We have now a beautiful Sunday with the white snow world in bright sunshine after the spring equinox – untimely partly because of global warming, I think. There is more moisture in the air, so we have more rain, snow, tornados, hurricanes, and floods.
On the other side of the globe, people in the tsunami disaster areas also have a snow world but, without electricity, heat, water, clothing, or even food, it is not as comfortable as ours. There are many people, over ten thousand, who have lost their homes and families.
On top of the largest recorded earthquake and tsunami, the people of Japan are still struggling with the nuclear disaster. The no. 2 turbine building has reportedly showed 10,000,000 times higher radiation than inside the reactor. The gauge tripped, unable to show the exact number.
Due to the high radioactivity, it is very difficult to work on the cooling systems, which is essential in order to control the nuclear reactors. The cooling systems and their backup systems were all made inoperable by the big earthquake and tsunami, despite many previous warnings.
In 2005, a scholar warned at the Diet public hearing that Japan had entered an active earthquake period that could slow the economic boom enjoyed during the previous inactive period. He urged the nation to prepare for nuclear disasters resulting from earthquake. Later earthquakes changed nothing.
Claiming that nuclear power is absolutely safe, private companies, along with their contractors and cohorts, pushed nuclear power policy. Today’s New York Times reported that the company side boycotted the government’s safety regulation committee.
This power company cannot supply power to the cooling systems and control rooms by itself. Power companies worked to be exempted from compensation following extraordinary disasters. Once disasters happen, the government has to pay – so citizens pay with taxes and even their lives.
Our ignorance, attachment, and aversion cause all these problems and more for others. One human being has 60 billion cells, each of which contains chromosomes 1.8m long. The linking force of the double helix is a few electron Volts, but that of cesium137 is 661keV, and that of plutonium239 is 5.1MeV.
So, whenever they are irradiated, especially from the inside, chromosomes are damaged and disrupted at cell division. Radiation damages cells and organs, causing leukemia, cancer, and other medical problems. We didn’t know these facts, and we went along stockpiling nuclear waste – death ash.
The Hiroshima atomic bomb material was only 800g, but now a ton of uranium is used at a single 1MkW reactor in a year. This is the equivalent of 50,000 Hiroshima bombs; among the 432 reactors worldwide in 1910, this represents 400,000 Hiroshima bombs. A scholar calculated that the equivalent of 1,200,000 bombs has been piled up in Japan. It will be necessary to guard it for millions or billions of years: who and how will this be done?
Now, nuclear waste is temporarily stored at power plants or sent elsewhere, but nobody wants it. Some suggest storing it underground, but nobody knows what will happen when large earthquakes or other disasters occur. We just want electricity, without thinking about its consequences.
We cannot decommission or dismantle nuclear power plants, because they are too contaminated to do so. We must continue cooling them even after operations have stopped. The nuclear tomb at Chernobyl is deteriorating and may need further entombing soon.
The Chernobyl radiation circled the globe several times and created an off limits area of up to 700km from the site. Radiation from the Japanese reactor is contaminating nearby vegetables, milk, and the public water supply in Tokyo. We have experienced many episodes of nuclear testing around the world, which may be causing our cancers.
One reactor may explode, the radiation from which may make repair work impossible, and other reactors may follow suit. Then, radiation and contamination will reach all over the world. We cannot say, “It’s none of my business.” In this global age, everything is intertwined in one world.
Amidst the hardship of this disaster in Japan, someone there said, “All must help all.” If we do this, we can live on joy even without food, and we can die in peace. Otherwise, we will see all kinds of disasters, destruction, bloodshed, tearshed, death, and demise.
When we sit and settle in truth and peace, we can be freed from the three poisons and the five aggregates (which cause suffering), and go beyond self-centeredness, the root cause of our problems and sufferings. Then we can live our holy (wholly wholesome) and happy lives, living with all.