Back in 1981 myself and my father and two other men set out from Comox on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the site of a Canadian military base on a quest by bicycle. The purpose of the quest was to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear weapons and, by association, nuclear power all across the country, with our final goal being Toronto, a 3500 mile trip in 36 days. We were backed in our endeavor by the Canadian Peace Congress, at the time one of the most influential groups that powered a very strong peace movement. Over 100,000 people would attend the annual peace march in Vancouver and there was a lot of things going on, including 1 million plus strong rallies in New York City, all protesting nuclear weapons, nuclear power and war in general. It was a heady time to be involved and I really felt a sense of purpose, that I was doing something that was going to make a difference. During our cross-Canada tour we got a lot of support, had people joining us for short portions of our trip and doing radio, TV and newspaper interviews all across the country. In Winnipeg the mayor came out and declared the city a nuclear weapons free zone and the Cyclists For Peace cross country awareness campaign was, in the minds of many, a great success.
30 years later we have Fukishima, following nuclear disasters at 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl, all because of nuclear power plants having major meltdowns from either natural disasters or human and mechanical failures in their safety systems. Fukishima looks like it will be the worst ever accident and three years after the initial tsunami and earthquake caused catastrophic failure and meltdown of multiple nuclear reactors, the worst could be yet to come. The mainstream media in Canada and the USA and much of the world are not saying much about what is going on in Fukishima, while Japan has passed legislation making it illegal to report anything about what is going on there, so nobody is really sure how bad things are. It is bad, no doubt about it, and it will only get worse while the world stands by and allows the situation to deteriorate and the oceans and air continue to be affected by the nuclear fallout coming from Fukishima.
I have lived in Victoria, British Columbia, for over 20 years, since 1991, and in May of 2012 moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta, to work as a technician fixing computers, printers, point of sale systems and other types of electronics. My reasons for moving were purely financial, as I had struggled for years living in Victoria to make a decent living and the job offer in Fort McMurray was just too good to resist. My goal was to live and work in northern Alberta, pay off my debts, pay off my mortgage in Victoria and move back there to retire, but now I wonder if that will even be possible. If the worst case scenario happens in Japan it is possible that the entire population on the west coast of Canada and the USA will be forced to evacuate due to lethal levels of radiation in the air and water. Worst case scenario is that the rest of the reactors at Fukishima melt down, that the nuclear plants to the south of Fukishima are forced to evacuate and they melt down and then further to the south another nuclear plant is also forced to evacuate and it, too, has a nuclear meltdown. The result would be the evacuation of the 30 million people in Tokyo and that Tokyo would be abandoned, as lethal radiation levels would make the city uninhabitable for many years. Projections of that scenario could mean 140 people in Japan dying over the next 20 years because of the radiation levels that would ensue.
Now that is the worst case scenario and I certainly hope that does not happen, as I would like very much to retire back to Victoria. What this does do for me is make me remember why I did what I did over 30 years ago, riding across this great country on a bicycle to promote awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. That danger is now become fact, history from multiple nuclear accidents and the legacy of nuclear power. We have tens of thousands of people in the world today dead from or suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning and possibly hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions more who will be affected by Fukishima. The true effects from this latest accident may not be known for many years, as the effects from radiation poisoning are long lasting and often not lethal immediately, but for certain there are many more people who will suffer and die because of this.
So, it raises the question, are the dangers nuclear power finally clear to people in the world today? Are the populations of the USA, Russia and Japan going to stand by and allow more accidents like 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukishima to happen? Do people really think that this is the last of these types of accidents, when there are hundreds of nuclear reactors around the world, all using the same type of technology that has obviously proven to be inadequate to prevent these types of disasters? Is the answer to improve the technology to make nuclear power safer, and if so why has that not already been done? No, the answer is to shut them all down, every single nuclear power station in the world and do it now, force the power companies running these places to shut them down. It is time to change the governments that will not make this so and install governments that will make this happen and it needs to be done now, before it is too late!
In Japan it is already too late and the government there is trying to hide from the rest of the world what is really happening. That government needs to be taken down, needs to be replaced wholesale and a government is needed that will pull out all the stops to try and get the Fukishima situation under control by whatever means are necessary. That includes calling on all the top people in the world, all of the greatest minds and whatever armies are needed to go in and get this power plant shut down and contained. If that does not happen I fear it may be too late for everyone, as the entire northern hemisphere is polluted with the radiation from the Fukishima nuclear power plant.
I am feeling a lot like I did over 30 years ago, not that I am actually doing something that will change the world, but more like I have a purpose again, that it is time to once again raise awareness, to take some action and try to initiate some change in people’s thinking about nuclear power and I only hope it is not too late for me.