April 18, 2012
The following story, and the initial paragraphs in italics, came from the morning’s SchwartzRepert. When I clicked through, I did not find any photos, yet the captions are there, so perhaps you will have better luck.
The BP oil spill seems like ancient history, doesn’t it? And i think that points us to one of the prime culprits in our current situation, the fact that we all find it harder and harder to hold an historical perspective. When we’re continually inundated with “the latest” as opposed to “the most enduringly important” our public life and even our private thought becomes increasingly trivialized, and we become more and more susceptible to demagogues and charlatans with their quick fixes and panaceas.
And that, in turn, makes it suicide for politicians to try to explain root causes, systemic problems, long-term solutions. And this means, inevitably, that the only pols who are able to speak the truth are those with safe seats who also understand what’s going on. How many can there be at any given time?
This is why, incidentally, in the bad old days of the Solid South, we had so many statesmen among the Southern Democrats. As long as they didn’t buck the status quo on race, they were free to think, speak and vote as they pleased on other matters. Thus, Richard Russell, William Fulbright, Sam Ervin, etc.
It wasn’t a good thing that the South was one-party, especially given why it was one-party, but it had the good effect of producing politicians who could take the longer view. Today, that’s nearly impossible. Not a good thing.
April 10, 2012
Last year when the scope of the Fukushima metldown began to become obvious, a scientifically-minded friend of mine was speculating on what would have to be done in order to fix it. I said it couldn’t be fixed. It’s too big. It can’t even be contained.
And that is the problem with nuclear power generation, of course — that, plus the problem of waste material that remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years!
The radiation is in the ground water, and must be spreading.
It is in the seawater, and it is making its way across the Pacific on the Japan Current, and guess which country is at the far side of the Japan Current?
It is being emitted into the air, and exactly how does one wall off one portion of air from the rest of the world?
It is in the food, and in the soil, and since the contaminated area hasn’t been (can’t be) walled off, the contamination is continuing to spread.
And as usual government officials are explaining it all away, explaining how it is still safe. And speaking of lying bastards, there is (as usual) the United States government, you know, the one that represents us. It isn’t monitoring radiation for fear of officially finding what it knows damn well it would find. It isn’t recommending or mandating detection and decontamination measures either. It’s pretending that everything is fine, lest the facts affect the Dow Jones, or distract the electorate from whatever stupid non-issue is being waved in front of their faces at the moment.
This via Gary Sycalik’s distribution list.
From: Gary Sycalik [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:02 PM
One Year After Fukushima – Defining and Classifying a Disaster
The Intel Hub
By Lucas Whitefield Hixson
March 5, 2012
This is the first in a series of articles dedicated to preserve the facts revealed about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
A disaster is a natural or man-made (or technological) hazard that has come to fruition, resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment, as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability.
All disasters are the result of human failure to introduce appropriate disaster management measures.
This coming week will mark the first anniversary of Fukushima’s multiple meltdown nuclear disaster. There is little data on how badly contaminated the now-abandoned area of forced evacuation is in the 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone around the Fukushima plant.
The mainstream media has already begun trotting out assorted “experts” to assure anyone who might be still interested in Fukushima that all is well and no one’s been harmed by all the radiation the reactors released.
There’s no getting past the fact that the nuclear accident dumped radioactive particles into the atmosphere, soil and sea, which is a serious concern for the Japanese, who consume about 9 million tons of seafood a year, second behind China.
Those poisons “rained out,” creating hot spots over the Northern Hemisphere. Radioactive material can get into water from steam or smoke which is carried by wind, rain or other precipitation onto land, surface reservoirs or the ocean.
It could also be discharged directly into the ocean or leak onto land and eventually seep into groundwater. There are still traces of Cesium lingering from nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s.
“The Japanese people no longer trust the nuclear industry and the government. People do not know whether their food and their land is safe,”
– Kim Kearfott, an expert on radiation health risks at the University of Michigan, who toured Japan in 2011.
Japan is under pressure to enhance food inspections as it has no centralized system for detecting radiation contamination. Japanese products including spinach, mushrooms, milk and beef were contaminated with radiation as far as 360 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi site which was destroyed by the disaster.
Adding to concerns, basic radiation checks with handheld dosimeters failed to detect the ingested cesium in the cattle.
The government argues that food fears are overblown. It says hundreds of food samples are tested daily for radiation, and few exceed government standards for radioactive cesium.
However, they are often seen as being habitual late-responders, critics point to contaminated beef that has turned up on the market. Broccoli, spinach and shiitake, too — all discovered after they were already on sale. The Japanese youth face years of uncertainty about what’s safe to put on the table.
The Fukushima disaster has been marked by such confusion, much of it due to TEPCO’s bungling response, which has been severely criticized by the government and the independent press.
Most recent reports also suggest that the Japanese government is seriously downplaying the real amount of radioactive substances that leaked from Fukushima. Experts said the Japanese government must decide what to do about contamination spread across the nation, especially since radiation releases from the plant could continue for years.
The contamination will affect Japan for decades, studies in Belarus found that in 2000, 14 years after the Chernobyl disaster, fewer than 20 percent of children were considered “practically healthy,” compared to 90 percent before Chernobyl.
Thousands of people continue to inhabit areas that are highly contaminated, particularly northwest of Fukushima. Radioactive elements have been found in tap water in Tokyo and concentrated in national products such as tea, beef, rice and other food.
Many want answers: How did radioactive cesium from the reactors at Fukushima end up here?
Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist on radiation monitoring at Nagoya University, says experts don’t know. Iguchi is working as a consultant with a government group that is urging thousands of tons of contaminated soil to be cleared off and then sent to storage, possibly inside the Fukushima complex.
“Nothing like this has ever been seen before.” He said.
Radiation from Fukushima has been discovered on the other side of the globe in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters.
Radioactive cesium, xenon and iodine have been detected over a wide area of North America. Other radioactive particles have been detected in the waters near the plant, and some have made their way into fish. Trace amounts of radioactive cesium-137 have been found in anchovies as far away Tokyo.
Radiation is more dangerous for infants because their cells are dividing more rapidly and radiation-damaged RNA may be carried in more generations of cells.
Radioactive iodine has been detected in the thyroids of half of 1,000 Fukushima children, NHK reported, citing findings from a group led by Satoshi Tashiro, a professor at Hiroshima University. Prolonged exposure to radiation in the air, ground and food can cause leukemia and other cancers, according to the London- based World Nuclear Association.
“Usually the contamination happens in a nuclear facility, inside a controlled area, but this type of contamination is global environmental contamination – it’s completely different,”
-Shunichi Tanaka, the former acting head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency.
The contamination has also begun to seep into the sea, and tests iodine was found in nearby Fukushima seawater at levels 4,385 times the legal limit. Radioactive iodine is short-lived, with a half-life of just eight days, and in any case was expected to dissipate quickly in the vast Pacific Ocean. Radioactive contamination in groundwater underneath reactor No 2 was measured at 10,000 times the government health standard, according to media reports.
The release of radioactivity from Fukushima is the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history, and it is still on-going. It will likely take decades before results are available to fully evaluate the impacts of this accident on the ocean.
Groundwater, reservoirs and sea water around Japan’s earthquake damaged nuclear plant face “significant contamination” from the high levels of radiation leaking from the plant, a worrying development that heightens potential health risks in the region.
A Kyodo News survey showed Sunday that 83 percent of local governments have anxiety about distributing iodine preparations to their residents in the event of a nuclear crisis, partly because they do not know how to instruct residents to take it. The results of the survey indicate that many local-level authorities are still having difficulty preventing internal exposure.
Most of Japan is skeptical about the Japanese governments’ objectivity because of their general mistrust of those who repeatedly have shown more loyalty to the nuclear industry than their own fellow citizens, and repeatedly delayed disclosing key data and revised evacuation zones and safety standards after the accident.
Some even wonder whether the government-organized studies are in fact really using them as human guinea pigs to examine the impact of radiation on humans. Some experts have voiced their concerns as well, stating that Japan has repeatedly only released data related to the “most popular” radioactive isotopes, and only looked at the “most widely known” effects and abnormalities that may infer internalized contamination.
They continue to call for the Japanese government to check for as many potential problems as possible.
Lucas Whitefield Hixson is a nuclear researcher based out of Chicago IL. Readers may contact the author at email@example.com and visit his website Enformable.com
July 15, 2011
This is from Arnie Gundersen’s website http://www.fairewinds.com/updates.
I don’t know if you’ll be able to click through from here. If not, just go to the URL above and play the video with this title.
Why Fukushima Can Happen Here:
What the NRC and Nuclear Industry Dont Want You to Know
The well-known safety flaws of Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors have gained significant attention in the wake of the four reactor accidents at Fukushima, but a more insidious danger lurks. In this video nuclear engineers Arnie Gundersen and David Lochbaum discuss how the US regulators and regulatory process have left Americans unprotected. They walk, step-by-step, through the events of the Japanese meltdowns and consider how the knowledge gained from Fukushima applies to the nuclear industry worldwide. They discuss “points of vulnerability” in American plants, some of which have been unaddressed by the NRC for three decades. Finally, they concluded that an accident with the consequences of Fukushima could happen in the US.
With more radioactive Cesium in the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant’s spent fuel pool than was released by Fukushima, Chernobyl, and all nuclear bomb testing combined. Gundersen and Lockbaum ask why there is not a single procedure in place to deal with a crisis in the fuel pool? These and more safety questions are discussed in this forum presented by the C-10 Foundation at the Boston Public Library. Special thanks to Herb Moyer for the excellent video and Geoff Sutton for the frame-by-frame graphics of the Unit 3 explosion.
June 19, 2011
I think the bright boys who have sold the public on nuclear power are going to be doing a lot of plain and fancy tap-dancing and back-pedaling as people realize how crazy the nuclear tea-kettle business is. But meanwhile, I don’t see how the damage from Fukushima can be fixed — which is what many people have been warning for two generations. This story is from Al Jazeera via the daily SchwartzReport.
SR Editor Stephan Schwartz notes:
Here is the latest on Fukushima, featuring the current views of Arnie Gundersen who, in my opinion, and the opinion of most of the scientists following this story, is the most authoritative voice on this crisis.
It is worth noting that this story came out originally in Al Jazeera, while the American mainstream media is largely silent on this subject. Increasingly American corporate media is beginning to look like the old Soviet Union media.
I am also afraid the Obama Administration is in the bag, having been bought by the nuclear power industry
June 12, 2011
This by Dr. Mercola is worth reading for its own sake. I can’t help thinking, though, that the fact that it is available is in itself an argument against those who think that our society is entirely controlled by a vast all-powerful conspiracy. That politics is partly or largely responsible for fluoridated water seems beyond doubt. That those profiting from it are all-powerful — well, maybe not. But read what he says about fluoride.
CDC and ADA Now Advise to Avoid Using Fluoride
June 4, 2011
And if you don’t already know that it’s worse than anything we’ve seen till now, you either aren’t paying attention, or you aren’t reading the right experts. Arnie Gundersen is both an insider, in that he has expert technical knowledge and experience, and an outsider, in that his agenda seems to be telling the truth rather than protecting stock values, preventing public alarm, or lying
merely to stay in practice.
Read this, and learn what’s really at stake at Fukushima. This time, the bright boys have done it. As far as I can see, it isn’t a matter of how much money or how much effort. This time, it can’t be fixed, and nobody on earth can tell you what’s going to happen.
May 27, 2011
I’ll tell you, the combination of high-speed internet, and TED talks (http://www.ted.com/), and especially Hans Rosling, is a time-absorber of major proportions. Not a time-waster, at all, because it’s highly educational (and entertaining) — but it’s so addictive!
Then there is Rosling’s own site, www.gapminder.org. Try these.