"All the world's a stage we pass through." - R. Ayana

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Fukushima Poisoning the World

Fukushima Poisoning the World

 Nuclear Fallout from Japan still Bombarding America (and Japan)




Nuclear Radation SymbolWhile the mainstream media long ago moved on from covering the nuclear disaster in Japan, a number of independent journalists and scientists have been warning that the disaster is far from over. In fact, many experts are suggesting that dangerously high levels of nuclear fallout and radiation are still blanketing the western coast of the United States.

One year later and the problems just keep getting worse…

An independent reporter, EnviroReproter out of Los Angeles CA., has conducted over 1,500 tests in the Los Angeles area since the disaster occurred. In his latest set of readings, he tested a sampling of rain water that was composed primarily of sea mist. The levels of radiation that he detected were over five times the normal background radiation levels in Santa Monica CA.

Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear power industry executive,  is claiming that the Fukushima nuclear disaster is 10 times worse than the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in the former Soviet Union. He says that Chernobyl was a single reactor running at only 7 percent when it ruptured, while Fukushima had three reactors operating at 100 percent capacity.  Fukushima also had seven other nuclear reactors with spent fuel pools that were damaged.

In an interview he gave to ChinaDaily.com, Gunderson warned that nuclear fallout was making its way into the food supply of the world.

“Large cesium deposits (are also being found) on the bottom of the river bed that gets picked up by weeds and seaweed in the ocean that then gets eaten by other fish and mollusks and work their way up the food chain,”

In an article released by SHTFPLAN.com, titled The Radiation Warnings You Won’t Get from the Mainstream Propaganda Machine, they detail a number of alarming findings.  The point out that:

“radiation has absolutely reached the shores of North America.  Water samples from across the continent have tested positive for unsafe levels of radioactivity.  The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as maximum contaminant levels, or MCL, by as much as 181 times.” This means that the complete ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean is now poisoned with radiation and we aren’t being warned.”

Even more alarming was the revelation that the U.S. is in the process of importing foods from the effected areas. Despite the fact that a number of countries have suspended imports from Japan, Nuclear Expert Arnold Gundersen is saying that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just signed a pact to import seafood from Japan. What’s even more disturbing about this news, is how the FDA has refused to test any seafood imports for radiation since the disaster in Japan.

While our government would love for you to believe that the nuclear problems in Japan are under control, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the most recent testing out of the Fukushima  nuclear plant dispels any claims that reactors have been made safe. Engineers for Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) say readings of airborne radiation inside Reactor 2 showed almost 73 sieverts per hour this week. To put that in to perspective, exposure to that amount of radiation would kill a normal person within minutes. These levels are some of the highest reading since the beginning of the disaster.

Even more troubling, was the news that this reactor was probably the one with the least amount of damage. The other reactors are so badly damaged, that there is currently no way of even testing or determining how bad the damage actually is. Experts warn that the two other nuclear reactors are likely in even worse shape, and say that we have yet to make any devices that could withstand the harsh conditions inside.

The build-up of contaminated water is another major concern for Tepco.

Earlier this week is was reported that radioactive water was still pouring into the pacific, as yet another leak sprang in the plant’s makeshift cooling system. The increase in radioactive water, which is used to cool the nuclear fuel rods, is another major concern for Japan. They are quickly running out of space to store the material, and experts fear that in interruption in the water supply could cause major problems at the already troubled reactors.

The problems is so bad that one expert says, “If that cooling water supply is lost, it will be just a few hours at most before that waste is on fire.” 135 tons of radioactive material outside of any radioactive containment. It would be a direct releases into the environment. 100% of cesium-137 could be released to the environment.

Here’s the video:

THE Mainichi Daily News in Japan is reporting that the Japanese government is actually drawing up plans for the possible evacuation of Tokyo:

One of the biggest issues that we face is the possibility that the spent nuclear fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant will collapse.

The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it and the storage pools are barely intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area.

The worse-case scenario drawn up by the government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant’s other reactors. If this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced to evacuate.

From Off Grid Survival @ http://offgridsurvival.com/nuclearfalloutjapanamerica/


Fukushima to Burn Highly-Radioactive Debris

Fukushima will start burning radioactive debris containing up to 100,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. As Mainchi notes:

The state will start building storage facilities for debris generated by the March 2011 tsunami as early as May at two locations in a coastal area of Naraha town, Fukushima Prefecture, Environment Ministry and town officials said Saturday.

About 25,000 tons of debris are expected to be brought into the facilities beginning in the summer, according to the officials.

If more than 100,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium are found per kilogram of debris, the debris will be transferred to a medium-term storage facility to be built by the state. But if burnable debris contains 100,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium or less, it may be disposed of at a temporary incinerator to be built within the prefecture, according to the officials.

Within the 20-km-radius no-go zone spanning across Naraha and five other municipalities along the coast, debris caused by the magnitude 9.0 quake and the subsequent tsunami has amounted to an estimated 474,000 tons, much of remaining where it is.

How much radiation is that?

It is a lot.

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen has said that much lower levels of cesium – 5,000-8,000 bq/kg (20 times lower than what will be allowed to be burned at Fukushima) – would be sent to a special facility in the United States and buried underground for thousands of year. See this and this.

It is comparable to the levels of radioactivity found within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. See this and this.

And even the Japanese – who have raised acceptable levels of radiation to absurd levels – would normally demand that material with this radioactivity be encased in cement and buried:

According to plans by the Ministry of Environment, if the radioactive cesium concentration is less than 8,000 Bq/kg, then it is possible to dispose of it by burying it. Rubble that has 8,000 ~ 100,000 Bq must be encased in cement in order to prevent contact with water before being dumped. For rubble that exceeds 100,000 Bq, it must be encased in concrete walls and stored temporarily. The disposal place must be approved of by the Prefectural Governor.

In addition, some allege that debris surpassing 100,000 bq/kg of cesium will be burned, after being mixed with less-radioactive materials.

And many of the incinerators are located smack dab in the middle of crowded cities, and are not equipped to contain radiation.


Other Parts of Japan Are Also Burning Radioactive Debris

And it’s not just Fukushima.

Tokyo and many other areas in Japan are burning radioactive debris as well. And see this.

Burning to Continue for Years

Mainichi reports that the radioactive debris will be burned for years … through at least March 2014.

Poisoning Other Countries

Burning radioactive debris does not destroy the radioactivity. It merely spreads it.

Gundersen says that radioactivity from the burnt debris will end up not only in neighboring prefectures, but in Hawaii, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California. Gundersen said that burning radioactive debris is basically re-creating the Fukushima disaster all over again, as it is releasing a huge amount of radioactivity which had settled on the ground back into the air.

Steven Starr – Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, who has advised numerous countries on issues of nuclear non-proliferation – writes:

Burning radioactive debris will only serve to further randomly spread radiation across Japan, as well as the rest of the world. Not only will this lead to more morbidity and mortality within Japan, but it will further complicate epidemiological studies of the Fukushima disaster. Raising “acceptable” levels of radioactive fallout is a false solution to a serious problem. It is possible for the government authorities to do this because radiation is invisible to us, and at lower doses, the consequences of exposure do not manifest themselves for some time . . . thus it is a poison that is easy to hide and ignore. Sadly, the children of Japan will be those most seriously affected by this man-made environmental catastrophe.

It is bad enough that radiation from Fukushima is spreading across the Pacific to the United States through air and water, that the Japanese are underplaying the enormous threat posed by the spent fuel pools, and that the Japanese have engaged in a massive cover-up of the severity of the Fukushima crisis. But intentionally burning radioactive debris to try to cover up the problem – and spreading radiation worldwide in the process – is an entirely separate affront.

Postscript:  In addition to burning radioactive debris, Japan intends to build tents over the leaking Fukushima reactors. While this sounds like a way to contain the radiation, it would actually funnel it straight up and spread it globally:

My reaction [to the announcement that the Fukushima nuclear operator would build giant tents over the reactors] was hope that the tents would at least keep radiation from spreading worldwide through the air, even if they didn’t do anything to prevent contamination of Japan’s groundwater or the Pacific Ocean.

But nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that the tents – while helping to protect workers at Fukushima – will actually increase the dispersion of radioactive gases. Specifically, Tepco will pump radiation out through stacks, which will push radiation up to a higher elevation, dispersing it even further around the world.

Via The Intel Hub @ http://theintelhub.com/2012/04/10/japan-is-poisoning-other-countries-by-burning-highly-radioactive-debris/



The Worst Problems In The World

The nuclear accident at Fukushima Japan is far from over. Three reactors continue to melt-down and now there is a storm of international worry about nuclear fuel pools tottering in blown up buildings. The whole Northern Hemisphere is at risk right now.

I'm Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock. We are joined again by nuclear industry expert Arnold Gundersen, of Fairewinds Associates.

Arnie Gundersen, a year ago, warned us here on Radio Ecoshock, and to anybody who would listen, that a world-scale catastrophe was lurking in the nuclear fuel storage pools of both reactors Three and Four, at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Japan.

Why is this story finally getting wider attention, a year later?

The Japanese press, which has been following the government line, is starting to break out. On April 2nd, Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer for the Mainichi paper, said, quote: "The 7-story building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. The roof has been blown away. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk."

And check out this translated video from Japanese TV!

We also had the unusual case of Japan’s former ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, speaking at a public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012. He told the Swiss if the Reactor 4 fuel pool collapses, the cooling water for all six reactors would be shut down, as well as for the nearby spent fuel pool with another 6,000 fuel rods.

Another Japanese diplomat, Akio Matsumura is also blogging about this.

It is very surprising that Japanese officials are speaking out. Why now? Do they know something we don't?

It seems to me, and many Radio Ecoshock listeners from all over the world have written me about this - that the whole world is sleep-walking through this potential global catastrophe. They want to know: Why isn't there an international emergency action plan, to save us from a nuclear disaster which would make Chernobyl look small in comparison?

The average person thinks the Japanese could just dig an in-ground pool, move the fuel rods into a safer place, and then cover all that with a containment building. Why aren't they doing that?

So we have debris over the fuel rods, a broken crane, broken fuel rod assemblies, and a building so shaky any attempts to fix things might cause the building to fall. Is it possible we have a situation which cannot be solved?

Over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow says Reactor 2 is an example of a technology which has no solution. Humans can't get near such high radioactivity. Even robot electronics fail in such circumstances. The Japanese require a technology that hasn't been invented yet. Should we even be using nuclear technology, if unsolvable accidents can happen?

It is time to think the unthinkable. Arnie walks us through what could happen if we wake up one day, and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Reactor 4 fuel pool collapses.

Arnie tells us the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the U.S. issued a study on the impacts of a nuclear fuel pool fire.

Here is a good article summary of that 1987 Brookhaven study by Stuart Staniford.

In this article from the New England Centre for Investigative Reporting, we find "A 1997 [actually it was 1987] study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island concluded that a pool fire at a plant like Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut or Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station in Massachusetts could kill 100 people instantly and another 138,000 people eventually. Some $546 billion in damage would result, the study said, and 2,170 square miles of land could be contaminated."

From the selfish point of view of someone living on the West Coast of North America, and for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, it seems the key point is whether there is a major explosion, driving radioactive materials into the stratosphere. That's what it takes to spread these poisons right around the world.

Gundersen says it is unlikely there would be an explosion if the #4 Fuel pool collapses. But dangerous "hot" particles would still be sent around the world, because within two days of the collapse, the Zirconium and radioactive metals (like Cesium and Plutonium) would burn at a very high temperature, sending particles high into the air. The result would be an everlasting disaster for Japan. Arnie thinks it could create a no-man's land 50 miles across the country, perhaps destabilizing the government.

The famous anti-nuclear activist and pediatrician Dr. Helen Caldicott just said in a speech: if there is a major nuclear release from Fukushima, she would evacuate her family from Boston, and head back to her native Australia, or anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Would it be safer south of the equator? Likely, as there is much less mixing of air from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern. All the countries in the Northern Hemisphere would suffer radioactive fallout if this happens.

We can't evacuate the Northern Hemisphere. The explosion at Reactor 3 showed we have 5 to 7 days before radiation hits the Pacific Coast of North America. Personally, I would definitely leave Vancouver. We get a lot of rain here, so the hot stuff is going to wash into our open water reservoirs. They would be poisoned for hundreds of years. I would try to get east of the Rocky Mountains, to a drier place, with a source of fossil water from deep underground. 


What would you do?

In the 1950's, all children were trained in civil defense in case of nuclear attack. It was lame, but it was something. Do you think world governments should be teaching everyone the basics of trying to avoid the worst exposure to radiation, in case Fukushima blows? We would all have to stay indoors, with the windows shut. You should buy a couple of HEPA air cleaners right now, I think. The economy would collapse. Do you have food stored for such an emergency? I hope so.

Surely there must be a better way to reduce our risk of having an accident that would damage the Planet more or less forever in human timescales. What can be done at Fukushima?

Arnie says the nuclear power game is set up so each country handles safety and any accident as an internal affair. But when an accident threatens us all, we need to pressure our own governments to formulate an international response, to help the Japanese acts as fast as they can.

In the interview, Arnie Gundersen, who was an executive at a company which installed nuclear fuel racks in those very same types of reactors, lays out three ways to handle this emergency. None of them are great, but his suggestion to make a smaller fuel canister, and start moving the rods out to an already existing in-ground pool on the site, sounds best to me. It would be slow and painstaking, but would begin to make us all safer every day.

Maybe an earthquake won't strike near Fukushima in the next few years. However, on February 14th, Dapeng Zhao, geophysics professor at Japan’s Tohoku University, published a paper in "Solid Earth", a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

Here is a good article summarizing that paper, in Common Dreams.

Zhao said the giant earthquake in March of 2011 had reactivated a seismic fault close to the Fukushima nuclear plant. Using the latest scientific techniques and measurements, the paper warns another big earthquake could strike even closer to the plant.

Washington's blog concludes "Scientists say that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hitting Fukushima this year, and a 98% chance within the next 3 years."

In a radio interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott in early February, Gundersen estimated a quake of 7.0 or greater could cause the Reactor 4 fuel pool to collapse.

What have the Japanese done so far to strengthen the building, and could they be doing more?

We have to remind ourselves, we might just get lucky. Maybe the Reactor 3 and 4 buildings will keep standing for few years, while the Japanese invent a solution. We didn't have a major nuclear war so far, maybe we'll squeak through this one. But are our chances good, or not so good, the way things are going?

Robert Alvarez, an expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, has tried again and again to warn us: this isn't just a problem in Japan. The American reactors have built up even more stored fuel rods, some of them over earthquake fault lines, all of them requiring non-stop cooling, and none of the storage pools have containment if there is an accident.

The spent fuel risk in America is even greater in Japan. Why is no one talking about this?

Arnie Gundersen has not heard of government meetings or plans to get faster action to protect the world against yet another giant nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima. We need citizens organizing everywhere, pushing their governments to stop ignoring the threat, or playing along with Japan, to stop being polite about the danger. I'm sure many people in Japan would welcome international pressure to get faster action.

We could compare this reactor accident to the horror of thermo-nuclear war, hanging over our heads. It took a generation of protests, and a fallen empire, to reduce that threat. A nuclear war is still possible, but it's less likely.

But we don't have a long-time frame, 30 years, to stabilize the Reactor 4 fuel storage pond. I'm surprised we got through this year, and I'm not sure about the next one. Can we scrape through again?

Listen to/download the Arnie Gundersen interview (26 minutes) in CD Quality... or Lo-Fi.

From http://www.ecoshock.net/eshock12/ES_120411_Show_LoFi.mp3

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