26 May 2012

Nuclear meltdown: Fukishima global risk

I blogged and sent letter to press about our nuclear policy being in meltdown (see here) but it seems Fukushima is far from sorted and we may well see a serious meltdown - various news agencies are reporting the extreme risks - see for example here and here.

A nuclear inspector has just said that the fate of Japan and much of the world depends on Fukushima's Reactor Number 4. If this damaged structure collapses, the spread of radiation would go way beyond Japan's borders and be truly catastrophic. This is scary stuff indeed....the campaigning network are taking the concerns seriously and have launched a petition. Here's what they write from Japan:

Since last year's tragic earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, a pool of highly dangerous spent nuclear fuel is being held in reactor 4’s crumbling structure. Experts say another strong earthquake would cause the pool to collapse and emit such high radiation that my family and the 35 million people in Tokyo would be forced to evacuate. It would also contaminate the skies across the Pacific and into Asia. The area around the toxic pool is vulnerable to regular seismic shocks, but, amazingly, my government is denying the risks, likely desperate not to cause panic.

Global nuclear experts, a US Senator and tens of thousands of people across Japan are raising the alarm. My country has the technology to stop this disaster, but not the political will. The best way to curb this lethal threat that would dwarf last year's disaster is a global wave of public pressure on my government to agree an emergency plan with UN experts. Click below to sign the petition to the UN and Prime Minister Noda and forward this to everyone:  


Reactor 4 has no walls or roof and there are thousands of spent fuel rods inside the pool containing ten times the amount of radioactive material released in the Chernobyl nuclear accident. This material, Cesium 137, is so explosive that to avoid spontaneous fire, the dilapidated pool must be constantly cooled. Radiation from Cesium 137 can remain dangerous for hundreds of years. If the pool collapsed and a fire ensued reactor 4 is just 50 meters from the other reactors that contain thousands more spent fuel rods. The scope of disaster is nearly unfathomable!

Nuclear scientists say the fuel must be removed from the pool as fast as possible to a safe and dry cask storage facility. But the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), Japan’s embattled nuclear energy giant, insists they have reinforced the structure and is relying on the vulnerable pool storage system to hold up. Since last year’s disaster people’s trust in TEPCO and official institutions has plummeted -- their response has been dismal and for years, safety breaches were covered up and government regulators looked the other way.

One Japanese politician called the Reactor 4 risk, ‘the ultimate catastrophe for the world’. I do not want my grandchildren or anyone across the world to grow up on the brink of nuclear disaster, and together we can stop it. Let’s cause a public storm and get the UN's attention and remove this risk forever. Sign the urgent petition then forward this to everyone: 

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