FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rupert Murdoch’s Fukushima Flim-Flam

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

With every atomic reactor disaster comes the inevitable whitewash.

And Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal has just painted a tragic new coat over the radioactive wasteland of atomic flim-flam.

Its “Panic at Fukushima” speaks volumes to a nuclear power industry now crumbling at the core.  It fits an historic pattern:

When yet another radioactive leak emits from the local nuke—no matter how serious—the official response is hard-wired to include the phrase “no danger to the public.”

When serious structural cracks surface at reactors like Ohio’s Davis-Besse or Crystal River, Florida,  safety concerns are invariably dismissed with well-funded contempt.

As with fatally flawed steam generators at California’s San Onofre, if it can make an extra buck, the industry will run these reactors into the ground, safety-be-damned.  Protected by federal taxpayer insurance and the bankruptcy laws, they know even a catastrophic disaster need not trouble their bottom line.

When earthquakes rattle reactors in Virginia and Ohio, or threaten others near New York City and Los Angeles, the public is “never in danger.”  Likewise a generation of Japanese heard for decades that reactors at Fukushima and Kashiwazaki were “perfectly safe.”

But, now that earthquakes have hammered them both, we know who pays.

At Three Mile Island, there was “no melting of fuel” until, nine years later, robotic cameras showed there certainly was.

“Nobody died” at Three Mile Island until epidemiological evidence showed otherwise.  (Disclosure:  In 1980 I interviewed the dying and bereaved in central Pennsylvania, leading to the 1982 publication of KILLING OUR OWN).

TMI was a “success story” for industry apologist Patrick Moore, whose accounting skills apparently include cheerily alchemizing a $2 billion liability from a $900 million asset.

Likewise, the Soviet Union said not to worry as Chernobyl spewed lethal radioactive clouds across Europe and into the jet stream that contaminated the entire northern hemisphere.  One “scientist” said the fallout would “improve” human health in downwind Ukraine and Belarus, where stillbirths, malformations and birth defects still run rampant.

The Soviet Union is now dead…except in the hearts of a corporate media still parroting the Politburo lie that only 31 people died at Chernobyl, rather than the million-and-counting that now seems likely.

For Fukushima, the inevitable Murdoch whitewash comes from a one-time Koch-funded climate skeptic named Richard Muller.  He says Fukushima has harmed virtually no one except the nuclear industry, which the Japanese people have all but shut.

Muller’s article occupies a parallel pro-nuclear universe.  Virtually devoid of actual fact, it is meticulously dissected by SimplyInfo in a brilliant primer on the health impacts of a truly apocalyptic nightmare that is far from over.

Entitled “The Truth vs. the Wall Street Journal,” SimplyInfo’s dissection is deja vu all over again.  The once-prestigious Journal disgraces itself in vintage Murdoch style with some truly embarrassing errors and anachronisms.  Simply and briefly:

1. The Journal astonishingly minimizes the death toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki using speculative data that has been discredited for decades.  It ignores the findings by Japanese scientists that Fukushima has (thus far) spewed nearly 30 times as much radioactive cesium as did the Bombings;

2. The Journal’s totally discredited averaging assumptions say Fukushima’s fallout will nicely administer uniform minimal doses for everyone.  But the fallout has gone global.  Plutonium, cesium, strontium and other killer isotopes tend to come down in clumps and clusters, heavily dosing some while missing others.  As at TMI, Chernobyl and now Fukushima, woe be to the unlucky masses who get rained on;

3. The averaging argument jumps off the rails with pregnant women, as well as small children, the elderly, the biologically sensitive.  At TMI, the owners’ advertising compared the fallout to a single x-ray for everyone in the area.  But a doubled childhood leukemia rate has long been linked to a single x-ray administered to a fetus in utero.  Pregnant women exposed to these small doses must brace for the worst.

4. The Journal admits that Fukushima was not designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and 50-foot tidal wave.  The quake’s epi-center was more than 100 miles offshore, but all three Fukushima reactors operating at the time melted and exploded.  Diablo Canyon, San Onofre, Indian Point are no safer.   Nearby fault lines could reduce them and others to rubble, followed by emissions whose death toll would be virtually impossible to calculate.

5. The Journal has published a heavily edited rebuttal (the full original is at http://www.nirs.org/fukushima/crisis.htm) from Michael Mariotte of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service pointing out that sea-ward winds saved Japan—including Tokyo—from suffering far heavier doses.  But like Chernobyl, Fukushima’s radiation has long since reached our shores, with a serious potential death toll.

Fukushima erupted 66 years after Hiroshima/Nagasaki, 32 since Three Mile Island, 25 after Chernobyl.  The atomic industry seems defined by a reverse learning curve.

Perhaps it could heed Jeffrey Immelt, president of General Electric, who warns that nuclear power has no economic future.  GE’s brand is all over Fukushima.  Small wonder Immelt wants to join Siemens et. al. in a green-powered Solartopian future, built on renewable technologies like wind, solar and bio-fuels.

No verbal contortions can ever cleanse what Forbes Magazine long ago branded “the largest managerial disaster in American history.”  No error-filled whitewash will ever convince our bodies that radiation is good for us.

While Rupert Murdoch helps paint a happy face on a dying industry, we continue to pay with our money and our lives.

Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA!  OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is atwww.harveywasserman.ning.com, along with WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION?, co-authored with Bob Fitrakis. 

 

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

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail