On March 11, 2012, hundreds of people spent the afternoon and evening reflecting on the one year anniversary of the disasters in Fukushima. While waiting for the buses to carry them and their evacuation gear to Vernon, people talked about how they chose what to carry with them, and what they would have to leave behind. The evacuation walk from Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor, a twin to those in Fukushima, stretched for almost a mile along Route 142. At a walking pace in the early spring weather, the beauty of the Connecticut River valley revealed itself over and over again. Three hours later, we arrived in downtown Brattleboro.
After a light supper, most of the 250 walkers stayed for the Fukushima Forum at the River Garden. The Forum began with the “These Green Hills,” the Vermont State Anthem, sung by a local affinity group.
Arnie Gundersen made a presentation on how the Fukushima nuclear disasters occurred and what the current status of the reactors is today. He visited Japan two weeks ago. His website http://www.fairewinds.com/ is an excellent source of information, especially on the boiling water reactor designs in Fukushima and at Vermont Yankee. See his “Nuclear Power 101” video, also on our Resources page.
Chiho Kaneko lives in Hartland, Vermont and was born in Japan. She has returned to visit family there a number of times since March 11, 2011. She described the physical and psychological plight of the residents, the evacuees, and the rest of the country. Her essay has been published in The Commons here. Listening to her clear voice reading her beautifully written essay, it was easy to put oneself in the shoes of those in Japan.
We hope you, like Chiho, find hope in community.