Monday, April 11, 2011

Nuclear Lessons Learned from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl

As details come out on the Japanese nuclear power plant crisis, there's bound to be comparisons to three horrific incidents. Two of these being the atomic bomb attacks by the US in 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the other being the nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, that the Soviet government attempted to cover up.

This from Greenwire: "The collected medical histories from the survivors of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki have never been more visible, as another radiation crisis has gripped Japan. With few exceptions, each invocation of the possible cancer risk -- or lack of risk -- poised by the failed reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has its origins in the lives of atomic bomb survivors."

This as a letter to the editor from attorney Raffaele Ferrante: "...nuclear power stations in general, when they stop working, require an infinite cooling of the radioactive materials, which, especially in the event of disasters, becomes very difficult to achieve, and which, for example, they are not managing to carry out in Japan. It is essentially an unequal struggle against heat. Heat which, if it sooner or later prevails against the emergency systems adopted to halt it, causes fusion, or, as at Chernobyl, explosion, but in the meantime -- until the final and perhaps unlikely cooling -- causes the release of radiation. A drama that cannot be resolved by covering the reactors with cement or anything else, because, at Chernobyl, it was possible precisely because the radioactive material had exploded, so all they covered was the debris of the explosion, which incidentally still continues to 'burn'. Here, however, this monstrous material, moreover in much greater quantities than Chernobyl, is still there, and should it explode or melt down, nothing would be able to contain it."

Perhaps the three damaged nuclear power plants in Japan -- Fukushima, Onagawa, and Higashidori -- have wreaked havoc on the population -- genetic mutation causing yet another wave of cancer for Japanese people. The Japanese government will have to do better than the Russians. Concealing damaging evidence makes it worse. Whatever must be done to resolve the crisis must be done. The future of nuclear power in Japan and in the western world, where it commonly serves as an electric power station energy source, must be examined carefully for public and environmental health and safety.

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