The Citizens´ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) is a non-profit research institution with the goal of realizing a society that does not rely on nuclear energy. Independent from the nuclear industry CNIC conducts research and gathers information for the use of citizens.
Just like the end of the pacific war March 11, 2011 will be remembered for a long time as a turning point in Japanese history. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake followed by a tsunami is a natural disaster that happens once every 1000 years and has happened many times before.
However, a nuclear disaster of the highest level 7 on the international scale is a first in Japanese history and can bring about the “sinking” of the country. At this point half a year has passed and the leaking of radioactivity has not been stopped. The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant can thus still not come to a close.
The radiation has clearly spread beyond the 30 km zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. Up to 70 km distance there has been detected radioactive strontium and the sale of vegetables within 100 km distance has been stopped. In a wide area the soil has been polluted with radioactive cesium, this pollution will not go away for a long period. These are the dimensions of a nuclear disaster.
Because of this accident millions of people will be exposed to over the limit of 1 milisievert of radiation this year. The levels of radiation workers that are cleaning up the plant are exposed to is serious. Up to now over 16000 workers have been exposed. And the number of exposed workers increases while the accident does not come to a close.
Moreover starting with Japan’s main food rice there are fears about food security. With the increase of exposure to radiation fears about health risks also increase.
In 2008 TEPCO grasped the possibility of a heavy earthquake and following tsunami. However they continued to operate without taking any counter measures. One year later it was pointed out by a geologist that a heavy earthquake and tsunami 1150 years earlier should be taken into mind, This indication was not considered and operations were continued. Having failed to take action twice makes that this disaster is not natural but man-made by TEPCO.
Even though TEPCO has caused an unprecedented amount of exposure to radiation to the people, they do not seem to take responsibility. Where a normal company would go bankrupt, a company that used to be a public utility is preserved. Reportedly Masataka Shimizu, ex-representative executive of TEPCO received over US$ 6 million in retirement allowances. Furthermore, the compensation for directors and the extremely high pay of corporate members and bonuses are left untouched while the price of electricity for ordinary consumers goes up to pay for the compensation of victims. This compensation is despite of all the hardships endured by the victims not sufficient.
With the nuclear experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan has for the past 65 years taken a stance as a country that was the victim of nuclear (bombs). However this changed after March the 11th when TEPCO did not only release radioactive substances in the air but also large quantities in the ocean. The total amount has been calculated as to be over 57 quadrillion Becquerels. The radiation has spread all over the world and Japan is being criticized for it all over the world. Japan is no longer a victim but the cause of nuclear pollution.
We therefore thank the ethecon Foundation for selecting TEPCO. The “Black Planet Award” is a prize that suites TEPCO well. We hope that this prize will be a trigger for TEPCO to make the crisis come to a close sooner and step away from nuclear energy and its devastating effects on the future. We also hope that this prize will bring people together to hand in hand build a society that does not depend on nuclear energy.