Wednesday, April 27, 2011


On a heavily populated island in the Pacific, the world's third largest economy, the world is shaking. Call it 3/11 for the March 11th date when four reactors started their journey to explosions and runaway radiation.

Your life will never be the same. Right now, listeners outside Japan are asking "Are we safe?" What about the drinking water, milk, food? Should we buy Japanese products?

This is Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock. I have a mountain of news you should know - and a few warning about false information on the Net. Some came from the Japanese government, to calm you down. Then there is creative blogging and conspiracy believers who want to frighten and inform. Read about that, or listen to it, in my previous blog entry "Fukushima Fact & Fantasy".

There is so much we don't know. In this special report, I'll try to keep to the credible. This is the full 1 hour Radio Ecoshock Show for April 29th.

The information is necessary but complex. You can follow along with my written notes, and all the supporting links in the transcript (click "Read More" below). And download this program as a free mp3 by clicking the title above.


The real situation now depends on where you live.

For Japan, as you will soon learn, the radiation is much worse than reported. My opinion is: the government is verging on criminal acts by withholding vital information from the Japanese people, leaving more people in irradiated zones, eating
irradiated food, while running other nuclear reactors with the same risk or worse.

Even now, a French official is being criminally charged of withholding information about the seriousness of Chernobyl radiation to the detriment of French citizens.

For the worried people in North America, the situation is slightly better. So long as there are no further explosions taking

heavy radioactive isotopes into the upper atmosphere, what crosses the Pacific will be bad, but livable.

As I will explain next, with the latest news, there is a lot that could go wrong. We could still see more waves of radioactive elements, similar to the one which hit North America's West Coast in the week March 18th to 23rd, and Europe a week later. Don't let this new story slip out of your attention.

The news for the Pacific ocean, and all the fish, whales, and creatures there, is very bad. Every week sees a new and worse announcement of rising radiation released into the ocean. Everything points to this pollution continuing for months, if
not years or decades. We don't know where that leads.

Let's start with this question:


READ MORE (with tons of links)

Fukushima Fact & Fantasy

Radio Ecoshock bonus overtime feature April 29th show.

Let's knock out some of the wilder stories first. I am ruling out "aliens did it", drug visions, and and astrological explanations. You can find all those on the Net.

But was Fukushima made worse by a secret weapons program? Did the Americans cause this disaster with HAARP?


One blogger, citing Chinese sources, says the big quake and Fukushima accident are the result of a secret Japanese nuclear weapons test. He says:

"Chinese experts say that this was not an earthquake, a top-secret testing of nuclear weapons."

Believers in this theory use Net photos of a mysterious whirlpool, which could be a result of tsunami. The General theory is the Japanese, who are experts at tunnels (they made the deepest railway tunnel in world), - constructed a secret underwater nuclear base, which blew up, causing the quake. Radiation at reactors was to cover up a secret test March 9th, they say.

There is zero proof. It would have to be a really big nuclear weapon, since [116] estimates of the single 9.0 quake power is one million kiloton bombs. The largest U.S. nuclear bomb test was reportedly 15 Megatons. The Soviet Union allegedly blew up a 60 megaton monster.

I don't believe this theory. But there is evidence Japan wants a nuclear weapon and has the capability to make them. I'll talk about that a little later.


Let's consider the most serious misleading and frightening example of Net reporting gone wrong.

READ MORE (with tons of links)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BILL MCKIBBEN - Last Stand for Climate


This is Alex Smith, and I have a problem. Important news continues to pour out of the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, along with radiation reaching my home here on the West Coast of North America.

At the same time, about a dozen listeners have sent email reminders that this nuclear accident, even at it's very worst, can never kill as many millions of people as climate change. Though Fukushima radiation may continue to damage the chromosomes of plants and animals for a few million years, global warming appears to be driving a mass extinction event.

Certainly, unless there is an explosion of every volcano on Earth, our greenhouse gas emissions have triggered a warming which will last at least 100,000 years. American scientist David Archer calls it "The Long Thaw".

[Dr. David Archer Radio Ecoshock interview 090918 27 min 6 MB Lo-Fi mp3]

It might not take that long. If the permafrost melts in the Arctic tundra, releasing all that methane. Or frozen methane under the sea is released. Nobody knows what a sudden shift in greenhouse cases could do. Top scientists, like Drs. James Hansen or Michael Oppenheimer wonder if Earth has any breaks on a rapid greenhouse breakout. Is it possible this planet could lose it's protective atmosphere, to become like Mars?

Even now, climate change is responsible for 300,000 deaths a year, according to a 2009 report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, headed by Kofi Annan. Extreme weather and heat driven climate disruption affected 325 million people. By 2030, that will double to 660 million people, and half a million deaths a year, they project.

The United Nations also reported that the majority of people who lost their lives in disasters in 2009, - three quarters of the fatilities were climate related.

As horrible as Fukushima is, we can't take our eyes off the biggest problem. Climate change endangers our civilization, our species, and all species - far beyond what the nuclear power and weapons industry can dish out.

Perhaps it is good news that due to the economic recession, greenhouse gas emissions in the most industrialized countries fell in 2009. The United States dropped 6.1 percent, or about 6.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the biggest change in American emissions since 1990. The second largest industrialized greenhouse gas polluter, Russia, announced a drop of 3.2 percent in 2009, according to a Russian news report.

Other countries reporting lower emissions to the UN Climate Change Secretariat for 2009 include Australia, Italy, Spain and France - although Australia has started to go up again this year.

Unfortunately these reductions are likely more than offset by growing emissions from developinging countries like China, India, Indonesia and Brazil.

