Australian news, and some related international items

The continuing cover-up of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Japan’s Nuclear Cover-up Continues, Nine Years after the Fukushima Disaster, Fairewinds Energy Education, March 10, 2020  by Arnie Gundersen

The six atomic power reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site were severely damaged 9-years ago when a Richter 9 earthquake in the Pacific Ocean occurred at 2 p.m. on March 11, 2011 ravaging the nuclear reactors, flooding safety systems, and causing three atomic power meltdowns.

Fairewinds is using the 9th commemoration of the meltdowns at Fukushima to discuss how the government of Japan, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Co), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the worldwide nuclear industries have perpetuated their coverup of the tragedy of the Fukushima meltdowns. These corporate and governmental groups and agencies have consistently misinformed the International Press, the citizens of Japan, and people around the world about the true consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns.

The Government of Japan, the nuclear industry, and its regulators  have “framed” what happened at Fukushima Daiichi and thereby have controlled the Fukushima narrative for 9-years. ‘Framing’ is choosing the right words to portray and control any narrative.  George Lakoff and his co-authors explain how controlling that framework of words controls how people view an issue. You may read more in their book that discusses ‘framing’ any issue entitled “Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate”. …….

The nuclear industry downplayed the radioactive danger being unleashed 

While the Japanese government kept denying that meltdowns had even occurred, the rest of the nuclear industry and the governments in the thrall of atomic lobbyists for the nuclear power and nuclear weapons industries actively downplayed the tragedy occurring right before our eyes.

In a brilliant analysis from the UK newspaper The Guardian, reporters uncovered a coordinated coverup that began within two-days of the onset of the Fukushima disaster:

British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a coordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companies: EDF EnergyAreva and Westinghouse to try to ensure the accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.

“This has the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally,” wrote one official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose name has been redacted. “We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this. We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear.”

On March 18, 2011, seven-days after the disaster began, US Department of Energy Secretary Chu said that Fukushima was at a Level-5 on the nuclear incident scale, which is similar to the level the US Government assessed at Three Mile Island (TMI), but not the level-7 that the world assessed for Chernobyl. On CNN that night, I was the first expert in the world to say publicly on mainstream media that Fukushima and its radioactive releases were already as bad as Chernobyl.

CNN’s John King: “Secretary Chu called it worse than Three Mile Island…”
Arnie: “I actually think it’s at Chernobyl level right now…100 time worse than the worst case we imagined a year ago.”

Every time Fairewinds released a video, podcast, newsletter or I appeared on television or radio, I was publicly slammed and called a liar and fear monger by the nuke industry that I had been directly been employed with for 20-years. I began my career first as a nuclear engineer and reactor operator and later progressed to become Senior Vice President of a nuclear power corporation – until I became a nuclear power whistleblower.  After being fired for telling the truth, I took on the role of nuclear safety critic, which I have had for the last 30-plus-years. In Fairewinds opinion, these corporate coverups were obvious to anyone who focused on the real science of nuclear engineering and was not afraid to look behind the curtain, where the Wizard of Oz was manipulating the truth.

Only 11-months after the meltdowns, I was flown to Japan in February 2012 by Shueisha Publishing to unveil the publication of Fairewinds book [entitled Fukushima Daiichi: The Truth and the Way Forward] and to speak at various venues in Tokyo, including the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Press Club. Here is a portion of what I said:

I was an expert on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and I see in Fukushima the same mistakes that the Americans made at Three Mile Island.  At Three Mile Island and at Fukushima, the plant management – the people in the plant – really understood the severity of the accident. But in both cases, 30 years apart, when the plant management contacted offsite management – it was General Public Utilities in the United States, and of course, it was Tokyo Electric in Japan – the process began to slow down.

What I saw on Three Mile Island was that the corporate office was trying to protect the corporate assets and they actually told the plant manager not to order an evacuation, despite the fact that the plant manager wanted an evacuation. And I see the same thing at Fukushima. I believe that the management onsite in the first day and the first week really understood the severity of it. But senior management working up the chain, for whatever their motivations were, failed to act quickly enough…. it seems to me like the lesson at Three Mile Island and the lesson at Fukushima really are institutional problems in that the corporate officers and corporate offices simply don’t respond quick enough. In addition to the internal problems between the plant and Tokyo Electric offices, there of course were the problems between Tokyo Electric and the Nation of Japan.

Following the triple meltdowns in 2011, I became acquainted with Naoto Kan, the Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the meltdown. At a venue where we were both keynote speakers, I told him that I thought he had not been given the correct information about the meltdowns. He replied,

“The information I received from both TEPCo and METI (Japan’s nuclear regulator) was neither timely nor accurate.” 

Please think about the enormity of that single sentence!  Any industry so powerful that it does not feel compelled to tell the truth to the leader of a nation is failing its country and their people……….

The bottom line is that in Japan during the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, the lives of women and children were sacrificed to create the appearance that TEPCO had the triple meltdowns under control.

Grossly underestimating the cost of the Disaster

People living and working in Japan and the country’s own citizens were clearly deceived about the severity of the meltdowns, the urgent need to evacuate, and the significant health impact for generations of families following the Fukushima disaster. And, these people were also deceived about the astronomical cost to dismantle the four severely damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site, protect the ocean and surrounding areas from the ongoing migration of radioactivity, and the total cost to complete the partial remediation of Fukushima Prefecture.  I say partial remediation, because the remediation [the removal of radioactivity] will always be partial. So much radioactivity blew into the mountains, and the mountains and forests are so contaminated with highly radioactive isotopes including plutonium, that it will take tens of thousands of years for that radioactivity to dissipate [the industry term is decay away].

Every time in rains or the snow melts or the wind blows from or through the mountains, that radioactivity is spread farther away and also back into areas that were allegedly cleaned. The government informed people that these contaminated areas are clean and that they should now move back into their old communities and homes, and that the government stipends they had been receiving were ending and all the evacuee housing was being closed. What are people to do when they have no place to live and no money to live on except to go back to their old community?

A “lowball” price estimate showing that recovery from the meltdowns would be inexpensive was designed to show Japan’s citizens that the meltdowns were not that bad after all.  ………

March 12, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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