As the story of Fukushima unfolds, we hear the heartbreaking testimonials of anguished parents who were not told of the invisible clouds of airborne radiation that blanketed their communities in the aftermath of reactor meltdown initiated by damage done by the devastating earthquake of March 11, 2011.
This is very much a repeat of the Hanford Downwinders’ story. Watch this video, and mourn with me.
Fukushima and Hanford: A Link of Anguish
Ask anyone, anywhere, what happened in Fukushima, Japan in 2011, and you’ll probably get an answer that at least hovers near the truth—the words “tsunami” and “nuclear meltdown” will be mumbled.
Ask anyone, anywhere, what happened in Richland, Washington, to the people who lived near the Hanford nuclear bomb-building facility decades ago, and you’ll generally get blank stares.
But Hanford and Fukushima are flip sides of the same disastrous coin.
The US government’s response to the suffering of Hanford Downwinders has been both ineffectual and harmful. The Japanese government’s response to the suffering of innocent Fukushima victims has been both ineffectual and harmful.
I am a victim of the decisions made by Hanford operators that resulted in secret radiation releases from the facility onto downwind communities. The radiation poisoning that destroyed my health and killed my mother and father was not our fault. The cover-ups, the failure to provide medical monitoring and support, the mountains of money made by big corporate clean up contractors while individuals like us were left to die—these were not our fault either.
Hanford downwinders have been paying the price for forty years. Fukushima victims are just beginning to pay those same devastating tolls.
Fukushima Daiichi downwind populations were not told to evacuate in time to avoid exposures. Already, victims are experiencing the first signs of radiogenic disease.
I am haunted by this.
If the radiation from Fukushima reaches our coasts; if other nuclear meltdowns occur in America or elsewhere—I see nothing in place to prevent more innocent citizens from exposure and its damaging effects once again.
We must protect the citizens of the world.
In the Fukushima-related posts you’l find areas of commonality, as well as resources and references. I hope this will help readers understand that these issues matter to all of us, wherever we live on this planet. Without our attention and activism, governmental and corporate interests will always trump individual need in times of nuclear disaster.
Common Concerns (An Ongoing List)
|When public was informed:||after exposure||years after exposure|
|Potassium iodide (KI) tablets given?*||no||no|
|Order given to rush to shelter?||no||no|
|Thyroid problems and cancers developing in children?||yes||yes|
*potassium iodide (KI) tablets minimize thyroid and parathyroid damage from radioactive iodine exposure. Historic Hanford documents indicate that Hanford officials did not provide KI tablets in order to “avoid panic” among the populace.