Scientific experts believe Japan’s nuclear disaster, which started with an earthquake on March 11, which caused a tsunami that destroyed the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, is far worse than the government is revealing.
TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores in order to cool them down, but this has led to radiation being emitted into the air in steam and into the surrounding ocean, generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of. In Al Jazeera, Dahr Jamail quotes nuclear energy expert Arnold Gundersen as saying, “The problem is how to keep it cool. They are pouring in water and the question is what are they going to do with the waste that comes out of that system, because it is going to contain plutonium and uranium. Where do you put the water?”
The government is giving out radiation monitors to children, and an area 17 times the size of Manhattan that is located close to the power plant has been declared to be uninhabitable–a major problem for a small island nation like Japan. In the US, physician Janette Sherman and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published a report showing a 35% increase in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown. The 8 cities studied for the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise.
Why haven’t we heard more about this in the US? Jamail quotes Japanese nuclear physicist Shoji Sawada as saying, “Most of the reactors in Japan were designed by US companies who did not care for the effects of earthquakes. I think this problem applies to all nuclear power stations across Japan.” And nuclear operator Exelon Corporation, one of the largest employers in Illinois where Barack Obama was a senator, has been one of his biggest campaign contributors.
Jamail quotes Gundersen as saying, “Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl.”