By Amitabh Pal on March 11, 2014

By Amit Pal

Three years after the catastrophe, Fukushima is a gaping wound that refuses to heal. “Several thousand employees are locked in a daily—and dangerous—scramble under harsh conditions to keep the site as safe as possible, making a myriad of repairs and building tanks for the vast amounts of contaminated water,” AFP reports. “The company poured thousands of tons of water onto runaway reactors to keep them cool, and continues to douse them, but has to store and clean that water in a growing number of temporary tanks at the site.” The Japanese people have expectedly soured on nuclear power and have made sure that only a handful of Japan’s fifty-odd reactors have been restarted after all of them went offline following the tsunami. On March 9, thousands of people demonstrated all over Japan to show their anger. “I am here today because I want to rid the planet of nuclear power as quickly as possible,” said Fumiko Ichikawa in Tokyo. Japan’s inability to fully recover should be of huge concern to us in the United States, especially since many of the same factors are at play here. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was so unnerved by the disaster that it deliberately downplayed its relevance for the United States, an NBC News investigation reveals. “The e-mails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here,” NBC reports. For example, officials refused to divulge to reporters that the commission was nervously analyzing whether the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California could withstand a similar-sized tsunami as the one that hit Fukushima. “The U.S. nuclear industry has claimed that our nuclear power plants are not vulnerable to severe earthquakes and tsunamis,” states Beyond Nuclear’s Paul Gunter in a press release. “In reality, thirty-four U.S. reactors located downstream of fifty major dams could suffer a prolonged and potentially catastrophic loss of power caused by a dam break and the resulting inland tsunami.” As Gunter points out, the American nuclear industry is rife with the same conflict-of-interest issues as the Japanese one. “The Japanese Diet reported that Fukushima was a ‘man-made disaster’ caused by the collusion of government, regulator and industry to protect a nuclear production agenda,” Gunter states. “ ‘Nuclear regulatory capture’ by industry here in the United States has put financial protectionism, aging reactor systems and the roll of the dice on converging courses for an American Fukushima.” Kids in the Fukushima area have been adversely affected. “The impact, three years on, is now starting to show, with children experiencing falling strength, lack of coordination—some cannot even ride a bicycle—and emotional issues like shorter tempers, officials and educators say,” Reuters reports. Fukushima has taken its toll on some Americans, as well. Sailors aboard the USS Reagan, which went to help Japan in the aftermath of the calamity, have reportedly been poisoned by the radiation fallout. No more Japanese or Americans—or people of any other nationality—should suffer the same fate. The world needs to move away from nuclear energy.

Section: 

Topics: 

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

Abby Scher on the race to elect Maine's next Governor

Thirty years after the title year of George Orwell’s “1984,” the Oscar-worthy “Citizenfour” features a real-life...

By Victor Menotti

At a time when most Americans agree that the country has too...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter