Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Fukushima Update: The Nuclear Disaster That Won't Go Away

Posted 10 months ago on Jan. 12, 2014, 3:50 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Fukushima Update: The Nuclear Disaster That Won't Go Away

Sunday, 12 January 2014 10:35 By Beth Buczynski, Care2 | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/21169-fukushima-update-the-nuclear-disaster-that-wont-go-away

When was the last time you heard an update about the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the evening news? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You might take the silence to mean that everything’s fine, but it’s not. In fact, if the little blips and pieces of news coming out of Japan are any indication, things are far from fine, and are getting worse by the second. Those of us in other countries, even on the other side of the world, may soon get our own taste of nuclear fallout.

Imminent Meltdown?

On New Year’s Day (nearly three years after the initial incident) operators of the Fukushima plant reported that “plumes of most probably radioactive steam” had been seen rising from the reactor 3 building. According to RT.com, “the Reactor 3 fuel storage pond still houses an estimated 89 tons of the plutonium-based MOX nuclear fuel composed of 514 fuel rods.” Unfortunately, high levels of radiation inside the building make it nearly impossible to determine the source of the mystery steam. Although TEPCO, the plant’s operator, claims there’s no increased danger (small comfort from the people who admitted to the world that they have no control over the situation), most agree that the plant is just seconds away from another disaster.

Farmland Contamination

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3hyNWUzGlY8

Just a year after the nuclear disaster, Japanese farmers were allowed to return to their fields near the plant. This despite government estimates that it could take as long as 40 years to clean up the farmland around the Fukushima plant. Despite claims that the area has been cleaned up, the farmers themselves know that they’re simply growing food stuffs in contaminated soil. Although all farm produce must be checked for the cesium level prior to shipping (below 100 becquerel is considered “safe”), the farmers refuse to eat it themselves and are stricken with guilt over selling it to their countrymen.

Seafood Industry Threatened

Toward the end of last year, U.S. scientists and wildlife specialists officially became worried about Fukushima’s impact on the fishing industry. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s all one big ocean. If a massive amount of contamination is dumped into the ocean on one side of the world, rest assured it will eventually make it’s way to the other. We saw this with physical rubble from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the same currents are bringing the invisible contaminants as well. Fish, especially salmon, must migrate through the radioactive plumes coming off Fukushima before being harvested on North American coasts. Some believe this represents an eventual health crisis, and that it’s no longer safe to eat fish from the Pacific Ocean

Radiation in U.S. Snow and Beach Sand

If you live in a landlocked state, you might think you’re safe from toxic fish and Fukushima fallout, but that’s not necessarily the case. Just days ago, snow falling in Missouri was found to contain double the normal radiation amount. No snow where you live? You’re not out of the clear yet. Early in the New Year, Infowars reported on a YouTube video that showed background radiation at a Coastside beach reaching over 150 micro-REM per hour. Health officials in San Mateo County confirmed the spike but remain ‘befuddled’ as to its cause.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

18 Comments

18 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

The farmers are frustrated about the radiation levels after two years but that is still too short a period for the medium-half-life (decades) radio-isotopes to decay significantly. There is NOTHING anyone can do to change the rate of radioactive decays aside from bombarding the contaminated materials with MORE radiation to transmutate them. That will NOT and cannot happen because there is far too much contaminated material at Fukushima.

The better approach is to adopt hygienic practices based on the CHEMISTRY of the radio-isotopes. Are they more soluble in certain solvents? Do they form precipitates with certain acids or bases? If yes, filtering out the precipitates or discarding the contaminated solvents can reduce exposure. Enriching the food with non-radioactive isotopes in the same chemical group can dilute the radio-isotopes and reduce their absorption by the body.

I feel sad for the farmers and their families being long-term victims of the disaster but the nuclear embers die very slowly in human terms, unfortunately.

[-] 5 points by Shule (2227) 10 months ago

A yet better approach, and really the only approach, is to shut down all nuclear power plants on this planet to make sure that what happened at Fukushima does not happen anywhere else. Unfortunately that is not what is happening. The greedy power folk are keeping their reactors hot up and running like nothing ever happened. Even TEPCO has the gall to keep the other reactors they are in charge of up and running. Yes, unfortunate. the farms around Fukushima are for all practical purposes done for forever. The only solution is to put a fence around the whole place, and leave it for the mutant three eyed monsters.

