We at Global Perspectives (http://www.bootheglobalperspectives.com) think it important for the United States to consider the nuclear pollution pouring out of Japan and drifting our way. The nuclear cloud drifting across the Pacific Ocean will reach the California coast soon and brings up many questions.
While authorities have "down played" this event, the situation in Japan deteriorated much worse than expected with several explosions and no quick solution in sight. It is no wonder that public statements lose credibility when, in attempts to control panic, they understate danger. It is unknown how many thousands of people in Japan have been, or will be exposed to harmful levels of nuclear waste. Our company (http://environment-solutions.com) has been involved in dealing with nuclear waste, and it is not to be taken lightly. It is the worlds most toxic element. There are questions that have not and likely will not be answered any time soon:
1. What is the impact upon ocean waters near the nuclear power plant? Will infected and exposed sea life create a health hazard?
2. What is the impact upon the mainland of Japan, a nation where people have been advised to stay "indoors and do not use air conditioning".
3. What is the impact of air travelers who will be traveling through air space possibly containing high levels of radiation?
4. What is the impact on Guam, Hawaii, Micronesia, and of course the United States? This disaster, will cause billions of dollars of damage in the long run, and like the Gulf Oil Spill episode, underline a point that expensive and risky energy solutions are simply too expensive and too risky.
Wind Farms, Solar Farms, distributed generation, thousands of homes and businesses with independent Wind Turbine generators, solar panels or solar water heating, would be far less expensive, far less risky and far better for mankind and the environment. It brings to memory vivid memories of old movies that predicted mass destruction of nuclear pollution.
I remember the 1957 movie, ON THE BEACH where Australia was the last nation on earth to be "killed" by nuclear pollution. The scene when they sent a submarine to the USA to see if there was hope, was chilling. The crew caught a radio signal, only to find after walking through a deserted city, a window shade touching a radio transmitter, in a California that was intact but totally dead, without a single living thing. Those images scared me as a 10 year old child and they imprinted the message "Why fight or play with something so dangerous" in my brain. Other movies and articles seem to foretell nuclear disaster.
"There Will Come Soft Rains", depicts a world of equipment that functions without humanity.Planet of the Apes' describes world turned upside down with only a few religious leaders who know the truth and hide it to protect the people. Yet, the world watches TV and calmly, almost lazily fails to insist upon a different way to produce energy. Will it take an ocean devoid of sea life, or a million deaths before we determine that the energy grid that has been created is profitable for big business, but dangerous for mankind, is only as reliable as it's weakest links, which are many. In Japan today they are experiencing rolling black outs, just like New Mexico and Texas experienced in January of 2011. Weak links can be overcome with distributed, end user generation, to create security and energy not tied to the complicated grid that has evolved in developed nations. I hear these "independent" Americans tell of how they don't want to be slaves of big government or big systems, yet they live enslaved and dependent upon an energy system that has best served to enrich oil and utility companies, while exploiting the nation's consumer with ever rising prices. I sometimes want to shout out to these people: "Can you see it. Do something. Make yourself energy independent! Put up a wind turbine, buy solar panels, utilize solar water heating. Do something!"
In the meantime,federal officials say that they "expect little danger" in the the United States from Japanese plumes. Of course 20 years from now a generation of children born this year may have abnormalities, or cancer deaths may spike, or food and water systems may be polluted, but who will be able to prove any connection? And if they could prove something, who would take responsibility? Energy Department officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the agency was working with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Also they activated its National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, which draws on meteorologists, nuclear scientists and computer scientists to forecast plume dispersal. Also monitoring and sampling teams, are prepared to activate. None of these steps protect people, they will only report what has happened. Finally, the Aerial Measuring System is being activated. All this will do, is to tell us how much radiation is here. There are no plans announced that might help the public to deal with radiation exposure. Who knows, we may be told to "turn off our air conditioning" or "tape our windows".
“We’re on top of this,” a department official said. It sounds more likely that the pollution will be "on top of us". But, it is invisible, and who will know?