Monday, July 25, 2011

Fukushima CoverUp Unravels

Fukushima Cover Up Unravels

By Washington's Blog

Global Research, July 4, 2011
Washington's Blog - 2011-07-03

As I've repeatedly noted, the Japanese government, other governments and nuclear companies have covered up the extent of the Fukushima crisis.

Asia Pacific Journal reports:

Japan’s leading business journal Toyo Keizai has published an article by Hokkaido Cancer Center director Nishio Masamichi, a radiation treatment specialist.


Nishio originally called for “calm” in the days after the accident. Now, he argues, that as the gravity of the situation at the plant has become more clear, the specter of long-term radiation exposure must be reckoned with.


Former Minister for Internal Affairs Haraguchi Kazuhiro has alleged that radiation monitoring station data was actually three decimal places greater than the numbers released to the public. If this is true, it constitutes a “national crime”, in Nishio’s words.

The Atlantic points out:

The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire ... who sounded the alarm about the firm in his 2007 book explains it this way: “If TEPCO and the government of Japan admit an earthquake can do direct damage to the reactor, this raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run. They are using a number of antiquated reactors that have the same systematic problems, the same wear and tear on the piping.”


Oddly enough, while TEPCO later insisted that the cause of the meltdown was the tsunami knocking out emergency power systems, at the 7:47 p.m. TEPCO press conference the same day, the spokesman in response to questions from the press about the cooling systems stated that the emergency water circulation equipment and reactor core isolation time cooling systems would work even without electricity.


On May 15, TEPCO went some way toward admitting at least some of these claims in a report called “Reactor Core Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit One.” The report said there might have been pre-tsunami damage to key facilities including pipes. “This means that assurances from the industry in Japan and overseas that the reactors were robust is now blown apart,” said Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear waste consultant. “It raises fundamental questions on all reactors in high seismic risk areas.”


Eyewitness testimony and TEPCO’S own data indicates that the damage [done to the plant by the quake] was significant. All of this despite the fact that shaking experienced at the plant during the quake was within it’s approved design specifications.

The Wall Street Journal writes:

A former nuclear adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan blasted the government’s continuing handling of the crisis, and predicted further revelations of radiation threats to the public in the coming months.

In his first media interview since resigning his post in protest in April, Toshiso Kosako, one of the country’s leading experts on radiation safety, said Mr. Kan’s government has been slow to test for possible dangers in the sea and to fish and has understated certain radiation dangers to minimize what it will have to spend to clean up contamination.

And while there have been scattered reports already of food contamination—of tea leaves and spinach, for example—Mr. Kosako said there will be broader, more disturbing discoveries later this year, especially as rice, Japan’s staple, is harvested.

“Come the harvest season in the fall, there will be a chaos,” Mr. Kosako said. “Among the rice harvested, there will certainly be some radiation contamination—though I don’t know at what levels—setting off a scandal. If people stop buying rice from Tohoku, . . . we’ll have a tricky problem.”

British Shenanigans

It's not just the Japanese. As the Guardian notes:

British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a co-ordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companies EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse...

Officials stressed the importance of preventing the incident from undermining public support for nuclear power.


The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, condemned the extent of co-ordination between the government and nuclear companies that the emails appear to reveal.


The official suggested that if companies sent in their comments, they could be incorporated into briefs to ministers and government statements. "We need to all be working from the same material to get the message through to the media and the public.


The office for nuclear development invited companies to attend a meeting at the NIA's headquarters in London. The aim was "to discuss a joint communications and engagement strategy aimed at ensuring we maintain confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations and nuclear new-build policy in light of recent events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant".

Other documents released by the government's safety watchdog, the office for nuclear regulation, reveal that the text of an announcement on 5 April about the impact of Fukushima on the new nuclear programme was privately cleared with nuclear industry representatives at a meeting the previous week. According to one former regulator, who preferred not to be named, the degree of collusion was "truly shocking".

The Guardian reports in a second article:

The release of 80 emails showing that in the days after the Fukushima accident not one but two government departments were working with nuclear companies to spin one of the biggest industrial catastrophes of the last 50 years, even as people were dying and a vast area was being made uninhabitable, is shocking.


What the emails shows is a weak government, captured by a powerful industry colluding to at least misinform and very probably lie to the public and the media.


To argue that the radiation was being released deliberately and was “all part of the safety systems to control and manage a situation” is Orwellian.

And - as the Guardian notes in a third article - the collusion between the British government and nuclear companies is leading to political fallout:

“This deliberate and (sadly) very effective attempt to ‘calm’ the reporting of the true story of Fukushima is a terrible betrayal of liberal values. In my view it is not acceptable that a Liberal Democrat cabinet minister presides over a department deeply involved in a blatant conspiracy designed to manipulate the truth in order to protect corporate interests”. -Andy Myles, Liberal Democrat party’s former chief executive in Scotland

“These emails corroborate my own impression that there has been a strange silence in the UK following the Fukushima disaster … in the UK, new nuclear sites have been announced before the results of the Europe-wide review of nuclear safety has been completed. Today’s news strengthens the case for the government to halt new nuclear plans until an independent and transparent review has been conducted.” -Fiona Hall, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European parliament

Fukushima is the greatest nuclear and environmental disaster in human history

By Steven C. Jones

Global Research, June 20, 2011

By way of comparison, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occured in 1986 in the Ukraine, Russia- heretofore the worst nuclear disaster on record- burned for 10 days and cumulatively killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide. The Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster has 5 nuclear reactors burning, 2 in partial meltdown and 3 in full meltdown- and they've ALL been uncontrollably burning since March 11th. Its been over 3 months and this nuclear disaster remains completely out of control. In fact, some industry estimates cite the possibility that these meltdowns will be contained (optimistically) in 1-3 years, at the very earliest.

The amount and intensity of the radioactive fallout from this particular nuclear disaster will assuredly kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide over time. Japan itself is, of course, the epicenter of this radioactive contamination that has spread out from these reactors.

However, the Korean peninsula, China and nations immediately surrounding the Japanese archipelago will also bear the brunt of a significant amount of radioactive fallout from this disaster. Immediately downwind of this radioactive release, though, is the United States of America and the entire northern hemisphere, comprising the majority of the world's industrialized nations on Earth. Significant amounts of plutonium, strontium, cesium, uranium and a whole plethora of other highly radioactive particles have already fallen on the continental land mass of the USA and have already entered the food chains and water tables of the nation.

