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Editor's Notebook

L.A. Steel, guest editorialist
(Excerpt from Naked at the Mic, Revised and Updated edition to be published later this year by Open Books)

On March 11, 2011 a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan and destroyed the Fukashima nuclear power plant rupturing its reactors. The Tsunami that immediately followed the quake destroyed the generators that kept water flowing through the reactors to keep the nuclear heating rods cool. Without these generators fresh water was unable to flow into the reactors and the reactor cores reached levels of over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the core of reactors One, Two, Three and Four began to melt down. As of this writing on May 22, 2011 the Fukashima power plant is unapproachable by plant workers due to the extreme heat of the cores and due to extreme amount of radiation released from the plant.  Reports from Japanese news agencies recently stated that it was literally raining radiation in Japan.  Parents were advised by the Japanese government’s announcements to have children dressed in complete rain gear and use umbrellas.  Schools have been closed and Japan is experiencing radiation levels that far exceed the recorded levels after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. World news sources have censored most news from Japan regarding Fukashima.  Radioactive cloud following the Jet Stream has been detected by satellite as covering the U.S and Europe.  Plutonium has been detected leaking from the melt down reactors into the ground and ocean waters near the Fukashima plant.  The ecological devastation caused by Fukashima may take years to realize, as an estimated one third of the world oceans as well as more than half of the country of Japan may be completely uninhabitable, and one third of all ocean life will be destroyed. As reported by ABC News on 4/6/11,in a article from ABC Health News,... “The Fukushima disaster has become more than a local, regional or national Japanese event. The worldwide implications of the event are becoming apparent: though a major leak in a maintenance pit of the plant has been plugged, there is still a great likelihood that significant amounts of radioactive water will continue to be released into the Pacific Ocean; the worldwide Just-In-Time manufacturing cycle has been interrupted; and increased levels of radiation have been detected on the U.S. East Coast…”
The meltdown of the Japanese Fukashima reactors is the prophecy fulfilled by the Anti Nuclear Power activists of the 1970s.  A video report by Japan’s newsonline.com  ( nexuscommunity.com  )  states that the water surrounding the Fukashima plant was 7.5 million times the acceptable safe levels of radiation. Also reports by independent sources show released government satellite images of radiation clouds crossing the Pacific Ocean and covering North America.  San Francisco had surface water levels at 14,000 times the acceptable safety rate for radiation. National news broadcasts have reported Boston Massachusetts had surface water levels of 800 times the acceptable safety rate of radiation.  Northern and Central Europe have reported 100s of times the acceptable rate for air and water.
Andy Coghian, reporting for Short Sharp Science in his article,” Fukashima Leak is plugged, Tepco in more Hot Water”, states:   Now the leak has been plugged, the hope is that there will be no further releases of radiation either to the atmosphere or to the ocean. But levels of radiation in the four worst-affected units remain high - so high that, according to one recent report, they're "off the scale".
In Chapter two of this book, I mention my friend Joe Besade.  Joe was a fierce anti-nuclear activist who’s incredible courage and commitment and courage of others brought the closing of the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, Connecticut in 1996.
Joe was the steamfitter foreman, during the building of the Millstone plant.  Once he saw the corruption, and incompetence of the people in charge of building and operating the power plant he became obsessed by his need to warn the state and his community about the problems he saw in the building of the power plant. One of his proven claims was; that the Steamfitters Union was in collusion with North East Utilities in hiring unqualified steamfitters and plumbers. Joe testified that he witnessed the state licensing tests were rigged for those working on the Millstone Plant, because of the lack of licensed steamfitters needed to build the plant.  Joe was the Steam Fitter’s foreman of the plant. Joe was a Master licensed commercial plumber for 30 years. 
He knew that the men who were hired were not qualified to work on a nuclear power plant.  This happened with many of the trades. Electricians were unqualified but passed the licensing test.  This was told to Joe by his close friend and plant Electrician Supervisor after his complaints were ignored by the state and the company. His life was threatened on several occasions by the unqualified workers, who attempted to electrocute him.  He was fired by the company shortly after his complaints were made. He joined forces with Joe as a whistleblower and joined the Connecticut Coalition against Millstone which became a formidable citizens action group that galvanized the Waterford community and forced politicians to review their claims to halt construction of the plant and prosecute North East Utilities and the unions.
In 2001 I made a two and a half hour documentary on the Connecticut Coalition against Millstone.  I featured the men and women who courageously fought their 20 year battle against the nuclear power plant in their community.   Joe Besade filmed over 10 thousand hours of public hearings and aired them on the Eastern Cable Access stations that serviced Waterford and surrounding towns, and featured them on his weekly cable access television show.    
It was the fierce activism of the Coalition against Millstone and the courageous legal actions of Attorney Nancy Burton co founder of Connecticut Coalition against Millstone that led to the closing of the Millstone plant.  In 2000 the closed plant was purchased for 10 cents on the dollar by a private company called Dominion. Dominion was allowed by a corrupt Dept of Utility Control, to reopen Millstone under a 20 year permit.  The plant was already closed for four years and had been proven unsafe, North East Utilities was found negligent in the construction of the plant and was forced to close Millstone, and fined 10 million dollars.  Joe and the Coalition fiercely fought to keep the plant closed but to no avail. This is where I came in to the picture and made my documentary in May, 2001featured on all community access stations throughout Connecticut.
In making this documentary I learned that the NRC the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the (supposed) watchdog committee for the nuclear industry is paid for by the nuclear industry and its commissioners are all selected by the nuclear industry. Little if any government oversight is involved with decisions affecting the nuclear industry except for each state’s Dept. of Public Utility Control which grants operating permits and oversees rate hikes.
At the same time I was creating this documentary on the Coalition against Millstone, I was fighting my own battle with the Connecticut Dept. of Utility Control. I learned just how corrupt this state agency of politically appointed commissioners really was.  I had filed suit against AT&T to manage my local Public Cable Access station and claimed 100s of thousands of dollars that were owed to the community by AT&T for not providing Community Access Television to their North Western Connecticut cable franchise area.  They were charging their subscribers for the service each month without providing service.  When I proved this to the DPUC, and filed as an intervener in AT&T’s franchise renewal agreement with the state, I developed a strong case against AT&T which was upheld and defended by the Connecticut Consumer Council’s attorneys.  The lies, contempt and evasion of AT&T in their defense were obscene. The collusion of the DPUC and AT&T was undeniable, and brought forth in legal argument by the Consumer Council’s chief attorney.  The judgment of the DPUC was hotly contested by the Council’s attorney who sited 22 flagrant errors and omissions in their Final Decision. ( This is all public record. ) When confronted in oral argument in a public hearing by the Council’s chief attorney, the DPUC Chairman stated that he would take the Council’s criticism under advisement, however never changed the decision.  In the DPUC’s original decision I was granted the management of the television station, my final request advocated by the Consumer Council’s Attorney was that a full audit be conducted to verify all monies owed to the community.  While waiting for this audit to be done, the final decision was suddenly rescinded and an audit was never done.  AT&T created another local non profit group to challenge my application and the DPUC’s final decision. The AT&T group did not require an audit nor did it ask for any verification of AT&T funding of the Access system.
I understood after this two year fight with the DPUC and AT&T that Connecticut had the most corrupt political appointees in the nation.  They were all appointed by former Governor John Rowland the most corrupt GOP Governor Connecticut has ever produced. In February of 2003 he was arrested for fraud and corruption, and served one year and one day in Federal prison.    His Lt. Governor who was also under suspicion of fraud was made Governor by a Democratic legislature and kept the corrupt DPUC commission unchanged.   The DPUC allowed the Millstone plant to be reopened under the protests of thousands of state residents and several leading state legislators.   Connecticut is a politically corrupt state and will continue to be if nothing is done. So far as of this writing in 2011, no significant changes have been made to the DPUC and the Millstone nuclear power plant, still in operation on extended permit, has been recently cited as one of the most unsafe nuclear power plants in the U.S.
From my experience and research regarding the oversight and regulatory agencies involved in protecting the public from the utility companies and corruption in the nuclear power industry, I have a complete lack of faith in the safety of nuclear power plants, and could never under any circumstances support the use of nuclear power.  Einstein was quoted as stating regarding nuclear energy for power plants: “It’s a hell of a way to heat water.”
An article from Alexander Higgins Blog dated 4/19/11 states, “Nuclear Expert Arnie Gundersen talks about the danger involved with the Fukushima Nuclear reactors saying Tepco’s plan to stop the radiation from leaking in 6 to 9 months is a “really optimistic schedule”. He also reveals that there are 20 plants in the US with the same design as the Fukushima reactor which means they have the same vulnerabilities to catastrophe.”

