RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Excerpt: "It's 26 years later and what have the nuclear industry and its supporters learned? Nothing."

The town of Pripyat that was left abandoned after the nuclear disaster. (photo: Steve Morgan/Greenpeace )
The town of Pripyat that was left abandoned after the nuclear disaster. (photo: Steve Morgan/Greenpeace )

After Fukushima and Chernobyl, Nuclear Industry Has Learned Nothing

By Justin McKeating, Greenpeace

27 April 12


oday is the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl. It is a disaster that left a 30-kilometre uninhabitable exclusion zone, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and still threatens the lives of tens of thousands.

The legacy of the day that Chernobyl’s Reactor Four exploded, throwing radioactive contamination across Europe, is still with us and will be for many years to come. We must never forget the magnitude of the disaster and the people who suffered then and continue to suffer now as Greenpeace found when we returned to the area surrounding Chernobyl last year.

It’s 26 years later and what have the nuclear industry and its supporters learned?


The nuclear industry still hasn't realized or admitted that its reactors are unsafe. Reactors are vulnerable to any unforeseen combination of technological failures, human errors and natural disasters. That puts the tens of millions of people living near the worlds more than 400 reactors at risk.

Instead of learning, the nuclear industry continues to push for new nuclear reactors despite Chernobyl, despite near-misses in Sweden and South Korea, and despite the triple nuclear meltdown at Fukushima and it’s disastrous consequences in March last year.

A map comparing fallout from reactor accidents in Chernobyl and in Fukushima.

(A map comparing fallout from reactor accidents in Chernobyl and in Fukushima. Significant radiation contamination from both will last for centuries.)

Nuclear power still has not found a way to finance itself without begging for subsidies from taxpayers. This is an industry that has been living off blank cheques from governments for the last 60 years. Private backers just aren’t interested. Nuclear is a "corporate killer" and a "dream that failed".

The nuclear companies that aren’t getting their hands on the billions of public cash needed to build new reactors are on the run. RWE and E.ON have pulled out of their plans to build new plants in the UK. Bulgaria has just cancelled its plans to build reactors at the Belene plant.

There are countries, however, that are leading the way from nuclear to a renewable future. Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland are all turning away from nuclear power. Just one of 54 reactors is operating in Japan now with the impact on people invisible. Japan is also showing right now that nuclear power isn’t needed.

So today we remember the terrible legacy of Chernobyl and the price paid by the people. But we also pledge another legacy: one of a sustainable future built on safe and clean energy. It’s within our grasp. your social media marketing partner


We are going to return to our original fully-moderated format in the comments section.

The abusive complaints in the comment sections are just too far out of control at this point and have become a significant burden on our staff. As a result, our moderators will review all comments prior to publication. Comments will no longer go live immediately. Please be patient and check back.

To improve your chances of seeing your comment published, avoid confrontational or antagonistic methods of communication. Really that is the problem we are confronting.

We encourage all views. We discourage ad hominem disparagement.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+5 # AndreM5 2012-04-27 09:38
Unfortunately for the Japanese they must now rely almost entirely on imported coal. This is swapping one poison for another.
+3 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-27 13:03
Coal dust and sulfurous gases will kill only those who breathe it them in a mine or city. They will not spread in toxic concentrations over the entire northern hemisphere and produce cancers for the next hundred years.

Even among poisons, some are much worse than others, or don't you know that?
+11 # Douglas Jack 2012-04-27 10:08
Given the half-lives (estimation for disintegration of 50% of any given mass/energy to a more benign but still toxic byproduct) of various radioactive elements such as Plutonium at 24,100 years, we are not just talking years or decades or centuries or millennia but millions of years. These technologies and their proponents should be describing the police states they have planned in order to keep everything from uranium mining tailings ponds, refinement site tailings and nuclear fission 'spent' (more toxic but not manageable) fuel ponds or storage under surveillance.

We are enslaving future generations (children, grandchildren etc) to continual surveilling and surveillance, when our cities are awash (easy 150% of needs) with usable energy such as: building mounted linear axis helical wind generation, bridge pylon kinetic linear axis helical water generators, methane from fecal and compostables, insulation, green-roofs, conservation etc can provide.
+5 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-27 12:34
The human race is doomed. The brief span of "civilization", perhaps from 800 BCE, not even three millenia, has not provided any reason to believe that human beings will be able to contain the dangerous wastes that have been produced. Indeed, if we were all we could hope to be as wise and diligent guardians of the future, still the changes in geology and climate would eventually overcome our ability to contain the tens of thousands of tons of dangerous radioactive materials. The die is cast.
+8 # Helen 2012-04-27 11:28
The nuclear industry doesn't WANT to learn anything. The rest of us need to educate our neighbors and our leaders about why we must turn away from nuclear power, as other countries are doing, and why this really matters. It is time for every caring person to speak out, to write letters, to call or visit Washington, and to persist in doing so.
-9 # lesmcf 2012-04-27 12:15
It is an insult to the Engineers and Scientists involved in the nuclear industry to say they have learned nothing from past disasters. To be sure, nuclear power has its hazards, but so has fossil fuel power generation.
+11 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-27 12:39
Even if the engineers and scientists (not capitalized in English) had learned all they should, they do not make policy decisions. The corporate executives do. Moreover, our government is totally corrupted by campaign finance and is irresponsible in its duty to regulate the industry. The NRC has been licensing new reactors that have not had design modifications based on the Fukushima disaster! The NRC has over-ruled its director in this regard. They are criminally irresponsible in my view.
+8 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-27 12:23
Mr McKeating: It's not the industry that has learned nothing. The industry is directed at making as much profit as possible. It does not have a mandate to protect the general public.

