WHY FUKUSHIMA IS MORE DIRE THAN ANYTHING ELSE GOING ON RIGHT NOW
The disaster at Fukushima continues to grow and it will soon reach the realm of the unimaginable, but you won't hear about it from America's mainstream media outlets. What follows are quotes from the latest objective and up-to-date report - this time from Al Jazeera:
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera."
"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he [Gundersen] 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."
"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?"
Believe it or not, it just goes downhill from there:
"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."
It has become so bad that TEPCO and the Japanese Government seem to have realized that they just cannot even try to cover-up or hide the truth:
"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."
But, it gets worse, much worse:
"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."
Don't you think that the American Media should report things like this? Don't you think the American Government should do something about things like this? Unfortunately, there is much more that American Media should report on and much more the Government should do something about:
"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."
Why are hot particles are a problem:
"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."
And now, the worst part - what Al Jazeera calls "a problem of infinite proportions":
"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."
The "infinite" part of the problem:
"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."
The article did not report on the effects of the disaster on the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps they did not talk about the Pacific because there is not a lot of information available. Or, it could be because even Gundersen and the other experts cited by Al Jazeera could not bring themselves to think about it. How many hot particles can the Ocean absorb? How would they be distributed though out the Ocean? At what level do the hot particles begin to affect the already depleted populations of fish humans rely on for food? What level of hot particles will render the fish unfit for human consumption? Could the effects of Fukushima increase the number and severity of jelly-fish blooms (already a significant problem) and effectively eliminate the Ocean's other inhabitants? Gundersen said, "Contaminated water tables are incredibly difficult to clean." I wonder how difficult it is to decontaminate an ocean?
In case there is a "reasonable person" out there who will say, "Let's put things into their proper perspective. The numerous nuclear tests at Bikini did not have a significant effect on the Pacific." I would say that we have no way of knowing what effects the nuclear testing had on the Pacific because we knew next to nothing about the way it was before Bikini. Moreover, I don't think that the Bikini Atoll sets right beside the Pacific Gyre. Fukushima is practically on top of it.
What will it take before the people demand that they be told the unvarnished truth about what truly is the worst industrial disaster ever? What will it take for Americans to demand that their Government do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the disaster?
The Dictionary of the Spell-Checker did not have the words TEPCO or Fukushima in it - it won't be long before every dictionary of every word processing software will contain Fukushima and TEPCO. I don't believe that I am one who sees conspiracies to take over the world and enslave each one of us behind every corner. But, I do wonder why (given the importance of these two programs to their base), the G.O.P. is insisting on changing or eliminating Social Security and Medicare? Because their Lords & Masters believe that they can actually do it? Or, could the circus of idiocy be meant to ensure that absolutely no one thinks about Fukushima? I'm not sure, but the virtual news black-out on Fukushima and its consequences speaks volumes.
The Al Jazeera article may be found (for now) at: