Officials in Japan are desperately working to prevent a meltdown at their Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the city of Sendai - a city that was wiped off the map as a result of Friday's 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. The New York Times is reporting that there have been setbacks today in trying to cool the reactors - and the situation is "veering toward catastrophe." According to the International Nuclear, Radiological Event Scale that measures the severity of nuclear incidents all over the world - the situation in Japan is worse than what happened at Three Mile Island back in 1979. The scale goes from 1 to 7 - with 1 being a minor incident and 7 being Chernobyl.
Today's situation in Japan's is currently at a 6. So far three reactors at the plant are in danger of meltdown and have all experienced hydrogen explosions. There are confirmed reports that radiation is leaking from the plant - and elevated levels of radiation have been measured in Tokyo. People living within 19 miles of the malfunctioning plant have been instructed by the Japanese government to stay inside their homes and close the windows. While Germany and Switzerland are now reconsidering the use of nuclear power in their nations - President Obama and the Republicans are still committed to nuclear power here in the States. In fact - President Obama recently asked Congress to approve a 4 billion loan to build 2 new nuclear plants on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
And guess what company was contracted to build these plants? Tokyo Electric Power Company - the same company who built the plants that are on the verge of meltdown in Japan. And of course - after Katrina - the hazards of building on the Gulf Coast don't need to be mentioned.
Just like how our nation went full speed ahead on drilling less than a year after the BP spill - it looks like we're about to have the same tone-deaf response to the nuclear catastrophe in Japan.
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)