That responsibility belongs to federal, state and local governments. In the case of nuclear power, it is by law a federal responsibility. The federal government no longer has legitimacy, because the Constitution has been trashed by Obama/Bush, the congress and SCOTUS. The republic is a thing of the past. We now have, essentially, government by force not by law. The government, all three branches, are ruthless and irresponsible - as are its regulators, such as the NRC. They serve big corporations who pay for the charade of elections we call "democracy". There are a handful of good politicians in the congress, a minority on the Supreme Court, but the executive branch is rotten from the President down, and there is little reason to expect any improvement in the next four years no matter who will be President.
0 # T4D 2012-04-27 12:48
I am familiar of only one microscopic part of the Canadian Nuclear Industry. A Metallurgical Engineer friend was involved with making the special steel used in reactor containment vessels. I believe the most recent sites on Lake Huron are operating acceptably. I invite everyone to take a look at this.
0 # Max Demian 2012-04-28 09:41
Fukushima Is Falling Apart: Are You Ready … For A Mass Extinction Event?

According to the above and many other articles, and from the reports of nuclear experts all over the world, Fukushima is FAR WORSE, and is still an ongoing event that continues to get worse and worse, than we are being told in the mainstream. Wake up and face the music, and take precautions such as you and everyone in your family(ies) wearing HEPA face masks when out of doors, and going outside as little as possible; and, especially, do NOT go outside AT ALL during precipitation of any kind, particularly rainfall. If you can, move to the Southern Hemisphere immediately, further south than Central America, south of the Equator. This is absolutely no joke; this is truly how serious the situation already is, and it is very likely to get much worse if it hasn't already.

To give you a personal example, I have had a constipation and hemorrhoid problem for several years, but they didn't start rupturing and bleeding until the past year. The last major time they bled, ugly black material, probably cancer cells, came out with the blood. This occurred from a ruptured EXTERNAL hemorrhoid, so it was not from fecal matter. I rarely go outside (about once every 3 weeks), and every time I go out I wear a HEPA mask at all times. I started wearing the mask within 10 days of when Fukushima began.
0 # Max Demian 2012-04-28 10:36
Let me clarify a couple of things in order to make it clear that taking precautions is NOT a waste of time:

I will probably die from cancer within the next couple of years because I have three autoimmune diseases and therefore have a compromised immune system. But for many if not most you who do not have compromised immune systems, the precautions are NOT a waste of time; and, if you "religiously" carry them out, you WILL lower your chances of contracting cancer(s).

Also, here's a couple of other examples of necessary precautions, even if you have not been doing them for the past year [cut down your chances of contracting cancer(s)]:

Don't take showers (because, while you're taking showers, you're breathing in the radioactive dust that is now in the water, and the lungs are one of the worst places for it to lodge; almost guaranteeing, especially in the case of the plutonium that has been and continues to be released by Fukushima, that you will, NOT "may", contract cancer(s).

Take baths instead, but only lukewarm or body-temperatur e baths so you don't open your pores allowing more of the radioactive dust in the water to get into your body(ies) through your skin.

Be sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to wash the radioactive dust off of them before consuming them.

Purchase and consume lots of organic high-antioxidan t foods and supplements.

0 # Max Demian 2012-04-28 11:07
Purchase and consume eight apricot kernals (a cancer preventative) per day; and/or apricot kernal oil, both available from If you contract cancer(s), consume more kernals per day; because, in cancer patients, they are also an excellent natural cancer treatment.

Examples of the best antioxidants and/or other cancer-preventa tive supplements include the following: Vitamin D3, Pau d'Arco, Melatonin (the latter two flush radiation from the body), Milk Thistle (to flush the liver), and others.

Take maximum dose Potasium Iodide (125 mgs) once per day, a day or two before going outside (do NOT take constantly, or daily, more than a month).

As I do, watch the weather and keep track of the jetstream, and only go outside in non-inclement weather when the jetstream is not blowing right over and/or through where you live, including the edges of it (experts say that the edges of the jetscream can carry the highlest levels of radioactive dust). Use the following websites:

Any weather site for your area (MSN local weather is good) (refresh the page every time you want to check it, if you keep a window and/or tab open for it) (just refresh the page every few hours, if you keep a tab and/or window open for it) (automatically refreshes often)
0 # Max Demian 2012-04-28 12:04

And last but definitely not least, if you believe in God, pray daily for God's protection from the radiation, particularly when you bathe and when you venture outside; and pray for protection from the radiative dust in the air, food and water particularly as well.
+1 # Douglas Jack 2012-04-28 11:21
T4D, In order to become familiar with various aspects of nuclear and in your case the Bruce reactors, you need to dig deeper than the official story or what employees of the system might say. One excellent source is Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility Go to this site, 'Find' for 'Bruce', its numerous design and operational problems. Recently the proposed Shipment of Radioactive Steam Generators on the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence river all the way to Scandinavia was halted because of accident risk factors all along the way with extremely toxic radioactive contamination consequences.
We can liken the problem of information flows for intelligent decision-making with institutional 'innumeracy' or the 'lack of ability to calculate relevant factors of situations which people are responsible for or contributors to'. People learn more from the 'processes' they are involved in than the 'content', hence the first problem of institutional eduction of engineers. When fear or hierarchy become prevalent, then communications break down. For nuclear technologies with huge consequences, there isn't room for continual cumulative error yet this is the reality for tens of thousands of errors, releases and accidents at the 436 reactors world wide. Here's a short list of accidents which should be multiplied many fold because of the problem of industry self-reporting.
-1 # Douglas Jack 2012-04-28 11:32
Max, There are a number of nuclear power plants in the southern hemisphere in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa as well as nuclear powered submarines etc. Free breathing air movement and sunshine (vitamin D etc) are so essential for body health, you'll have to come up with equivalences in any program of isolation. Consider water washing with bidets etc instead of toilet paper for immediate reduction of haemorrhoids. Natural science to respond to artificial contamination is really a collective whole system design issue with millions of factors. We all part of this together with really no place to hide. Our 'indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generatin g') ancestor heritage, apart from the alienation which colonial institutions foster, holds interdisciplina ry whole system design for sustainable living in far greater urban sophistication than we have today.
0 # Max Demian 2012-04-28 12:03
At least there haven't been releases, to my knowledge, in the Southern Hemisphere of large amounts of radiation like from Fukushima... yet anyway. So the Southern Hemisphere is MUCH safer right now, at least as far as radiation levels are concerned anyway. For those considering leaving the U.S., North America and/or the Northern Hemisphere, now is best; because pretty soon the U.S. government and/or other Western governments won't allow people to leave the country, at least permanently. Obviously, stay away from Westernized countries like Australia and New Zealand, which are all turning into corporate-fasci st authoritarian police states like the U.S., U.K., etc., where human rights and civil liberties are being eradicated, and they're becoming more totalitarian and repressive; as well as staying away from countries which have nuclear power plants, and/or where you would be living directly east of them.
0 # Max Demian 2012-04-28 14:32
Further very important information concerning Fukushima:

Urgent Warning: Fukushima Estimate of Situation
-3 # opmadhvi 2012-05-01 04:50
Its extremely wrong to say that the nuclear industry has not learned any lessons from Three mile island, Chernobyl and latest Fukushima accidents. Can any one tell that accidents have not occurred in any industry. If there is a rail accident today, can we say that stop all rail travel? If there is a road accident can we say stop all road transport? Electricity can kill any body, but can we stop electricity production today? Each industry has its share of accidents. Can we forget Bhopal Gas incident, where thousands of persons are still suffering? Accidents like dam burst have occurred in hydro stations. Accidents have occurred in thermal power stations. No, we do not stop any thing after that, instead we analyse the cause and improve the systems to prevent such accidents in future, by way of design improvements, operating procedures and systematic training of personnel. We always learn from our mistakes. That's what is called experience. Nuclear industry is the best example of international brotherhood in sharing experience, With each accident, hundreds of design modifications and changes in operating procedures have been carried out in new as well as existing reactors throughout the world for . Each industry has come to perfection only after long operating experience. So is the case of nuclear industry. Can some one give statistics of number of accidents occurring in all industries in the world and than come out with judgement that only nuclear industry is at fault?
+1 # haole guy 2012-05-23 03:36
Go back to Bernard Baruch's Manhattan Project. Nuclear energy was first used as a weapon, and is still a weapon-- sold to the world, yet provides only 16% of the world's electricity.
Now there are 400+ nuclear plants world-
wide HAARP can hit any of these plants.
Chernobyl was no accident, neither was Fukushima, Deepwater Horizon, or the tsunamis in Asia.. And why are there 21 nuclear plants built atop the New Madrid Fault in U.S.?

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.