And We All Sang “Waltzing Matilda”


There was a short item in the news today from Japan. I’ll add a link to the story at the end, but the main thrust is this: TEPCO reduced the sub-contract work force at Fukashima by 60% because there is nothing left they can do.

“The next thing to do is to check the state of container vessels pressure vessels, define the actual point of the leakage of contaminated water, and action to stop the leakage, but there is zero plan / idea how to manage it.”

It then goes on to say that the damaged reactors are way too hot to work in and that isn’t going to change.

What this implies is that it won’t change in centuries. Unless, of course, the melted core actually reaches the ground water table. Then it might get a lot worse.

Meanwhile our government and the French government refuse to abandon nuclear power and continue to talk of building new plants without addressing the issues that caused the Fukashima plants to fail.

The Fukashima plant disaster put an enormous amount of radioactive material into the air and water. If you eat fish that was imported from China, or even canned tuna, or if you just breathe the air, there is a chance your children will die a little earlier because of this than if it didn’t happen. There are dozens of other industries that all poison us…just a little. Thing is, you add them all together and the total isn’t little at all.

In 2009, for the first time, the average life span of an American actually declined by a few months. This was quickly dismissed as a statistical anomaly. I don’t believe it was. I think it was a warning of things to come if we continue to trade away environmental protection for jobs and economic benefits that never really materialize.

Asthma is a good example. I am an asthmatic. When I was a small boy fifty years ago I was one of a very few in my grammar school. Now it seems like every child I know carries an inhaler. Every respiratory specialist that I talk to says it is likely environmental pollutants and possibly food additives that make the difference.  Smoking has been drastically reduced. We can’t blame second hand smoke any more.

In the 1959 film about the aftermath of a nuclear war, “On the Beach”, one of the most powerful scenes had most of the characters at a large party as a lethal cloud of fallout drew nearer by the day. The scene ended with a lone voice singing the last verse of “Waltzing Matilda”

Up jumped the swagman, sprang into the billabong
“You’ll never take me alive!” said he
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong
“You’ll never take me alive.” said he

The following is the closing shot of the film.

Be seeing you.

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