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Clay Rossi
Clay Rossi
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Is Fukushima the Worst Nuclear Disaster — in America?

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In popular culture the gold-standard simile for a nuclear catastrophe is “Chernobyl.” But is the nuclear disaster at Fukushima a worse event (at least from an American perspective)?

While some comparisons rate Fukushima as a lesser event than Chernobyl, there is other evidence to suggest that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is cooking the numbers and that the Japanese event was 4-times worse than Chernobyl. (Now who has ever heard of the nuclear industry doing anything untoward, irresponsible, or deceptive?)

One group who isn’t buying to the official TEPCO line is American servicemen and servicewomen who have filed suit against TEPCO alleging that the power company “lied about the dangers to those helping out after a nuclear disaster two years ago.” The military plaintiffs are suffering from “headaches and difficulty concentrating to rectal bleeding, thyroid problems, cancer, tumors and gynecological bleeding” which they link to radiation exposure.

While the American military was exposed in Japan, there are concerns that the health “fallout” from the event is affecting American children on American soil. It is now being reported that children on the West Coast are experiencing thyroid problems which can likely be linked to Fukushima-spewed radioactive particles. Add to this that these Fukushima “hot particles” travelled as far inland as St. Louis and Boston. Will anyone think to link sick kids in those cities to Japan? One has to think that any hope of proving causation for afflicted children on the West Coast may be exceedingly difficult but the task will be near impossible for those children residing further east.

Even further down the line of causation is the risk of people consuming seafood that may be tainted with Fukushima radioactivity. But while the fish in the area around Fukushima still show 2500-times the level of safe radiation, don’t worry: TEPCO says Fukushima didn’t have anything to do with it. Maybe TEPCO’s next defense will be to blame the whole disaster on Godzilla.

Outside the military claims, it is unlikely that TEPCO will ever be brought to justice on American soil in any traditional court of law. Could the US government demand some type of extra-judicial compensation fund from TEPCO? Sure. But will it? Considering we don’t watchdog our own nuclear power companies, its unlikely.