Dr. Wolman is a psychiatrist who has been working to raise nuclear consciousness for 50 years. See Nuclear Terror and Psychic Numbing By CAROL WOLMAN, MD http://www.counterpunch.org/wolman12082003
Many people don't recognize the name Fukushima until they are reminded- This is the nuclear power complex that was hit by the earthquake and tsunami last March. Like most people, I assumed the damage was immediate, not too serious in terms of consequences, and well contained.
US Senator Wyden (D- OR) took the trouble to tour the crippled plant this past April, and was alarmed. He found the damage much worse than he expected, and was especially concerned about the spent fuel rods from reactor #4 sitting in a pool 100 feet above the ground, open to the elements, in an unstable building, in an active earthquake zone.
Since his press release, reports and rumors have been flying around the internet. Some scenarios are pretty dire: an earthquake could topple the spent fuel pool, spilling out the water which keeps the rods cool, leading to an unquenchable fire which would spew out 9 times as much radiation as Chernobyl. Or reactor #2, which has a low level of water and some hydrogen buildup, could explode, again releasing huge amounts of radiation. Either of these scenarios could wipe out life in the Northern hemisphere, or on the entire planet, according to Arne Gunderson, a nuclear engineer who supervised the Three Mile Island cleanup. Many others are issuing similar warnings.
Then there's concern about coriums, the ultra-hot residue of metal and fuel resulting from a nuclear meltdown. Three of the reactors at Fukushima melted down. The coriums are burrowing down into the earth and could possibly hit a layer of steam or methane that would explode and crack the earth's mantle.
On the other hand, there are reassurances coming out of Japan and the World Health Organization that the amount of radiation released so far isn't dangerous to health, and that all the reactors and spent fuel pools at Fukushima are under control and stable.
What to believe? How worried should we be? Here in California, we are directly in the path of winds and ocean currents coming from Japan. Information about the state of the reactors and the level of radiation in various places has been hard to come by. For that reason, I've launched a petition http://www.change.org/petitions/senators-boxer-and-feinstein-investigate-the-ongoing-danger-from-the-fukushima-nuclear-reactors
The Fukushima complex is owned by the Toyko Electric Energy Company- TEPCO, which has known associations with the Japanese underworld. TEPCO has conducted few inspections of the facility, and is refusing to allow outsiders to inspect. The plant was recently nationalized by the Japanese government, and has been toured by several ministers, who say that the cleanup is good as far as it goes, but always hedge in some way. We can hope for more transparency and more vigorous efforts to take care of the multiple dangers that are ongoing as the government takes charge.