Antinuclear activist Harvey Wasserman accuses corporate media of Fukushima cover-up

For more than 30 years, author Harvey Wasserman has been one of America's leading critics of the nuclear industry.

In a new essay on the NationofChange website, the editor of nukefree.org has condemned the corporate media's silence regarding the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Wasserman, the long-time senior editor of the alternative Columbus Free Press, points out that corporate media outlets have said little even as "seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches".

"At least three extremely volatile fuel assemblies are stuck high in the air at Unit 4," Wasserman writes for NationofChange. "Three years after the March 11, 2011, disaster, nobody knows exactly where the melted cores from Units 1, 2 and 3 might be."

He takes aim at the facility's owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, for "a highly controversial ice wall to be constructed around the crippled reactor site". He notes that nothing like this has ever been built before.

Wasserman's essay points out that a Japanese court recently stymied efforts to restart two newer reactors in Fukui Prefecture.

This should be of interest to those following the B.C. government's attempt to launch a liquefied-natural-gas export industry.

Prior to the Fukushima disaster, nuclear power accounted for about 26 percent of electricity generation in Japan.

All 54 Japanese reactors were shut down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused such havoc in northeastern Japan.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Japan consumed 37 percent of LNG in the world in 2012, with a third of that coming from Southeast Asia.

Japan imports more LNG than any other country.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government hopes to restart nuclear reactors to wean the country off its reliance on imported energy.

But if the courts continue blocking those efforts, it could help keep LNG prices high in Asia.

This is a key factor that energy companies are considering in whether to give a green light to LNG export projects along the B.C. coast. 

Comments (15) Add New Comment
Devil's Advocate
"corporate media outlets have said little even as "seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches"."

Presume this is true. Presume it poses a risk comparable epidemiologically to diesel in cities, which is something like 10 extra cancers per 100k population. What is the government/media to do, create a panic? And anyone who says "we already have diesel and all sorts of toxins, more is not better, too much of a muchness is already bad!" is quite right. But what's to be done? Nothing to be done.
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germs
Ignorance is bliss. Let them build the ice wall. Let the radiation wash up on shore. Radiation doesnt discriminate. It will eat the rich along with the rest of us. Live your life, for the times they are a-changin
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Uncle Jack
This man, Wasserman, besides being an activist, does he have a job??

We criticize those on the payroll of big corporations, and rightly so!!

Who is paying Wasserman's expenses, bills, travels etc. I read his bio, and, besides attending meetings, rallies and other events, there is silence about his employment status, if any.

At the end of the day, everybody must have a job to live and support his/hers family??

What about Wasserman?
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Martin Dunphy
Uncle:

As stated above, he is senior editor of the Columbus Free Press.
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@germs
Well, I am sorry, but nobody is mass-exodusing from the cities because we now know diesel is a carcinogen. I'd like to know how the risk compares to the risk of living in a city generally visavis carcinogens. Presume it were even 10x worse than Diesel---100 extra cancers per 100k population. What would we do, evacuate the west coast, abandon the cities?
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Uncle Flack
No good hippie pinko commie socialist. Get a real job polutin'
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Badforu
Japan going silent after there Secrecy Law makes that country one of the more dangerous in the world. Here they have a problem that is affecting the entire western hemisphere and mums the word. That the USA has schooled them on how not to talk about it and how to keep others from talking about it. While most of there country has been radioactivily contaminated is a crime of the highest order. Babylon and those she leads astray fits to a t.
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G.R.L. Cowan
Detecting Fukushima radioactivity in the ocean is like detecting crickets' chirps at an outdoor rock concert. That doesn't mean it can't be done; it can be done, and has been done (I assembled some links at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/nuclear-scare-stori... ).

It's good of Dunphy to mention LNG (liquefied natural gas). Some background: while Japan used to pay uranium mining companies $0.20 per million BTU for uranium, post-311 they've been paying $16 per million BTU for gas.

Figure 18.2, "Taxation of energy in Japan on a carbon emission basis", of "Taxing energy use: a graphical analysis", OECD 2013, shows oil and gas for electricity generation being taxed 1000 yen per tonne CO2. That works out to $0.60 per million BTU of gas.

The upshot: through very coldblooded footdragging on allowing Japan's nuclear plant operators to resume using uranium, $50 million a month, the Japanese government is scoring a continuing windfall of at least $140 million a month. The total gas revenue windfall, not just for the Japanese government but for it and all the other natgas interests, is around four billion a month.

So there is good reason to suspect Wasserman of being fully aware he is talking nonsense. Very, very lucrative nonsense.

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G.R.L. Cowan
Sorry, I should have written, it's good of *Charlie Smith* to mention LNG. It's good of Dunphy to comment below the line.
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Jay Richard
So wait when an independent research institute sponsored by private non-governmental sources says seaborne radiation from Fukushima currently isn't an issue then why the hell is this dude Wasserman confused by why no mainstream media is covering the issue.

http://www.whoi.edu/main/topic/fukushima-radiation

http://ourradioactiveocean.org/results.html
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Martin Dunphy
Jay Richard:

It's one thing to call something an "independent research institute", but it's another to not acknowledge, as is the case with WHOI, that its biggest sponsors include eight U.S.-government departments and agencies, including the Dept. of Defense, several military-industrial-complex contractors, and a handful of oil-and-gas/underseas drilling concerns.

Just sayin'.
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Jay Richard
@Martin so because a scientific institution accepts government funding the results should be discredited? If that's what your opinion is then we shouldn't really trust any research institute.

The initial research was funded primarily from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which is a private family foundation with a focal area on the environment among other things.

The second site is research via crowdfunding - one of the sites sponsors in BC is the David Suzuki Foundation.

To assert that this is a global threat per Wasserman's essay is a stretch especially when the science can't back that claim up.
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Martin Dunphy
Jay:

I am not casting aspersions on the research. I am casting aspersions on your statement "an independent research institute sponsored by private non-governmental sources" when clearly that is misrepresentation, at the very least by omission.

That is all.
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G.R.L. Cowan
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's above-mentioned sponsors and/or clients are all receivers of fossil fuel revenue. The only possible exception is the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Their testimony concerning the numerical impossibility of any off-site harm from Fukushima is therefore the more persuasive.
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Atoms4Peace1
Wasserman is not an engineer, has no real technical basis for anything he says regarding nuclear engineering and risks. We are reminded that the likes of Wasserman, while desiring an end to safe, clean nuclear energy, will promulgate the expansion of dirty coal that pollutes the landscape, leads to millions of health induced deaths, increases global warming, and subsequent lower quality of life.
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