A determined group
of anti-nuclear activists are working feverishly to spread the word about the
grave dangers posed by the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power
Recently the group
delivered a petition to the United Nations with over 150,000 signatures which
asks that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other world leaders take
immediate steps to intervene in the
The company that owns the facility, Tokyo Electric Power Company, on Monday began the removal of 1500 highly radioactive fuel rods from an unstable storage building at Reactor 4. The work is expected to last a year.
But activists such as long-time nuclear power critic Harvey Wasserman maintain that TEPCO does not have the expertise to handle this operation properly, and there's the possibility of a major accident.
Wasserman and others say the fuel rods (now in a cooling pool) are in some cases bent or embrittled, and the removal will be extremely tricky. Should any of the rods break, hit each other, or get exposed to the air, there could be an explosion and serious radiation releases.
The amount of
radiation that could potentially be released if all the rods were caught up in
an explosion is 14,000 times the amount
contained in the fallout from the
Charles Perrow, a
"This has me very
scared," he said. "
At a gathering Nov. 7 at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza outside the UN prior to the delivery of the petition and accompanying letter, Wasserman and other activists spoke about their work and the Fukushima crisis. A number of those present were members of the group the "Green Shadow Cabinet," an alternative presidential cabinet whose members often speak in opposition to government policies and offer progressive alternatives.
"The letter we're delivering promotes a plan developed by 16 top nuclear experts urging that the government of Japan transfer responsibility for the Fukushima reactor site to a worldwide engineering group".this plan stresses that the clean-up be overseen by a civil society panel and an international group of nuclear experts independent from TEPCO and the International Atomic Energy Admnistration (IAEA)," Wasserman said.
Also speaking was
Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician and
another member of the Green Shadow Cabinet.
"There is the potential for a massive release of radiation that would
have significant health effects for people and other life across the world ---
Flowers added, "The U.S. government and many regulatory
bodies are dominated by the nuclear industry and have failed to take
appropriate action to provide assistance to
Also on hand was Dr. Jill Stein, the president of the Green Shadow Cabinet and Green Party presidential candidate in the 2012 national election.
Stein spoke about the
need for transparency in the information coming out about
"The media must be
provided with timely, accurate information and must report on
The problem with the Reactor 4 spent fuel rods is by no means the only issue of concern at Fukushima Daiichi, which was struck by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The natural disaster caused over 18,000 deaths.
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