November 7, 2013
The stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima in northern Japan is in such a delicate condition that a future earthquake could trigger a disaster that would decimate Japan and affect the entire West Coast of North America, a prominent scientist has warned.
Speaking at a symposium on water ecology at the University of Alberta in Canada, prominent Japanese-Canadian scientist David Suzuki said that the Japanese government had been “lying through its teeth” about the true extent of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
He attributed the cover-up to the Japanese government’s collusion with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that administers the plant.
“Fukushima is the most terrifying situation that I can imagine,” Suzuki said, adding that another earthquake could trigger a potentially catastrophic, nuclear disaster.
“The fourth [reactor] has been so badly damaged that the fear is if there’s another earthquake of a 7 or above then that building will go and all hell breaks loose,” he said, adding that the chances of an earthquake measuring 7 or above in Japan over the next three years were over 95 percent.
“If the fourth [reactor] goes under an earthquake and those rods are exposed, then it’s bye, bye, Japan and everybody on the west coast of North America should be evacuated. And if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is,” Suzuki said.
Addressing the Japanese government’s attempts to bring the crisis under control, Suzuki said the scientists charged with the plant’s safety “don’t know what to do.”
“The thing we need is to let a group of international experts go in with complete freedom to do what they suggest,” Suzuki said, adding that the only thing impeding this was the “pride” of the Japanese government that was refusing to admit this was necessary.
Suzuki referred to the current scheme of freezing the soil around the reactor to prevent radioactive leaks as “cockamany.”
TEPCO has accepted the US government’s help in undertaking the risky cleanup operation of the Fukushima site. Teams of experts will begin the removal of fuel rods from the fourth reactor in mid-November in a decommissioning process that is likely to take decades. One wrong move in the delicate operation could result in horrific quantities of radiation being released into the atmosphere or trigger a massive explosion.
Dr Helen Caldicott described the risks of removing the rods to RT as “terribly serious” because of the danger of releasing a large amount of radiation.
“Two rods could touch each other in this process which has been done before and there could be a fission reaction and a very large release of radiation.”
Suzuki, a prominent environmental campaigner and scientist from the University of British Columbia, whose television science programs and books have gained a wide international audience, has been very vocal in his criticisms of Japan in its handling of the disaster.
Despite his prominence in Canada, Suzuki has been criticized in the past by the media for double standards and his credentials as a scientist have been queried. While his television programs encourage society to consume less fossil fuel and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, Suzuki reportedly lives in one of Vancouver’s most exclusive areas and has faced criticism over his globetrotting airplane travel.
However, with regard to the current situation at Fukushima, a number of scientists have echoed Suzuki’s concerns. Nuclear technology historian Robert Jacobs told RT that there could easily be more destruction at the plant’s fourth reactor.
“If this building were to collapse, which could happen, it would spill these spent nuclear fuel rods all over the ground which would make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics impossible and could threaten all kinds of health problems throughout northern Japan and Tokyo itself,” Jacobs said.