To give one an example of how lethal radiation is, one pound of plutonium evenly distributed into everyone's lungs would kill every man, woman and child on Earth. There are literally "tons" of radioactive plutonium (among other radioactive elements) that have been released into the air and ocean environments since March 11th. Another critical fact to remember is that radioactive plutonium, for example, remains lethal (killing life) for thousands years as it has a half-life of 24,000 years. Some other radioactive elements such as uranium have a half-life of 4.47 billion years.

In a nutshell, Fukushima represents a literal catastrophe for the human species, plain and simple, there's no other way to put it. As a past anti-nuclear activist (I participated in a dozen or so civil resistance actions at nuclear facilities all across the nation years ago) my credentials span from being a personal friend of Dr Robert Oppenheimer's son- himself an anti-nuclear activist- to having met and talked with the late Dr Edward Teller (father of the hydrogen bomb), to collaborating with a former Trident II missile designer helping to warn humanity about the dangers of nuclear war. In this journey, I learned ALOT about radiation and its harmful effects on human health.

Radiation kills, and thanks to the recent Fukushima disaster in Japan, the REAL story is that a literal nuclear holocaust is unfolding right before us in America and throughout the world. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the federal environmental safety agency arm of the US government has shut down nearly all of its radiation detection monitors in the USA for fear that the American people will learn the TRUTH that a lethal dose of radioactive fallout has now descended upon the nation.

There's really no way to protect yourself and your family from this new threat, although a few precautions should be noted. First, it has been known for years that miso soup has a way of "chelating" radiation out of the human body. The only one's who survived after the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (of all places!) years ago, are those who ingested miso soup. Second, radioactivity bioaccumulates its toxicity higher up the food chain, so its probably prudent to stay away from milk, dairy products and meat. And thirdly, efforts to bolster the body's immune system with vitamens, purified water and plenty of exercise is sure to help as well. Other than that, pray that you're not the now 1 in 2 people who will contract cancer in their lifetimes...

For Fukushima updates and information:



35% spike in infant mortality in northwest cities following Fukishima: San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise!

This is of course because radiation is good for you.

Fukushima: It's much worse than you think

by Dahr Jamail

Many Japanese citizens are now permanently displaced from their homes due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster [GALLO/GETTY]

Scientific experts believe Japan's nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public.

June 16, 2011

"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.

Japan's 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.

Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.

"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."

TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water - as well as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of.

"The problem is how to keep it cool," says Gundersen. "They are pouring in water and the question is what are they going to do with the waste that comes out of that system, because it is going to contain plutonium and uranium. Where do you put the water?"

Even though the plant is now shut down, fission products such as uranium continue to generate heat, and therefore require cooling.

"The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor," Gundersen added. "TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water."

Independent scientists have been monitoring the locations of radioactive "hot spots" around Japan, and their findings are disconcerting.

"We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl," said Gundersen. "The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl."

Radiation monitors for children

Japan's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters finally admitted earlier this month that reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the Fukushima plant experienced full meltdowns.

TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.

Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station - an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan - is now likely uninhabitable.

In the US, physician Janette Sherman MD and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay shedding light on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant.

The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise, and the time frame of the report included the ten weeks immediately following the disaster.

"There is and should be concern about younger people being exposed, and the Japanese government will be giving out radiation monitors to children," Dr MV Ramana, a physicist with the Programme on Science and Global Security at Princeton University who specialises in issues of nuclear safety, told Al Jazeera.

Dr Ramana explained that he believes the primary radiation threat continues to be mostly for residents living within 50km of the plant, but added: "There are going to be areas outside of the Japanese government's 20km mandatory evacuation zone where radiation is higher. So that could mean evacuation zones in those areas as well."

Gundersen points out that far more radiation has been released than has been reported.

"They recalculated the amount of radiation released, but the news is really not talking about this," he said. "The new calculations show that within the first week of the accident, they released 2.3 times as much radiation as they thought they released in the first 80 days."

According to Gundersen, the exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as "hot particles".

"We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo," he said. "Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters."

Radioactive air filters from cars in Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo are now common, and Gundersen says his sources are finding radioactive air filters in the greater Seattle area of the US as well.

The hot particles on them can eventually lead to cancer.

"These get stuck in your lungs or GI tract, and they are a constant irritant," he explained, "One cigarette doesn't get you, but over time they do. These [hot particles] can cause cancer, but you can't measure them with a Geiger counter. Clearly people in Fukushima prefecture have breathed in a large amount of these particles. Clearly the upper West Coast of the US has people being affected. That area got hit pretty heavy in April."

Blame the US?

In reaction to the Fukushima catastrophe, Germany is phasing out all of its nuclear reactors over the next decade. In a referendum vote this Monday, 95 per cent of Italians voted in favour of blocking a nuclear power revival in their country. A recent newspaper poll in Japan shows nearly three-quarters of respondents favour a phase-out of nuclear power in Japan.

Why have alarms not been sounded about radiation exposure in the US?

Nuclear operator Exelon Corporation has been among Barack Obama's biggest campaign donors, and is one of the largest employers in Illinois where Obama was senator. Exelon has donated more than $269,000 to his political campaigns, thus far. Obama also appointed Exelon CEO John Rowe to his Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.

Dr Shoji Sawada is a theoretical particle physicist and Professor Emeritus at Nagoya University in Japan.
He is concerned about the types of nuclear plants in his country, and the fact that most of them are of US design.

"Most of the reactors in Japan were designed by US companies who did not care for the effects of earthquakes," Dr Sawada told Al Jazeera. "I think this problem applies to all nuclear power stations across Japan."

Using nuclear power to produce electricity in Japan is a product of the nuclear policy of the US, something Dr Sawada feels is also a large component of the problem.

"Most of the Japanese scientists at that time, the mid-1950s, considered that the technology of nuclear energy was under development or not established enough, and that it was too early to be put to practical use," he explained. "The Japan Scientists Council recommended the Japanese government not use this technology yet, but the government accepted to use enriched uranium to fuel nuclear power stations, and was thus subjected to US government policy."

As a 13-year-old, Dr Sawada experienced the US nuclear attack against Japan from his home, situated just 1400 metres from the hypocentre of the Hiroshima bomb.

"I think the Fukushima accident has caused the Japanese people to abandon the myth that nuclear power stations are safe," he said. "Now the opinions of the Japanese people have rapidly changed. Well beyond half the population believes Japan should move towards natural electricity."

A problem of infinite proportions

Dr Ramana expects the plant reactors and fuel cores to be cooled enough for a shutdown within two years.
"But it is going to take a very long time before the fuel can be removed from the reactor," he added. "Dealing with the cracking and compromised structure and dealing with radiation in the area will take several years, there's no question about that."

Dr Sawada is not as clear about how long a cold shutdown could take, and said the problem will be "the effects from caesium-137 that remains in the soil and the polluted water around the power station and underground. It will take a year, or more time, to deal with this".

Gundersen pointed out that the units are still leaking radiation.

"They are still emitting radioactive gases and an enormous amount of radioactive liquid," he said. "It will be at least a year before it stops boiling, and until it stops boiling, it's going to be cranking out radioactive steam and liquids."

Gundersen worries about more earthquake aftershocks, as well as how to cool two of the units.

"Unit four is the most dangerous, it could topple," he said. "After the earthquake in Sumatra there was an 8.6 [aftershock] about 90 days later, so we are not out of the woods yet. And you're at a point where, if that happens, there is no science for this, no one has ever imagined having hot nuclear fuel lying outside the fuel pool. They've not figured out how to cool units three and four."

Gundersen's assessment of solving this crisis is grim.

"Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it, and that has to be removed from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years," he said. "Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn't exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor."

Dr Sawada says that the creation of nuclear fission generates radioactive materials for which there is simply no knowledge informing us how to dispose of the radioactive waste safely.

"Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations," he explained. "To do otherwise is simply an immoral act, and that is my belief, both as a scientist and as a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing."

Gundersen believes it will take experts at least ten years to design and implement the plan.

"So ten to 15 years from now maybe we can say the reactors have been dismantled, and in the meantime you wind up contaminating the water," Gundersen said. "We are already seeing Strontium [at] 250 times the allowable limits in the water table at Fukushima. Contaminated water tables are incredibly difficult to clean. So I think we will have a contaminated aquifer in the area of the Fukushima site for a long, long time to come."

Unfortunately, the history of nuclear disasters appears to back Gundersen's assessment.

"With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started," he said, "But they never end."

June 10 - 12, 2011

A 35% Spike in Infant Mortality in Northwest Cities Since Meltdown

Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout?


U.S. babies are dying at an increased rate. While the United States spends billions on medical care, as of 2006, the US ranked 28th in the world in infant mortality, more than twice that of the lowest ranked countries. (DHHS, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2010, Table 20, p. 131, February 2011.)

The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that eight cities in the northwest U.S. (Boise ID, Seattle WA, Portland OR, plus the northern California cities of Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley) reported the following data on deaths among those younger than one year of age:

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 - 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011 - 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)

This amounts to an increase of 35% (the total for the entire U.S. rose about 2.3%), and is statistically significant. Of further significance is that those dates include the four weeks before and the ten weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In 2001 the infant mortality was 6.834 per 1000 live births, increasing to 6.845 in 2007. All years from 2002 to 2007 were higher than the 2001 rate.

Spewing from the Fukushima reactor are radioactive isotopes including those of iodine (I-131), strontium (Sr-90) and cesium (Cs-134 and Cs-137) all of which are taken up in food and water. Iodine is concentrated in the thyroid, Sr-90 in bones and teeth and Cs-134 and Cs-137 in soft tissues, including the heart. The unborn and babies are more vulnerable because the cells are rapidly dividing and the delivered dose is proportionally larger than that delivered to an adult.

Data from Chernobyl, which exploded 25 years ago, clearly shows increased numbers of sick and weak newborns and increased numbers of deaths in the unborn and newborns, especially soon after the meltdown. These occurred in Europe as well as the former Soviet Union. Similar findings are also seen in wildlife living in areas with increased radioactive fallout levels.
(Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Alexeiy V. Yablokov, Vasily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko. Consulting Editor: Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger. New York Academy of Sciences, 2009.)

Levels of radioisotopes were measured in children who had died in the Minsk area that had received Chernobyl fallout. The cardiac findings were the same as those seen in test animals that had been administered Cs-137. Bandashevsky, Y. I, Pathology of Incorporated Ionizing Radiation, Belarus Technical University, Minsk. 136 pp., 1999. For his pioneering work, Prof. Bandashevsky was arrested in 2001 and imprisoned for five years of an eight year sentence.

The national low-weight (under 2500 grams, or 5.5 lbs) rate has risen 23% from 1984 to 2006. Nearly 400,000 infants are born under 2500g each year in the U.S. Most of the increase in infant mortality is due specifically to infants born weighing less than 750 grams (I lb 10 1/2 oz). Multiple births commonly result in underweight babies, but most of the increase in births at less than 750 grams occurred among singletons and among mothers 20-34 years of age. (CDC, National Vital Statistics Report, 52 (12): 1-24, 2005.)

From an obstetrical point of view, women in the age bracket 20 to 34 are those most physically able to deliver a healthy child. So what has gone wrong? Clues to causation are often revealed when there is a change in incidence, a suspicious geographical distribution, and/or an increase in hazards known to adversely affect health and development.

The risk of having a baby with birth defects is estimated at three to four of every 100 babies born. As of 2005, the Institute of medicine estimated the cost of pre-term births in the US at more than $2.6 billion, or $51,600 for each infant.

Low birth weight babies, born too soon and too small, face a lifetime of health problems, including cerebral palsy, and behavioral and learning problems placing an enormous physical, emotional and economic burdens on society as a whole and on those caring for them. Death of a young child is devastating to a family.

As of June 5, 2011, The Japan Times reported that radiation in the No. 1 plant was measured at 4,000 milliseverts per hour. To put that in perspective, a worker would receive a maximal “permissible” dose in 4 minutes. In addition there are over 40,000 tons of radioactive water under that reactor with more radioactivity escaping into the air and sea. Fuel rods are believed to have melted and sunk to the bottom of reactors 1, 2, and 3.

Tepco, the corporate owner took more than two months to confirm the meltdowns and admitted lying about the levels of destruction and subsequent contamination, resulting in “Public Distrust.” Over 100,000 tons of radioactive waste are on the site.

Why should we care if there may be is a link between Fukushima and the death of children? Because we need to measure the actual levels of isotopes in the environment and in the bodies of people exposed to determine if the fallout is killing our most vulnerable. The research is not technically difficult – the political and economic barriers may be greater. Bandshevsky and others did it and confirmed the connection. The information is available in the Chernobyl book. (Previously cited.)

