masyhead

The Cur­rent Year is 6263

Many times when I post an arti­cle there is more infor­ma­tion that is added later. If you have a post you like try to check back and see if more infor­ma­tion has been added.


Global Warm­ing or Pole Shift? (updated)

warmingI am one mil­lion per­cent (100.00,000 %) in agree­ment with you (a com­ment on this video) that we should not be using a fuel source from the 19th cen­tury. And I have no inter­est money or oth­er­wise in big oil. But my point is that again the words of the money changes have not been exam­ined! It was vice pres­i­dent Gore who first start­ing talk­ing about global warm­ing and it’s rela­tion­ship to a “TAX” remem­ber the car­bon tax? And did stud­ies that went back 500 years. I ask you how long has the planet been here? Also about the heat, did you ever think to ask what is the Sun doing at this time? No, the sun has noth­ing to do with it!

One point on cli­mate denial! I’m not say­ing that the cli­mate is not chang­ing and there­fore I’m not a cli­mate denier, how­ever I do have reser­va­tions about the cause.

Read more: Global Warm­ing or Pole Shift? (updated)

The worst nuclear acci­dent in his­tory

The three melt­downs and at least four big core explo­sions at the Fukushima nuclear-​power plant’s six American-​designed Dai­ichi reac­tors in March 2011 still con­sti­tute the world’s worst nuclear night­mare so far, sur­pass­ing even the Cher­nobyl #4 reactor’s explo­sion and melt­down of April 1986. While Chernobyl’s dis­as­ter was very quickly con­tained albeit at the cost of at least 30 human lives (accord­ing to Soviet sources) — by first hav­ing the stricken reac­tor com­pletely buried in sand from the air and then imme­di­ately seal­ing it inside a sar­coph­a­gus of rein­forced con­crete, Fukushima’s tragedy has remained an open, fes­ter­ing wound to this day. A U.N. report issued in 2012 stated that at least six Fukushima work­ers had died since the melt­downs and the tsunami (accord­ing to a later report by the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment, only one of these work­ers had died from radi­a­tion exposure).

The Japan­ese seem to have been reluc­tant to risk the lives of their more than 6,000 res­cue work­ers pour­ing daily hun­dreds of tons of sea water over the fully destroyed reac­tors as well as the sev­eral partly dam­aged ones. Yet, as of 27 Feb­ru­ary 2017, the Fukushima pre­fec­ture gov­ern­ment counted 2,129 “disaster-​related deaths” in that pre­fec­ture alone. At least 1,368 among those deaths have been listed as directly “related to the nuclear power plant.” Pre­dicted future can­cer deaths due to accu­mu­lated radi­a­tion expo­sures in the pop­u­la­tion liv­ing near Fukushima are expected to run in the many hun­dreds, if not the thousands.

Obvi­ously, the Japan­ese government’s wish­ful think­ing is that the nuclear dis­as­ter would just go away if as few peo­ple as pos­si­ble — both at home and espe­cially abroad — knew about its true extent and actual sever­ity. Accord­ing to Har­vey Wasser­man (“14,000 Hiroshi­mas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, Octo­ber 9, 2013), the sit­u­a­tion on the ground was still rather cat­a­strophic more than two years after the dis­as­ter, because

Mas­sive quan­ti­ties of heav­ily con­t­a­m­i­nated water are pour­ing into the Pacific Ocean, dous­ing work­ers along the way. Hun­dreds of huge, flimsy tanks are leak­ing untold tons of highly radioac­tive flu­ids. At Unit #4, more than 1300 fuel rods, with more than 400 tons of extremely radioac­tive mate­r­ial, con­tain­ing poten­tial cesium fall­out com­pa­ra­ble to 14,000 Hiroshima bombs, are stranded 100 feet in the air.”

