Letter: An ongoing catastrophe

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Editor of the Reformer:

March 11 will mark the start of the seventh year of the catastrophic meltdowns beginning in 2011. Mostly, this has occurred under the radar of the media. During the tsunami and in the immediate wake of the massive storm, we were in touch with the daily conditions at Fukushima. Now, although the reactors continue to poison the air and water, and although those in charge continue to flounder, Fukushima Daiichi is out of the news.

Please join us on March 11 at Pliny Park in downtown Brattleboro from noon to 1 p.m. for a vigil to remind our community of the terrible tragedy still unfolding in Japan.

For those of us who are following the terrible situation in Japan, things are not good. The most recent news to come out is that the radiation continues to be dangerous and deadly, and TEPCO, the Japanese company in charge, has no plan of action to move ahead. The most recent attempt to assess the situation using extremely sophisticated (and expensive) robot technology was again a failure. This was due to inconceivably high levels of radiation inside the core of the damaged reactors. If a human was to get that level of exposure, death would be instant. It is hard to fathom how the level of toxic radioactivity is so high that a robot cannot function, but that seems to be the case. And this is not the first unsuccessful robotic attempt to gauge the situation in a reactor core. Until technology can be successfully developed that can actually begin a clean-up process, these reactors will continue to emit deadly radiation.

Another area of broad concern is the pollution of the Pacific Ocean. Three hundred tons of tritiated water is released into the Pacific every day. While the company says the water is safe, and that it has been processed and is free of other radioactive elements, the claim of no damage to the ocean is questioned by many scientists. Many people who study the ocean feel that the entire Pacific is being polluted by this continual assault of water from these destroyed reactors. While it is unclear that the damage to fish populations off the Pacific coast of North America is from Fukushima radiation, there is no question that the Pacific fisheries are in trouble. As with so many negative effects of radioactive toxins, they are generational and do not

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arrive with red flags.

The very pro-nuclear conservative Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, managed to get the International Olympic Committee to award the 2020 summer olympics to Japan, by stating falsely that the Fukushima clean up was under control. Much of the games are slated to take place in the Tokyo area, but the baseball and softball competitions are supposed to take place in the prefecture (like a U.S. state) of Fukushima. This is appalling, as the radiation levels at the reactors continue to spike, and there is no ability to have anything cleaned up by 2020. Former Prime Minister Koizumi, who has stated repeatedly his deep regret for promoting the nuclear program in Japan, has called Prime Minister Abe's assurances to the IOC a lie.

We are fortunate that Vermont Yankee is closed, and that we will not face a situation in our area that has caused permanent displacement of thousands of citizens, fear of long term disease, destruction of habitat, and financial ruin for so many. Vermont is currently dealing with the consequences of nuclear power- the toxic waste and the decommissioning.

The world cannot absorb another Fukushima-like disaster. We must stop this industry, and replace this power with the renewables that are safe, or at least far safer, cheaper, and will never, never poison an ocean or a country.

Nancy Braus,

Putney, Feb. 27


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