Japanese diplomat Matsumura warns of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool risks

A recent photo of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4, with workers (in white radiation suits, under girders) next to pool surfaceJapanese diplomat Akio Matsumura has been warning about the risks of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4's high-level radioactive waste storage pool failing (see photo, left), as due to another strong earthquake. Matsumura has worked with the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Murata, who has recently testified before the Japanese federal parliament, as well as written to Japanese Prime Minister Noda and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, urging international cooperation to address the dangers at Unit 4. Matsumura has devoted his homepage to dialogues with the likes of Bob Alvarez at Institute for Policy Studies, Gordon Edwards at Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsiblity, and Steven Starr with PSR, to better understand the situation and amplify the international warning.


US Sen. Wyden tours Fukushima Daiichi, reveals situation worse than reported, urges Japan to accept international assistance

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently donned a radiation suit and investigated firsthand the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. He reveals the situation is worse than reported, and is urging the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, to accept international assistance to address ongoing risks of catastrophic radioactivity releases, especially from the hundreds of tons of high-level radioactive waste stored in precarious pools vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Wyden has issued a press release, and posted his letter to the Japanese Ambassador.

In the letter, Wyden wrote: “The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting. The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.” 

Wyden also wrote U.S. Energy Secretary Chu, Secretary of State Clinton, and NRC Chairman Jaczko, urging the full resources and expertise of the United States government be offered to Japan to prevent yet another catastrophic radioactivity release at Fukushima Daiichi due to a failed pool fire.

Please contact Sen. Wyden to thank him for his vital efforts, and contact Secretary Chu, Secretary Clinton, and Chairman Jaczko, urging they do what Sen. Wyden calls for. You can also contact your U.S. Senators and Representative, to urge them to add their voices to Sen. Wyden's effort.


"Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program"

"Burning Money" image by Gene Case of Avenging AngelsJust a couple days after rocking an anti-nuke rally in Brattleboro, Vermont, calling for the immediate shutdown of Entergy Nuclear's Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has joined forces with Taxpayers for Common Sense Executive Director Ryan Alexander to pen an article on the Huffington Post entitled "Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program." Sanders and Alexander list the many, large-scale taxpayer subsidies the nuclear power industry has enjoyed for over half a century. They point out the irony of filthy rich nuclear utility companies, like Exelon and Entergy, receiving such public support in the first place: they take in annual revenues of $33 billion and $11 billion, respectively.

On March 11, 2011, the Union of Concerned Scientists unveiled two major studies, one by David Lochbaum about the near misses at U.S. reactors in 2010, the second by Doug Koplow, a comprehensive analysis of half a century of taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies to the nuclear industry. The long scheduled press conference was eclipsed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe which began just hours earlier. In this year's annual review report, "Living on Borrowed Time," Lochbaum documented that 5 of 15 near misses at U.S. reactors in 2011 took place at Entergy owned (Palisades, MI X 2; Pilgrim, MA X 2) or operated (Cooper, NE) plants. Sanders and Alexander point out that, for any catastrophic radioactivity release at a U.S. reactor causing more than $12 billion, U.S. taxpayers would be looked to for picking up the tab, under the Price-Anderson Act.


Vermont solidarity vigil with Occupy Portland Hanford protest

From "Shut Down Vermont Yankee As Scheduled:" About a dozen of us stood in solidarity with Hanford, WA on the same day as their big rally out west. It was the day after about 2,000 folks showed up for a rally here (which is a high number by Vermont standards!) so we were in good spirits and hope the people out in Hanford felt some of that.


More than 1,000 rally to hear Sanders, Shumlin, Sorrell in Vermnot