Journalist Stephanie Cooke was at the Carter Center June 7 to promote her book, In Mortal Hands, a Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age. Her talk emphasized the Fukushima disaster and drew from nuke history to support her view that we need to turn away from this toxic technology. The industry, for example, consistently underplays accidents, waiting until things have cooled off, when people have lost interest, assumed it’s all over, on to other things, when they finally admit the true figures of radiation releases, extent of damage, etc. Even then they hedge with comforting denials of long-term effects, in language that may be technically correct but misleading. This could describe precisely corporate/government PR strategy around the BP oil spill, the Valdez disaster, Katrina, Chernobyl, conditions for cleanup crews at ground zero…. doesn’t seem to matter, those invested in the irresponsible continue to claim, and may even believe, that it’s all safe, under control, no problem. If belief, it’s belief of convenience. When your livelihood depends on believing something chances are you will talk yourself into it. Or at least you will keep your mouth shut. Due to this delay strategy fewer citizens are aware that three of the Fukushima reactors experienced full melt-down and that high levels of radiation are contaminating land and sea. The situation is an on-going catastrophe, which hopefully can be contained. Cooke informs us that contamination from this accident will be around for the rest of our lives. How many of these assaults can our life system withstand, do ya think?
Ms. Cooke was interviewed on nation-wide radio within hours of the Fukushima accident. Another guest, a pro-nuker, assured listeners that the accident was low severity, it would all pass, a minor situation, etc. Locally a Georgia Tech Professor did the same. The Japanese utility, TEPCO, several years before the current accident, was caught falsifying data (confirming that utilities tend to view safety as a public relations problem). The CEO was fired/resigned but shortly after hired as a high-paid “advisor” in the same company. Cooke claims that the Japanese squelched opposition to nuclear plants by creating a tax, which was showered on those who lived in the rural areas selected for plant location. The U.S. encouraged nukes in Japan, as in other nations, as part of its Peaceful Atoms project, which really amounted to a propaganda campaign behind which nuclear weapons could be developed. The sad truth is that whatever nuclear proponents might claim in the “safe and clean” department, their real project is a major raid on the U.S. treasury and utility ratepayers with the macho side-benefit of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Leaving unnumbered future generations the unavoidable necessity of containing large quantities of life-threatening waste doesn’t seem a factor in their rosy scenario. Gimme some delusion, and throw in some denial. They make the Mafia seem like stumbling amateurs.