Elaine Meinel Supkis
It is now official: Fukushima is really no different from Chernobyl. True, Chernobyl was still worse…so far. But the Fukushima disaster has barely begun. We may be finally at the end of the beginning, to paraphrase Churchill talking about WWII, but we are not even close to the beginning of the end. Now that it is recognized as a level 7 catastrophe, we have to continue examining this issue since much of the world’s elites are still very, very, VERY intent on expanding nuclear power not by 10% or 20% or even 50% but well over 1,000% during the next 50 years.
Just one example is in the news today: Official: Iran to Build Five Nuclear Research Reactors. The US and Israel have threatened to create a nuclear holocaust in Iran if they build just one nuclear power plant. Israel has been hard at work assassinating or kidnapping nuclear scientists there. The US is very agitated that Iran might have what the US and Israel hoards: massive numbers of nuclear bombs many of which are on nuclear subs! Oh my. Well, the screams about how the world will end if Iran gets some nukes is rather hilarious since the US insists that the world will end if we, ourselves, do not have nukes.
Now, the screams that the world will come to an end if we don’t have nukes has moved silently into the global warming debate with the industrialists and the elites insisting that if we don’t have thousands of more nuclear power plants, the entire planet will die and all living things will die…while these exact same fools hang on desperately to nuclear arsenals that really, truly, absolutely and I fear, inevitably will literally kill everything on earth.
This puzzles me for about one minute until I remember that making money is their game and the two methods: printing it up in various schemes or running expensive systems that are insured and paid for by the taxpayers are two great ways to make money with no overhead costs or dangers to the wealth being accumulated by the elites. Putting solar panels on everyone’s roofs while having everyone own these panels themselves and then selling back electricity to the state or utilities is a nightmare world for the elites.
Literally, this would give everyone power over their own consumption and their own lives and maybe even pay for itself. And…if you conserve energy, you get a benefit! A win-win for us and a lose-lose for anyone seeking to control our lives and above all, force us to pay ‘rent’ on things we need to stay alive.
All debates about energy has the nuclear gang lying their heads off while at the same time trying to minimize the benefits of putting solar panels on everyone’s roofs. They want us to focus only on the nuclear solution and the jarring news flowing like radioactive rain out of Japan is hindering their propaganda push. Nonplused by reality, they have decided to go openly to war against reality and thus, there is a concerted effort to still push ONLY the nuclear option instead of solar:
The irony of Fukushima is that in forcing us all to confront our deepest fears about the dangers of nuclear power, we find many of them to be wildly irrational – based on scare stories propagated through years of unchallenged mythology and the repeated exaggerations of self-proclaimed “experts” in the anti-nuclear movement. As the British environmental writer George Monbiot has pointed out, if we took the scientific consensus on nuclear energy as seriously as we take the scientific consensus on climate change, we environmentalists would be telling a very different story.
The science on radiation tells us that the effects of Fukushima are serious but so far much less so than some of the more hyperbolic media coverage might suggest….We have already made this mistake once. In the 1970s it looked as if nuclear power was going to play a much bigger role than eventually turned out to be the case. What happened was Three Mile Island, and the birth of an anti-nuclear movement that stopped dozens of half-built or proposed reactors; coal plants were substituted instead. It is therefore fair to say that the environmental movement played a substantial role in causing global warming, surely an ecological error it should learn from in years ahead.
If the goal of these pro-nuclear guys is to eliminate as many humans as possible and then this fixes our problems, why don’t they concentrate on spreading contraceptives to places like India or Africa or even more pressing, Haiti? Japan doesn’t have a birthrate problem. Japan is declining in population and the last month has seen a significant reduction in the number of existing Japanese!
Telling us that we are ‘irrational’ even as thousands and thousands of people are being exposed to radiation and huge hunks of Japanese real estate is being turned toxic and even as many, many, many thousands of people have lost their homes, many of whom will never, ever be allowed to return, and we anti-nuclear power people are ‘irrational’? HAHAHA. Sheesh.
If we can only save ourselves via irradiating everyone, I say, first outlaw all jets, outlaw all personal cars on earth and above all, outlaw all military who aren’t using horses, asses, camels and oxen for transport and of course, destroy all palaces and chuck out the residents there who are huge energy hogs, themselves. Ah, a world run by Pol Pot! Yes, that is the solution if we are all going to die of being too warm!
