Today marks 3 years since the start of this horrific ongoing nuclear disaster. It’s possible the “average person” does not give this crisis much thought, but my e-mail Inbox doesn’t allow me that option. I receive multiple messages daily about the situation in Fukushima. Last year (March 2013) I attended the Helen Caldicott symposium that was held in New York City to mark the 2nd anniversary & to share important scientific & medical information from a large number of scientists & researchers. I did several postings that are listed & linked here (included are a link to the Webcast, some great quotations, & a guest posting that gives a thorough summary of the entire symposium). An important lesson is that it is important to make disasters personal. Always. A lesson that is easy to forget. (I myself always have to be reminded of this.)
This year, I’ll attend an event in Toronto tonight that aims to help us prevent a nuclear disaster from happening here in Ontario. There are 18 reactors operating at 3 large nuclear stations (2 big ones in Durham Region, east of Toronto; the Pickering reactors are within about 30 km of downtown Toronto, Canada’s largest city; & up at the Bruce Power site near Kincardine, on the shores of Lake Huron, one of the, if not the, largest operating nuclear station on the planet). So there is plenty to be concerned about, right here in Ontario (or, for that matter, anywhere there is a nuclear plant or nuclear waste site; dear me, this latter is also a very “hot” topic right now).
The problem with nuclear energy is, there is simply no way to make it safe. Problems & risks (& emissions & serious health consequences) abound all the way along the nuclear chain, & the tonnes of extraordinarily dangerous wastes that are created will be with us forever. Forever, & ever, Amen (not).
In this post I will simply provide a list of recent items I’ve seen/heard that speak about the ongoing disaster in Fukushima. If you find it overwhelming, join the club! Don’t think for a moment I “enjoy” obsessing about this issue, & these threats. It isn’t “fun” exactly, & there are assuredly other things we anti-nuclear activists could be doing with our time!
The people of Fukushima & Japan have no option but to pay attention - their lives have been devastated!
A Fukushima-type accident could happen anywhere. I sure don’t want to see one happen here, near the scads of people I know & love in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA, as it’s called). That’s why I go on (& on) about this. Just for the record.
(In a posting here I wrote about the issue of collusion. An investigative committee in Japan determined that the accident was not due to the tsunami or the earthquake; it was a human-made disaster. An article by Karl Grossman here points out that this collusion between "regulator" & industry is not limited to Japan, it is a worldwide problem. This is soooo important to understand!! This is why I say one of these accidents can happen anywhere. Can happen here.)
OK. The list.
Telebriefing: Fukushima+ 3 days before the 3rd anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Japan. This is 100 minutes long & entirely worth listening to! Listen to the 3 speakers (listed below) here
- Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates
- Aileen Mioko Smith, Green Action Japan
- Diane D'Arrigo, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS)
You can listen to the March 6th program on-line here (100 minutes), OR by right-clicking on the slide-bar of the on-line player, you can download the MP3 file...LARGE FILE: about 45 MB.
'On the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi Catastrophe' -- long-time journalist Karl Grossman - professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. Karl is also the author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power and other books on nuclear technology, as well as hosting numerous TV programs on the subject including Chernobyl: A Million Casualties, Three Mile Island Revisited and The Push to Revive Nuclear Power.
Fukushima: We Must Not Forget! - blog posting from Greenpeace site
Interview with Mayor of town that hosted Fukushima nuclear plant (this mayor was pro-nuke until the unthinkable happened, btw)
Three Years On: Lives in Limbo, Dr. David McNeill (co-author of Strong in the Rain book; see below)
Latest issue of No Nukes News just in…. more info about nukes, & Fukushima.
Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disasterby David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman and Susan Q. Stranahan of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster by David McNeill, the Japan-based correspondent for The Independent, and Lucy Birmingham, Time magazine’s Tokyo-based reporter.
N.B. I could add in a ton more stuff, but I think this is enough for now. You will have observed that each of these sites has many other items you can also check out.
***** Now, if you’re a “local” reader & have concerns about the safety of the Pickering reactors that Ontario Power Generation is pushing to … push beyond their 210,000-hour design life, that would be a sensible attitude!
Here are some links about that situation:
Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates on safety at Pickering:
- Short: interview on Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA) Facebook page (scroll until you find it. It's very short, about 3 minutes, but very worth your 3 minutes!) Theme: 40 good years..... & 1 bad day.
- Longer (18 minutes) -- what Gundersen said to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) last year about Pickering's "safety."
Greenpeace’s Shawn-Patrick Stensil Time To Shut Down the Pickering Nuclear Station
& his presentation to the CNSC last May.
** Upcoming Pickering hearing info here
“I would no more operate Gentilly-2 beyond 210,000 hours than I would climb onto an airplane that does not have its permits and that does not meet the standards. So, it is out of question to put anyone, i.e. us, the workers, the public, and the company, in a situation of risk in the nuclear realm.” – Thierry Vandal, head of Hydro Québec
** Great essay about The Age of Nuclear Waste by Dr. Gordon Edwards here.
'Quote of the Day' with this post: “We need to get a lot more women involved [in nuclear activism].” -- Mary Olson, NIRS (Nuclear Information & Resource Service)
Runner-up Quotes: “Nuclear energy is unnecessary, uninsurable, uneconomic, and most importantly, unsafe. The fact that it continues to exist at all is a result of a ferocious lobby, enlisting the autocratic power of government, that will not admit that its product is unfit for use in the modern world. Let us not allow the lessons of Fukushima to be ignored.” ~ Ralph Nader
“We have to kill them [nuclear plants] before they kill us.” - David Freeman, former nuclear proponent & former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority -- speaking at the Helen Caldicott Symposium in NYC March 11-12/13. (It was a trip to Chernobyl that turned him around on the nuke issue, btw. Powerful YouTube of this feisty, take-no-prisoners, formerly pro-nuclear speaker here.)
“You have to make it personal.” – Bob Alvarez, Institute for Policy Studies, explaining that politicians confronted with “angry widows & angry workers” were more inclined to be generous with benefits than the “pointy-headed” bureaucrats. In other words, facing real actual living, breathing people who have been harmed by nuclear energy is more likely to cause a change in attitude than hearing about it from a safe distance. (A posting on making it personal here)
”All nuclear power plant systems, structures, components and personnel are potential sources of failures and malfunctions. Problems can arise from defects in design, manufacturing, installation and construction; from testings, operational, and maintenance errors; from explosions and fires; from excessive corrosion, vibration, stress, heating, cooling, radiation damage, and other physical phenomena; from deterioration due to component aging, and from externally-initiated events such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and sabotage.” – Daniel F. Ford (from a Stop Plant Vogtle brochure)
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1929-1968 [more MLK quotes]
** Tons more relevant quotations here (you really do need to check them out!!)
** Full listing of nuke-related postings on this blog