“The Slow Bleed: Fukushima Five Years On”

Image: http://www.zengardner.com

Our days may be numbered on this planet, if the structural elite are allowed to continue in their corporate-capitalist destruction of the environment.

For over five years now, the Fukushima nuclear disaster has been allowed to continue on and worsen. And it is not only poisoning the Japanese people, it is poisoning the Pacific ocean as well:

The Slow Bleed: Fukushima Five Years On

By Vincent Di Stefano
Countercurrents.org

The melt down of three nuclear reactors at Fukushima in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of 11th March 2011 seems to have quietly slipped out of our collective awareness – as quietly as the cauldrons of radioactive elements that were once within the active cores of the reactors invisibly bleed into the groundwaters and seawaters of the region. This event has become yet another minor detail in the distorted mosaic of ruin that mirrors the latter days of a civilisation in free-fall.

Arnie Gundersen is looking a little weathered these days. He has just returned from a five-week long speaking tour of Japan. He spent much of that time in the company of many whose lives have been indelibly seared by the Fukushima catastrophe. What he reports is unlikely to appear in the mainstream media, but such has ever been the case when it comes to the hidden machinations of big government and big business.

What Gundersen has to say is worth closely attending to. As a nuclear engineer, he has been deeply involved in the American nuclear industry for over four decades. He has a special interest in the design and safety of containment structures and holds a patent for a nuclear safety device. He has also managed and coordinated nuclear projects at 70 nuclear power plants in the US and is a former nuclear industry senior vice-president. He knows the industry well, particularly its toxic underbelly.

Arnie Gundersen served as an expert witness in the investigation of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, and found that releases of radioactivity from that particular event were 15 times higher than the figures published subsequently in a government report. He is no stranger to the prevarication and deceit that have too often accompanied statements made by the nuclear industry and its government supporters.

Gundersen has been an active critic of the nuclear industry for over two decades. More recently, he has co-authored a Greenpeace International report on Fukushima. He was among the first North American commentators to speak publicly and forcefully on the implications of Fukushima in the days and weeks after the meltdowns. And since that time, he has been tireless in his efforts to provide an informed narrative of developments at Fukushima and their consequences for both the inhabitants of Japan and on the global community.

Arnie Gunderson reports that the Japanese Government continues to put the interests of Japanese banks and power companies ahead of the safety of its people. Within a short time of the Fukushima meltdowns in 2011, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) who were in power at that time arbitrarily raised the “acceptable” limits of radiation exposure twenty-fold: from 1 millisievert (mSv)/year – the maximum dose recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection – to 20 mSv/year. In 1998, over a decade beforehand, Rosalie Bertell presented the findings of a number of independent studies published in peer-reviewed journals, including the British Medical Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed unequivocally that radiation doses as low as 2.5 mSv/year were associated with significant increases in the incidence of leukaemias and myelomas, and cancers of the pancreas, lungs and female reproductive organs in nuclear industry workers.

As Japanese medical practitioners begin to encounter the effects of radiation exposure in their patients – particularly children – the government now refuses to pay doctors who record a diagnosis of radiation-induced sickness in their patients. This will come as no surprise to those who followed the actions of the Soviet government and later, the Russian, Ukraine and Belarus governments in their concerted suppression of medical reports dealing with the consequences of radiation exposure on the lives of their citizens after the Chernobyl meltdown.

Rearranging the Deck Chairs

Temporary housing for Fukushima evacuees

Over 100,000 people are still not able to return to their homes in Fukushima prefecture since the meltdowns. In a disturbing disclosure, Gundersen reveals that many of the evacuees have received virtually no information regarding the issue of radiation exposure either from the Japanese government or from TEPCO, the operators of the Fukushima power plant. The subsistence stipend that they have received since being evacuated will cease in March 2017. Considerable pressure is being put on former residents by the government that they now return to Fukushima and tough it out regardless of the ongoing contamination. Many have grave concerns regarding the effects of such a move on the future health of their families.

