Labor Video Project: Labor, Energy & The Lessons Of Fukushima One Year On

Von: „Labor Video Project“ <>


Labor, Energy & The Lessons Of Fukushima One Year On

Datum: Sonntag, 11. März 2012 05:00

KPFA WorkWeek 3/9/12 OpEd And Calendar

Labor, Energy & The Lessons Of Fukushima One Year On

by Labor Video


Only a month after the meltdowns of Fukushima Daiich plant last year,

Liz Schuler, the Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO said that nuclear

power could be made safe and these plants provided good working family



The idea that good working class jobs are justification for the

continued operation of nuclear power plants is not unique. The

Japanese trade union federation Rengo and the Electrical workers union

which represents Japanese nuclear utility workers has also opposed the

closures of the plants.


One of the most despicable practices at these  plants in Japan is the

use of temporary day workers at the plants with no safety training or

preparation for working at a nuclear plant.


The Japanese Yakuza has also been involved in recruiting these day

workers with the collusion of the nuclear utility operators and the

Japanese government. They are then moved from plant to plant get

around safety rules.


US workers in the nuclear power and weapon industry have been

contaminated for decades.


These workers have had to fight for their healthcare rights in a

system in which most workers have to have an employer for healthcare.

If you are sick without a job you are in trouble. In Japan, nuclear

plant workers have to prove that they got sick as a result of working

at the plants and other diseases other than cancers are not covered.


The dirty little secret about the nuclear plant meltdown at Fukushima

Japan is that the Tokyo Electric Power company and the government had

been told for decades that the plant had serious problems. In fact bay

area General Electric nuclear inspector Kei Sugaoka had inspected that

very plant and discovered serious health and safety problems. He was

ordered to edit video tape of a cracked dryer at the plant even though

this is a criminal offense in the United States. After he was layed

off he blew the whistle about this cover-up and was never hired back

for further investigations by GE.


There are  dozens of other nuclear plants in the US with the same GE

design as the Fushima plant and the Obama administration along with

the Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC  are pushing to allow them to be

re-licensed for another twenty years although they are already over 40

years old.


San Onofre Nuclear Power plant near San Diego and next to the bread

basket Imperial Valley is another one of these dangerous plants. Like

the Diablo Canyon plant near San Louis Obispo it has been built on

major fault lines.


When the NRC was forced to come to San Clemente which is next the

plant nuclear whistleblowers spoke out.


James Chambers who was a nuclear inspector at the plant which is owned

by the Southern California Edison Company spoke out about the serious

health and safety hazards at this plant.


Instead of taking his complaints seriously and making sure that he and

others were not retaliated against the NRC allowed Southern California

Edison to harass him and others out of their jobs. You would think

that it would be a criminal offense for firing and retaliations

against whistleblowers at nuclear plants but not one nuclear power

plant utility official has ever gone to jail for covering up health

and safety problems in this country. At the same time thousands of

used nuclear rods are piling up at these plants in California and

other plants with no place to go. They are a ticking time bomb ready

to go off.


The answer should be obvious. The nuclear industry and the utilities

control the regulators and agencies that are supposed to protect the

safety of workers and the public.


As one activist in Japan near the Fukushima plant said accidents are

bound to happen and it is only a matter of time before another plant

has a meltdown.


Private control of the energy industry is a deadly threat to our

health and safety as the industry controls the agencies set up to

regulate it. The California Legislative Analyst has even lied to the

people of California by saying that if San Onofre and Diablo Canyon

were closed it would cost the people of the state billions. They got

their figures of course from PG&E as well as Southern California

Edison and they repeated them with no independent evidence in order to

stop people from signing an initiative to force the closure of these

plants unless there is a place to store the used rods. The ballot

initiative can be found at


The response of the Obama administration to these growing dangers has

been to support a new design for more nuclear plants, subsidize new

plants in Georgia with $8.3 billion and actually support the

construction of “Small ‘Modular’ Reactors made by Babcock & Wilcox

that would be built around the country. It is time to develop

alternative energy sources and stop the dangerous proliferation of

these deadly dangerous plants.



Trade unionists and activists are seeking to educate working people

about these issues and there will be a rally at the Bechtel Company

this Sunday at 12:00 noon. It is located at 50 Beale St. near Mission.

There will also be anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown on Sunday

evening at 6:30 PM at ILWU Local 34 which is located at 810 2nd St at

King St next to the AT&T stadium. You can find out more about this at

or call (415)282-1908.


This is Steve Zeltzer with WorkWeek Radio. If you have events for the

calendar send them to info@workweekradio.or<>