Wednesday, December 28, 2011
FUKUSHIMA: TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES
COLD SHUTDOWN AT FUKUSHIMA - THE BIG LIE
In his infamous 1925 book "Mein Kamptf" Adolpf Hitler coined the term "the big lie". This lie, he said, should be so "colossal" that no once could believe anyone quote "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."
This is Alex Smith. I am sorry to report the government of Japan, the Prime Minister of Japan, has resorted to the big lie, trying to cover up the on-going nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Number 1 nuclear power plant.
On December 16th, Prime Minister Noda announced all reactors at Fukushima had reached the safe and stable state of "cold shutdown". The accident is over, he said, and carry no further signficant danger to the public of Japan or the world.
We'll talk to nuclear industry expert Arnie Gunersen about this lie, and the truth of Fukushima.
I'll also interview Janette Sherman, co-author of a peer reviewed paper suggesting 14,000 Americans died due to the wave of radiation that swept over North America in March and April of 2011, after four massive explosions at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi site. That is an idea so shocking, we want to deny it immediately. Radio Ecoshock will investigate. Scroll down for that big story, which you won't see in any mainstream media.
You'll also hear a short clip from Japanese activist Kazuhiko Kobayashi, translated from his tour in Germany in October.
Kobayashi reveals the secret power structure of Japan, an explanation of how a government with a the sad history of nuclear bombing, could lie now about this horrible nuclear accident, costing still more lives in Japan.
The same infernal hidden Troika of power keeps nuclear power going in North America and Europe.
So much to hear, to absorb, to know deeply.
Here is the big lie, as carried on NHK English language TV from Japan.
"Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been successfully brought to a state of cold shutdown.
The state is a target in the second phase of a timetable established by the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company to bring the plant under control.
At a meeting of the government nuclear disaster task force on Friday, Noda declared that the reactors are now stable and that the second phase is complete.
He said radiation levels at the periphery of the plant site will remain low if another accident occurs."
In this Radio Ecoshock program I interview Arnie Gundersen, a long-time nuclear industry executive, who left the field after blowing the whistle on unsafe reactors. We talk about what "cold shutdown" means, and whether that applies to Fukushima.
MORE EXPLOSIONS AT FUKUSHIMA?
I also ask Arnie whether there is still a possibility of another explosion at Fukushima Dai-ichi. Gundersen explains the operator, TEPCO, must constantly pump nitrogen into the reactors, because there is a bubble of hydrogen at the top. The nitrogen is to keep out oxygen, which could lead to another massive explosion, and
more serious radiation. If that system fails, another reactor, or three reactors, could blow up again.
Gundersen has done calculations on the remaining mass of fuel, now called "corium" because it is a mixture of metals, mostly around 100 tons of hot uranium, but also all the metals used in the fuel rod containers and other inner parts of the reactor, which melted down together.
A serious question: could one of these three reactors experience a "China Syndrome"? That is where molten fuel melts through the last of the containment concrete, burning down to the water table below, and then suffering a massive radioactive steam explosion. Arnie calculates that a China Syndrome is unlikely now at Fukushima. There just isn't enough heat piled in the right way to burn all the way out, so long as water is circulated around it. Listen to the interview for his full explanation, and watch this video.
[Radio Ecoshock Arnie Gundersen interview - 22 minutes, audio only]
You have been listening to Arnie Gundersen, the nuclear industry executive who has become an expert witness and public voice on nuclear power safety. Find his videos at Fairewinds.com. Be sure and support their important work.
FUKUSHIMA: LIES UPON LIES
As you have heard, to paste the idea of "cold shutdown" into the triple melt-down at Fukushima Dai-ichi required a series of sub-lies. According to a report of the Japanese announcement by Tim Hornyak at CNET, TEPCO said "cold shutdown," meant, quoting Hornyak, "the reactors can be safely kept cool and that radiation exposure is limited to 1 millisievert per year at the site's boundary."
One millisievert per year at the Fukushima site boundary! The radiation leaking out into the sky and the sea is many, many times that right now, and every day. You have just heard Arnie Gundersen describing the on-going radiation leaks into the air, around Fukushima, and blown by the wind over Japan, and over the Pacific.
