Fukushima's Nuclear Reactor Number 4
I’m writing with a personal plea for help from Japan. A nuclear inspector just said that the fate of my country and much of the world depends on Fukushima’s Nuclear Reactor Number 4. If this damaged structure collapses, the spread of radiation would go way beyond Japan’s borders and be truly catastrophic.
Since last year’s tragic earthquake and tsunami, a pool of highly dangerous spent nuclear fuel is being held in reactor 4’s crumbling structure. Experts say another strong tremor would cause the pool to collapse and emit such high radiation that my family and the 35 million people in Tokyo would be forced to evacuate. It would also contaminate the skies across the Pacific and into Asia. The area around the toxic pool is vulnerable to regular seismic shocks, but, amazingly, my government is denying the risks, likely desperate not to cause panic.
The best way to curb this lethal threat is a global wave of public pressure on my government to agree to an emergency plan with UN experts. A US Senator and tens of thousands of people across Japan are raising the alarm. But it’s going to take global citizens joining hands to create a people-powered chain reaction to prevent a nuclear meltdown, with each of us asking ten friends to ask their friends to join the call for action.Click below to call on the UN and Japanese PM Noda, then forward to everyone:
The reactor 4 pool has no walls or roof and there are thousands of spent fuel rods inside containing ten times the amount of radioactive material than was released in the Chernobyl nuclear accident. This material, Cesium 137, is one of the most hazardous materials on the planet — it gives off radiation that can remain dangerous for hundreds of years. To avoid spontaneous fire due to radioactivity alone, the dilapidated pool must be constantly cooled. If it collapsed and a fire ensued, reactor 4 is just 50 meters from the other reactors that contain thousands more spent fuel rods. The scope of disaster is nearly unfathomable!
Nuclear scientists say the spent fuel must be removed from the storage pool as fast as possible to a dry and safe facility. But so far the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), Japan’s embattled nuclear energy giant responsible for the clean up, insists they have reinforced the structure and is relying on the vulnerable pool storage system. People across Japan distrust TEPCO and do not understand why my government is leaving it up to this agency when they were already caught lying about the safety of Fukushima reactors before last year’s disaster.
The Japanese people should not have to live on the brink of nuclear disaster. And fears that an accident would have global impact led one Japanese politician to call the risk, ‘the ultimate catastrophe for the world’. Global experts are now raising their voices and US Senator Wyden, who just visited the site, has publicly called for action and offered US help. I appeal to you to help get the UN’s attention now to force my government to welcome an international team of nuclear experts to clean up reactor 4 and remove this risk forever. Sign the urgent petition then forward this to everyone:
The people across my country are still reeling from last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe, but together, Avaaz members here have helped make Japan the first developed nation on earth to go nuclear free. Now let’s together remove this last remaining lethal threat before it is too late.
With hope and determination,
Michiharu, for the whole Avaaz team
Fukushima Reactor 4 poses massive global risk (CTV)
The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over (Huffington Post)
Doomsday scenarios spread about No. 4 reactor at Fukushima plant (The Asahi Shimbun)
Fukushima Daiichi’s Achilles Heel: Unit 4′s Spent Fuel? (The Wall Street Journal)
Japan Nuclear Plant May Be Worse Off Than Thought (New York Times)