The biological findings of Chernobyl cannot be ignored: isotope incorporation will determine the future of all life on earth – animal, fish, bird, plant and human. It is crucial to know this information if we are to avoid further catastrophic damage.

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of Life's Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease, and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009. Her primary interest is the prevention of illness through public education. She can be reached at: and

Joseph Mangano is an epidemiologist, and Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project research group.


It's Official: "Nuclear Fuel Has Melted Through Base of Fukushima Plant"

By Washington's Blog

Global Research, June 9, 2011

Washington's Blog

It's Official: "Nuclear Fuel Has Melted Through Base of Fukushima Plant" ... “The Findings of the Report, Which has Been Given to the International Atomic Energy Agency ... Described a 'Melt-Through' as Being 'Far Worse than a Core Meltdown' and 'The Worst Possibility In a Nuclear Accident'"

The Telegraph reports today:

The nuclear fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant has melted through the base of the pressure vessels and is pooling in the outer containment vessels, according to a report by the Japanese government.

The findings of the report, which has been given to the International Atomic Energy Agency, were revealed by the Yomiuri newspaper, which described a "melt-through" as being "far worse than a core meltdown" and "the worst possibility in a nuclear accident."


The pressure vessel of the No. 1 reactor is now believed to have suffered damage just five hours after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, contrary to an estimation released by Tepco, which estimated the failure at 15 hours later.

Melt-downs of the fuel in the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors followed over the following days with the molten fuel collecting at the bottom of the pressure vessels before burning through and into the external steel containment vessels.


"The recovery effort at the plant is likely to be more difficult as they will not be able to use their previous plan to contain the fuel," Yoshiaki Oka, a professor of nuclear science at Tokyo's Waseda University told The Daily Telegraph.

"So it may take longer and be more difficult, but it is something they have to do.

Alexander Higgins picks up on other parts of the Telegraph article underplaying the severity of the crisis, noting:

The Telegraph report once again echoes statement from TEPCO that the fuel at the plant is now being cooled and that plant is stable. However, we have heard the same exact statements from TEPCO day after day for almost three months now. We heard it when there was no meltdown. and an were assured the rods were stable so the risk of meltdown was little to none. The media printed the statements.

When we were told that there was only a partial nuclear meltdown under way and there is no comparison between Fukushima and Chernobyl. Again, TEPCO and the media told use there was no danger because the fuel rods were stable and being cooled.

Then were found out this was in fact a level 7 incident on par with Chernobyl and were reassured the plant and fuel rods were stable.

Then they reveal a full meltdown occurred at 3 reactors, and the media again reported the fuel rods were stable and being cooled.

Now even with news that the nuclear lava inside the reactor has melted through the base of 3 reactors they once again print the same lies again that the cool rods are being effectively cooled and are in stable condition? Should we believe them this time after 3 months of lies?

The media is also still reporting that there is no risk to human health in Japan. What a joke. Does anyone seriously believe these lies?

Fukushima: Blatant Coverup of Radiation

By Lucas Whitefield Hixson

Global Research, June 9, 2011

Watch the TBS feed AND the TEPCO Webcam simulcast

With blatant disrespect for human health Tokyo Electric Power Company has failed to provide accurate information regarding the amount of radiation that has been released to date, and the full spectrum of isotopes that were emitted. Reactor 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was operating on MOX fuel which exploded, sending highly radioactive Plutonium into the atmosphere.

This is the story that TEPCO will do anything to keep you from talking about. They have admitted through tight lips that yes, Plutonium was discharged, and yes, it has been found outside of the power plant. They would have you believe that by spraying a green chemical agent on the grounds they are able to contain all of the MOX fuel elements.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster set many firsts for the nuclear industry

1.Never before has a nuclear meltdown occurred in which MOX fuel elements have been discharged from the site
2.Never before has a nuclear meltdown occurred in multiple reactors simultaneously
3.Never before has a nuclear meltdown occurred containing these amounts of melted corium
4.Never before has a nuclear meltdown occurred in this densely populated of an area
1.Never before has a nuclear meltdown occurred this close to one of the largest populated cities in the world (Tokyo)
5.Never before has a nuclear meltdown occurred has spent fuel pool damage been so extensive

The nuclear industry is facing challenges in the upcoming years at Fukushima Daiichi that most physicists felt were impossible. The regulating agencies since conception have moved forward on the belief that "Reactors don't make mistakes, people do". In the Soviet Union, risks in nuclear power plant designs were a classified secret, a fact that led to the disaster at Chernobyl.

Corporate science continues to be deceptive, and to ignore the casualties of nuclear accidents whether they are small level radioactive leaks or nuclear disasters. The only way to fight a nuclear disaster is to prevent it.

We are as prepared to control nuclear power as we are to fly to mars, the only problem is we can build nuclear power plants. Repeated nuclear disasters have proven time and again that we do not possess the necessary technology to control nuclear disasters and prevent harm to the workers on-site, or the global community.

Potassium Iodide which is given to victims of radioactive fallout is only effective when taken up to 16 hours before exposure. When taken within 24 hours of exposure, it is only 50% as effective, and when taken 48 hours after exposure only 2% as effective.

TEPCO's stocks have been falling at a never-before seen rate. On March 11th when the earthquake hit, the stock was trading at 2121 yen per share, or around $26 USD. As of today the stock has hit a record low 175 yen per share, or roughly $2.18 USD per share.

With no end in sight, the financial market reports should tell you all you need to know about the future of TEPCO, and the Fukushima Prefecture.


Fukushima: Massive Radiation.

Japan Admits TOTAL Meltdown at 3 Nuclear Reactors Within Hours of Earthquake

And More Than DOUBLES Estimate of Radiation Released After Accident

By Washington's Blog

Global Research, June 7, 2011
Washington's Blog

For months, Tepco and Japanese officials refused to admit that there had been any meltdowns at Fukushima.

Then they said there were meltdowns at reactors 1, 2 and 3 ... but they might have only been partial meltdowns.

Finally, today, they admitted the obvious: there were total meltdowns at all 3 reactors. As CNN reports:

Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced full meltdowns at three reactors in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March, the country's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters said Monday.

The nuclear group's new evaluation, released Monday, goes further than previous statements in describing the extent of the damage caused by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.


Reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced a full meltdown, it said.


But Tokyo Electric [on May 24th] released a second possible scenario for reactors 2 and 3, one that estimated a full meltdown did not occur. In that scenario, the company estimated the fuel rods may have broken but may not have completely melted.