RADIATION LEAKS TO THE SEA "ZERO" JAPANESE AGENCY CLAIMS
During a real state of "cold shutdown" there should be no radioactive leaks into the sea either. Japan needs another big lie to make that possible. As our favorite Fukushima blogger at ex-skf.blogspot.com writes:
[the Japanese newspaper] "Tokyo Shinbun reports that NISA has decided to basically "nullify" the leaks of contaminated water from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in the past, and declare that there will be no leak in the future either, even if there is actually a leak or deliberate discharge. Why? Because NISA says so.
From Tokyo Shinbun [(via Asyura, so that the link doesn't disappear;][December 16, 2011] 12/16/2011):
'NISA considers the amount of contaminated water into the ocean to be zero
There have been several leaks of water contaminated with radioactive materials from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Tokyo Shinbun has found out through own investigation that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety
Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has treated the amount of the leaks as "zero" from a legal [or regulatory] point of view, because it was a "state of emergency". The Agency has said it will treat the future leaks and deliberate discharges into the ocean the same way. The national government is scheduled to declare a "cold shutdown state" on December 16, but we are suspicious of the government's position that seems to ignore the suppression of the radioactive materials released from the plant, which is one of the important conditions [of the cold shutdown "state"].
Just the leak found April 2nd, 2011, from Reactor Number 2 at Fukushima released, quoting Tokyo Shinbun again"
"4,700 terabecquerels (according to TEPCO's estimate), already more than 20,000 times as much as the maximum amount allowed.
Both domestic and foreign research institutions have disputed TEPCO's estimate as 'too low'.
On December 4, the water that contained 26 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium was found leaking into the ocean from the apparatus that evaporates and condenses the treated water.
Furthermore, the storage tanks that are set up inside the compound are expected to become full in the first half of the next year. The water in these storage tanks also contains radioactive strontium. TEPCO is contemplating the discharge of the water into the ocean after further decontaminating it, but facing the protest from the fisheries associations the company has said it will postpone the discharge for now."
End quote from Tokyo Shinbun newspaper, as translated by the blogger ex-skf.
According to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shinbun "462 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium have leaked to the Pacific Ocean since the March."
So Fukushima is still leaking tons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific, even in December 2011, and plans more intentional dumping into the ocean, but declares their emissions to be "zero" due to the technicality of declaring it "a state of emergency".
It is hard to imagine a bigger lie.
The government has no guages to measure the escaped and melted nuclear fuel, dripping somewhere below the reactor. They don't know where it is, and cannot approach it with anything to find out.
WHY THE BIG LIE?
Lies piled upon lies. Why? The goverment announced a time-table shortly after the accident. Within 9 months they would reach a state of cold-shutdown. It is nine months, so it must be so.
Even the timid Japanese press isn't buying this latest announcement. For example the Asahi Shinbun newspaper ran a series of articles with titles like "Few believe assertion that Fukushima crisis is over" (December 17th). That article reveals some of the real reasons for saying Fukushima is over: the economy.
Quote: "A total of 44 nations and regions have restricted the imports of Japanese agricultural products and in the extreme case of Kuwait, all food products from every prefecture in Japan has been banned for import.
The negative publicity has also led to a sharp drop in the number of foreign tourists to Japan. In November, there were about 552,000 visitors, a decrease of 13.1 percent compared with November 2010."
Local mayors, in cities and towns still evacuated, expressed severe doubts about the government's announcement of "cold shutdown". Even Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said ""The accident has not been brought under control..."
The German press Deutche Welle roasted the "cold shutdown" announcement, saying the reactors are "far from cold".
U.S. AND IAEA SUPPORT THE "COLD SHUTDOWN" ANNOUNCEMENT
But the nuclear power structure in Japan has important allies. US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides was in Japan for the announcement. Nides said the U.S. is happy to hear about the "cold shut down" and congratulated Japan. Nides is part of an American business delegation seeking new contracts for decontamination. Of course, America doesn't like to officially discuss the weaknesses of the U.S. design for the Mark I General Electric reactors which blew up at Fukushima. Or the military personel exposed, and still exposed to radiation from this on-going disaster.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the NRC, also blessed the cold shutdown announcement.
Likewise Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency congratulated Japan on reaching cold shutdown. The IEA's Director Generla Amano was previously a Japanese bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
THE TRIANGLE OF JAPANESE POWER
And that brings us to this snapshot of Japanese power from a business consultant turned nuclear critic named Kazuhiko Kobayashi. Kobayashi is fluent in German, and just went on a speaking tour for the anti-nuclear activist group The Association of Citizens' Environmental Protection, the OTP.
He also wrote an empassioned letter for the Foundation Ethics & Economics, as they awarded the International ethecon Black Planet Award 2011. That Black Planet award went to Tsunehisa Katsumata, Masataka Shimizu, Toshio Nishizawa, and other responsible executives and the major shareholders of the energy Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO.
His talk was titled ""German nuclear phase-out has given the world hope!" Find links to the video and audio below.
A German friend of Radio Ecoshock writes:
"In a recent speech at protests against the Gronau uranium enrichment facility, Japanese Germanist Kazuhiko Kobayashi spoke about his country traditionally being run by a sort of unofficial troika of influential state officials, prominent politicians and corporate managers. [There is] an organised fluctuation between the three groups to ensure connections, whose particular interests have hampered the disaster relief efforts time and again."
Keep in mind, Germany is attempting to lead the world out of nuclear power, with some back-sliding by politicians. Their struggle should be known by all the world, but that is another story.
Right now, we will hear Kazuhiko speaking to German activists, translated into English by our friend of Radio Ecoshock.
"In our country, a case of high-ranking government officials is playing an enormous role.
Once it's members went through certain universities, and passed the [unknown word], they are on a free ride to certain positions and departments. And once they are there, their power is so enormous that they can do virtually everything without any inspection. So our government officials can take it all.
Once they retire, they are being put in executive posts in big corporations. They enjoy their time as Directors.
And during those five to ten years they act as agents of plutocrats corporate interests to the same government Ministries where they had been working before.
Now their successors are in their old positions and listen exactly why their former bosses are saying, because they know if they do what they are being told by the corporations, once they retire they will get the same fantastic posts. In their last decade they can make just as much money as in their entire career.
Nevertheless this pays off for the corporations, because it allows them to control the government and gives them a free ride. So this relationship is mutual.
Of course the career politicians join in as well, since they are being bribed by the corporations, as in many other countries. But in our country, the influence of the government of these officials is enormous.
Over a hundred years, since the end of the Samurai era, these three groups have been establishing this Troika. Time and again, together they represent political and economic power, for which they are ready to sacrifice everything. And to which the life of we the people does not matter.
This is the sad truth, and it became quite obvious in Fukushima."
That was Kazuhiko Kobayashi, translated from the German speech.
Find the audio of the full 42 minute Kobyashi speech (38.8 MB) in Gronau (10/20/2011) (in German) here.
A You tube video of his presentation, again in German, is here.
RADIO ECOSHOCK PART TWO
WERE 14,000 AMERICANS KILLED BY FALLOUT FROM FUKUSHIMA?
Before we return to the fight to shut down unsafe nuclear power plants in the United States, and lessons from Japanese activists, I want to investigate the stunning new study claiming 14,000 Americans have already died from radiation floating over from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.
Two long-time American anti-nuclear activists, with decades of experience in the field, uncovered unsettling information even in the sparse announcements published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC.
Joseph J. Mangano, the Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project at radiation.org, co-founded by Dr. Ernest Sternglass. Mangano has published scholarly articles and books like "Low Level Radiation and Immune System Disorders: An Atomic Era Legacy", and "Radioactive Baby Teeth: The Cancer Link."
On December 19th, Joseph Mangano, with co-author Janette Sherman, issued a press release about their newest medical article titled "14,000 U.S. Deaths Tied to Fukushima Reactor Disaster Fallout".
This caused a storm of criticism and alarm.
I heard about Janette Sherman a couple of years ago, as a seasoned doctor and medical researcher. She was part of a study of thousands of baby teeth. The teeth showed higher levels of radioactive strontium-90 in children within 40 miles of any nuclear power plant. Sherman, as we will hear, was also the English editor of a large collection of papers on the impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear power accident in the Ukraine.
Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman published their peer-reviewed study in the December 2011th edition of the International Journal of Health Services.
Let's talk with Janette Sherman.
Our guest has been toxicologist and internist Janette Sherman. She is adjunct professor, at Western Michigan University, and contributing editor of "Chernobyl - Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment" published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009. Download or read that huge report, consisting of translations from articles and reports from the Ukraine, Russia, and Eastern Europe, here.
Janette is also the author of the book "Chemical Exposure and Disease and Life's Delicate Balance - Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer." Find out more here.
CAN THIS REALLY BE TRUE?
Did an extra 14,000 Americans dies from Fukushima?
The sub-title of the December 19th Press release reads "Impact Seen As Roughly Comparable to Radiation-Related Deaths After Chernobyl; Infants Are Hardest Hit, With Continuing Research Showing Even Higher Possible Death Count."
This takes us into one of the most controversial areas of nuclear affairs. What is the safe level of radiation?
Study after study shows there is no safe level of radiation. More details below.
FUKUSHIMA FALLOUT MEASURED ACROSS THE U.S. (and Canada)
Reading further from the RPHP press release:
"Just six days after the disastrous meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima on March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores. Subsequent measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal across the U.S. The highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation in the U.S. were as follows (normal is about 2 picocuries I-131 per liter of water): Boise, ID (390); Kansas City (200); Salt Lake City (190); Jacksonville, FL (150); Olympia, WA (125); and Boston, MA (92)."
So there is no doubt elevated levels of radioation was measured by the American goverment all across the country, but especially on the West Coast.
Radio Ecoshock ran an interview in the Spring of 2011 with a Canadian scientist, Dr. Krzyztof Starosta at Simon Fraser University, who also measured elevated levels of radioactivity on Canada's West Coast. Hear that interview in this Radio Ecoshock program "Fear and Loathing in Fukushima" (1 hour 14 MB)
The RPHP press release says, quote:
"The CDC issues weekly reports on numbers of deaths for 122 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000, or about 25-30 percent of the U.S. In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S. (March 20 to June 25), deaths reported to the CDC rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, compared to just 2.34 percent in the 14 weeks prior. Estimated excess deaths during this period for the entire U.S. is about 14,000."
The government reports an unusual rise in deaths, without any explanation. We know radiation hit North America, and can be harmful, especially to infants in the uterus, and up to one year of age. Janette Sherman says adults with compromised immune systems, perhaps after cancer treatment for example, are also vulnerable to more radiation as generated by Fukushima.
You can find the full journal article as a free .pdf file here.
The Radiation and Public Health Project also posted a 42 minute audio press conference with journalists. I note that no major news sources attended. Not Associated Press or Reuters. One journalist asked if there could be multiple causes beyond Fukushima for these excess deaths, and Joseph Mangano agreed there could be other causes as well. He called for more research.
THREE CASES WHERE LOW LEVE RADIATION RISKS WERE DENIED AND THEN ADMITTED
Mangano answered another doubt, with this explanation of three cases where low-level radiation impacts were denied, but then finally admitted by the government or the courts.
[Transcript by Alex Smith from Press Tele-Conference for journalists December 19th, 2011]
"This is Joseph Mangano... Any statement, such as the one you just mentioned, i.e. the levels of radiation exposure are too low to cause harm, are in conflict with the agreement of expert scientists.
I'll refer you to a report, a blue ribbon panel called BEIR 7, Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation. They have produced seven reports over the years. And in their most recent one, 2005, they agreed that based on hundreds and hundreds of scientific articles, that even at low doses, there is risk to humans.
And I'll follow that by giving three examples of historically, where there were assumptions that low doses were not harmful to people only to have that belief overturned.
Number one is the practice of giving pregnant women abdominal x-rays. Which doctors did not to harm people, but simply for diagnostic purposes, to see, you know, how big the baby was and where the position was.
The first article that this raised childhood cancer risk to the foetus took place in the late 1950's. It was met by a huge wave of opposition by obsteticians, by radiologists, by the nuclear industry. More articles came out about that. And finally, in the late 1970's this practice was discontinued.