Have we been wit­ness­ing a major local cat­a­stro­phe with some per­ilous global reper­cus­sions that are still being con­cealed from the gen­eral pub­lic and the world under a veil of total gov­ern­ment secrecy — “appar­ently to avoid caus­ing ‘need­less’ social panic,” in the words of Japan­ese research sci­en­tist Haruko Satoh (“Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy in Japan: The Need for a Robust Social Con­tract,” ARI, June 29, 2011)? While the Rus­sians had the excuse of hav­ing just one prior warn­ing — namely that of the Three Mile Island’s much smaller nuclear mishap in the U.S. on March 28, 1979 — the Japan­ese appear to have com­pletely ignored Chernobyl’s tragic lessons while oper­at­ing their Fukushima nuclear-​power plant built in a highly vul­ner­a­ble seis­mic zone in close prox­im­ity to the Pacific Ocean which is prone to mas­sive earth­quakes and tsunamis. Point­ing out that

…a vast area of land has been con­t­a­m­i­nated by radi­a­tion,” Haruko Satoh fur­ther writes that “…the nature of the on-​going nuclear cri­sis is bet­ter under­stood as a man-​made dis­as­ter result­ing from the sys­temic fail­ure of Japan’s nuclear energy regime for safety than an inevitable con­se­quence of unfore­seen forces of nature.”

In his con­sid­ered opin­ion, Japan “has also failed to act speed­ily to remove and treat the accu­mu­lat­ing con­t­a­m­i­nated soil and water” (ibid.).

As a result, accord­ing to The Guardian (“Plum­met­ing Morale at Fukushima Dai­ichi as Nuclear Cleanup Takes Its Toll,” Octo­ber 15, 2013), “the world’s most dan­ger­ous indus­trial cleanup” has been threat­en­ing not only Japan (long dubbed “America’s unsink­able air­craft car­rier” in the west­ern Pacific) but the rest of the planet as well. Will the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity finally wake up to this still on-​going lethal dan­ger that will per­sist for many years to come — at least until the afflicted nuclear reac­tors are finally cooled down? But it is not going to be an easy job since by Tokyo’s own esti­mates the full decom­mis­sion­ing of the wrecked nuclear site could take up to 40 years.

Could the 2020 Tokyo Olympics be canceled?

The Fukushima cat­a­stro­phe released in the air many radioac­tive pol­lu­tants such as cesium-​134, cesium-​137, strontium-​90, iodine-​131, plutonium-​238 and other so-​called radionu­clides that emit ion­ized (alpha and beta) par­ti­cles. With lifes­pan exceed­ing hun­dreds of years, these radioac­tive pol­lu­tants will con­tinue to pose a radi­a­tion threat for many decades to come. One eye­wit­ness tes­ti­fies about the fail­ure of Japan’s decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion mea­sures (Maxime Pol­leri, “The Truth About Radi­a­tion in Fukushima: Despite Gov­ern­ment Claims, Radi­a­tion From the 2011 Nuclear Dis­as­ter Is Not Gone,” The Diplo­mat, March 14, 2019):

…moun­tains of black plas­tic bags, filled with con­t­a­m­i­nated soil or debris, can be seen in many parts of Fukushima…. As such, decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion does not imply that radi­a­tion has van­ished; it has sim­ply been moved else­where. Yet in rural regions, where many of the bags are cur­rently being dis­posed, far away from the eyes of urban dwellers, res­i­dents are still forced to live near the stor­age sites. Many rural res­i­dents have crit­i­cized the actual effi­cacy of the decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion projects. For instance, vinyl bags are now start­ing to break down due to the build-​up of gas released by rot­ten soil. Plants and flow­ers have also started to grow inside the bags, in the process tear­ing them apart. With weather fac­tors, resid­ual radioac­tiv­ity inside the bags will even­tu­ally be scat­tered back into the environment.”

But with the upcom­ing 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is doubt­ful that the secre­tive Japan­ese gov­ern­ment will ever acknowl­edge this threat­en­ing real­ity. For exam­ple, the Japan­ese have been silent about the cur­rent extent of radi­o­log­i­cal con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of the seas sur­round­ing Japan — obvi­ously for fear that the Tokyo Olympics sched­uled to be held next year may be canceled.

The Offi­cial Cover-​up

In the past, the Tokyo Elec­tric Power Com­pany (Tepco), the crip­pled nuclear-​power plant’s sole owner and operator,

has all but admit­ted (that) Fukushima’s radi­a­tion leaks are spi­ral­ing out of con­trol. In addi­tion to the leak­ing water stor­age units that are unleash­ing hun­dred of tons of radioac­tive water each day, Tepco now says (that) 50% of its con­t­a­m­i­nated fil­tra­tion capa­bil­ity has been taken offline due to cor­ro­sion. The result is that radi­a­tion leaks are esca­lat­ing out of con­trol and attempted reme­di­a­tion efforts are fal­ter­ing” (“Fukushima in Free Fall,” Nat​u​ral​News​.com, August 27, 2013).

The tra­di­tion­ally close-​mouthed Japan­ese bureau­crats have been far less truth­ful and much more eva­sive about the grav­ity of the Fukushima nuclear cri­sis than the Rus­sians ever were about their Cher­nobyl dis­as­ter. Only in June 2011 — three whole months after the Fukushima nuclear acci­dent — did Tokyo announce that melt­downs had actu­ally occurred in three of the six reac­tors. “From day one,” the Nat​u​ral​New​.com arti­cle continues,

the Fukushima fiasco has been all about denial: Deny the leaks, shut off the radi­a­tion sen­sors, black out the news and fudge the sci­ence. Yet more than two years later, the denials are col­lid­ing with the laws of physics, and Tepco’s cover sto­ries are increas­ingly being blown wide open.” (ibid.)

Buried under a vir­tual tsunami of compensation-​seeking law­suits, Tepco, “once a behe­moth that vir­tu­ally con­trolled Japan’s energy pol­icy“ (Haruko Satoh, “Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy in Japan: The Need for a Robust Social Con­tract,” ARI, June 29, 2011), has sur­vived to this day as Japan’s biggest energy giant only thanks to the LDP gov­ern­ment which seems to be more than will­ing and eager to bail it out. Despite the attempted cover-​up by pro-​nuclear Japan­ese cab­i­nets and the Japan­ese news media alike, Japan’s own nuclear-​safety watch­dog — the Nuclear and Indus­trial Safety Agency (NISA) — gave Fukushima’s nuclear cat­a­stro­phe the worst pos­si­ble rat­ing for radi­o­log­i­cal dan­ger, Level 7 (“major acci­dent”) — the same rat­ing as the Cher­nobyl dis­as­ter — in accor­dance with the Inter­na­tional Nuclear and Radi­o­log­i­cal Event Scale (INES) stan­dards estab­lished by the Inter­na­tional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1990.

Show­ing how more than two years after the dis­as­ter the waters of the Pacific Ocean were actu­ally “boil­ing” off the coast of Fukushima in what it called “a viral photo of the day,” Before It’s News (“’Boil­ing Sea’ Off Fukushima Viral Photo of the Day,” August 30, 2013) asked rhetor­i­cally, “…if this radi­a­tion keeps leak­ing, and there is no way to stop it, will boil­ing seas spread all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of the United States? If so, what hap­pens then?”

How was the crit­i­cally impor­tant oceanic ani­mal and plant life affected by the radioac­tive con­t­a­m­i­na­tion? Tokyo has denied that due to higher radi­a­tion lev­els it is dan­ger­ous to eat any fish caught by Japan­ese fish­er­men, but the gov­ern­ment has rein­stated its ear­lier fish­ing ban. Could it be that all of Japan has been poi­soned? More­over, is the whole planet going to be even­tu­ally con­t­a­m­i­nated by Fukushima’s many tons of radioac­tive mate­r­ial released into the air and sea? Again accord­ing to Har­vey Wasserman,

A worst-​case cloud would even­tu­ally make Japan an unin­hab­it­able waste-​land. What it could do to the Pacific Ocean and the rest of us down­wind approaches the unthink­able” (“14,000 Hiroshi­mas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, Octo­ber 9, 2013).

