• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Atomic Chaos

Sometimes chaos comes along as a wake-up call to humanity. The double-whammy- earthquake-tsunami in Japan this week is overwhelmingly sad. To be at the total chaotic effect of the elements—to be wiped out by a wave of water from the sea, is an insult to the arrogance of modern humanity that thinks it can insulate and protect itself with technological know-how from the calamities visited upon our earth by Mother Nature. It is ironic that this catastrophe took place in earth-quake plagued Japan where scientists and engineers actually protected against this seventh largest earthquake cataclysm in recorded history, by spending billions on new infrastructure, building their homes, offices, and factories on rubber shock absorbers and reinforced pillars that merely swayed with the punch and didn’t collapse despite the enormous force from the renting of the earth—a force so powerful it actually moved Japan ten feet eastward and caused the axis of the earth to shift. Yet even the careful, methodical, Japanese couldn’t realistically anticipate the power of the tsunami well enough to protect their land against the violent onrush of the ocean in the wake of the spasms caused by the radical shift in the earth’s tectonic plates.

And while they had provided adequate technology to guard their lethal nuclear power plants even against the quaking earth, the surge of the ocean destroyed their best efforts to insure backup and shut down plans to always keep water pumping on the irradiated fuel rods, even during an earthquake. They were unable to avoid the loss of electricity essential to maintain and pump a constant stream of cool water to cover the radioactive fuel rods in their reactors, and after the pumping machines failed to deliver water to the overheated guts of the fuel pool, they were unable to keep this foolhardy technology from “melting down” and spewing its lethal radiation across the land, and eventually perhaps across the planet, hanging like a sword of Damocles over the earth as radioactive particles are borne on the air currents that circle the globe.

More than 200,000 people were evacuated in the vicinity of the five nuclear reactors at Fukishima which may be failing. The reports are mixed and unclear from the Japanese government. We know that numbers of people were contaminated with radioactivity on their skin and clothing and that the government is distributing potassium iodide tablets to prevent thyroid cancer in people who may have been exposed to radioactivity released in a series of explosions at two reactors. Those tablets will not prevent other forms of cancer and leukemia that may increase exponentially from the release of the radioactivity at the reactors. We also know that US sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, that was sent from our military base in Okinawa to the vicinity of the accident, have now been contaminated by airborne radioactivity. Meanwhile the US mainstream media continues to downplay the catastrophic potential of so many reactors in Japan to create an environmental holocaust, where brave workers are struggling to cool their hot radioactive fuel, while industry spokespeople assure us that our reactors in America are much safer, that Chernobyl only had 50 immediate deaths, while Russian scientists recently reported that there were close to 1,000,000 cancer deaths since the dreadful accident in 1986 spewed lethal radiation over a broad swath of the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and then dispersed to many other countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

Let this chaos be a wake-up call for a time out on any new nuclear energy development. And like the massive mobilization gathering strength in Japan with emergency workers coming from all over the world to help rescue and recover the tens of thousands of people overcome in their villages by the trembling earth and fierce rushing waters, let us make a massive global effort to put a solar panel on every roof, a geothermal pump in every house and building, windmills on every windswept plain, tidal energy pumps in our rivers and seas to harness the clean safe energy of our Mother Earth.

In the words of that famous visionary thinker, Buckminster Fuller:

We may now care for each Earthian individual at a sustainable billionaire’s level of affluence while living exclusively on less than 1 percent of our planet’s daily energy income from our cosmically designed nuclear reactor, the Sun, optimally located 92 million safe miles away from us.

ALICE SLATER is New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and serves on the Coordinating Committee of Abolition 2000.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Alice Slater is a founder of Abolition 2000, which works for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

May 22, 2019
T.J. Coles
Vicious Cycle: The Pentagon Creates Tech Giants and Then Buys their Services
Thomas Knapp
A US War on Iran Would be Evil, Stupid, and Self-Damaging
Johnny Hazard
Down in Juárez
Mark Ashwill
Albright & Powell to Speak at Major International Education Conference: What Were They Thinking?
Binoy Kampmark
The Victory of Small Visions: Morrison Retains Power in Australia
Laura Flanders
Can It Happen Here?
Dean Baker
The Money in the Trump/Kushner Middle East Peace Plan
Manuel Perez-Rocha – Jen Moore
How Mining Companies Use Excessive Legal Powers to Gamble with Latin American Lives
George Ochenski
Playing Politics With Coal Plants
Ted Rall
Why Joe Biden is the Least Electable Democrat
May 21, 2019
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Locked in a Cold War Time Warp
Roger Harris
Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire
Patrick Cockburn
Trump is Making the Same Mistakes in the Middle East the US Always Makes
Robert Hunziker
Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming
Lance Olsen
Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine
Dean Baker
Ady Barkan, the Fed and the Liberal Funder Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
Maduro Gives Trump a Lesson in Ethics and Morality
Jan Oberg
Trump’s Iran Trap
David D’Amato
What is Anarchism?
Nicky Reid
Trump’s War In Venezuela Could Be Che’s Revenge
Elliot Sperber
Springtime in New York
May 20, 2019
Richard Greeman
The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
Manuel García, Jr.
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
Robert Fisk
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, Western States are All Too Happy to Avoid Culpability for War Crimes
Tom Clifford
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf
Chandra Muzaffar
Targeting Iran
Valerie Reynoso
The Violent History of the Venezuelan Opposition
Howard Lisnoff
They’re Just About Ready to Destroy Roe v. Wade
Eileen Appelbaum
Private Equity is a Driving Force Behind Devious Surprise Billings
Binoy Kampmark
Bob Hawke: Misunderstood in Memoriam
J.P. Linstroth
End of an era for ETA?: May Basque Peace Continue
Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail