Radiation Alert

“Fukushima Storage Bags”, Pen and Ink on Paper, 8″ x 6″

Ever since the March 11, 2011 triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in Japan—arguably the worst nuclear disaster on planet earth—my art has focused on various aspects of nuclear energy.  Worries about nuclear radiation effects haunt me. As a result I have been creating artworks exploring the complicated results of radiation due to the meltdowns. This year I began researching and painting about a source of nuclear power, which is uranium—the world’s most dangerous metal. I started this new series using oil or acrylic paint on canvas to illustrate uranium, which can be found embedded in a variety of rocks–some of which are intrinsically very beautiful.  This artwork then evolved into a three-dimensional arena with the creation of a series of painted mannequin heads reflecting radiation and aspects of the uranium ore.

So, one could ask, why am I showing this blog with two photos of a drawing of black plastic bags? Shortly after the 2011 nuclear meltdown I began my incursion into illustrating the disaster by drawing in pen and ink some of the plastic bags.  Hard to imagine, but since the 2011 disaster more than 30 million tons of radioactive debris from the Fukushima meltdowns have been stuffed in temporary single plastic bags that now blanket the landscape like a hodgepodge quilt. 

On October 12, 2019, super typhoon Hagibis buffeted middle and northern Japan and pretty much-targeted Fukushima. This storm unleashed an extraordinary amount of rain in a 24-48 hour period.  Along with the rain came floods. Along with the floods came the dispersal into rivers, and ultimately into the ocean, of an unknown number of these broken plastic bags. According to Maggie Gundersen of Fairewinds.org, this typhoon disaster could now be identified as a “Radiation Alert”. Furthermore, the floods triggered a cascade of muddy radioactive soil down from the surrounding mountains. This makes one conjecture that the earlier removal of topsoil has been in vain and possibly has to be redone.

What has happened to this radioactive debris from the plastic bags that have been dispersed into the rivers by the floods?  Were the plants, fish and water itself affected with radiation? No one exactly knows nor has an answer been forthcoming from the Japanese government.  We need to keep in mind that this government does not want to inject any radiation concerns into the forthcoming 2020 summer Olympics scenario!! Here it must be noted that the torch run will begin in Fukushima where radioactivity can still be found!

I am committed to focusing my artwork on bringing awareness about nuclear contamination from disasters such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl; the destruction of land through uranium mining excavation; the exploitation of peoples living near digging sites; and radiation effects worldwide caused by the numerous nuclear tests.   

I support the growth of alternative energy sources that do not include nuclear power plants.  The potential for a nuclear catastrophe, as well as the extreme expense of refurbishing existing power plants and rampant costs for new nuclear plant construction alarm me.  Furthermore there is nothing to date that has been invented that can dispose of nuclear power waste.


“Fukushima Bags After”, Digital Art, 8″ x 6″, 2019

Contact Mary Lou Dauray with any questions.

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