When it comes to loading up the atmosphere, polluting less is like saying someone is raping women less often. What really matters is the climate continues to be disrupted, and the total load is still increasing rapidly. That guarantees a hotter and less stable world.

It's hard to believe the American media make no connection between historic tornados killing at least 43 people in mid-April, and the instability of the hotter atmosphere which carries more moisture. The same media is not reporting the continuing radiation falling on the country from Fukushima either.

But first we need to refocus our minds on the biggest single threat to us all, despite the nuclear horror news. On April 9th I recorded a new speech by Bill McKibben, the founder of, and one of the premier spokespeople for the American climate movement.

I'm going to presume you know who Bill McKibben is. He wrote the first book about global warming, "The End of Nature" in 1989. His latest book, which I highly recommend, is Eaarth where the name of this newly changed planet is spelled with two "a's".

Perhaps you have heard a speech by Bill, on the way the climate protests were organized, to become what "Foreign Policy magazine called 'the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind,' with 5,200 simultaneous demonstrations in 181 countries."

But now I want you to hear some new material from Bill McKibben.

We'll start with his update on our climate situation, one year after the publication of the book Eaarth. Then I'm going to skip over his story about forming, and the first demonstrations.

Don't worry, I'll give you a way to listen to the whole speech, and the Question and Answer period, as a free mp3 download from our web site, It will be on our climate change page.

Full speech here (55 MB CD quality 55 minutes)

Q and A here (24 minutes, Lo-Fi 6 MB)

In the radio digest version, we skip ahead in the speech, to some some things I haven't heard. The situation in China. Bungee jumping from dead coal plants. Bills perspective now on the failure of international negotiations, and the disinformation campaign from the fossil fuel lobby.

McKibben calls for a campaign against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and against the Canadian Tar Sands. He talks about the theme for this year's big world-wide demo coming September 24th. Why we have to try, even though we may have waited too long.

This speech was recorded by Alex Smith at the University of British Columbia April 9th, courtesy of the Vancouver Institute. I include the short introduction by the Honorable Madam Justice Mary Newbury, followed by the new big picture on climate change, by Bill McKibben.


That concludes our selections from a speech by author and activist Bill McKibben in Vancouver on April 9th. Now we're going to get some fresh perspectives as Bill answers questions from the audience. Things like climate and agriculture, population growth, and the role of civil disobedience. But first some fellow in the front named Alex Smith asks about climate change now that Fukushima appears to have blown up the nuclear power option....

[Alex question Fukushima]

Are these 350 demonstrations and photo-ops enough to save us from the worst climate change? Bill McKibben asked and answered.

Here is the concluding answer from Bill, answering a question about the role of industrial agriculture.

That's what we have from Bill McKibben, the founder of Don't forget to plan your speak-out for the coming world-wide demo on September 24th, 2011. The theme is motion - without fossil fuels.

You can also watch and read the transcript of this Bill McKibben speech at a rally in Washington D.C. April 18th at Power Shift 2011. But their audio is crappy. I wrote them at the start of the web-cast to tell them about the obvious microphone problems, but got no reply. Pitty a big outfit like that can't get the sound right.

To record Bill's speech in Vancouver with radio quality plus, I got a little help. I used the microphones and mixer from the webcast provider. I have to thank Mark Van Driel of Mark has amazing technology that can do a live web cast, complete with the speaker, slides, and audience participation - and then post it just minutes later, with no wait for editing. It is delivered through 3 university level servers at once. I was blown away by the possibilities.

And my thanks to the Vancouver Institute, which continue to bring important speakers to the city, open to the public for free.

Fukushima? Still important, still leaking radioactivity all over the world. I'll be doing more investigative reporting on the Japanese nuclear accident in coming shows.

Climate change? The real big deal. Let's not forget, as we drive around, and waste the last of the fossil fuels buying plastic junk from a world away - we have to keep active on climate change. Like the future of the world, and our grandchildren, really matter.

Otherwise, we don't really matter, except to be known as the generation who wrecked the Nature, when we could make the big change to climate justice and clean energy. In our homes, our industry, our countries, our world. I know you want to. Let's do it together.


By the way - watch out for a lot of crazy fear-mongering on the Net. One big example is a series of You tube videos by Dutchsinse and Patriotspace.

These supposedly show radiation being dumped on the West Coast of North America in big quanties, unreported by the media. I contacted scientist Dr. John F. Burkhart in at the Norse Institute in Norway - the scientist who created those model animations you see in the You tube video.

In his email reply to me, Dr. Burkhart says his work has been totally misrepresented, used for fear-mongering. He tried to contact Dutchinsense, and his companion Patriotspace to correct the revelations, but got no response.

In fact, what these models were meant to show, and it says this right on the main page if anyone looks, is the worst case scenario that COULD happen. Like an atomic blow-up at Fukushima or something. These models would have meant something IF Fukushima emissions remained at their initial levels, when the hydrogen explosions took place - but that didn't happen either. Emissions have dropped significantly in the month that followed.

The models shown in the video by Dutchsinse do NOT reflect actual radiation hitting the West Coast, or anywhere else.

Worse, Dutchinsense then shows a "new" even worse projection of Xenon 133, which shows a ominous dark blue across the whole Northern Hemisphere. What Dutchsinse did not realize, or did not tell the viewers, is that projection was using a completely different scale. In order to see where Xenon 133 MIGHT have gone, Burkhart multiplied the slight impressions of his previous model by two orders of magnitude, to see where the wind and weather MIGHT have taken Xenon 133. It's actually the same projection as the previous one, but multiplied a lot.

