Uniting to Build a National Networked Culture of Resistance
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Two weeks ago we began to look very closely at what is happening at Fukushima and produced an article that tells you what you need to know about this three-part nuclear crisis. In it we urge a global solution to this global threat. If you agree, take action by signing this petition.
We will describe further what is happening at Fukushima, what needs to be done and how that relates to the broader struggle; but first, here are a number of important news items from the past week:
- Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a report on drones that questions their use against civilians as equivalent to war crimes, CODEPINK exposed that the fund for drone victims is going to US NGOs instead and a former official stated that every drone strike creates 40 new enemies.
- The UN torture investigator wants to visit hunger striking prisoners in Pelican Bay and is meeting with their families.
- Recent successes include Denver activists who pressured the ritzy Palm Restaurant to drop its support for an urban camping ban that is hurting the homeless and Occupy court victories against the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge.
- NSA spying on US allies around the world was exposed as well as how government corruption (donations) leads to bipartisan support for spying and a report that NSA spying has not thwarted terrorism.
- Bankers, both Bank of American and JPMorgan, are finally being held (a little) accountable.
These are a few examples of many activities in the movement this week that you can see on Popular Resistance (and receive in your mail every morning in our daily digest).
But, the crisis at Fukushima has our attention. The disaster at Fukushima created three challenges to which there are no easy solutions, and which have never occurred before:
(1) Three nuclear reactor cores melted down and no one knows where they are, but they are still creating heat and TEPCO is pouring water where they think they are to cool them;
(2) TEPCO finally admitted 300 tons of radioactive water has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean daily for 2.5 years with no end in sight. The water problem could easily get much worse. The fresh water supply for much of Japan could be poisoned through underground water tables and the 1,000 storage containers holding 330,000 tons of toxic water, some of which are leaking, could break and add to the poisoning of the Pacific; and
(3) The 11,000 spent fuel rods, considered to be the most dangerous things ever created by humans, must be secured. There is a particular focus on the 1,533 rods that are stored 100 feet above ground in the Reactor 4 building that is buckling and sagging. These rods can ignite into a radioactive storm if they break, touch each other or are not kept cool and are exposed to air.
The corporation responsible for this mess, TEPCO, has a terrible history of lying to the public about both the risks and what has occurred, treating their employees poorly and cutting corners. What are the risks? They are massive, really cataclysmic; they could easily affect millions, perhaps even billions of people. For example, just the 1,533 spent fuel rods in Reactor 4 contain 14,000 times more radiation than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. If they combust into a nuclear fire, the radiation cloud created will repeatedly circle the globe. And, if the water leaks affect the major aquifer, it could mean that Tokyo, a city of 40 million, would need to be evacuated.