[-] 1 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

Replacing nuclear power plants by fossil fuel power plants can be worse in terms of environmental impact and that is still the only nearly immediate replacement possible. Conservation, efficiency improvements, and slowdown of population growth and power demand are the best immediate options available.

Fukushima will be habitable again once the biologically active radio-isotopes have mostly decayed but that will take decades at least. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are livable today so are the Marshall islands where nuclear explosions created radio-isotopes. Putting a fence around the whole place is a sensible solution but TEPCO still needs to extract or control the nuclear materials in the power plants so that they do not reach critical density. It takes less than tens of kilograms of plutonium to make a nuclear bomb. Fukushima power plants have orders of magnitudes more than that so longer term there may be crumblings that release more radiation.

It is a little bit like dumping out the dying embers from a fireplace into the backyard. There may be flare-ups from time to time.

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (4832) 10 months ago

Thank you grapes, for your contribution here.

[-] 2 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

I am glad to be of help. It would be good if the farmers understand the true predicaments that TEPCO and their government are in and not react too emotionally against the recommended safety practices. It reminds me of the reactions of businesses to government regulations, such as the U.S. auto industry's winning against the raising of mileage standard but losing a huge chunk of the U.S. auto market.

The farmers, TEPCO, and their government need to work together to muddle through the mess in Fukushima. Was the nuclear disaster preventable? Yes. Could the aftermath be handled better? Yes. Will the radiation level come down fast in a few years? No. There is not much else aside from working with the people who might have contributed to the disaster in the first place but let this be a lesson learned that the knowledge of the forebears about tsunamis should be taken seriously.

[-] 2 points by Penston (80) 8 months ago

I met with the guys from Safecast (the volunteers who measure radiation levels in Japan and publish them online) and, at the time, he'd only found one sample of food that was above the contamination threshold. That food came from Hokkaido and the radiation was natural in the area where the food was grown.

All the food he buys now is really cheap because it comes from Fukushima.

[-] 2 points by grapes (3442) 7 months ago

I have lived long enough to know how slippery the term "natural" can be. Nowadays for the Baby Boomers, tritium radioactive dating is very natural. Bananas have become more naturally radioactive with its mineral content. I just hate learning about the new normals!

[-] 1 points by Shule (2227) 10 months ago

Nuclear power here in the U.S.A. contributes to less than 20% of the total electrical consumption. Most countries are less, and granted there are a few countries like France which are more. However, in aggregate with a few local exceptions, it is totally possible to simply take nuclear power off line and not replace it with anything. The requisite conservation can be easily achieved by simply raising the price of electricity. I wonder how many cancers and other ailments that can be attributed to nuclear fall out is existent in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Marshall islands. There are some nuclear isotopes with half lives of several thousand years and more. Even decades in human life terms is too long. And all for the want of somebody wanting to turn on a light bulb.

[-] 1 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

People who are conscientious about their electricity consumption tend to have already taken actions to minimize consumption because it is at least their own economic interest at stake. There may be little more "low-hanging fruits" to be had from further efficiency improvements by these people - they have already taken advantage of government subsidies.

The people who are not conscientious are either price-insensitive, not privy to the gains possible, or really don't-care types. Only the second type is amenable to education about potential gains but they tend to be too engrossed in their busy lives to be bothered with this. Our government was passing out money in joint efficiency improvement projects through tax credits and yet people do not want the money or cannot come up with the money for partnering.

In summary, there does not seem to be great reduction of electricity consumption possible in the U.S. unless as you said the prices for electricity are increased. Rising price is a very strong signal but for the people who are strapped, it will just tighten the screws more. Before doing that, we should explore ways for efficiency improvements, such as having the manufacturers incorporate them directly into their products. Education about energy consumption and the money savings should be made widely available. Maybe after those we can shut down all of the nuclear power plants. We should not make people walk the plank until we have thrown a few life buoys into the sea.

[-] 2 points by Shule (2227) 10 months ago

Unfortunately, like you say there is not much incentive on the part of many people to save unless electricity prices are increased. That is why I suggest raising prices, and let capitalism do the work. Notice life buoys are not thrown in the water, until a ship is already sinking. Raising prices provides the incentive. Getting folks to invest in energy saving devices is ultimately cheaper than the cost of running a nuclear power plant.

