Tens of thousands of people protested against nuclear power plants outside Japan's parliament on Sunday.
The protesters, including pensioners, were pressed up against a wall of steel thrown around the parliament building. Some broke through the barriers and spilled onto the streets, forcing the police to bring in reinforcements and deploy armoured buses to buttress the main parliament gate.
Energy policy has become a major headache for prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda. Weekly protests outside the PM's office have grown in size in recent months, with ordinary workers and mothers with children joining the crowds. The Guardian
The protest was the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations on a scale not seen in the nation for decades since the Fukushima crisis gave rise to fears of another nuclear disaster. Associated Press
Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, president of Seventh Generation Advisors, and an operating partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors, is also a contributor to CNBC's Guest Blog. He just blogged "Is Nuclear Energy Just Mission Impossible?", alluding to the Hollywood action flicks starring Tom Cruise. Here is an excerpt:
"...The wild card that is common to every nuclear facility and which puts this technology squarely in the mission-impossible category however, is not technology or waste — it’s human error.
The report from Japan last week about the Fukushima nuclear disaster makes that abundantly clear, as would any similar report about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or even the thus-far benign closure of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, SONGS.
In fact, no one yet knows why pipes at SONGS are leaking radioactive steam, but the fact that engineers did not predict it and that everyone at Edison is surprised by the failure attests to the limits of human calculation — even after [the nuclear power industry's] half-century of experience...
...And when speaking of the cost-benefit analysis of nuclear power, let’s recall that this is the only industry that has a law protecting it from itself.
The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act of 1957 caps the liability of power plant owners and their insurance companies for nuclear accidents at $12.6 billion, after which taxpayers are on the hook.
If the market were allowed to function in this case, would any new nuclear power plants be built in America — or existing ones re-licensed — if Price-Anderson were repealed?" More: CNBC
As if the closing steel mills and automobile manufacturing plants weren't bad enough, some of the oldest, most risky atomic reactors in the U.S. are located in the Midwest. Worse still, they are on the shores of the Great Lakes, putting at risk the drinking water supply for 40 million people downstream in the U.S., Canada, and a large number of Native American First Nations. Altogether, 33 atomic reactors are located on the shorelines of the Great Lakes.
Two of the most infamous of these radiologically risky "Rust Belt reactors" are Entergy Nuclear's Palisades in southwest Michigan, and FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse in northwest Ohio. But Beyond Nuclear, along with environmental allies and congressional watchdogs, like Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), are resisting these radioactive risks. More.
Of more than 38,000 children tested from the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, 36 percent have abnormal growths – cysts or nodules – on their thyroids a year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as reported by ENENews. The shocking numbers come from the thyroid examination section of the "Sixth Report of Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey," published by Fukushima Radioactive Contamination Symptoms Research (FRCSR) and translated by the blog Fukushima Voice. Shunichi Yamashita, M.D., president of the Japan Thyroid Association, sent a letter to members in January with guidelines for treating thyroid abnormalities. In 2001 Yamashita co-authored a study that found normal children in Nagasaki to have 0 percent nodules and 0.8 percent cysts. The introduction of the letter, written by Fukushima Voice, states that the results in Fukushima show a "much faster progression compared to Chernobyl" as research done around Chernobyl showed the rate of thyroid nodules in children 5 to 10 years after the accident to be 1.74 percent. Business Insider and ENE News.