Dutchsinse and Partiotspace have yet another video out, where they ponder the meaning of some straight lines across the globe on another Burkhart file. These are, in Burkhart's words, "garbage" - a run that did not work, a screen shot sent to a colleague, to figure out why the model was not working.

All our genii had to do was to contact the scientist, and ask what the models were showing. Or look at the main page on the web site.

But our would-be fringe reporters are too busy with exotic Net radio stations like Apocalypse Jungle, plus a fascination with "civilian militia" and guns. Dutchsinse uses other official looking maps to predict Japan will fall into the sea.

So unpack that escape U-haul my West Coast friends. We are getting some radiation, but not what You tube may tell you. Check your sources. The Dutchsinse video scared me unnecessarily for a few hours. I hope I've spared you the trouble.

Next week I'll be looking into the facts - and the strange fantasy and conspiracy theories - about the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Thank you for listening, and caring about our world.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


In Fukushima Japan, we've passed another week out of eternity. Quakes rocked the damaged reactors, at the accident now rated Level 7, like Chernobyl. The evacuation zone was expanded, massive radiation admitted, and found in milk from Hawaii through California to Vermont and Europe.

I'm Alex Smith. This week on Radio Ecoshock we dig to find you the news not heard. In Japan, North America, Australia, all over this world, reconsecrated to the atomic nightmare.

We start out with the American nuclear expert, industry insider and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen, with a detailed investigation of each reactor. Where is plutonium coming from, where it going, where is panic only appropriate?

Later we'll chat with California activist Ace Hoffman, who told us this was coming, and worries about his own local reactors.

All through, you'll get news from Japan, and the world media, from the epicentre of a nuclear sore that will ooze radioactivity for centuries. Fukushima, the name we never knew, the name we can never forget.

We'll talk about conspiracy and mutiny:

* plots to unseat Prime Minister Kan,

* big utility corporations who won't follow political orders,

* the possibility Japan uses the nuclear power industry to stockpile
weapons-grade plutonium,

* and a final competition for the new nuclear renassance - cleaning up the radioactive mess at Fukushima!

That's a 30 year long pot of gold to the lucky winner. Will it be French Prime Minister Sarkozy's Areva Corp - or Jeff Imhelt's General Electric. Funny, both visited Japan in the last week or so. Just a coincidence. All that and more below.

Prime Minister Sarkozy's Areva Corp - or Jeff Imhelt's General Electric. Funny, both visited Japan in the last week or so. Just a coincidence. All that and more below.

First I'm going to run your radio head through the media meat grinder - hacking Fukushima. Along the way we explore some issues raised in our Radio Ecoshock interview with Arnie Gundersen.


I hope to have time to generate a transcript this weekend, but we'll see.

We discuss the probability that very radioactive materials, from stronium through uranium to plutonium are loose in the Japanese countryside without proper warning to the citizens. A single test for Strontium-90, which is attracted to bone marrow and increases cases of leukemia - was found more than 30 kilometers from the plant, according to Kyodo news.

Scroll down in this story by blogger Alexander Higgens to find traces of uranium-234 and uranium-238 from Fukushima found in Hawaii, California, and Washington State by the U.S. EPA.

What does the Japanese government know, and when will they tell us?

Why did the Canadian government refuse to test milk? (Now, after fantastic pressure, the Canucks say they will test milk in British Columbia. Even though radioactive milk has been found in Vermont and other states.)

Arnie Gundersen has a lot of revelations and explanations you should not miss. You've been told.


The prize for biggest whitewash from a Western reporter goes to.... [drum roll] no, not George Monbiot, but long-time BBC Science correspondent Pallab Ghosh.

[BBC 110412 Pallab Ghosh ]

He tells us Fukushima is nothing like Chernobyl, and was only upgraded because of technicalities in the International Scale (INES) . Let's join as Pallab and his long-time employer the BBC take up this analysis....


PALLAB GHOSH: " an incident requires long-term remedial action then it has to be regarded as 7 and also if there are human health consequences, well...

PRESENTER: And what are the human health consequences now? Are they worse than previously thought? Is it spread further, I mean we have these exclusion zone being widened...

GHOSH: Well that's the point. The levels of radiation are relatively low, especially compared to Chernobyl. It's just on a technical point that it has been raised to 7.

I think what a lot of people have been saying is that this reveals the inadequacy of this system which is supposed to be like the magnitude scale for earthquakes. ...

PRESENTER: But people living in the area, are they at short-term, long-term, any risks from cancer, from health risks, from the food, from the water?

GHOSH: Well at the moment, the levels of radiation are low so there is very little if any risk to people living in the area..."

Gosh, and here I was worried about the tens of thousands of nuclear evacuees, and all the Japanese who dutifully stayed in the radioactive dumping zone until that was expanded. I can't believe Pallab Ghosh was so naive... no risk to people living near the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant? Did he miss the memo about plutonium-laden nuclear fuel rods blown a mile and a half out of the site?


Most of the radiation that YOU may be receiving flooded out from Japan in the first four days of the accident. More is coming daily, and as Arnie Gundersen warned, we could still get an even bigger does. Don't ever forget what happened at Reactor 4.

I want to briefly take you back to March 14th in Japan, 3 days after the quake struck. Here is Russia Today.

[RT 110314 Panic Call all 6]

On the same day, a Russia Today reporter calls in about the #4 spent fuel pond, which I suspect as one of the major sources of contamination of Japan, North America and the Northern Hemisphere.

[RT 110414 Spent #4 fuel pond]

Here is a clip from NHK World Japanese television March 14:

[NHK World 110314 #4 fire]

And finally the next day, with the fire still raging in Reactor 4 fuel pond on the 15th, along with the open-to-the-sky bonfire of the spent fuel of Reactor 3 next door.

