The American Dream
March 24, 2011
Does anyone really know what is going on at the Fukushima nuclear complex? When problems at the facility first surfaced, authorities promised that no significant amounts of radiation would be released. Then we were told that only those living within 20 kilometers of the complex needed to take precautions. After that we were told that radiation was showing up in many different types of vegetables all over northern and central Japan but that it was not a major concern. Now we are being told that the tap water in Tokyo is unsafe for infants to drink. So what are they going to tell us next? Should residents of Tokyo be preparing for massive radiation exposure from this disaster? Tokyo is only 150 miles away from the Fukushima nuclear complex. If a worst case scenario plays out at Fukushima, exactly what would that mean for the over 30 million people that live in and around Tokyo?
Sadly, so far the authorities in Japan have not been very transparent about this crisis. But what should we expect? Internationally, standard operating procedure during a nuclear crisis is to keep the public from becoming too alarmed. The real scope of the danger is always downplayed in order to avoid a panic. We saw this at Chernobyl and we are seeing this now.
Not only that, but in a world where legal liability plays such a key role, there is a huge incentive for TEPCO executives not to admit everything that they know. Admitting something now could potentially cost them massive amounts of money later.
Right now airborne radiation in Tokyo is four times the normal level, but Japanese authorities do not seem too concerned yet. They still insist that everything is going to be okay.
But things at Fukushima seem to be taking a turn for the worse again. Today, thick black smoke was belching from Unit 3. Unit 3 is considered the most dangerous of the reactors because it contains plutonium. If a large scale release of plutonium were to take place that would be absolutely catastrophic.
But plutonium is far from the only significant danger. For example, cesium isotopes have a half-life of about 30 years. All of the cesium that is currently being released at Fukushima will be highly radioactive for decades.
So how much cesium is being released at Fukushima? Well, nobody knows for sure, but Keith Harmon Snow is estimating that each spent fuel pool at the Fukushima nuclear complex could have 24,000 times the amount of cesium that was produced by the nuclear bomb that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War 2.
Yes, this is a very, very serious crisis.
But up to this point many in the mainstream media have been doing their best to play down the potential dangers.
In fact, some prominent scientists have really done a disservice to the public by putting out blatant falsehoods.
For example, in a disgraceful article published just a few days after the tsunami, Dr. Josef Oehmen of MIT promised that there would not be “any significant release of radioactivity” from the damaged Fukushima nuclear complex….
I repeat, there was and will *not* be any significant release of radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors.
By “significant” I mean a level of radiation of more than what you would receive on – say – a long distance flight, or drinking a glass of beer that comes from certain areas with high levels of natural background radiation.
You know, a lot of people actually believed Dr. Josef Oehmen when they read this nonsense. We are supposed to be able to depend on our top scientists to tell us the truth.
Sadly, these days it is hard to know who you can depend on for the truth. The following are 12 facts about the crisis in Fukushima that should have all of us deeply concerned….
#1 The Kyodo News Agency is reporting that radiation levels around the Fukushima nuclear facility are now up to 1,600 times the normal level.
#2 According to The Daily Mail, 5 of the now famous “Fukushima 50” are believed to have already died.
#3 Tokyo government officials have announced that radiation levels in Tokyo tap water are now so high that it is unsafe for infants to drink. In fact, CNN saysthat tests show that the amount of radioactive iodine in the water is twice what is considered safe for infants….
Government samples taken Tuesday night found 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram of water — two times higher than the limit that the government considers safe for infants.
#4 Elevated levels of radiation have been found in 11 different types of vegetables grown in the vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear complex.
#5 The government of Fukushima Prefecture is instructing residents that theyshould not eat any leafy vegetables that have been grown in the prefecture recently.
#6 Government officials have ordered all dairy farms within 18 miles of the Fukushima nuclear complex to suspend all shipments.
#7 Over 100 km south of Fukushima, Spinach containing radioactive iodine 27 times the legal limit has been discovered. The level of cesium found in the same spinach was 4 times the legal limit.
#8 25 miles from the Fukushima complex, one batch of a leafy green vegetable known as kukitachin was recently discovered to contain 11 times the legal limit of radioactive iodine and 82 times the legal limit of cesium.
#9 The U.S. government has now put in place import alerts on milk products and fresh produce from any of the prefectures surrounding the Fukushima nuclear complex.
#10 25 foreign embassies have already either shut down or moved temporarily out of Tokyo.
#11 Radiation levels in one city north of Tokyo, Utsunomiya, were recently reported to be 33 times above normal levels.
#12 It is also being reported that there were over 600,000 spent fuel rodsstored at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex. Each one of those 600,000 spent fuel rods is a potential “dirty bomb”.
Some of the best information that I have found on what is really going on at Fukushima comes from an interview recently posted on Counterpunchwith nuclear energy expert Hirose Takashi. He says that spraying water on the reactor buildings in Fukushima is like “sprinkling water on a desert”, and he says that if a worst case scenario does play out a deadly cloud of radiation could cover all of Japan in a matter of days….
As you know, of the six reactors at Daiichi, four are in a crisis state. So even if at one everything goes well and water circulation is restored, the other three could still go down. Four are in crisis, and for all four to be 100 percent repaired, I hate to say it, but I am pessimistic. If so, then to save the people, we have to think about some way to reduce the radiation leakage to the lowest level possible. Not by spraying water from hoses, like sprinkling water on a desert. We have to think of all six going down, and the possibility of that happening is not low. Everyone knows how long it takes a typhoon to pass over Japan; it generally takes about a week. That is, with a wind speed of two meters per second, it could take about five days for all of Japan to be covered with radiation. We’re not talking about distances of 20 kilometers or 30 kilometers or 100 kilometers. It means of course Tokyo, Osaka. That’s how fast a radioactive cloud could spread.
In addition, Takashi says that the media is not telling us the truth about the true danger that radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear complex poses….
Around Fukushima Daiichi Station they measured 400 millisieverts – that’s per hour. With this measurement (Chief Cabinet Secretary) Edano admitted for the first time that there was a danger to health, but he didn’t explain what this means. All of the information media are at fault here I think. They are saying stupid things like, why, we are exposed to radiation all the time in our daily life, we get radiation from outer space. But that’s one millisievert per year. A year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours; multiply 365 by 24, you get 8760. Multiply the 400 millisieverts by that, you get 3,500,000 the normal dose. You call that safe? And what media have reported this? None. They compare it to a CT scan, which is over in an instant; that has nothing to do with it. The reason radioactivity can be measured is that radioactive material is escaping. What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside. These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what to they say? They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance. I want to say the reverse. Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body. What happens? Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millimeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter. That’s a thousand times a thousand: a thousand squared. That’s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.” Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion. Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.
Are you alarmed by what Takashi is saying there?
I know that I was alarmed when I first read it.
The truth is that radioactive material is nothing to mess around with.
Hopefully the authorities in Japan can get this situation under control, because no rational person wants to see a worst case scenario play out.
Let us pray for Japan and the Japanese people. What they have been through already is nightmarish beyond all imagination, and the last thing they need right about now is a full-blown nuclear catastrophe.
This article was posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 5:30 am