Saturday, March 19, 2011

you made the rain black and shoved your values down our throat...,

Video - You made the rain black, and shoved your values down our throat.

Yale | The chaotic events unfolding at the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi reactors along Japan’s northeast coast have inspired intense new scrutiny of the country’s nuclear policies. While Japan excels in some anti-pollution measures, the lack of a vigorously independent press and a strong judiciary has enabled Japanese industry to resist legislation to safeguard the environment and human health. The nuclear power industry, a powerful player in Japan’s politically dominant construction industry, has pressed ahead with its plans — endorsed in 2006 by the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry’s “New National Energy Policy” — to mold the country into a “nuclear state.” In addition to 54 existing nuclear power plants that until last week supplied 30 percent of the country’s electricity, a dozen new nuclear plants are planned or under construction.

One in particular has exposed a deep public divide. The proposed Kaminoseki nuclear plant is to be built on landfill in a national park in the country’s well-known Inland Sea, hailed as Japan’s Galapagos. For three decades, local residents, fishermen, and environmental activists have opposed the plant, saying it should not be built in the picturesque sea, with its rich marine life and fishing culture dating back millennia. The Inland Sea has also been the site of intense seismic activity, including the epicenter of the 1995 Kobe earthquake that killed 6,400 people.

But in a sign of the immense clout of the nuclear power industry, a utility has barreled ahead with plans to build the Kaminoseki plant, despite what may be the most intense opposition yet to a Japanese nuclear project. In 2009, the utility began clearing forests for the project — located just 50 miles from Hiroshima — and reclaiming land from the sea. Nothing, not even intensifying protests, seemed able to stop the plant’s construction — until, that is, last week’s earthquake and tsunami set off the crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. Now, for the time being at least, work has halted on the Kaminoseki project.

“We have to stop it,” Masae Yuasa, a professor of International Studies at Hiroshima City University and a leading opponent of the plant, told me when I visited Japan last fall. In words that have a chilling resonance now, she continued, “Once an accident happens, there is no border. I want to be more polite, but we have to stop it. I am a person from Hiroshima. I cannot be quiet about it.”

Video - Fallout came in the form of thick black rain.


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