Fukushima radiation disaster in Japan – radio interview

First published 3 March 2014.

In 2014 I hosted a weekly one hour news show.

The audio file above is an excerpt from a radio show recorded in March 2014 where I talk about the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan with Harvey Wasserman.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster happened on March 11, 2011. The plant suffered a catastrophic failure due to an earthquake and a tsunami.

About 38 miles inland from the plant lies the commercial city of Koriyama, where some of the smallest children have no experience of playing outside – fear of radiation has kept them indoors.

According to the Japanese authorities [as at March 2014], 15,884 people had died, 2,636 were still officially missing and the remains of 98 were yet to be identified.

At the the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the radioactive water that has accumulated remains the biggest problem hampering the clean-up.

As of March 5 2014, 436,000 tons of radioactive water was being stored in vast tanks. Tepco, the nuclear plant’s owner, is clearing land to make space for more. But an additional 400 tons of radioactive water is generated every day. This is being poured into the ocean.

Japanese authorities claim that a processing system is able to remove 62 radioactive contaminants from 750 tons of water every day.

Scientists involved in the Tepco plant say it will be at least 40 years before the reactors are rendered safe, decontamination work is completed and the tens of thousands of people who used to live in the exclusion zone around the plant can return. Some believe that time-frame is optimistic.

Among them is Harvey Wasserman – a life-long activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, history, drug war, election protection and grassroots politics.

He teaches history and cultural & ethnic diversity at two central Ohio colleges.

Harvey marched at his first demonstration in 1962, helping to de-segregate a skating rink in Columbus. He met Dr. Martin Luther King on the Meredith March for civil rights in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1966.

As a student editor at the University of Michigan Daily, his 1966 editorial “The Use of Marijuana: It Should be Legal” went global on the wire services.

Active in the movement against the war in Vietnam, Harvey marched on the Pentagon in 1967 and the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968. He helped found the legendary anti-war Liberation News Service, which which the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation tried (unsuccessfully) to destroy. He then helped found the communal organic Montague Farm in Massachusetts, a pioneer in a new generation’s movement against chemical farming.

In 1973 Harvey coined the phrase “No Nukes” and helped found the global grassroots movement against atomic energy, for which he has spoken throughout the US, Asia and Europe.

In 1982 Harvey co-wrote (with Norman Solomon, Bob Alvarez & Eleanor Walters) KILLING OUR OWN: THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC ENERGY, documenting that people died at Three Mile Island.

In 2004 Harvey and Bob Fitrakis broke many of the major stories on the theft of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. Called “the Woodward and Bernstein” of election protection by Rev. Jackson Jackson, Bob and Harvey have published six books on the American art of vote counting and curtailment.

In 2007 Harvey joined with Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash to form NukeFree.org as part of a successful national grassroots campaign to stop $50 billion in loan guarantees to build new reactors.

He writes regularly for a wide internet readership through   Ecowatchsolartopia.orgfreepress.org and nukefree.org, which he edits.

SOLARTOPIA! is performed by Pete Seeger, Dar Williams, David Bernz and the Rivertown Kids’ Choir.

It was filmed and recorded (in one take) in the Jeff Haynes studio in Beacon, NY on October 24, 2009.

Pete, David Bernz and Harvey Wasserman composed this anthem for Wasserman’s futuristic vision of a green-powered, socially-just Earth free of fossil fuels and atomic energy.

Harvey describes his vision in his book, “SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030.”

Bernz’s brilliant chorus takes us from Adam and Eve to Three Mile Island and BP’s Gulf spill, invoking a time that must come when humankind will once again be powered by the wind and sun.

Shot by Dan Keller, the video is subtitled so all can sing along – and many do when it’s played in public! The song appears on Pete’s “Tomorrow’s Children” album from Appleseed Records.