The International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH) is saddened by the disaster in Japan caused by the March, 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunamis and aftershocks experienced since then. The tremendous loss of life and serious injuries as well as damage to homes and infrastructure has shocked many people around the world.
What has many people in Japan and around the world the most worried are the stories about damage to three nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant leading to a loss of cooling water and rising temperatures in three of their reactors. As of this writing, there have already been explosions in two of the three reactors and there are concerns about the same thing happening in the third. Nuclear workers are endangering their lives and health trying to control the melting. According to some reports, sea water has been only partially successful in containing the level of radioactivity in the first reactor.
Although a 20 km exclusion zone has been evacuated around the plant, there is serious concern for the life, health and safety of people in the area by those who understand the health effects of nuclear radiation. We are told by media sources that the amount of radiation released into the air is not a concern to health. We are told the radiation is too low, not more than a chest x-ray! We know that there is no safe level of ionizing radiation and that an increase in radiation to the body increases the danger to health.
The Japanese NGO, Citizen’s Nuclear Information Centre, (CNIC) was quick to draw attention to the situation. For many years, the CNIC has been observing the nuclear industry in Japan and informing their citizens of the actions and activities of their nuclear industry. They have noted a number of errors and break downs over the years.
See: CNIC “Earthquake and Nuclear Power” page at http://cnic.jp/english.
IICPH supports the statement of the CNIC below and calls on all governments to recognize the potential danger caused by nuclear power plants situated near earthquake fault lines.
CNIC Statement Re: Nuclear Disaster Unfolding in Japan
March 11, 2011 8.29 am.
bq. “The Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC) is deeply concerned for the health and safety of the people affected by the earthquakes and tsunamis that have struck Japan over the last two days. We are particularly concerned for the people in the vicinity of nuclear power plants, including workers who are trying to minimize the scope of the disaster.
Unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is in a state of meltdown. A nuclear disaster which the promoters of nuclear power in Japan said that would not happen is in progress. It is occurring because of an earthquake that they said would not happen.
That could and should have been predicted. It was predicted by scientists and NGOs such as the CNIC. We warned that Japan’s nuclear power plants could be subjected to much stronger earthquakes and much stronger tsunamis than they were designed to withstand.
Besides the question about how this accident will unfold, the big question now is, will the government and the nuclear industry acknowledge their mistakes and change track?
Last December, the Japanese government began a review of the nuclear energy policy. The review was commenced in the spirit of essentially confirming the existing policy. That approach is no longer viable. The direction of the policy review must be completely reversed. It must be directed towards developing a policy of phasing out nuclear energy as smoothly and swiftly as possible.”
Signed by Phillip White,
bq. Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre, Japan
Even in Canada, a fault line runs close to the aged Pickering Nuclear Power Plant situated in a very large urban population that includes Toronto Ontario. There have not been any earthquake along this fault line for a long time but there are no guarantees that one cannot occur. How would the Pickering Nuclear Power Plant Station stand up to an earthquake? We must ask the question!
Amchitka, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island; will Fukushima Daiichi be added to the list?
For many, media releases are their only source of information on the disaster. However, a more reliable source can be found through the Nuclear Information and Resource Service who are keeping abreast of the ever-changing story of the events taking place.