Three years have gone since the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant on 11th March 2011. Yet, the problems are very far from been solved and the neighborhoods are still bearing the scars of the earthquake and tsunami.
Decontamination work is making extremely small progress, if any at all.
Significant amounts of water, about 350 m3 per day, have still to be injected into the three reactor buildings in order to cool the molten cores. This water is contaminated by the damaged fuel and, since the containment buildings are fractured, leaks into the basements. Under the nuclear site runs an underground river that originally had been deviated from the building infrastructure. However, that engineered deviation was destroyed by the earthquake and since then an estimated 400 m3 per day push into the basements and mix with the highly radioactive water from the core cooling. Huge, constantly increasing quantities of highly radioactive water and contaminated wastes need to be stored, treated and disposed of. However, their management appears to be improvised, following short-term considerations without long-term concepts. Radioactivity continues to be released into the environment, mainly into the groundwater and into the ocean. This has had huge impacts on local foodstuff as well as on the economic activities of the local fishermen. The catastrophe has also had huge impacts on the inhabitants of Fukushima, particularly the children, who are now slowly felling the effects on their health.
However – despite the Fukushima catastrophe and the evident proof that the impacts of nuclear accidents are incredibly huge and far too expensive to justify the use of this energy source – the new Japanese government refuses to put an end to it. Early March it unveiled its first draft energy policy, saying that nuclear power will remain an important source of electricity for the country…
The world must learn lessons from the Fukushima catastrophe and turn its back to this dangerous and expensive energy source.
At the end of next week, EU Heads of State will address the energy future of the EU after 2020. Europe must put an end to the use of fossil fuels and dangerous energy sources as quickly as possible. Maintaining or even boosting the use of nuclear energy on the EU territory is shocking and does not make any economic sense at all. The Greens in the European Parliament have demonstrated that the only way to decrease the CO2 emissions in a safe and real cost effective way is by decreasing and saving the energy we use and by turning to renewables. In order to make the shift to the green economy, the EU must not only set themself an ambitious 2030 binding emission reduction target of at least 60% based on ambitious binding targets for energy efficiency (40%) and the development of renewable energy sources (45%).
See the report ‘Three Years After: The Status of Fukushima and the World Nuclear Industry’ for further details on the state of nuclear energy across the globe.
03/11/2014 – 00:00