And indeed, the rich are suggesting quite openly that we live like the pathetic victims of Pol Pot! Or, if we want a decent life, we must have nuclear plants plopped down next door but not next door to any elites. They, of course, will park themselves safely far enough away from these plants to be protected.
Oh, one is near Manhattan, you say? Yup, it is. It is an old plant. Indian Point is a grave danger to NYC. But hark! The elites have MORE THAN ONE HOME. They can flee swiftly and silently and far earlier than anyone else. While they tell everyone to stay put, they flee. Then…when it is way too late, they will tell everyone else to finally flee and note this: take nothing with them!!!! Ah…yes, that is the New Nuclear Power World Order in a nutshell.
“Even before this, we had considered this a very serious incident so, in that sense, there will be no big change in the way we deal with it just because it has been designated level 7,” an agency official said.
…NISA and the NSC have been measuring emissions of radioactive iodine-131 and cesium-137, a heavier element with a much longer half-life. Based on an average of their estimates and a formula that converts elements into a common radioactive measure, the equivalent of about 500,000 terabecquerels of radiation from iodine-131 has been released into the atmosphere since the crisis began.
That well exceeds the Level 7 threshold of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale of “several tens of thousands of terabecquerels” of iodine-131.
Due to the wide ‘unknowns’ involved in nuclear pollution, it is always best to err on the side of caution. The other thing we have to remember here is, the assessment of damage, the assessment of risk and the projections of future events has lagged way, way behind actual events. Every week it is, ‘Oops! So sorry! We thought things would not be so very bad!’ This is called ‘wishful thinking’ not ‘correct assessment of risk’.
The new storyline being peddled is, ‘Oh, yes, this is certainly a category 7 event but it is still much smaller than Chernobyl.’ This is most certainly true. But it is now in the same risk category as Chernobyl and far from finished. Indeed, it continues onwards, relentlessly. What the experts leave out because this is a scary thought is, nuclear reactions are very hard to stop and as each shell surrounding the hot cores are broken, evaporated or degrade over time, each time there is a 7+ mag earthquake, the damage grows and the menace gets bigger, not smaller.
A more realistic analysis is, ‘We have virtually no idea how this will progress in the future because our main model to compare this to is Chernobyl and that one is certainly not finished, either. It is only entombed and still is a major menace.’ But then again, this means correctly assessing the dangers of all nuclear power plants. The world will go along for the next 100 years exploring all the many, many ways one can screw up with nuclear power. As each event happens, it will have some unique features and some will cause greater grief than others. But the main thing is, all of these events will be UNCONTROLLABLE.
I used to drive carriages with horses. Once a horse ‘takes the bit in the mouth’ and begins to really run, when panicked, it is impossible to control the horse in any way at all what so ever. The horse has to run until it wrecks the carriage or when it finally tires out. Runaway horses are extremely dangerous. Nuclear power and financial panics are the same way. They run until they cease running due to exhaustion. Japan had a super-bubble 20 years ago when the country was worth, on paper, more than the giant US. Then the bubble popped, panic set in, the Kobe earthquake happened and it has been all downhill, except for exports, ever since. The panic continues off and on and this month, it is very much on: Tokyo stocks tumble on nuclear crisis upgrade, stronger yen
The world’s #3 (and sinking) economy is in very great distress. The problems are accumulating, not correcting themselves. The death rate of the elderly in the northern sector of Honshu island will now rise rapidly, over 300 have died this month in the primitive cavernous shelters. Since most young people gravitate to Tokyo, since the nuclear families in Japan have atrophied, since many elderly cling to life at home in their accustomed villages, now swept to sea, we have a rebuilding problem: the elderly are, nearly by definition, unable to rebuild very well and worse, they are a drag on the economy and public finances and this has now doubled.
As the exclusion zone widens in Japan, more and more people are flushed out of their intact homes and the refugee crises worsens:
Under the new plan the towns of Katsuta, Namie, and Itatemura, along with portions of Kawamata and Minamisoma will be evacuated over the next month (because authorities are worried about the accumulated dose, the evacuations need not be hasty). Edano adds that those living within 30 km of the plant should be prepared for emergency evacuation, should conditions change.
The new evacuation zones show an increasing level of sophistication from Japanese authorities, who until now have concentrated mainly on setting up circular exclusion zones. As I’ve mentioned before, weather conditions can carry radiation further than the exclusion zones and the new evacuations are a sign that the government now has enough fallout data to begin formulate a long-term plan to protect its citizens.
