337 inhabitants per km2)
Three Mile Island occurred in the vast United States of America (33 inhabitants per m2). Chernobyl hit the former Soviet Union, a sprawling empire so sparsely populated (13 inhabitants per km2) that the accident site could literally be spun off into independent countries, Ukraine and Byelorussia.
With 115 inhabitants per km2, and a precious patrimony of famous wines, cheeses, agricultural crops and livestock in the millions, what would be the impact of a nuclear accident, whether explosive or slow leak on the future of the country?
As the map of nuclear power plants shows, there is literally no place in France that is "far away" or protected.
"On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said a soil sample from Iitate, a village of 7,000 people about 25 miles northwest of the Fukushima plant, showed very high concentrations of cesium 137 — an isotope that produces harmful gamma rays, accumulates in the food chain and persists in the environment for hundreds of years." - NYT
What would a dose of cesium 137 mean to France?
The time has finally come for France to ask the questions it has never asked before.
For more, see Lessons for France from Fukushima