Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

From Fukushima To California

news2Film about the nuclear disaster in Japan to screen in Santa Cruz

Picture this: a white mushroom cloud rises into the sky as orange flames flicker beneath. Fukushima, Never Again, a documentary by filmmaker/activist Steve Zeltzer, begins with this harrowing image of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant explosion last year in Japan, which followed a massive earthquake and tsunami. The nuclear accident released radiation into the air, soil and the Pacific Ocean.

“Contamination of Fukushima is being washed into the ocean and [is] going around the world, including California,” says Zeltzer. “It’s spreading out across the entire Pacific region.”

Zeltzer, who works with the group No Nukes Action Committee and the Labor Video Project, which produced the documentary, is currently on a California screening tour with a delegation of activists from Japan, including Chieko Shiina, founder of Fukushima Women Against Nuclear Disaster. The tour includes a stop in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, July 11, at the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

Shiina was an organic farmer in the Fukushima area until the nuclear meltdown, and is featured in Fukushima, Never Again. Shiina is known for organizing the “Women’s 10 Month And 10 Day Sit-In” at Occupy Tokyo. Before focusing on nuclear issues, she organized against the continued U.S. military occupation of Okinawa and the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan.

Fukushima, Never Again aims to reveal the hidden history of Japanese nuclear power. “Most people don’t know it but the nuclear plants in Japan were built under military occupation,” explains Zeltzer, who visited Japan regularly over the past 20 years and met Shiina at a labor solidarity/anti-nuclear rally in Japan last year. (He also visited Fukushima eight months after the nuclear disaster.) He goes on to say that, after the end of World War II—and the U.S. bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima—the U.S. appointed what some view as war criminals from the Japanese government to lead television propaganda efforts to convince Japanese people that nuclear power was safe. “U.S. companies like Bechtel and General Electric profited from building these nuclear plants in Japan,” says Zeltzer.

This history came full circle on March 11, 2011, when there was a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan in an area known as the Ring of Fire. “It’s a major earthquake zone,” says Zeltzer. “Over the past 40 to 50 years, Japan has built, with the support of the U.S. government and corporations like General Electric, nuclear plants along this Ring of Fire.” Fukushima is about 150 miles from Tokyo.

The earthquake led to a tsunami that killed 20,000 people in Japan. As if to remind us all of the interconnectedness of Earth, significant damage occurred in the Santa Cruz Harbor when waves from the Japanese tsunami traveled 6,000 miles across the ocean, capsizing boats and crushing docks. Now there are reports that radiation from Fukushima is reaching the California coast.

“This is a major geological and environmental catastrophe for the world, not just Japan,” says Zeltzer. “Radioactive material is continuing to flow into rivers and the Pacific Ocean. That’s why tuna that was caught in San Diego had cesium in it—it’s directly from the meltdown of the Fukushima plant.”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown has raised new concerns about California’s nuclear power plants, located in earthquake zones similar to Japan’s. “One of the most dangerous plants is San Onofre,” Zeltzer says. “They just spent $650 million on four Mitsubishi steam turbines and the most recent was leaking.”

On the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, historic meetings took place between Japanese and Californian anti-nuclear activists to discuss common concerns. Zeltzer tells GT that Japanese activists brought radiation meters to California. “When they walked next to the plant at San Onofre, it was going off more than at Fukushima,” he says. “We need to examine the idea of having nuclear plants next to oceans and earthquake zones.”

In January, the unit three reactor at San Onofre was shutdown “after station operators detected a leak in a steam generator tube,” according to a website statement from Southern California Edison, the electric company that runs the plant and provides power to 14 million people across Central, coastal and Southern California. The other reactor at San Onofre, unit two, was already shutdown for scheduled maintenance. Anti-nuclear activists are now calling for a shut down of all of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States.

“The idea that you can improve nuclear plants to make them more safe is a lie,” Zeltzer says. “We don’t want a world in which you have to decontaminate nuclear dead zones, which is what Chernobyl is and what Fukushima is going to become. We need to build a mass movement to close down these plants.”

Fukushima, Never Again will be shown on Wednesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the new Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St. Filmmaker Steve Zeltzer will be present with Japanese activist Cheiko Shiina. The event is a fundraiser for Fukushima and California anti-nuclear groups, with a $10 suggested donation, $5 for low income, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. See nonukesactionwrodpress.com and FukushimaNeverAgain.org. John Malkin is a local journalist, musician and radio host. 


Photo Caption: Japanese anti-nuclear activist Chieko Shiina is featured in Fukushima, Never Again, the documentary that will screen in Santa Cruz on July 11. Photo by Steve Zeltzer.

Comments (4)Add Comment
...
written by Dan Madigan, July 15, 2012
Help discover what other fish carry Fukushima radiation to other parts of the world:



http://www.petridish.org/projects/fukushima-trips-transport-of-radionuclides-in-pelagic-species
...
written by Phoebe Sorgen, July 04, 2012
When is it showing in Berkeley?
...
written by Richard Gunstone, July 04, 2012
Please try to get 'Fukushima, never again' on you-tube or possibly even dvd ? I want to see it but i know it will not air in the uk.
...
written by g fv, July 03, 2012
I invite the filmmakers an opportunity to show the film here in the Vermont Yankee community;

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual