Many of you who have joined me on Facebook know that in the year since the Fukushima disaster, I have posted periodic updates and queries there, on the still unresolved situation with reactor 4.
Some have called me alarmist, some have said I should get a tin foil hat, but many more have shared my posts and agreed that people deserve to hear the truth of the potential for disaster.
It’s not all good and business as usual in Japan. The Japanese government has been horrifically understating the serious potential for global tragedy if another earthquake were to occur, specifically with respect to the still unresolved situation with reactor 4.
In April, I posted a link to the web page of Senator Ron Wyden who, on a recent trip to Fukushima, was shocked and alarmed to discover that little had been done to secure reactor 4 and that it was in fact, perilously close to the sea, exposed to the elements. In shock at the reality and very clear potential for what could become a global tragedy, he returned to American soil to immediately write letters, and ask for help from his own government to pressure the Japanese to act quickly and deal with the situation. They need help, of that, there is no doubt.
You can read the report from his trip and the subsequent letters at this link: http://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/after-tour-of-fukushima-nuclear-power-station-wyden-says-situation-worse-than-reported
When I posted this link in April, I asked the question, ” Why are the Canadian and American governments doing so little to ensure the situation is handled immediately and completely?
Why indeed, are we doing nothing? What the Japanese government has not been sharing with the world, is that their relative inaction to deal properly with this last reactor, is putting not only the Japanese people at massive risk, but the rest of the world as well.
Why indeed, was Christy Clark over in Japan, drumming up business when she perhaps should have been pressuring the Japanese officials to take action, to accept help? Why is she not joining the chorus of officials around the world who are begging the Japanese government and the UN, to begin the treacherously dangerous job of dealing with reactor 4? Does she even know what is going on? Does she even care? I honestly don’t know.
Terrace Daily did an exemplary article on this situation last week, which spells out succinctly the very real impact such a disaster would have on life in North America. I absolutely urge you to click on this link and share with your friends, colleagues and elected officials.
This is not an exaggeration. In fact, it was followed by an online only article by CTV news that impressed me greatly, for the simple fact that not many in the mainstream, western Canadian media have even touched this. If only this were to appear on our nightly news here in BC, I would be even more impressed.
“Fate of the world’ depends on Reactor 4
He’s not alone in pressing the Japanese government to adopt a sense of urgency about the Reactor 4 dilemma.
Robert Alvarez, a former top adviser at the U.S. Department of Energy, also expressed concern in a letter to Akio Matsumura, a Japanese diplomat who has turned his focus to the nuclear calamity.
Matsumura had asked Alvarez about the risk associated with Reactor 4.
“The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements,” Alvarez said in his response. “If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cesium-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.”
Mitsuhei Murata, Japan’s former ambassador to Switzerland and Senegal, has also made it his mission to convince the UN and the world that urgent action is needed.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor,” Murata said in a recent letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he urged him to back efforts to address the problem.
Yesterday, Damien Gillis, documentary filmmaker and co-founder of The CommonSense Canadian, came forward with his take on Fukushima, ” Fukushima Reactor 4: The most important story nobody is talking about” and I am really happy that he jumped in on this story as well. Damien talks a little bit about why no one wants to talk about Fukushima, and why he finally has waded into the ongoing story:
“But in recent months, increasingly troubling reports from high-ranking Japanese and American politicians, diplomats and nuclear experts have been trickling into the blogosphere and alternate medialike the irradiated water still seeping from the plant into the Pacific Ocean. They suggest, in a nutshell, that were another decent-sized earthquake to hit the stricken plant before thousands of highly radioactive spent fuel rods are properly secured, we could see the explosion and diffusion into the North Pacific’s winds and ocean currents of 10 times the radioactive material emitted by the Chernobyl disaster – rendering much of Asia, North America and many other corners of the globe uninhabitable for centuries.
No wonder no one wants to talk about this stuff!
The force of such warnings has been muted by the fact that most of these alarms are being sounded by relatively fringe politicos and individuals associated with the anti-nuclear movement – albeit highly respected in their respective fields – and carried largely by alternate media sites.
But that has begun to change. This past week, one of Canada’s largest media outlets, CTV News, carried a story titled, “Fukushima Reactor 4 Poses Massive Global Risk”, which echoed many of the concerns being raised through other channels. If you read one depressing thing this week, make it this story.
“Experts in communicating environmental themes to the broader public tend to stress the importance of providing people with hope and tangible actions they can take to help resolve the issue at hand. Perhaps that’s one reason I’ve resisted covering this story up until now. I confess, every time I read about the dire situation at Fukushima, I can’t help but feel depressed and powerless to affect a situation that threatens to destroy everything I hold dear: my wild salmon and marine ecosystems, my coastal home, the health and welfare of my family and community, my whole country and the very planet as I know it. If we take to heart the warnings of people like Senator Wyden, Dr. Alvarez, Ambassador Mistuhei - or even if at minimum we apply the Precautionary Principle to the situation, which seems well-warranted – then we have to acknowledge the very real possibility that nothing short of the fate of human civilization and the natural world hang on the teetering frame of Reactor 4.
Is that melodramatic? So what if these fears prove overblown in the end? This is one situation where I don’t mind being labelled a Chicken Little, for the chance that the danger was real and my actions helped in some way to mitigate it. “
What is required now is for this issue to gain enough prominence in the mainstream media and, consequently, the public consciousness, to compel a unified political effort to move those bloody fuel rods to safety before another earthquake topples them and takes us all with them.
It is my hope, in talking about this thing no one wants to contemplate, that I’m doing my small part in inching the world closer to the action necessary to avert a crisis of unthinkable proportions. And perhaps if you take a moment to share this story and others you come across with your social media network, friends, colleagues and family – and write your political representatives and media – we can help build the movement required to keep our air and water clean, our children’s future preserved.
I’m all for prayer in these situations…but action’s preferable”
Everyone knows where I stand on this – with Damien, with Merv Ritchie, with the many international politicians and experts who have been crying for international attention on this for the last year. I stand with the people of Japan who are most at risk from their governments lack of action and inability to deal with this situation alone. For the children to come, their food, their way of life – and all of ours. It’s not about scaring you, it’s about informing you. I have faith that if the people are given the right information, the facts, then they will rise to the cause and do what’s needed to be done. Readers have proved this here time and time again on this site.
Share this story, and all the links within it. Send it to your friends, colleagues, family and elected officials. Email your MLA, your MP, our acting premier and the prime minister. Knowledge is power, information is the commodity. Use them well.