Temperature data showed the two reactors had cooled substantially in the more than two months since the incident, Tokyo Electric said in May.


Tokyo Electric avoided using the term "meltdown," and says it was keeping the remnants of the core cool. But U.S. experts interviewed by CNN after the company's announcement in May said that while it may have been containing the situation, the damage had already been done.

"On the basis of what they showed, if there's not fuel left in the core, I don't know what it is other than a complete meltdown," said Gary Was, a University of Michigan nuclear engineering professor and CNN consultant. And given the damage reported at the other units, "It's hard to imagine the scenarios can differ that much for those reactors."

As the Japan Times reports today, the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has "more than doubled its estimate of the radioactive material ejected into the air in the early days of the Fukushima nuclear crisis".

Japan Times also notes that plutonium has been found in soil outside of the nuclear complex - about 1.7 kilometers from the front gate of Fukushima. However, the plutonium probably came from the so-called "hydrogen explosions", which hopefully won't happen again. (However, nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen believes that at least some of the explosions were caused by nuclear reactions in the fuel pools.)

While it is tempting to believe that the worst of the crisis is over, some of the reactors are more radioactive than ever, and nuclear chain reactions may still be occurring.

And it's not just the reactors themselves.

Remember that - when the spent fuel rods stored onsite within the reactor buildings are included - the amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima dwarfs Chernobyl.

For background, see this.


A warning sign? Atmosphere above epicentre of deadly Japan earthquake heated up 'rapidly' in days before disaster
Last updated at 7:57 AM on 20th May 2011

Scientists hope they will one day be able to predict quakes uses air ionisation data

The atmosphere directly above the fault zone which produced Japan's recent devastating earthquake heated up significantly in the days before the disaster, a study has shown.
Before the March 11 earthquake, the total electron content in a part of the upper atmosphere, called the ionosphere, increased dramatically over the earthquake's epicentre, reaching a maximum three days before the quake struck.

Read more:

Published on Friday, May 13, 2011 by The Guardian/UK

Plan to Flood Fukushima Reactor Could Cause New Blast, Experts Warn

Plant operator Tepco reveals meltdown and breach of pressure vessel, with Greenpeace warning against pumping water in

by Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Experts have warned of a potentially dangerous radiation leak if Japan proceeds with plans to flood a damaged reactor containment vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The facility's operator has admitted uranium fuel rods in the No 1 reactor partially melted after being fully exposed because of the 11 March tsunami


The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in Perspective

By Dr. Helen Caldicott

Global Research, May 12, 2011

Dr. Helen Caldicott's March 18th press conference in Montreal, sponsored by the Centre for Research non Globalization (CRG)

Our thanks to Felton Davis for the transcription from the GRTV Video recording and for the annotations.

This press conference organized by Globla Research was held in the context of Helen Caldicott's public lecture to Montreal on March 18, 2011.

First I want to present this report, produced by the New York Academy of Sciences, a report on Chernobyl. It can be downloaded.(2) They translated 5,000 articles from Russian for the first time into English. It seems that nearly a million people have already died as a result of Chernobyl, despite what the WH0(3) says and the IAEA.(4) This is one of the most monstrous cover-ups in the history of medicine. Because everybody should know about this.

Then we extrapolate through to Japan. Japan is by orders of magnitude many times worse than Chernobyl. Never in my life did I think that six nuclear reactors would be at risk.(5) I knew that three GE engineers who helped design these Mark I GE reactors, resigned because they knew they were dangerous.(6)

So Japan built them on an earthquake fault. The reactors partially withstood the earthquake, but the external electricity supply was cut off, and the electricity supplies the cooling water, a million gallons a minute, to each of those six reactors. Without the cooling water, the water [level] falls, and the rods are so hot they melt, like at Three Mile Island, and at Chernobyl.

So the emergency diesel generators, which are as large as a house, got destroyed by the tsunami, so there is no way to keep the water circulating in the reactors.(7) Also, on the roofs of the reactors, not within the containment vessel, are cooling pools. Every year they remove about thirty tons of the most radioactive rods that you can possibly imagine.(Cool Each one is twelve feet long and half an inch thick. It gives out so much radiation, that if you stand next to it for a couple of minutes, you'll die. Not drop dead. Remember Litvinenko, the Russian, who got poisoned by polonium?(9) You'll die like that, with your hair falling out, and bleeding with massive infection, like AIDS patients die.

And [the spent fuel rods] are thermally hot, so they have to be put in a big pool, and continually cooled. The pool has really no roof.

There have been three hydrogen explosions, blowing off the roof of the building, not the containment vessel of the core, but the roof. And exposing the cooling pool.(10) Two of the cooling pools are dry. They have no water in them. Meaning that the nuclear fuel rods are covered with a material called zirconium. When zirconium is exposed to air, it burns, it ignites. Two of the cooling pools at this moment are burning. In the cooling pools are many times, like 10 to 20 times more radiation than in each reactor core. In each reactor core is as much long-lived radiation as would be produced by a thousand Hiroshima-sized bombs. We are dealing with diabolical energy.

E=MC2 is the energy that blows up nuclear bombs. Einstein said nuclear power is a hell of a way to boil water.(11) Because that is all nuclear power is used for, to boil water through the massive heat, turn it into steam, and turn a turbine which generates electricity.

Now when you fission uranium, 200 new elements are formed, all of which are much more poisonous to the body than the original uranium.(12) Although uranium is pretty poisonous. America used it in Fallujah, and in Baghdad. And in Fallujah, 80 per cent of the babies being born are grossly deformed.(13) They're being born without brains, single eyes, no arms... The doctors have told the women to stop having babies. The incidence of childhood cancer has gone up about twelve times. This is genocide -- it's a nuclear war being conducted in Iraq. The uranium that they're using lasts more than 4.5 billion years. So we're contaminating the cradle of civilization. "The coalition of the willing!"

In the nuclear power plants, however, there is a huge amount of radiation: two hundred elements. Some last seconds, some last millions of years. Radioactive iodine lasts six weeks, causes thyroid cancer. That's why people are saying, "Better take potassium iodide," because that blocks the thyroid uptake of radioactive iodine, which later can cause thyroid cancer.

