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:
June 27, 2016
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail