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Monday, Apr. 11, 2011 at 9:04 AM
The NYT published an "atomic bomb" of an article about the corrupt system of nuclear power plant operations. This needs to go viral. We must resist and stop unsafe nuclear power.
Hiroko Tabuchi of the New York Times has published a scandalous story of dangerous conditions, labor abuses, and fraud at the Fukushima nuclear power plants.
The article paints a grim picture of a system that is inherently unsafe, and relies on untrained day laborers to do the most dangerous "dirty work" at the plants. Workers are forced to lie to government inspectors.
The media are denied access to the people working in the cleanup of the nuclear accident.
The article has not "gone viral" and needs to. Please forward the link.
Below, I engage in some speculative "reading between the lines" to try and flesh out the hidden story behind the reported story. So please read this with skepticism - but be open to the possibility that reality is worse than what the news reports.
And as bad as this sounds - remember that it could happen here. We also have nuclear power plants, a decline in union and enviro power, a thirst for cheap electricity, and organized crime.
Illusions of safety are granted by the radiation meters called dosimeters. After the nuclear disaster, the safety standards were changed to allow more than twice the previously allowed dosage of radiation, or higher.
Normal dosages are 50 millisieverts. During an emergency, this limit is raised to 100. During this specific disaster, it has been raised to 250.
In the article, it is noted that workers are already suffering cancers attributed to their exposure to radiation, at the previous levels. So with a higer dose, there will be more deaths.
The exposure level has been raised to make it possible for fewer people to be hired, and thus, killed. It's probable that radiation levels are so high that it's not possible to do work at the lower exposure level. Yet, the work to prevent further meltdown must go on, and the workers are going to pay the ultimate price for the conveniences of electricity.
Wikileaks recently published research about how organized crime families in Italy do subcontracting work. They do shoddy or incomplete, unsafe work, and pocket the profit. They dump illegally, or produce fraudlent goods, and pocket the profit.
It appears that a similar situation can happen in Japan, with an alliance between the electric company Tepco, the government, and yakuza (Japanese organized crime gangs), According to the Tabuchi article, some workers "are hired by local gangsters, according to a number of workers who did not want to give their names."
Additionally, a priest and day worker union activist, Tetsuen Nakajima said:
"The union, he said, made 19 demands of plant operators, including urging operators not to forge radiation exposure records and not to force workers to lie to government inspectors about safety procedures. Although more than 180 workers belonged to the union at its peak, its leaders were soon visited by thugs who kicked down their doors and threatened to harm their families, he said."
“They were not allowed to speak up,” Mr. Nakajima said. “Once you enter a nuclear power plant, everything’s a secret.”
The interests of the power companies and organized crime are aligned... against the interests of the local residents and environment. The economic conditions are present for more nuclear deaths.
The Doro-Chiba militant railway workers union reports in their latest communique that a ban has been imposed on information about the spread of fallout:
"Meanwhile, Meteorological Society of Japan shamelessly imposed a voluntary ban on its members to release the computer-prediction results of their study on the diffusion of radioactive substance in the air. For the reason it says, “It will cause confusion to the information concerning the countermeasures of our country”. What a fraud!"
For more news from the ground in Japan, read the Doro-Chiba Railway Union workers website. The real news is worse than what our media are telling us. Ignore the "cute" and poignant stories about Japanese resilience and politeness -- they only play to our racism -- protesters against the fraud are being jailed, and information is being suppressed about one of the largest nuclear disasters in history.
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||Monday, Apr. 11, 2011 at 9:21 AM
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