I was not surprised reading how the Japanese government and the management of TEPCo (the owner / operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant complex) deliberately lied about the severity of the nuclear disaster and then covered up their false statements, keeping the truth from the Japanese people for months.
One of the strategies the Japanese government used to avoid notifying their citizens of the danger was to continue to relax their ‘standards’ for what was supposedly considered “safe” radiation exposure.
As the actual facts have slowly leaked out, it has been revealed that the reactors suffered massive core meltdowns immediately following the earthquake and consequent tsunami. These disclosures were the result off private citizens and environmental groups doing their own radiation monitoring. When the amount of data contrary to the ‘official story’ became simply too much to ignore any longer, the TEPCo / government story began to unravel.
Their false version of the events exposed hundreds of thousands of their citizens to what may well be lethal doses of radiation. The most egregious example of which was a town less than 15 miles from the site where families closer to the plant site were directed to go during the initial limited evacuation. It was later revealed that the radioactive plume resulting from the meltdown of the cores blanketed this area with heavy radiation as winds shifted toward the northwest. For those fortunate enough to survive, there will certainly be a dramatic increase in severe birth defects and deformities of their offspring.
The nuclear industry has a history of just such conduct. One need only look back on the cover up by the Soviets surrounding the Chernobyl disaster. The worst nuclear disaster to have ever occurred was not even mentioned – even to the citizens surrounding the plant, until scientists in Europe detected radiation levels so high that the only source could have been a nuclear disaster. Only after rigorous investigation by scientists in other countries and persistent pressure from their governments downwind, did the Soviet government finally acknowledge that, indeed, there was an ‘incident’ at their nuclear complex in Chernobyl.
The exact same scenario played out in the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster. The ‘incident’ was not reported until ~12 hours after it happened and then was downplayed as ‘minor’ and confined to the plant site. Only much later was it revealed that the nuclear fuel had melted within the reactor core and that substantial amounts of radiation had been released into the environment.
When public opinion wouldn’t fall into line, the nuclear industry enlisted President Carter to tour the crippled, leaking reactor and, by virtue of his presence, declare that all was “OK”. To this day, the US nuclear industry points to Three Mile Island as a “success” stating that “no member of the public was injured” as a result of the accident. This is simply not true. Numerous cases of birth defects, horrific deformities in people and animals and a much higher incidence of cancers surround the plant. Of course, these are dismissed as merely coincidental since there is no way to prove that they were caused by the radiation that escaped the facility and blanketed the area.
To bring the nuclear issue closer to home, I was greatly dismayed, but not surprised to hear that radioactive tritium has been leaking from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and has traveled via ground water migration into the waters of the Connecticut River. Interesting that the contamination was identified, quantified and made public not by the operators of the plant but by the VT Public Health Service. Entergy, the plant operator, immediately challenged the accuracy of the water sampling and analysis and commissioned its own set of test, which of course conclude that there is no contamination. > see link below.
As most all of you Vermonters are aware, Entergy has filed for approval to to extend the operating license of Vermont Yankee for another 20 years. The federal Nuclear Regulator Agency has already given their OK. Vermont is the only state that had the foresight to pass a law requiring state approval (as well as NRC) to extend nuclear plant operating licenses. Last winter, in a landmark decision, Vermont senators voted 26-4 against the license renewal (ironically referred to as “life extension” within the nuclear industry).
Entergy has filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont in an attempt to overrule the decision to not extend the operating license and, thus, close down the plant whose present operating license runs out in March of next year.
With the plant’s systems already failing and radioactivity already leaking into the environment, it is hard to fathom how such an operating license extension would even be considered. But the NRC has already given a green light with their blessing. It is up to Vermonters to make it abundantly clear that we do not want nuclear power in our state and radioactive materials in our environment. It is my expectation that Entergy will appeal any ruling not in their favor handed down by a lower court with the goal to bring the matter before the US supreme court. The way the court has been stacked in recent years it is very unlikely that that decision would be in favor of the citizens of Vermont.
With Germany, Japan, China and a host of other countries reconsidering the role of nuclear power in the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, > see link:
The official US policy seems to still be sadly out of step with reality with ‘full speed ahead’ for nuclear expansion. A scant two weeks after the disaster at Fukushima, our progressive ‘change agent’ President Obama reaffirmed US support for nuclear power expansion and DOE nuclear scientists are now out on the speaking circuit hoping to convince us (as concerned citizens) that nuclear radiation exposure is actually good for us! See link:
I am writing to you as I see the closure of Vermont Yankee as a unique and singular opportunity to take a stand against the now nearly orthodox “Nuclear Renaissance” which any rational person would dismiss outright in aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.
Vermonters are a truly unique and independent lot. My wife Marilyn and I are proud to be able to now be able to call ourselves among you. Vermont is the only state that had the foresight to require legal state approval for the relicensing of the nuclear plant within its boundaries – all others have left their collective fate to the industry lapdogs in Washington. We now need to fully exercise this special right. Most fortunately, Governor Shumlin is firmly behind us on this.
But this will not be an easy fight by any means. I expect the entire nuclear industry to come down hard on this as it is truly a critical fork in the road for them and for us.
As most of you know, Entergy – the current operator of Vermont Yankee, has had the audacity to file a lawsuit to overturn Vermont’s approval prerogative for re-licensing and force 20 more years of nuclear operation on the shores of the Connecticut river down our throats. Unless Vermonters come out in force with our opposition, they may well prevail.
By the way, Vermont Yankee is an exact clone of the failed Fukushima reactors that have poisoned a major portion of Japan making it permanently uninhabitable.
I am writing with hope to encourage you to please do all that you can to help make Vermont nuclear free.
With best regards,
Steven and Marilyn Strong
P.O. Box 83
Tunbridge, VT 05077
(617) 515-7708 (cell)