03 April 2011

Japan: Greedy Big Business: Save Company Not Lives



From Denny:  Dragging into a one month crisis it is still unbelievable how TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has the gall to continue placing the equivalent of band-aids on a life-threatening nuclear crisis. Today they threw wet concrete, newspaper shreddings, sawdust and sand onto an eight-inch crack where radiated water was leaking out into the ocean. Every decision made so far has been to try and save the nuclear reactors rather than entomb them in concrete, killing them - and the company's investment - forever.

Fukushima Fifty 

The Fukushima Fifty, the now famous nuclear plant workers heralded as national heroes in Japan, are on what they know to be a suicide job. They are attempting to gain control of this situation and save the lives of their countrymen by avoiding the worst nuclear disaster from taking place.

The sad thing is that these brave men must pay the price of their lives in exchange for the greed of this Big Business energy company, TEPCO, the largest utility in Asia. It's all about saving the wealth and share worth of the company than about saving the country and future generations of Japan.

TEPCO company worth lurking in the cellar 

To date, TEPCO has already lost up to 70 percent of its share price as of last week, primarily because of the current nuclear disaster, coupled with the earthquake and tsunami damage.

Anti-nuclear protests in Japan 

Now, anti-nuclear protests are breaking out in Japan. Today, about 250 people turned out calling for an end to nuclear power.

"It's high time we abolished nuclear power plants," said Makoto Yanagida, the co-director of the anti-nuclear group Tanpopo ("Dandelion") House, which organized the rally. "We are calling on those responsible for the disaster to stop nuclear power and protect our posterity."  They held high a sign denouncing Japan's government, "Shame on you."

One of the marchers today, Hiroko Ike, a 32-year-old woman from Tokyo, said the obvious close ties between TEPCO and the government make it difficult for her to believe any of the official pronouncements about this crisis.

She said: "I can't believe the government any more. It sounds stupid, but I want to escape Japan. Most Japanese oppose nuclear energy. But I think our opinion doesn't have any power with our government."

So, too, are threats growing in intensity and frequency against TEPCO employees as police were ordered out by the hundreds to protect various TEPCO facilities. The nation's trust in TEPCO has dwindled to the lowest levels as the company has dawdled and mishandled the entire situation.

Criticism mounts daily in Japan 

Criticism mounts daily along with 40,000 complaints registered every day at TEPCO offices.  Clearly, the public is frustrated with the incompetence of the company's handling of the crisis.  Their situation is as ridiculous as President Obama continuing to allow BP to handle the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.  They never did handle it properly, constantly finding ways to put band-aids on it rather than do the right thing from the beginning.

Why?  Because the multi-national oil giant wanted to save its investment rather than consider the harm to the environment, people's livelihoods and people's health on the entire Gulf Coast.  Now we witness Big Business working over time to save their investment in Japan rather than save lives.  Will no one call Big Business on their greed and wrong doing?

Public confidence plummets in Japan

The public confidence further eroded this week when TEPCO finally got around to announcing the death of two of the plant workers found dead near reactor number four.  The two men died on 11 March but to hear TEPCO tell it the bodies were just found four days ago..  They claimed they did not announce it because they wanted to talk to the families first.

Come on; who believes it takes three weeks to notify families?  It's this very kind of shell game of misdirection that so angers the Japanese and world public. The TEPCO company culture is as sly and cunning as BP's. Even with change of leadership at the top the lies and misdirection continues unabated.

$1 billion dollar sheets to cover the reactors

The latest weird idea that is virtually useless is the one proposed to manufacture huge sheets to cover the reactors like some kind of no-security security blanket.  Sounds more like "out of sight, out of mind" thinking. Nuclear experts rejected the idea, saying it would do little to prevent the spread of radiation.  A government official is also worried it would give the Japanese people a false sense of security.

Current levels of radiation in the sea water

Iodine-131 has been found up to 4,385 times above the standard.  Fortunately, this radioactive iodine does break down within a week or so to less toxic levels.  However,  Cesium-137 was found at 527 times beyond normal and this substance is not so pretty.  It's time to break down is about 30 years.  There is good cause as to why the Japanese people - and the world - do not believe any announcements from the government or TEPCO.



 








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