The Fukushima nuclear acci­dent and its tragic con­se­quences have taken place at the worse pos­si­ble time for Japan, given its huge national debt (which is more than twice the size of its annual GDP) and pro­tracted eco­nomic slump last­ing now for almost three decades. Japan’s eco­nomic down­turn started with the burst­ing of Tokyo’s stock-​market and real-​estate “bub­bles” in the 1990s and was gravely exac­er­bated by the global Great Reces­sion of 20082009 sparked by America’s own bank­ing and real-​estate crises. The inter­na­tional com­mu­nity should have by now pressed the U.N. Secu­rity Coun­cil to con­sider and adopt a bind­ing res­o­lu­tion to close down Japan’s haz­ardous nuclear-​energy indus­try, given the major eco­nomic, pub­lic health and pub­lic safety risks involved.

Is Japan’s nuclear indus­try doomed?

But Japan’s nuclear power may already be doomed, with its nuclear units being grad­u­ally taken “offline” in the wake of the Fukushima fiasco (“After Fukushima, Does Nuclear Power Have a Future?” The New York Times, Octo­ber 10, 2011). In Sep­tem­ber 2013, the new Lib­eral Demo­c­ra­tic Party Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe ordered the shut­down — sup­pos­edly for rou­tine main­te­nance and safety checks — of its last nuclear reac­tor at Oi that was still work­ing after all the other 53 oper­at­ing reac­tors had been closed down for one rea­son or another. Fac­ing pres­sure from the Japan­ese pub­lic which has turned deci­sively against nuclear energy, the pre­vi­ous Prime Min­is­ter, Yoshi­hiko Noda of the Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Japan, had announced in Sep­tem­ber 2012 a major change in Japan’s energy pol­icy, pledg­ing to shut down all nuclear power for good by the 2030s, thus anger­ing the all-​powerful Japan­ese cap­tains of industry.

In power since Decem­ber 2012, Shinzo Abe’s LDP cab­i­net has been warn­ing about the steep eco­nomic costs of pulling the plug on Japan’s nuclear energy, mainly in the form of esca­lat­ing and very expen­sive energy imports, espe­cially for a coun­try which lacks fos­sil fuel reserves. Under tremen­dous pres­sure from the “iron tri­an­gle” com­mu­nity of elec­tric­ity util­i­ties, heavy indus­try, min­istry bureau­crats and aca­d­e­mic experts, known as the “nuclear vil­lage,” Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo has been try­ing to restart as many nuclear reac­tors as the still hos­tile domes­tic pub­lic opin­ion would per­mit him.

Fol­low­ing the Fukushima acci­dent, as each Japan­ese nuclear reac­tor entered its sched­uled main­te­nance and refu­el­ing out­age, it was not returned to oper­a­tion. Between Sep­tem­ber 2013 and August 2015, Japan’s entire reac­tor fleet was sus­pended from oper­a­tion, leav­ing the coun­try with no nuclear gen­er­a­tion. But in 2018 Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo’s cab­i­net restarted five nuclear power reac­tors (U.S. Energy Infor­ma­tion Admin­is­tra­tion, “Japan Has Restarted Five Nuclear Power Reac­tors in 2018,” Novem­ber 28, 2018). He is fac­ing a new and unex­pected obsta­cle — the renewed and strength­ened Nuclear Reg­u­la­tion Author­ity (NRA), which had been reformed and given more reg­u­la­tory pow­ers and admin­is­tra­tive inde­pen­dence after Fukushima, espe­cially since this now inde­pen­dent agency has to declare any nuclear plants safe before they could restart. There is also the implaca­ble oppo­si­tion of many pre­fec­tures, towns and vil­lages which, under the law, have a say over the reopen­ing of any local or nearby nuclear plants (“Elec­tric­ity in Japan: Power Strug­gle,” The Econ­o­mist, Sep­tem­ber 21, 2013). In spite of the deter­mi­na­tion of the rul­ing LDP to keep Japan’s ail­ing nuclear indus­try alive, its days may already be num­bered (Sumiko Takeuchi, “Is There a Future For Nuclear Power in Japan?” Japan Times, July 16, 2019).

Rossen Vas­silev Jr. is a jour­nal­ism senior at the Ohio Uni­ver­sity in Athens, Ohio.

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For­got­ten Post

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