Sunday was the first anniversary of the nuclear meltdowns, explosions and fires at Fukushima in Japan. Australian governments and uranium mining companies need to be held to account for their role in the disaster.
The impacts of the nuclear disaster have been horrendous. Over 100,000 people are still homeless and some will never be able to return. Homeless, jobless, separated from friends and family, the toll on people’s health and mental well-being has been significant − one indication being a sharp increase in suicide rates. One farmer’s suicide note simply read: “I wish there wasn’t a nuclear plant.”
Early indications are that the long-term cancer death toll will be in the range of several hundred up to 1000. The death toll could rise significantly if many people resettle in contaminated areas. Tens of thousands of people are grappling with the dilemma of going home to live in contaminated areas or starting from scratch elsewhere. Direct and indirect economic costs of the disaster will amount to several hundred billions dollars.
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The Australian Conservation Foundation is having an anti-uranium rally on Sunday to mark “one year since the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster”.
Nearly 20,000 people died during the quake off northern Japan and following tsunami. That was a disaster. True horror. It was much more visual than the 2004 Boxing Day disaster which killed 12 times more people but didn’t have a nuke. It didn’t have the impending doom story-line, only actual suffering. Nobody really wants to see footage of amputations, infections, crushed limbs, grief and loss. It’s just too distressing.
Impending doom is much more fun, especially when there is a villain. Somebody to blame. You get to enjoy sticking the verbal boot in. I’m often tempted to believe in God just so I can blame her for natural disasters.
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