The people speak: Nuclear industry acts in state of denial
Last month, the Japanese Kashiwazaki nuclear plant was hit by an earthquake of 6.8 magnitude. Seven reactors were put at direct risk, with four forced into emergency shutdowns, suffering numerous fires and emitting unknown quantities of radiation.
The quake exceeded the design capabilities of all Japanâ€™s 53 reactors (specifically the design capabilities of the Kashiwazaki nuclear plant by a factor of three).
A Kobe University research team was reported as saying that if the quake had been 10 kilometers (six miles) further to the southwest, a â€œterrible, terrible disasterâ€ would have resulted. Professor Mitsuhei Murata of Tokai Gukuen University was quoted as warning that a quake at the Hamaoka nuclear plant could bring â€œ24 million victims and the end for Japan.â€
Japanâ€™s earthquake experts assume that an 8.0 quake within the next 30 years is 87 percent probable.
Why were Tokyo Electricâ€™s seven Kashiwazaki reactors built atop a fault line? Why was Californiaâ€™s San Onofre reactor similarly sited?
Earthquake experts in Japan and the United States have warned since the 1960s about such dangers in reactor construction, only to be ignored and â€œdiscredited.â€
Vital data from the Kashiwazaki disaster disappeared quickly, and the exact quantities of radiation released are unknown. A similar disappearance of data occurred at the U.S. Three Mile Island emergency in the 1970s. Radiation at both sites escaped well after the reactors were shut down.
In the United States, the nuclear PR spin goes on, weaving fantasies of a â€œrenaissance.â€
Citizens, beware. The nuclear industry operates in a state of denial, and in a crisis conveniently doesnâ€™t know what it happening.