Common Sense Canadian

David Suzuki: Fukushima the most terrifying situation imaginable

PostedNovember 5, 2013 by in International

A video of Dr. David Suzuki’s comments at a recent University Alberta event is going viral, elevating concerns raised by independent media outlets like The Common Sense Canadian surrounding the dire, ongoing risks posed by Japan’s badly-damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant.

In the short video from October 31, posted by Aaron Paquette, Suzuki explains the catastrophic risk from 1,300 spent fuel rods which sit precariously perched in cooling tanks atop the flimsy Reactor 4 building. Another earthquake could crack the tanks, causing the rods to melt down, spewing massive quantities of radioactive debris into the atmosphere. Suzuki’s comments begin about 2 minutes in, following those of co-presenter, scientist David Schindler. Suzuki warns:

I have seen a paper which says that if, in fact, the fourth plant goes under an earthquake and those rods are exposed, it’s ‘Bye, bye, Japan,’ and everybody on the west coast of North America should evacuate. Now if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is.

Suzuki calls for the Japanese government to welcome help from the international community in addressing this dire threat.

As we reported recently, Japan shows signs of taking the crisis more seriously – ratifying a program to remove the spent fuel rods from Reactor 4. The former prime minister who presided over the disaster, Naoto Kan, also recently publicly called for the world to learn from Fukushima and move away from nuclear power – though he offered little contrition for the reaction of his government or TEPCO to the ongoing disaster.

The Common Sense Canadian first raised these issues surrounding Reactor 4 a year and a half ago, in a story titled “Fukushima Reactor 4: The most important story nobody’s talking about”.


About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.


    serious joe

    The Fruitfly doctor thinks Fukushimi is the most terrifying situation… personally, I see the financial folly of the United States government as a far bigger threat to Canada. Why do these greenies speak of sustainable agriculture, and say nothing of sustainable fiscal policy?


    David Suzuki is a scientist. He should know better than to publish outrageous comments on science issues without quoting peer-reviewed citations or references.

    The same applies to Helen Caldicot who relied on highly-flawed papers and emotionalism about atom bombs, ignoring the fact that we are all exposed to higher levels of radiation every time we get an x-ray in the dentist’s chair or a CAT scan, or live downwind from a coal-fired electrical plant. Those of us born in the 50s received much heavier does of radiation from atmospheric atom bomb tests. You have much more to fear from Hanford in Washington State than from Fukushima.

    Uber greenies George Monbiot and Mark Lynas have drawn the opposite conclusions from Suzuki about the effects of radiation beyond Fukushima, notwithstanding its poor design and location, and they backed their claims with researched and tested data and peer-reviewed studies. They applied the same rigour to nukes most environmentalists apply to peer review and the scientific method regarding climate change, and they changed their minds as the result of their research. They cited example after example of the environmental movement abandoning their belief in science on one subject for the emotions of fear on another to make a point (and, shall we admit, to obtain donations?). Monbiot and Lynas have used the same rigour on the coal industry and found it has a far more terrible effect on human and ecosystem health than nukes.

    No one is saying Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were not highly flawed in their design, siting, operation and funding, but overall the effect of nucear power on the world has been wrought with far more misplaced drama than it deserves.

      serious joe

      The fruit fly doctor DOES know better. He’s doing what he does best – inflame the fears of the uninformed. Make no mistake, he is not doing science. He’s no longer a scientist, he’s and activist, and he’s good at what he does. As long as the general public does not understand logic (he’s a walking, talking, “appeal to authority” fallacy) he will get away with it.

        serious joe

        MB is talking sense here, but I hope the frutfly doctor’s message induces panic into some of the rich property owners along the west coast. If they sell out, I might be able to afford to buy some really nice houses. Then I’d move myself and my children and grandchildren into the lovely villas, and feed them with Frasier Valley berries and Alberta beef.

        MB missed one other point – have you noticed that Hiroshima has never been abandoned? People live on ground zero and throughout the fallout zones. They don’t grow three legs, either.

    Damien Gillis

    Suzuki calls on public to help with ocean water radiation testing. Learn how you can help:

    Ian Traynor

    I am new to this site and I have to say that I love the place. This is the kind of news forum that we need more people to pay attention too. Forget the bullshit state run media, if you are looking for real important truths in life, things that are going to affect our lives profoundly, its places like this where you will find the information.
    Its time to take back our planet, people. Lets get rid of these dangerous secretive governments before its too late.


    Would it be too much to ask to determine what “paper” David Suzuki is referring to?
    Since he seems to be the first person to reference this “paper”?
    I find it somewhat incredible that no one else is talking about Japan going “bye bye” and the “entire west coast of North America being evacuated” ( David Suzuki’s words, not mine).
    His “source” is…….????????????

      Shirley Bradley

      I do not know the paper either but I do know there are scientists with expertise talking about this issue. Check out Dr. Helen Caldicot.


    I think that the PRESENT situation is frightening despite other earthquake probabilities … ~ and what of the earthquake of 2 wks. ago of over 7.3 near Fukushima .. ? … ~ it Already has happened ..
    the fish … the whales .. and our rainfall on the north pacific west coast is already suffering from Radiation ~ … meanwhile Canadian scientist are bragging about more whales sightings and saying look we have great waters here … (ludicrous) … instead of saying … Fish, Purpoise and whales have come here to get away from toxic waters …. so they can breathe better for now .. ~ …


      Mammals(whales, porpoises, seals, etc.) breathe air, not toxic water. They do, however, swim in the radioactive sea………..

      serious joe

      Rainfall does not suffer from radiation. Perhaps rainfall can be contaminated with radioactive material… There is a difference between radiation, and radioactive material. Radiation is like light… you cannot hold light in your hand. Light passes through rain (… or not) but it cannot remain IN rain.
      I own (and use) two of the finest civilian beta-gamma radiation detectors available on the open market
      the RM-60 and RM-70
      I live in southern Alberta, and I have found nothing of interest above background radiation (and the background radiation is actually lower than I expected, given the altitude). So, no radiation problems that I have found. BTW, no animal can sense, feel, or taste radiation. No whale will leave Fukushima waters because it wants to escape radiation. The water might taste bad… but I doubt it.

    Mark Perry

    Hi Damien. Many thanks for getting this information out there. When someone with Dr. Suzuki’s credentials speaks, we’d best pay attention. I’ll be sharing this on Facebook for sure.

      serious joe

      Logical Fallacy: Appeal to authority.
      It could be illustrated by this story:
      “My dentist said I should buy Exxon stock. He’s a DOCTOR. I should do what he says” …. while the authority of your dentist, IN MATTERS DENTAL, is an authority, you should not consider him an authority on stock investments.
      This man got his PhD studying fruit flies. In matters of how fruit flies inherit stuff from the DNA of their “parents”, he should be respected. Other than that, he’s not even a scientist, he’s an ACTIVIST, a rabble-rouser… Trust him as you do Jesse Jackson … no, wait…


    Hey, thanks Damien.

    You’re the only news outlet to credit me. Not that I did anything but recognize a profound moment and share, but still. Classy.

    Thanks again.


      Damien Gillis

      Thanks Aaron. That’s the kind of operation we try and run around here 😉

      And thank you for capturing and sharing. An important service you’ve done here – certainly has helped raise mainstream awareness of this vital issue.

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