[NHK World 110315 #4 and #3 on fire]

There are repeated press stories saying that raw fuel rods littered the reactor plant site, preventing human access to at least the Reactor 3 building, with an almost eerie silence about what was going on in Reactor #4. Here is just one story from the pile, NHK World April 9th, when areas of the plant could not be reached by anything human, almost a month after the quake.

[NHK World 110409 Unmanned no-go area]


Now on the subject of deaths and injuries, three people are admitted dead at the reactor sites. One was a crane operator killed at the other Fukushima Daiini site. At Fukushima Dai-ichi, two worker's bodies were "missing" for over two weeks, and finally retrieved from a reactor building, or tunnel. Tepco and the government say they died in the tsunami or earthquake. Their bodies were highly radioactive.

Do we have to take the authorities word for how they died?

About 29 others were injured, some of them due to radioactivity. At least nineteen workers or firemen at Fukushima received at least a lifetime dose of radiation, although we are not told how much.

Let's listen in to this informative report from NHK World April 11th. [Radio only]

In that same broadcast, we also learn an emergency response crew was cut off from Tokyo at the start of the accident, unable to pass on critical info, because their power was out too.

Plus the Japanese TV saying "massive" amounts of radiation has been released.

[NHK World 110411 deaths, injuries, ]

Despite those published reports of injuries, the head of NISA, the Nuclear Information and Safety Agency, Director-General Kenkichi Hirose says there has been no direct impact on human health!

What an incredible statement, as hundreds of thousands of Japanese have been irradiated, by radioactive food, water, or directly through the air - with known consequences for the future. NHK World, quoting the head of NISA as he explains away the disaster as being much less than Chernobyl, makes this historic statement on April 12th. No direct impact on human health!

[NHK World 110412 No Impact]


Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear consultant from Scotland told Russia Today TV on April 4th,

[110404] :

"Twenty five years after Chernobyl, they're still struggling with contamination on the site and the threat of further releases. Fukushima is 3 reactors and many, many more tons of spent fuel than is contained in Chernobyl. So this is an issue we're going to be talking about probably for the rest of the century and beyond."


In another paper, "Thinking the Unthinkable - Japanese nuclear power and proliferation in East Asia", Shaun and co-author Frank Barnabie suggest Japan has used its nuclear power industry to create all the necessary materials to create a nuclear bomb very quickly. Japan is, they suggest, a de facto nuclear state, which would not be surprising considering North Korea has threatened to send a nuclear missile to Japan, while testing just such a missile in the Sea of Japan.

And think of all the possible threats from China, or even Russia.

There is an even bigger conspiracy theory: someone plots to use this nuclear disaster to unseat Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and reseat the former Liberal party, who created the nuclear system in Japan. The
article by Yoichi Shimatsu published at is wild but still plausible. Published April 13th, the title is: "Secret Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant? U.S.-Japan security treaty fatally delayed nuclear workers' fight against meltdown."

I find little proof that Reactor 4 was involved in a secret reactor program. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Loaded with American bases, if Japan wanted to develop bomb fuel, it would use a publicly visible reactor, perhaps at Fukushima.

But there is lots of agreement that Prime Minister Kan and his government are on shaky grounds themselves. They just lost more power in recent local elections. Former political suitors are now moving away. No one want to be left with sticky nuclear memories on their suits.

Like most people so far, on Fukushima I am no longer sure what is true. These internal struggles may explain the constant contradictions in the media from various agencies and Tepco. For example that Level 7 announcement was advanced, retracted, and then announced again, with apologies. The Japanese press, normally timid, inquired why? This may be significant. See this related April 11 story
"Tepco tardy on N-plant emergency" by Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese newspaper.

The Japanese Prime Minister was reportedly unable to control Tepco, the nuclear utility owner of Fukushima. The utility company delay may have caused the first hydrogen explosion at Reactor 1 - but Tepco later blamed the Prime Minister himself, saying they had to wait for his flyover. Warfare in the radioactive trenches!

It sounds like atomic court intrigue - a battle royal behind the scenes in Japan, with impacts on the unfolding disaster, the people of Japan, and all of us.


And there's another kind of conspriracy swirling around the damaged plant. Nuclear-Industrial titans with their political allies, nations and campaign contributions want the new new nuclear renassiance: gazillions of dollars to clean up the mess they made.

The partnership that built Fukushima, General Electric, and now their newer partner Hitachi, have sent in a plan to dismantle Fukushima One. Their partners are the usual suspects: American nuke giant Exelon, Obama's campaign funder, and mega-project specialist Bechtel Corp.

The prize: more than a trillion yen, at least twelve billion dollars, with another twenty or thirty billion in cost over-runs I suggest - in a super-contract lasting decades. Disaster capitalism at its best.

Maybe that is one reason why GE CEO Jeff Imhelt went to Japan after the accident. The first foreign dignitary guest was French President Sarkozy. Is it coincidence his national company Areva is hooking up with nuclear supplier Toshiba to put in the rival bid for this endless pot of gold?

Read all about it in the article "Hitachi, GE Submit Plan to Dismantle Fukushima Nuclear Plant" by Mariko Yasu and Maki Shiraki in Bloomberg April 12th. If we can't make money building them, we'll profit from the disaster...


On Monday 11th, three new earthquakes rattled Japan again. Tepco reported power was cut, and cooling stopped at Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors for 50 minutes. One spokesman, Mr. Iguchi told the Wall Street Journal there was a high risk of flare up. Temperatures and pressure levels in Reactor 1 remain high. Two thirds of the fuel core is exposed to air, with no cooling. Iguchi said: "There could esily be more melting of the core."