The problem is, the relentless actions of the nuclear reactions will continue until they finally eat up all the available fuel (!!!!) and the prevailing winds carrying this out to sea will decisively shift in the opposite direction and this spells more nightmares for Japan. I once lived right off the ocean in NYC. In winter, the prevailing winds blew from the continent. But in summer, the winds shift and blow very heavily off the ocean. This is because the landmass is warmer than the sea in summer whereas in winter, it is warmer so the wind blows the other way.
One can tell, in summer, how close the ocean is by the salt tang to the air. Just 25 miles inland, this lessens greatly. But on the sea shore, the wind is quite often very brisk. Only rarely does it blow. Since the reactors are right on the sea, we can predict with absolute certainty that the nuclear radiation will blow at least 25 miles inland. The nuclear pollution will grow relentlessly. Minimizing this based on pre-summer wind conditions is delusional. Present predictions have been dishonest due to a refusal to project into the future based on important weather information.
The Koreans and Chinese have figured this out which is why they are all so annoyed about the ongoing mess in Japan and are not nearly so forgiving as the US which has been the other major victim of nuclear pollution. When Chernobyl happened, all tolerance of Soviet misbehaviors collapsed and everyone was mad at the government there which was forced to make many reforms which ended communism there. The political fallout from the Japanese event will be equally radical.
Here is an article that clearly shows the despair and panic that people feel when confronted with a nuclear pollution event:
Clad in protective gear, Konno visits his farm some 20 kilometers from the refugee shelter every day to look after his animals. He stays there from early morning through evening, knowing his cattle have become virtually unsellable at the market….However, the highest radiation level to date in the prefecture (except for areas already evacuated) of 23 microsieverts per hour was detected at the district’s Tsushima Elementary School on April 8, prompting the government to extend the evacuation zone to cover the entire town on April 11 as it requested all residents to move out from the area over the next month.
Raincoats and clothes were found abandoned along the road near Konno’s empty house. Those who temporarily returned to their homes inside the 30-kilometer radius of the plant threw them away on their way back to makeshift shelters.
It is hard for people to understand the devotion some (but not all) farmers have for their animals. I used to have cattle, horses and sheep but had to sell them all or they died of old age. It made us very sad, doing this. We miss our animals. Milk cows in non-industrial farming states are still treated like members of the family, not the cruel American way of penning them up and milking them to death. Back when farmers loved their chickens, they raised them to have many varieties of feathering and competed to see who could breed interesting looking chickens because the eye was pleased with these birds.
The farmer in this story is like the older style of farmers. He does love his cattle and is suffering emotional pain, watching their fates deteriorate. Even if you harvest the animals, you can still feel joy in their births and growth and still consume them. This is the ancient animal/human pact we forged in the last 12,000 years which have been violated by modern institutional farming.
The loss of one’s farm is one that everyone has to consider: this happened in Chernobyl and will happen in other farmlands since most nuclear power plants are plopped down in prime farmlands due to these being mostly flat and near water by definition. This, in turn, will eat up farmlands which are under stress from the wild overgrowth of urban centers. This is because peasants from farmlands are flowing into cities. And one of the biggest is the Tokyo region which completely covered over miles and miles of prime farmlands.
Now on to an important story. The Japanese media has woken up and is running quite a few interesting stories about how things unscrolled after the tsunami hit the nuclear power plants in Fukushima:
TEPCO began preparations for opening the valves around 7 p.m. on March 11. Pressure inside the No. 1 reactor was particularly high. “Soon, the reactor won’t be able to withstand the pressure,” said an official of the accident headquarters at the plant, which was keeping in touch with TEPCO’s head office via video phone. “We have to vent the pressure immediately.”
“Pressure inside the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor has gone up dramatically,” the agency told Banri Kaieda, economy, trade and industry minister, at 12:45 a.m. on March 12. In fact, it had reached 1.5 times the designed maximum, meaning the condition of the reactor was critical. “To get things under control, we have to pour water into the reactors and then vent the steam that is generated,” Haruki Madarame, chairman of the Cabinet Office’s Nuclear Safety Commission, told Kaieda.
