Gambling with People’s Lives – The Perfect Crime?

The terrible things that are done in the name of pragmatism. As japanese citizens are moved back into contaminated areas with radiation levels at the top limit of what an EU nuclear worker would be allowed in terms of exposure the health cost to Japan will rise. This is not unknown. The most vulnerable will be children and fetuses, then women. This is not unknown. An actual EU nuclear worker would not be allowed to work forever at this level of exposure. This is also not unknown. Yet is is happening anyway, just as the radioactive plume of contamination is still to some extent being treated as if it were plotted with a compass, evenly. When in reality there are areas within the evacuation zone that are safer than areas outside it. This too is not unknown. What does that say about the nuclear industry, or the human race's capacity for denial or cupidity? This is worse than the "perfect crime." This is an unspeakable act of barbarism.

Gambling with People’s Lives – The Perfect Crime?

Gordon Edwards l CCNR     Background: April 7 2014

Three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, 357 people are being allowed to go home in a small corner of a town right on the perimeter of the original evacuation zone, 20 km away from the stricken plant. These are the first people allowed to re-populate the evacuated areas, from which almost 140,000 were displaced -- so those eligible to return home represent about 1/4 of 1 percent of those evacuated.

Massive decontamination efforts have been underway throughout a huge area stretching far beyond the original evacuation zone. See http://ccnr.org/Decontamination_Efforts.pdf . But decontamination is never 100 percent.

In this particular case, the radiation levels are deemed by the authorities to be low enough to allow rehabitation, having been brought down to a level no greater than 20 millisieverts (mSv) per year. That level happens to represent the maximum legally allowed radiation exposure limit for an atomic worker in the EU; indeed, no atomic worker would be allowed to work at that exposure level for an entire year under ordinary circumstances.

According to the US National Academy of Sciences BEIR Committee (BEIR = Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) if 100 people are exposed to 100 mSv, you would expect to see 1 extra cancer case caused by that radiation exposure. So if 140,000 people were returned to their homes at an exposure level of 20 mSv per year, you would expect to see 280 extra radiation-induced cancer cases in that population for every single year that the exposure continued.

It is impossible to say which individuals will get those cancers, and it is impossible to prove that any individual case of cancer was, in fact, caused by radiation. For this reason, John Gofman -- an award- winning nuclear physicist as well as an award-winning medical doctor -- described the deaths caused by such low-level radiation exposure as "the perfect crime". You know people are dying; you know what is killing them; you know who did it; but you can't prove it!

To say (as UNSCEAR has reported) that these extra deaths will be "not perceptible" simply means that statistics is too crude an instrument to reveal the truth; by the same token, you could say that any mass murderer would be responsible for an "imperceptible" number of deaths if it weren't for the bullet holes or knife wounds or eye witnesses to testify to the murders. Without a "smoking gun" to identify those who died of radiation exposure you can pretend that no one was killed.


Gambling with People’s Lives – The Perfect Crime?

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 20 mSv described above refers only to external gamma radiation, without taking into account the internal emitters -- the radioactive materials which will be ingested, or inhaled, or otherwise absorbed into the bodies of men, women and children living in these still-contaminated areas, because of radioactive contaminants in the food, water, and the residual radioactivity in the dust that is kicked up by children at play, by men working outdoors, or by women washing the family's clothes.

It is well known that embryos, babies and children are much more sensitive to the damaging effects of ionizing radiation than adults are. In fact women are also more sensitive to radiation damage than men of the same age, sometimes by up to a factor of two. Because we are not dealing with an adult male work force, but a community of folks of different genders and all ages, the predictions of radiation- induced cancer cases may be woefully underestimated.

And cancer is not the only harmful biomedical effect of protracted exposure to low-level radiation. There is a growing body of evidence that heart attacks and strokes are increased by such chronic radiation exposure, as well as damage to the reproductive cells of both men and women. Every girl is born with her ovaries intact, already containing all the eggs that she will ever have; radiation damage to these eggs at a very early age can result in genetically damaged children or grandchildren much later on in life.

