July 11, 2011

On June 2, SF Bay Area PSR President Dr. Robert M. Gould visited Sen. Barbara Boxer’s San Francisco Office as part of a contingent urging monitoring and testing of the radioactive plume from Japan’s nuclear reactor in Fukushima. Participants included Kimberly Roberson, Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network, who organized the meeting; Elanor Starmer, Western Regional Director of Food and Water Watch; Andrea Jacinto, Holistic Moms Network; and on conference call Diane D’Arrigo, Nuclear Information and Resource Service; and Jim Turner, Director of Citizens for Health. They met with Hilary Pearson, Sen. Boxer’s Special Projects Director and Jennifer Tang, Senior Field Representative.

The group expressed concern that people in the US do not have enough information about levels of radiation in our food and water. Asks for Boxer were:

1) To insist that the EPA monitor the Fukishima plume (rather than cutting back on monitoring, as has been happening)

2) To ensure adequate testing of foods, particularly items from Japan, but also including vegetables and drinks grown/produced in California

3) To ensure that state and national health officials have the information they need to communicate clearly to the public and to health providers about food safety

They further encouraged Boxer to convene Senatorial hearings on the leaking and dumping of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant, and urge the General Accounting Office look into it, from an environmental and health standpoint.

The group also highlighted that, in the beginning days of the Fukushima meltdown, it became clear that reactor sites in CA are not adequately monitored and we would be unprepared if a similar disaster happened here. Dr. Gould emphasized the importance of taking a preventive approach in line with national PSR’s call for suspending operations at reactors, including Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, which are situated on fault lines. National PSR is calling for the suspension of operations of reactors that share the same design as Fukushima’s (of which there are 23 in the US), a moratorium on building new nuclear reactor facilities, and ending loan guarantees to build them. The group asked Senator Boxer’s staff her position on not relicensing Diablo Canyon until safety issues have been addressed, including the level of vulnerability from the fault. Dr. Gould reported that the staff were open and receptive and would take these concerns to Washington, DC.