11 April 2011 Fukushima Overtakes Chernobyl: Now Worldwide Emergency
Dr Michael Colgan
Since our earlier press releases,1 Fukushima has become a lot worse. Today, 11 April 2011, at a press conference in Tokyo, in the face of continuing increases in radiation, the Japanese Government announced will extend the mandatory evacuation zone around the stricken nuclear plant to 30km and evacuate contaminated towns including Namie, Iitate and Minamisoma. Even outside the new evacuation zone, Kyodo News reports that, “radiation ranges from 590,000 to 2.19 million Bequerels/cubic meter”. These numbers far exceed the levels at Chernobyl, which ranged up to 550,000 Bequerels/cubic meter.
Also today, Japan Broadcasting Corporation reported figures from Tokyo Electric Power Company of 300,000 Bequerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter, in the sea close to the intake of Fukushima No 2 Reactor, measured on Saturday.9 April. That is 7.5 million times above the legal limit. It also reported 200,000 Bequerels per cubic centimeter, or 5 million times above the limit measured at 9am today. Today’s sample also shows cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years, at 1.1 million times above the limit. All of this water is sending plumes of radiation into the air.
Yesterday, Sunday,10 April 2011, the Japan Times raged against Tokyo Electric Power Co by quoting nuclear engineer Tetsunari Iida, that the catastrophe has grown “beyond the reach” of Japan’s nuclear establishment. Satoshi Sato, a Japanese nuclear industry consultant, called the current strategies a “waste of effort.” He said, “Plant instruments are likely damaged and unreliable because of the intense heat, and pumping more water into the reactors is only making the contamination problem worse.”
The past week has seen numerous unsuccessful attempts to control cooling water leaking back out of the damaged reactors, radioactive to millions of times beyond the acceptable limit, so radioactive that contact with it would be lethal within six minutes. “Screaming with radioactivity,” US nuclear engineer Michael Friedlander told The Washington Post, which reported waste water levels at ten million times over the limit.
This is unbelievably extreme radioactivity, by far the worst ever from a reactor accident, released into the environment, completely beyond the limits of any possible shielding or cleaning. There is now no strategy in place that will stop the radiation release, indicating that the Fukushima catastrophe is far worse than Chernobyl.
As of today, 11 April 2011, some nuclear experts in Japan consider that the Fukushima reactors, holding 1,760 tons of nuclear fuel, versus 180 tons at Chernobyl, are beyond control. Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), stated yesterday, “We cannot say what the outlook is for the next stage”.
The desperate Tokyo Electric Power Company has also deliberately poured more than 10,000 tons of less radioactive water, a mere 100 times or so over the limit, directly into the Pacific Ocean. This clear violation of international law has aroused furious diplomatic objections from China and South Korea, now resounding and multiplying throughout Asia. Meanwhile, Japanese politicians foment strategies to remove Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, for bungling the whole problem.
Despite all the doom and gloom, I feel somewhat confident that TEPCO have now accepted the loss of face, and have finally engaged the best minds from Exelon, and Bechtel, the largest US nuclear operators, to fix it. It will still take many months, however. Meanwhile you have to protect yourself.
Radiation over America and Canada
In a head-in-the-sand refusal to acknowledge publicly that North America is sitting under a radiation cloud from Fukushima, the US and Canadian governments have yet to take official action to protect the public. Not so in Europe, where the radioactivity measurements show a much smaller fallout, only about 10% of that in North America. Nuclear authorities know well that even the small level of fallout in Europe is poisonous. On 7 April 2011, the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), and CRIIRAD the French nuclear research institution, issued an information package on the risks of radioactive iodine-131. They advise all citizens, that the risks from Fukushima, “are not negligible.” They especially warn pregnant women and infants against “risky behavior,” such as consuming rain water, fresh milk, goat, sheep, and cow cheeses, and vegetables with large leaves.
As we reported earlier,1 radiation from Fukushima began hitting the west coast of North America on Monday 14 March 2011, three days after the Japanese earthquake. It has increases dramatically since. The next strong plume is forecast to blanket California April 12-14.
For the past three weeks, large amounts of fallout have been coming down with the rain over British Columbia. Simon Fraser University researchers collected samples on Burnaby Mountain and in downtown Vancouver. They first detected the iodine-131 signature in samples from March 19, 20, and 25. Here are the results (measured in Bequerels/L, that is, decays of iodine-131 per second/ per litre of rainwater)
March 18 0 Bq/l
March 19 9 Bq/l
March 20 12 Bq/l
March 25 11 Bq/l
12 Bq/L is equal to 324.3 picoCuries per liter. (Conversion calculator here) EPA drinking water limit for Iodine-131 is 3 picoCuries per liter. So the rain in Vancouver is up to 108 times over the limit.
A good example of the US food chain contamination is milk. On 8 April, Forbes reported that milk samples from Phoenix and Los Angeles containing iodine-131 at levels equal to the maximum of 3.0 picoCuries per liter permitted by the EPA, The Phoenix samples contained 3.2. The Los Angeles samples contained 2.9. On 10 April, Forbes reported the highest levels yet, 8.9 picoCuries per liter in samples from Little Rock, three times over the limit. There are now more than 100 similar reports on the internet from universities and research organisations throughout North America
Protect Your Family
In previous reports from the Colgan Institute,1 I documented the unfolding catastrophe, and advised protective measures against absorbing radioactive iodine-131 that has entered North America. Iodine-131 has a half-life of only 8.2 days, that is, half its radiation decays in that period, and it is much less dangerous. With daily iodine supplementation of 200-400 micrograms, and avoidance of cow’s milk and fresh cheese, except after freezing it for two weeks, you can avoid most of it.
We also advise people to avoid Japanese seafood and vegetables, and avoid rain on your skin. Western beaches and seaweed in North America are becoming progressively polluted with radiation, and, regrettably, it might be wise to avoid them also this summer. These measures will do a lot to prevent radiation from accumulating in your body to levels likely to cause disease. Now is also a good time to catch up on your family emergency preparedness kit, with 20 gallons of clean water, and long-term storage food.
The Nuclear Future
Fukushima is a very serious catastrophe. It shows clearly that any technologically advanced civilization, including the US and Canada can be rendered helpless in a second by a nuclear accident. There is no safe level of man-made radiation. Some people seem to have forgotten the history. My own mentor Richard Feynman, and Robert Oppenheimer, the developers of the Hiroshima bomb, both came to oppose nuclear development in the end. Einstein, whose genius made nuclear power possible, was against using it from the very beginning. In the 1950s, Linus Pauling, the only two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, warned the public repeatedly about any exposure to radiation. Pauling’s writings were endorsed by thousands of scientists worldwide, which finally led John F. Kennedy to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the USSR on 5 August 1963.
Now, in the race for global energy supremacy, the nuclear industry is using its endless taxpayer funding for thousands of “expert” puppets to sing nuclear lullabies to the masses. If I see another nuclear safety story set to the theme of Snow White, I really believe I will vomit. Are we just sheeple to be herded by such fairy tales? Another million cancers swept under the carpet? Another million malformed babies? If we can even conceive them. US male sperm counts are now so low in that five million couples cannot
In 1964, geneticist Hermann Mueller, another Nobel Prize winner, spelled out in his treatise, Radiation and Heredity the genetic damage of ionizing radiation in humans. He accurately predicted the reduction of sperm counts, sperm viability, and fertility rates in the US that has occurred over the last three decades. Now is the time to object to nuclear power. Now is the time to besiege your representatives to turn towards the real green energy of wind, and solar, and tidal force, before we have another disaster that could turn the Earth into a radioactive cinder.
- Colgan Institute Reports on the Fukushima disaster 12, 13 ,16, 17, 31, 30 March, 1, 4, April, www.colganinstitute.com
- CRIIRAD: Doses reçues par INGESTION d’iode 131 (7 Avril 2011) [EN – Ingestion of 131 iodine : Bq and doses]
- CRIIRAD: Accidents nucléaires au Japon : dossier spécial
- CRIIRAD: Contamination de la France par les rejets de la centrale de Fukushima Daiichi QUELS SONT LES RISQUES ? (7 Avril 2011) (corrected version) [EN – risk in France (and Europe)]
11. Yoko Kubota and Kiyoshi Takenaka, Reuters April 11, 2011, 8:56 am
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular? But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
TOKYO, April 14, Kyodo
Some of the spent nuclear fuel rods stored in the No. 4 reactor building of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant were confirmed to be damaged, but most of them are believed to be in sound condition, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday.
The firm known as TEPCO said its analysis of a 400-milliliter water sample taken Tuesday from the No. 4 unit’s spent nuclear fuel pool revealed the damage to some fuel rods in such a pool for the first time, as it detected higher-than-usual levels of radioactive iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137.
The No. 4 reactor, halted for a regular inspection before last month’s earthquake and tsunami disaster, had all of its 1,331 spent fuel rods and 204 unused fuel rods stored in the pool for the maintenance work and the fuel was feared to have sustained damage from overheating.
The cooling period for 548 of the 1,331 rods was shorter than that for others and the volume of decay heat emitted from the fuel in the No. 4 unit pool is larger compared with pools at other reactor buildings.
According to TEPCO, radioactive iodine-131 amounting to 220 becquerels per cubic centimeter, cesium-134 of 88 becquerels and cesium-137 of 93 becquerels were detected in the pool water. Those substances are generated by nuclear fission.
The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the confirmed radioactive materials were up to 100,000 times higher than normal but that the higher readings may have also been caused by the pouring of rainwater containing much radioactivity or particles of radiation-emitting rubble in the pool.
The roof and the upper walls of the No. 4 reactor building have been blown away by a hydrogen explosion and damaged by fires since the disaster struck the plant. The water level in the spent fuel pool is believed to have temporarily dropped.
TEPCO said the fuel rods may have also been damaged by steel frames that fell into the pool in addition to overheating caused by the loss of cooling functions after the twin disasters.
The utility plans to examine the condition of the plant’s reactor buildings by deploying a small unmanned helicopter to see whether it is possible to extract spent fuel from pools.
The nuclear agency said now that the condition of the No. 4 unit pool is partially known, workers can better prepare for recovery works there.
Earlier in the day, the government’s nuclear regulatory agency ordered TEPCO to check the quake resistance of reactor buildings at the Fukushima plant, which have been rocked by strong aftershocks from the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that wrecked the site and triggered tsunami on March 11.
Japan’s list of Earthquakes going unreported by USGS
Europeans warned to avoid drinking milk or eating vegetables due to high radiation levels
(NaturalNews) The radiation risk from Fukushima is “no longer negligable,” says CRIIRAD, the French research authority on radioactivity. It is now warning expectant mothers and young children to avoid drinking milk or rainwater. They should also avoid certain types of vegetables and cheese due to the dangerously high levels of radiation they may contain thanks to the radioactive fallout spreading across the globe (http://www.euractiv.com/en/health/r…).
CRIIRAD now says that eating these items qualifies as “risky behavior.” And yet, in practically the same sentence, the organization claims there is “absolutely no need” for anyone to take iodine tablets.
That’s right: There’s so much radiation in the food that you probably shouldn’t eat it. But all that radiation is so harmless that you don’t need to protect yourself from it with iodine. It’s amazing how these people think they can have it both ways.
The institute goes on to say that drinking rainwater might be dangerous, but standing in the rain is perfectly safe. There’s actually some sense to this, as ingesting radioactive water is indeed far more dangerous than merely being drenched in it. But U.S. nuclear authorities make no such distinction, by the way.
Here comes the mass irradiation of the food supply
Despite these warnings, the real issue that few are willing to acknowledge so far is that Fukushima fallout will continue for many more months. And during this fallout, there will be a cumulative load of radiation raining down upon the grasses, fruits and vegetables that make up the global food supply. How high those levels get is anyone’s guess, and those animals that feed upon those grasses — such as cattle, goats and sheep — will tend to further concentrate the radioactivity, producing milk and meat products that are far more radioactive than the grasses upon which they fed.
This is a very sad circumstance, of course, because it means that the corn-fed, factory-farmed cattle will probably be LESS radioactive than the open-range grass-fed cattle whose beef products are usually far better for you. Although I’m not personally someone who consumes beef, I’m a big supporter of those who choose grass-fed beef over the corn-fed factory farmed beef.
Bring your Geiger counter to the fresh produce section
What I’m beginning to wonder in all this, however, is how high the radioactivity of the entire food supply is going to become. Are we looking toward a day when we have to being Geiger counters to the grocery store?
Will we soon have two bins of apples at the store called “Pre-Fukushima” and “Post-Fukushima?”
And for all those people who have already stored food, good for you! All the food you stored before Fukushima is obviously not radioactive, and there may come a day when non-radioactive food commands a huge price premium.
For those still looking to acquire and store non-radioactive healthy foods, check out http://www.StorableOrganics.com where you can find organic foods and superfoods sealed in steel cans for long-term emergency preparedness. The entire inventory there is “Pre-Fukushima,” by the way.
For those who haven’t stored any food, you might start thinking about what you’re going to eat if Fukushima suffers yet another explosion and a massive cloud of radioactive isotopes gets dropped onto the food production lands of the world. This situation will only get worse before it gets better.
And sadly, even growing your own food is no solution to all this, because your own gardens are just as susceptible to radiation fallout as commercial crop lands. Only those who grow food in greenhouses will be largely protected from the fallout. Maybe it’s a good time to buy some sprouting seeds, too, because you can sprout seeds in your own kitchen and grow them free of radiation. In just 3 days, you can turn a pile of seeds into a nutritious sprout salad. Add some avocado and balsamic vinegar and you have a delicious lunch!
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