Credo Action

Don’t let Fukushima be the next Chernobyl

Sign the petition

Tell the United Nations general secretary:

"Japan must allow a worldwide engineering group comprised of the best scientists and engineers to oversee the unprecedented and incredibly dangerous mitigation TEPCO is poised to conduct on its melted-down nuclear reactors. If the Japanese government does not allow international oversight of TEPCO, which has acted irresponsibly in the wake of the disaster, the potential ensuing disaster could affect millions of people."

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    Don’t let Fukushima be the next Chernobyl

    A disaster of “apocalyptic” proportions could be just days away at the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was swamped by a tsunami in 2011,1 and you'll never believe the incredible confluence of tragic negligence that got us here.

    From the poor planning that caused the plant to become damaged during the 2011 tsunami,2 to a power outtage caused by rats,3 to another outtage caused by workers rat-proofing,4 the work of plant operator TEPCO has been widely described as sloppy and irresponsible by outside observers, and workers helping to clean up the damaged plant.5, 6

    One of the riskiest steps in decommissioning the Fukushima power plant – removing spent, radioactive control rods which, if mishandled, could start a dangerous chain reaction – has reportedly begun,7 even though it was discovered last week that another incidence of negligence by TEPCO has made this impossible job even more difficult.8

    Clearly, TEPCO cannot be trusted to handle a process this dangerous without proper oversight. That’s why a group of scientists and engineers are coming together to demand the United Nations General Secretary compel the Japanese government to allow international assistance with this project.9

    Add your name as a citizen signer to the letter to United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.

    Nuclear experts agree that this removal process is an engineering project of epic proportions. Each rod – there are 1,331 – weighs over 600 pounds and must be removed from a rack by a crane, one by one.10

    In normal circumstances, this process would take more than three months and be handled by a robot arm, programmed with each rod’s exact location.11 But these rods have been disturbed by the earthquake in 2011, and it was just discovered that the rods are also misshappen from TEPCO mishandling as far back as 1982.12

    As if that weren't bad enough, the rods are currently housed in a pool of water perched 100 feet above the ground, in a building severely damaged by the earthquake and subsequent hydrogen explosion at the plant.13 And all it would take for that pool to come crashing to the ground is another powerful earthquake.

    The possible consequences of a botched removal job, or a failure of the containment pool are truly frightening. Journalist and activist Harvey Wasserman described this way:

    The potential radiation releases in this situation can only be described as apocalyptic. The cesium alone would match the fallout of 14,000 Hiroshima bombs. If the job is botched, radiation releases could force the evacuation of all humans from the site, and could cause electronic equipment to fail. Humankind would be forced to stand helplessly by as billions of curies of deadly radiation pour into the air and the ocean.14

    The United Nations must compel Japan to bring together an international group of scientists and engineers for this job, instead of rushing the job without experts and international oversight.

    1. Elizabeth Chuck, "7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Japan near Fukushima," NBC, October 25, 2013.
    2. Christopher Helman, "Explainer: What Caused The Incident At Fukushima-Daiichi," Forbes, March 15, 2011.
    3. "Fukushima: Rat linked to outage at Japan nuclear plant," BBC, March 20, 2013.
    4. Hiroko Tabuchi, "Rat Chase Backfires at Reactor in Japan," New York Times, April 3, 2013.
    5. "Nuclear regulators declare Fukushima leak a level-three ‘serious incident’," Raw Story, August 23, 2013.
    6. Brian Feldman, "Two Years Later, the Fukushima Cleanup is Still Sloppy," Atlantic Wire, October 22, 2013.
    7. "Fukushima operator starts removing fuel rods," Al Jazeera, November 18, 2013.
    8. "Japan postpones removal of Fukushima atomic fuel rods," Euronews, November 15, 2013.
    9. [PDF] Letter to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, from 17 scientists and engineers.
    10. Aaron Sheldrick and Antoni Slodkowski, "Insight: After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan's nuclear clean-up," Reuters, August 14, 2013.
    11. Jun Hongo, "Fukushima 2020: Will Japan be able to keep the nuclear situation under control?," Japan Times, October 19, 2013.
    12. "Japan postpones removal of Fukushima atomic fuel rods," Euronews, November 15, 2013.
    13. Mari Yamaguchi, "Fukushima Cleanup: What's At Stake As Workers Start Removing Nuclear Fuel Rods From Crippled Plant," Huffington Post, November 18, 2013.
    14. Andrea Germanos, "Fuel Removal From Fukushima's Reactor 4 Threatens 'Apocalyptic' Scenario," Common Dreams, October 24, 2013.