Friday, April 27, 2012

Fukushima: one year later

Speaking of ecological disasters, how is Fukushima Daiichi doing? After the 9.0 mega-earthquake and devastating tsunami off Japan last March, the nuclear reactor at Fukushima prefecture was damaged. It had equipment failure, nuclear meltdowns, and radiation and cesium release. It was the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl, and some say that Fukushima is worse. Let's follow up with how the reactor is doing.

Huffington Post reports today: "More than a year after a tsunami swamped the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plants, the radiation peril continues -- reactor 4 is teetering on the edge of collapse, which would force the evacuation of one-third of Japan's population. The meltdown at Fukushima parallels the meltdown of the US economy."

And it is far from over, reports HuffPo. "More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster began, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world are far from over."

Senator Wyden of Oregon recently visited the area. He sent the Japanese Ambassador a follow-up letter. Though the tone of the letter is polite, this news headline says it like it is:

Senator Wyden: Fukushima Worse Than Reported
"Japan, with assistance from the U.S. government, needs to do more to move spent fuel rods out of harm's way at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden on Monday. Wyden, a senior Democratic senator on the Senate Energy committee, toured the ruined Fukushima plant on April 6, and said the damage was far worse than he expected. "Seeing the extent of the disaster first-hand during my visit conveyed the magnitude of this tragedy and the continuing risks and challenges in a way that news accounts cannot," said Wyden in a letter to Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States."

One official from Japan is also being blunt.

"Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident. Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced." (source)

The amount of Cesium-137 laying around in pools "would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival."

An extinction level event. The conspiracy theorists would feel vindicated over that.

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