In Chernobyl, over 20,000 people have developed thyroid cancer.(14) They have their thyroids out, and they will die unless they take thyroid replacement every day, like a diabetic has to take insulin.
Strontium-90 will get out, it lasts for 600 years. It goes to the bone, where it causes bone cancer or leukemia. Cesium lasts for 600 years -- it's all over Europe. 40 per cent of Europe is still radioactive. Turkish food is extremely radioactive. Do not buy Turkish dried apricots, or Turkish hazelnuts. The Turks were so cross with the Russians, they sent all their radioactive tea over to Russia after Chernobyl.(15)

Forty per cent of Europe is still radioactive. Farms in Britain, their lambs are so full of cesium they can't sell them. Don’t eat European food.

But that's nothing compared to what's happening now. One of the most deadly [nuclear byproducts] is plutonium, named after Pluto, god of the underworld. One millionth of a gram, if you inhale it, would give you cancer. Hypothetically, one pound of plutonium if evenly distributed could give everyone on earth cancer. Each reactor has 250 kilograms of plutonium in it. You only need 2.5 kilograms to make an atomic bomb, because plutonium is what they make bombs with.

So any country that has a reactor, works with your uranium. You [Canada] are the biggest exporter of uranium in the world.(16) Canada sells two things: it sells wheat for life, and uranium for death. Plutonium is going to get out and spread all over the northern hemisphere. It's already heading towards North America now.

Radioactive iodine, plus strontium, plus cesium, plus tritium, and I could go on and on and on. When it rains, downs come fallout, and it concentrates in food. If it gets into the sea, the algae concentrate it, hundreds of times. And the crustaceans concentrate it, hundreds of times. And then the little fish, then the big fish, then us.(17)

Because we stand on the apex of the food chain. You can't taste these radioactive food elements, you can't see them, you can't smell them. They're silent. When you get them inside your body, you don't suddenly drop dead of cancer, it takes five to sixty years to get your cancer, and when you feel a lump in your breast, it doesn't say, "I was made by some strontium-90 in a piece of fish you ate twenty years ago."

All radiation is damaging. It's cumulative -- each dose you get adds to your risk of getting cancer. The americium is more dangerous than plutonium -- I could go on and on. Depends if it rains if you're going to get it or not. If it rains and the radiation comes down, don't grow food, and don't eat the food, and I mean don't eat it for 600 years.

Radioactive waste from nuclear power is going to be buried, I hear, next to Lake Ontario. It's going to leak, last for millions of years, it's going to get into the water, and into the food chains. Radioactive waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia, and genetic disease for the rest of time. This is the greatest public health hazard the world has ever witnessed, apart from the threat every day of nuclear war.

Einstein said "the splitting of the atom changed everything, save man's mode of thinking" -- very profound -- "and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe." We are arrogant, we have a lot of hubris, and I think the reptilian mid-brain of some men's brains is pathological.(18)

We are in a situation where we have harnessed the energy of the sun. It is totally out of control. And there's simply nothing we can do about it.


1) Helen Caldicott is the founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and is the author of "The New Nuclear Danger" (The New Press, 2002).

2) "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe For the People and the Environment," Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

3) "Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident," World Health Organization.

4) "Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident," International Atomic Energy Agency.

5) For a general description of the complex, including cross-sections of the six reactors, see

Excerpt: On February 2, 1976, Gregory C. Minor, Richard B. Hubbard, and Dale G. Bridenbaugh "blew the whistle" on safety problems at nuclear power plants. The three engineers gained the attention of journalists and their disclosures about the threats of nuclear power had a significant impact. They timed their statements to coincide with their resignations from responsible positions in General Electric's nuclear energy division, and later established themselves as consultants on the nuclear power industry for state governments, federal agencies, and overseas governments.

7) "Japanese Scramble to Avert Meltdowns as Nuclear Crisis Deepens After Quake," New York Times, March 12, 2011, By HIROKO TABUCHI and MATTHEW L. WALD

Cool The design manual for General Electric boiling water reactors was posted as a PDF document on the "What Really Happened" website, and can be downloaded at:

Excerpt: Alexander Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB and KGB, who escaped prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom. He wrote two books, "Blowing up Russia: Terror from within" and "Lubyanka Criminal Group", where he accused the Russian secret services of staging Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts to bring Vladimir Putin to power. On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later, becoming the first confirmed victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome. According to doctors, "Litvinenko's murder represents an ominous landmark: the beginning of an era of nuclear terrorism". Litvinenko's allegations about the misdeeds of the FSB and his public deathbed accusations that Russian president Vladimir Putin were behind his unusual malady resulted in worldwide media coverage.

10) "Greater Danger Lies in Spent Fuel Than in Reactors,"
Keith Bradsher & Hiroko Tabuchi, NY Times, March 17, 2011

"Radiation Spread Seen; Frantic Repairs Go On,"
David Sanger & William J. Broad, NY Times, March 17, 2011

"U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant,"
James Glanz & William J. Broad, NY Times, April 6, 2011

"Focus on preventing explosions at Japan nuke plant,"
Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press, April 6, 2011



13) "US Accused of Using Poison Gases in Fallujah,"
Democracy Now, Monday, November 29th, 2004

"Evidence of Extensive War Crimes, Unprecedented
in the annals of legal history," Niloufer Bhagwat,
Global Research, December 11, 2004

"Depleted Uranium Weapons: Dead Babies in Iraq and Afghanistan Are No Joke," by Dave Lindorff, Global Research, October 20, 2009

"The consequences of a US war crime:
Cancer rate in Fallujah worse than Hiroshima,"
Tom Eley, World Socialist, July 23, 2010

"Research Links Rise in Fallujah Birth Defects and Cancers to US Assault," Martin Chulov, The Guardian/UK, December 31, 2010

14) "Chernobyl's Continuing Thyroid Impact,"
By Mary Shomon, December 15, 2003

15) "Authorities lied on impact of Chernobyl in Turkey,"
Greenpeace Report

16) WISE Report on the Worldwide Uranium Market

"Why is Uranium Important to Canada?"
Canadian Nuclear Association,



Published on Monday, May 9, 2011 by Huffington Post

Deadly Silence on Fukushima

by Vivian Norris

I received the following email a few days ago from a Russian nuclear physicist friend who is an expert on the kinds of gases being released at Fukushima. Here is what he wrote:

"About Japan: the problem is that the reactor uses "dirty" fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX). I suspect that the old fuel rods have bean spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again. It is like a new Tchernobyl. Personally, I am not surprised that the authority has not informed people about this."