In the newspaper "Japan Today" April 12, a Tepco official said, quote:

‘‘The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl, or exceed it,’’

Check out this evaluation by Thomas Bruer, atomic expert from Greenpeace Germany, courtesy of Democracy Now April 11th. He says Fukushima is not equal to Chernobly. It is way worse.


In California, one of the worst and most prone-quake plants, the Diablo Canyon reactors featured two weeks ago on Radio Ecdoshock, have withdrawn their application for relicensing. The owner PG&E has finally given in to public demands for new seismic risk testing. Fukushima did what years of court battles and protests could not.

To get more news about the impact of Fukushimi radiation on the United States, visit the blog of news-hound Alexander Higgins. He found EPA charts showing milk samples in Hawaii 800% above the federal limits for Cesium-134 in drinking water. It's just below the federal drinking water limit in milk found in Los Angeles, and shows up as far away as dairy cows in Montpelier Vermont and Spokane, Washington.

Find that at He has the links to the original EPA charts and many other radioactive rabbit holes.


This week's "Worst Reactor of the Week" has to be San Onofre in Southern California. It's right on two earthquake fault lines, and right down by the sea, waiting to be swept away by a tsunami. We get more from the surfer's friend, long-time anti-nuke and media activist Ace Hoffman. find some of his nuclear plant warning videos here on You tube.

[Ace Hoffman interview]


Meanwhile the island of Japan feels more like a ship in rough seas than land at all. With hundreds of aftershocks - at levels called major earthquakes anywhere else, with food and power shortages, regular life breaking down, fear for mothers, fear for parents, children afraid, a historic loss. I join you in sending my condolences not just for the tens of thousands who lost their lives, but the millions of citizens
who must say a sad goodbye to the innocence of the old Japan, now passing into something new and unrecognizable.

You and I will following shortly.

At least people in Japan are finally questioning authority!!

This is from Voice of America April 10th.

[VOA Thousands Protest against Hamaoke nuclear plant Southwest of Tokyo - right on the sea and a quake line, with lousy tsunami protection].

My thanks to all the listeners who sent links, and especially Carolyn Baker with her fine news service.

Hear another new Fukushima song "After the 9.0" by Vastman at

This week you heard music clips from the new song "Talkin' End Game - It's the Radioactive Song" by Dylan tribute artist Michel Montecrossa. I found it on You tube.

I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock.

Get tons of free audio mp3 downloads at our web site,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Welcome to Radio Ecoshock - where we are all more radio active. It is almost a month since the multiple nuclear disasters in Japan. And still, we hardly know what to expect.

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency assured the world there would be no further explosions.

The following Tuesday the Los Angeles Times reported, "Engineers also planned to begin injecting nitrogen gas into reactors Nos. 1,2, and 3 in an attempt to prevent possible explosions from the buildup of hydrogen gas..."

By Wednesday, the Japanese announced they were injecting the nitrogen.

We have reports of meltdowns in reactors, and possibly spent fuel pools. You will hear two nuclear experts with different points of view.

Dr. John Large from the UK explains the on-going disaster.

Dr. Krzysztof Starosta from Canada reports radiation from Fukushima reactors has reached the rain and seaweed in Vancouver - but it's no problem.

I've got 80 minutes of audio for a one hour program, so we might as well let the recordings speak for themselves, and you be the judge. Fear and controversy are the children of the atom.

[Quick clips John Large, the UK History TV show "A for Atom", CNN bodies too radioactive to collect...]

The biggest development of the week: Japan unilaterally decides to dump thousands of tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific ocean. On top of the existing leak of highly radioactive waste water coming from Fukushima reactor number 2.

Here is a report from Mark Willacy of ABC TV Australia. View the complete video here.

Transcript, courtesy of ABC National News "Lateline":

"ALI MOORE: And already there are reports of radioactive leaks into the ocean. How serious is that?

MARK WILLACY: It's extremely serious. What we have is a 20-centimetre long crack inside a concrete pit near reactor 2. Now that's letting out 7,000 tonnes of radioactive water every hour, and this is quite highly radioactive water, this isn't low-level radiation. Now what they've tried to do is try to plug that crack.

They've tried to put concrete in it, but the force of the water has just blown the concrete out; the crack's still there. Then they tried something even more ingenious, they thought, and that was mixing sawdust with shredded newspaper and what's called an absorbent polymer. This polymer can apparently absorb water 50 times its size. But unfortunately, that didn't work either. That was simply blown out by the force of the
water. So there's still this 20-centimetre crack in this concrete trench, this pit, and that is leeching thousands of tonnes of water, radioactive water into the Pacific every hour.

ALI MOORE: But there are also reports not just I guess of leaks and leeching, but also that the authorities, the operators may have to actually dump contaminated water?

MARK WILLACY: Well I can tell you that started a short time ago. There's going to be an 11,500 tonnes of what's being called low-level radioactive water dumped into the Pacific.

Now, the reason this has to be done according to TEPCO, the company that operates the plant and the government here in Tokyo, is because this water's just building up around the plant. As I said, 11,500 tonnes of it, it's not going anywhere, it has to be moved out of the way so that really contaminated and toxic radioactive water can be stored safely at the plant and not run off into the ocean. So that dumping process has started tonight. That will continue on.

Now TEPCO, the operator, and the government are assuring the Japanese public that there is nothing to fear from this water. They're saying it's low-level and you could actually eat seafood that was caught in this water every day for a year and apparently you'd only have a quarter of your annual environmental radiation exposure. So in other words, the government and TEPCO are saying, "Please, do not panic. This is low-level radioactive water.

We have to do this so that the highly contaminated water doesn't leech outside the plant."

