Dr. Helen Caldicott: Human Scientific Hubris Caused Fukushima Nuclear Meltdowns

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On 22 March, 2012, physician and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott spoke in Los Angeles on energy, environmental health, and the effects of the Fukushima disaster on the Japanese people as well as reasons why Southern California’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station should be permanently decommissioned.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary panel has confirmed what we all understood: the hand of human scientific hubris, nuclear power’s political influence, and the ineptitude of Japanese and international institutions caused the disaster at Fukuishima-Daiichi Nuclear Plant.

Fukushima Meltdowns “Clearly Man-Made”

poor planning - earthquake, tsunami, blackout, meltdownFrom the Guardian:

Misplaced deference and other “ingrained conventions” of Japanese culture were at the heart of last year’s meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to the chairman of an independent panel whose scathing report described the accident as a “profoundly man-made disaster”.

In his combative preface to the report, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at Tokyo University, said the crisis was the result of “a multitude of errors and willful negligence”, by the government, safety officials and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power [TEPCO].

But behind the safety missteps and lack of readiness for a tsunami in a region known for powerful earthquakes, are cultural traits that ensured the disaster was “made in Japan”, Kurokawa said.

“Its fundamental causes,” he wrote, “are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the programme’; our groupism; and our insularity.

“What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan’.

None of the agencies involved emerged with any credit. “The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties,” said the report, compiled by the Fukushima nuclear accident independent investigation commission.

“They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made’.”

On 19 April, Dr. Caldicott gave a presentation at the University of Wisconsin on the medical implication of meltdowns at Fukushima and Chernobyl. To view the video, click here: The Medical Implications of Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Nuclear Age.

Dr. Helen Caldicott’s websites: http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org http://nuclearfreeplanet.org/ http://www.helencaldicott.com/

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt