- It bears repeating. Government, industry, and major media
reports downplay and deny Japan's unprecedented nuclear disaster, potentially
able to kill millions now living and in future generations painfully.
- Nuclear power is a real life Andromeda Strain. If uncontrollably
unleashed, it's potentially able to destroy life worldwide under a worse
- In his latest article, nuclear expert Harvey Wasserman
said "the most devastating thing about (Fukushima) is not what's happening
there now. It's that until all the world's reactors are shut, even worse
is virtually certain to happen again. All too soon." Fukushima, in
fact, may be the nuclear nightmare he suggests.
- Globally, 450 reactors operate, including 104 aging American
ones, many with bad safety records caused by cost-cutting and shoddy maintenance.
Poorly regulated, they're ticking time bombs, accidents waiting to happen,
many plagued by near-meltdown misses.
- According to Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter, American
utilities have gambled since the dawn of the nuclear age, NRC regulators
letting them get away with cutting corners, taking risks, and being lucky
hundreds of times. However, it can't forever avoid a Fukushima-like disaster.
From 1986 - 2006, Greenpeace estimates 200 near-misses. Any loss of power
for any reason could cause one - an earthquake, tsunami, ice storm, or
any number of accidents that can and do happen, including human error.
- Even operating normally, reactors discharge enough radiation
daily to contaminate food, water, air and earth. Further, if a large city
like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles lies downwind of a meltdown, it would
become uninhabitable forever.
- Moreover, contrary to government and industry misinformation,
nuclear power is neither efficient, reliable, cheap, clean or safe. Annually,
it discharges significant amounts of greenhouse gases and hundreds of thousands
of curies of deadly radioactive gases and elements.
- They're also atom bomb factories, a 1,000 megawatt plant
producing 500 pounds of plutonium annually. Ten pounds can destroy greater
New York. Moreover, the link between radiation and disease is irrefutable,
dependent only on the amount of cumulative exposure over time. As Helen
- "If a regulatory gene is biochemically altered by
radiation exposure, the cell will begin to incubate cancer, during a 'latent
period of carcinogenesis,' lasting from two to sixty years."
- As a result, a single gene mutation can and often is
fatal. No amount of radiation is safe, cumulative exposure causing 80%
of known cancers.
- As long as the technology exists, humanity is playing
an insane game of nuclear roulette it can't win. It's only a matter of
where and when one or more devastating meltdowns will occur. At Fukushima,
it's virtually certain now happening, full-scale damage control concealing
it. The only unknown is how bad, whether multiple reactors are affected,
and whether anything's able stop it.
- According to an unnamed industry expert, Japanese engineers
confirmed a serious leak in the floor and/or sides of Unit 4's spent fuel
pool, making it impossible to keep its rods under water. As fast as it's
sprayed in, extreme heat evaporates it. A Los Angeles Times report said
a "breach in the pool would leave engineers with a problem that has
no precedent or ready-made solution." According to Union of Concerned
Scientists physicist Edwin Lyman:
- "My intuition is that this is a terrible situation
and it is only going to get worse. There may not be any way to deal with
it." Most at risk are children and pregnant women.
- EU energy head Gunther Oettinger's assessment bears repeating
that "We are somewhere between a disaster and a major disaster."
It's wrong to "exclude the worst. There is talk of an apocalypse,
and I think the word is particularly well chosen."
- Nuclear expert John Large called Fukushima's response
"shambolic," saying advance preparations for disaster weren't
- "What this means is, accidents like we are seeing
now where there are two breaches - one involving the reactors, and one
involving fuel ponds outside the reactors - they don't have plans for it.
They don't have a procedure in a book to turn to." What they're doing
may not work. "This shows the fundamental omission in nuclear safety
culture. What this shows is the basic confidence of nuclear engineers and
operators is flawed."
- It also shows a disdainful government/industry disregard
for safety. Imagine the price future generations will pay, especially if
unstoppable radioactive emissions spread globally. Moreover, entombing
Fukushima like Chernobyl can't be done until spent fuel rods are cooled.
Otherwise, they'll melt and burst through enclosure. As a result, restoring
power is crucial, whether or not possible dependent on the extent of damage
done that minimally is considerable after four explosions, fires and over
a week of extremely high heat.
- On March 19, New York Times writers Ken Belson and Hiroko
Tabuchi headlined, "Japan Confirms High Radiation in Spinach and Milk
Near Nuclear Plant," saying:
- Above safe levels were found, "the first confirmation
(that Fukushima contaminated) the nation's food supply," making none
of it safe to eat. Claiming only milk and spinach were affected is false.
Emitted radiation doesn't choose targets. It lands everywhere, poisoning
everything it strikes. Nonetheless, cabinet secretary Yukio Edano claimed
otherwise, adding that "levels (found) do not pose an immediate threat
to your health."
- He lied. Ingested irradiated substances cause considerable
harm, depending on amounts consumed.
- On March 19, Washington Post writers Chico Harlan, Joel
Achenbach and David Nakamura headlined, "A week after disaster, doubts
about Japanese government's grip on crisis," saying:
- Sacramento, CA detectors registered Fukushima radiation,
US officials, like their Japanese counterparts, downplaying the risks instead
of warning of their harmful effects. Prime Minister Naoto Kan's "words
came amid doubt that the nation's leaders have a firm grip on the nuclear
crisis. The government and (Tokyo Electric) have issued a thin and fitful
stream of information about the radiation-spewing plant," downplaying
- Moreover, reactors besides Fukushimas are troubled. Others
include a Tokai one and three at Onagawa. On March 13, a state of emergency
was declared at the facility after high radiation levels were recorded.
The Tohoku Electric Power Company said readings were 700 times above normal"
but still low. In fact, normal ones are too high.
- Admiral Hyman Rickover's Warning about Nuclear Power
- In his January 1982 congressional testimony, the Father
of America's Nuclear Navy warned about nuclear power dangers, advocating
its abolition, saying:
- "I'll be philosophical. Until about two billion
years ago, it was impossible to have any life on Earth; that is, there
was so much radiation on earth you couldn't have any life - fish or anything."
- "Gradually, about two billion years ago, the amount
of radiation on this planet (reduced enough to) make it possible for some
form of life to begin....Now when we go back to using nuclear power, we
are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible....every
time you produce radiation, (a) horrible force (is unleashed), and I think
there the human race is going to wreck itself. (We must) outlaw nuclear
reactors. It is important that we control (destructive) forces and try
to eliminate them."
- "In this broad, philosophical sense, I do not believe
that nuclear power is worth the present benefits, since it creates radiation.
You might ask, why do I design nuclear-powered ships? Because it is a necessary
evil. I would sink them all."
- "From a long-range standpoint - I am talking about
humanity - the most important thing we could do at present is to have an
international meeting where first we outlaw nuclear weapons. Eventually,
we could outlaw reactors too."
- A Final Comment
- On November 8, 2010, nuclear expert Karl Grossman headlined,
"The Push to Revive Nuclear Power," saying:
- "I'd like to start with the bottom line: the problem
with nuclear power is - in one word - radioactivity."
- "Splitting (the atom) is called fission....If these
fission products are let loose in an accident - or are released without
an accident (including "routine emissions" explained above) -
and they are absorbed by the body, they can (and often do) cause cancer
and other diseases. They kill" painfully.
- "Some of these poisons remain hot with radioactivity
for thousands, some millions of years. During this time they must be isolated
from life or they'll destroy" it.
- "The extreme dangers of atomic energy were understood,"
yet development and proliferation happened anyway, too often cutting corners
dangerously. As a result, all nuclear plants are unsafe. Why? Radioactivity.
Released into the environment, it kills.
- Can we "put the nuclear genie back into the bottle,"
asked Grossman. "We can and must," replaced by "energy we
can live with." The alternative is too grim to imagine.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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