Demystifying Nuclear Power:
Seventy years ago the United States forced the world into the nuclear age by dropping the world’s first atom bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945. A second atomic bomb was dropped three days later on the city of Nagasaki, Japan, August 9, 1945. The bombing of these two residential cities resulted in the immediate death of at least 129,000 people
On August 6, 2015, thousands of people gathered in Hiroshima to commemorate the loss of lives from the world’s first atomic bombs and listen to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui speak about nonproliferation. Mayor Kazumi Matsui made an emphatic call for a world without nuclear weapons in a direct appeal to President Obama and other worldwide policy makers,
“Please come to the A-bombed cities, hear the survivors with your own ears, and encounter the reality of the atomic bombings. You will be impelled to start discussing a legal framework, including a nuclear weapons convention.”
Mayor Matsui did not hesitate to point out Prime Minister Abe’s ongoing campaign to reinterpret Japan’s postwar “pacifist” constitution in order to allow Japanese troops to fight alongside allies overseas as an uneasy political backdrop to the ceremony.
Prime Minister Abe’s push to restart nuclear reactors in the wake of the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, and the subsequent hasty cleanup of the heavily radioactively contaminated villages surrounding the decimated Fukushima Daiichi site is an ongoing human tragedy of epic proportions. It is also very concerning due to Japan’s atomic history. Currently thousands of Japanese citizens are living in temporary housing, forced out of their cities and homes due to this ongoing nuclear disaster with 300 tons of radioactive water contaminating the Pacific Ocean every day. This ongoing human tragedy and nuclear power debacle makes it imperative that we reexamine humanity’s relationship to nuclear power and its role in this nuclear age that has seen five major nuclear reactor meltdowns during 35-years.
We invite you to take a look at these related sites listed below for a deeper understanding of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This week, Fairewinds invites you to watch Fairewinds’ Board Director Chiho Kaneko in the rerelease of the video Bringing The Focus Back On Life. In this video, Ms. Kaneko discusses the Fukushima Daiichi disaster not merely a Japanese issue, but one that transcends geography and time. As radioactive contamination created by power plants, mines, and waste repositories around the world continues to seep into our oceans, groundwater, and bio-accumulate in our food chain, the photos of mutated vegetation from gardens only 30-miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown are quite poignant.
As we consider the sources of radiation, we also include a link in this week’s newsletter to a February 2014 video entitled New TEPCO Report Shows Damage to Unit 3 Fuel Pool MUCH Worse Than That at Unit 4 in which Fairewinds forecast that TEPCO would uncover fuel rod damage in Fukushima Daiichi’s destroyed Unit 3 once the debris above the reactor was removed. That damage that Fairewinds anticipated/expected has now been confirmed by TEPCO and reported by Japan’s public television NHK. As the world pauses to commemorate those killed and injured by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is imperative that we also refocus our attention on the ongoing nuclear devastation caused by meltdowns at sites like Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl.
People want to know about radiation exposures and doses. In this video produced by Natural Dentistry in Clearwater, Florida, Dr. Ray Behm interviews Fairewinds President Maggie Gundersen and Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen as they explain the difference between ‘background’ radiation and man-made radiation as well as clarify what’s really going on with added fluoride in drinking water. Recently released and put together from clips filmed in December 2013, this informative conversation will help clarify the question, “What is radiation?”
Demystifying Nuclear Power: Book of the Month
Japan's Tipping Point: Review by Maggie Gundersen, President
Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World is a little paperback published November 1, 2011 by Vermont author Mark Pendergrast. Japan was at a crucial tipping point in its energy paradigm when Mark first wrote this book after the March 2011 triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi. Currently, Japan imports all of its fossil fuel and can no longer rely upon nuclear power, following the massive Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power tragedy.
Prior to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power tragedy, Mark was awarded an Abe Fellowship for Journalists to visit five out of 13 so-called Eco-Model Cities, and shortly after the nuclear disaster, he traveled to “Japan to investigate Japan's renewable energy, Eco-Model Cities, food policy, recycling, and energy conservation, expecting to find innovative, cutting edge programs.”
“I figured that because the Japanese import virtually all of their fossil fuel and are technologically sophisticated, that they must be doing innovative things with renewable energy,” Mark has said.
Mark says he discovered that he was naive. Even though “the Japanese boast of their eco-services for eco-products in eco-cities… they rely primarily on imported fossil fuel …live in energy-wasteful homes, and import 60% of their food.”
Like Mark Pendergrast, we at Fairewinds Energy Education had hoped that the massive tragedy of a triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi would become the Tipping Point for Japan. Arnie and I envisioned that by now the technological and entrepreneurial Japanese would lead the world in the innovative use of Small Modular Renewables, wave production technology, and larger innovative solar and wind installations. Instead, Germany, under the leadership of the physicist and once pro-nuclear Chancellor Angela Merkel, has taken world leadership in renewable energy and therefore has the strongest economy in Europe. Look at this week’s news clips to see that even oil rich Saudi Arabia is grabbing renewable energy with both hands in an effort to maintain a rich energy portfolio as world demand for oil, gas, coal, and nuclear continues to decline.
Watch Fairewinds Energy Education’s video Fukushima Decommissioning: Follow The Money to see how politics and money continue to push nuclear power and block Japan’s economic growth and what could have been world dominance in renewable energy. Then read Mark’s book Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World to further understand what futures are still possible for Japan.