Socialist Worker

Nuclear plants are never safe: Shut them all down

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2243

The Fukushima reactor

The Fukushima reactor


Japan is facing nuclear ­meltdown.

Explosions at its Fukushima nuclear plant, after an earthquake and tsunami, have released dangerous levels of radiation into the atmosphere—and the situation is rapidly getting worse.

Japan’s government and nuclear companies spent days saying that the leaks were “under control”.

They insisted that the level of radiation was low and wouldn’t harm people.

Now they admit that “high levels” of radiation are leaking out of Fukushima. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, said a partial meltdown in three reactors was “highly likely” to be happening.

Radiation has reached Tokyo and winds are carrying more radioactive gases towards the capital city. It isn’t just a disaster for Japan. It is a global disaster.

The crisis follows a huge earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Friday.

More than 10,000 people are thought to have died and hundreds of thousands are homeless. They have dwindling supplies of water, food and medicine—and no heat.

The nuclear crisis isn’t limited to Fukushima.

The Onagawa nuclear power station declared a state of emergency on Sunday after a fire shut down its cooling systems. Cooling pumps also stopped working at the Tokai No 2 plant.

We are watching the biggest nuclear disaster for decades—and it could have been avoided. The Fukushima plant has a history of radiation leaks, damaged reactors and cover-ups.

Expressed

But Japan’s government let it carry on operating. What’s more, it wants even more nuclear plants.

World leaders have expressed concern about the nuclear crisis. But most of them want to build more nuclear death traps. A few say they will halt plans for new nuclear sites. That’s good, but it’s not enough.

The latest crisis has shown what many people have argued for decades—that nuclear power poses a horrific threat to our lives and the planet.

We don’t need nuclear power. We should demand that every nuclear plant is shut down now.


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