It’s March 3rd, 2015, just eight days away from the fourth anniversary of the triple meltdown and explosion at Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. As I write this, I’m seated on a plane heading back to the East coast to see family far from my home in Cascadia, otherwise known as the Pacific Northwest.
Next to me is my current reading, A Field Guide to Radiation by Wayne Biddle. Why this book? Because I’ve already read the books about the creation of nuclear power, nuclear bombs, the making of the nuclear power plant in the NW that caused the largest bond default in the history of the United States, books about the effects of radiation on citizens written by individuals who grew up near nuke plants and books by both scientists and doctors on the effects of radiation from Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima-Daiichi. So why read one more? Because I want to know more. Because I need to know more. Because I have to know more about what has happened to me, my family, friends, animals and plants along the West Coast as the effects of Fukushima-Daiichi’s fallout hit us just days after 3.11 occurred and continues to do so intermittently at any time on any given day as things continue to steam up in Japan. I have to know more because I live downstream from the Hanford Nuclear Dump, the largest nuclear dump in the northern hemisphere, and because I live downstream from a nuclear power plant called the Columbia Generating Station which if an earthquake occurs or a dam breaks or the grid goes down for any reason at all, or a worker makes a mistake I would be killed along with most in N. America. Killed by radiation.
The event on 3.11 at Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was not an accident. It was caused by an idea. And that idea was fueled by hubris, that we could create a weapon so powerful through the creation of nuclear fission, that we could destroy our greatest enemy. The missing link was simple; it was a mirror hidden behind the cloak of hubris, greed and the minds of the greatest psychopaths in scientific and engineering history. The enemy was Us, all along.
There are no two sides of this story. There can be no real debate under any circumstance that nuclear power is a beneficent source of Energy. The side-effects of nuclear explosions and meltdowns are death. The side-effects of leaking radiation from decrepit nuclear plants are deadly.
There is no longer any question of what would occur after a nuclear accident; we saw what happened when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then continued bomb testing until 1980. We witnessed the death and annihilation of people, animals and plant life after Chernobyl, TMI and of course Fukushima-Daiichi. It is well documented now though due to the corporate media blackout of the past eighty years on nuclear issues, you might not have heard the news. (See Noblokav as an example).
Our DNA cannot withstand cell mutations from ionizing radioactivity. This is a fact founded through the studies of Timothy Mousseau. Healthy DNA is the key to creating healthy future generations. Since the1940’s, ionizing radiation —man-made ionizing radiation– has been altering our DNA and once a mutation occurs, it cannot be turned back. We cannot accept the preponderance of genetic alterations nor can we live with or accept nuclear weapons and nuclear power. None of these produce life. It is ironic that so many Republican Pro-life politicians are Pro-Nuclear as well. The irony does not escape those of us in the anti-nuclear movement. Or does it?
Activists, environmental activists(!), use terms like Critical Mass as a method for creating change without really understanding that critical mass is a term meaning the minimum quantity of Uranium-235, Uranium-233 and Plutonium-239 to sustain a Fission reaction. We must remove terms like Critical Mass from the lexicon of anti-nuclear activism, a term which only suits the Atom Bomb as our guide post to effective activism! And that won’t get us very far.
It is time to acknowledge the depth of the harm we have wrought on the Earth. And then it is time to grieve. After grief comes anger. At this point, how about we finally say fuck you to the environmental leaders who refuse to include nukes in their arguments and worse yet, point to nukes as the answer! We do need to come together with the anti-frackers, anti-coal and anti-tar-sands folks and say NO to nukes. Nukes are the missing piece of the environmentalist equation and shutting down a nuke plant is possible. We’ve de-commissioned five nuke plants in the US so far with ninety-nine more to go. Many of us believe that Diablo Canyon is close to being shut down. CGS is close, Pilgrim is close. There are many more, but all 99 on-line nuke plants need to be shut down and NOW. There is no time left.
On 3.11, our group, No Nukes NW, is holding an open memorial for our Pacific Ocean. Yes, the Pacific Ocean. It is dying and her animals and plant life are dying with her. And we caused this. How terribly sad. When I was a teenager, I knew things would get bad after reading Diet For A Small Planet but I do not remember thinking we would decimate the oceans. Perhaps I did know somewhere deep inside that the insanity could and would grow like a cancer when mixed with greed, lies, narcissism, masochism and the almighty dollar. I sit here in amazement and utter sadness when I think that we are coming together in a week to grieve over the impending deaths of so many ocean animals. Our new reality is very hard to handle. It hurts the heart.
As to the question of what we can now do for the Pacific Ocean her most beautiful creatures? We can protest loudly inside the UN that we are in the midst of the most international Earth Crisis ever faced in the history of Earth from the triple meltdown at Fukushima-Daiichi. With no Pacific, we have no life. We need our oceans to remain alive in order for us to live. Demand to the UN to create an international science and engineering team along with leaders from the anti-nuclear community to be established to go to Japan and take over responsibility from TEPCO and the Japanese Government. Do it now. The whales and dolphins and turtles and big fish, yellow fish, green fish, red fish, blue fish, all need us to move on this today.
Miriam German is the director of RadCast.org. She founded No Nukes NW in 2012.