ALI MOORE: I wonder though how many'll be prepared to take that risk. Mark Willacy, many thanks."

Again, from the Australian national broadcaster, we get protests from both Greenpeace and Friends of Earth. Full video and transcript here.


"The move has drawn outrage and condemnation from around the world.

THOMAS BREUER: So there's evidence from Europe that radioactive releases into the sea will damage the seafood, like shellfish and seaweed, which will be contaminated and
beaches will be highly contaminated as well.

ADRIENNE FRANCIS: Thomas Breuer is heading up the Greenpeace presence in Japan.

THOMAS BREUER: The information about the desperateness on the nuclear power plant is so bad that we don't know, even know if it is necessary to release the water or not.

ADRIENNE FRANCIS: Other conservation organisations say there is no justification for deliberate ocean dumping. The Friend's of the Earth describe the move as exporting Japan's burden to the world.

DAMON MOGLEN: We're really in a disastrous situation in Japan. There are only bad choices at this point. We really do face a situation in which we could have further explosions and fires at the reactors and the nuclear waste site, and they do indeed need to cool it down. But that can't possibly be a justification.

ADRIENNE FRANCIS: The organisation's Damon Moglen has been working on nuclear issues for 25 years.

He says dumping radioactive waste at sea is forbidden under an international treaty called the London Convention. Japan, the US and Australia are all signatories to the treaty, but he says it doesn't cover release of radioactive material from land.

DAMON MOGLEN: This is really a landmark international agreement and yet, in this case, the Japanese government and industry are using a loophole which says that, while you can't dump nuclear waste directly into the ocean in barrels, for example, you can actually pump it into the ocean from land based sources.

ADRIENNE FRANCIS: The Friends of the Earth are calling for the waste to instead be moved into storage tankers at sea, or into tanks on land. They're calling for the US government to urgently step in to prevent the deliberate waste dumping.

ELEANOR HALL: Adrienne Francis reporting."


Following announcements on Japanese TV, the American Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Reactor #1 was 70% destroyed.

New arial footage certainly backs that up. Nobody is going to restore the original cooling system, from what I can see in the wreckage.

A former U.S. nuclear executive, Arnie Gundersen of Fairwinds Associates makes a strong case there are intermittent bursts of criticality - live and uncontrolled atomic reactions - happening in Reactor #1. He bases this on isotopes reported by Japanese authorities - which can only come from a current atomic reaction. "Inadvertent criticality" may erupt from time to time inside the damaged reactor. Find a link to his video here.

Other sources suspect criticality in Reactor 1, but the Japanese deny it.

Reactor #2 is estimated to be 30% destroyed, and several sources say melted radioactive materials have burned through the containment, to the concrete floor below.

Extremely radioactive water has filled the turbine hall, and trenches around the reactor, including that 7,000 tons an hour leak to the Pacific. By Wednesday, Tepco announced that leak appeared to have stopped, but found more leaks into the groundwater.

Reactor #3 looks all but destroyed, and has radioactive water so hot workers cannot even try to restore systems there.

The spent fuel pool in Reactor #4 was out of water for some time, may have damaged fuel rods, and could be the most dangerous of all.

The New York Times published an article "U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan's Nuclear Plant" on April 5th that you must read. It contains a secret assessment of more problems, including the risk of those radwater-filled buildings falling apart in an aftershock.

Plus the likelyhood that a hydrogen explosion in the fuel pool of Reactor #4 blew highly radioactive material sky-high on March 15th. There were hot reactor fuel rods in that pool, likely distributing nasty elements, including plutonium.

The Japanese government has STILL not released security camera video, taken by Israeli technology, that shows radioactive clouds rising from the reactors in real-time. Secret, secret! But the world deserved to know, not to mention the Japanese people.

See this report in the Jerusalem Post "Israeli firm’s cameras recording Japanese nuclear core By YAAKOV LAPPIN 03/15/2011 01:43 Security cameras installed by Israeli defense company at Fukushima plant have ability to detect presence of radioactive clouds in air."


Let's get back to that intentional dumping of radioactive water by Tepco, the Tokyo Electric Power Company. Here is an announcement from NHK World, Japanese TV.

[N8 NHK World 110404 Tepco announces sea discharge 1 min]

Even before this dumping, radioactive fish were found off the coast of Japan. Again, NHK World on April 4th.

[N9 NHK World 110405 Cesium-loaded fish discovered 51 sec]

Later we'll try to squeeze in the controversy about safety standards, but before we go to our first guest, you should hear this conversation, about radioactive materials contaminating people with sea spray. This was recorded before Fukushima, by WMRW Vermont radio, in the program "Politics and Science" March 30th, 2010.

How strangely this risk now applies to the coastal residents of Japan! And perhaps soon, to people on the American Pacific Coast as well?

The speaker is Chris Busby, a chemist who specializes in cases of so-called low-level nuclear exposure.

[Busby5 Danger of cancer near the sea 2 min 25 sec]

As the Japanese government and utility keep dumping radioactive waste into the Pacific, over the coming months, we may all face this new risk. Japanese officials have already announced it will take many months just to clear the reactor buildings of contaminated water, while trying to develop an alternative self-contained cooling system.

"A senior official of the agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama made the comments at a news conference on Sunday....the agency said it will take several months to remove the water from the contaminated turbine buildings, and to take measures to protect workers from radiation.

At a news conference on Sunday, the independent nuclear safety commission also pointed out that it will take months to stem the leakage and restore cooling systems
- transcript from NHK World TV Japan broadcast 110403

We have an on-going radioactive poisoning of the sea, imposed by one nation, on all nations, and all species.

