Chernobyl: As the Coffin Crumbles

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophes” (Albert Einstein )

The Grand Scientific Project from the time of Francis Bacon up to the Manhattan Project has been a dangerous gamble for humanity even though the advertised purpose is that progress is good” (Richard Wilcox Ph.D., Tokyo, 2012 )

At least some good news is that construction of a new sarcophagus designed to encase Ukraine’s damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor is finally underway. Presently funded by a multi-national consortium, the final cost is estimated to be somewhere around 1.54 billion euros (2 billion dollars). The bad news is that this gargantuan project is already a decade behind schedule and the carapace will not be ready for installation before October 2015. Meanwhile, the first attempt to hastily construct a concrete shell, intended to entomb that still dangerous nuclear facility, is rapidly deteriorating. An increasingly likely structural collapse could release tons of lethal radioactive dust. Perhaps you remember those awful events in April 1986 when the Chernobyl reactor exploded, went into meltdown and a highly toxic radioactive plume drifted over parts of the former USSR, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, The United Kingdom and The USA. Vast areas from Turkey to China, the United Arab Emirates and North Africa were also exposed to the rain-out of poisons. Up until this day, and far beyond our foreseeable future, large areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia remain heavily contaminated in the wake of the largest nuclear and environmental catastrophe of the 20th century. Chernobyl’s radioactive emissions are considered to be 500 times more deadly than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima. Nevertheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his firm intention to proceed with his country’s nuclear power plant construction programs.

In Japan, as in Russia, insanity prevails, and there is no good news from Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged nuclear complex. Six reactors, three in meltdown, continue to contaminate Japan, poison the Pacific, our home world’s largest ocean, as well as air, food and water throughout our entire Northern Hemisphere. The March 11, 2011 nuclear explosions, in the wake of a severe earthquake and tsunami event, has unleashed a situation for which there is no known solution. For various technical and other reasons, a sarcophagus to shield us from any of these reactors, (all built on landfill, the geological equivalent of tofu and over a seabed), is not really an option at this time, or any time in our near future. Japan is one the most seismically active regions on our planet and precarious home to 54 nuclear reactors. Now, consider the cold hard reality that this region’s ongoing quakes, which seriously endanger these reactors, are indications of a much larger geophysical movement involving unseen subterranean forces. According to Japanese environmental reporter Yoichi Shimatsu, these titanic forces are redrawing the map of the Japanese archipelago , as well as the Euro-Asian Continent and Pacific Basin. “Terra firma “, he reminds us, “is an illusion. Like stones in the mud, we are deaf to the symphony of earth changes all around us”. (“The Pearl Harbor Quake Was No Aftershock for Japan”), Despite an enormous risk of further nuclear accidents , Japan’s newly elected right wing government has announced plans to “repair” damaged nuclear installations, their clearly stated intention to construct more of these dirty bomb facilities, as well as a nuclear weapons agenda. Nuclear insanity continues to exist and expand, in Russia, Japan, and anywhere else that the nuclear mafia is allowed to prevail.

Here in the USA we had the near nuclear meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear facility in 1979.This accident is especially interesting since it was not precipitated by an earthquake, extreme weather or any other dramatic event. In “Normal Accidents”, sociologist Charles Perrow recounts that there was a relatively routine blockage in one of the plant’s giant water filters. This caused moisture to leak into the air system, inadvertently tripping two valves which then shut down the flow of cold water into the plant’s steam generator. There was a backup cooling system, but on that particular day, the valves for this system were closed. Someone had closed these valves and the tag indicating this fact was blocked by another repair tag hanging from the switch above. The reactor was then left to depend upon another backup system, but again, on that particular day, the relief valve was stuck open when it was supposed to close. And, a gauge in the control room that should have alerted operators was not working either. As a result, the reactor was close to meltdown before engineers realized what was happening. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in “Outliers” there was no single cause for this nuclear crisis at Three Mile Island, just five seemingly unrelated events which occurred in unlikely sequence. If any of these malfunctions had happened in isolation, they would have caused nothing more serious than a hiccup in the system. Nevertheless, what was unlikely to happen, did happen. This is something to think about amidst the pro-nuclear propaganda about “safe, clean, green and inexpensive energy” offered by nuclear power plants

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