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Why nuclear accidents happen has long been obvious. The technology uses highly dangerous radioactive fuel, the current reactors are aging, the new reactors are overbudget and years behind schedule due to unresolved safety problems, or exist only as elegant designs on computer screens unrealizable in the real world. Any real safety culture is absent, corporate interests lie with the government money and preferential treatment they receive, government interests lie with corporate money for campaigns and an excuse to maintain their nuclear weapons programs (or the potential to start one). The the damage is subsidized by the taxpayers and ratepayers. An industry that has no liability for its actions and harm will cut corners.
But the horror of the fallout (literally and figuratively) of nuclear accidents that do happen is that instead of the well oiled disaster management plan you would expect of an industry whose materials involve forever deadly waste and long-lived carcinogenic isotopes- the clean-up falls to people unsuited in anyway for the serious work ahead, untrained, unskilled in some cases, unprepared, and desperate. Desperate to stay alive, desperate because they have no guidance, desperate because they, like the Fukushima reactor, are slowly being distanced from corporate responsibility and left to struggle and worry at a facility that is becoming more and more fragile.
NARAHA, Japan — “Out of work? Nowhere to live? Nowhere to go? Nothing to eat?” the online ad reads. “Come to Fukushima.”
That grim posting targeting the destitute, by a company seeking laborers for the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is one of the starkest indications yet of an increasingly troubled search for workers willing to carry out the hazardous decommissioning at the site.
The plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, has been shifting its attention away, leaving the complex cleanup to an often badly managed, poorly trained, demoralized and sometimes unskilled work force that has made some dangerous missteps. At the same time, the company is pouring its resources into another plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, that it hopes to restart this year as part of the government’s push to return to nuclear energy three years after the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster. It is a move that some members of the country’s nuclear regulatory board have criticized.
Read full article here
Frances Lamberts writes about the Finnish Repository for radioactive waste and Dr Caldicott's interview with Michael Madsen about whether the Onkalo repository is more than a gesture, hiding something that will remain forever deadly deep beneath the earth and "forgetting it." As the Waste Confidence Rule is discarded in the US as wishful thinking, and nuclear countries around the world struggle with what to do with the mountains of radioactive waste they are producing, as the Fukushima nuclear disaster is finally bringing home to the average person that "spent fuel" is not "spent" at all- Michael Madsen's beautiful philosophical film about how humankind is failing to come to terms with how to safely contain something that exists in geologic time is even more timely.
Frances Lamberts l Herald & Tribune 29 October, 2013
"...Dr. Helen Caldicott interviewed the Danish director of a documentary about the Onkalo repository in Finland, which is to “hide” the spent-fuel waste from that country’s nuclear power plants.
...“Into Eternity,” ... details the bunker-like underground structure, begun in 2004, whose completion and sealing is expected to take 120 years.
Under Finnish law for the project, Onkalo is to quarantine the highly dangerous, radioactive materials “in a foolproof manner for 100,000 years.”
That means some 3,000 generations... or as long into the future as the human prehistory of the past...
He wonders what would happen in future ice ages, whose sheets would “depress the crust of the earth” far deeper than the lay of the bunker tunnels.
Or if earthquakes or water seepage create cracks in the bedrock, future wars wreak destruction on the facility, or the man-made materials crumble through corrosion.
The film questions our morality in leaving a legacy of waste to future children which, in the human timescale, is lethally dangerous forever. It asks, too, how we can effectively even warn or inform these of the danger...."
Listen to Dr Caldicott's interview with Michael Madsen here: http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org/?p=4732
Into Eternity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2OKY00fmWY
Alexey Yablokov l Blacksmith Institute (Journal of Health and Pollution) June 2013
"Radioactive pollution and its effects are some of the least visible but most dangerous man-made changes of the biosphere. Though above-ground nuclear weapons testing has been banned since the 1960s, mankind has continued to find new ways to exploit radionuclides. To protect people from anthropogenic radiation contamination, it is necessary to determine an acceptable level and range of exposure. Today, the system of radiation safety endorsed by the U.N. and other multi-national groups is based on the concept of an effective dose—the measure of cancer risk toan entire organism from radiation exposure to its various parts. This review posits there are serious problems with both the concept of an effective dose and the methodology behind its calculation, and that a new framework is needed. In order to study the issues and drawbacks of the official concept of radiation safety, and to assist readers in understanding the basis of his argument, the author sums up and critiques the current system’s main basic postulates and conclusions."
Link to downloadable article: http://blacksmithjournal.org/ojs/ojs-2.2.4/index.php/journalhealthpollution/article/view/71/95
Michael Leonardi l EcoWatch 3 July, 2013
July 1 marks Canada Day when many Canadians celebrate the unification of three colonies into their country on the same date in 1867. In Ontario, droves of people head off to their summer cottages and vacation get-a-ways on the shores of the Great Lakes for the holiday weekend. Lake Huron’s sandy beaches and beautiful aquamarine waters attract many visitors from all over the world. But this year, many First Nations were not celebrating the stripping of their sovereignty rights and desecration of their lands...
Finding the Missing Link. Perspectives on Human Security
Akio Matsumura l 20 June, 2013
NYT: High Levels of Strontium Found in Groundwater Near Fukushima Plant
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