German television (ZDF Zweites Detsches Fernsehen - '2nd German television') quotes Greenpeace atomic scientist Karsten Smid saying "currents will carry the contaminated water towards Canada from where it will reach Germany by entering the food chain through fish". Here is the German language broadcast, with Greenpeace statement about 10 minutes in.

Let's go to our interview with a long-time expert on nuclear affairs, Dr. John Large in Britain. His phone has been filled with interviews since the disaster began.

[John Large interview]

You are listening to Radio Ecoshock, as we plumb the depths of nuclear disaster in Japan. I'm Alex Smith. In our next segment, we ask "What Is Safe" and "Will the government tell us?"



Let's learn from the Asian experience of when nukes go wrong. It isn't that much different from Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. Greenpeace says the Fukushima disaster has now reached Level 7, comparable to Chernobyl.

When it comes to government information to the bruised people of Japan, it doesn't come in time to help the survivors. After the first week of this disaster, the IAEA and the United States government pleaded for more information from the utility, Tepco, and the Japanese Government.

Starting March 19th, the Americans evacuated 200,000 personel and their dependents from Japan, in a mass air job.

A government web site gives the reason, quote: " Departure is authorized due to the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Plant following the 8.8 earthquake and tsunami."


Almost a month later, we still find the Japanese government withholding information vital to the health and safety of citizens. Yomuri press complains, quote:

"The Meteorological Agency has been withholding forecasts on dispersal of radioactive substances from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant despite making the forecasts every day, it was learned Monday."

Here is NHK World TV from Japan April 3rd.

[N1] Transcript:

"Japan's government says it withheld computer projections indicating high levels of radioactivity in areas more than 30 kilometers from the trouble Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, due to inaccurate data.

An institute commissioned by the government made the estimates using a computer system called SPEEDI on March 16th, after explosions at the plant. The system estimated that people who remained outdoors for 24 hours in Iitate Village, some 40 kilometers from the plant would be exposed to radiation exceeding 100 miliSiverts.

The projections were based on the assumption that radioactive substances had been released for 24 hours on March 15th. The government's Nuclear Safety Commission says it did not release the projections because the locations or amount of radioactive leakage was not specified at the time."

Remember, the New York Times reported the highly radioactive spent fuel pool of Reactor Number 4 suffered a massive hydrogen explosion on March 15th, spewing radioactive materials into the sky.

The trend towards keeping the numbers down, and people pacified if uninformed runs at local governments as well. Ibaraki Prefecture, just south of Fukushima, has been heavily irradiated.

In the city of Ushiku, the local government did not tell residents when radioactive iodine topped the 100 bq/l safety limits, reaching 124.9 on March 24th.

Japanese language source.

[N2 NHK World tells of another village poisoned]

The Ministry of Education has touted their real-time radiation listings from the Nuclear Safety Division.

I've checked that daily, and the most irradiated prefectures of Fukushima and neaby Miyagi are NEVER listed. They are always just "Under Survey". The worst information is not released.

A series of independent tests, by a Greenpeace radiologists, and by representatives for the International Atomic Energy Agency, have shown unsafe radiation in towns and cities well beyond the current evacuation zone. Like cesium-137 (up to 18 Mbq/m2) 40 kilometers away, in Iitate village, and even up to 200 km away, as reported in last week's program.

In some cases, the residents were not told to stay inside. The IAEA and the United States are pleading with the Japanese government to expand the evacuation zone to include another 170,000 people - but so far without result.

The Japanese press do not use investigative reporting. Their traditional role is to repeat and explain what authorities like the government and the utility company Tepco say at press briefings. Period. I have known Japanese NGO's who plead for information to be published in American newspapers, like the New York Times. Then the Japanese press will repeat what the foreign press said. There is hardly any way to originate a story in Japan, beyond what authority says.

From Al Jezeera April 4, transcript of clip:

"Less than 200 kilometers to the north [from the Hamaoke nuclear power plant] lies Japan's capital, where the operator of the crippled Fukushima plant is coming under increased pressure. A small crowd gathered outside the headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power company to voice their anger at its handling of the crisis.

The protests seem to go completely unnoticed by the Japanese media. But across the road there were plenty of other plain-clothes bystanders. They watched and filmed whoever turned up but were camera shy themselves.

The Japanese journalists could be found inside the Tepco building, waiting for the latest update from management. One reporter who wasn't there was Takashio Isugi.[spelling may not be correct] He's a free-lancer who is now out of work after he criticized Tepco for mistakes made after the Tsunami struck.

'The Japanese mass media is basically sponsored by Tepco through advertising. So far, nobody from the mass media has criticized Tepco. Only free-lancers.'

Wayne Hay, Al Jezeera, Hamaoke, Japan"

Watch the whole Al Jezeera video here.

Advertisers controlling the press? That could never happen here!

And the nuclear industry rolls on, pushing even now for more and more reactors. The CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Imhelt, Obama's advisor on how to send jobs overseas without ever paying taxes - was in Japan to boost confidence in the blown up reactors his company designed and helped build.

[N3 Imhelt]

At least, unlike poor muddle-headed George Monbiot, the Japanese media understands the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency is to sell more nuclear power, not to regulate it.

Transcript from NHK World Japanese TV April 3:

"The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says it will do its utmost to restore public trust in the safety of nuclear energy. The Convention on Nuclear Safety gathers once every three years with it's 72 member nations and institutions.

Director General Yuko Edano suggested the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant could affect the U.N. nuclear watch dog's future activities. The IAEA has been promoting nuclear power

And Russia, where AFP reports Fukushima radioactive particles were detected in Moscow April 1st, and there the far eastern seaboard around Vladivostok may get both wind and ocean born radioactivity - Russia is still out there selling nuclear power plants to any buyer, anywhere.

