Richard Wilcox, PhD
History is indeed little more than the register of crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. – Gibbon
In my article “Scandal-Ridden Japan” (1) I discussed the difficulty of decommissioning the fatally damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant #1 (FNPP#1). To give credit to Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company), most of the fuel rods which were an extreme danger at unit 4 have been removed and the rest will be placed in dry cask storage by end of year. But that was easy pickins compared to the entire process of “cleaning up” (with scrub-brush, mop, bucket, soap and water and a little elbow grease) three wrecked nuclear reactors which it is admitted will take at least 40 years.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and took quite awhile to fall.
Or, what we are witnessing is an experiment carried out by Mad Scientists (MDs) to further “R&D” and “help make the world a better place.” Recall the slogan from DuPont corporation: “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry.” DuPont was one of the robber baron corporations of its day and displaced the ecologically-friendly hemp industry in order to turn a profit through dependence on plastics (2).
The oceans are now full of plastic debris which is choking the sea life.
At Fukushima the powers-that-be are using low paid workers as debt-slave/cannon-fodder/lab-rats while pilfering the public purse, and if some worthwhile research comes of it, let alone the actual completion of the task, all the better. Forty years is a nice, round number and those that concocted it will no longer be around to take responsibility for the malfeasance if things turn out differently.
In the UK they admit it will take 90 years to “clear up completely” the oldest nuclear power station that ran for 44 years (3). That reactor did not even blow sky-high. When Fukushima Unit 3 blew up – a possible nuclear criticality event – it looked like a mushroom cloud and spread its plutonium laced MOX fuel as far away as Lithuania (4).
Meanwhile the will of the people is blatantly disregarded by the Nuclear Cartel that essentially runs the country through their minions in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP):
The government’s compilation of its basic energy plan ignored an overwhelming call from the public to move away from nuclear energy, according to an analysis by The Asahi Shimbun. More than 90 percent of the comments submitted to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in response to the government’s proposed plan were against nuclear power… Yet nuclear energy was described as an ‘important base-load electricity source’ in the plan approved by the Abe Cabinet in April 8  (5).
The liberal LDP, which is willing to discard traditional values if there is a buck for them and their cronies to be made; but are actually anti-democratic/anti-constitutional as witnessed by Abe’s go-round of parliamentary processes (Ala., Obama’s Executive Orders), is increasingly the Big Business party and not the party of the people. They sanction exploitation of foreign workers in “a system of human trafficking [and] forced labor,” in order to rescue Japan’s ailing economy (6; 7).
The decision by the Abe administration to ignore public opinion is understandable from the point of view of modern democracy theory: elitist oligarchs are the real power brokers and the public are a bunch of grass chewing sheep. It is true that people are easily distracted– they would rather play mindless games on their smart phones than consider dullsville “national energy policy” topics (8).
Thanks goes to my colleague Tony Boys for providing important information about Tepco’s ice wall project. The ice wall is meant to surround the FNPP#1 and block radiation from leaking into the ocean. Note that the site is built on low altitude, soft “fill” soil directly next to the ocean, and directly over an underground river/aquifer that is ultimately connected to the Tokyo drinking water supply. The danger to public health and the environment from the massive and ongoing discharges of radiation from FNPP#1 are obvious.
I recommend reading this brief but informative article on the ice wall debacle:
(September/October 2014 issue of “Nuke Info Tokyo No. 162.” Pgs. 8 – 9, “Contaminated Water Woes at Fukushima Daiichi: Is Seepage Control Possible Using a ‘Frozen Earth Barrier’ ?”) (9).
* (Boys has been a translator for many years for the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center’s “Nuke Info Tokyo” newsletter. CNIC is the leading nongovernmental organization in Japan that has documented the anti-nuclear movement and monitored government and industry malfeasance relating to nuclear power. Many years ago another translator for CNIC, Rick Davis, then editor of the “Japan Environment Monitor” newsletter told me that without the anti-nuclear movement which included organizations like CNIC, today, Japan would have twice as many reactors than the fifty ticking-time bombs it is now burdened with.)
Another Fine Mess
The author of the CNIC report on contaminated water, Nobuko Tanimura, makes these points:
* Tepco’s “underground water bypass system” is preventing only between 1 – 10 percent of the underground water from entering and becoming contaminated at the reactor site. In other words, the effort is highly ineffective (picture Laurel and Hardy wearing rubber boots and tripping over each other while swishing mops in the air).
* The contaminated water that is being captured will soon amount to one million tons being stored in above ground tanks at the Fukushima site.
* Because of the near non-viability of this approach, the “Frozen Earth Barrier” was conceived and implemented. This is a complicated engineering task that is still under construction and has encountered many technical problems.
While extolling the superiority of the frozen earth barrier, METI sources state, ‘These efforts to surround the buildings on the inland side over a long period with an impervious barrier using the frozen earth method are a challenge with no precedent anywhere in the world, and involve many technological problems. This should therefore not be left to the company alone, but the government should take the initiative, consider aiding R&D, including that of other means of control, and support its actualization.’ This indicates active support from the government.
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The government is justifying financial aid to TEPCO using the pretext of a need to support R&D because frozen earth barriers constitute an incomplete technology. If the company had chosen a proven method, there would have been no pretext for financial assistance. Could this have been the decisive reason for their choice of the unproven frozen earth barrier method?
The government is bearing the 32 billion yen [over 320 million dollars] cost of the frozen earth barrier as the showpiece of its water contamination countermeasures. To invest lots of tax money and energy in an ineffective enterprise, while pointlessly increasing workers’ exposure to radioactivity, is unforgivable (Ibid).
The ice wall was chosen for shady scientific reasons and quite likely because Tepco could get further bail out money from the taxpayer. The contradictory logic of Tepco, on the one hand to say the ice wall is the best solution, while on the other that it is a less-than-proven-experiment is illogical and dishonest.
Tepco was warned by other experts about the potential failure of the project when it was initiated in June, 2014 (10). Why not implement the simplest, cheapest, most effective idea to begin with, and in the meantime carry out experiments with the ice wall to see if it could work or be made to work? Tepco prefers an ad hoc, willy nilly approach rather than a rigorous scientific one that would look at the problem from every angle.
This evidence, in conjunction with the Japanese nuclear industry’s long history of malfeasance (documented by CNIC) undermines Tepco’s methodological credibility. Tepco displays a lack of transparency and honesty throughout their history of mismanaging the contaminated water crisis. Of course, engineers and technocrats can have difficulty effectively communicating to the general public, not an easy task due to the complexity of the topic in relation to a scientifically dumbed down populace. They prefer to hide behind technical jargon rather than forthrightly explain the issues.
The Old “They Knew It Wouldn’t Work” Strategy
As contaminated water continues to pour into the ocean Tepco offers gimmick solutions which seem futile (11). Incredibly, Tepco’s convoluted approach reveals they carried out work projects on a contaminated water trench next to a reactor that “they knew wouldn’t work” but did it anyhow! Who knows why, maybe they needed to look busy or make sure taxpayer subsidies kept flowing, until they actually figured out what to do. By pouring “hydro-cement” into the contaminated trench Tepco admits it will “result in considerable worker exposures” to radiation. As one commentator notes, the concrete “could have new consequences if it forces this flow of highly contaminated water to take a different route rather than stopping it from flowing” (12). More guess work and shoddy science from Tepco.
Vice As Nice
Here is another example of the way in which alternative energy is being suppressed by the Nuclear Cartel and the Abe administration (13). While this Japanese press article, “A losing bet on green energy” tends to support the notion that the Japanese electricity grid can’t handle alternative energy because it is “too expensive,” if you think about it such a thesis is just plain nonsensical, Orwellian Nuclear DoubleSpeak. Big Oil & Big Nuclear always whine and whimper that alternative energy is “too expensive,” because they never internalize the costs of the highly destructive wars, ecological disasters and pollution they cause in their product pricing. The real problem is that abundant solar energy that is already available and is simply not being accommodated for by the utility companies (like Tepco) because they don’t want to abandon their vice-grip control over energy profits.
* Post script: The Iraq war was not a “war for oil” as many on the Left have claimed, but was a war organized and implemented by the Zionist Neo-Cons on behalf of Israel. Surely oil and many other factors played a role in the war’s implementation but oil company executives were not the primary cheerleaders for the 2003 invasion, whereas the Israel Lobby was (see: James Petras: Zion-power and War: From Iraq to Iran, The Deadly Embrace).
Richard Wilcox is a a contributing editor and writer for the book: Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization? (2014) and a Tokyo-based teacher and writer who holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies. He is a regular contributor to the world’s leading website exposing the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rense.com., and a long-time contributor to Activist Post. His radio interviews and articles are archived at http://wilcoxrb99.wordpress.com and he can be reached at [email protected]
1. Scandal-Ridden Japan Descends Into Pit Of Moral Degeneracy And Radioactive Hell
2. The Hemp Conspiracy
3. Britain’s (and the world’s) oldest nuclear power station closes
4. LDP Government in Japan on Suicide Mission
5. Energy plan overlooked flat-out opposition to nuclear power, analysis shows
6. LDP led fundraising race in 2013 as industry chipped in 43% more http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/11/28/national/politics-diplomacy/ldp-led-fundraising-race-in-2013-as-industry-chipped-in-43-more/#.VHkra5Edvgo
7. Japan sanctioning mass ‘slave labor’ by duping foreign trainees, observers say http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/11/23/national/japan-sanctioning-mass-slave-labor-via-foreign-trainee-program/#.VHScSKWnB4M
8. Japan’s smartphone ‘zombies’ wreak havoc on the streets
9. Contaminated Water Woes at Fukushima Daiichi: Is Seepage Control Possible Using a “Frozen Earth Barrier”?
10. Experts Skeptical of TEPCO’s Ice Wall Plan
11. After failures, TEPCO to use special cement to prevent contaminated water leaks
12. TEPCO’s Trench Saga Could Have Unintended Consequences
13. A losing bet on green energy