As to the folks who are strapped, there is compassion and sharing. Those of us more fortunate, should be willing to pay a little extra on our taxes and utility payments, so that the less fortunate can be given a break.

[-] 2 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

The ship has already taken in quite a bit of water so throwing some life buoys is a reasonable life assurance policy. I have already put on my diving gear.

I view nuclear power to be cost-shifting to our descendants but if we cannot reign in our energy gluttony, they won't get much life chance anyway. What is so bad about a few more radioactive dump sites if there are very few people around?

[-] 1 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

Try reducing your electricity consumption by 20% and tell us your experience. Do you believe that everyone else in the U.S. on the average will be able to do that? Germany is trying to go on without nuclear power. Perhaps we can learn from you and Germany.

[-] 3 points by Shule (2227) 10 months ago

I have already replaced all my appliances except the water heater with energy saving appliances, added insulation to my house, use a high efficiency heat pump for heating, and am using LED bulbs throughout except for about two lights. I was able to cut my electrical consumption in half. I live in a four bedroom house which many folks consider not small, and consume on average over the course of a year about eighty dollars per month in electricity. Wait until I replace the water heater. I use considerably less electricity than most of my neighbors who have not taken these simple measures. I have relatives in Germany who have similar size houses. They use significantly less electricity than I. Their houses are much more solid, and the appliances available to them are even more efficient. I also have relatives in the Philippines who use an order of magnitude less electricity than I. Granted they don't have a cold winter to deal with. So, 20% is not a big deal. I find a majority of the people here in the States are energy gluttons for one reason or another. That does not have to be.

I add this story about one day I needed a slab of cement taken out of my yard. I hired this guy with a jack hammer and a big air compressor. He made a lot of noise and it took him about two hours. Some time later I needed another slab of cement taken out of my yard about the same size as the first. My wife hired this other guy. He showed up with nothing but a sledge hammer slung over his shoulder. I asked " are you really planning on doing all that with just a hammer? He said "yep", and proceeded. It took him about two and a half hours, and did not make quite so much noise. Go figure.

[-] 1 points by grapes (3442) 10 months ago

How many kilowatt-hours per year did you save by your efficiency improvements? There is a chunk of the electricity bill that is for the maintenance of the power grid and the prices of electricity vary so using kWh makes more sense.

We probably have about 100 commercial nuclear power plants, each producing perhaps 1 gigawatts so we need to save about 100 GW to be able to shut down all the nuclear plants. If we assume about 100 millions households in the U.S., each household needs to save about 1000 W or 24 kWh in a day. It is about equivalent to shutting off a constantly on kitchen range burner or a small microwave oven. It seems within the realm of possibility because we have not figured in the savings possible from industries and offices but the picking there is likely smaller because those who have capital tend to treasure it more so as not to fritter money away.

As shown by your "concrete" example, rethinking how we do things can save us a lot of energy because deciding not to use the power tools can do away with the two hours of electricity consumption.

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 months ago

Cutting Through Fukushima Fog: Radiation in US?

Monday, 03 March 2014 10:12 By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22211-cutting-through-fukushima-fog-radiation-in-us

Governments cite "national security" concerns and "official secrets" as their justification for withholding information from the public. Corporations rationalize their secrecy behind concerns about "patent infringement," shielding their trademarked "proprietary" secrets from competitors. But most of the time, such obfuscation is really derived from the time-honored villains of systemic corruption and what is politely known as CYA in military and bureaucratic slang.

Which brings us to Fukushima.

From the very beginning of this catastrophic emergency -- the earthquake/tsunami off the Japanese coast in March of 2011, when nuclear reactors at a power plant were flooded and then exploded and began their meltdowns -- the public in Japan and around the world have not been told the full story of what's been happening at the Dai-ichi nuclear-power plant in Fukushima province.

The utility that runs the plant, Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company), is notoriously close-mouthed about its operation. To this day, aided by a recently passed "government secrets" act in Japan, we have no confirmable idea of the extent of the damage: how much radiation is really leaking out into the Pacific Ocean and where the currents are taking it, the density and direction of the radioactive plumes carried by the wind, the radioactive effects up and down the marine food-chain. Not only is there precious little data-reporting released to the public -- journalists who violate the "state secrets" law can be thrown into prison for 10 years -- but what little information that does appear, both in Japan and in the U.S., seems to be hidden inside a different language, with a vocabulary ("bequerelles," "millisieverts," "millirems," the difference between "radiation," "radioactive" and "radiation dose," and so on) that is utterly confusing to most non-nuclear scientists.

