It started with spin, and now it’s ending with more of it. This first one is for real, by the way: the Fukushima Industries Corporation that has adopted an egg as its logo. FIC makes fridges, but is saddled with a name that means Global Obliteration to most people. Enter one attempt to repair some damage. Me, I’d have dropped the name Fukushima, but hope springs eternal in the PR breast, so an egg it is. The egg’s name is Fukuppy. Jolly and happy in Nipponese, less so in English.
If only this were a gag. Here’s a couple of gems from Fukuppy’s frank view on life in Fukushima, and what he can contribute to the Planet: “I love eating and I’m very curious. I think I’m kind and have a strong sense of justice….I patrol refrigerators, kitchens, and supermarket display cases with these wings I’m so proud of. I can talk to veggies, fruits, meat, and fish, so I can check on their health. Another important job is produce new things to make the people of the world happy.’
Meanwhile, beyond the fridge, measurements taken at 39 sporting venues earmarked to stage the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are showing elevated levels of radioactivity according to a citizen’s group, says the South China Morning Post in a piece that includes the following opinion:
“While the readings do not pose an immediate threat to human health, at 0.484 microsieverts per hour they are still significantly higher than the level of 0.23 microsieverts per hour set by the government as the standard for decontamination work going on in the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant.”
The Government response was to go la-la-la. Or more accurately, “Rah-rah-rah, ret’s hear it for the ladioactivity!”
The second spin exhibit shows that debunking of the danger is still coming up on the rails, however. An outfit called CFACT declares:
“Nuclear physicist and CFACT adviser Dr. Kelvin Kemm explains that the fear and hype over Japan’s Fukushima plant is not justified by the facts or science. Free people need affordable, reliable energy and nuclear is one of the very best ways to provide it. As Dr. Kemm puts it, Fukushima proved that a nuclear plant can handle nature’s most devastating punch. The Japan tsunami was a nightmare, but when the hard facts are examined without bias, it provides powerful evidence FOR nuclear power. We need to educate the public and our policy makers. Energy is vital. Anti-nuclear hype is irresponsible.”
Dr Kemm’s piece is worth a read, but this CFACT spin is pretty reprehensible in my estimation. The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) is a right-wing Washington think-tank which has, since 1985, held the view among others (and I quote) “mankind faces a threat not from man-made global warming, but from man-made hysteria.” I have more than a little sympathy with that viewpoint, but less with CFACT President David Rothbard’s assertion that “the power of the free market, combined with the applications of safe technologies, can offer humanity practical solutions to many of the world’s pressing concerns.”
I’m all for safe technologies, but not for the free market….which is really what these guys represent. Basically they are lobbyists on behalf of technology, and while their mantra “Just the facts” sounds spot on to me, there are certain facts they don’t talk about in relation to Fukushima. Saying that “Fukushima proved that a nuclear plant can handle nature’s most devastating punch….it provides powerful evidence FOR nuclear power” is, for instance, complete bollocks.
The under-speccing of the plant by General Electric (which caused design-team resignations at the time) and the smug, mendacious incompetence of TEPCO are – along with a wave that clearly the plant couldn’t withstand – do suggest that a nasty combo of free-market corner-cutting spin and nature large in wave and thunderbolt do not contribute to ‘safe technology’.
When it comes to power generation, the goal should be to do research to make it safer, cleaner, cheaper and infinite. As long as there are oil, Olympics hosts and nuclear lobbies to lie their heads off about it, that research won’t get done. But until it is, we need a far, far stricter regulatory code…and pretty obviously, a switch to Thorium because it is safer, cheaper, and more efficient than uranium.
Uranium is good if you want to bomb the sh*t out of your enemies and irradiate the entire planet. But as one scientific source rather understatedly suggests, ‘Concerns over the destructive potential of nuclear weapons counterbalance the desirable qualities of fission as an energy source.’ Er, yes.
Sorry, but the human race is more important than growing wealth. Even if it does suffer from Permanent Moral Hazard Syndrome.