Saturday, April 09, 2011

Fukushima Meltdown

As I wrote about last week in my post Mount Fuji in Red, it is important to remember admist all the outpouring of support and compassion for the people of Japan, that the nuclear danger there cannot be solved or helped by fundraisers. It is something which has largely been forgotten as the usual humanitarian tendencies take over the way you understand or don't understand something. It is serious issue not just in terms of the potential hazard that other places face, as in whether or not the radiation will reach Guam, but it is important because of the question of whether or not nuclear energy is safe.

Below is a petition from some progressive groups about the Fukushima meltdown and beneath that is a statement on the tragedy and meltdown from the organization The Global Network.


Fukushima Update

This petition is from concerned Japanese citizens, who would appreciate an international show of support.
Radiological Impact of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

On March 11th, Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunamis. A nuclear disaster followed.
Please support this petition by Japanese citizens. It was submitted to the Japanese government on March 28th at a meeting backed by 168 citizen organizations. It addresses the radiological impact of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster and the need to extend the exclusion zone around the plant.
Your voices will be delivered to the Japanese government.
What the petition says:
1.Immediately issue a directive to evacuate and enlarge the evacuation zone.

2.Calculate and publicize regularly the total cumulative radiation dose local residents receive collectively.

3.Repeal the upward revision of the maximum permissible radiation dose (250 milliSieverts) for emergency-response workers at the Fukushima plant.

4.Expand the scope of radiation monitoring and publicize the results.

5.Undertake immediately a comprehensive survey of the radiation exposure and current state of health of local residents and provide for their long-term health care.

6.Do not relax the provisional standards governing the maximum permissible levels of radionuclides in food.

7.Provide compensation for damages to farm and dairy producers and to people who are forced to relocate.

8.Generally, take all measures necessary to ensure that members of the public do not receive radiation doses greater than 1 milliSievert per annum.


The Global Network mourns for the people of Japan following the recent disastrous chain of events that began with the earthquake, tsunami and then the nuclear power plant. Sadly Japan is now the victim of three gargantuan nuclear disasters: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan tragically demonstrates, again, the dangers of nuclear power, an energy source that must be abandoned--as a clear and present threat to life. Instead there must be full implementation of safe, clean energy technologies --- which are here today.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has long challenged the use of atomic energy in space. The network has emphasized that there are safe alternatives to energize space devices. In recent times, NASA, at long last, has begun substituting solar energy for nuclear power in space. Indeed, in coming months NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft will be launched on a five-year mission to Jupiter. It was not long ago that NASA emphatically insisted that solar power could not substitute for nuclear beyond the orbit of Mars. Suddenly, it now can be done.
Likewise, as numerous studies have documented, safe, clean, renewable energy technologies now here can provide all the power we need on earth. Nuclear power and its deadly dangers are unnecessary. As the conservative scientific magazine, Scientific American, in its October 26, 2009 cover story, "A Plan for A Sustainable Future," declared, "Wind, water, solar technologies, [and conservation] can provide 100 percent of the world's energy needs."

The issue of switching to safe, clean energy is not technological -- it's political.

The problem involves vested interests: the government agencies which push nuclear power, notably in the United States the national nuclear laboratories and the entity that owns them, the Department of Energy (headed currently by a former national nuclear laboratory director), and the nuclear industry as it seeks to profit from selling nuclear technology despite the cost in people's lives.

These same entities are pushing nuclear power world-wide as evidenced by GE’s involvement in the construction of Japanese reactors and the recent U.S.-India Nuclear deal. China and other emerging nations are also expanding plans for nuclear power despite the horrific memories of Chernobyl and now Fukushima.

A disgrace in demanding nuclear power on earth and space has been President Barack Obama. As president, he has reversed the critical position he espoused as a candidate and now, even in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, is seeking to "revive" the nuclear industry with the building of new nuclear plants using billions of taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, his administration has been pushing to also "revive" the use of nuclear power in space by restarting U.S. production of Plutonium-238 for use on space devices.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space calls for:

* The end of nuclear power on earth. Although the nuclear establishment claims this is impractical, it is not. In the U.S. where nuclear power provides 20% of the electricity, there's a 20% reserve capacity in the electrical system. All 104 U.S. nuclear plants could -- and must -- be immediately shut down. The reserve capacity can deal with their absence.

And, meanwhile, a concentrated effort could -- and must -- be made to swiftly bring the safe, clean energy technologies on line. Instead of promoting nuclear power expansion globally the nuclear power industry should be dismantled or converted to a green technology industry.
* The end of nuclear power in space. Accidents such as the 1964 SNAP-9A disaster in which a plutonium-powered satellite fell from orbit, disintegrating and spreading the plutonium widely -- a plutonium release long seen as causing an increase in lung cancer on earth -- have demonstrated the folly of using nuclear power overhead.

* The closure of all national nuclear laboratories. They have been breeding grounds for developing lethal atomic energy -- on earth and in space. There's an effort now underway in Washington to cut back on the federal government spending. Here is a federal government activity that must be cut back -- a string of national nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore, Idaho, Sandia, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne, spending billions upon billions in taxpayer money annually while developing deadly nuclear technology.
Unless the nuclear juggernaut is stopped, we all live in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima.
Global Network Board of Directors & Advisors:

Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine, New Mexico)
Dr. Helen Caldicott (Pediatrician/Anti-nuclear activist, Australia)
Sung-Hee Choi (Artist/teacher/activist, South Korea)
MacGregor Eddy (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, California)
Stacey Fritz (No Nukes North, Alaska)
Atsushi Fujioka (Professor of Economics Ritsumeikan University, Japan)
Bruce Gagnon (Global Network Coordinator, Maine)
Holly Gwinn Graham (Singer/songwriter/activist, Washington)
Karl Grossman (Professor of Journalism SUNY/College of Old Westbury, New York)
Regina Hagen (Darmstadter Friedensform, Germany)
Matthew Hoey (Military Space Transparency Project, Massachusetts)
Filip Ilkowski (Lecturer Political Science/History Warsaw University, Poland)
Helen John (Peace activist, England)
Dr. Michio Kaku (Professor Theoretical Physics CUNY, New York)
Tamara Lorincz (Halifax Peace Coalition, Canada)
Dr. Hannah Middleton (Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Australia)
Agneta Norberg (Swedish Peace Council, Sweden)
Lindis Percy (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, England)
J. Sri Raman (Movement Against Nuclear Weapons, India)
J. Narayana Rao (All India Peace & Solidarity Organization, India)
Tim Rinne (Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraska)
Makiko Sato (Anti-nuclear activist, Japan)
Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck (Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen, Germany)
Alice Slater (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York)
Koji Sugihara (No to Nukes & Missile Defense Campaign, Japan)
Bill Sulzman (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Jan Tamas (Humanist Party, Czech Republic)
Dr. Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, United Kingdom)
Carol Urner (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Oregon)
Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Lynda Williams (Physics teacher/activist, California)
Wooksik Cheong (Peace Network, South Korea)
Hibiki Yamaguchi (People’s Plan Study Group, Japan)

1 comment:

TenThousandThings said...

Despite the outpouring of support and aid from voluntary organizations, people in northern Japan continue to be stranded in makeshift shelters, without heating, blankets, adequate food, water, medical supplies and assistance.

It's not as horrifying like the Bush admn. treatment of Hurricane Katrina survivors in New Orleans. But this makes no sense given the enormous resources of the Japanese government and ostensible role of military which can't be without fuel, water, and food to share.

Jon Mitchell gives voice to survivors who don't know where to go, what to do. The Japanese govt. is not communicating with them.

Thanks for this post and for blogging, M!


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