The situation at the damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima is dire. Two days ago, three workers were exposed to water containing radioactive materials 10,000 times the normal level in the basement of Reactor No. 3. This reactor is especially dangerous because it contains MOX fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium. And, things got worse yesterday. The Japanese authorities have now said that the reactor vessel in unit 3 may have breached, which means that much greater amounts of radiation from the MOX fuel could be released.
Here in the United States, the nuclear industry’s lobbyists and propagandists work to downplay concerns. “Earthquakes of that magnitude would never happen here.” “We’ll do a thorough safety review.” “Nuclear power needs to be part of our energy future.” And so on. What they aren’t saying is that that massive public subsidies to bring this old reactors online would go 7-10 times further if spent on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Nuclear energy development is one of the biggest blockages to and energy revolution that can slow climate change.
The federal government has failed for years to provide appropriate oversight of nuclear reactors, but fortunately, two states are leading the fight to shut down their dangerous old nuclear reactors. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a longtime critic of Indian Point, and has called for a safety review of the reactors. In Vermont, where the state legislature voted overwhelmingly last year to close Vermont Yankee as scheduled in 2012, over 600 people gathered outside the reactor on Sunday to show solidarity with the people of Japan and call for the plant to be shut down.
This Monday, March 28, people across the country will be showing their support for the people of Japan and calling for a world free of nuclear disasters. Please sign up to host or join a vigil near you, and let’s fight for an energy future with no more Fukushimas. To find a Stand with Japan vigil near you, go to:www.greenpeace.org/usa/vigilsforjapan.