‘Follow the Money’: Fukushima Cleanup Financially Motivated, Expert Says via Sputnik

The meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are not over, and the Japanese government’s push to decommission and dismantle the plants in the next thirty years are not scientifically feasible, but financially motivated, according to Fairewinds Chief engineer and nuclear expert Arine Gundersen.

 The largest nuclear incident since Chernobyl, the Fukushima catastrophe began when a series of natural disasters led to the meltdown of three nuclear reactors in the Daiichi plant in 2011. After the plant was hit by an earthquake-triggered tsunami, the majority of the reactor’s core melted within just the first three days, creating toxic by-product of radioactive water.Some 140,000 people were subsequently evacuated from their homes within 12 miles of the plant, and the catastrophe prompted Japan’s nuclear industry to completely shut down all of its 54 operating nuclear reactors. Now, as the government and utility owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), begin working towards a speedy decommissioning and dismantling of the plant, many are questioning whether a successful cleanup of the site is even possible in such a small time frame.Chief engineer of Fairewinds Energy Education, a non-profit that aims to educate the public on nuclear policy and safety, Arnie Gundersen says the cleanup efforts are nothing short of impossible.


So why is the Japanese government in such a rush to decommission the site?

“Quite honestly, the answer has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with politics and money,” Gundersen said. “To understand Fukushima Daiichi, the press needs to follow the money.”

While all operating nuclear power reactors in the country are shut down, Gundersen explained that the industry still pays a staff of 700 engineers and operators. They have been able to do this because Japan’s Energy Corporations have borrowed “tens of billions of dollars” from the country’s banks, money that can only be paid back once the nuclear power plants are restarted.

“My contacts in Japan continue to tell me that the banks are putting enormous pressure on Japan’s Parliament to start up Japan’s nuclear reactors so the banks can get paid back for their investments,” he said.

The fact that the majority of Japanese citizens are against restarting these reactors also means that the government is under a lot of pressure to prove they can be safely restarted in earthquake fault zones. And the best way to do this is to “showcase the decommissioning and dismantling of the Fukushima Daiichi site, long before it is even feasible from a radiological contamination standpoint.”

Abbreviated Japanese translation:

福島第一原発の3つの原子炉は土壌の水と直接接している。原発の作業員および技師らはこれを全く考慮してこなかった。そして極めて放射線濃度の高い 水が絶え間なく漏れていることにより、事故からの回復はチェルノブイリの事故に対して100倍難しくなり、また100倍高くつく。チェルノブイリからの回 復は30億ドルかかった。福島は5000億ドルといったところだろう。福島第一原発からは毎日300トンもの放射性汚染水が海洋に流れ出している。汚染水 を満載したタンカー23000隻分も全体で漏出していることになる。

日本のエネルギー企業は原発に残された職員らへの給金を支払うために日本の銀行から数百億ドルを借りている。ある人が私に教えてくれたことだが、銀 行は議会が原発再稼働を承認し、投資が戻って来るようにするため、議会に強い影響力を行使している。世論調査では、国民の大多数が原発再稼働に反対してい る。そのため東電と日本政府は「福島第一原発の事故からの回復および溶け出した核燃料の撤去は実行可能である」と示すために手立てを尽くしている。しかし 放射能汚染のレベルから言ってもそれはまだ想像することさえ不可能である。」

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