Above photo: Demonstrators protest in front of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s head office in Central Tokyo/KYODO
Global Community Demands Independent Expert Oversight and Transparency in Ongoing Crises at Fukushima
New York City – Members of the Green Shadow Cabinet Fukushima subcommittee and allies deliver a letter signed by more than 150 organizations and individuals from across the globe and petitions signed by more than 150,000 people to the United Nations today calling for a new direction in the management and clean-up of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
As more information is revealed about the ongoing crises at Fukushima and the difficulties faced by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Japanese public and the global community recognize that the situation requires immediate and independent intervention. TEPCO has failed to demonstrate competence in managing the situation, and they continue to place profits before safety. TEPCO is cutting corners and mistreating workers, which is adding to the deterioration of the situation. They have also shown themselves to be untrustworthy hiding information about serious problems at Fukushima.
The Green Shadow Cabinet applauds the Japanese Government for dedicating more funds to the clean-up, but continues to have grave concerns about lack of transparency and the pending state secrets act that will further curtail the public’s access to accurate information about Fukushima.
Likewise, President Obama, who has been supported throughout his political career by the largest nuclear operator in the United States, Exelon Corporation, has failed to take the situation seriously. He relied on the pro-nuclear Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory statement which not surprisingly found no risk of massive radiation release under the worst case scenario. This statement in contradicted by independent experts across the globe.
The Green Shadow Cabinet is working to put pressure on the UN and Japanese government to implement a plan developed by nuclear experts because TEPCO plans to begin removal of the spent fuel rods in Reactor 4 this month. The rods must be removed in a controlled fashion before another storm or earthquake can cause the damaged building to crumble. This task requires great skill and care to avoid another massive release of radiation. The rods stored in Reactor 4 contain 14,000 times the amount of radioactive cesium released in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Harvey Wasserman, Energy Secretary with the Green Shadow Cabinet, said: “The letter we’re delivering, promotes a plan developed by 16 top nuclear experts urging the government of Japan to transfer responsibility for the Fukushima reactor site to a worldwide engineering group. It has been signed by over 100 organizations and individuals. Importantly, this plan stresses that the clean-up be overseen by a civil society panel and an international group of nuclear experts independent from TEPCO and the International Atomic Energy Administration, IAEA.
Wasserman continued: “TEPCO is not up to this task. Fuel rods that need to be removed are in a highly volatile state, suspended in damaged pools 100 feet high. Nothing short of a full-on global presence will do. There’s no precedent for an operation of this scope, precision or potential fallout.”
The health impacts from radiation remain a global threat. Radioactive water has already damaged marine life, and rubble from Fukushima being transported and burned in municipal incinerators continues to expose people to dangerous levels of radiation.
“There is the potential for a massive release of radiation that would have significant health effects for people and other life across the world – from Japan to the Pacific Islands to the continental United States,” Green Shadow Cabinet Secretary of Health, Dr. Margaret Flowers, said.
“The US government and many regulatory bodies are dominated by the nuclear industry and have failed to take appropriate action to provide assistance to Japan. We can’t cross our fingers and hope that TEPCO pulls it off,” Dr. Flowers said.
“The media must be provided with timely, accurate information and must report on Fukushima throughout this critical phase. The public needs to know what’s going on, step by step,” said Jill Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet President.
“The Green Shadow Cabinet and allies are taking action to call for immediate and appropriate assistance to ensure that the world’s best experts and sufficient resources are dedicated to the clean up at Fukushima,” Dr. Stein concluded.
November 7, 2013
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Headquarters
2 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
H.E. Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa
Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
866 U.N. Plaza, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
866 U.N. Plaza, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
866 U.N. Plaza, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
A Global Call for International Assistance with the Crises at Fukushima
The crisis situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan is deteriorating and threatens not only the survival of the population of Japan but could also become a significant global disaster. We express our deepest sympathies to the people of Japan for the tragic loss of life, habitat and infrastructure they are continuing to suffer as a result of the triple disasters – earthquake, tsunami and nuclear, that began on March 11, 2011. The potential for additional massive radiation releases now is cause for grave international concern. The attention and resources of the international community must be focused on Fukushima to resolve this crisis in the safest and most transparent way.
Decommissioning of the entire Fukushima nuclear power plant will take many decades; however, there are two urgent situations that require international intervention. First is contaminated water at the site and second, and more dangerous, is the spent fuel rods, particularly those in Building Four. TEPCO has not demonstrated the capacity to manage these problems nor has it been forthcoming in a timely way about the magnitude of the problems at Fukushima.
TEPCO delayed public admission about the problems with groundwater that is flowing from the surrounding hills into the site. The water presents two dilemmas: it undermines the structural integrity of the damaged reactor buildings and it must be contained because it becomes contaminated when it flows through the site. TEPCO is pumping the contaminated water into temporary storage tanks, some of which are already leaking. Each day, contaminated water leaks into the Pacific Ocean. The capacity to physically hold this contaminated water on site is diminishing. TEPCO lacks an effective long-term solution to this problem.
In November, 2013, TEPCO plans to begin removal of more than 1,300 spent fuel rods located in the heavily-damaged Building 4. The rods are in a pool that is 100 feet above the ground. The roof over this pool was destroyed in the earthquake and tsunami two years ago and debris litters the pool which further complicates removal of the rods. Under normal operation, these rods were moved by computer-assisted cranes that knew their exact location, but that equipment was destroyed. The rods must be removed under manual control because of the debris and damage that has displaced them.
This is a task that requires great skill and precision. If a spent fuel rod breaks, gets too close to another rod or is exposed to the air, there could be a massive release of radiation into the air. According to Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, “If you calculate the amount of cesium 137 in the pool, the amount is equivalent to 14,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs.” This could badly contaminate the Northern Hemisphere.
Removal of the spent fuel rods is urgent because another earthquake could also lead to the release of radiation. However, it is imperative that this task be performed with the greatest accuracy and transparency. TEPCO vice president, Zengo Aizawa, admitted in August, 2013 that “we need support, not only from the Japanese government but from the international community to do this job.”
The risks of these tasks are global and require assistance from the planet’s best experts. Therefore, we, the undersigned, call for the following actions to be taken immediately.
- That the government of Japan transfer responsibility for the Fukushima reactor site to an international engineering firm overseen by a civil society panel and an international group of nuclear experts independent from TEPCO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as outlined in this open letter to the United Nations.
- That the decommissioning process be done safely so that workers at the Fukushima site are protected from exposure to hazardous materials, are compensated fairly and are provided with all necessary support given the tremendous risks that they are taking in this disastrous situation.
- That the Japanese and global media be permitted around-the-clock access to accurate information throughout the entire process of removal of the spent fuel rods so that the Japanese people and the international community can be informed of any risks to their health.
In addition, we call for three days of global action focused on the crises at Fukushima on November 9 through 11 to coincide with Armistice Day and the 32 month anniversary of the disaster.
Green Shadow Cabinet Sub-committee on Fukushima:
Jackie Cabasso, Secretary for Nuclear Affairs
Dr. Margaret Flowers, Green Shadow Cabinet, Secretary of Health
Bruce Gagnon, Green Shadow Cabinet, Secretary of Space
Steven Leeper, Visiting Professor, Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Green Shadow Cabinet Ambassador to Japan
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet, President
Harvey Wasserman, Green Shadow Cabinet, Secretary of Energy
Endorsing individuals and organizations:
Junko Abe, Ikata People Against MOX, Japan
Akira Kawasaki, Executive Committee Member, Peace Boat
Junji Akai Dr.Sci., Emeritus Professor of Niigata University
Ulrike Woehr, Hiroshima City University, Professor
Andrea Germer, Hiroshima, Japan
Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt, Nagoya University
Shinsuke Iwata, Aichi University
Kumi Abe, Japanese Citizen
Tomoko Kakeda, Project Now!
