The occasion was the 25th anniversary
of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. We gathered on the steps of San
Francisco's Federal Building to talk about what that means. The crowd
wasn't much. I wasn't until I got close, saw friends and heard the
sound system I was sure I was in the right place. Then I started tuning
in on the
speakers. Here is what I saw.
Mokai was singing when I started paying
attention. Maybe the song was Bob
Dylan's Blowing in the Wind. Maybe it was something original. Then he
said a few words about what a
threat to life Chernobyl and Fukushima are.
The guy from Poor Magazine talked about
finding documentary proof in the minutes of the NRC proceedings that in
many cases the people regulating the nuclear industry are just mouthing
words piped to them by their staffs. Sometimes they don't even care
what's going on.
Carol showed us this book she had
written more than twenty years ago that explained what an insidious
problem to fight nuclear radiation is. She explained how radiation
exposure manifests itself as different kinds of health problems that
seem unrelated. She said it is up to all of us to keep the nuclear
industry from poisoning our planet.
Don is gathering signatures on a letter
that asks California to not relicense Diablo Canyon and San Onofre for
twenty more years. He invited all of us to sign on now or submit
letters later asking the regulators not to approve PG&E's request
for a license extension.
The guy with the stuffed toy told us
that Roo the Kangaroo loves us, and he wants us all to be happy.
Steve from the labor movement said that
they are having a protest of the cover-up of nuclear radiation coming
from inside and outside the USA. He asked "Why they are suddenly so
quiet about the radiation from Fukushima?" and "How come they aren't
talking about the Metropolis Honeywell Nuclear Processing Facility in
Illinois that had to be shut down because it was too radioactive for
humans to be safe on the site?" He gave out copies of the press release
about it. Click his picture to see that.
Craig from NIRS said that one million
people have died because of the nuclear fallout from Chernobyl. He
hopes that in the future we will make wiser choices on the subject.
David said that nuclear power is a
complete fraud, held up only by large political contributions from the
nuclear industry. He explained that no insurance company on the planet
is willing to insure a nuclear power plant because of the disasters
we've already experienced. He pointed out that rather than figure out
how to store the waste successfully, we have instead foisted off the
problem on our children as yet another unfunded liability.
Gerard said that what the Russian Govt.
is most afraid of is a big fire in the nuclear exclusion zone around
Chernobyl. He explained that plant life has been growing amok around
Chernobyl, making part of its flesh the nuclear fallout that landed in
the vicinity. Sooner or later all that biomass is going to go up in
smoke, and when that happens we will have another spreading nuclear
cloud similar to the one that started the alarm bells ringing 25 years
ago. He predicted that Chernobyl will go on being a problem for
hundreds of years.
Don explained that he is worried about
nuclear power because as a father and grandfather he has an obligation
to pass on the world to his children in as good a shape as possible.
Then he sang a song he'd made up for the Fukushima protest he'd
attended a week before. It had a bluesy feel and considered some of the
similarities and differences between Hiroshima and Fukushima.
Joe from Berkeley thanked everybody for
being here. He said that the latest news is that the Japanese
government says that it will be nine months before Fukushima is
stabilized. Only then will we know how much worse than Chernobyl it
really is. Then he pointed out that we now get nuclear fallout every
time it rains because of Fukushima. The only part of that we can
protect ourselves from is the radioactive iodine. Everything else we
are powerless to keep our bodies from absorbing. He finished by
pointing out that social change only happens when we take it personally.
The blond said "shutting down nuclear
power is a no brainer." She went on to say that participating in the
nuclear industry is asking too much of people that haven't been born
"Chernobyl is an ignominious event" was
what Jim started with. He explained that as a member of Veterans for
Peace, his job is partly to prevent future wars. Since one of the main
causes of war is arguing over resources, he is working on more
equitable systems. Then he pointed out that nuclear power is expensive,
and it's centralized generators make it appealing to police states. He
asked "is nuclear power the best way to boil water?" He answered his
question by mentioning solar and wind as better power sources. About
couple of dozen young school kids with a few adults went by, reminding
us that not all who are affected by our decisions on nuclear power are
yet able to comprehend what's going on.
Fight the power!