The second example was the fallout from atomic bomb tests in Nevada in the 1950's and 60's. For years years government officials declared no harm, until 1997, when the National Cancer Institute put out a report
estimating that up to 212,000 Americans developed thyroid cancer alone from the Iodine in bomb fallout.
The third one is the case of workers in nuclear weapons plants, which again for years the government measured their doses and declared that they were below 'safe and permissable limits'. In the year 2000 the
Energy Department put out a report stating that, it was based on dozens of articles, the workers were in fact susceptible to a variety of cancers. And now there is a program to compensate former workers with cancer.
In summary, there is a basic dynamic here which starts with an assumption of low doses being harmless - only to find out that after study, in fact the opposite is true.
So I think we must maintain an open mind here when studying Fukushima."
Find a .pdf of the BEIR 7 report here.
The Wiki article on ionizing radiation says this:
"The linear dose-response model suggests that any increase in dose, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk. The linear no-threshold model (LNT) hypothesis is accepted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the EPA and its validity has been reaffirmed by a National Academy of Sciences Committee (see the BEIR VII report, summarized in ). Under this model, about 1% of a population would develop cancer in their lifetime as a result of ionizing radiation from background levels of natural and man-made sources."
That does support what Mangano and Sherman are saying.
"MAY" HAVE KILLED 14,000 AMERICANS....
And here is a key statement by Joseph Mangano in that press tele-conference, namely that 14,000 MAY have been killed due to Fukushima, but the researchers cannot prove that actually happened.
"Correction, we haven't said that Fukushima DID in fact cause these excess cancers, but MAY have caused. I want to make that quite clear. It's really a call, a clarion call, for more extensive research."
MY OPINION ON THIS STUDY
Given that doubt, I find the headline for the study press release misleading. We don't know Fukushima fallout caused 14,000 American deaths.
But the thrust of the study seems valid. A big impact of fallout over a large population is possible. It happened during atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, and again after Chernobly. The American government has made no effort to find out why more people died after Fukushima. If they have an alternative cause, let's hear
We also see how very weak government death reporting is. Thousands could die of radiation poisoning, or other causes, and we might never know it.
It seems biologically reasonable to me that many people in fragile states, whether infants or adults with medical problems, died following the blast of Fukushima radiation hitting North America, and Europe for that matter. When critics keep citing weak external radiation, you know they are dodging the real risk of ingesting
long-lived radioactive particles through food and water.
I would also expect more cancers to develop in the population during the coming decades, due to exposure to radioactive particles from the Fukushima nuclear accident. That is just common medical knowledge, as we learned from the Chernobly accident as well.
Because increased radioactivity stays with us for generations, even hundreds of years, and because it can alter genes for all subsequent generations, I feel nuclear power is far too dangerous for human use.
DID YOU SEE THIS ALL-STAR CONCERT FOR SAFE NUCLEAR-FREE ENERGY LAST SUMMER?
Fukushima teaches us to seek cleaner energy options.
Here is another message for Americans, and everyone still living in the shadows of nuclear disaster.
The setting was a concert at the Shoreline amphitheatre in Mountain View CA, on August 7, 2011. On stage Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz, The Doobie Brothers, Tom Morello, John Hall and many more.
Watch clips from this classic concert for clean non-nuclear energy on You tube here (42 minutes with all-star cast).
Listen for Eileen Miyoko Smith on stage. She is a Japanese activist who fought against using deadly plutonium as a fuel called MoX at the Fukushima reactors. Now she worries California reactors on quake fault lines, like Diablo Canyon and San Onofre could go the same way. They should be shut down.
And you also hear one of the original Americans fighting dangerous nuclear power, Harvey Wasserman. He started in New England in the early 19070's. Wasserman's latest book is "SOLARTOPIA: Our Green-Powered Earth, AD 2030", introduced by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and with the song "Solartopia" by Pete Seeger. Watch and listen to that Pete Seeger "Solartopia" song on You tube here.
Long-time folkie turned rocker Bonnie Rait was one of the MC's at the Musicians for Safe Energy concert.
I'm your host, Alex Smith.
Thank you for listening, and for caring about your world.
Posted by Alex Smith at 4:00 PM
Labels: accident, environment, Fukushima, Japan, nuclear, nuclear power, radiation, reactors, safety, U.S.
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