Fukushima radiation levels rise to highest levels yet

By William Whitlow

WSWS, May 2, 2011

As the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chernobyl passes, Fukushima looks set to overtake it as the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Two weeks ago Fukushima was raised from a level 5 disaster to a level 7 like Chernobyl. But nearly two months after the crisis began, Fukushima is still emitting radioactivity, while Chernobyl’s emissions had been contained at this stage.

Robots sent into the Number 1 reactor building have recorded the highest reading of radioactivity so far found at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since the emergency began almost two months ago. Two robots found 1,120 millisieverts of radiation an hour was being emitted from the stricken reactor. This level of radiation is more than enough to cause immediate radiation sickness if a human being were exposed to it. The Tokyo Electrical Power Company (Tepco) which runs the Fukushima facility has begun to use robots because it has become impossible to send workers into the plant for long enough to take accurate readings.

The company has just admitted that a woman worker at the plant was exposed to 17.55 millisieverts last month and taken off the job. Her exposure exceeds the 5 millisieverts 3-month dose limit for females. Women have a lower dose level than men because of the potential danger to a foetus if a woman were to become pregnant. The woman worked indoors and her exposure to radiation was limited to clothing and other material brought in from outside her workplace. The fact that she has exceeded the permitted dose gives an indication of the now generalised level of contamination at Fukushima and suggests that no areas of the plant can be classified as safe for prolonged periods. Tepco has laid off 18 other female workers. It has not said what their exposure level is.

The Japanese nuclear industry as a whole is now facing a general crisis as the potential workforce is reduced because of the high exposure levels of the Fukushima workers. The Health Ministry is expected to uprate the legal limit for nuclear workers next month. The current level for non-emergency workers is 50 millisieverts per year. This is expected to be raised allowing workers not directly engaged in emergency work to be exposed to greater levels of radiation.

Permitted levels of exposure are also to be raised for children. The Japanese government wants to increase the limit for children living in Fukushima prefecture to 20 millisieverts per year. That is to say to the same level as adult men working in the nuclear industry and 20 times what is normally accepted internationally for non-nuclear workers. It would currently be illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to work in these conditions in Japan. But under the new proposals this is the level of contamination that will be acceptable in children’s playgrounds and schoolyards. When possible contamination from food sources is taken into account children in Fukushima would be exposed to much higher total levels of radiation. Children’s cells are dividing roughly 10 times faster than those of adults so that their sensitivity to radiation exposure is far greater.

Meanwhile the union representing Tepco workers has agreed to a 20-25 percent pay cut for its members. Koji Sakata, secretary-general of the Tokyo Electric Power Workers Union told reporters, "Most union members didn’t object to a pay cut, considering the situation at the company and the effect on society from the nuclear accident."

Tepco’s shares have fallen by 80 percent since the crisis began. The company expects to save 54 billion yen through the pay cuts. Tepco faces a massive bill for compensation from residents who have been evacuated from the surrounding area. Initial payments are expected to reach 50 billion yen, but the government is expected to cover this cost. Effectively, the financial burden of the disaster is being placed on the shoulders of Tepco workers and the majority of the Japanese population who will have to fund the subsidy through their taxes.

The high radiation levels have serious implications for long terms measures to stabilize the plant and bring the four overheating reactors to cold shut down. Tepco had planned to flood the steel containment vessel of number 1 reactor with water, to speed up the cooling process. The high readings suggest that this will not now be possible because the source of the high readings cannot be identified.

The implication is that the containment vessel of reactor 1 is compromised in some way and that the steel structure itself or the seals on pipes connecting to it are damaged. In either case it would be impossible to flood the containment vessel without causing even more contaminated water to collect in the reactor building and potentially flow into the sea. Highly contaminated water is currently flowing into the Pacific Ocean through a leak which Tepco has been unable to plug.

Professor Hironobu Unesaki of Kyoto University said, "Tepco must figure out the source of high radiation. If it’s from contaminated water leaking from inside the reactor, Tepco’s so-called water tomb may be jeopardized because flooding the containment vessel will result in more radiation in the building."

The sheer quantity of highly contaminated water has become a serious problem at Fukushima. A floating storage facility is expected to arrive at the plant in the next few weeks. The Mega-Float can hold some 10,000 tons or approximately 10 million litres of water. But the scale of the problem dwarfs even this giant structure. There are thought to be 87.5 million litres of water lying in basements, tunnels and trenches on the site and a further half million litres may be overflowing daily. The Mega-Float could accommodate about one eighth of the water at best.

Much of the water on the site is, in any case, highly contaminated and it would be too dangerous to pump it into a floating storage facility. Some on-site storage is available and more is to be created. A longer-term solution is to decontaminate the water. The French nuclear company Areva is working with waste management company Veolia to construct a flocculation facility at Fukushima which will treat 50 tons of water a day. A cocktail of chemicals is used to bind the radioactive elements into a sludge, which can then be sealed in bitumen or glass and stored in barrels.

The technique is currently used at the La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant and processed wastewater pumped directly into the English Channel. But the system is not without its critics. Health researchers have documented a leukaemia cluster near the La Hague plant. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has refused to licence the French technique for use in America. Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko cited "a non-proliferation concern and environmental concerns".

The full extent of the environmental and health impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident cannot yet be assessed. Some scientists are pointing to serious long-term global concerns. Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, who has spent 39 years working in the nuclear industry and now acts as an expert witness, has suggested that the explosion in Number 3 building at Fukushima on March 14 may have been more serious than has so far been admitted.

Gundersen argues that an initial hydrogen explosion caused a prompt criticality in the spent-fuel rod pool at the top of the Number 3 reactor building. Prompt criticality is the term used in the nuclear industry for an exponential increase in the number of fission events. That is to say a runaway nuclear chain reaction may have taken place in the spent fuel rods.

Gundersen postulates that the upward vector, the upward thrust, from the explosion in Building 3 may have been sufficient to carry radioactive isotopes from the fuel rods into the atmosphere and to disperse them over many thousands of miles. He points out that uranium has been found on Hawaii, americium has been found in New England and plutonium dust has been found on the Fukushima site. These latter elements are transuranic, i.e. heavier than uranium, and indicate that nuclear fuel was volatilized at Fukushima.

If Gundersen’s hypothesis is correct then Fukushima will rival or surpass Chernobyl in its global health consequences. The impact of Chernobyl on human health is still disputed. A recent study by Lisbeth Gronlund of the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that an extra 53,000 cancers and 27,000 deaths can be attributed to the fallout from Chernobyl. This is six times higher than the UN estimate, which only looked at the most contaminated areas.