Real News Reporter website in an article dated 4/11/11 states:
“Secret Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant? A fire ignited inside the damaged housing of the Unit 4 reactor, reportedly due to overheating of spent uranium fuel rods in a dry cooling pool. But the size of the fire indicates that this reactor was running hot for some purpose other than electricity generation. Its omission from the list of electricity-generating operations raises the question of whether Unit 4 was being used to enrich uranium, the first step of the process leading to extraction of weapons-grade fissionable material.
…”The bloom of irradiated seawater across the Pacific comprises another piece of the puzzle, because its underground source is untraceable (or, perhaps, unmentionable). The flooded labyrinth of pipes, where the bodies of two missing nuclear workers—never before disclosed to the press— were found, could well contain the answer to the mystery: a lab that none dare name.”
The censorship of accurate reporting from Japan and Fukashima since April 2011 one month after the disaster has been stifling.  As stated by Vivian Norris in HUFFWORLD 5/9/2011, in her article Deadly Silence on Fukashima, she quotes a Russian nuclear physicist who states: “I have been following the Fukushima story very closely since the earthquake and devastating tsunami. I have asked scientists I know, nuclear physicists and others about where they find real information. I have also watched as the news has virtually disappeared. There is something extremely disturbing going on…” 
In the same article Norris says:  Uesugi stated that since March 11th, the government has excluded all internet media and all foreign media from official press conferences on the "Emergency Situation." While foreign media have scrambled to gather information about the Fukushima Reactor, they have been denied access to the direct information provided by the government and one consequence of this is that "rumor-rife news has been broadcast overseas."
This censorship does not surprise me; however the scope of the Fukashima disaster has global implications. Why the national and international media are not demanding release of current information from Japan is unforgivable.  The only reason for this is that the crisis is so big it cannot be contained. I have seen independent reports on Youtube by scientists and concerned citizens displaying classified information and satellite tracking maps on the global radiation plumes coming from Japan, crossing over the U.S and Europe.
Meanwhile as the censorship continues, TEPCO  and the Japanese government  have found a way to clean up a few troubled urban neighborhoods by finding  unemployed and expendable Japanese  to clean up Fukashima. This is verified in an  article from Japan Today, entitled, “Reports that the TEPCO is finding its Cleanup Workers for Fukashima from the poorest Neighborhoods in Japan.”

“On March 17, a week after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region, a notice was posted at a worker recruitment center in Airin, the rundown neighborhood of Osaka’s Nishinari Ward where thousands of impoverished day laborers congregate in search of construction and other blue-collar jobs.
As reported in Asahi Geino (May 26), the ad read, “Wanted: drivers for 10-ton trucks in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. Pay: 12,000/day.”
But two workers who signed up for the jobs instead found themselves dispatched to work at the damaged nuclear complex in Fukushima Prefecture.
On May 14, the (Japanese) media reported the death of a man in his 60s who’d been working at the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power complex. The cause of death was determined to be heart failure, probably brought on by his working successive 12-hour shifts.
In Shukan Asahi a source who knew the deceased tells the magazine that it’s fairly common to see men in their 60s laboring at such jobs. “Previously, 55 had been the cutoff age, but with the accident they’ll take older workers.”
Perhaps reflecting the sense of desperation over the nuclear crisis, working conditions for the men inside the plant appear to be brutal. They don’t announce it, but on site, workers are collapsing almost daily due to bone fractures or heatstroke,” the source tells Shukan Asahi. “It’s being hushed up. Spreading the word will just make the subcontractor look bad to Tokyo Electric Power, so nobody says anything.”
The following articles and headlines are a few gathered from The Coalition against Millstone’s website mothballmillstone.org. and can be read in their entirety on that website. To the coalition’s great credit, sensitive and censored information is being made available to the public regarding Fukashima and the unsafe conditions of nuclear reactors around the U.S and the world.  Please support their valiant efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear power plants.
The Japanese Business Press reported on May 14 that,”A rice field more than 50 kilometers away from the Fukushima nuclear plant has tested for high levels of deadly plutonium. A “certain food manufacturing company” conducted the independent test that reported data different from data the Japanese government released, according to a translation of the news article.”

Fukushima parents dish the dirt in protest over radiation levels
Furious Fukushima parents dump school playground earth that may have radiation levels well above the old safety level.  Parents in Fukushima are angry over rule changes which mean that school children can be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters. Jonathan Watts in Tokyo The Guardian, Mon 2 May 2011 16.43 BST

Radioactive rain causes 130 schools in Korea to close — Yet rain in California had 10 TIMES more radioactivity
April 7th, 2011 at 06:06 AM

Fukushima evacuees denied refuge and medical treatment over radiation fears
The Telegraph of London has reported that refugees (including children) from the evacuation surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are being denied entry into emergency shelters, as well as medical treatment, due to fears of providers over the radioactivity "contagion" they may carry. This is reminiscent not only of the experiences suffered by Hibakusha (Japanese survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. military), but also by survivors of Chernobyl, who have long been ostracized, and prevented from gaining employment, housing, and even marriage partners. (Dr. Robert Gale, quoted in the article, went to Moscow in the aftermath of Chernobyl to provide bone marrow transfusions for the firefighters stricken by radiation poisoning; he later authored the book Final Warning about his Chernobyl experiences.)
The moment nuclear plant chief WEPT as Japanese finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people
-David Derbyshire
Last updated at 3:54 PM on 19th March 2011
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1367684/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-Fukushima-nulear-plant-radiation-leak-kill-people.html#ixzz1N7F7UFS3

Fukushima: There is no "safe" dose of radiation.
From Nukewatch of Wisconsin:
"Every U.S. agency that regulates radiation exposure agrees that there is no safe dose no matter how small…"

L.A. Steel is the host of the longest running liberal radio talk show in America. Since 2003, he has interviewed hundreds of high profile guest covering a myriad of subjects. His book, Naked at the Mic: The Surivial of a Liveral in a Time of Peril was published in 2007, however much has transpired since that first publication. Later this year, Open Books will publish the revided and updated version of Naked at the Mic in an eBook edition.
L.A. Steel