Do Western Elites Really Care About Fukushima?
By Staff News & Analysis - March 17, 2011

European markets plunge as Japan nuclear crisis branded "out of control" … Stockmarkets across Europe plunged again on Wednesday after Guenther Oettinger, the EU's Energy Commissioner, said that the nuclear crisis in Japan was "out of control". In London, the FTSE 100 index tumbled to close down 1.7pc to 5598.23 – having remained firm after Japan's Nikkei bounced by 5.68pc overnight. The Commissioner, who has been leading the 27-member states' response to the nuclear disaster, added that Japan faced "further catastrophic events" that "could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island." – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Don't worry. The experts will fix it.

Free-Market Analysis: Japan has called in the cavalry. Having struggled with the failing nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan has requested US aid and the US has responded with a panoply of high-tech solutions. Sometime today, apparently, drones will soar over Fukushima in an attempt to gain more information on the damage to the reactors themselves. Meanwhile, the Japanese are constructing a power line to the stricken reactors with the idea that once power is reestablished, the plants' pumping mechanism can be restarted. Here's hoping it works.

The drones equipped with infrared sensors may provide important or even critical information. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano, now on the scene, recently restated what the Japanese government has already mentioned, that Fukushima reactors No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 are in partial "melt down." Amano used the words "very serious" and added that spent nuclear fuel pools of reactors No. 3 and No. 4 were also at risk of melting down.

The US military has also provided high-pressure water pumps to Japan that will be used to cool the reactors. Observing all this hyper-strenuous effort, one begins to contemplate the irony: The West has long been concerned about nuclear materials slipping into "terrorist" hands, perhaps the emphasis has been misplaced. Western security chiefs might have been better off, one could argue, examining the safety of existing nuclear power plants, especially those built on active earthquake faults.

But here is the truth: Western elites are likely far more concerned with marketing atomic power than with safety. As regards Fukushima, the Mark 1-style nuclear plants have long been known to be questionable. Three GE engineers actually resigned over these issues, having to do directly with the construction of Mark 1 type nuclear reactors, which are still functioning not only in Japan but also in the US and elsewhere. It seems, in fact, to have been a fairly popular model.

The UN energy watchdog – the IAEA – is now leading the charge along with the US military, according to the mainstream media. But this is a fundamental misreading of the IEAE's mission, which is to PROMOTE the use of "peaceful" nuclear power and to deemphasize military uses. What this means in practice is that the IAEA likely works closely with Western nuclear power vendors to place their products, mostly in developing countries. This is the IAEA's true mandate. It says so in black and white: The IAEA is set up to encourage peaceful uses nuclear power. The IAEA's basic mandate has little or nothing to do with "safety," or not originally anyway.

In an exclusive live interview last evening with Russia Today (RT), Daily Bell chief editor, Anthony Wile, discussed these issues. To watch the video, click here now.

One wonders at this point, exactly what IAEA experts are going to do. One wonders, in fact, how the US military is going to be anymore effective than Fukushima nuclear technicians who know the plants inside-out. It is not yet time for post-mortems with the crisis raging, but that has not stopped the mainstream media from delivering them. The consensus seems to be that no matter how the current crisis ends the nuclear industry is probably dead – yet again. It seems to die every couple of decades, each time there is another disaster: First Three Mile Island, then Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Bad news in packages of three.

The current nuclear horror, no matter how abysmal, won't stop corporations and the IAEA from continuing to flog nuclear power of course. There's lots of money in atomic energy. It's a very complex, difficult technology, and thus beloved by multinationals because there is such a high barrier to entry. Your average entrepreneur in a garage is not going to build one of these power stations. Actually, that doesn't make the technology any better or safer only more expensive.

Now it's true that there are modern designs that are supposedly considerably less risky. Some of the latest designs are smaller and more compact. Others are intended to be buried 30 feet down in the earth. But perhaps a cynic might argue that no design is absolutely safe, no matter how deeply buried. In fact, there are disturbing reports that plutonium waste is seeping upward from spent nuclear fuel that has already been "safely" buried in "stable" geological formations in the US Midwest and elsewhere. Nuclear energy is always dangerous stuff, especially the radioactive byproducts.

Perhaps it was meant to be. Accidents such as these make Green power more attractive, and that certainly plays to the Anglo-American power-elite agenda. Alternative power – wind, solar, etc. – is what the elites seek because such power sources only put the middle class under yet more pressure, creating shortages, rationing and more government control.

After Thoughts

The top Western elites are likely not much concerned about Fukushima or nuclear disasters in general, no matter the spin. Nuclear power is merely another reason to build a global regulatory superstructure. The complexity makes nuclear power attractive to elites who want to emphasize to middle classes that life is horribly complicated and beyond their control. Alternatively, nuclear disasters encourage Green energy technologies, which are ineffective and lead to rationing, more government control and the erection of even more global infrastructure to deal with the "energy crisis." Nothing is ever as it seems.

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