A Personal Essay by Chiho Kaneko, Member, Board of Directors Fairewinds Energy Education
I have never experienced so many people wearing protective masks on the Shinkansen high-speed train, as I did at the end of January 2020, when I traveled from northern Japan to the airport in Tokyo. The news of the coronavirus outbreak was just starting to dominate the media.
How ironic, I thought to myself, that now I could wear a mask without feeling guilty, unlike all the times when I have traveled to Fukushima in the years since the meltdowns.
It’s been more than nine years since March 2011 and the devastating Tohoku [Great East] Earthquake, simultaneous tsunami, and subsequent meltdown of three nuclear power plants at the Fukushima Atomic Power site in Japan.
Scrape the ground, push, mound, and level.
Build, build, and build. Build new buildings, seawalls, and highways.
Build temporary incinerators, dozens of them, and burn, burn, and burn.
Burn the tsunami debris.
Burn the bales of hay and shiitake logs contaminated with cesium.
Burn organic waste created by the government “decontamination” initiatives.
Then, before you know it, dismantle those temporary incinerators!
Now build new biomass power plants!
Use the trees clear-cut on hillsides where nuclear fallout has settled!
Afterword, by Maggie Gundersen
Special thanks to Chiho Kaneko, a member of the Fairewinds Energy Board of Directors, for writing such a poignant and heartfelt essay. When I first read it, I cried.
At least twice each year, Fairewinds Energy Education Board Member Chiho Kaneko travels to Japan to visit with her mother, family members, and friends. Ms. Kaneko lives in Heartland, Vermont, where she is a talented artist, musician, and vocal soloist. We first met in 2011 during the aftermath of meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi. Through all of Arnie’s and my work with Fairewinds in Japan, Ms. Kaneko’s insight and support have enabled us to reach so many more people around the world. Thank you, Chiho Kaneko, for lending heart and soul to Fairewinds educational and research ventures and to our efforts to reach out to others around the world since the Fukushima triple meltdowns brought us to another precipice.
Everyone we work with and share our lives with internally and externally has been deeply impacted by the past year with Pandemic 2020 and the devastating expansion of explosive atomic power, new nuclear weapons, and the tragic release of importantly stringent radiation regulations. For those reasons, we will continue to share our insights, emotional growth, and daily challenges of ‘Living in the Time of Pandemic 2020’. Therefore, the Fairewinds Crew, including our board members and some of our scientific colleagues and advisors, will continue to weave personal essays into our Demystifying Nuclear Power Blog.
Today, we shared this heartfelt personal blog post by Chiho Kaneko with you – our Fairewinds community. We are so thankful that you join us in our efforts to love our planet in the midst of a climate emergency, the devastating and ongoing spread of radioactivity in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the very air we breathe, on top of the second-worst health pandemic this world has ever faced (right after the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century).
Thank you for sharing this process with us. Fairewinds will keep you informed!