- Despite a disaster multiples worse than Chernobyl, major
media reports all along downplayed it. Now they largely ignore it, moving
on to more important things like celebrity features and baseball's opening
day, besides pretending American-led Libya bombing is well-intended when,
in fact, it's another brazen power grab - an imperial war of conquest,
explained in numerous previous articles.
- The horror of all wars aside, waged solely for wealth
and power, never humanity, Japan deserves regular top billing, given its
global implications and potential millions of lives affected. Ignoring
it is scandalous, yet it's practically disappeared from television where
most people get news, unaware only managed reports are aired omitting vital
- Over three weeks and counting, Japan's crisis keeps worsens.
Radiation levels in Fukushima's underground tunnel water reached 10,000
times above normal and rising. In nearby seawater, they're 4,385 times
too high. Heavy rainfall exacerbates the problem. Food, water, air and
soil contamination is spreading.
- On March 31, New York Times writer Henry Fountain headlined,
"Cleanup Questions as Radiation Spreads," saying:
- At issue is "how to clean up areas that have been
heavily contaminated by radioactivity," stopping short of suggesting
they're dead zones that may affect all northern Japan, an area comparable
to Pennsylvania, potentially making it uninhabitable.
- On March 31, the IAEA (the industry's global promoter)
"said a soil sample from Iitate, a village of 7,000 about 25 miles
northwest of the plant, showed very high concentrations of cesium-137,"
a harmful gamma ray-producing isotope, contaminating air, water and soil
- Levels found are "double" those in Chernobyl's
dead zone, raising concerns about extending Japan's evacuation, not done
so far. Moreover, they're rising daily and will continue for months, perhaps
years, creating permanent contamination combined with uranium, plutonium,
and other hazardous toxins.
- On April 1, Al Jazeera headlined, "Japan nuclear
evacuation will be 'long term,' " saying:
- "Residents of evacuated areas....have been warned
that they may not be able to return to their homes for months," if
ever, given increasing hazardous contamination levels. Cleanup will take
decades and fall far short of making areas toxin-free.
- Experts call conditions "unchartered territory,"
wondering what, if anything can be done. The nuclear genie is out of the
bottle. The imponderables are huge, and potential implications staggering.
- On March 25, Helen Caldicott highlighted "a medical
problem of vast dimensions," saying "the situation has grown
increasingly grave." A week later, it's worse with no end of crisis
in sight, Caldicott calling nuclear power's harm "the greatest public
health hazard the world will ever see."
- On March 31, physicist Michio Kaku said "three (Fukushima)
raging meltdowns" plus one or more (melting) spent fuel ponds opened
to the air are ongoing, adding:
- "This is huge," involving "uncontrolled
radiation releases into the environment," including plutonium, the
most toxic substance known. "A speck of plutonium, a millionth of
a gram, can cause cancer if ingested." Moreover, if the plant site
is abandoned, "we could be in free fall." Before it ends, Kaku
believes it may far exceed Chernobyl. Perhaps it already has, though no
one's admitting it or knows for sure.
- Every Radiation Dose Is an Overdose
- Experts like Harvey Wasserman agree. On March 27, he
headlined, " 'Safe' Radiation is a Lethal TMI Lie," saying:
- -- No amount of radiation is safe; they're harmful, cumulative,
permanent and unforgiving;
- -- It's why pregnant women aren't x-rayed;
- -- "Any detectable fallout can kill;"
- -- Fukushima's "serious danger" requires everyone
to "prepare for the worst;"
- -- "Fukusima is deadly to Americans;"
- -- Minimally, "it threatens countless embryos and
fetuses in utero, the infants, the elderly, the unborn who will come to
future mothers now being exposed;"
- -- There's "no defense against even the tiniest
- -- "Science has never found such a 'safe' threshold,
and never will;"
- -- "All doses, 'insignificant' or otherwise, can
harm the human organism;"
- -- Three Mile Island (TMI) victims experienced "cancer,
leukemia, birth defects, stillbirths, sterility, malformations, open lesions,
hair loss, a metallic taste and much more....;"
- -- Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture also documented
the farm and wild animal death and mutation rate;
- -- TMI was minor compared to Fukushima; its radiation
is "pouring into the air and water;" operators reported levels
"a million times normal, then retracted the estimate to a 'mere' 100,000;"
- -- Most frightening is what's unrevealed; coverup after
TMI and Chernobyl was scandalous;
- -- All North America and Europe are affected, especially
by rain, increasing soil and water contamination;
- -- "Fukushima's worst may be yet to come,"
by far the worst ever environmental and human disaster;
- -- "The response of the Obama Administration has
been beyond derelict," claiming Americans face no threat; he lied
and now remains silent;
- -- " 'Impossible' accidents continue to happen,
one after the other, each of them successively worse."
- What will it take to stop this monster? Because of enormous
industry profits, perhaps it will take ending human life to convince skeptics.
- Candidate v. President Obama
- In 2008, candidate Obama was skeptical about nuclear
power, telling NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert on January 15, 2008:
- Unless a "safe way to produce (and store) nuclear
energy (is found), then absolutely we shouldn't build more plants."
- At a January 13, 2008 town hall meeting, he said:
- "Nuclear is bad because we don't know how to store
it. And it poses security hazards."
- On December 30, 2007, he said:
- "....(N)uclear energy is not optimal so I am not
a nuclear energy proponent....I am much more interested in solar and wind
and bio-diesel (to produce) clean energy and (new) jobs....I have not ruled
out nuclear (but) only so far is it is clean and safe."
- Earlier he said:
- -- "Nuclear power is not working for us right now;"
- -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is "a moribund
agency that needs to be revamped, and it's become captive of the industries
that it regulates and I think that's a problem."
- He also called storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain
"a bad idea." Nuclear power "has a host of problems that
have not been solved," and "I don't think there's anything that
we inevitably dislike about nuclear power. We just dislike the fact that
it might blow up....and irradiate us....and kill us. That's the problem."
- Even candidate Obama was less than candid. On July 4,
2007, CounterPunch co-editor Jeff St. Clair and contributor Joshua Frank
called him "another automaton of the atomic lobby" in their article
headlined, "Barack Obama's Nuclear Ambitions," saying:
- During the 1990s, "the atom lobby....had a stranglehold
on the Clinton administration and now they seem to have the same suffocating
grip around (Obama's) neck, (the Democrat's) brightest star...."
- It showed (and still does) in generous industry contributions.
As of late March 2007, he "accepted $159,800 from executives and employees
of Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power plant operator." They
previously funded his 2004 Senate campaign, contributing $74,350.
- In return, he helped kill an amendment to stop large
industry loan guarantees "for power-plant operators to develop new
energy projects the public will not only pay millions of dollars in loan
costs but will also risk losing billions of dollars if the companies default."
- In 2005, Nuclear News praised him for "keeping an
open mind" on nuclear power. In other words, for supporting it despite
the unforgiving hazards. "The atom lobby must certainly be pleased."
Why else would they help elect him president.
- A previous article explained Obama's longstanding industry
ties, including with Chicago-based Exelon. Its web site says it operates
17 reactors at 10 stations in Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, providing
20% of US nuclear capacity.
- In addition, Obama's former top political aide, David
Axelrod, once lobbied for Exelon, and Rahm Emanuel, his former White House
chief of staff (now Chicago's mayor-elect), profited handsomely as an investment
banker, arranging mergers that created the company.
- In his proposed budget, Obama includes $36 billion in
industry loan guarantees for new facilities - free money. He's committed
to jump-start new construction, halted since Three Mile Island in 1979.
Already takers are lining up, 20 or more applications pending before the
- In fact, he and Energy Secretary Steven Chu downplay
Fukushima, ignoring industry hazards, including 23 US nuclear plants at
16 locations using the same failed GE-designed Mark 1 containment vessels.
Earlier, the NRC called them susceptible to explosions and failure because
of cost-cutting design features.
- Its 1985 study warned that failure within the first few
hours after a core meltdown was very likely. Its top safety official at
the time said it had a 90% probability of failing if an accident caused
overheating and melting. When reactor cooling is compromised, the containment
vessel is the last line of defense. However, GE's design is hazardous and
- Today, Obama supports the NRC, the same agency Karl Grossman
calls "an unabashed promoter of nuclear power," the one candidate
Obama called "moribund, (a) captive of the industries it regulates."
The one with a perfect record - never having denied applicants new plant
licenses. The one now dangerously extending operating lives of aging, poorly
maintained plants with deplorable safety records to 80 years, assuring
multiple likelihoods of trouble.
- It now says no new regulation or oversight is needed.
No moratorium on new construction or old plants will be instituted, and,
in fact, Vermont's trouble-plagued Yankee plant (using the same type Fukushima
reactor) got a 20-year extension instead of being shut down.
- That in spite of recent reports highlighting serious
industry "near misses," safety violations, failures to reveal
legally-required information regarding defective equipment, electrical
supply system inadequacies, and other examples of industry mismanagement
and criminality, risking an American Fukushima disaster.
- According to nuclear technician Tom Saporito:
- "The administration, including the president of
the United States, is recklessly endangering the population by promoting
the construction of nuclear plants and by not taking affirmative action
to deal with known safety problems."
- In fact, shutting the industry down is crucial, especially
as Grossman, a longtime industry expert, says:
- "Safe, clean, renewable energy technologies fully
implemented can provide all the power we need - and energy that we can
live with" safely, unlike the hazardous nuclear roulette played each
day these ticking time bombs operate.
- As president, however, Obama fronts for Wall Street,
war profiteers, Big Oil, Big Pharma, other corporate favorites, and his
nuclear industry friends, risking a major disaster to assure generous 2012
campaign contributions for another four years to complete wrecking America
and other nations globally. That's his "change we can believe in"
plan, not the one sold to constituents.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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