Tamiko Nishijima, Peace News Japan
Nobuo Kazashi, Director, NO DU Hiroshima Project
Kunio Fukuda, professor, Commerce Department, Meiji University
Yasuo Matsuda, director, Local Welfare Commission Secretariat
Yoshinobu Tanaka, Kamakura YMCA
Shizue Hirota, Pax Christi International
Kazuyo Yamane, professor, Ritsumeikan University
Harumi Miyachi, Solar Art Association
Yukichi Ishikawa, Aiichi Association of Religious Professionals
Masahiro Sasaki, SADAKO LEGACY (Sadako Sasaki’s brother)
Masashi SAWAMURA, Chaplain, Hiroshima Jogakuin University
Shigekazu Suzuki, Life & Environment Information Center
Hideo Arai, Citizen’s Center for Biohazard Prevention(CCBP)
Yoko Arai, Citizen’s Center for Biohazard Prevention(CCBP)
Kae Morii, Poet
Yoshio Inque, Wakayama YMCA
Michimasa Hirata, Koyuukai (A-bomb survivor)
Yoshinori Nuibe, professor emeritus, Hiroshima University
Momo Yamasaki, student, Hiroshima Jogakuin University
Bun Hashizume, writer, A-bomb survivor
Atsushi Kuroda, Wakayama YMCA
Kyoko Okumoto, Professor, Osaka Jogakuin University
Yasuo Hatakeyama, Research Centre for Christianity and Culture, Kwanseigakuin University
Kazuo Yoshida, Koyuukai (A-bomb survivor)
Shunei Mori, head priest, Shomyoji Temple
World without Wars and Violence
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Environment Working Group
Anita McKone, Australia; co-founder, The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
Robert J. Burrowes, Australia; co-founder, The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
Anne Lanyon, Centre for Peace Ecology and Justice
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – Australian Section
Barbara Calvert Seifred, Westmount Initiative for Peace, West Islanders for Nuclear Disarmament, and Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility; in Vancouver with WILPF; and the Raging Grannies
William DeTuncq, Cork Environmental Forum
Dr. Paul Saoke, Executive Director, IPPNW Kenya
Gangjeong Village International Team, Jeju, the Peace Island, Korea
Rebecca Kim, Institute for Democracy
Oh Mijeong, Solidarity for Peace And Reuni
Kim Seung-Kuk, Peace Making, Korea
Bae Hyun-Deok, Quaker
Martin and Lois Griffiths, Earthwise Radio Program
Joy Onyesoh, President, WILPF Nigeria
Berit Ås, prof.emerita, social science, Member of the Norwegian” No to nuclear power” and member of WILPF
K. Margrethe Tingstad, President, WILPF Norway
Carolien van de Stadtmember of WILPF –netherlands, coordinator of the workinggroup Nuclear Disarmament and a board- member of the Dutch WILPF- section
Vijay Mehta, Chair, Uniting for Peace, UK
Dr. Dave Webb, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)
Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)
Sarah and Steve Lasenby
Lorraine Mirham, UK Section of WILPF
Allison Challen, Joint Co-ordinator, Chester Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)
United States of America
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Patricia Birnie, Chair, GE Stockholders’ Alliance
Mark D. Stansbery, Community Organizing Center
Tarak Kauff, Board Member, Veterans for Peace
Joseph Mangano,ED, Radiation and Public Health Project
Gail Payne, Founder, Radiation Truth
Joan Drake, Member of WILPF, Gray Panthers and Hiroshima-Nagasaki Committee of the National Capitol Area (HN-DC) [Organizational Listings for Information Only] Lawrence Reichard, Co-Director, Learning Center, H.O.M.E. Co-op (for identification purposes only)
Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province
L R Berger, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service
Bill Gilson, President, Kaufman-Pahios,Chpt.34 Veterans For Peace,NYC
Steve Klinger, Grassroots Press Online
Alice Slater, Abolition 2000 New York Metro
Cecile Pineda, Author of Devil’s Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step
Patricia J. Patterson, Retired United Methodist Church staff and missionary teacher related to Japan
Dr. Robert Traer
Kevin Zeese, Green Shadow Cabinet, Attorney General
Dr. Joyce Lockard
David Hartsough, Director, PEACEWORKERS
Jill Mackie, Chairperson, Ashland, Oregon Branch of Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom
Ilze Petersons, Program Coordinator, Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
Gar Smith, author Nuclear Roulette
Environmentalists Against War
Kenneth Mayers, President,Veterans For Peace – Santa Fe
Thomas Lindeman, Amherst, MA, USA
Leah R. Karpen, Asheville, NC
Michael Hearington, National Board Treasurer, Veterans for Peace
Susan B. Chase, Veterans for Peace, Charlottesville, VA Chapter
Nikohl Vandel, Artist, Occupy Joshua Tree
Lynn Ringenberg, M.D., President, Physicians for Social Responsibility/Florida
Charles W Philp, VFP NYC Chapter 034
Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr., Co-Director, Center for Process Studies
Jamie Connerton, Veterans for Peace, Ukiah, California
Ellen Davidson, Veterans for Peace
Michael Canney (Alachua, Florida), Alachua County Green Party (Florida)
David McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International
Lon Ball, Friends of the White Salmon, Trout Lake, WA, USA
Sr. Elizabeth Rogers,r.c.
Michael Leonardi, organizer
Coalition Against Nukes and the Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy
Linda Seeley, Spokesperson, San Luis Obispo mothers for peace
Marilyn McCulloch, Secretary, Carrie Dickerson Foundation, Tulsa, OK
Dr. Robert Gould, President, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility
Doug Rawlings, Vietnam War veteran, national board of VFP
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret),Green Shadow Cabinet, Sec. of Defense, Former National President, Veterans for Peace
John and Barbara Stephens-Lewallen
Barry Ladendorf, Board of Directors, Veterans for Peace
Odile Hugonot Haber, Co-chair of WILPF Middle East Committee
Jan Allan Ruhman, Veterans For Peace, San Diego Chapter 91 and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War/OSS San Diego
Cletus Stein, Convener, The Peace Farm
James Heddle, The Ecological Options Network
Nick Thabit, No Nukes Action Committee and Fukushima Response Bay Area
Nan Wiegersma, Emeritus Professor, Fitchburg State University
Ben Manski, President, Liberty Tree Foundation
Libby P Norton
Dr. Karl K. Norton
New Hampshire Peace Action
Bishop Tom Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit
Sheila Parks, Ed.D, Planet Earth, Convener, weekly vigil at Japanese Consulate/Boston
Nancy Tate, Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern (LEPOCO Peace Center), Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Carol Reilley Urner, Co-chair, national DISARM/End War Issue Committee of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section
Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
Karen Roberts, MD, MPH
Sharon A. Rippner, Ph.D
Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., Director, Safe Energy Project, World Business Academy
Elizabeth B. Gerlach, A.B., MEd., Member WILPF and Mass Peace Action, Newton, MA
Marguerite Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Bambi Good, On Behalf of Planet Earth
Paula Sharaga, Children’s Librarian
Pat Ferrone, Coordinator, Pax Christi MA
Jane Cadarette, Concerned citizen of the US and the world
Marybeth Gardam, Corporations v Democracy Issue Committee of WILPF-US
Don Ogden, producer/co-host, The Enviro Show, WXOJ and WMCB
Chris Williams, Pace University
Ruth Caplan, Washington, DC
Mandy Hancock Anderson, High Risk Energy Program, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Scott Wright, Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Vic and Barby Ulmer, Our Developing World
Michael T. McPhearson, Interim Executive Director, Veterans for Peace
Mary Kate Small, member, Merrimack Valley People for Peace
William R. Taylor, Floodgate Farm
Katey Culver, Chair, Green Party of Tennessee
Umi Hagitani, No Nukes Action Committee
Sanda Everette, co-coordinator, GPCA Coordinating Committee, (for identification purposes)
John Andrews, co-chair, Green-Rainbow Party
Mark A. Dunlea, Green Education and Legal Fund, Inc.
Green Party of the United States
Charles Levenstein, Ph.D., M.S., Professor Emeritus, U Mass, Lowell
Nancy Price, Earth Democracy IssueGroup, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section
Rev. Ralph Galen, The Community Church of Immigrant City
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Chairwoman, No FEAR Coalition
Howie Hawkins, Green Party, Syracuse, New York
Pax Christi, USA
Holly Hart, Secretary, Iowa Green Party
Green Party of New Jersey