At 1:30 a.m. on March 12, Kan, Kaieda and Madarame gathered at the crisis management center in the basement of the Prime Minister’s Office. The three urged TEPCO officials to vent the steam as soon as possible. But TEPCO officials said there was no way of opening the valves because there was no power supply. Exasperated, Kaieda called the utility’s head office in Tokyo and the accident headquarters at the plant every hour, pressuring them to open the valves immediately. TEPCO workers tried to open the valves by manually overriding the automatic system, but struggled to make progress because they had to work in darkness.
At dawn, pressure inside the No. 1 reactor was more than twice the designed maximum.
Eventually, at 6:50 a.m., the government ordered the utility to open the valves under the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law. When Kan visited the accident site shortly after 7 a.m. and found TEPCO had not opened the valves yet, he reprimanded company officials. The officials replied they would like to have another hour to make a decision on what to do.
Kan blew his stack. “Now’s not the time to make such lackadaisical comments!” the prime minister told the TEPCO officials. Yet even still, the utility spent three more hours discussing the matter before finally opening the valves at 10:17 a.m. Five hours after that, a hydrogen explosion occurred at the No. 1 reactor, blowing apart its outer building.
First, TEPCO claimed they couldn’t do it. Then, they tried to open the valves but failed due to a lack of light? Wow. There are many ways of bringing light into an area without direct electricity! There are pretty good battery operated lights that are stronger than flashlights. This shows how lax things are at nuclear power plants. Far from having many layers of systems, they have the barest minimum. Then, when it was finally fixed so the poor workers could finally see, there were still long, long delays as Tokyo Power debated venting the reactors.
They finally did this when it was far too late. The lack of power of the head of Japan’s government is most telling, too. One can be absolutely certain that if Hu or Wen went to a nuclear power plant and gave a direct order, it would be followed to the letter. In the US, the system we have here is like Japan. Corporations do whatever they want and only after people get really angry and the government gets really scared, only when the corporate heads literally fear for their lives, do they concede power to the public.
Far from being very dynamic, the government still flounders. It has been one month since the catastrophe and there are no FEMA trailers, good or bad as these might have been, they were better than leaving people piled up in huge shelters with no beds, no privacy. The cost of building even the littlest temporary housing climbs as the earthquakes and nuclear reactor problems swell the ranks of the displaced:
The government has asked builders to construct 30,000 temporary housing units by mid-May and another 30,000 by mid-August. But at present only about 6,000 dwellings are going up.
“It is necessary to help local governments by allowing farmland, government-owned land and forests to be used as temporary housing sites,” land minister Akihiro Ohata said April 5. “We will also ask the U.S. and European countries to provide construction materials if there is not enough.”
A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report said Tepco could face compensation claims of up to Â¥3 trillion if the nuclear crisis drags on for six months. Goldman Sachs Japan Co. estimates Tepco faces an extraordinary loss at Â¥700 billion if it were to decommission all 10 reactors at the site as well as at the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant.
Tepco obviously will not be able to shoulder the bills by itself, triggering speculation that the utility may face nationalization. This will no doubt balloon the cost the government will have to shoulder.
Even if Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan-led ruling coalition gives up key pledges, including monthly child allowance and free highway tolls, and uses reserves for this fiscal year and the last, it will only mount to about Â¥6 trillion.
So, the Tokyo Electric problem will eat up social services. It will make life for the shrinking childbearing base even worse off than before. Japan’s tremendous debt problem will grow much worse. If Â¥4 trillion yen is required to fix these problems caused by the nuclear event, this falls on top of the cost which is double this for the earthquake damage. Far more. So this is a double hammer blow to Japan’s economy far worse than the Kobe event. Japan’s preparations for military confrontations with China and Russia are definitely on the back burner.
Despite half of the ‘eco movement’ people being totally pro-nuclear, alternative fuels that use wind and sun continue blissfully onwards despite the tsunami or earthquakes (naturally, any solar stuff would be destroyed by the tsunami but this wouldn’t cause millions of people to be permanently displaced!): Offshore windmills weather crisis undamaged.
And finally, there is this story: U.S. ‘frustrated’ over Japan’s lack of N-info. We may be frustrated but China is infuriated. And will retaliate over time. If the Japanese government wants to be confrontational or secretive, they will pay dearly for this. Since the impulse at the top of the corporate and political ladder rewards secrecy and pride, this will cause future problems for Japan a lot worse in the long run than mere tsunamis. I am all for an open government which is why I support Wikileaks. I support honest watchdogs tracking banks, corporations and stock markets. Let there be light! Honesty, in the long run, does pay off. Soviet-style secrecy leads to catastrophes.
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