Beware the Hyperbole

Each side of the argument tends to go hyperbolic when presenting its version of the Fukushima catastrophe. Tepco officials regularly suggest that all is proceeding well at Dai-ichi, and that the radiation effects are mostly localized and things should go back to normal in the foreseeable future. But other scientists and journalists have concluded that the situation is critical, getting worse and is increasingly dangerous to humanity.

The issue of radiation on the loose is a scary one, and has an economic component as well as a social-psychological one that could convince governments to tone down news that carries with it the possibility of instigating mass panic and anxiety-induced mass migrations. A lot is at stake -- economic stability, the U.S.-Japan alliance, cancer clusters, etc. -- so it's not surprising that each side is passionately trying to capture and control the narrative.

Tepco, for example, often dispenses flat-out lies, whoppers that have to be "corrected" much later; for example, earlier this month, Tepco admitted that the strontium-per-liter level leaking from Dai-ichi reactor #1 was five times higher than its earlier estimate. (Note: "Strontium-90's half-life is around 29 years. It mimics calcium and goes to our bones.")

And here's an example from the Fukushima-as-immediate-danger side: There's a going-viral You Tube video of an unidentified guy with a hand-held geiger counter walking around a beach just south of San Francisco, watching the clicking numbers going up, presumably because of Fukushima radiation. There is no context presented in this video, no base level of radiation at that location, no consideration of naturally occurring radiation, etc. But this video is cited as "evidence" of wind- or ocean-born radiation from Japan. Millions watch the video on YouTube and ratchet up the fear level. Belatedly, scientific tests were done recently at this same beach, which established that what was registering on the handheld geiger-counter were naturally occurring fluctuations as a result of existing minerals in the sand.

A News Blackout

As a San Franciscan quite familiar with large earthquakes, I have been curious about what was happening in Japan since the 2011 reactor explosions. Up until the past several months, there was virtually no news about Fukushima published by respectable U.S. news outlets. We did hear that several villages near the Dai-chi plant had been evacuated after the reactor meltdown started, but Tokyo was OK and the emergency measures didn't seem bad enough to take matters much beyond that.

Like most people busy with their own lives and with local concerns. and because the mainstream and many alternative news services in the U.S. by and large were ignoring Fukushima, my attention went elsewhere. I assumed that no news was good news.

Deficient thinking. Tepco is a for-profit company. Bad news would hurt the corporation. No news is better for the bottom line. It became evident even in the early hours and days of the meltdown that the utility spokesmen and their government supporters were telling lies, withholding key facts about nuclear dangers and radiation leakages, putting the best face on a momentously dangerous situation. But even from a distance, and still true today, the meager information that was gleanable from Dai-ichi seemed to indicate an ad hoc, chaotic and incompetently-managed plan to contain the crisis. At the very least, public safety concerns cry out for an international (United Nations? IAEA?) body of radiation experts and engineers to run the dangerously-damaged power plant, but there is little action, or even a sense of urgency expressed, for such a solution.

To stem any such public anxiety, Tepco and Japanese government officials minimized the damage at Dai-ichi and assured its population that the situation was certainly not another Chernobyl. Untrue. In important ways, the Japan situation is worse: the Chernobyl reactors were housed inland and eventually were buried within a cement sarcophagus; Dai-ichi, with its reactors melting down, is still actively releasing radiation into the air and into the bay/ocean (and probably the aquifer) where it sits, and there is no known plan for how the leaking reactors might be encased. In addition, thousands of spent fuel rods at Dai-ichi, still highly radioactive, are being moved, one by one over several years, to a "safer location," in a project never before tried anywhere on earth. One bad accident and/or another major earthquake in the vicinity, and a radiological cataclysm could occur.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 months ago

US Sailors Radiated

Japan (a buffer to China's ambitions in Asia) is a key ally of the United States, and the U.S. has exercised a hands-off approach to Fukushima matters for most of the past three years. In the days right after the earthquake/tsunami in 2011, the U.S. Navy provided humanitarian and logistics help, including observations and damage reports to the Japanese government from helicopters over the wrecked reactors and nearby farms and villages. The U.S. offered to provide more onsite help, an offer that was rejected by Tepco. Other countries offered onsite help as well, with the same response. Clearly, Tepco did not want its citizens and stockholders to know how bad things really were at Dai-ichi.

But some news did get out in public. According to recently revealed U.S. Navy documents, more than 70 sailors on the Navy helicopters or among those who serviced those copters on the aircraft carrier USS Reagan suffered major radiation exposure, even after the ship was moved 100 miles away from Fukushima. The sailors' health complaints are consistent with victims who have suffered major radiation exposure. Neither the Japanese nor South Korean nor Guam governments would permit the Reagan to dock as it was radioactively "hot." The affected members of the crew have an ongoing civil suit for one-billion-dollar damages pending against Tepco.

For the past three years, those interested in getting updated news from Fukushima have had to rely on bits and pieces of information in search of a coherent puzzle-picture. Just a few examples where further research would be required.

There was reporting about a massive die-off of starfish all across the Pacific. Was this weird event because of the warming of global oceans or was this possibly related to the reported 300,000 gallons of radioactive water pouring daily into the Pacific from the leaking reactor pools? Or was it a rare virus? There also were reports of Pacific dead zones in what were traditionally rich fishing areas; could this be connected to Fukushima?

There were reports of bluefish tuna from the Fukushima area caught in the waters off San Diego in Southern California with high levels of radiation. A connection? (See the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, which concludes: "We report unequivocal evidence that Pacific bluefish tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean…Other large, highly migratory marine animals make extensive use of waters around Japan, and these animals may also be transport vectors of Fukushima-derived radionuclides to distant regions of the North and South Pacific Oceans."

According to Oceanus Magazine, the total amount of cesium-137 that has been released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima is 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than the amount released into the oceans by the Chernobyl disaster or by the atmospheric nuclear-weapons tests from the 1960s.

Fukushima radiation could affect seafood for many generations, because of the food chain of fish and other marine fauna: plankton and vegetation are eaten by small fish, which are eaten by slightly larger fish, which are eaten by larger fish, and so on. One study reports: "Even if only one-hundreth of the radioactivity…were to enter the recirculation pattern, the collective whole body ingestion dose over many generations would…be sufficient to kill more than 1,000,000 people."

Since no institutional body is in charge at Dai-ichi other than the utility company that has a clear conflict of interest, how to sort out the scary truths from the scary fictions?

Effects on US West Coast

Since most of my family and friends reside in the American West, my immediate worry-focus was on how the West Coast of North America was faring when it came to radiation by air and water. In the days immediately following the March 2011 explosions at Dai-ichi, there were scattered reports of higher-than-normal radiation in the air and grasses and cows milk of Western North America, but after that early period, it's been mostly a blank.

Willy nilly, those of us trying to follow the Fukushima story were forced to become freelance investigative reporters because, so far as we could tell, there were no news outlets or governmental agencies that were passing on any ongoing, reliable information about Fukushima's possible effects on the West Coast of America and Canada; certainly no agency was taking a holistic view of what might be happening in the air and water. (Experts can't even agree on the existence of radiation monitoring. A Woods Hole scientist and a nuclear engineering professor at UC-Berkeley both concluded that there is no systematic radiation testing in the U.S. for air, food and water. But local and state public-health officials point to something called "RadNet," a system of air monitors at 11 California locations.)

I started my information-hunt in October of last year in San Francisco. At that time, I wrote a four-page citizen letter to our local Public Health Department as well as to the Public Utilities Commission, the governmental body responsible for public health and safety with regard to drinking water. I made no accusations and provided no definitive subjective opinions; my goal was to ask questions, to find out if there was ongoing monitoring and testing and, if so, what the results were. In short, was there anybody at the monitoring switch? At the bottom of the letter, I cc'd copies sent to a variety of local, statewide and federal politicians and governmental bodies.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 months ago

Two months went by with -- surprise! -- no response at all.

Working with a number of friends and fellow activists, calling ourselves the Bay Area Radiation Group, we then rewrote the original letter in December of 2013 to make it tighter and more focused, and sent it off to named members of the Public Utilities Commission, and to various environmental institutions (the federal EPA, Sierra Club, etc.). Further, instead of just my name, I included under my signature that I was co-editor of a website (crisispapers.org) -- as a way of alerting these officials that the story could make its way into internet conversation.

