The catastrophe that began at Fukushima four years ago today is worse than ever. But the good news can ultimately transcend the bad—if we make it so.
An angry grassroots movement has kept shut all 54 reactors that once operated in Japan. It’s the largest on-going nuke closure in history. Big industrial windmills installed off the Fukushima coast are now thriving. Five U.S. reactors have shut since March 11, 2011. The operable fleet is under 100 for the first time in decades.
Ohio’s Davis-Besse, New York’s Ginna, five reactors in Illinois and other decrepit American nukes could shut soon without huge ratepayer bailouts.
Diablo Canyon was retrofitted—probably illegally—with $842 million in replacement partsuntested for seismic impact. Already under fire for illegal license manipulations and an avoidable gas explosion that killed eight in San Bruno in 2010, Pacific Gas & Electric hasplunged into a legal, economic and political abyss that could soon doom California’s last reactors.
Meanwhile, Germany is amping up its renewable energy generationwith a goal of 80 percent or more by 2050.
France—once nuke power’s poster child—has turned away from new reactor construction and is moving strongly toward renewables.
Worldwide the Solartopian revolution is ahead of schedule and under budget. Predictions about its technological and economic potential are being everywhere exceeded.
More than twice as many Americans now work in solar as in coal mines. As the head of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund recently put it: “We are quite convinced that if John D Rockefeller were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy.”
Even America’s Tea Party has developed a green wing promoting renewables.
Vital focus now centers on battery breakthroughs needed to escalate rooftop solar, electric cars and other post-nuke game-changers.
But there’s plenty of bad news. The State Secrets Act of Japan’s authoritarian Abe regime renders unreliable all “official” information from Fukushima. Grassroots nuclear campaigners are under serious attack.
At least 300 tons of radioactive water still pour daily into the Pacific Ocean. The utility wants to dump even more untreated outflow into currents that are already testing radioactive along the California coast. Details of fuel rod bring-downs and site clean-ups remain unknown.
Thyroid damage rates are soaring among downwind children. Abe is forcing evacuees back into areas that are seriously contaminated. Fukushima’s owner (Tepco) is the #1 money funnel to his Liberal Democratic Party, which flips untold billions back to the utility.
More than 128,000 petitioners asking that the world community take charge at Fukushima have been ignored by the United Nations since November, 2013.
Throughout the world decaying reactors threaten our survival. Ohio’s Davis-Besse containment is literally crumbling. Diablo Canyon is surrounded by 15 known fault lines, one just 700 yards from the cores. New reactor sites in Finland, France and Georgia show slipshod construction, substandard parts and corrupted supervision that would make them instant threats should they go on line.
Citizen activism challenges all that. Today Solartopian activists will picket Japanese consulates worldwide.
An evolving electricity boycott to “unplug nuclear” and a growing grassroots demand for green energy herald a new era of people power.
Four years after the endless Fukushima disaster began, that renewable revolution defines our survival. It’s a fight we can’t afford to lose. It’s a victory we must soon embrace … with the utmost relief and joy.
Postscript from ENENews
TV: Officials lying, many more kids getting cancer after Fukushima — Report: 1,200+ deaths from “illness caused by prolonged exposure” — Mom: “I’m really worried… children not the same… sick… nosebleeds, rashes.. white blood cells decreased” — Radiation by school 100 times normal (VIDEO)
ABC (Australia), Mar 11, 2014 (emphasis added): Radiation levels posing cancer risks… Before the disaster, there was just one to two cases of thyroid cancers in a million Japanese children but now Fukushima has more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases, having tested about 300,000 children… It is expected that thyroid cancers could turn up about four to five years after a nuclear disaster… [Megumi] Muto said her daughter and son, like many other children, had not been the same since experiencing the Fukushima fallout. “They had rashes on their bodiesthen nose bleeds. My son’s white cells have decreased
and they both have incredible fatigue… both have multiple nodules around their thyroids. I’m really worried.”… Muto wanted to move her family out of Fukushima city but she said she could not afford to.
News 24 (SAPA), Mar 10, 2015: A total of 1232 deaths in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture over the past year were linked to the nuclear accident four years ago, up 18% from a year earlier, a news report said on Tuesday. A death is considered nuclear-related if is not directly resulting from a nuclear accident but is due from an illness caused by prolonged exposure. Namie town, close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, had the largest number of deaths at 359, followed by 291 in Tomioka town, which is also near the complex, the Tokyo Shimbun reported.
ABC (Australia) video transcript, Mar 11, 2014:
- Headline: Fukushima residents have taken cancer and radiation testing into their own hands, saying authorities are lying to them about the safety of their community.
- Matthew Carney, ABC correspondent: It’s a heartbreaking time for Megumi Muto. Her daughter is being tested to see if the lumps in her thyroid gland have grown… Megumi isconvinced exposure to high radiation levels after the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns is the cause.
- Megumi Muto, Fukushima mother (translated): I feel angry. I think the authorities hide the real dangers, and now many more children are being diagnosed.
- Carney: Many residents in Fukushima don’t trust the government or TEPCO.
- Muto: Since the disaster my kids have been sick with nosebleeds, rashes and lethargy. Fukushima used to be a safe… area, but not now.
ABC (Australia) audio transcript, Mar 11, 2014:
- Michael Brissenden, ABC: the issue of long term health implications like cancer are causing the greatest concern and controversy in Japan…
- Matthew Carney, ABC correspondent: [Fukushima residents say the local and central] governments failed to protect the children. And they do not trust what the government or TEPCO… are telling them about radiation levels and safety. They’re conducting their own radiation tests and near this school in Fukushima City, the monitor reads 3 mircosieverts an hour. That’s about 100 times the rate of Tokyo.
- Sumio Kunno, nuclear plant engineer: I have to investigate and inform the public of the facts… They’re still not decontaminating areas where children live or play.
- Washington Post: It’s an environmental disaster, radioactivity levels in ocean hundreds of times above normal — NHK: Countries around Pacific worried about ongoing Fukushima leaks, gov’t wants testing up to 3,000 km offshore (VIDEO) October 22, 2013
- U.S. Navy Officer: Radiation levels routinely exceeded 300 times normal for over a month far away from Fukushima, “yet I was given only gloves!” — My son was throwing up 30 to 40 times some days — “This basically ruined my life” (VIDEO) March 8, 2014
- Japan Journalist: Plutonium escaped Fukushima reactors as gas, it was a colossal 9,000ºF inside — Can’t be detected with Geiger counter — Terrible things are looming for the children, they must be evacuated yet nothing’s done… This is a “criminal nation” — I’m worried (VIDEO) October 16, 2013
- Japan Doctor: “Tokyo should no longer be inhabited” — Everyone here is a victim of Fukushima — People truly suffering — Bleeding under skin, urinary hemorrhaging — Children’s blood tests started changing last year — Time running short… up to physicians to save our citizens and future generations July 17, 2014
- Time Magazine: Doctor links recent outbreaks of ‘mysterious rashes’ to Fukushima — Cancer Specialist: “There’s so much societal pressure to not even mention the word radiation” — Video: Huge number of cancers already… gov’t actively engaged in safety propaganda (VIDEO) August 22, 2014