The immune system is likewise compromised by radiation exposure due to the fact that some critically important white blood cells are particularly depleted by radiation exposure, thereby leaving the exposed person more susceptible to infectious diseases of all kinds.

Those people who agree to move back into contaminated areas declared "safe" by the Japanese authorities will be rewarded with a one-time payment of about $9000. Those people who decide NOT to go back home when the authorities invite them to, will have their monthly support payments of $1000 per month stopped.

Dealing with the consequences of a nuclear disaster is no easy matter.

Gordon Edwards, CCNR

Read more here

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated

Fairewinds Energy EducationMarch 20, 2014 (re-released from last year)

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated from Fairewinds Energy Education on Vimeo.

As the three year anniversary of the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi just passed, our minds have been on the health of the Japanese people, in particular the children. This week’s film is a reissue of a film we released last year featuring Ian Goddard and Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen discussing the risk of cancer in children in and around Fukushima prefecture. The statistics are astounding especially for young girls. For every year a young girl is the in the radiation zone 1 in 100 girls is going to get cancer due to their exposure from Fukushima. As each year passes it compounds, so if a young girl is there for 10 years, 10 out of 100 will get cancer. The statistics are terrifying and the Japanese government has allowed families with young children to return to Fukushima prefecture.

Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly

Researchers have discovered leaf litter is not decaying at the normal rate in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. After conductiong experiments with leaf litter uncontaminated by fallout  they have established this is true. Tim Mousseau, Univ of S. Carolina: “The gist of our results was that the radiation inhibited microbial decomposition of the leaf litter on the top layer of the soil."

Among other things, this could increase risk of catastrophic wildfire contaminated with radioactive isotopes contained in the leaf litter. Studies have shown there is a risk of fire that could redistribute these radioanuclides (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16213067) to areas outside of the exclusion zone. Inhalation of radioactive particles could cause health problems for firefighters and inhabitants of areas where contaminated smoke could be carried on the wind.

Mousseau and colleagues feel it is also necessary to study whether the Fukushima area is experiencing the same phenomena which would indicate the same risks would be present in Japan.

Rachel Nuwer l SMITHSONIANMAG.COM  14 March, 2014

Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today. Although no people live in the extensive exclusion zones around the epicenter, animals and plants still show signs of radiation poisoning.

Birds around Chernobyl have significantly smaller brains that those living in non-radiation poisoned areas; trees there grow slower; and fewer spiders and insects—including bees, butterflies and grasshoppers—live there. Additionally, game animals such as wild boar caught outside of the exclusion zone—including some bagged as far away as Germany—continue to show abnormal and dangerous levels of radiation. 

However, there are even more fundamental issues going on in the environment. According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers—organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay—have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/forests-around-chernobyl-arent-decaying-

Unskilled and Destitute Are Hiring Targets for Fukushima Cleanup

Why nuclear accidents happen has long been obvious. The technology uses highly dangerous radioactive fuel, the current reactors are aging, the new reactors are overbudget and years behind schedule due to unresolved safety problems, or exist only as elegant designs on computer screens unrealizable in the real world. Any real safety culture is absent, corporate interests lie with the government money and preferential treatment they receive, government interests lie with corporate money for campaigns and an excuse to maintain their nuclear weapons  programs (or the potential to start one). The the damage is subsidized by the taxpayers and ratepayers. An industry that has no liability for its actions and harm will cut corners.

But the horror of the fallout (literally and figuratively) of nuclear accidents that do happen is that instead of the well oiled disaster management plan you would expect of an industry whose materials involve forever deadly waste and long-lived carcinogenic isotopes- the clean-up falls to people unsuited in anyway for the serious work ahead, untrained, unskilled in some cases, unprepared, and desperate. Desperate to stay alive, desperate because they have no guidance, desperate because they, like the Fukushima reactor, are slowly being distanced from corporate responsibility and left to struggle and worry at a facility that is becoming more and more fragile.

NARAHA, Japan — “Out of work? Nowhere to live? Nowhere to go? Nothing to eat?” the online ad reads. “Come to Fukushima.”

That grim posting targeting the destitute, by a company seeking laborers for the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is one of the starkest indications yet of an increasingly troubled search for workers willing to carry out the hazardous decommissioning at the site.

The plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, has been shifting its attention away, leaving the complex cleanup to an often badly managed, poorly trained, demoralized and sometimes unskilled work force that has made some dangerous missteps. At the same time, the company is pouring its resources into another plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, that it hopes to restart this year as part of the government’s push to return to nuclear energy three years after the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster. It is a move that some members of the country’s nuclear regulatory board have criticized.

Read full article here

Steam events at Fukushima Unit 3 show need for more transparency, better questions, and avoiding panic

  Via Dr Helen Caldicott l 31 December, 2013There has been a LOT of speculation and concern about steam at Fukushima Reactor 3. Steam releases are not new at the site and it is very important to ask questions and verify information. It's importa...

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Fukushima clean-up is a big worry for site workers

The problems for and with the workers at the Fukushima Daichii site have been in the news recently. The situation there is terrible. This is the translation of an e-mail from a Fukushima Daiichi worker sent to Mr. Kazuhiro Matsumoto which he sha...

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Endless Fukushima catastrophe: 2020 Olympics under contamination threat

Dr Helen Caldicott l RT  15 September, 2013

As the escape of radiation at Fukushima seems virtually unstoppable, there are still steps that governments all over the world should take to prevent worst case consequences. One of them would be canceling the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Scientific estimates predict that the radioactive plume travelling east across the Pacific will likely hit the shores of Oregon, Washington State and Canada early next year. California will probably be impacted later that year. Because the ongoing flow of water from the reactor site will be virtually impossible to stop, a radioactive plume will continue to migrate across the Pacific affecting Hawaii, North America, South America and eventually Australia for many decades.

We are only talking about ocean currents, however, fish swim thousands of miles and don’t necessarily follow the currents. As noted in Part I, big fish concentrate radiation most efficiently, and tuna have already been caught off the coast of California containing cesium from Fukushima. Seaweed also efficiently concentrates radioactive elements.

As I contemplate the future at Fukushima, it seems that the escape of radiation is virtually unstoppable. The levels of radiation in buildings 1, 2 and 3 are now so high that no human can enter or get close to the molten cores. It will therefore be impossible to remove these cores for hundreds of years if ever.

Read more

Endless Fukushima catastrophe: Many generations’ health at stake

Dr Helen Caldicott l RT  September 13, 2013

Bio-accumulation of radioactive elements around Fukushima will devastate many future Japanese generations, while the Pacific Ocean is also being contaminated by leaking radioactive water. Yet there is still no good solution from the Japanese government.

As I watched the tsunami power into the reactor complex at Fukushima on March 11, 2011, I realized the world would never be the same again. No nuclear reactor can withstand being drowned in a massive wave of water without catastrophic consequences.

There were three nuclear reactors undergoing fission at the time while one, unit four, had just been emptied of its radioactive core, which was now situated in an unprotected cooling pool on the roof of the building, 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground. As the power supply to the reactors was disrupted during the earthquake, and the auxiliary diesel generators in the basements of the reactors failed because they were flooded, the pumps which supplied up to 1 million gallons of cooling water to each reactor failed.

Within hours the intensely hot radioactive cores in units one, two and three started to melt. As they melted, the zirconium metal cladding on the uranium fuel rods reacted with water to produce hydrogen which exploded with overwhelming intensity in the buildings of units one, two, three and four releasing huge amounts of radioactive elements into the air.

On March 15 alone, it is estimated that 100 quadrillion Becquerels of cesium, 400 quadrillion of iodine plus 400 quadrillion of inert noble gases (xenon, krypton and argon) escaped. Over a period of time two-and-a-half to three times more noble gases were released into the air than at Chernobyl.

Read more by clicking title link or here on the RT site.


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Nuclear Power is not the Answer