The international community must intervene – in Japan
Just as the international community had to come together to stem the financial meltdown from contaminating the entire world economy or prevent massacre in Libya, it must now intervene in Japan to prevent radiation from poisoning the planet.
Once again, a local problem is becoming a global crisis. Just as California was the epicenter of the subprime mortgage crisis that shook the world, so too the nuclear waste leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the wake of the earthquake are posing a threat to others far beyond Japan’s borders.Skip to next paragraph
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And just as the international community had to come together to stem the financial meltdown from contaminating the entire world economy, it must now intervene in Japan to prevent radiation from poisoning the planet.
The situation is serious. If the spent fuel pools storing irradiated fuels from the reactors in Fukushima give way as a result of a new aftershock or by overheating, huge quantities of radioactive material – either as a liquid or gas flowing into the sea, air, or subsoil – will be released. In the case of the containment vessel of the third reactor, considerable quantities of plutonium might escape. In this event, parts of Japan will become largely uninhabitable, and radiation will spread out across the globe through the food chain or carried by the wind and sea currents.
Japan's missteps and coverup
Like the American financial institutions that spawned the subprime mortgage crisis, Japan’s nuclear crisis is largely the result of forsaking prudence for profits. Knowing better, the Fukushima plant was nonetheless built on an earthquake fault on the seacoast vulnerable to tsunamis. Worse, six plants were bundled together like toxic mortgages, inviting disastrous contagion, sidestepping safety regulations.
Since the beginning of the disaster, the same regulatory authorities and utility executives who exposed the public to such danger have compounded error upon error in the effort to save their damaged assets, leaving the spent fuel pools exposed to the open air without cooling, causing irreparable damage to those with systems of protection still intact.
A mixture of pride and arrogance – along with a penchant for secrecy and lack of transparency – has led the public and private authorities in Japan to refuse international aid while hiding the scope of the disaster, both from their own people and from the international community. Courageous but underpaid workers were left with the highly dangerous task of figuring out how to cool the reactors, an ad hoc task for which they were not trained.