Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The international community must intervene – in Japan -

Once again, a local problem is becoming a global crisis. Just as California was the epicenter of the subprime mortgage crisis that shook the world, so too the nuclear waste leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the wake of the earthquake are posing a threat to others far beyond Japan’s borders.

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And just as the international community had to come together to stem the financial meltdown from contaminating the entire world economy, it must now intervene in Japan to prevent radiation from poisoning the planet.

The situation is serious. If the spent fuel pools storing irradiated fuels from the reactors in Fukushima give way as a result of a new aftershock or by overheating, huge quantities of radioactive material – either as a liquid or gas flowing into the sea, air, or subsoil – will be released. In the case of the containment vessel of the third reactor, considerable quantities of plutonium might escape. In this event, parts of Japan will become largely uninhabitable, and radiation will spread out across the globe through the food chain or carried by the wind and sea currents.

Japan's missteps and coverup

Like the American financial institutions that spawned the subprime mortgage crisis, Japan’s nuclear crisis is largely the result of forsaking prudence for profits. Knowing better, the Fukushima plant was nonetheless built on an earthquake fault on the seacoast vulnerable to tsunamis. Worse, six plants were bundled together like toxic mortgages, inviting disastrous contagion, sidestepping safety regulations.

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