CONTAMINATED LAND & RADIOACTIVE WASTE
Yesterday was the anniversary of 3.11, the terrible triple catastrophe that happened in Japan in 2011. Many articles have been published, stating how the situation is still not under control. I was shocked by this video, on NHK website, showing fields covered with radioactive waste. Is this the recovery the government is talking about?
Next year, that government will cut public housing aids, forcing part of the population to go back to Fukushima prefecture, or worse, to the former evacuation zones. Madness. Especially considering the fact that 5 years were needed after Chernobyl accident to start seeing children becoming ill. There is no guarantee that the number of cancers will stay stable. Actually, it will certainly start rising quickly, may it be in 2016 or 2017. I wonder if the government will still force people to go back. “Guys, sorry, we don’t have any money left, we invested all of it in the construction of new facilities for the Olympics! Too bad, huh?”
Then, the ETHOS project (2) will have a blast. The project was first implemented in contaminated Belorussian villages. The goal was to help people living in contaminated areas, by giving them advice aiming at avoiding too much (mainly) internal exposition. From what I’ve seen, the effects of the ETHOS project were limited, since children were still sick, very sick. But it was making big companies like EDF and AREVA feel better, since they were investing money in an experiment that would help understand what to do if anything bad was to happen in one of their nuclear plants. I still can’t believe that the European Commission was organizing this project. Well, from an external point of view, it might look like the only solution: trying to find solution to make people feel less anxiety while being exposed to radioactivity, since we don’t know how to make it disappear anyway and don’t have the money or the technical means to make those people evacuate to a safer place.
This is our sad reality. We are stuck in this “path dependency” phenomenon: now that we chose to build horrifyingly dangerous nuclear plants and that our life style depends on it, we cannot simply make them disappear. And even if we were to shut them down, we would need colossal amounts of money to dismantle them. Too bad, guys, too bad.
I remember this person I met during my interviews in Fukushima. I asked him “Who, according to you, is responsible for this nuclear accident?” and he replied “Well, TEPCO obviously, since it wasn’t able to correctly maintain the plant; the government, which has been leading Japan’s nuclear program for decades; and I guess us, since we just agreed to rely on it to sustain our life style.” It is difficult to be hold responsible for something that had been built 50 years ago, when we weren’t even born. But I think it’s our responsibility to avoid having plants flourishing in our respective countries. I wish more people would oppose the construction of the Ōma plant in Northern Japan. I wish more people would express their concerns regarding the Fessenheim plant in France. We can try to make the first step to get out of this fatalistic (but not entirely irreversible) path dependency. Let’s think together.