Greg Webb
World News /09 Dec 2013
12.09.13

Sekai no Owari? Fukushima Deserves Closer Attention

There are reports of starfish off the cost of Hawaii with disintegrating arms and the U.S. government has issued a warning not to eat certain seafood’s caught off the coast of the United States because the water is contaminated by radioactive iodine as a result of the Fukushima power plant disaster. Shouldn’t this garner significant news coverage?

“Fukushima is the most terrifying situation I can image,” said environmental activist David Suzuki. And according to Arne Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds, a non-profit founded to educate the public about nuclear energy, “Amazing how many people are still in denial about Fukushima!” Three years after the triple disasters of 3/11- the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown – Tokyo is finally responding to the urgent cries from Suzuki, Gundersen and anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott.

On Nov 25th, UN nuclear experts arrived in Japan to assess the decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear plant and the operator’s progress in removing the fuel rods from the destroyed reactor building and the minimizing of the leaks of contaminated water. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group, is conducting its second review of plans for decommissioning the site.

It is not as though international experts haven’t spoken out, repeatedly, over the last three years. Australian pediatrician and activist, Helen Caldicott, David Suzuki and Arnie Gundersen, have issued repeated warnings that often fall on deaf ears.

To the arguments frequently put forth that “nobody died at Fukushima,” David Suzuki said at a recent symposium at the University of Alberta that Fukushima is a worldwide disaster, which may require evacuation of the entire North American Coast. “Fukushima is the most terrifying situation I can imagine. Three out of the four plants were destroyed in the earthquake and in the tsunami.

The fourth one has been so badly damaged that the fear is, if there’s another earthquake the building will go and then all hell breaks loose. And the probability of a seven or above earthquake in the next three years is over 95 percent.” He added that a recent study found another earthquake could require evacuation of the entire North American coast — and as for Japan — “bye bye,” Suzuki said.

Helen Caldicott, in a November 1, 2013 letter to the editor of the New York Times entitled “Radiation Fears Are Real,” compared the impact of radiation on Chernobyl, with the situation in Japan: “Large areas of the world are becoming contaminated by long-lived nuclear elements secondary to catastrophic meltdowns: 40 percent of Europe from Chernobyl, and much of Japan.”

A New York Academy of Sciences report from 2009 titled “Chernobyl” estimates that nearly a million have already died from that catastrophe. In Japan, 10 million people reside in highly contaminated locations. Children are 10 to 20 times more radiosensitive than adults, and fetuses thousands of times more so; women are more sensitive than men,” writes Caldicott.

What can we do? One step would be to sign the following petitions: write to Joaquin Almunia (European Union). No valid justification for subsidising nuclear power. End taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power. Fukushima petitions: Japan needs worldwide help NOW! Stop Fukushima Radiation – UN Action Needed, and mobilize the U.N. Security Council to declare Fukushima a global emergency.

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