I’m writing with a personal plea for help from Japan. A nuclear inspector just said that the fate of my country 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.
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 strorage 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:
The people across my country are still reeling from last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe, but the triple disaster emboldened the citizens for change. Weeks ago, Japanese Avaaz members helped make my country the first developed nation on earth to go nuclear free. Now let’s together remove this last remaining lethal threat before it is too late.
Fukushima Reactor 4 poses massive global risk (CTV)
The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over (Huffington Post)
Doomsday scenarios spread about No. 4 reactor at Fukushima plant (The Asahi Shimbun)
Fukushima Daiichi’s Achilles Heel: Unit 4′s Spent Fuel? (The Wall Street Journal)
Japan Nuclear Plant May Be Worse Off Than Thought (New York Times)
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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com
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