FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fukushima Continues to Spew Its Darkness

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

Radiation leaks, steam releases, disease and death continue to spew from Fukushima and a disaster which is far from over.  Its most profound threat to the global ecology—a spent fuel fire—is still very much with us.

The latest steam leak has raised fears around the planet.  A worst-case scenario of an on-going out-of-control fission reaction was dismissed by the owners, Tokyo Electric, because they didn’t find xenon in the plume.  The company says the steam likely came from rain water being vaporized by residual heat in one of plant’s stricken reactors.

But independent experts tend to disbelieve anything Tepco says, for good reason.  Reactor Units One, Two and Three have exploded at Fukushima despite decades of official assurances that commercial atomic power plants could not explode at all.  The company has been unable to clear out enough radioactive debris to allow it to put a cover over the site that might contain further airborne emissions.

Tepco has also been forced to admit that it has been leaking radioactive water into the ocean ever since the disaster began on March 11, 2011.  In one instance it admitted to a 90-fold increase of Cesium in a nearby test well over a period of just 3 days.

Earlier this year a rat ate through critical electrical cables, shorting out a critical cooling system.  When Tepco workers were dispatched to install metal guards to protect the cabling, they managed to short out the system yet again.

Early this month Fukushima’s former chief operator, Masao Yoshida, died of esophogeal cancer at the age of 58.  Masao became a hero during the worst of the disaster by standing firm at his on-site command post as multiple explosions rocked the reactor complex.  Tepco claimed his ensuing cancer and death were “unlikely” to have been caused by Fukushima’s radiation.

The impact of work in and near the reactors has become a rising concern.  Critics have warned that there are not enough skilled technicians willing to sacrifice themselves at the plant.  Tepco has worsened the situation by applying to open a number of its shut reactors elsewhere in Japan, straining its already depleted skilled workforce even further.

Meanwhile, a staggering 40% rise in thyroid irregularities among young children in the area has caused a deepening concern about widespread health impacts from Fukushima’s fallout within the general public.  Because these numbers have come in just two years after the disaster, the percentage of affected children is expected to continue to rise.

And the worst fear of all remains unabated.  At Unit Four, which apparently did not actually explode, the building’s structural integrity has been seriously undermined.  Debate continues to rage over exactly how this happened.

But there’s no doubt that a pool containing many tons of highly radioactive used fuel is suspended 100 feet in the air, with little left to support the structure.  Should an earthquake or other trauma knock the pool to the ground, there’s a high likelihood the fuel rods could catch fire.

In such an event, the radioactive emissions could be catastrophic.  Intensely lethal emissions could spew for a very long time, eventually circling the globe many times, wrecking untold havoc.

The Japanese have removed two apparently unused rods from the fuel pool so far.  But intense international pressure to clear out the rest of them has thus far been unsuccessful.

So while a depleted, discredited and disorganized nuclear utility moves to restart its other reactors, its stricken units at Fukushima continue to hold the rest of us at the brink of apocalyptic terror.

Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org and is author of SOLARTOPIA!  Our Green-Powered Earth.  His SOLARTOPIA GREEN POWER & WELLNESS SHOW is at www.prn.fm.  This article was first published at www.progressivemagazine.com

 

 

 

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

February 20, 2017
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
W. T. Whitney
The Fate of Prisoner Simón Trinidad, as Seen by His U. S. Lawyer
Brian Platt
Don’t Just Oppose ICE Raids, Tear Down the Whole Racist Immigration Enforcement Regime
Paul Cantor
Refugee: the Compassionate Mind of Egon Schwartz
Norman Richmond
The Black Radical Tradition in Canada
Barton Kunstler
Rallying Against the Totalitarian Specter
Judith Deutsch
Militarism:  Revolutionary Mothering and Rosie the Riveter
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir Evoked a Lot More International Attention in the 1950s Than It Does Now
Adam Phillips
There Isn’t Any There There
Louis Proyect
Steinbeck’s Red Devils
Randy Shields
Left Coast Date: the Dating Site for the ORWACA Tribe
Charles R. Larson
Review: Bill Hayes’ “Insomniac City”
David Yearsley
White Supremacy and Music Theory
February 16, 2017
Peter Gaffney
The Rage of Caliban: Identity Politics, the Travel Ban, and the Shifting Ideological Framework of the Resistance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail