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Japan’s Nuclear Worries Far From Over 11 April, 2011

We Want A Nuclear Free World

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Addition, 12 April, 2011:  Another earthquake near Fukushima Nuclear Power plant last night -on the evening of the 11th April, 2011, after first putting this post up in the morning.  This was 7.1 on the Richter scale according to one source, a similar magnitude to another which struck only days ago, also near the Fukushima Nuclear facility.

Every few days we get a different story.  One minute, the Japanese nuclear authorities are telling us that everything is resolved, that radiation levels are falling, that we need not worry.  Then, sometimes the very next day, we are alerted to the dangers of high radiation leaks all over again.

More large earthquakes rocking Fukushima down to Tokyo: Obviously, the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant will not correct itself quickly, even if no more radiation was to escape. These sorts of radioactive spillages such as we have evidenced in Fukushima,  take an awful long time to dissipate, and this is the very reason that nuclear power is very dangerous for all life on earth:  Radioactive material is cumulative, and it KILLS LIFE. Japan is VERY earthquake and tsunami-prone, which makes nuclear power a very dangerous thing indeed, for the people of Japan, and for the rest of the world, who have to suffer the consequences of these disasters too.

Japan has an estimated 55 nuclear power plants.

New Zealand Herald, April 7th 2011 reported that ‘Radioactive water leak finally plugged’. This article told us that ‘A 1500-litre injection of ‘water glass’, or sodium silicate plugged the lead that has sent a tide of contaminated water along the nearby coast, which angered fishermen and prompted the Government to set limits for the first time on radiation levels permitted in fish”.

However, in the next sentence, doubt is already thrown on the claim that the radioactive water leak was finally plugged, because we are told that the Tokyo Electric power Company, Tepco, stated that it was going to inject nitrogen into one of the reactors.  This is a measure which is taken to stop hydrogen from exploding:  We can assume, therefore, that the situation is still volatile.  This article ends by telling us that “While officials have said the crack in a maintenance pit plugged yesterday was the only one found, they haven’t ruled out other leaks”.

And then, there are more earthquakes:  One large one struck Fukushima area again only several nights ago, just as the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant workers were attempting to fix the current cracks which are leaking radiation into the sea and the air. The relatively large earthquake, which has possibly damaged more of the nuclear facilities,  prompted Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Japan Government to announce  that “Japan’s nuclear worries are far from over”.  And now – another earthquake of Magnitude 7.1 last night, the evening of the 11th April, 2011.

High Risk Nuclear Plants All Over the World: An earlier article in the Herald, on 4th April, 2011,  said that many nuclear plants world-wide are in high-risk areas:  Many areas which are earthquake-prone and at risk from tsunami have nuclear power plants built in the area.

Environmental Disasters Waiting To Happen: There are an estimated 76 nuclear power plants which are especially vulnerable to these acts of nature, namely, earthquakes and tsunamis. Japan’s coastline is rated the most vulnerable to Tsunami, but there are other potentially hazardous sites which host nuclear power stations:  These are in Taiwan, China, South Korea, India, Pakistan and the US.

Earthquake-Prone Areas are in the west of US, Taiwan, Armenia, Iran, and Slovenia.

An earthquake in December 1988  killed 25,000 people in Armenia.  There is an old Russian-built nuclear reactor just 30 kilometres from the capital at Yerevan in Armenia,  and this reactor is of concern to scientists, including Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham, a physicist from Imperial College, London.  One of the reactors at Yerevan;s Metsamor plant has been decommissioned, but there is still one nuclear reactor functioning which could be dangerous.  The International Atomic Energy Association  has been trying to improve safety at this plant for more than a decade. The European Union has concerns for this reactor, as does Turkey, which is only 16 kilometres away.   Armenia continues to use this plant despite pleas to have it shut down, as it says it is dependent on this power plant.

The Herald article, 4 April , 2011, says that there are 442 nuclear power stations globally, and that one in ten is deemed to be at a high risk of disaster:  This is 44 nuclear plants at high risk level.

It has been reported by BBC at an earlier date, that China intends to have 100 more nuclear power plants established within the next five years. This is a major worry:  If Japan, which is a technologically advanced country with something of a social conscience cannot control the effects the radiation effects after an ‘accident’, then we cannot expect that China will do any better.

Even one nuclear power facility is too much for this earth, in my opinion.  Especially when there is no need for them.  Nuclear Power is cheap to run, which means that there are bigger profits for big industrialists to make, compared to the scenario of relying on  solar power and wind power.  Depending entirely on solar power is possible, as Associate Professor of Physics at Auckland University has said.

The change-over to solar power and wind power  will really require us to  change our life-styles,  and for us to restrict usage of power generally, ruling out unnecessary and extravagant usage.  New gadgets which run entirely on solar power, or reduced amounts of generated power, will have to be utilized – they have probably been invented already, but the powers that be have not had a history of being receptive to these ideas which minimize profits for multi-national energy companies.  High industry just for the sake of profit for some, is obviously not beneficial for the planet.

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