Should the public discover the true health costs of nuclear pollution, a cry would rise from all parts of the world and people would refuse to cooperate passively with their own death. – Dr. Rosalie Bertell
It is hard to address the continuing nuclear nightmare happening in Japan. It is far easier to relegate the disaster to the back chambers of our minds so we do not have to get disgusted with what we and our leaders have done to our civilization and planet. The news continues to be bad and is threatening to get worse.
The molten core of several reactors is sinking through the Earth’s crust and appears to be in early stages of a “total China Syndrome meltdown.” Architect of Fukushima Daiichi’s Reactor No. 3, Uehara Haruo, the former president of Saga University, admitted Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s explanation of nuclear events does not make sense and that the China syndrome is inevitable. He stated that considering eight months have passed since March 11th without any improvement, it is inevitable that melted fuel went out of the container vessel and sank underground, which is called the China syndrome.
Haruo added, if fuel has reached an underground water vein, it will cause contamination of underground water, as well as soil contamination and sea contamination. Moreover, if the underground water vein continues to be heated for long time, a massive hydrovolcanic explosion can be caused. He also warned that radioactive debris is spreading in the Pacific Ocean. Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear agrees with Uehara Haruo also warning of the increasing threat of a nuclear explosion.
1600 millisievert per hour at Unit No. 3 reported on Tokyo Broadcasting System, which is the highest reading to date for Reactor No. 3.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced early in November that there is the possibility that criticality, a sustained nuclear chain reaction, had occurred “temporarily” and “locally” in the No. 2 reactor. It detected radioactive xenon-133 and xenon-135, products of uranium or plutonium fission, in gases collected from the reactor. Because the half-life of xenon-133 is 5.25 days and that of xeon-135 is 9.14 hours, criticality is very likely to have occurred just before the gases were analyzed.
Clearly the reactor has not yet been stabilized. The fact that Tepco cannot deny the possibility of criticality irrespective of its scale is a grave situation.
Japanese local newspapers have attributed sickness in children to Fukushima’s nuclear meltdowns, the radioactive levels now elevated throughout eastern Japan. Children over 32 miles from ground zero are suffering fatigue, diarrhea, and nosebleeds, the three most common of eight radiation sickness signs, the three in the earliest stage.
“Japan is dangerously contaminated by radioactivity over a far larger area than previously reported by TEPCO and the central government according to new reports from multiple sources,” the Daily Kos reported. “The prefectural government of Iwate released new data that shows radioactive contamination of grass exceeds safety standards at a distance of 90 to 125 miles from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plants.”
Dr. Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the University of Tokyo Radioisotope Center Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology in Meguro-ku, said, “Radiation has a high risk to embryos in pregnant women, juveniles, and highly proliferative cells of people of growing ages. Even for adults, highly proliferative cells, such as hairs, blood, and intestinal epithelium cells, are sensitive to radiation.”
Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) members Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman have published a report with information showing rising infant deaths in areas hardest hit by Japanese fallout. Using CDC data, the researchers found a 35% rise in the Pacific Northwest and a 48% rise in Philadelphia.
RPHP analyzed official EPA data on Japan radiation that drifted to the U.S. and found it is 20 times above normal in the air and in precipitation. Levels in Idaho are about 100 times above normal. This suggests that Americans born later in 2011 will have higher rates of infant deaths, low-weight births, cancer, and other conditions, which is what occurred after the Chernobyl plume drifted over the U.S. in 1986.
“Low-birth-weight babies, born too soon and too small, face a lifetime of health problems, including cerebral palsy and behavioral and learning problems, placing an enormous physical, emotional and economic burdens on society as a whole and on those caring for them,” said Mangano and Sherman.
Six years ago a study published in the International Journal of Health Services found that childhood cancer is linked with normal nuclear reactor operations. Cancer cases in children living near the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor rose after increased levels of radiation entered their bodies. Study results were obtained by comparing trends in Ocean and Monmouth County cancer incidence rates of children under age 10 with radioactive Strontium-90 found in baby teeth of children.
Lab measurements in over 300 New Jersey baby teeth were used in the study. “These findings document a link between reactor emissions entering the human body and increased cancer incidence. It also reaffirms the well-established principle that there can be a short period between radiation exposure to the fetus and infant and the appearance of cancer,” said study author Joseph Mangano.
In the normal operations of nuclear plants, the evidence exists for rising infant mortality and damage to the newborn. “Infant mortality is the most sensitive indicator of radioactive pollution,” according to Leuren Moret. Moret reported that when the nuclear plant at Rancho Seco was shut down, children’s mortality dropped 20 percent, and when the Diablo Canyon plant was turned on the local population was exposed to enough radiation to drive up the childhood cancer rates in the local area by 80 percent.
Doctors Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko said, “When children have the same menu as adults, they get up to five times higher (radiation) dose burdens from locally produced foodstuffs because of their lower weight and more active processes of metabolism. Data from Chernobyl, which exploded 25 years ago, clearly shows increased numbers of sick and weak newborns and increased numbers of deaths in the unborn and newborns, especially soon after the meltdown. These occurred in Europe as well as the former Soviet Union. Similar findings are also seen in wildlife living in areas with increased radioactive fallout levels.”
On Site Nuclear Nightmare
The Economist: Fukushima engineer reveals workers “often keeled over” while clearing radioactive rubble, heat blamed—taken away in ambulance, “usually” they returned.
Hiroyuki Watanabe, an Iwaki official reports there are “many safety breaches.” “Workers wading through contaminated water complain that their boots have holes in them—Some are not instructed when to change the filters on their safety masks,” according to Watanabe.
“The air of secrecy is compounded when you try to approach workers involved in the nightmarish task of stabilizing the nuclear plant. Many are not salaried Tepco staff but low-paid contract workers lodging in Iwaki, just south of the exclusion zone.”
“It is easy to spot them, in their nylon tracksuits—They seem to have been recruited from the poorest corners of society”:
- One calls home from a pay phone because he can’t afford a mobile phone.
- Another has a single front tooth.
- Both are reluctant to talk to journalist (condition of employment is silence).
- They share their concerns about safety.
- One said he got 30 minutes of safety training.
- He said almost everything he learned about radiation risks came from TV.