I have been rendered speechless. For weeks. I have been "tharn" on the railroad tracks of life while this runaway freight train barrels down on all of us. The strange thing, however, is that I am among very few who seem fettered by this catastrophe. I am not speaking of those who live near the site of the quake, tsunami, and crippled nuclear plant. THEY are plenty shackled, and I pray for them all, every day. I want to scoop up every one of them and move them to a place of safety. My heart breaks for the lives already lost, and for those who lost loved ones. My heart breaks again for the workers enduring horrible conditions and all manner of radiation and toxic exposure to attempt to avert further crisis.
I have been astonished into inertia. I am trying to sort out the thoughts clamoring in my mind, and to rouse any kind of rational thought from those around me. I am amazed that there is no real discourse going on in my community about the catastrophe still unfurling in Japan, or about the real risks and dangers of continuing to use nuclear power anywhere on the planet. I am dumbfounded that most people with whom I speak STILL SUPPORT THE USE OF NUCLEAR POWER.
We don't need nuclear power. In the U.S. right now, only 20% of our power use is derived from nuclear power. Yet we have 104 power plants! In my opinion, it is about the furthest from "green" power we can get because there is no safe place to store the waste. I love this quote: "radioactive waste shipped off‑site to an appropriate disposal site" ...for long-term storage. And the radioactive waste just lasts, and lasts, and lasts, so much longer than the Duracell bunny (he doesn't last for thousands of years). I hear it said that "a nuclear disaster can't happen in the U.S." Really? They must mean "again." Or perhaps they forgot about Three Mile Island?
I have seen THREE nuclear disasters in my lifetime. That is THREE too many. Wild boar in Germany cannot be eaten because they still carry high levels of caesium-137 from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Twenty-five years after the last nuclear disaster, food, animals, and people are still suffering consequences. Many people have died and many have health issues and various cancers. For what? For electricity. For money? For greed? What other reasons would there be to continue to use such a power source? A power source that kills not just one person when an accident occurs, but potentially thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions? It may take years, but does that lessen the impact of cause and effect? I don't think so.
The ground water and food in the direct vicinity of the Fukushima plant is unfit for human consumption, and is getting worse. Beef there has tested positive for radiation contamination. There is fallout from Japan drifting across the Northern Hemisphere. It has been detected in milk in Washington, the air in California, Oregon and other states, and in rain in Maryland and other states.
Don't worry, however, because the levels aren't "out of the ordinary." Really? I think it IS out of the ordinary when it shouldn't be there at all. It is a senseless accident resulting from our egotistical and senseless use of a power source that can easily get out of our control and wreak havoc on innocent lives. Lives, like mine, who did not ask for nuclear means to be used to generate power.
Last time I checked, there were things like water, wind, and sun to convert to our power uses. I was asked if I would be willing to live in a mud hut and give up most power use since not using nuclear power would mean less power availability (because apparently the person with whom I was speaking hadn't heard of water, wind, and solar power). My answer is a resounding yes (though as mentioned, there are other power sources, so I don't think it would be necessary).
If you had to choose to eat, drink, and absorb nuclear fallout to keep your gadgets, or to live simply, BUT WITH HEALTH AND A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT free of fallout and nuclear waste, which would you choose?
Are there no people of reason left in the world? I call for a complete shut-down of all nuclear power NOW. Nevermind that radioactive material in your food, milk, and water. It isn't enough to hurt you.