Bad to Worse in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
It bears repeating. Government, industry, and major media reports downplay and deny Japan's unprecedented nuclear disaster, potentially able to kill millions now living and in future generations painfully.
Nuclear power is a real life Andromeda Strain. If uncontrollably unleashed, it's potentially able to destroy life worldwide under a worse case scenario.
In his latest article, nuclear expert Harvey Wasserman said "the most devastating thing about (Fukushima) is not what's happening there now. It's that until all the world's reactors are shut, even worse is virtually certain to happen again. All too soon." Fukushima, in fact, may be the nuclear nightmare he suggests.
Globally, 450 reactors operate, including 104 aging American ones, many with bad safety records caused by cost-cutting and shoddy maintenance. Poorly regulated, they're ticking time bombs, accidents waiting to happen, many plagued by near-meltdown misses.
According to Beyond Nuclear's Linda Gunter, American utilities have gambled since the dawn of the nuclear age, NRC regulators letting them get away with cutting corners, taking risks, and being lucky hundreds of times. However, it can't forever avoid a Fukushima-like disaster. From 1986 - 2006, Greenpeace estimates 200 near-misses. Any loss of power for any reason could cause one - an earthquake, tsunami, ice storm, or any number of accidents that can and do happen, including human error.
Even operating normally, reactors discharge enough radiation daily to contaminate food, water, air and earth. Further, if a large city like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles lies downwind of a meltdown, it would become uninhabitable forever.
Moreover, contrary to government and industry misinformation, nuclear power is neither efficient, reliable, cheap, clean or safe. Annually, it discharges significant amounts of greenhouse gases and hundreds of thousands of curies of deadly radioactive gases and elements.