FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Deadly Silence Over Fukushima

by KARL GROSSMAN

Amid the cover-up of the Fukushima nuclear power disaster, the title of Kimberly Roberson’s book rings so unfortunately true: Silence Deafening, Fukushima Fallout…A Mother’s Response.

It’s relatively brief at 69 pages but gets to the heart of the catastrophe: the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex in 2011, the months and months of discharges of radioactivity—and the silence of media and public officials.

“The silence after the earthquake, nuclear meltdowns and tsunamis AF [After Fukushima] was truly deafening and unlike anything I had experienced before. Surreal ‘Twilight Zone’ comparisons were hard to avoid,” she writes. “Knowing what I knew, and then seeing those facts to be so thoroughly disregarded by the media and elected officials has begun to take on a sort of nightmare quality.”

“It may take decades for the true magnitude of Fukushima Daiichi to be comprehended, just as the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown of 1986 are still being realized,” she continues. “This is the story of my attempt to learn the truth, and then to do something about it in my own small way.”

The book, published by VisionTalk, is very personal and written from a mother’s perspective. Roberson is also well-educated about the horrors of nuclear technology.

She relates how, working for Greenpeace in Washington, D.C. in 1986, she opened a “letter from the farmer near the Chernobyl nuclear disaster who had mailed us pictures of grossly deformed farm animals. Those images would later appear in magazines like Time and Newsweek and helped to open the world’s eyes to the largest nuclear disaster to date.”

She writes about a main consequence of pollution from radioactivity and other sources—cancer—and how “it’s reached epidemic proportions.”

As to the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, she tells of the English version of the landmark book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, published by the New York Academy of Sciences 25 years after the accident—with the horrible consequences manifest. The book, written by a team of European scientists led by Dr. Alexey Yablokov of Russia, concludes that based on available medical data, nearly one million people around the world died as a result of fall-out from Chernobyl.

“At Chernobyl,” Roberson writes, “there was one reactor affected” while “at Fukushima there are four, and workers are still struggling to contain radiation there as of this writing nearly one year after the disaster began March 11.”

The book is studded with breaks for quotes such as that from Gandhi: “First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win.” Winning over nuclear power is still far off, however. Roberson writes how in Spring 2011, “Apart from the occasional Internet bombshell…the deafening media silence around Fukushima raged on.”

She, however, has been taking action—which she writes about.  There is a petition campaign and, with the findings of radioactivity in her home state of Calilfornia, the creation of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network.

“While young children, the elderly and immune deficient are at particular risk, the Fukushima Daiichi will affect us all globally for generations to come just as at Chernobyl,” Roberson writes. “One thing we do know is that we are at a crossroads with nuclear power.”

Roberson’s book helps in choosing a direction: away from this lethal technology.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

COMING IN SEPTEMBER

A Special Memorial Issue of CounterPunch

Featuring recollections of Alexander Cockburn from Jeffrey St. Clair, Peter Linebaugh, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, Mike Whitney, Doug Peacock, Perry Anderson, Becky Grant, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Neumann, Susannah Hecht, P. Sainath, Ben Tripp, Alison Weir, James Ridgeway, JoAnn Wypijewski, John Strausbaugh, Pierre Sprey, Carolyn Cooke, Conn Hallinan, James Wolcott, Laura Flanders, Ken Silverstein, Tariq Ali and many others …

Subscribe to CounterPunch Today to Reserve Your Copy

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail