By Eurasian Hub
On March 6, the Greenpeace organization presented in Spain the report: The Fukushima Lessons, which explains how the earthquake and tsunami did not cause the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on the east coast of Japan a year ago. year. Greenpeace's main conclusion about this nuclear disaster is that it could be repeated at any nuclear power plant in the world, putting millions of people at risk, taking into account that a nuclear accident has occurred approximately every seven years, on average. .
As in those old science fiction stories, fifty years ago: the traffic lights continue to flash, the street lights illuminate the loneliness. The energy that powers those ghostly lights has been the cause of desolation. And the images of abandonment that Chernobyl accustomed us to reappear in other landscapes. In the photo: town in the southeast of Kabawata: radioactive contamination forced residents to be evacuated In this town, with a radioactivity index 22 times higher than normal, there are still a handful of residents. In areas with rates between 52 and 238 times higher than normal, residents may never return home. Some affected families have been offered a one-time compensation of $ 1,043. The lawyers of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) (1) claim that the company also does not fulfill its obligation to meet the costs of decontamination, arguing that radiation, as well as the search for solutions, is now the responsibility of the owners of the land and not the company. Source: photography by Robert Knoth, and Lessons from Fukushima (Greenpeace).
On March 6, the Greenpeace organization presented in Spain the report: The lessons of Fukushima (2), which explains how the earthquake and tsunami did not cause the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on the east coast of Japan a year ago. It is noteworthy that the document emphasizes the political responsibilities of the Japanese government, an issue that has tended to remain in the background by the Western media, something that some of the Eurasian Hub authors had experience with. direct in those days.
The reasons for such an attitude are diverse. In the first place, and notably, because it was interesting to highlight that the catastrophe was purely "natural" and unpredictable, thereby cooling the political debate on the issue of nuclear energy. Related to this, the media efforts to dissociate the Chernobyl tragedy with that of Fukushima were very visible, a story from which significant returns were obtained. In this way, the cliché about the supposed reliability of Western technology over that of the Soviet-Russians or other emerging countries was saved. By the way, the image of the Japanese government or political system was preserved, keeping it safe from controversy, which also contributed to keeping the debate on the “responsible” and “irresponsible” countries at the margin when maintaining and promoting programs of nuclear energy. And that at a time when pressure on Iran was growing noisily.
In such a context, the Greenpeace report on Fukushima is of special interest, as it flees from the politically correct treatment of a truly devastating catastrophe.
Next, we include the very useful summary of the conclusions that the reader can find on the Greenpeace Spain page (3), remembering, incidentally, that the hub can be accessed right there: Fukushima, never again (4) and the publication , free (in .pdf): The Fukushima Lessons (5). To conclude, on the same page you can visit the exhibition: Shadowlands (6), with photographs by Robert Knoth and interviews by Antoinette de Jong.
Greenpeace report conclusions
Greenpeace's main conclusion about this nuclear disaster is that it could be repeated at any nuclear power plant in the world, putting millions of people at risk, taking into account that a nuclear accident has occurred approximately every seven years, on average. .
Greenpeace concludes that the three main reasons for the nuclear accident are:
1. A vulnerable reactor - the design. The vulnerabilities of the Mark I Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) design have been known for decades in Japan and internationally. However, the warnings have been repeatedly ignored.
2. Weak regulation - government and management. The cover-up maneuvers of the owner company, TEPCO, which in 2006 admitted to falsifying reports on cooling water, have been tolerated, and despite this, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) conceded TEPCO granted the mandatory authorization to extend the life of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors for another ten years.
3. Systematic errors in the assessment - nuclear safety. TEPCO and NISA knew that a tsunami of more than ten meters could be hit in the area of the nuclear power plant. However, the plant was only designed to withstand tsunamis of up to 5.7 meters.
Likewise, the report The Lessons of Fukushima draws three important conclusions:
1. The real risks were known, but the Japanese authorities and the Fukushima plant operators downplayed and ignored them.
2. Nuclear emergency and evacuation plans for the protection of people have totally failed, despite the fact that Japan is one of the best prepared countries in the world for disaster management.
3. Taxpayers will be those who pay most of the costs. Japan is one of the three countries where by law the operator of the nuclear power plant is liable for the full costs of a nuclear disaster, but the liability and compensation regimes of the law are insufficient. To survive, affected people have to seek their own resources.
Figures about Fukushima
Some of the data provided by the Fukushima Lessons report are, for example:
- 150,000 people had to be displaced in Japan;
- they have 28 million cubic meters of soil contaminated by radioactive substances;
- Japan will have to bear a total cost of the disaster of 520,000 to 650,000 million dollars, a figure that approximates the cost of the subprime banking crisis in the United States;
- They only maintain two operational nuclear reactors of the 54 that exist, against pressure from the Government and the nuclear industry, without suffering any supply problems.
Eurasian Hub - March 8, 2012