Here is an update from NHK World on the Russian reactor market.

[N6 Russia exports to India, Turkey, and more. Putin supports more reactor sales. etc.]

Australia's green economist Ross Garnaut says nuclear is still the way to go - at least for valuable uranium exports for that country.

The whole nuclear military-industrial complex, with all the talking heads of state, are whirling around the world reassuring everyone. French President Nicolas Sarkozy went straight to Japan. Obama still wants 36 billion dollars for the nuclear industry.

Now we see who these politicians really work for.


Strangely, the machines and regulations that monitor and protect the population are being pulled back, even in this time of atomic emergency.

Early press reports said the American Environmental Protection Agency withdrew 20 monitors because readings were too high. The Agency later clarified the radiation monitors, part of RadNet, weren't working properly. That included 4 out of 11 monitoring machines in California, where two nuclear power plants sit near earthquake faults. In fact, the Federal government didn't release any radioactivity report until Tuesday April 5th, 25 days after one of the world's largest nuclear disasters.

That's some early warning system!

We only found out there was radiation landing in the U.S. Northeast because it was reported by a nuclear power plant operator.

The University of California Berkeley in San Francisco reported rain water testing many times the safe level of Iodine-131 during heavy rains on March 23rd.

"Specifically, the reports refer to the I-131 activity of 20.1 Bq/L measured in rainwater on 3/23. The EPA limit for I-131 is 3 pCi/L, or 0.111 Bq/L."

The site has now been retrofitted, saying rain water doesn't count, only tap water should be considered, and that was safe.

Let's talk with another University that measured Fukushima radiation on the West Coast.

[interview with Krzysztof Starosta, Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Canada.]

As one contrbutor to noted, it's like the nuclear information lights are going out all over the world.

Canada's Natural Resources agency has the following on it's reporting web page, quote:

"Please note that as of March 25, 2011, the frequency of data collection by NRCan using the mobile surveys has been decreased due to the low levels of radiation being detected.

The surveys will be repeated periodically and the data table will be updated

Both the U.S. EPA and the European Union are currently moving the "safe" level of radiation upwards, as Fukushima rages out of control.

The EPA "Protective Action Guides" or PAG's have been revised upwards, for Iodine-131, and other radioactive materials, allowing up to thousands of times more. The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has exposed these changes.

Find a summary of nuclear measuring being reshaped or withdrawn in this article at

In Europe, a series of foreign language sources report the European Union has quietly, without public input, raised the permissable levels on a number of radioactive substances, in an Emergency Ordinance number 297/2011, on March 27th. This includes allowing higher radioactivity in foods and herbal products. Just in time for the new round of radiation.

Link: Previous limits (EU Regulation 733/2008)

Link: EU Emergency Ordinance 297/2011

Isn't the government supposed to protect us?

Nuclear critics, like Chris Busby and Helen Caldicott, and some nuclear scientists have been saying the allowable safety limits are a cruel joke anyway. The whole regime of what is supposedly safe exposure was based on a physics calculation, where external radiation is measured as a full-body dose, considering the human body like a big sack of water.

Listen to a full explanation by Chris Busby in the Politics and Science podcast, as posted April 2nd on

In fact, that "Politics and Science" program from Warren Vermont has a whole list of essential nuclear listening shows on low-level radiation.

Like Dr. Starosta, not all scientists agree with Chris Busby's assessment, but it makes sense to me. Check the sources, and decide for yourself.

In fact, as you heard in our Radio Ecoshock interview with Dr. Caldicott two weeks ago, the real threat comes from radioactive particles inhaled or eaten with food.

Be sure and listen to Helen Caldicott's weekly radio show "If You Love This Planet" at This week, she has a special Fukushima update, and that will likely continue in coming programs.

Once lodged in the body, particles like Plutonium and other radioactive heavy metals impact the DNA in just a small part of the body, very intensely. The damage richochets into nearby cells, leading to cancer and other diseases brought on by damaged chromosomes.

Detailed studies of cancer and other diseases near nuclear power plants, and following famous nuclear accidents, not to mention the atomic testing down-winders, and those in the Middle East who suffer from spent uranium weapons - all show that particles within the body bring on disease at levels many times lower than the published safety limits, derived in the 1950's, before DNA was even discovered.

We stick with the outdated science, at our peril, and as a convenience for both the nuclear power industry, and the governments who support them. If we the public learn only one thing from this Fukushima accident - it must be the need for new and fair regulations governing doses of radiation. And that, says Chris Busby, would mean a speedy end to the nuclear power industry.

Look and learn for yourself. The authorities will not warn or protect you in time. That is the true and sad lesson taught both by climate change and nuclear technology. Fukushima is the school house, and a harsh one, for Japan. For us all.

This past weekend I went to our rural retreat, to make sure everything was in order. Here in Vancouver, I filled up 85 gallons of water in blue plastic jugs - just in case something big blows up in Fukushima, and blows over to the West Coast. Our water reservoirs already have tiny, tiny traces of extra radiation - but nothing to worry about - yet.

I'm not sure the authorities will warn us, but the word might get out. Anyway, I don't plan on this happening. I don't really expect the worst, but Fukushima shows me anything can happen. A little stored food and water is good insurance.

I'm Alex Smith. Our main web site is The show blog is at Find us on 25 college and community radio stations, podcast, and live by satellite.

Thank you for hanging in, through this awful time. Join us next week for Radio Ecoshock.

My thanks to all the listeners from all over the world who sent in hot tips on the Fukushima disaster! Keep them coming. Email radio [at]