30 Million Bags of Radioactive Debris

Another remarkable aspect of the present situation concerns the manner in which highly contaminated materials – which include radioactive soil, leaves and other debris – have been dealt with. Thirty million tons of such debris has so far been gathered from throughout the Fukushima prefecture. Much of this is now stored in over 9 million large plastic bags scattered throughout the affected areas. Three years after being filled, the bags have started to disintegrate and nobody seems to know what to do next since their contents need to be kept isolated for at least another 30 years. One favoured option is to incinerate them. This would certainly decrease their number, but would inevitably result in the further dispersion of radioactive elements in aerosol form around Japan.

There are clearly some who still hold to the old but ultimately banal adage that, the solution to pollution is dilution.

Contaminated Water Storage Tanks at Fukushima

Dwarfing the problem of solid wastes is the ongoing leaching of radioactive elements from the melted reactor cores into groundwater and seawater. For the past five years, between 200 and 500 tons of groundwater flow through the reactors every day as a result of multiple cracks in the containment structures. Some of this water has recently been diverted away from the reactors, but an estimated 150 tons of groundwater continue to flow through the reactors daily. This irradiated water inexorably flows on, steadily bleeding into the northern Pacific. Furthermore, 700,000 tons of highly radioactive water salvaged from cooling operations since the meltdown is presently stored in massive tanks that now pepper the reactor site. More are being built as contaminated water continues to accumulate.

The Tragic Absurdity

It is common knowledge that engineers will be busy for the next 30 to 40 years in their efforts to put the lid on the cauldron of radioactivity that seethes in the reactor basements at Fukushima. Meanwhile, the Pacific tectonic plate continues its own inexorable movement beneath the continental Okhotsk plate on which Japan sits creating the conditions for future mega-thrust events like that which shook the region on 11th March 2011. The unspoken terror is that it could all turn again in the blink of an eye.

Despite what has happened at Fukushima, the Abe Government is determined to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors that were all shut down after the 2011 earthquake. Widespread anti-nuclear protests throughout Japan have been ignored and three nuclear power plants in Kagoshima and Fukui prefectures have been restarted since August 2015. Over the next year, a further six to twelve reactors are slated to resume operations. Business reigns as usual.

There are many who proudly insist on riding the nuclear beast regardless of the human and environmental consequences. They insist that this is the way of the future and a “necessary” solution to the problems of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and an ever-accelerating movement towards numerous tipping points which include ocean acidification, loss of polar albedo effects due to melting of polar ice, and the bubbling up of vast new wells of methane gas from the melting of northern permafrost and sea-floor deposits. In the immortal words of Edwin Arlington Robinson, what folly is here that has not yet a name?

Arnie Gundersen’s Report

The video clip below presents an interview between Arnie Gundersen and Margaret Harrington recorded soon after he returned from a recent speaking tour of Japan. The first 25 minutes of the interview offers deep insight into how the worst industrial accident in the history of humanity has affected the people of Japan, and how the Japanese government now increasingly serves the interests of power companies and their financial backers rather than those of its own people. Arnie Gundersen is unambiguously clear regarding the nature of what has gone down in Fukushima in this presentation. And the moral abandonment of both the Japanese government and TEPCO in the downplaying of the present and future consequences of the meltdown are not lost on him.

The second half of this clip offers a detailed review by Gundersen of the developments at Fukushima over the past five years. A separate high-definition version of the second segment can be accessed here.

Vincent Di Stefano is a retired educator and practitioner of natural medicine and author of “Holism and Complementary Medicine. History and Principles” (Allen and Unwin, 2006). He remains committed to exploring the nature of healing at personal, social, spiritual and environmental levels and maintaining a watching brief on the turbulent currents that course through the present times. He periodically posts on the blog-site “Integral Reflections” through which he can be contacted.

Source: The Slow Bleed: Fukushima Five Years On – Zen Gardner

P.S.

Here is more info on this issue, from a comment below:

Part of a comment I left at Dr. Branhall’s site in response to a post she reblogged and titled: Catastrophic Radioactive Leak at Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Waste Storage Facility

I know you saw the post, but my comment has yet to come out of moderation on account of the links.

For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of radiation toxicity, just follow these links to what Dr. Chris Busby has to say on the issue:

“Aspects of DNA Damage from Internal Radionuclides”

https://normanpilon.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/aspects-of-dna-damage.pdf

related links:

“The ICRP’s radiation risk model is bogus science”

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2596275/the_icrps_radiation_risk_model_is_bogus_science.html

And,

An archive of videos and scientific papers produced and written by Dr. Christopher Busby:

http://www.chris.busby.exposed/all-the-videos/

Dr. Christopher Busby believes that the current risk model used by the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) grossly understates and consequently ends up concealing from the public “. . . the true scale and nature of the health impacts of radiation . . .”

Advertisements

10 thoughts on ““The Slow Bleed: Fukushima Five Years On””

  1. Yes, it is completely crazy. Part of it has to do with corruption — political and corporate — and part of it has to do with the fact that the technocrats in the nuclear industry have convinced themselves on the basis of a spurious risk model that radioactive isotopes and elements, once widely dispersed in the environment, are pretty much harmless. C. Busby, of course, gives the lie to that false conviction. The other thing is that the poisoning that ensues upon industrial accidents of this kind and the use of radioactive elements in military weapons is incremental and in slow motion, unfolding over many years, lifetimes, and generations, so that without careful epidemiological study, it tends to fall beneath notice. People are dying en mass, but no one knows that it is happening.

    So yeah, we build machines that we cannot control and with consequences that can literally not be reigned in once disaster strikes.

    Like

  2. Part of a comment I left at Dr. Branhall’s site in response to a post she reblogged and titled: Catastrophic Radioactive Leak at Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Waste Storage Facility

    I know you saw the post, but my comment has yet to come out of moderation on account of the links.

    For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of radiation toxicity, just follow these links to what Dr. Chris Busby has to say on the issue:

    “Aspects of DNA Damage from Internal Radionuclides”

    https://normanpilon.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/aspects-of-dna-damage.pdf

    related links:

    “The ICRP’s radiation risk model is bogus science”

    http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2596275/the_icrps_radiation_risk_model_is_bogus_science.html

    And,

    An archive of videos and scientific papers produced and written by Dr. Christopher Busby:

    http://www.chris.busby.exposed/all-the-videos/

    Dr. Christopher Busby believes that the current risk model used by the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) grossly understates and consequently ends up concealing from the public “. . . the true scale and nature of the health impacts of radiation . . .”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “So yeah, we build machines that we cannot control and with consequences that can literally not be reigned in once disaster strikes.”

    And with little regard for life, whether human or not. I equate this to an intelligent child knowing how to handle a shotgun, but without any understanding of what damage the shotgun can do to him, his friends or the animals. And the more power he experiences from being able to use the weapon, the less he cares about the consequences for himself and others.

    In my opinion, humankind has acquired too much knowledge too quickly. Our humanity has not been able to keep up with our knowledge and technological advances. And the vast majority of us are paying a severe price for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just watched the first RT video with Busby.

    “A nuclear explosion.” I have never heard anything about this anywhere, until now.

    I can remember, as this was happening, watching that explosion at Fukushima, and thinking, Was that a nuclear reaction of some kind?

    But of course, the official story was, it was a release of radioactive vapor into the air. There was no mention of a “nuclear” explosion taking place.

    Also, 1.4 million cancer cases from Chernobyl, and Busby said he expects the same in Japan.

    And the radiation is spreading throughout the Pacific.

    Hell, Norm, humanity might already be doomed?

    Not overreacting, just thinking out loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If humanity isn’t already doomed, many countless of lives, into the many millions, currently and well into the future most certainly already are. The primary culprits: large scale military industrial hubris together with an ignorance of unintended consequences.

    And of course, with the threat of CO2 now looming over us, the nuclear lobby has a reinvigorated sense of purpose, scientific consensuses and engineering always being infallible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The current Fukushima and Hanford mess make it doubly important that people cut their other exposures to radiation, eg dental x-rays, mammograms, CAT scans and the x-ray machine run by TSA at the airport. Foremost antinuclear expert Dr Helen Caldicott recommends that people refuse x-rays, CAT scans mammograms unless they have serious symptomatic disease.

    As she explains, the dose of radiation that causes cancer is cumulative. This means your chances increase with every subsequent exposure:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have read this as well.

    What I am concerned about, beyond the Japanese people, is what this long term is going to do the Pacific!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s