As Japan Disaster Spreads, Threatening U.S., Obama Embraces Nuclear Power

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Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

As Japan Disaster Spreads, Threatening U.S., Obama Embraces Nuclear Power

WASHINGTON - ARJUN MAKHIJANI

Available for a limited number of interviews, Makhijani is president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, which has released a series of papers on the Japan nuclear disaster. The most recent is titled “Radioactive Iodine Releases from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Reactors May Exceed Those of Three Mile Island by Over 100,000 Times.”

AILEEN MIOKO SMITH

Aileen Mioko Smith is executive director of Green Action, a Japanese environmental group. She happens to be visiting California, where she is scheduled to be until April 12.  She has been stating from the beginning of the crisis that the Japanese government has not been sharing critical information with the public. She is analyzing the situation and has been translating reports and posting other information at: fukushima.greenaction-japan.org.

She said today: “We would like to have the international community sanction the Japanese government for wantonly raising the level of contamination allowed for Fukashima citizens. Up until now, it had certain standards for food from the area, but is working to change those standards to make things appear OK. What the government should be doing is broadening the official evacuation zone.”

HARVEY WASSERMAN

Wasserman is author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, AD 2030 (which includes an introduction by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.). Wasserman recently wrote the piece “‘Safe’ Radiation is a Lethal TMI Lie.” He is posting regularly at: nukefree.org/news/Nuke.

KARL GROSSMAN

Professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Grossman is author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power and Power Crazy. He just wrote the piece “Obama’s Wrongheaded Nuclear Stance — After Japan Disaster,” which states: “President Barack Obama’s support this week for the construction of more nuclear power plants in the United States, amid the ongoing nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, must be considered as among the most wrongheaded and irrational positions ever taken by a U.S. president, against stiff competition.

“As a candidate for president, Obama knew about the deadly dangers of nuclear power. ‘I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal and so I am not a nuclear energy proponent,’ Obama said at a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa on December 30, 2007. ‘My general view is that until we can make certain that nuclear power plants are safe … I don’t think that’s the best option. I am much more interested in solar and wind and bio-diesel and strategies [for] alternative fuels.’”

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

Grossman added: “The claim being disseminated by media of ‘no immediate danger’ from the spread now worldwide of radioactivity from the ongoing nuclear power disaster in Japan is outrageous. Any amount of radioactivity can kill, as has now been widely acknowledged by organizations involved in research on radiation. The media coverage overall of the catastrophe has been barely passable to dreadful. It’s been full of journalistic ignorance (the repeated reports, for example, that potassium iodide pills will ‘block radioactivity’ when, in fact, they block only radioactive iodine, one of hundreds of radioactive poisons) and the presentation of nuclear promoters as ‘experts’ (making declarations such as one ‘expert’ on PBS NewsHour saying the plutonium discharges in Japan are ‘actually typical of natural plutonium contamination in this country.’ There’s no ‘natural plutonium contamination’ in the U.S. — plutonium is man-made. Journalists desperately need to know the facts about nuclear technology — and not be bamboozled, as is the current media situation.”

Background: From the New Scientist: “Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels,” which states: “Japan’s damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors — designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests — to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.”

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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