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2011 March 30 - April 5 [US FORCES]

column  US must stop deploying N-powered carrier to ‘Tomodachi’ nation

April 5, 2011
“Current” column

The U.S. military is being engaged in the disaster relief and aid operation, code named “Operation Tomodachi (friend)” in the wake of the Great East Japan Disaster. A fleet of U.S. military ships are mobilized off the coast of Sendai City of Miyagi Prefecture, one of the disaster-hit prefectures in the Tohoku region. Photos and documents regarding the operation are distributed to the media every day.

At the same time, the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington on March 21 left its homeport, the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture, to protect its crew members and the ship itself from the on-going nuclear leakage crisis at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant. The ship entered the U.S. Navy Sasebo Base in Nagasaki Prefecture on April 5.

The George Washington has two nuclear reactors and is described as a “moving nuclear power plant.” The Japanese and the U.S. governments pushed through the deployment of the carrier to the Yokosuka base by saying, “Four-stage protection barriers ensure the safety of the nuclear-powered carrier.” However, in the case of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, radioactive substances have leaked into the air, soil, and seawater because “all five-stage accident-prevention measures” failed to work.

The “safty myth” of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers has little basis. In the United States in 1999, an emergency shutdown of two nuclear reactors occurred on the USS John C. Steniss. The possibility of a meltdown was also reported at the time.

Civil organizations in Kanagawa Prefecture have always been highly concerned about the possibility of a natural disaster similar to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hitting the George Washington. Tsunamis triggered by an earthquake can damage nuclear reactor cooling systems. Safety features on the carrier may be inadequate if there is a failure in the supply of power and water from the Yokosuka base. The situation may degenerate to a level of crisis similar to what is ongoing at the Fukushima nuclear power plan.

The U.S. military is providing assistance to disaster victims while endangering Japanese people’s lives with the potential of causing nuclear accidents. If the U.S. military wants to call itself “Tomodachi”, it must stop deploying the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Japan which is prone to earthquakes.
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