Nuclear disaster in Japan
As of 4:00 pm, March 15, a major nuclear disaster is underway in Japan. In the wake of Friday’s devastating earthquake, a fire in a cooling pond for spent fuel rods and three major explosions have hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, located on the country's east coast. There are widespread reports of elevated radiation levels and many residents have fled the area.
The plant was designed by the U.S. based corporation, General Electric, which also supplied equipment for the complex. The plant design has faced criticism from scientists over the potential for cooling system leaks. General Electric has also played a major role in the production of nuclear weapons.
Over the last two years, there has been a wide scale effort to revive the nuclear power industry in the United States. No new nuclear power plants have been commissioned here since the disaster at Pennsylvanian’s Three Mile Island Nuclear power plant in 1979. Those disasters strengthened an already existing mass movement against nuclear power, effectively putting the industry on the ropes.
The events in Japan call into questions plans by U.S. energy corporations to build new nuclear power plants.
Commenting on the situation, Steff Yorek, a spokesperson for Freedom Road Socialist Organization stated, “We are in solidarity with the people of Japan and our heart goes out to the huge numbers of working people whose lives, already endangered by natural disaster, have been put at additional risk by this man-made disaster.”
She continued, “The capitalists who run the developed countries cannot be trusted with something as dangerous as nuclear power. They will always put profits over safety. Nuclear power is an inherently unsafe way to produce electricity. We need to move to safe, and environmentally sound ways of addressing energy needs.”