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Not Over Reacting

Japan has recently fired up its nuclear reactors once again, sparking mass anti-nuclear protests - not surprising from the only country to have ever been attacked by nuclear weapons. After last years earthquake and tsunami left well over 15,000 dead and caused three nuclear meltdowns, the population is terrified of the legacy of radiation and rubble that they have to deal with.

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied outside the PM's residence and parliament buildings in Tokyo on Friday (6th), the day after the Kansai Electric Power Company in Ohi began supplying the national grid. Nuclear had been a no-go with plants around the country laying idle since the Fukushima meltdown but now the government is aiming for 'let's get everything back to normal'. Long-time union activists, Buddhists, students and 'furita' – a fast growing segment of Japanese youth going anti-corporate and pursuing alternative lifestyles – are all part of the growing Japanese anti-nuke movement.

The Japanese have more than a few bones to pick about the whole nuke issue. In terms of the handling of the Fukushima catastophe, details are coming to light about the government's failure to pass on correct information during the disaster that could have saved lives. Many people fleeing the tsunami in disaster struck areas were travelling in the same direction as lethal radiation, but due to 'internal communications' mishaps, the government didn't get the message out. Nice to know you're being looked out for...

There's also the inconvenient matter of the toxic rubble, an estimated 20 million tons of it. Having cluttered up the disaster regions for over a year, the bright sparks in government have decided the best way to deal with it is to spread it around the country, convincing other areas to take a pile or two and share the burden. A new law was passed in September to allow the incineration of nuclear waste, despite scientists stating this only pushes radioactivity into the country's atmosphere and spreads it more globally via the jet stream and precipitation.

'Enviroreporter', an independent reporter from LA, recently released the findings of radiation readings which showed the sea mist in LA contained five times the normal level. Drinking water across North America has been tested has having unsafe levels of radioactivity. Other reports state the radiation has found its way into the ecosystem of the Pacific, where it will work its way up the food chain.

Given scientists have judged the disaster to be ten times worse than Chernobyl, it appears pro-nuclear lobbying has succeeded in glossing over some of these awkward facts, but the Japanese demonstrators aren't fueled. fooled and the protests don't look like decaying any faster than cesium-137.

* More contaminated food for thought here


There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Anonymous - 23rd July 2012 @ 8:15 AM
Good article, but I'm dubious about the statement "scientists have judged the disaster to be ten times worse than Chernobyl" Can you give a source for this?
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