It took a month for authorities to release the information that large doses of radiation had spewed from the Fukushima plant.
Why? Said Seiji Shiroya, a commissioner of Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission, “Some foreigners fled the country even when there appeared to be little risk. If we immediately decided to label the situation as Level 7, we could have triggered a panicked reaction”—not to mention that it would have been horrible public relations for the industry!
Further, it took two months to reveal that not one but three reactors suffered a meltdown. Per the Washington Post: “Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University, told Reuters that the announcement was timed to minimize the impact on the public. ‘In the early stages of the crisis Tepco may have wanted to avoid panic,’ Nakano said. ‘Now people are used to the situation.’” So the decision was made early on to keep quiet—and expose people unnecessarily.
The very fact that, if anything, Fukushima proved that the public simply cannot trust the nuclear industry to be honest with us about the risks inherent in their energy, never mind even informing us in a timely manner of an accident when it occurs, shows that we are all at risk from them. Let’s not forget that we sit on the same, tectonically active Ring of Fire as Japan.
Like the switch from chemical-laden industrial agriculture to organic, it’s time to take our energy sources to the next level: clean, safe, and effective alternatives.