《经济学人》:应对日本核灾难,与辐射共生
日期:2011-04-14 11:25

(单词翻译:单击)

Coping with Japan's nuclear disaster
应对日本核灾难

Living with radiation
与辐射共生

A spreading cloud of economic and human costs
经济和民众开销忧虑蔓延开来

Giving the brassicas a once-over
测量青花菜的辐射量

A PEN-LIKE dosimeter hangs around the neck of Katsunobu Sakurai, the tireless mayor of Minamisoma, measuring the accumulated radiation to which he has been exposed during the past two weeks of a four-week nuclear nightmare. The reading of 43 microsieverts is about the dosage he would get from a single chest x-ray. No cause for alarm, then. Yet he believes the radioactive particles from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear-power plant, 25km from his office, have led this once-prosperous city of 70,000 into a fight for its life.

形似钢笔的放射量测量器戴在樱井胜延的脖子上,这位不知疲倦的南相马市市长正在测量他在过去两周中吸收的累积辐射量,而核噩梦已经持续四个周了。测量器显示的43毫西弗大约是他做一次胸透所接收的辐射量,这完全无害。然而,樱井市长相信:从距离自己办公室25千米外的福岛第一核电站飘来的放射性粒子,已经导致居住在这座曾经繁荣的城市的70,000市民不得不为生存而战。

About 50,000 inhabitants who lived closest to the plant have been evacuated or have fled since radiation levels started to rise after the March 11th tsunami—which also left at least 1,400 of the town’s residents dead or missing. Even though external radiation has since returned to near-harmless levels, Mr Sakurai fears many of Minamisoma’s evacuees may never come back.

3月11日发生海啸之后,辐射水平开始上升,居住在核电站附近的50,000名居民已经被疏散或者是逃离了住所,这场海啸至少造成镇上1,400名居民死亡或者失踪。尽管在此之后外部辐射回到了几乎无害的水平,樱井市长还是担心一些从南相马市疏散的居民可能不会再回到市里。

Three worries predominate. One, the information passed out by the government and Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), which owns the Dai-ichi plant, may be unreliable. Two, the plant is still unstable, at risk of suddenly emitting vastly greater amounts of radioactive particles. Three, the longer it takes to stabilise, the more lasting damage wind- and waterborne radiation may do to the livelihoods of the farmers and fishermen who are the economic lifeblood of the community. If they go, so does the town.

人们主要有三个顾虑。第一,政府和拥有第一核电站的东京电力公司(TEPCO)放出的信息可能不可靠。第二,核电站还是处于不稳定的状态,存在着突然释放大量放射性粒子的风险。第三,用于稳定核电站的时间越长,所产生持续的伤害存在的时间也就越长,同样的,水性辐射可能影响到农民和渔民的营生,他们可是这个城市的经济命脉。如果他们离开了,那么镇子也就完了。

These worries resurfaced on April 7th when TEPCO started to inject nitrogen into one of the plant’s six stricken reactors. That was to prevent a repeat of the hydrogen explosions that blew radiation out of the plant soon after cooling systems failed in the wake of the tsunami.

4月7日,东京电力公司(TEPCO)开始向核电站中六个损坏的反应堆的其中之一注入氮气,这令那些忧虑开始重新浮出水面。海啸发生之后冷却系统失效导致了氢气爆炸,这把放射物吹出了核电站,注入氮气的行为就是为了防止这一悲剧再次发生。

Even before that news, Mr Sakurai was saying that he was fearful of another explosion. It was why he continued to discourage hope that the town could get back to normal. “The lack of information is making people deeply stressed and frustrated,” he said.

即便在这消息发布之前,樱井市长就在说他害怕再次发生爆炸。这就是他一直不相信南相马市能恢复原样的原因。他说:“信息的缺乏让人们感到巨大的压力和沮丧。”

The prompt dissemination of accurate information is not happening, though. By April 6th TEPCO had managed to staunch the leakage of highly contaminated water from one of the damaged reactors that had produced levels of radioactive iodine 7.5m times the legal limit in one sample of seawater. But that was not before fishermen about 70km south of the plant had caught tiny sand-eels, known as konago, with larger than normal traces of radioactive iodine and caesium. The unwelcome discovery prompted Naoto Kan, the prime minister, to issue a new safety standard for levels of radioactivity in marine products. Knowing the public’s fears of unsafe food (and no doubt encouraged by the promise of compensation), the local konago fishermen had already pulled in their nets for the season.

尽管如此,准确的信息仍未能及时传播。4月6日,东京电力公司(TEPCO)设法止住从损坏反应堆之一流出的高污染水,有一个海水样本显示:流出的高污染水造成了放射性碘超标750万倍。然而,在此之前有渔民在核电站向南大约70千米的地方捕到了含放射性碘元素和铯元素超标的一种叫做玉筋鱼的沙鳗鱼。这个不受欢迎的发现促使首相菅直人发布了新的关于海产品放射性水平安全的标准。当地捕捞玉筋鱼的渔民了解到民众对于不安全食品的恐慌,他们本季度就把网收起来不再捕鱼了(当然,有赔偿金的承诺鼓励他们暂时停止捕捞)。

The fear of contamination is spreading internationally, too, and the government is learning that it is not enough just to present scientific evidence about radiation levels. On April 6th India suspended all Japanese food imports. Neighbouring South Korea expressed concern that it was not warned about TEPCO’s decision to dump low-level radioactive waste into the sea to make room to store more toxic stuff on land. South Korea does not share a sea with Fukushima. But South Korea, like Japan, has a vibrant seafood culture. Rational or not, perceptions matter.

对于污染物的恐慌也在国际间传播,政府逐渐了解到只为放射性水平提供科学依据是远远不够的。4月6日,印度全方面停止进口日本食品。尽管这不是警告,与日本邻近的韩国还是对东京电力公司(TEPCO)决定倾倒低放射性废物入海来为存储更多陆地上污染物的行为表示担忧。韩国与福岛并不在同一片海域。但是和日本一样,韩国对海味也是情有独钟。这已经不是理智不理智的问题了,观念影响到了他们的行为。

With more emotion than sense, electronic components, machine parts and even towels made far from Fukushima have required radiation checks or been turned back by Italy and China, among others. The Japanese authorities have not helped by falling back on technocracy rather than a more sympathetic response. Shippers have urged the government to issue certificates that would assure foreign ports that goods are radiation-free. Instead, Japan expends its energies mainly attempting to convince shippers about the safely low levels of radiation in the country at large. “The question is how to reduce anxiety, not present science,” says Katsunori Nemoto of Keidanren, Japan’s business lobby.

人们受到情绪的影响远超过感觉,即便是在离福岛很远的地方制作的电子元件、机器配件甚至是毛巾都被要求做辐射检查,尤其是在意大利和中国,一些商品甚至被退货。日本当局没有通过在技术统治论上让步向货主们提供帮助,也没有做出了更具同情心的回应。货主催促政府签署向外国港口保证商品是无辐射的证明。而政府却是花大量时间尝试详细地告诉货主国内的辐射水平低而安全。日本经济团体联合会的游说员根本克典说:“问题在于怎么减少恐慌,而不是提供科学依据。”

At a time when the Japanese economy needs help, to date around 50 countries have imposed restrictions on Japanese imports. America, which buys one-sixth of Japanese farm exports, has put products from Fukushima and three other prefectures on a watch list. The European Union has named a dozen prefectures that need radiation tests, yet traders in these places report a lack of testing equipment. In one case, says an executive at a Japanese trading house, tuna that arrived in America was set aside by customs, rotting before it was inspected. A sake brewer on a sales trip to Las Vegas noticed that Japanese food was off the menu at hotels.

