Fukushima Heroes and Fools
i wanted to put up an O&I paper announcing i was moving to Am*dam to work beside my old boss at Greenpeace international fighting the continuing problems at the melted down reactors. in this April fools announcement i returned to my old European haunt for an indefinite period. What makes this joke paper plausible is if Honza made the call, i’d be there, like most old sports players want to be called back into the game shortly after retiring. As he said to me via IM the other day, for those of hs who have fought nukes for a long time, this disaster is the chance of a lifetime.
i will call this month Fukushima Heroes and Fools. By rights last month since the 11th should have been called Fukushima Fires or something, but because i held the vain hope i might have correctly predicted the fall of another dictator i missed the opportunity for a more precise name. Now this civil war in Libya will likely linger longer, potentially much longer.
And Fukushima is changing the world, in ways i should have perhaps forecasted had i thought about it, but i did not. Everyday Honza sends me many of the Greenpeace internals and the situation is at the very least getting more complicated, if i had to guess today i would say it is getting worse. The two major attempts to block radiation from entering the sea, the first with concrete and the second with polymers have both failed. At the most immediately level our collective capacity to stall damage at the site seems overwhelmed.
The government and the utility are quarreling. The government, despite it’s denials, will likely resolve this dispute by nationalizing the utility, if this will improve things seems unlikely (see below). The workers, who are part of the heroes this month is named after, are starting to go public around protective measures being to lack (boots in trash bags with duct tape) and insufficient quantities of dosimeters for people working in dangerous zones. Two workers have been found dead yesterday, apparently from falling during the earth quake. But what is clear is that meltdowns have had very low immediate worker casualties especially when contrasted with the tsunami. But what is inescapable, is like the 600,000 “liquidators” who went into to contain the radiation at Chernobyl after the meltdown, these brave women and men going into the Fukushima site to try to contain their the radiation and prevent things from getting worse are giving up their futures for ours.
On the fools side we have the government. At yesterdays press conference, the government stated that a quake with the scale of that of March 11 takes place once every 10,000 to 1 million years and therefore the reactors were not designed to such levels. What makes this contention especially unimpressive is the same government said before this accident that they this scale accident were likely to happen only once in 100,000 years and therefore there was no need to design for it.
It is this month that we will start to see other heroes and fools emerging. The nuclear lobby in the US is working overtime to save their industry and we can expect promises and lies a many from them as well as the politicians they own here. Honza and his crew will keep us informed and keep pointing ways out of this mess.
What i was thinking was starting on the Chernobyl 25th anniversary (which is April 26th this month) world wide individuals and companies could voluntarily cut energy use by 25% (which is the capacity TEPCO has lost with these meltdowns and roughly what is needed to be saved to stop using nuclear in the global mix) and instead start using a radical sharing regime and energy conservation. Put me back in coach.