Nuclear Meltdown in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
For years, Helen Caldicott warned it's coming. In her 1978 book, "Nuclear Madness," she said:
"As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."
More below on the inevitable dangers from commercial nuclear power proliferation, besides added military ones.
On March 11, New York Times writer Martin Fackler headlined, "Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan," saying:
"The 8.9-magnitude earthquake (Japan's strongest ever) set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water (six meters high) washing over coastal cities in the north." According to Japan's Meteorological Survey, it was 9.0.
The Sendai port city and other areas experienced heavy damage. "Thousands of homes were destroyed, many roads were impassable, trains and buses (stopped) running, and power and cellphones remained down. On Saturday morning, the JR rail company" reported three trains missing. Many passengers are unaccounted for.
Striking at 2:46PM Tokyo time, it caused vast destruction, shook city skyscrapers, buckled highways, ignited fires, terrified millions, annihilated areas near Sendai, possibly killed thousands, and caused a nuclear meltdown, its potential catastrophic effects far exceeding quake and tsunami devastation, almost minor by comparison under a worst case scenario.
On March 12, Times writer Matthew Wald headlined, "Explosion Seen at Damaged Japan Nuclear Plant," saying:
"Japanese officials (ordered evacuations) for people living near two nuclear power plants whose cooling systems broke down," releasing radioactive material, perhaps in far greater amounts than reported.
NHK television and Jiji said the 40-year old Fukushima plant's outer structure housing the reactor "appeared to have blown off, which could suggest the containment building had already been breached." Japan's nuclear regulating agency said radioactive levels inside were 1,000 times above normal.
Reuters said the 1995 Kobe quake caused $100 billion in damage, up to then the most costly ever natural disaster. This time, from quake and tsunami damage alone, that figure will be dwarfed. Moreover, under a worst case core meltdown, all bets are off as the entire region and beyond will be threatened with permanent contamination, making the most affected areas unsafe to live in.
On March 12, Stratfor Global Intelligence issued a "Red Alert: Nuclear Meltdown at Quake-Damaged Japanese Plant," saying:
Fukushima Daiichi "nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan, appears to have caused a reactor meltdown." Stratfor downplayed its seriousness, adding that such an event "does not necessarily mean a nuclear disaster," that already may have happened - the ultimate nightmare short of nuclear winter.
According to Stratfor, "(A)s long as the reactor core, which is specifically designed to contain high levels of heat, pressure and radiation, remains intact, the melted fuel can be dealt with. If the (core's) breached but the containment facility built around (it) remains intact, the melted fuel can be....entombed within specialized concrete" as at Chernobyl in 1986.
In fact, that disaster killed nearly one million people worldwide from nuclear radiation exposure. In their book titled, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment," Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko said: