by: Thom Hartmann
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear joins Thom Hartmann. In a little over a week - we'll hit the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis at Fukushima in Japan. And this week - we're learning that that nuclear crisis is even worse than was originally thought. On Wednesday - Japanese Scientists announced that twice as much radioactive cesium than estimated blew out of the plant after the earthquake and tsunami. That's about 40,000 trillion bequerels. And it took just 18 days for those radioactive particles to encircle the planet - turning up in places as far away as Vermont. French scientists are now calling on Japan to remain vigilant in its inspections of fruit, milk, and game to prevent further radiation contamination.
These new numbers come on the heels of a Greenpeace report on the Fukushima disaster - in which the organization places the blame for the crisis - NOT on the natural disaster - but instead on the Japanese Government. The report accuses the Japanese government of ignoring the risks posed to Fukushima before the earthquake and "cutting corners to protect profits over people." It goes on to argues that nuclear energy is "inherently unsafe" and governments are too quick to approve nuclear power plants, while at the same time unable to the consequences of nuclear disasters. That includes the United States. Currently - there are 23 General Electric Mark 1 reactors in operation around the United States. The Mark 1 is the same reactor design used at Fukushima. And just last month - the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a warning to 96 nuclear reactors around the nation that sit on fault lines - urging operators to perform new stress tests to see if the reactor can hold up to earthquake. So what should we make of all this?