Quantcast

Revisiting Nuclear Industry Failures on Third Anniversary of Fukushima Disaster

Energy

By Dr. Rianne Teule

“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on March 11, 2011.

Though Okawara is right, the world still seems to forget.

The world is still running more than 400 dangerous nuclear reactors and continues to build dozens more.

The nuclear industry is trying its hardest to make us forget by downplaying the impacts of the accident, ignoring the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still not under control and claiming that lessons have been learned. Nothing is further from the truth.

So business continues as usual and in many countries the same mistakes are being made that played a role in Fukushima. These are systemic failures linked to the nuclear sector, such as a lack of independent regulators, no accountability, putting profits before the protection of people, insufficient emergency planning and the continued belief in a nuclear safety paradigm that has been proven wrong.

A truly independent nuclear regulator is a rarity as most are closely connected to the sector that they should control. And at the same time, decisions are made on the basis of politics and economics, rather than people and their safety.

The nuclear industry still benefits from a liability system that shields them from carrying responsibility for the risks and damages they create. Big companies harvest large profits, while the moment things go wrong, it is the society and people who need to deal with the losses and damages.

Those who are paying for Fukushima are the many thousands of citizens who lost their livelihoods; whose communities and families have been broken up; whose children cannot play outside because radiation levels are too high. The people who are paying are the Japanese people whose tax money is being used to deal with the crippled Fukushima reactors and clean up of the contaminated areas.

We were led to believe that the probability of a severe nuclear accident like Chernobyl was virtually insignificant. But looking at the real world, the evidence shows the frequency of reactor meltdowns is approximately once in every decade. Still, the nuclear sector uses the same probability assessments and procedures that were proven entirely wrong. Regulators continue to hesitate to properly act to reduce reactor risks, because stricter regulations would make the nuclear industry unprofitable.

The world is still running more than 400 inherently dangerous nuclear reactors and continues to build dozens more. Millions of people are at risk because, as Fukushima has shown, the radioactive contamination does not stop at a distance of 10 or 20 kilometres, which is the border of the officially designated evacuation zones. And still, nobody is prepared to handle a large-scale nuclear accident when people may need to be evacuated even hundred kilometres away from the nuclear power plant.

Nuclear energy is not a necessary evil, because affordable, safer and cleaner energy solutions exist. They are only a matter of political choice.

That’s why we must not forget Fukushima. We must listen to those who suffer from the accident. We must remember, learn and act to build a better world.

In February, visitors from all over the world came to Japan with Greenpeace to bear witness to Fukushima and its forgotten victims. Below is a compilation video of the visit:

Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Maximum heat indices expected in the continental U.S. on Saturday July 20. NOAA WPC

A dangerous heat wave is expected to boil much of the Central and Eastern U.S. beginning Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on May 29, 2012. MANDEL NGAN / AFP / GettyImages

John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion granting environmental agencies the power to regulate greenhouse gases, died Tuesday at the age of 99. His decision gave the U.S. government important legal tools for fighting the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule on June 19, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have reduced coal-fired plant carbon emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Twitter

By Elliott Negin

On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.

Read More Show Less
A timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest. Dyan Bone / Forest Service / Southwestern Region / Kaibab National Forest

By Tara Lohan

If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.

Read More Show Less
Somalians fight against hunger and lack of water due to drought as Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar (not seen) visits the a camp near the Mogadishu's rural side in Somalia on March 25, 2017. Sadak Mohamed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.

Read More Show Less