Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Hold that “Hot” Fukushima Sushi!


We all knew it was coming.

Radioactive tuna has been caught off the coast of California.  The fingerprint of cesium 137 is unmistakably from the exploded reactors at Fukushima.

But Fukushima’s hot hands are also on a very welcome debate still stalemating China’s plans to build more than 30 new reactors.  Fierce No Nukes opposition continues to escalate in India.  Reactor cancellations have spread throughout Europe.

And the $8.33 billion loan guarantee for Georgia’s Vogtle double-reactor project has still not been finalized.  After just five months construction is $1 billion over budget and falling ever further behind schedule.  There is no firm price tag.  Substandard concrete and rebar steel that doesn’t meet official specifications are just the beginning of the nightmare.

You can help Georgia ratepayers and American taxpayers out of this misery by signing our petition at

You can also prepare for life without sushi.  National Public Radio has assured us all that the radioactive tuna are perfectly safe to eat.  This is the same network whose Scott Simon glibly told us that there were no injuries at Three Mile Island, “not even a sprained ankle.”

But as long-time radiation expert Robert Alavarez warns, “it’s not harmless.”  Fukushima released far more cesium-137 than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Many decades ago lesser fallout from nuclear testing forced the confiscation of more than 4 million pounds of fish.

But as the really bad news from Fukushima continues to escalate, we must begin to adjust to far worse than giving up raw fish.

Massive quantities of Japanese trash have begun to wash up on the west coast of North America, from Alaska to California and beyond.  The tragic residue of the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and cost trillions has crossed the Pacific. The waves of debris include at least one “ghost ship,” many motor vehicles, thousands of barrels full of unknown substances and much more.

Much of it is radioactive.  Government officials, the nuclear industry and corporate media will lowball the readings and scoff at the health implications.  But American beaches are now contaminated, the fish you once ate is unsafe and the situation could get much worse.

Still hovering 100 feet in the air is the spent fuel pool at Fukushima #4.  Stacked with thousands of tons of the most lethal substances ever created, the fuel rods could come crashing to the ground with the next big earthquake.  Strewn at random, with no cooling water, exposed to the air, the radiation releases would far exceed Chernobyl, the nuclear bomb tests and any other polluting fallout humankind has yet created.  That it would go global is a given.

Repeated calls for help from international teams of experts underline the core reality that nobody really knows what to do, except to pray for seismic stability…an impossible dream in Japan, but at this point the only port of last resort.

Thankfully, the doubts instilled by Fukushima and the growing power of the global No Nukes movement have had their impact.  Reports from China indicate deep divisions about further reactor construction.

Massive demonstrations and hunger strikes continue in opposition to India’s Koodankulam project.  Cancellations have spread throughout Europe.

In the meantime we Americans can finally kill the prospect of federal loan guarantees for building new reactors here.

As Mary Olson of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service has pointed out, money for new nukes—which can’t get private financing—was set aside early in the George W. Bush Administration.  But in large part as a result of the power of the grassroots No Nukes movement, not a single guarantee has yet been finalized.

Vogtle is the first project officially designated.  But problems with design, planning and execution continue to escalate.  So have the rate hikes imposed on Georgia consumers.  With no firm price tag or completion date, and with the entire industry in chaos, the Office of Management and Budget has been unable to set reasonable terms that the reactor builders can meet.

It all adds up to an industry in accelerating collapse.  Reactor construction at South Carolina’s V.C. Summer is also over budget, behind schedule and at the core of massive rate hike fights in both Carolinas.

Reactors proposed for Florida’s Levy County have soared over a minimum of $9.5 billion to as high as $12 billion each, and still climbing—far in excess of original estimates.  Shutdowns continue at nearby Crystal River, California’s San Onofre, the flooded Calhoun in Nebraska and many others.  Public pressure to forever close Vermont Yankee, New York’s Indian Point, Ohio’s Davis-Besse, South Texas and more continues to escalate.

Whether these shut-down movements succeed before a Fukushima happens here, or that spent fuel pool collapses, or Vogtle again escalates in price, remains to be seen.

What’s certain is that you can help stop the Vogtle loan guarantee and kill the chance of any new reactors being built here—paving the path at last for a totally green-powered Solartopian Earth.

So next time you start to reach for some sushi, grab a pen or keyboard instead.  Sign the petitions, call your Representative, run a bake sale—do whatever is needed to kill this loan guarantee and lessen the odds on being harmed by a Fukushima here at home.

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


Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Qaddafi
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Winslow Myers
Christopher Brauchli
Wonder Woman at the UN
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
Lee Ballinger
Tupac: Holler If You Hear Him
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”
October 20, 2016
Eric Draitser
Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Extreme Unction: Illusions of Democracy in Vegas
Binoy Kampmark
Digital Information Warfare: WikiLeaks, Assange and the US Presidential Elections
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Bogus History Lesson
Bruce Mastron
Killing the Messenger, Again
Anthony DiMaggio
Lesser Evil Voting and Prospects for a Progressive Third Party
Ramzy Baroud
The Many ‘Truths’ on Syria: How Our Rivalry Has Destroyed a Country
David Rosen
Was Bill Clinton the Most Sexist President?
Laura Carlsen
Plan Colombia, Permanent War and the No Vote
Aidan O'Brien
Mao: Monster or Model?