Plants are dying in the middle of central Tokyo and it could be because of the increase in radiation. One irony of the radioactive fallout from Fukushima is that people in Japan are starting to pay more attention to nature. The picture above was taken on the sidewalk of Hakusan Dori in Bunkyo-ku in Tokyo, and was uploaded on July 30. The air radiation in Bunkyo-ku has been higher than the official Tokyo number (measured in Shinjuku-ku, western central Tokyo), along with several other eastern “ku” (special wards of Tokyo). The person who took the picture says, “About 30% of azaleas on the sidewalk are completely dead. Ginkgo leaves are browning.”
Japan is considering the possibility of creating a back-up capital city in case they need to abandon Tokyo. A new panel from Japan’s Ministry of Land and Infrastructure will consider the possibility of moving some of Tokyo’s capital functions to another big city, like Osaka. They talk about earthquake threats, which are quite real but mention nothing about the persistent radiation driving parts of the government out of the city.
The story only gets worse and this one could eventually bring down the Japanese government, which withheld important information from residents of Tsushima. Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie, said that the withholding of information was akin to “murder.” Japan’s system to forecast radiation threats was working from the beginning but they did not warn the people when a radiation plume hit the Karino Elementary School. The school, just over six miles from the plant, was not cleared out. Instead it was turned into a temporary evacuation center.
For three nights, while hydrogen explosions at four of the reactors spewed radiation into the air many Japanese stayed in Tsushima district where the children played outside and some parents used water from a mountain stream to prepare rice. The radioactive “winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima but this vital information was left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism,” published the New York Times.
Three men in charge of nuclear power safety and policy have been sacked. Trade and Industry Minister, Banri Kaieda, said the three senior officials would be held responsible for mishandling the plant and its problems. Japanese officials have withheld information and denied the facts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to its own citizens and they are doing that in coordination with other governments around the world who are also withholding and hiding information.
Not a Good Time for Rice and other Crops
Japan started trading rice futures this past Monday but suspended the market after the price of the staple grain soared on fears that radioactive contamination from the Fukushima disaster will restrict supply. Rice, Japan’s staple crop has not been spared exposure from Fukushima’s radiation. Rice planting has been banned in areas close to Fukushima and tests will be done on the crops before being sold. Questions remain over how much is being revealed to the public, as radiation seeps deeper into the food chain. Fallout from the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant has spread to crops—We learned that after it was found that cattle had been fed cesium-tainted rice straw.
The Problem that is Not Going Away
Meanwhile radioactive material is still leaking from the plant nearly five months later, and last week workers at the plant discovered the hottest radioactive spot seen since the disaster began, a company spokesman said on Tuesday, July 28, 2011. The ultra-high levels of radiation were measured on the grounds of the facility, between reactors No. 1 and 2. The lethal radiation was found at the bottom of a ventilation tower. The power company immediately cordoned off the area and is currently investigating the cause of the high radiation and how it will affect the recovery work at the plant, Tsunoda said. The radiation levels—10,000 millisieverts per hour—are high enough that a single 60-minute dose would be fatal to humans within weeks.
The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant might have suffered a second nuclear meltdown, Kyodo news agency reported. According to the study, which was conducted by nuclear safety expert Fumiya Tanabe, fuel inside one of the plant’s nuclear reactors might have breached the bottom of a pressure vessel after melting again.
The current guidelines for workers’ compensation due to radiation exposure only certify leukemia among the various types of cancer that will be covered. In these cases compensation is granted only when an applicant is exposed to more than 5 millisieverts of radiation a year and develops leukemia more than one year after being exposed to nuclear radiation.
The operator of Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant says the area where potentially lethal levels of radiation were detected has been sealed.
Iodine Truth or Consequences
Health Canada’s radiation webpage offers some striking data from the five stations monitoring specific radioactive substances. This data shows the air at the five stations contained an average of 33.3 millibecquerels of radioactive iodine per cubic metre during 30.4 days of elevated radiation.
That works out to double the 16.7 millibecquerels per cubic metre of iodine-131 that would be permitted over those 30.4 days, according to the maximum limit set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. (The commission’s ceiling is 200 millibecquerels per cubic metre of exposure in the air on a daily basis for an entire year. That equates to 16.7 millibecquerels per cubic metre over 30.4 days.)
The station in Sidney, B.C. detected 19.4 millibecquerels per cubic metre of iodine-131 in the air during a 22-day-long spike in radiation. That was 61 percent higher than the maximum dose of 12.1 millibecquerels per cubic metre permitted for 22 days.
At the end of April I cautioned all my readers that there is nothing more important in the entire world now than taking our daily iodine supplements. An appropriate public health response to the nuclear disaster in Japan starts with iodine because any lack of the nutritional type of iodine will attract the radioactive type like honey attracts bees.
The last thing anyone wants to be walking around with is a thyroid so starving for iodine that it will readily take on the nasty radioactive isotope of iodine when exposed to it. Dr. David Brownstein has tested 5,000 of his patients and has found out that 95 percent of them are iodine deficient and other iodine researchers he has talked to found similar trends in their patients as well.
If you have any doubt about the importance of iodine please read my book on iodine, which also presents the views of Dr. David Brownstein who has more experience with iodine with patients than just about any other doctor in the world. The original publication of my iodine book was dedicated to him and a short list of doctors who have championed the recent renaissance of iodine supplementation. Iodine also helps against infections and is an important asset for all cancer sufferers. So take your iodine and take it at appropriate doses to supply your body’s needs.
Please be aware that there are many different kinds of iodine on the market, and some are not appropriate for oral ingestion and others are available at varying strengths. For radiation protection I recommend all forms of iodine, even the tinctures that can only be applied topically. For children and thyroid-sensitive people I recommend Nascent iodine, which is in the I¹ atomic form, or Lugol’s, which is more affordable for heavy topical treatments and the different tablets that are out there. Even topical iodine tincture may be used but cannot be taken orally.