Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant March 2011



What have we learned in the three years since the onset of the continuing nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi?  Many things — most of which are not good.

Hydrogen Explosion at Fukushima. March, 2011.
Hydrogen Explosion at Fukushima. March, 2011.

We learned that safe-energy and anti-nuclear activists were correct in their initial analyses of what was happening in the early days of the disaster; and unlike TEPCO, the Japanese government, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), we were telling the public straight out.

We’ve learned that TEPCO cannot be trusted to tell the truth about much of anything.  And worse – that the Japanese government will allow this situation to continue indefinitely, and without any penalty.

We’ve learned that the Japanese government endorses a version of Joseph Stalin’s truism that, if you kill one person it’s murder; but if you kill a million it’s a statistic.  It has seen fit to begin prosecution of a courageous female journalist named  MARI TAKENOUCHI for speaking out against the practice of bringing children back into radiation contaminated areas; yet to date has not seen fit to prosecute a single TEPCO executive for the repeated safety failures at the Fukushima reactors, irradiation of a large part of Eastern Japan, repeatedly lying to virtually everyone,  and the continued contamination of the Pacific Ocean.  http://savekidsjapan.blogspot.com/2014/02/ethos-leader-accused-takenouchi-of.html

We’ve learned that the Japanese government regards its Constitution precisely the same way the U.S. government does its own – it ignores it repeatedly.  Article 21 guarantees freedom of the press, and Article 19 freedom of thought and conscience.  MARI TAKENOUCHI might not think these Articles were still in effect.  Although Article 18 prohibits involuntary servitude and freedom from bondage, the homeless pressed into clean-up services in contaminated zones might argue that this Article is being stretched at best, ignored at worse.  And although Article 15 informs that, “All public officials are servants of the whole community…”, and Article 16 guarantees, “the right of peaceful petition for the redress of damage,” one has to wonder if those articles mean anything when the government in Tokyo orders Consul staff to not receive those peaceful petitions being offered today at all eleven U.S. embassy and consulate offices.

Lest we give the impression that the Japanese alone are possessed by nuclear denial, we need only examine the deliberate and repeated efforts of NRC Commissioners Svinicki, Apostolakas, Magwood and Ostendorff to delay or prevent the rapid implementation of “Fukushima Lessons Learned” as recommended by their own technical staff.  Not to mention their skillful and successful effort to hasten the departure of the only safety-minded NRC Commissioner calling for quicker action – former Chair Greg Jaczko.  While even the morally bankrupt executives at TEPCO have agreed to place radiation filters on newly installed safety vents at their reactors, these four dim bulbs of U.S. bureaucracy did not feel that the U.S. public was worth this level of protection, and further suggested taking between 5-7 years to install even the unfiltered safety vents at the 23 U.S. GE-Mark-I and II reactors like the ones that melted down and blew up at Fukushima.

The fruit does not fall far from the tree, it seems.  We’ve learned only in the past 24 hours that NRC PR staff itself was working overtime during the early days of the disaster – to deliberately mislead the American public about the seriousness of the disaster, and the safety vulnerability of U.S. reactors.


Our late friend and colleague, Physicians for Social Responsibility President Jeff Patterson used to lecture that the NRC and the nuclear industry engage in three types of communication:  secrecy, cover-up, and minimization – also known by its acronym, SCUM.  There is ample evidence that this style remains in full use to this day concerning Fukushima.

In the early days of the disaster, we warned that this catastrophe would take decades to clean up, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars – predictions that were scoffed at by pro-nuclear hacks.  We now find ourselves accepting the painfulness of our predictions in much the same way that Cassandra of Troy must have endured hers.

I can recall the prophetic words of Prof. Dimitry Hrodzinsky, world famous Ukrainian radiation scientist, speaking at the Chornobyl+20 Conference, held in Kyiv in 2006: “The accident is over.  The catastrophe is just beginning,” he said of Chornobyl, 20 years after the fact.  These are words that should be heeded by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on this solemn occasion.

But, in spite of these horrors, and the many equally tragic and repugnant ones not chronicled here today, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo “Gambaro” Abe is more than eager to have another go at nuclearizing Japan, urging his Nuclear Regulatory Agency to hasten its work on getting shuttered reactors back online, not finishing the job safely and quickly at Fukushima.  This level of denial is utterly astonishing.

But it makes two things clear:  Japan on nukes is truly Abe-Normal.  And, “betrayal is a sound rational basis for distrust.” (1)  O


(1)  journalist and author William Boardman


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