Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let me remind you of something.

When it comes to nuclear incidents (and accidents) the owners of the facility, government officials, and media all lie. If they can't cover up an incident they will minimize it.

When a serious crisis such as we are seeing in Japan occurs, the danger is repeatedly mitigated.

We've seen this pattern for decades. Minor releases of radioactive material are covered up for years, if not forever. Major incidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are downplayed, sometimes to ludicrous extents, until the extent of the devastation simply can't be hidden anymore. And even afterward reports of the event mostly marginalize the damage and the scope. Proponents of nuclear power in the United States like to point to TMI and say that no deaths occurred, all the while ignoring the fact that there are cancer clusters surrounding the downwind side of TMI, one full of thyroid cancers and childhood leukemia.

We're seeing the same game being played out in Japan. Since the reactor building at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor in Sendai, Japan exploded yesterday, the damage and worsening threat has been consistently underemphasized. Vague statements that were meant to be reassuring were issued, and all the buzz words were used. First we read that there was one reactor in danger, then two ... then five. Officials assured us that they could control the overheated core. Then we were told that a cloud of "slightly" radioactive steam was released. Radiation levels around the plant went up, then went down. All this while more and more people near the site were evacuated.

Since most people don't carry around a Geiger counter, officials feel that they can get away with minimizing the impact, and thus people nearest the accident are led to believe they can risk some amount of environmental exposure. Only later will we learn ("through the Internet" only, at first) that the damage, risks, and fallout -- literally as well as figuratively -- were much, much worse than anyone in charge disclosed. Since radiation poisoning only kills immediately with close exposure at dangerous levels, the plant and government officials will continue to say that all is well, nobody has died, the danger is over, etc. But radiation at low levels or exposure at a great distance over a long period can also kill. It just happens slowly, over a long period of time ... as in the next generation, even. Years after the incident, cancer clusters begin to pop up and people die prematurely.Particularly children.

Nuclear power has been shoved down the throats of the people in this world for the past sixty years despite the dangers, despite the threats, despite the fact that it is no longer by any reasonable measure an economical way to produce large amounts of electricity. A small group of powerful people have a vested monetary interest in continuing the nuclear path, and when disaster occurs they are able to exert their influence to put out the myths, spin the facts, and advance the lies and propaganda.

Don't fall for it. The evidence of nuclear's dangers are apparent in the cancer clusters of Pennsylvania. They are evident in a 2,800-square mile dead zone in Ukraine. And they are being played out for us now, on the eastern coast of Japan.

Update: This is what I'm talking about.

No comments: