Do you remember the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011? If you don’t, here is a recap:
A 9.0 earthquake shook the grounds of the East coast of Japan and a tsunami followed quickly. The Fukushima Daiishi nuclear power plant looses all of its outside energy, which means that it can no longer cool itself. Within just a few days, three of the reactors melted and hydrogen explosions destroy reactor buildings.
On March 12th, evacuation begins. Many fled themselves without being told. The area that is believed to be contaminated is over 20 km in diameter.
On March 23rd, Greenpeace scientists assess the situation and discover that the affected area reaches as far as 40 km. The Japanese government rejects these findings only to be told later, by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that Greenpeace was right.
Since the Japanese government still won’t do what it should, Greenpeace steps forward and asks pregnant women and children to evacuate contaminated areas. They also discover that food is contaminated in several grocery stores and calls upon the government to act. The government responds by raising the no-risk level of radiation contamination by 20 times more than the accepted international level.
Even though several tons of radioactive waste leaked into the ocean due to the earthquake, the TEPCO (owners of the reactors) has been dumping several thousand tons a year into the ocean, endangering both the wildlife and those who consume fish from the ocean in that area. Furthermore, this release of radioactive waste will also surely endanger all forms of life in that area for decades to come.
This accident definitely proves that the use of nuclear is far too dangerous to justify it. Furthermore, the cost of cleaning the spills is incredibly high, on top of the damage done to the lives of those who were affected.
In total, 160,000 people had to flee the affected area, even though some still maintain that the area was wider than accepted by the Japanese government.
However, the most shocking part is yet to come. World-renowned companies such as General Electric, Hitachi and Toshiba were involved in the design, construction and servicing of the Fukushima reactors. However, immediately after the disaster, they simply walked away without looking back, not even to write a cheque to help cover the cost of cleaning up, which is estimated at around $250 billion US.
The Japanese are the ones who are now burdened with the cost of mopping up that mess and have spent $43.7 billion US of their own taxes, which is far from sufficient to cover the full cost. The Red Cross, which is involved in the care of the displaced population, believes that it will take quite some time before it is safe for anyone to return home.
Despite knowing the dangers of these reactors, several countries across the world turn a blind eye and a deaf ear on those who request they learn to act more responsibly. Companies are permitted to build reactors and the problems, although aren't frequent, are very high.
To sign the petition requesting that the companies involved step up to the plate and mend their wrongs and, if you can, donate to Greenpeace, click here.
You can also send an email to the heads of these companies to tell them that you will boycott them until they take responsability for their actions.
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