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Can We Stop the Next Catastrophe?

Ten Thousand Fukushimas

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

The horrible news from Japan continues to be ignored by the western corporate media.

Fukushima’s radioactive fallout continues to spread throughout the archipelago, deep into the ocean and around the globe—including the US. It will ultimately impact millions, including many here in North America.

The potentially thankful news is that Fukushima’s three melting cores may have not have melted deep into the earth, thus barely avoiding an unimaginably worse apocalyptic reality.

But it’s a horror that humankind has yet to fully comprehend.

As Fukushima’s owners now claim its three melted reactors approach cold shutdown, think of this:

  • At numerous sites worldwide—including several in the US—three or more reactors could simultaneously melt, side-by-side. At two sites in California—Diablo Canyon and San Onofre—two reactors each sit very close to major earthquake faults, in coastal tsunami zones.
  • Should one or more such cores melt through their reactor pressure vessels (as happened at Fukushima) and then through the bottoms of the containments (which, thankfully, may not have happened at Fukushima), thousands of tons of molten radioactive lava would burn into the Earth.
  • The molten mass(es) would be further fed by thousands of tons of intensely radioactive spent fuel rods stored on site that could melt into the molten masses or be otherwise compromised.
  • All that lava would soon hit groundwater, causing steam and hydrogen explosions of enormous power.
  • Those explosions would blow untold quantities of radioactive particles into the global environment, causing apocalyptic damage to all living beings and life support systems on this planet. The unmeasurable clouds would do unimaginable, inescapable injury to all human life.

Fukushima is far from over. There is much at the site still fraught with peril, far from the public eye. Among other things, Unit Four’s compromised spent fuel pool is perched high in the air. The building is sinking and tilting. Seismic aftershocks could send that whole complex—and much more—tumbling down, with apocalyptic consequences.

Fukushima’s three meltowns and at least four explosions have thus far yielded general radioactive fallout at least 25 times greater than what was released at Hiroshima, involving more than 160 times the cesium, an extremely deadly isotope.

Reuters reports that fallout into the oceans is at least triple what Tokyo Electric has claimed. Airborne cesium and other deadly isotopes have been pouring over the United States since a few scant days after the disaster.

Overall the fallout is far in excess of Chernobyl, which has killed more than a million people since its 1986 explosion.

Within Japan, radioactive hotspots and unexpectedly high levels of falloutcontinue to surface throughout the archipelago. The toll there and worldwide through the coming centuries will certainly be in the millions.

And yet….it could have been far worse.

In the US, in the past few months, an earthquake has shaken two Virginia reactors beyond their design specifications. Two reactors in Nebraska have been seriously threatened by flooding. Now a lethal explosion has struck a radioactive waste site in France.

We have also just commemorated a 9/11/2001 terror attack that could easily have caused full melt-downs to reactors in areas so heavily populated that millions could have been killed and trillions of dollars in damage could have permanently destroyed the American economy.

The only thing we now know for certain is that there will be more earthquakes, more tsunamis, more floods, hurricanes and tornadoes….and more terror attacks.

Horrifying as Fukushima may be, we also know for certain that the next reactor catastrophe could make even this one pale by comparison.

Japan will never fully recover from Fukushima. Millions of people will be impacted worldwide from its lethal fallout.

But the next time could be worse—MUCH worse.

The only good news is that Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and others are dumping atomic power. They are committing to Solartopian technologies—solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, sustainable bio-fuels, increased efficiency and conservation—that will put their energy supplies in harmony with Mother Earth rather than at war with her.

The rest of humankind must do the same—and fast. Our species can’t survive on this planet—ecologically, economically or in terms of our biological realities—without winning this transtion.

The only question is whether we do it before the next Fukushima times ten thousand makes the whole issue moot.

Harvey Wasserman, a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is atwww.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw@aol.com