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WNN – Radio On Air

Stop Nuclear Power Plants rally in Japan

In a show of continued public concern, thousands of people show up for the Stop Nuclear Power Plants rally in Tokyo, Japan’s Meiji Shrine garden on September 19, 2011. Image: 保守

(WNN) San Fransisco, California, UNITED STATES, AMERICAS: Award-winning fiction author Cecile Pineda, now in her 80s, has produced a nonfiction book about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, what it means and how we must deal with it. In this recent radio show from WINGS – Women’s International News Gathering Service host Kellia Ramares-Watson talks with Pineda about her book, carbon footprints and humanity’s struggle with nuclear catastrophe after Fukishima.

Pineda is the author of the famous and award-winning 1985 book “Face,” about a man with a face scared beyond recognition falls between the cracks in Brazil’s medical system as he commits to doing his own facial surgery, as well as “The Love Queen of the Amazon,” cited by the New York Times in 1991 as the most “notable book of the year.” In her latest book, “Devil’s Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step,” Pineda brings investigative journalism and intricate detail to the topic of group catastrophe, humanity and our planet’s safety.

Tracing the worsening developments at Fukushima Daiichi during the first year following the nuclear disaster Pineda chronicled the dramatic events and Japan’s disregard for public safety as catastrophic consequences for the planet are explored. As a teacher of writing and producer of local avant-garde theatre in San Francisco, California Pineda wraps her skill to portray humanity in the important issues surrounding her book.

LISTEN TO THIS RADIO SHOW NOW:

WINGS – Women’s International News Gathering Service

Host/Producer: Kellia Ramares-Watson

Featured guest:  Author Cecile Pineda

Series Producer:  Kellia Ramares-Watson; Frieda Werden / WINGS

Original Recording Date: 2 June, 2013

Length: 28:48

BACKGROUND:

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on the coast of northern Japan came after a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. It is considered to day to be the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and only the second disaster (along with Chernobyl) to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Maintained by TEPCO – Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant comprised six separate boiling water reactors originally designed by GE – General Electric. At the exact time of the quake, reactor 4 in the plant had been de-fueled and reactors 5 and 6 were in cold shutdown for planned maintenance.

Immediately after the earthquake, the remaining reactors 1–3 shut down automatically as emergency generators came online to power electronics and coolant systems. However in the following intensified catastrophe, a tsunami followed the earthquake quickly flooding the low-lying rooms in which the emergency generators were housed. As water began to break into the plant generators failed. Due to cut power and an operational shut down to the critical pumps, that worked to circulate coolant water through a Generation II reactor, the reactor began melting down due to high radioactive decay heat produced in the first few days after the nuclear reactor shutdown.

As the water boiled away in the reactors and the water level in the fuel rod pools dropped, the reactor fuel rods began to overheat severely and melt down. In the hours and days that followed, reactors 1, 2, and 3 experienced full nuclear meltdown as Japanese workers faced high levels of releases of radiation and heat as they worked to stop what was inevitably impossible to fix.

The high heat and pressure inside the reactors produced hydrogen explosions as tsunami water entered the plant causing workers to be trapped resulting in death, injury, drowning and extensive radiation exposure.

While public predicted future cancer deaths due to radiation exposures over time from the plant reactor melt-downs, researchers have now emphasized that the uncertainties in the calculations are high.

On 16 December 2011, Japanese authorities declared the plant to be stable, although it would take decades to decontaminate the surrounding areas and to decommission the plant altogether. The release of radioactive metals from the Fukushima has occurred due to the break in containment vessels as the result of deliberate venting to reduce gaseous pressure at the plant; a deliberate discharge of coolant water into the sea; and accidental or uncontrolled events.

Public and global government concerns over the possibility of a large scale release of radioactivity resulted in 12 mile (20 km) exclusion zone being set up around the power plant as people within the 20–30 km zone were advised to stay indoors. Later, the UK, France and some other countries told their nationals to consider leaving Tokyo, in response to fears of spreading radioactive contamination.

According to scientific experts, the Fukushima accident has led to the release of trace amounts of radiation, including iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137, being observed around the world (New York State, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, California, Montreal, and Austria).

Radioactive isotopes have also been released into the Pacific Ocean.

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For more information on this topic see WNN’s article: Nuclear radiation exposure concerns mount for mothers Japan

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