The Art of Buraeucratic Deflection

Well, lo and behold, the S.F. Public Utilities Commission on January of 2014 finally responded to the original letter, with a narrow, highly-spun reply, which can be summed up roughly as: "All is in order. We're monitoring the water. RadNet monitors the air. We've got it covered. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along, please."

Shortly thereafter, the California Department of Public Health, on my cc list, responded with the first real information about ongoing monitoring relating to Fukushima radiation. Their PDF press release, they indicated, came about due to a number of inquiries by California citizens on this issue. I took that to mean that perhaps questioning from ordinary citizens like our activist group was getting through to the point where some answers had to be provided. Their findings -- that all was in order, with nothing to worry about -- dealt mostly with monitoring from March 2011 to March 2012. Apparently, there was little if any followup monitoring.

Thankfully, a few days ago, the San Francisco Chronicle provided an updated time-line when it finally published its first self-generated article on the Japanese disaster and the expectation of radiation levels rising in the Bay Area in the next few months when radioactive Fukushima plumes make their way to the West Coast:

"Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster has not yet reached ocean waters along the Pacific coast, but low levels of radioactive cesium from the stricken Japanese power plant could arrive by April, scientists reported Monday….

"Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Mass., reported (at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union) that four coastal monitoring sites in California and Washington have detected no traces of radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant destruction -- 'not yet,' he said during a telephone press briefing.

"Buesseler said no federal or international agencies are monitoring ocean waters from Fukushima on this side of the Pacific, so he has organized volunteer monitors at 16 sites along the California and Washington coasts and two in Hawaii to collect seawater in 20-liter specialized plastic containers and ship them by UPS to his Woods Hole laboratory."

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that there is some movement as citizens, news media and public officials are starting to demand answers about Fukushima radiation. The bad news is that it's difficult to pry out proven facts from Tepco and/or the Japanese government as both continue to stonewall requests for information. (And Japan's government is talking about re-opening more than 30 nuclear reactors across Japan.)

Despite the informational blackout, the following admission came five months ago from Tepco executive-level fellow Kazuhiko Yamashsita:"I'm sorry, but we consider the situation is not under control." Another Japanese nuclear engineer, Yastel Yamada, said that Tepco is way over its head: "The cleanup job is too large for their capability."

One would hope that such statements might convince the Obama Administration and the international community in general to move toward a united front in demanding accurate information, and that a world body of nuclear experts be given the responsibility to take operational control of the melting-down reactors at Dai-ichi.

What the US Could Do

It's possible that the situation is not as dire and immediate as all that at Dai-ichi and that the radioactive meltdowns will turn out to be a localized disaster -- bad for the Japanese, better for those of us geographically distant -- with radiation levels going down as the radionuclides are diffused over the coming years in the vast ocean waters between Japan and the West Coast of North America. A Los Angeles Times article concluded that "radiation detected off the U.S. West Coast from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan has declined since the 2011 tsunami disaster and never approached levels that could pose a risk to human health, seafood or wildlife, scientists say," and a recent Alaska survey reported that Pacific seafood is registering no levels of radiation from Fukushima "that are of a public health concern."

But it's also possible, indeed maybe even more likely given the active earthquake zone off the Japanese islands, that there will be a large or medium-size earthquake near Fukushima that will help complete the meltdown at Dai-ichi. "If that were to happen," said Dr. David Suzuki, one of Canada's leading environmental scientists, "It's bye-bye Japan, and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate. Now, if that's isn't terrifying, I don't know what is." Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen has called the Fukushima disaster "the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind." Nuclear physicist Michio Kaku calls Dai'ichi "a ticking time bomb." These dire descriptions and prognostications are echoed by Paul Gunter, a nuclear power-industry watchdog at Beyond Nuclear: "We have opened a door to hell that cannot be easily closed — if ever."

Given the diametrically conflicting views of the Fukushima disaster, it's way beyond time for a full-court-press approach by the U.S. and global community to challenge what may be a whitewashed coverup, and with intensified scientific research and accurate figures and diagnosis, to get to the bottom of what's happening at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. Doing nothing is not an option.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2227) 10 months ago

Did you hear of the Navy Sailors on the Air Craft carrier that sailed through the waters near Fukushima who came down with radiation poisoning and are now suing the TEPCO for damages?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1402) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

Support the UN plan to intervene on this obvious Japanese failure! I posted the petition to no avail.

[Removed]