就当日本经济需要帮助的时候,迄今约有50个国家发布了对日本商品进口的限制令。购买日本农产品出口量六分之一的美国将从福岛和其他三个县生产的产品放入观察名单。欧盟提出日本有十二个县的产品需要进行辐射测试报告,然而当地商人却说缺乏测量设备。日本商行的一个经理主管说:在一个案例中,一批到达美国的金枪鱼被海关放置一边,在检测放射性之前就已经腐烂了。一个日本清酒的制造商在去拉斯维加斯的销售旅行中发现,日本食品已经不在旅馆的菜单之中。

So far the direct economic impact of radiation fears on exports is slight. Fishing and farming account for a very small part of Japan’s total exports, even if a disproportionate share in Japan’s stricken north-east. Even so, the reputation for high quality enjoyed by Japanese-sourced food will probably suffer.

目前为止,辐射恐慌对日本产品出口的直接经济影响还是很小的。即便日本受灾的东北部分配比例不均,渔业和农业占日本所有出口量很小的一部分。虽然如此,高品质食品享有“源于日本”的声誉还是可能受到损害。

At home, the impact on domestic demand may be much bigger. Economists say fears of radiation dampen consumer confidence and extend as far south as Tokyo, which is 250km from the Fukushima plant. Some pundits want the government to launch a publicity blitz to urge ordinary Japanese to spend more. It may do little good, especially coming from a government that does not inspire confidence. Many ordinary Japanese unaffected by the tsunami and nuclear mess either feel a sympathy for the victims or are ashamed to be seen enjoying themselves. The Japanese tendency towards self-restraint, or jishuku, is back in force. People are cutting back on everything from shopping trips to hanami parties to view the spring cherry blossom.

对于国内而言,辐射恐慌对本土需求的冲击可能更加严重。经济学家认为:辐射恐慌降低了消费者信心并且蔓延到了福岛核电站向南250千米的东京市。有的学者希望政府能来一场公开宣传的“闪电战”,以此来督促普通的日本民众增加开销。这几乎可能没有作用,尤其是政府本身就无法激发民众的消费信心。有许多普通日本民众没有受到海啸和核危机影响,他们要么同情受灾者,要么就羞于被看到在享受生活。日本人倾向的自律精神,或者用日语说是“自肃精神”,开始回归主流。从购物旅行到春天樱花盛开时的赏花会,人们正在削减一切开支。

As for Minamisoma, its residents are fed up with paying the price for a nuclear accident at a plant that brought them little benefit—after all, it sent nearly all its electricity to Tokyo. Takashi Shibaguchi, a 41-year-old acupuncturist who lived on the outskirts of the town, says he will never return home, even though he has no money and is sleeping on the floor of an evacuation shelter with his wife and four-year-old daughter. He is rational about the radiation risks to himself, but fears his daughter growing up in such a potentially poisonous environment. “I’m done with it,” he says.

至于南相马市,那里的居民受够了为几乎没有为他们带来利益的核电站造成的核事故买单——毕竟那个核电站几乎把所有的电力都供给了东京市。居住在南相马市郊区的41岁针灸医师芝口上先生说他永远不会回去,即便是他一贫如洗,即便是要和妻子以及4岁的女儿睡在避难所的地板上。芝口先生能理性估计自己所遭受的辐射风险,但是他害怕自己女儿在这种可能有毒的环境中长大,他说:“我不会回去,我跟南相马市缘分已尽。”

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重点单词
  • evacuationn. 撤离,疏散 n. 排泄,排泄物
  • assurevt. 使确信,使放心,确保
  • unwelcomeadj. 不受欢迎的 n. 冷淡
  • unaffectedadj. 不受影响的,不矫揉造作的,自然的
  • contaminationn. 污染,污染物
  • confidenceadj. 骗得信任的 n. 信任,信心,把握
  • benefitn. 利益,津贴,保险金,义卖,义演 vt. 有益于,得
  • potentiallyadv. 潜在地
  • dampenv. (使)潮湿,使沮丧,泼凉水
  • unstableadj. 不稳定的,易变的