On Saturday I reported on Japan's 'Hydrangea Revolution'. The massive demonstrations have been ongoing for the past few weeks and are scheduled to keep right on going until the government backs down and stops the restart of the Ohi nuclear facility, where one unit was started over the weekend and two others are in preparation for restart.
The people want Ohi to shut down and stay shut down, along with the rest of Japan's nuclear energy reactors. The've had quite enough of fear, confusion and great loss. Not to mention baldfaced lies, corporate-governmental collusion, inadequate evacuations, sloppy to nonexistent decontamination, radiation in the air, water and food supply, corporate evasion of compensation, etc., etc., etc. All of this following the multiple-meltdown nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi beginning 16 months ago and continuing right up to this very moment. Optimistic projections by self-serving nuclear promoters claim that the mess should be cleaned up and secured in just 30 years or so. More realistic projections are ten times longer than that.
This past weekend the tens of thousands of Japanese citizens protesting on the streets or in subway tunnels while blocked by police got some help from a few tens of thousands of activist jellyfish who blocked the seawater intake for the restarted reactor 3 at Ohi. The senior vice minister of safety for the restart reports that the jellyfish were successfully "repelled" from their front line positions and as of today, July 9, the plant is now at full power. Ohi also had some issues over the weekend with lightning setting off radiation alarms outside units 1 and 2.
One might begin to suspect that Mother Nature doesn't approve any more than the citizens of Japan approve of this blind push to save the Japanese nuclear industry from its more than well-deserved demise. In which case it wouldn't hurt to remember that it was Mother Nature that took 'em down at Fukushima in the first place (aided and abetted by gross incompetence and criminal complicity among responsible humans).
Also, the internet-savvy hacker/leakers at Anonymous held their demonstrations in Shibuya and Tokyo on Saturday (July 7), and released on the same day 40 gigabytes of inside [nuclear] information to public outlets for dissemination. That release includes a private letter circulated by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, an industry group, which basically admits that there's no shortage of power in Japan without nukes, and that threats of brownouts are just for the purpose of pressuring for permission to restart as many reactors as haven't already been destroyed. Regardless of questions about safety or overwhelming public opinion against restarting any of them… ever.
Despite increasing police crack-downs, the demonstrations have been growing every week. On Friday nights the people gather outside the Prime Minister's office and residence in Tokyo, or are content to make their stand and demands wherever the police have them corralled. The demonstrations continue during the day on Saturdays in Tokyo and other cities throughout Japan, and outside of Ohi there is no let-up. It is clear that the Japanese no longer want nuclear electricity, and no longer trust either the industry or their government to provide power to their society. While many old coal/diesel plants were brought back on line to make up nuclear shortfalls, new natural gas plants have been built and brought on line to help, and expansion of solar installations with a new feed in tariff is beginning to rival Germany in only one year's time.
The fossil plants will be taken back out of service as renewables are brought on line, including offshore wind expansions. There is already no need for any of the nuclear plants, and the Japanese people know it because they're living it every day. I think it's time for government lapdogs to pay attention to the people, and for the industry to swallow their reality pills and clean up their mess.
Japan will survive without nuclear power, and be better for it. And if they can do it, so could we. The choices are open to us too, we just need to make them. And tell our government the same thing Japan is telling theirs... No Nukes.