Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 23rd
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

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.