We’re proud the Snake River Alliance is Idaho’s nuclear watchdog, but we know nuclear contamination is not an issue that can be contained by geographic borders. Recent news about the status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which tumbled into crisis as a result of the earthquake, tsunami, and loss of off-site power in March of 2011, underscores that reality. Nuclear materials are, truly, the problem that keeps on taking. Taking away our clean air, land, and water and damaging human and other life.
In fact, at Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear crisis has never had an end and the catastrophe has continued for years. In July we learned that radioactive ground water has been leaking into the sea, from leaking tanks that contaminated the groundwater, since the accident. In August it was widely reported that the radioactive water was leaking at a rate of 300 tons per day. This week, former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko indicated that Japanese officials were aware of the leaks, but the sea wall that was first recommended for containment in March 2011 was never built. Early this month, the Japanese government committed $470 million dollars to building a frozen sea wall to stop the leak.
We say it often enough, but it’s worth repeating, especially in the context of Fukushima: nuclear power has unacceptable risks, both to public health and safety and to the economy. Moreover, those risks are not easily contained when accidents happen. 150,000 residents from Fukushima prefecture are still displaced from their homes as a result of the accident.
While Japan is far away from Idaho, the fish we eat from the Pacific Ocean already are and will continue to be affected by the accident at Fukushima. This Global Research blog cites a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study from 2012 that indicates concentrations of radiation in the Pacific could be higher on the West Coast of North America than in Japan because of ocean currents.
All of us can be affected when there is a nuclear accident anywhere in the world. It’s a truth that is not pleasant, but it’s one that is worth remembering to protect our own health and the health of our planet.
The Alliance does not work on a daily basis to track events in Japan. But we do have a page on our website dedicated to links to recent articles and other organizations that are monitoring the ongoing crisis at Fukushima very carefully. This Moveon.org petition asks that the world community take control of the cleanup at Fukushima since the potential long-term impacts of the disaster are global.