Until the Fukushima accident, Japan had 55 operating nuclear reactors as well as enrichment and reprocessing plants which had suffered a series of deadly accidents at its nuclear facilities resulting in the deaths of workers and releases of radioactivity into the environment and surrounding communities. Since the Fukushima disaster, there is growing opposition against re-opening those reactors closed for maintenance.
Thom Hartmann (photo, left) hosted Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter, and Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, for an installment of "Conversations with Great Minds" on his "The Big Picture" television program. (Their interview goes from the 30-minute mark till the end of the program.) They discussed the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, five years on, in light of the bigger picture regarding nuclear power, across the U.S. and around the world.
(Clarifications and corrections: It is reported that there are now 750,000 tons, or more than 200 million gallons, of highly radioactive waste water stored at Fukushima Daiichi. Also, while the Japanese government's "permissible" level of radioactive cesium contamination in solid food was 500 Bq/kg for a short time after the Fukushima catastrophe began, it was then lowered, due to public pressure, to 100 Bq/kg several years ago. The U.S. standard, by way of comparison, is 1,200 Bq/kg -- twelve times weaker than Japan's, one of the weakest/worst such standards in the world. Canada's runs a close second, at 1,000 Bq/kg.)
CTV interviews Beyond Nuclear on "5 years since Fukushima disaster: 100 thousand people still displaced"
Canadian television channel CTV interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, regarding the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, including what it means for the Pacific coastline of North America. Every day, 300 tons (300,000 liters, or 80,000 gallons) of radioactively contaminated groundwater flows, uncontrolled, into the Pacific Ocean. About a year ago, this ongoing plume of radioactive contamination began lapping up on the shoreline of North America.
Beyond Nuclear, in a press release today, decried the absence of reasonable plans to prevent and protect against a nuclear disaster in the U.S., five years after the March 11, 2011 triple meltdowns began at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.
More than 32 million Japanese have been exposed to Fukushima's radioactive fallout. Close to 160,000 people were forced to evacuate, many of whom are being urged to return — under threat of loss of compensation -— into areas the government claims to have “cleaned up”. Costs have ballooned to at least $100 billion and will soar higher once economic losses, compensation and decommissioning costs are factored in.
In the U.S., 30 GE Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors identical in design to those at Fukushima, are still in operation. While the GE model is considered the most vulnerable to catastrophic failure, every operating U.S. reactor poses a risk. Beyond Nuclear launched itsFreeze our Fukushimas campaign shortly after the Japan disaster to get the GE reactors shut down.
“Not only is there no Plan B for what to do if and when a Fukushima-style disaster happens in the U.S., there is no Plan A to prevent one either,” said Cindy Folkers, Radiation and Health Specialist at Beyond Nuclear. Public health is woefully under-protected she said. Read the full press release.
As explained in a YouTube video by Green Action Kyodo's Executive Director, Aileen Mioko Smith (photo, left), amidst a celebration parade, Japan's anti-nuclear movement has scored another unprecedented, miraculous victory: the court-ordered shutdown of two reactors, Units 3 and 4, at Takahama nuclear power plant. The court's ruling came on the very eve of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe.
As the video states: Japanese citizens celebrate the shutting down of an operating nuclear power plant. Citizens living up to 70 kilometers away (approximately 45 miles) sued Kansai Electric, and won! We want to protect Kyoto's cultural heritage from radioactive contamination. We want to protect the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, the water for 14 million people.
See more updates about Japan's nuclear situation.