July 14, 2013
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- CA)
Senator Ron Wyden (D- OR) Senator Jeff Merkley (D- OR)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D – WA) Senator Patty Murray (D- WA)
Senator Mark Begich (D- AK) Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- AK)
Senator Mazie Hirono (D- HI) Senator Brian Schatz (D- HI
US Senate switchboard:
Dear West Coast Senators:
We the undersigned are deeply concerned about the radiation danger from the ongoing disaster at the Japanese nuclear complex at Fukushima-Daiichi. We are asking you to conduct a thorough investigation of the continuing damage to West Coast states, and the potential danger of another catastrophe.
This would include a detailed inspection of the facility by a team of experts who are independent of the nuclear industry, as well as ongoing monitoring of West Coast and Hawaii water, air and food for radiation. We are especially concerned about making sure the site is safe in case of another huge earthquake, which is not unlikely.
Another big concern is pollution of the Pacific Ocean from ongoing discharge of radioactive water from the plant. Already, radioactive fish are migrating to the West Coast. Mammals at the top of the oceanic food chain are exhibiting strange symptoms, such as the epidemic of sea lion strandings in California.
We appreciate Senator Wyden’s visit to the site in April 2012, and his subsequent letter of concern to appropriate officials. Evidently there has been no followup. The danger is being ignored. Your investigation would bring much needed attention.
Although the initial meltdown of three reactors, from the earthquake/tsunami of March 11, 2011, occurred over 2 years ago, the complex is still highly unstable, and leaking radiation constantly into the air and water. The Pacific Ocean is more and more contaminated. West Coast marine mammals are dying by the thousands, and West Coast babies are sick. The FDA is not testing food for radiation, although many fish are contaminated, and there have been reports of milk, mushrooms, seaweed being radioactive. Nor is the air along the coast being checked by official agencies.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the facility, has admitted that the disaster was caused by negligence on their part, yet they continue to be in charge of the containment/cleanup process. There are serious mishaps almost daily: pipes break, rats chew through wires and cause power outages, pumps break, containment tanks leak radioactive water into the environment, huge beams fall into fuel pools, etc.
So far, they have been handled, but if any of these problems gets out of control, there will be another nuclear explosion, the facility will have to be abandoned altogether, and the reactor cores and spent fuel pools will emit so much radiation that the West Coast might have to be evacuated. Another 8.0-9.0 earthquake could have the same result, and there are many earthquakes in the region of magnitude 6.0 -7.0.
Meanwhile, TEPCO is secretive, severely limiting access to the complex by journalists and by any experts who are not beholden to the nuclear industry. TEPCO has been accused of doctoring photos and videos to hide cracks in the aging concrete buildings and containment tanks. The workers are overexposed to radiation, underpaid, and must be rotated out after a few months, to be replaced by others with little experience of the facility.
The Japanese government has been accused of lying about the radiation in the area and health problems, and seems more concerned with declaring “normalcy” and safeguarding the nuclear industry than with safeguarding the health and safety of the people.
The financial drain on TEPCO and the Japanese is huge. They are responding to emergencies, dealing with health problems, coping with radioactive fisheries and produce, compensating victims, and working on the daunting task of dismantling the spent fuel pools, which are the most vulnerable to radioactive fire and explosions.
This is an international problem. Many say it is THE most dangerous situation on the planet at this time. It especially affects the residents of West Coast states. Your investigation is urgently needed, to shed light, bring attention, and help find technical and financial solutions.