Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Meltdown – Chernobyl Déjà Vu

One thing that all governments of the world have in common is their deeply-rooted belief that you (the public) can’t handle the truth. Hand-in-hand with the mainstream media, they’ve perfected the art of obfuscating the facts.

In response, inquiring minds have learned to read between the lines. This ability is coming in handy in understanding the outcome of the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Here are a few examples of deciphering fact from fiction in what is being reported with respect to the Fukushima nuclear disaster by the mainstream media, government officials and proponents of nuclear power.

The timetable of evacuation:

Double talk: “While he didn't set a firm timetable, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said people who'd lived within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the nuclear facility would not return home permanently in "a matter of days or weeks. It will be longer than that."

Official: Tens of thousands of evacuees can't head home for months

Translation: With no end in sight for the nuclear crisis, tens of thousands of evacuees from the area of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant may never be allowed to return home. At this point, the Japanese government conceded it has no other choice but to keep pouring water into reactors in an attempt to avoid a full meltdown, even though this will continue to cause the hazard of radioactive water leaking out into the surroundings. Japanese officials confirmed that No. 2 reactor's containment vessel may be leaking. This suspicion of a meltdown is supported by the high radiation levels on site and the discovery of plutonium, a nuclear fission byproduct as well as a component of the fuel in the reactor No. 3.

Cesium 137 has a half life of 30 years, which makes its presence especially worrisome. Cesium 137 levels have spiked in ocean waters off the nuclear plant. A recent sample showed levels of 527 times the standard. Plankton absorbs the cesium, which is then eaten by the fish. The bigger fish eat smaller fish. As a consequence, every step up the food chain, the concentration of cesium continues to increase. The amount of the radioactive iodine-131 isotope taken some 361 yards into the Pacific Ocean has surged to 4,385 times above the regulatory limit. Adding to the already dire situation, alarming levels of radiation have been recently discovered in beef, seawater and groundwater.

Radiation levels in seawater off Japan plant spike to all-time highs

UN Nuclear Officials: Radiation High Outside Japan Evacuation Zone

High levels of radioactive contamination were found in groundwater and soil near the plant. Radioactive water has been located in the basements of all four reactors' turbine buildings, with a radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, in volumes enough to fill up more than two Olympic swimming pools.

Radiation 10,000 Times Government Standard at Japan Nuclear Plant

Q&A: Japan's nuclear crisis

Japan says no choice but to flood reactors

Japan signals nuclear plant to be scrapped

Currently, there is no long-term storage solution for the thousands of tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste. It must be safely stored for several centuries in the case of cesium-137 and strontium-90 and over 24,000 years for plutonium to be half as lethal. Fukushima Unit 3, like many nuclear plants, is spiked with airborne plutonium. One millionth of a gram of plutonium causes cancer in laboratory animals. It takes only 10 pounds of plutonium to make a crude nuclear weapon.

25 years later, a dead zone with a 16 mile radius still surrounds Chernobyl. Even after the sarcophagus was constructed over the reactor, normal life in the area can’t resume for centuries. The International Atomic Energy Agency is warning that the Fukushima crisis will also be long-term. Meltdowns are inevitable at three reactor sites, which could lead to a tragedy far beyond that of Chernobyl, creating permanent dead zones in Japan.

Effect of radiation on health:

Double talk: “Japan's chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, however, gave no indication the government was poised to widen the zone."At the moment, we have no reason to think that the radiation will have an effect on people's health”.

Japan Told To Consider Widening Evacuation Zone Around Nuclear Plant

Radiation 1000 times above normal was detected in the control room of one plant, although authorities said levels outside the facility’s gates were only eight times above normal, spelling ‘‘no immediate health hazard’’.

Blast, smoke at Japanese nuclear plant

Translation: When government officials and the mainstream media exclaim that there is "no immediate danger" from the levels of radiation originating at the Fukushima nuclear plant, "IMMEDIATE" is the key word. Alexey Yablokov, member of the Russian academy of sciences, and advisor to President Gorbachev at the time of the Chernobyl catastrophe said, "When you hear 'no immediate danger' [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can."

The latency period for cancers caused by excess radiation exposure is 10 or more years – therefore, while the danger may not be "IMMEDIATE", it does exist. All of the long term effects of radiation on a human body are unknown. Even low levels of radiation cause an increased risk of cancer. Cancer can take decades to appear as a result of radiation exposure, and epidemiological studies have found an increased risk of cancer in people who were near Chernobyl at the time of the disaster. At least 11,000 children in surrounding areas have developed thyroid cancer. Radioactive iodine was ingested by the general population through milk.

The total number of deaths attributable to the accident varies enormously. Greenpeace took the evidence of 52 scientists and estimated the deaths and illnesses to be 93,000 terminal cancers and an estimated 200,000 additional deaths in the period between 1990 and 2004. UN International Atomic Energy Agency reported only 50 dead and perhaps 4,000 eventual fatalities, simply because it didn’t accept the data as to radiation-related cancers and mortalities from the Ukrainian Scientific Centre for Radiation. Outrageously, this information derived from medical records has been rejected by the UN only because it had not been published in a major scientific journal.

A 2009 book published by the New York Academy of Sciences, “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, presented an analysis of scientific literature and concluded that medical records between 1986 and 2004 reflect 985,000 deaths as a result of the radiation exposure. Approximately one million people had likely died to date as a result of the Chernobyl accident.

The effects of radiation exposure on survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have been researched by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, a joint U.S.-Japan effort. Studies found survivors had higher rates of leukemia and cancers in the breast, thyroid, lung, colon and stomach. These deadly conditions are not immediate, but develop over time.

Workers at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their noble efforts to bring the reactors under control. The team of 50 plant workers is struggling to contain the disaster, while being repeatedly exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. They had been asked not to communicate with the media or share details with family members “to minimize public panic”. This too bears a painful resemblance to Chernobyl, where workers responding to the accident were exposed to high doses of radiation, resulting in Acute Radiation Syndrome (radiation sickness). Two of them died within the first few days and 28 others died within the following 3 months as the result of their exposure.

Japan's Nuclear Rescuers: 'Inevitable Some of Them May Die Within Weeks'

Spread of radioactive particles to the U.S. and other countries:

Double talk: “There is no health risk from consuming milk with extremely low levels of radiation, like those found in Washington state and California, experts said Thursday, echoing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

EPA boosts radiation monitoring after low levels found in milk

Translation: As the dark shadow of Fukushima travels the world, radiation has been detected in milk in California and Washington State. Small amounts of radiation from the incident have been detected in 15 U.S. states, including radioisotopes in air, water and rainwater.

These findings were reported by the states of California, South Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, found "slightly higher" levels of radioactive isotopes in Alaska, Alabama, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Saipan, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Washington State. EPA spokesperson stated that 90 % of the 124 RadNet monitors are operational and that the radiation readings are “below levels of public health concern”.

Japan's nuclear contamination spreads to more U.S. states

Since there are no conclusive studies as to the impact of low levels of radiation on human health, it’s impossible to accurately predict what kind of impact ether inhalation or digestion of substances contaminated with even "minuscule" levels of radiation will have in the long run. Radiation gets into the milk because it falls on grass eaten by cows. The milk does not itself absorb radiation. That means that the grass and other plants are also being contaminated with radioactive particles arriving from Japan. As the radiation levels keep growing at the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant, the levels of resulting radioactive contamination in the U.S. and other countries will also increase.

How different is Fukushima from Chernobyl:

Double talk: “Even with the two Fukushima explosions, so far this is nothing like Chernobyl. In 1986, the control rods malfunctioned and the fuel rods melted down. A subsequent explosion catapulted tons of radioactive material into the atmosphere. "One hundred times as much radioactivity as Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs combined went up into the air at Chernobyl".

How Fukushima explosions differed from Chernobyl

Translation: Much like the Chernobyl catastrophe, the fallout from the Fukushima tragedy will continue to ravage the area for generations to come. The contamination of soil, water and air is already serious. The impact of cumulative contamination on human health and environment is still unknown and might actually surpass Chernobyl. The humanity has never before witnessed a nuclear meltdown of multiple reactors, along with spent fuel pool accidents, happening in a close proximity to the metropolis that is far more densely populated than Chernobyl.

Additional reasons for concern arise out of the types of radioactive substances that continue to be released into the surroundings. Fukushima’s reactor No. 3, which uses mixed plutonium (MOX), appears to have experienced a breach of the containment vessel, which would cause the uncontrolled release of radiation into the environment. Inhalation of plutonium causes a high probability of cancer. Release of plutonium will contaminate the area for the next 240,000 years, with no possible means of clean-up.

Caesium, which is also being released from nuclear reactors, will continue to pollute the area for the next 300 years. The nuclear crisis at the plant has already spread radioactive contamination across much of northern Japan. Similarly, radioactive contamination from Chernobyl spread all over the northern hemisphere. The surrounding area is still as contaminated as it was at the time of the accident in 1986. Caesium, americium, strontium and plutonium that were deposited in soil have reached the roots of plants which then propelled the radioactive substances back to the surface.

Hell on Earth

Russian Chernobyl Expert Warns of Dire Consequences for Health Around Fukushima

Nuclear's green cheerleaders forget Chernobyl at our peril

Traces of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear fallout have already been detected in Russia, China, South Korea, the Philippines and the United States.

Nuclear industry and the authorities, aided by the mainstream media, continue to systematically understate the gravity of the situation. They repeat the magic abracadabra ad nauseam to reassure the naïve public that there is no immediate danger to human health or the environment and that only dozens died at Chernobyl (the worst nuclear accident until now). Those who dare to oppose these claims are smeared and accused of “panicking”. The writer of this article was present within a 60-mile distance from Chernobyl at the time of the reactor explosion on April 26, 1986 and witnessed similar tactics used by governments and the media to downplay the impact of the incident. A tragic sense of déjà vu echoes through the ominous assurances of “no immediate danger”, spoken in a different language. What follows is not panic, but a sense of deep disappointment in those who took an oath to protect and inform us.

Radiation Ga Ga

We have a duty to ourselves and future generations to separate fact from fiction, not allowing popular opinion to prevail over common sense. We also have a moral obligation to lend a helping hand to those in need. To date, about 28,000 people have been reported dead or missing as the result of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. The devastation continues to rise due to the growing impact of the nuclear disaster. Here is what you can do to help:

Contribute to the American Red Cross for relief of Japan Eartquake and Pacific Tsunami