Interviewed by Lisa Mullins of PRI, Gronlund refused to be drawn on the implications for the potential death toll from Fukushima. "The Fukushima crisis is still ongoing," she said. "The radiation will continue to be emitted. And after the fact, people will be able to reconstruct the dose that people in those areas will have received. And then you can, from that, estimate the number of additional cancer deaths. But it’s really too soon to say."

Fukushima has already gone on longer that the critical phase of the Chernobyl accident. At Chernobyl only one reactor was involved while at Fukushima there are four reactors in crisis. Nor did Chernobyl take place in the context of an ongoing disaster, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and disrupted essential services. At any point the already devastated plant could be hit by another earthquake and tsunami.

"A big earthquake can strike at any time," Shigeharu Aoyama, a government adviser, warned, "and we are in the middle of that danger. But we are too focused on how to cool the reactor and how to treat the radioactive water. And although we have 1,500 people working on the problems, we have not built a protective embankment."

Professor Toshiso Kosako, an expert on radiation safety at the University of Tokyo, has resigned his post as a special government adviser on nuclear issues. He said the government "have ignored the laws and have only dealt with the problem at the moment". This approach, he warned would only prolong the crisis.

He made explosive charges that the government is not adequately protecting the population from radiation. Noting that a recent government decision allowed children living near the Fukushima plant to receive doses of radiation equal to the international standard for nuclear power plant workers, he said: "I cannot allow this as a scholar."

He also said limits on radiation exposure for clean-up workers at Fukushima were too high, and that the government was not releasing enough data on radiation levels around the facility.

April 25, 2011

On the Danger of a Killer Earthquake in the Japanese Archipelago

The Nuclear Disaster That Could Destroy Japan ... and the World


Translated by Doug Lummis

The nuclear power plants in Japan are ageing rapidly; like cyborgs, they are barely kept in operation by a continuous replacement of parts. And now that Japan has entered a period of earthquake activity and a major accident could happen at any time, the people live in constant state of anxiety.

Seismologists and geologists agree that, after some fifty years of seismic inactivity, with the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (Southern Hyogo Prefecture Earthquake), the country has entered a period of seismic activity. In 2004, the Chuetsu Earthquake hit Niigata Prefecture, doing damage to the village of Yamakoshi. Three years later, in 2007, the Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake severely damaged the nuclear reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa. In 2008, there was an earthquake in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, causing a whole mountain to disappear completely. Then in 2009 the Hamaoka nuclear plant was put in a state of emergency by the Suruga Bay Earthquake. And now, in 2011, we have the 3/11 earthquake offshore from the northeast coast. But the period of seismic activity is expected to continue for decades. From the perspective of seismology, a space of 10 or 15 years is but a moment in time.

Because the Pacific Plate, the largest of the plates that envelop the earth, is in motion, I had predicted that there would be major earthquakes all over the world.

And as I had feared, after the Suruga Bay Earthquake of August 2009 came as a triple shock, it was followed in September and October by earthquakes off Samoa, Sumatra, and Vanuatu, of magnitudes between 7.6 and 8.2. That means three to eleven times the force of the Southern Hyogo Prefecture Earthquake.

All of these quakes occurred around the Pacific Plate as the center, and each was located at the boundary of either that plate or a plate under its influence. Then in the following year, 2010, in January there came the Haiti Earthquake, at the boundary of the Caribbean Plate, pushed by the Pacific and Coco Plates, then in February the huge 8.8 magnitude earthquake offshore from Chile. I was praying that this world scale series of earthquakes would come to an end, but the movement of the Pacific Plate shows no sign of stopping, and led in 2011 to the 3/11 Earthquake in northeastern Japan and the subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima

There are large seismic faults, capable of producing earthquakes at the 7 or 8 magnitude level, near each of Japan’s nuclear plants, including the reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. It is hard to believe that there is any nuclear plant that would not be damaged by a magnitude 8 earthquake.

A representative case is the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant itself, where it has become clear that the fault under the sea nearby also extends inland. The Rokkasho plant, where the nuclear waste (death ash) from all the nuclear plants in Japan is collected, is located on land under which the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate meet. That is, the plate that is the greatest danger to the Rokkasho plant, is now in motion deep beneath Japan.

The Rokkasho plant was originally built with the very low earthquake resistance factor of 375 gals. (Translator’s note: The gal, or galileo, is a unit used to measure peak ground acceleration during earthquakes. Unlike the scales measuring an earthquake’s general intensity, it measures actual ground motion in particular locations.) Today its resistance factor has been raised to only 450 gals, despite the fact that recently in Japan earthquakes registering over 2000 gals have been occurring one after another. Worse, the Shimokita Peninsula is an extremely fragile geologic formation that was at the bottom of the sea as recently as the sea rise of the Jomon period (the Flandrian Transgression) 5000 years ago; if an earthquake occurred there it could be completely destroyed.

The Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant is where expended nuclear fuel from all of Japan’s nuclear power plants is collected, and then reprocessed so as to separate out the plutonium, the uranium, and the remaining highly radioactive liquid waste. In short, it is the most dangerous factory in the world.

At the Rokkasho plant, 240 cubic meters of radioactive liquid waste are now stored. A failure to take care of this properly could lead to a nuclear catastrophe surpassing the meltdown of a reactor. This liquid waste continuously generates heat, and must be constantly cooled. But if an earthquake were to damage the cooling pipes or cut off the electricity, the liquid would begin to boil. According to an analysis prepared by the German nuclear industry, an explosion of this facility could expose persons within a 100 kilometer radius from the plant to radiation 10 to 100 times the lethal level, which presumably means instant death.

On April 7, just one month after the 3/11 earthquake in northeastern Japan, there was a large aftershock. At the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant the electricity was shut off. The pool containing nuclear fuel and the radioactive liquid waste were (barely) cooled down by the emergency generators, meaning that Japan was brought to the brink of destruction. But the Japanese media, as usual, paid this almost no notice.

Hirose Takashi has written a whole shelf full of books, mostly on the nuclear power industry and the military-industrial complex. Probably his best known book is Nuclear Power Plants for Tokyo in which he took the logic of the nuke promoters to its logical conclusion: if you are so sure that they're safe, why not build them in the center of the city, instead of hundreds of miles away where you lose half the electricity in the wires?

Douglas Lummis is a political scientist living in Okinawa and the author of Radical Democracy. Lummis can be reached at

No comments:

Post a Comment