By Nick Meynen.
As we reported on December 7, 2012, the Fukushima fallout is an enduring nightmare that reaches beyond what humans can measure or contain. In 2011, hundreds of thousands of people already received radioactive doses far above “acceptable” limits. Despite the evacuation of 160,000 people, many citizens in the so-called ‘uncontaminated’ zones are still accumulating unhealthy doses, as EJOLT partner CRIIRAD has shown after taking measurements during two field visits. Although it was known the plant was leaking water into the ocean, the real quantity is amounting to incredible levels. Moreover, an explosion of the used fuel containers is still a real threat. That would have impacts for all of us. Before making the understandable self-defensive reaction to turn away from such alarmist news, please find the courage to face these inconvenient truths:
* 300 tons of water has leaked from a storage tank. The water is contaminated with radioactive cesium and strontium many hundreds of times over the legal limits. The Fukushima operator – Tepco – now has nearly 1,000 tanks of 1000 ton each. Their numbers keeps rising. Most are filled to the brim with highly radioactive water. Workers previously found smaller leaks from similar tanks, at least four times. This leak is now classified as a “serious incident”: level 3 on a scale from 1 to 7. It is the first classified incident since the original June 2011 level 7 disaster.
*On top of these leaks from the tank, the damaged plant is still leaking around 300 tons of water containing radionuclides into the ocean EVERY DAY. This has probably been occuring since June 2011. A marine biologist investigating the effect on marine life says it would be unwise to eat any fish that are caught less than 160 km away from the plant. But fish tend to swim. And the radioactivity also travels (see picture). In less than a year pockets of contaminated water will most likely hit California’s beaches.
*All of that is peanuts compared to this fact: the ground beneath unit 4 is sinking. Specifically, Unit 4 sank 91 cm right after the earthquake, and has sunk another 76 cm since. Moreover, Unit 4 is sinking unevenly and the building may begin to tilt. Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen was quoted as saying that if the fuel pools at reactor 4 collapse – people should get out of Japan, and residents of the West Coast of America and Canada should shut all of their windows and stay inside for a while. That’s the point where Fukushima would become nature’s fuk-u-scheme to mankind’s arrogance.
To go back to the facts: here’s one to take home. The amount of cesium 137 in the pool of Unit 4 is equivalent to 14,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Tepco plans to start removing all of this in November, in what is probably the most dangerous nuclear operation ever undertaken. The operation will take around a year and will happen manually, as the computers that usually carry out these operations have not been repaired. One human error can set the above scenario in motion.
Even if the worse case scenario doesn’t happen, cleaning up the radioactive waste will take decades. Some think it will take 40 years, others call that too optimistic. Let’s not even start discussing the estimated cost. In the face of the above facts: does that matter? Can anyone explain why nuclear energy should be an option for humanity? And when are we going to bring the nuclear energy executives in Japan to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity? One step in that direction is to recognise Ecocide as the 5th Crime against Peace – as this European Citizen Initiative is trying to do. Another step is to make the above facts known to as many people as you possibly can. Democracies elect the leaders they deserve. In this case, it doesn’t matter if you’re left- or rightwing, religious or atheist, black, pink or yellow. Everyone is better off if we all face the inconvenienth truth, no matter how scary it can sometimes be.