Harvey Wasserman on Ongoing Crisis Tuesday,
19 November 2013 13:26 By Laura Flanders, Truthout | Q&A
The operators of Japan's devastated Fukushima nuclear plant have announced plans to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from the site, in an unprecedented operation that began Monday November 18. Nuclear researcher Harvey Wasserman believes that the highly risky procedure, in fact, the entire plant needs to be taken out of the hands of the operators- Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO).
In this interview with GRITtv, Wasserman explains how the fuel rods at Reactor Number Four have been stored since the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Fukushima Daiichi Plant in March of 2011. They can't heat up, be exposed to air or break without releasing deadly gas, but the cooling pool they've been resting in is leaky and potentially corroded by seawater and could never withstand another tremor or quake. The cooling pool is also 100 feet up.
"These rods have to be brought to the ground. It's never been done under these kinds of circumstances," says Wasserman. But as a 40-year activist in the field, Wasserman is especially concerned about the operators, TEPCO.
"I believe we got better information from the Soviet Union about Chernobyl than we're getting from TEPCO and the Japanese about Fukushima," he told GRITtv.
A petition with more than 150,000 signatures was delivered to the United Nations earlier this November, calling for the world to take action. But who? As he points out, the International Atomic Energy Agency" has a mandate to promote nuclear power."
What does all of this say about the prospect of safe nuclear power and the "new generation of plants" the Obama administration endorses? And what about the Tokyo Olympics? Wasserman's answers aren't reassuring.
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