by Harvey Wasserman

The massive earthquake that shook Japan this week nearly killed millions in a nuclear apocalypse.

It also produced one of the most terrifying sentences ever buried in a newspaper. As reported deep in the New York Times, the Tokyo Electric Company has admitted that "the force of the shaking caused by the earthquake had exceeded the design limits of the reactors, suggesting that the plant's builders had underestimated the strength of possible earthquakes in the region."

There are 55 reactors in Japan. Virtually all of them are on or near major earthquake faults. Kashiwazaki alone hosts seven, four of which were forced into the dangerous SCRAM mode to narrowly avoid meltdowns. At least 50 separate serious problems have been so far identified, including fire and the spillage of barrels filled with radioactive wastes.

There are four active reactors in California on or near major earthquake faults, as are the two at Indian Point north of New York City. On January 31, 1986, an earthquake struck the Perry reactor east of Cleveland, knocking out roads and bridges, as well as pipes within the plant, which (thankfully) was not operating at the time. The governor of Ohio, then Richard Celeste, sued to keep Perry shut, but lost in federal court.

The fault that hit Perry is an off-shoot of the powerful New Madrid line that runs through the Mississippi River Valley, threatening numerous reactors. The Beyond Nuclear Project reports that in August, 2004, a quake hit the Dresden reactor in Illinois, resulting in a leak of radioactive tritium. Nevada's Yucca Mountain, slated as the nation's high-level radioactive waste dump, has a visible fault line running through it.

More than 400 atomic reactors are on-line worldwide. How many are vulnerable to seismic shocks we can only shudder to guess. But one-eighth of them sit in one of the world's richest, most technologically advanced, most densely populated industrial nations, which has now admitted its reactor designs cannot match the power an earthquake that has just happened.

In whatever language it's said, that translates into the unmistakable warning that the world's atomic reactors constitute a multiple, ticking seismic time bomb. Talk of building more can only be classified as suicidal irresponsibility.

Tokyo Electric's behavior since the quake defines the industry's credibility. For three consecutive days (with more undoubtedly to come) the utility has been forced to issue public apologies for erroneous statements about the severity of the damage done to the reactors, the size and lethality of radioactive spills into the air and water, the on-going danger to the public, and much more.

Once again, the only thing reactor owners can be trusted to do is to lie.

Prior to the March 28, 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island, the industry for years assured the public that the kind of accident that did happen was "impossible."

Then the utility repeatedly assured the public there had been no melt-down of fuel and no danger of further catastrophe. Nine years later a robotic camera showed that nearly all the fuel had melted, and that avoiding a full-blown catastrophe was little short of a miracle.

The industry continues to say no one was killed at TMI. But it does not know how much radiation was released, where it went or who it might have harmed. Since 1979 its allies in the courts have denied 2400 central Pennsylvania families the right to test their belief that they and their loved ones have been killed and maimed en masse.

Prior to its April 26, 1986, explosion, Soviet Life Magazine ran a major feature extolling the virtually "accident-proof design" of Chernobyl Unit Four.

Then the former Soviet Union of Mikhail Gorbachev kept secret the gargantuan radiation releases that have killed thousands and yielded a horrific plague of cancers, leukemia, birth defects and more throughout the region, and among the more than 800,000 drafted "jumpers" who were forced to run through the plant to clean it up.

Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the industry has claimed its reactors can withstand the effects of a jet crash, and are immune to sabotage. The claims are as patently absurd as the lies about TMI and Chernobyl.

So, too, the endless, dogged assurances from Japan that no earthquake could do to Kashiwazaki what has just happened.

Yet today and into the future, expensive ads will flood the US and global airwaves, full of nonsense about the "need" for new nukes.

There is only one thing we know for certain about this advertising: it is a lie.

Atomic reactors contribute to global warming rather than abating it. In construction, in the mining, milling and enriching of the fuel, in on-going "normal" releases of heat and radioactivity, in dismantling and decommissioning, in managing radioactive wastes, in future terror attacks, in proliferation of nuke weapons, and much much more, atomic energy is an unmitigated eco-disaster.

To this list we must now add additional tangible evidence that reactors allegedly built to withstand "worst case" earthquakes in fact cannot. And when they go down, the investment is lost, and power shortages arise (as is now happening in Japan) that are filled by the burning of fossil fuels.

It costs up to ten times as much to produce energy from a nuke as to save it with efficiency. Advances in wind, solar and other green "Solartopian" technologies mean atomic energy simply cannot compete without massive subsidies, loan guarantees and government insurance to protect it from catastrophes to come.

This latest "impossible" earthquake has not merely shattered the alleged safeguards of Japan's reactor fleet. It has blown apart—-yet again—-any possible argument for building more reactors anywhere on this beleaguered Earth.

About author

Harvey Wasserman is co-author, with Bob Fitrakis and Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?, just published by the New Press. He is author of SOLARTOPIA! and HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE U.S., available at

Originally by Harvey Wasserman from The Smirking Chimp - News And Commentary from the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy on July 19, 2007, 6:32am


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe

  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.