This show will center on the nuclear aspect of this disaster. At air time, there have been explosions at 4 of the 6 reactors, complete with partial meltdowns of the fuel rods. They say they were hydrogen explosions, but they looked a lot like mushroom clouds to these stunning eyes. Temperatures in No. 5 & 6 are rising in the spent fuel rod pools. My peeps have been part of the Anti-Nuclear movement since the late 70s and they say their worst fears are being realized. The news out of Japan just keeps getting worse.
♫ For openers, let's give a listen to the Clash, London Calling, a song about "a nuclear error." ♫
|Hospital patients who might have been exposed to |
radiation being carried into a radiation treatment center.
Photo by Daisuke Tomita/Yomiuri Shimbun, via AP.
The New York Times is reporting that experts are now telling us that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months. We are also learning that reactor No. 3 uses a special cocktail of nuclear fuel know as MOX, which is considered contentious because it is made with preprocessed plutonium and uranium oxides. That makes any radioactive plume much more dangerous than ordinary nuclear fuel. We are also hearing the air around the plant may be up to three hundred times the "safe limit" of radiation.
♫ Gil Scott Heron is one of my favorite artists. He helped form The Last Poets and here he is with a song about a partial meltdown at a nuclear power plant near Detroit in 1966, "We Almost Lost Detroit." ♫
|This was a popular poster when TW was young.|
A plan to drop water from helicopters to cool the rods was scrapped because of the high levels of radiation coming from the reactors. There are fires burning in at least 2 of the reactors. Yet, TEPCO is still saying that the leaks are minimal. Also on Wednesday, workers had to be pulled from #3, which is the most critical, which means there is no water being pumped in.
♫ Here's a song that delivers the story of the accident at Three Mile Island with a dose of sarcastic humor. Tom Paxton singing "All Clear in Harrisburg." ♫
I find myself updating this every few hours, as news gets more dire. Tuesday morning, a fire in one of the storage ponds, produced an explosion that blew a 26-foot-wide hole in the side of reactor No. 4. There were also concerns about the storage ponds at reactors 5 and 6. Through all this, the government of Japan keeps telling us that radiation levels are dropping. Say what? How could it be that levels are dropping as more and more radiation is being released and the wind is blowing it over land, as I write this?
♫ One of the most harrowing songs ever written is "I Come and Stand At Every Door." This version of the Natzim Hikmet poem, adapted by Pete Seeger, is done by This Mortal Coil. ♫
|Posing w/TW's old No Nukes T-shirt, |
which is way too small now.
The Japanese government is telling people living within 18 miles of the plant to stay indoors, but how long will these people have to stay indoors? Weeks? Months? How will they get food, supplies, medicine? And, I wonder, how much radiation is on Americans and other people getting on planes and trying to escape this disaster? Will they be screened and decontaminated before leaving the airports or will they spread the radiation?
Shortly before this show aired, Reuters tweeted "IAEA head says core damage at units 1-3 of Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant confirmed, situation very serious" and "EU Energy commissioner warns of further catastrophe at Japan's nuclear site in the coming hours." Very assuring news, to say the least.
Our good friends at WikiLeaks obtained evidence that Japan received warnings over the stability of its power plants from an international watchdog more than two years ago. An official from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in December 2008 that safety rules were outdated, and strong earthquakes would pose a "serious problem" for the power stations. Among other shocking disclosures, a high-profile member of Japan's lower house, told U.S. diplomats in October 2008 that the government was "covering up" nuclear accidents and ignoring alternative forms of energy.
|TW's shirt from 9/23/79 rally in |
NYC's Central Park
Some groups that are helping to Rescue these animals are Society for the Protection of Animals, World Vets, Animal Refuge Keisai (ARK), National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue, Animal Miracle Foundation & Network and the American Humane Association. I've done some research to assure that these aren't scam operations. For more info, most of these organizations have excellent Facebook pages.
♫ You know her from the song "Little Boxes" used on Showtime's Weeds, give a listen to Malvina Reynolds with "What have They Done to the Rain." This seemingly innocent little song is about nuclear-contaminated rain that "keeps falling like helpless tears." ♫
|WNYC's Transmitter posted this photo of a cat |
struggling to stay above the tsunami waters
Millions of people have been without food, water or heat since the Earthquake struck on Friday, which means, so have their pets.
♫ Joy Ryder and Avis Davis toured the NYC club scene in the 80s. Here's their most famous song "No More Nukes." ♫
Let's purray for the humans and animals in Japan. Over 450,000 thousand are homeless, leaving their pets to fend for themselves. Again, you can use the ChipIn to send money to help rescue the animals left homeless and/or injured. They must be so afraid.
I'll conclude by saying that our government has proposed to cut funding for monitoring and warning systems for Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the U.S. and research funds for alternative energy. Please write your Senator and Congressmen and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to big corporations and the richest 1% of Americans and keep funding the Science and Research that is going to keep us safe.
♫ I'll leave you with an uplifting song from John Hall—Power. ♪ "Just give me the warm power of the sun / Give me the steady flow of a waterfall / Give me the spirit of living things as they return to clay. / Just give me the restless power of the wind / Give me the comforting glow of a wood fire / But won't you take all your atomic poison power away."♬♩
I hope you enjoyed the show and that I didn't scare you too much. Again, I ax that you donate to World Vets, using the ChipIn on the right. Some of the information for the show came from the New York Times, CNN and the Huffington Post. Thanks for listening.
WCAT BREAKING NEWS: Wednesday p.m. NPR reports that experts are worried about the plutonium in some of Japan's nuclear reactor fuel rods. I've previously mentioned the MOX fuel in No. 3, which contains plutonium as well as uranium. Plutonium melts at a slightly lower temperature and as the song goes Plutonium lasts FOREVER. The half-life is 24,000 years. If it escaped in smoke from a burning reactor and contaminated soil downwind, it would remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years. The White House is preparing for a situation in Japan that could be "deadly for decades." . . . The NY Times quotes the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as saying the damage at one crippled reactor was much more serious that Japanese officials had acknowledgd and advised Americans to evacuate a wider area around the plant.
♫ Get ready for some entertainment from Uncle Tupelo. Are you ready for that great atomic power? Atomic Power live for the listeners of WCAT. ♫
MORE BREAKING NEWS: Thursday 3/17. While Americans revel in St. Patrick's Day parades and festivities, those in Japan are looking at a worsening nuclear crisis. After efforts to drop water in No. 3 by helicopter failed, military fire trucks are now spraying cooling water on spent fuel rods. Worries are that No. 3, which has the MOX fuel, may have malfunctioning gauges or a rupture has occurred causing the pressure to plunge. There is no confirmation whether the water reached the storage pool housing the spent fuel rods thought it reached the inside of the building that houses it. Reports are saying that the water was blown away by high winds before reaching the target. . . Gregory Jaczko from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has said there is little or now water in the pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed and bleeding radiation. . . . Meanwhile white smoke has been seen coming from No. 2. . . . High levels of radiation have been detected 18 miles from the plants. . . . We now know that 11,195 spent fuel rod assemblies were stored at the Fukushima Daiichi station, of which 32 contain the MOX fuel. . . . The kitteh doesn't see why the U.S. is making such a big deal over the Japanese covering up their accidents and not being truthful about the severity. It happens right here in the good old U.S. of A. . . . After a week, the Japanese are finally hooking electric power back up to the plant. Why did it take a week and what happens if the pumps are damaged or the tanks have leaks? . . . Stayed tuned to this station for more information as it happens.
BREAKING NEWS: Friday, March 18. Japan's government has raised the nuclear alert level to 5 out of 7, which puts it on par with the Three Mile Island disaster. The International Nuclear Event Scale defines a Level 4 incident as having local consequences and a Level 5 as having wider consequences. . . . Meanwhile outbreaks of influenza have broken out in three of the makeshift shelters. About 343,000 Japanese households still don't have electricity and about 1 million have no water. We all know how much our animal friends need water. This is extremely important: Pet owners should NOT give their animals Iodide pills. "While potassium iodide might help protect dogs, cats and other pets, from the risks of radiation exposure in the unlikely event that radioctive iodine reaches the west coast of the U.S., giving it ahead of time carries risks and would be ill advised. Side effects for pets taking these pills—especially if they consume too much— include severe allergic reactions; gastrointestinal upsets including vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia; decreased normal thyroid function; and damage to the heart. At high enough levels, potassium iodide can even cause death. . . . In answer to my question about airport screenings, this reporter has heard reports of airport personnel with radiation wands who have no idea how to use them or what they're scanning for. Most people aren't being screened. However, trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been detected in Chicago, Seattle/Tacoma and Dallas/Fort Worth. Travelers coming in from Japan triggered radiation detectors at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport while passing through customs. In one instance, the radiation was detected in the plane's air filtration system and also found in luggage and on passengers. . . . Radiation exceeding government safety limits has been found in spinach and milk near the plant and in water as far away as Tokyo. The food was taken from farms as far as 65 miles from the plant. Even though they pulled the food, officials still claim that they pose no health risks. Huh? . . . I'll leave you with some uplifting news for those of us who are fans of alternative energy. Despite assertions by the detractor that wind energy wouldn't survive an earthquake or tsunami, the Japanese wind farms are still functioning and helping to keep the lights on during the Fukushima crisis. I hope I don't have to break in to air anymore of these unsettling update. This is Cathy Keisha. Have a nice weekend.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!