I thought I had posted this already, but I couldn’t find it.
I thought I had posted this already, but I couldn’t find it.
The Tenth Report of the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey, released earlier this week, with data up to January 21, 2013, revealed that 44.2 percent of 94,975 children sampled had thyroid ultrasound abnormalities. The number of abnormalities has also been increasing over time as well as the proportion of children with nodules equal to and larger than 5.1 mm and any size cysts have increased. The report has also revealed that 10 of 186 eligible are suspected of having thyroid cancer as a result of the exposed radiation.
Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated
“Over 35% of the children tested have thyroid cysts and this deadly toll will grow.”
One Day in Fukushima
Japan and US Governments Along With Nuke Industry Push “Decontamination” as a Solution to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Meltdowns
by STEVE ZELTZER
When a doctor told a Fukushima mother recently that the chance of her child having cancer was only 1 in 100. This mother, who had let her children evacuate to Yamagata after two of her children had gotten 3 millimeter thyroid cysts in their throats, had a different answer. For her she said, it is not 1 in 100, but 1 in 1.
This epitomizes the continuing nightmare the people of Fukushima face as Tokyo Electric Power Company TEPCO, the Japan and US government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continue a full press campaign to convince people that the three Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns can be “overcome”. This was the statement in fact of a politician last year running for parliament in the city of Sendai, which is about 60 miles from the plant meltdowns.
This past week, I went to the city of Fukushima to see how this plan is working.
Despite the appearance of “normality” and the national effort to convince the Japanese people that things are getting better in the region, the reality is not as it appears.
Following a slight rain pour on October 28, 2012, we visited a citizens testing center to check the residents and their food for contamination.
We had a check-up and found that the radiation count on our heads and shoulders, where we were wet by the rain were higher than on the rest of our bodies.
The effort to limit liability is also going into high gear. As former residents, as close as 4 miles or 7 kilometers to the actual meltdown are being told that the area has been decontaminated and the radiation level is now low enough so, they have to move back to their homes and businesses or they will be threatened with loosing their compensation. Fumio Hayashi is a retired salary man who had bought a restaurant in a town called Namie near Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the plants and has now relocated to Akita. He told his story about the threat by the government to take away his compensation and force him to move back to the town.
Fukushima Never Again
Who would go to his restaurant in the contaminated area was apparently not a concern for government officials who want to return the area to “normal”.
Over 100,000 residents have been evacuated but over 300,000 children along with many others are still stranded in the contaminated region.
The government refuses to pay for the evacuation of all those residents unless they are within 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the nuclear meltdowns.
A Fukushima Community Clinic is being established and will open on December 1. It will test and treat the residents who haven’t been able to escape – for radiation poisoning and cancers. Over 35% of the children tested have thyroid cysts and this deadly toll will grow.
Mothers of Fukushima children also reported that they have been pressured to downplay potential health problems when being treated by government-provided doctors.
While we were in Mito, which is about 75 miles south from Fukushima Daiichi power plant and also contaminated by radioactive particles, another 6.0 earthquake had hit. According to the residents we talked with, they are having earthquakes daily.
It was also in Mito that the Doro-Mito railway workers union had struck against Japan Rail when their members were ordered to work on contaminated trains that were left in the contaminated area for over 6 months.
Although bankrupt TEPCO has been kept in operation by government funding, it is run by the same people who covered up the dangers of the original meltdown.
It now says it will cost ¥10 trillion ($127.796 billon) to “decontaminate” the region and for compensation. This according to TEPCO includes “scrubbing residents homes” to decontaminate them. According to refugees, most of the funds are going to contractors connected with the major political parties in Japan.
TEPCO also holds a powerful grip on the national Fukushima University. The university brought in pro-nuclear “experts” to give a lecture, but when students sought to invite a nuclear plant whistleblower, the university, which has a partnership with TEPCO and the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA denied their right to speak. They also have brought in the Center For Strategic and International Studies CSIS.
Residents of Fukushima also have many stories about how government doctors are taking statistics and records but refusing to treat their children.
The Japanese history of caring for the victims of nuclear radiation are not good. Following the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US denied that there was radiation sickness. As a consequence, the people had to set up their own community hospitals to get real treatment.
While in Sendia, we interviewed mothers who brought coloring books produced by Tohoku Power Co. that were passed out in their children’s schools. The coloring books propaganda claimed that nuclear power was a good and economical energy source for the people of Japan.
The Onagawa nuclear power plant operated by Tohoku Power Co., which is north of Fukushima, distributes pamphlets on what the company had done to prepare for earthquakes. One of the pictures showed handrails in the nuclear power control room so the operators could hold on when an earthquake struck.
You cannot make this up.
In the same company’s PR facility above the plant on a hill, there was an art show by children on how nuclear power was compatible with the fish and wildlife in the sea.
The propaganda is that the topsoil can be removed and this makes the area clean again. Much of the money going into the region is of course not going to the residents who want to evacuate but to contractors and subcontractors.
Even a Korean TV stations did an investigative report that a school site had been decontaminated in Fukushima but when tested, still had high levels of radioactive material.
The cesium and other radioactive material released in the four hydrogen explosions destroying the reactor buildings and three core meltdowns continue to contaminate the region and the world. The rain that spreads throughout the forests and fields of beautiful Fukushima washes cesium and other dangerous reactor byproducts into the ocean and Tokyo Bay where high levels of contaminants have been found.
Joining in the effort to develop a strategy for decontaminating the area is the rightwing think tank Center For Strategic and International Studies supported by former Bush advisor Richard Armitage. It has had many “education” sessions throughout the country to reassure that Japanese people that the disaster is being controlled and that the region can be “decontaminated.”
On March 22, 2012, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program even had a panel in Japan with pro-nuke advocate NRC Commissioner William Magwood who recently joined at the NRC, replacing the former chair Gregory Jaczko for being too hard on the US nuclear industry.
It is also setting up pro-nuclear education sessions throughout the country to reassure the people that plans are moving ahead to make the remaining nuclear plants safe to restart. They have developed the strategic plan to make the Fukushima area a special economic zone for decontamination and economic development. Tohoku is also now the fastest growing region in Japan due to this massive investment which of course includes the reconstruction of towns destroyed by the tsunami.
The same week that I was in Fukushima, the government admitted that it had allowed the Oui nuclear plant to restart – even though it straddles an active seismic fault. As many have pointed out before, Japan like California, is on the Pacific ring of fire and is regularly rocked by earthquakes. The dangerous nuclear power plant San Onofre near San Diego has been leaking and is presently shut down but the NRC, Southern California Edison along with the California Public Utility Commission are intent on starting it up. The idea that any nuclear plant is safe flies in the face of reality, but the industry controls the governments of Japan and the US, and continues the push to keep the plans operating.
In Japan, the ruling Democratic Party and the Liberal Democrats along with their allies the Kohmei-tou “Clean Party” continue to back nuclear power as a legitimate power source.
At the same time, the largest Japanese trade union federation RENGO like the AFL-CIO continues to support nuclear power. In fact, RENGO even has ministers in the present government and has fully supported the restarting of the remaining 50 nuclear plants in the country.
It has also been completely silent about the continued contamination of the tens of thousands of non-contract workers who are sent into the Fukushima plant without training on the dangers of radiation and in most cases without proper protection. These workers are not properly registered and will not get proper medical care and compensation, yet they are likely to get cancers and other diseases from this work.
The government has also raised the maximum radiation exposure dose to 250 millisieverts a year from 100 millisieverts.
Additionally many nuclear power whistleblowers have been retaliated against by the utilities for exposing systemic health and safety problems at the Fukushima plant and many others throughout Japan and the world.
Instead of a crash program to replace the nukes with solar panels on all new construction and other safe, renewable strategies, the private energy companies are still pushing to re-open all the plants despite the growing public anger and protest. In Tokyo, there are weekly mass protests in front of the Prime Minister’s office and at other government buildings, but you would not know this from most of the corporate controlled media.
Japan has also been bribing regional prefectures to burn the rubble, export waste to Mongolia and is engaged in a full press effort to sell more nuclear plants throughout the world.
On November 8, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that nuclear power is “safer now than before 2011”. He supports the expansion of nuclear plants into China, Korea, India and Russia.
Additionally the Japan Atomic Energy Agencies plans to reopen the accident plagued Monju prototype fast breeder reactor in Suruga, Fukui Prefecture.
The reality however is that another nuclear meltdown or meltdowns in Japan could destroy the entire country. There were even plans for the evacuation of Tokyo by the former Prime Minister Kan. He also wanted to evacuate people 175 kilometers (108 miles) from the meltdowns.
While I was in Japan, Kan claimed on a television program Morning Bird that there had been a vendetta against him by the nuclear utilities and the corporate media to drive him out of office after he demanded that all nuclear plants be shutdown and a proper evacuation take place.
The role of Obama and the US government in his removal is also publicly acknowledged by many. The US nuclear industry that Obama kowtows to is also extremely concerned that the permanent closure of all the nuclear plants in Japan would be a body blow to the industry. The US has played a key role along with the nuclear industry in Japan in keeping the plants open – to the detriment of the people of Japan and the world.
The continued collusion and interconnection between the government, media and nuclear industry is systemic and has not changed despite the efforts to prettify this terrifying picture.
A documentary “Fukushima Never Again” produced by the Labor Video Project documents the voices of the mothers of Fukushima and those who work in the plants and in the “decontamination” projects, as well as nuclear experts who describe the reality of this catastrophe from ground zero. It is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU-Z4VLDGxU
Steve Zeltzer is a labor videographer and journalist/producer at KPFA Radio on the Pacifica Network. He is working on a documentary on “The Mothers Of Fukushima.” He can be reached a email@example.com
Words can’t adequately describe the anger. This is the real-world effect of nuclear power and the destruction of populations, the abandonment of hundreds of thousands to contamination, fascistic authoritarian, corrupt regimes that prop up a suicidal industry and protect it from the wrath of those it poisons.
See also the page on the Chernobyl children (link).
Washington, DC – October 31, 2011 – Today Scientist Marco Kaltofen of Worchester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) presented his analysis of radioactive isotopic releases from the Fukushima accidents at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Mr. Kaltofen’s analysis confirms the detection of hot particles in the US and the extensive airborne and ground contamination in northern Japan due to the four nuclear power plant accidents at TEPCO’s Fukushima reactors. Fairewinds believes that this is a personal health issue in Japan and a public health issue in the United States and Canada.
Fukushima update from Arne Gunderson.
Are we allowed to type the “T” word when the culprit is a corporate / capitalist entity?
How about when a government colludes with the terrorists in order to hoist nuclear Swords Of Damocles up over our heads?
If we’re forced to play Russian Roulette, does that count as terrorizing?
I guess the real world terror of radiation poisoning and cancer doesn’t count as the highly-branded “Terror (TM)” terror. If you can’t bomb some foreigners in the bargain why waste the ink?
We have to call it something else.
Massive stupidity comes to mind. Criminal greed.
And what of the non-stop lies we get from the Mainstream Media and their allegedly unpaid “experts” who paint smiley faces on the exploding nuke plants? So many “experts” on nuclear issues come out of the woodwork and so fast.
These self-styled expert-like people have no idea what’s actually going on inside the reactors. The Japanese don’t even know! Yet they assure us repeatedly how it can’t possibly be that harmful — and even if it is, so are lots of other things — so, “Naaa!”
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
I keep recalling Einstein’s famous quote, because I keep coming across these situations that warrant it. First there was the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico by British Petroleum and their friends (in the White House). Now it’s the U.S. Department of Energy shamelessly prostituting for the nuke sugar daddies even as Japan is poised to go up in a radioactive cloud.
Oh yes, it could still happen. It is — four days later — not “under control” at multiple reactors. Yet the head of the DOE stood up and shilled for Big Nuke — again — even as investors around the world have acquired half a clue, and are running from Godzilla as fast as their brokers will permit. Meanwhile solar, wind and natural gas shares are surging ahead (Marketwatch) .
The nation’s top Energy Clown Stephen Chu said Tuesday:
…whenever there is a reactor near a (potential) earthquake site, we look to what’s the maximum size of that particular earthquake that geologists (say) can ever happen, and we design considerably above that. (CNN)
So, even as multiple Japanese reactors built by General Electric with the same design used on 23 plants operating in the US today literally explode on live TV, we are told that nothing like that could happen here. Go back to sleep. Geologists said we’re just fine. Right?
It should be noted that these 23 excruciatingly badly designed nuke plants are Stephen Chu’s responsibility as head of the Department of Energy, while parroting nuclear industry propaganda is technically not Mr. Chu’s responsibility. It’s not supposed to be, anyway.
The reactor at Diablo Canyon in Southern California was built to withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake (Reuters). Anything larger, then all bets are off. The quake that hit Japan last week was a 9.0 or roughly 50 times greater movement than a 7.5 on the Richter scale.
Not to disappoint his campaign donors, their president Obama responded Tuesday:
Nuclear plants are designed to withstand certain levels of earthquakes, but having said that, nothing’s completely failsafe, nothing is completely foolproof, and so each time these kinds of events happen, I think it’s very important for us to examine how we can further improve the safety and performance of these plants.”
–Barack Obama, March 15, 2011 (CBS)
No, Mr. Obama. The correct end of the sentence is: “”it’s very important for us to shut down these unsafe and unhealthy relics of the past and usher in a new age of clean, safe technologies.”
Things have gone from bad to worse, to worserer at the Japanese sites. One of the problems is that the plants seem to have been designed expressly to hide the spent fuel pools from the public, and they are located directly above the reactors themselves and under the roofs that have since exploded from the hydrogen gas build ups.
The spent fuel rods are arguably far worse of a hazard than the reactors themselves! If they go dry, these hot waste products ignite on their own and spew cesium-137 into the atmosphere.
Robert Alvarez, a senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary from 1993 to 1999, writes:
Particularly worrisome is the large amount of cesium-137 in fuel ponds, which contain anywhere from 20 to 50 million curies of this dangerous radioactive isotope. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 gives off highly penetrating radiation and is absorbed in the food chain as if it were potassium.
In comparison, the 1986 Chernobyl accident released about 40 percent of the reactor core’s 6 million curies ” a major release of cesium-137 from a pool fire could render an area uninhabitable greater than created by the Chernobyl accident.
Tuesday afternoon, after Chu and Obama made what should be impeachable statements of utter incompetence, we have confirmation of the unthinkable:
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, said the fire was at its No. 4 reactor, where an earlier blaze in a nuclear fuel storage pond Tuesday exposed fuel rods and spewed radioactivity into the air. The utility said the original fire had not been fully extinguished and had flared anew in the outer housing of the reactor’s containment vessel. [emphasis added]
The USA Today piece predictably avoids the cesium-137, the 20-50 million Curies and the comparison with Chernobyl, opting instead for the vague term “radiation,” which apparently sells better. It’s better not to know, huh?
Another facet to this disaster is that the pumps began failing, which means failing to provide cooling water to the reactors. If the reactors are not cooled constantly then they melt down and burn through their concrete containment vessels down into the earth, until they reach the water table below and the radioactive steam beneath explodes and spews radioactive gases uncontrollably: the China Syndrome.
Fools masquerading as “experts” were hyper-confident about the Japanese reactor situations as simultaneously we learned:
“Here [at the No. 2 reactor] pumps feeding in seawater failed, causing water levels to drop.This exposed fuel rods, allowing them to overheat. Water flow was initially restored, then failed again, exposing the fuel rods for a second time.”
So, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, dangle on the reliability of a couple of water pumps and valves that have just been through an earthquake, a tsunami and a hydrogen gas explosion. Yet, the so-called “experts” who are called up by the corporate press to provide information to the American masses can easily rattle off their 100% assurances that it’s all fine and well. And they do it with a straight face.
Is there an acting school the “experts” go through? A training course of some sort? What’s the pay?
The next imbecile who tells you that we cannot manage without nuclear power, punch the jerk in the face.
Yes. Just like nuclear energy. But I guess it has its own rewards.
Joe Giambrone is a novelist and filmmaker who moved to Redding Ca to hopefully get away from all this nuclear insanity. He’s at polfilmblog — a t — gmail — dot — com.
Harvey Wasserman discusses the Japan disaster.