25 March 2011

Contamination

What a mess in Japan. Now today contamination from Japan's quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant would be a problem that would last "for decades and decades'', France's Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said on Sunday.

“It's a problem that Japan will have to deal with for decades and decades to come.'' Major anxiety continues throughout the country. The anxiety was compounded by the Tokyo Government's revelation Wednesday that radioactive iodine in the drinking water was more than twice the level deemed safe for infants, although it remained within safe adult limits.

The news triggered a run on bottled water in shops and the city's ubiquitous vending machines, while the Tokyo government started to give families three 550-millilitre (18.5-ounce) bottles of water per infant.

Back in 2008, a major gas leak here in Australia triggered a mass exodus. And today residents learned they will share $17.25m compensation for a gas leak fiasco, but lawyers will take $6m in fees.  The massive class action over Cranbourne's methane gas fiasco was settled this morning, with hundreds of residents winning compensation.

The Cranbourne Leader reports the settlement is set to be $23.5 million, including $13.5m from Casey Council coffers and $10m to be paid by the EPA. Residents will share $17.25m after a $6m payment for the court costs and fees for law firm Slater and Gordon.

The deal also allows another $250,000 for “exceptional circumstance’’ cases. That leaves the 771 Brookland Greens households in the class action to share $17.25 million - an average of $22,373 each.

Countries across the world have shunned Japanese food imports as radioactive steam leaked from a disaster-struck nuclear plant, straining nerves in Tokyo.

The damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant from the tectonic calamity and a series of explosions has stoked global anxiety. The United States and Hong Kong have already restricted Japanese food, and France wants the European Union to do the same.

Russia ordered a halt to food imports from four prefectures - Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi - near the stricken plant some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

Contamination is the problem.  Here are some definitions:   
* In food chemistry and medicinal chemistry, the term "contamination" is used to describe harmful intrusions, such as the presence of toxins or pathogens in food or medicinal drugs.
    * In forensic science, a contaminant can be complex materials such as hair or skin particles arising from sources not related to the ongoing investigation.
* In geology and especially geochemistry, it can have similar effects where even a few grains of "modern" dust can distort results of sophisticated experiments.
    * the term "contamination" is sometimes used to describe accidental transfers of organisms from one natural environment to another.

Some Bible verses found in the NIV actually use the same term. All in the same one chapter in the Torah. “If the contamination in the clothing, or leather, or woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a spreading mildew and must be shown to the priest.”  (Leviticus chapter 13, verse 49)
“He must burn up the clothing, or the woven or knitted material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has the contamination in it, because the mildew is destructive; the article must be burned up.” (verse 52)
“These are the regulations concerning contamination by mildew in woolen or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for pronouncing them clean or unclean.” (verse 59)

In this section of Jewish Bible, the seriousness of contamination is clear. Of course the Jewish people received this instruction in the wilderness, on their way to the Land of Israel, about 3500 years ago.

The thing about contamination, whether spent nuclear fuel rods or tainted nuclear cabbage or mildew in woolen clothing in Israel is that there is one way to deal with it. Remove the contaminant, be ruthless, burn it up.

God wants us to be ruthless with those things that will damage us and might damage others. We have to be anti-contaminant in all our dealings with problems and situations. Not hostile to people, ever, but ever removing the things that will destroy us and our nation.

We are so sorry for the troubles in Japan. We are hopeful that the world might go back into the way it used to be.  But in the meantime and in your own life, treat sin ruthlessly. Deal with problems immediately. Don’t let things linger that need to be removed.

Contaminants are like leaven. And as we approach the season of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (Chag hamatzot), let’s remove the leaven from our lives. It will only fill in the gaps that remain and dominate.

It’s better to be free. Free from sin. Free from evil. Free from those things that hinder and eventually capture us. Be anti-contaminant today and every day. Shabbat shalom!

1 comment:

David Lazarus said...

We are deeply moved by the tragedy that has befallen the Japanese people. We watch with admiration as they courageously resist tears knowing that the loss of their loved ones is inwardly wrenching their hearts.

For generations people have found some consolation in the story of Job. Perhaps you might also find here some comfort and strength.
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