What is happening right now in Fukushima, Japan with three of the five nuclear reactors being at risk brings up a feeling of helplessness that goes back as far as I can remember.
1976 in Greifswald, East Germany a radioactive core of reactor in the Lubmin nuclear plant nearly melted. In 1979 at Three Mile Island a reactor lost its coolant, causing overheating and partial meltdown of the uranium core releasing radioactive water and gasses. The Chernobyl, Ukraine explosion in 1986, created a fire in the graphite core, which released radioactive material that spread over the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Now, in Fukushima, Japan, the water supply may be threatened, or the radiation will blow out into the ocean. When will we wake up and stop messing around with nuclear war and nuclear power?
When I was five in 1951, during the Cold War, my best friend’s family had a bomb shelter that we would sometimes sneak into to play. I remember thinking how stupid adults were. I could see the fallout from the radioactive mushroom cloud of bombs, falling on the earth, covering the plants, getting into the water, and seeping into the soil. I knew that hiding for a few days was not going to solve the problem of what was happening to the earth. No one was talking about how to clean up this fallout.
Our family’s dinner conversations turned towards bombs quite frequently. One night at dinner I piped up and said, “Who will clean up the mess?” I was promptly sent to my room – the only time in my life that I was ever sent to my room.
Thirty years later, my father was called out of retirement to the Pentagon. He was the only civilian at a meeting about how to store nuclear waste. The nuclear waste from plutonium used for weapons and nuclear reactors has a ½ life of 24,000 years. There is nothing safe about nuclear energy. When will we wake up and stop believing the officials who want to build nuclear reactors?
Once again, I feel like a small, unheard voice amongst the voices of the powers at large. These powers reassure us that everything is fine and under control, when deep in my guts I know differently.