Anti-nuclear manifestations in Tokyo against the catastrophe from Fukushima (2011)

Three years is a long time but it’s nothing in the history of nuclear accidents…

Sunday was the day when the Jepanese protested against the nuclear disaster from Fukushima, which happened three years ago. In this respect, tens of thousands of people participated in an anti-nuclear demonstration in Tokyo, as they approached the third commemoration of the Fukushima disaster, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. They tried everything to prevent the worst atomic Fukushima Daiichi plant, calling it ”The Absolute black” event.

496800b546c58f8fbab253d403c44b015f1f38e5The demonstrators gathered in Hibiya Park in the heart of the capital, close to the ministries and other government buildings, before walking to the Parliament. They criticized the nuclear industry and expressed their disagreement about this kind of energy prodution. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also harshly criticised on this occasion, as he advocated one year ago, in the period of his return to governance for the revival of the nuclear centrals in the archipelago, after the Government had adopted a precaution. He considers the nuclear energy indispensable, as the archipelago lacks from other important natural resources. ”Nuclear energy is a valuable resource base“, considers the Conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who emphasizes that one of his political and economic goals is to assure that safe reactors will be put into operation.
The protestants justified their worries starting from the well-known fact that there is enough, not saying too much, nuclear power in Japan. If it is to continue this policy of no-nuclear energy and if Japan Government makes efforts to promote renewable energy and invest in technologies with low consumption energy, it is possible to live without nuclear energy. The demonstration was accompanied by musicians who played using the electricity generated by large solar panels installed in the park, while dozens of traders were promoting manufactured products in the region of the disaster.

77f9fd00cd5d5c027cf08c61ec91f9cf0b564b4eAs a testimonial, Japonese people trying desperately to express their worries concerning environmental and human damaged caused by such a catastrophe, left behind them in the nuclear central a handful of notes scribbled on the walls, between levers, buttons and lights off. Dates and numbers written visibly represent footprints of these infernal first hours after the earthquake and tsunami that shook the site and plunged into darkness those who fought.

Some of the wounded and still alive victims of the disaster, were caught 24 hours on 24 per day between the fear to die and the terror of an unpredictable event yet under cover. They fought with the radiations, contaminated waters and blocks collapsed by the tremble of the ground, but had to retreat. What was happening in the reactor core, operators knew nothing. But one thing is evident: The guys who were there are no longer working at the plant. They received too much radiation“, said Kenichiro Matsui, an official of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

Always wearing a full mask, overalls, hat, headphones, three pairs of gloves, socks and much covered shoes straddle cables, pipes, through a narrow maze of stairs, the workers are still at risk from an eventual radiation, because yet, in the destroyed reactors, a phenomenal radioactivity still dictates the pace of life in Fukushima…Such is life in Fukushima Daiichi. Paradoxical: the very visible part of the site (cleaning of buildings) is under progress and a sense of chaos also reigns near contaminated water reservoirs. “The management of this water is still not satisfactory“, laments Dale Klein, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Authority and a member of a committee to monitor the crisis.

a631f74331b5220a34073adda8e7b8ba196cb68cThe good news is that generally, the process of recovering after the disaster could be described as “Four steps forward, two steps back”, due to the fact that each new water cleaning method used began to regain a little confidence. However, Tepco must do more and react faster to manage almost 450,000 tons of radioactive liquid accumulated in 1,200 tanks scattered around the site. To achieve this purpose, 3000-4000 workers are struggling every day in incredibly harsh conditions to clear the contaminated sites, install equipment, build an underground wall, remove the spent fuel storage pools, or simply sort the clothes, shoes, goggles and helmets. Crazy logistics, indeed, isn’t it?

Before proceeding to the end, I would like to remind you some important data about the nuclear catastrophe from Fukushima. Exactly three years ago, on the 11th of March, 2011, Japanese people endured one of the most destructive natural and man-made hazards in their history. Not only the nuclear accident put Japan on the ground, but also the undersea earthquake of 9 degrees intensity, which triggered from its side a huge tsunami, marked Japanese social and economic stability. The disaster killed 15,884 people and other 2,636 individuals were missing in that fulgurant period. Moreover, according to official police statistics, 1,656 people died from stress and health complications some days after the tragical event. The accident resulted in an unprecedented situation with four severely damaged reactors and the release of large amounts of radioactive elements in the air, soil and water of the region. Unfortunately, this titanic struggle to revive the remnants of what Fukushima used to be will take between 30 and 40 years to dismantle the four most damaged of the six remained reactors. partly invented reactors. 

As japan is dependent of the uranium imports, some other ways of energy production are also ecologically harmful. For example, thermal power plants produce greenhouse gas emissions, which prevents Japan to fulfill its international commitments, even if it promised to increase the share of renewable energy (solar and wind farms).

Suddenly, we find ourselves in front of a true, but painful fact: even if the Japonese government insisted on all the tones that are necessary to reduce from the nuclear share, Japan could not do without it on long term, if it wants to remain a major independent economic power and reign over the climate change issues.

References:

http://www.tv5.org/cms/chaine-francophone/info/p-1911-Japon-les-antinucleaires-manifestent-pour-les-3-ans-de-Fukushima.htm?&rub=20&xml=newsmlmmd.urn.newsml.afp.com.20140309.329851a2.6539.42c3.a100.6edb0389cd64.xml

http://www.tv5.org/cms/chaine-francophone/info/p-1911-Fukushima-3-ans-apres-le-pire-est-passe-mais-le-tunnel-est-encore-long.htm?&rub=20&xml=newsmlmmd.urn.newsml.afp.com.20140310.42d61f7e.1406.4232.8f34.9091ce0e2cae.xml

Despre autor
Studentă în anul II Master, specializarea Climatologie și Resurse de Apă, Facultatea de Geografie, Universitatea din București
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