Various reactions in Iceland to Japan catastrophe

The tragic earthquakes and tsunami that have caused havoc in northern Japan are the top headline all over the world. In Iceland the president has sent the nation’s condolences to the Japanese emperor, Buddhists are meditating for the missing and the radiation safety authority remains busy analysing the risk from Fukushima 1 nuclear power station.

A statement from the Icelandic Radiation Safety Authority last night stated that there remains a serious problem in cooling reactor number three at the Japanese power station, but that the risk of nuclear material escaping into the atmosphere seems relatively small at this stage. The statement also reads that there is a significant risk of another large explosion at the plant, but that it is unlikely to damage the actual nuclear reactor (something which has now happened since the time of the statement’s release). Radiation safety authorities in other Nordic countries are saying similar things.

Meanwhile the Icelandic president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, sent a message of condolence to the Japanese emperor saying that Iceland is thinking of and praying for its close friend in the Far East and that Icelanders are especially sympathetic because they also live with earthquakes. He added however, that Iceland has been extremely lucky in never having faced a disaster such as Japan is now dealing with.

Icelandic Buddhists are gathering in a focused week-long meditation at the SGI headquarters in Reykjavik. The SGI Buddhist association is originally from Japan. A press statement says that everybody is welcome.

An Icelander working in Tokyo told she has never been more scared in her life than when the quake hit. She said at first it was like any other earthquake and not a problem; but that it intensified so that the walls and floors in her office were moving in waves. The ensuing communications blackout meant she could not contact her husband who was picking their daughter up from school. It turns out, however, that all Icelandic citizens in Japan appear to be safe.