Here’s the weekend update on nuclear fallout, with his referenced articles either linked or reproduced below. Highlighting some of it: TEPCO seeks a trillion-yen bailout; Japanese hold a conference demanding more public input into the nuclear debate; Government and industry lie about nuclear safety; German Study: Children near nuclear plants have DOUBLE leukemia rates; Canadian officials lie to public about radiation levels, and much more.
If wolves could understand the risks
By Dennis Riches
The American public broadcaster PBS recently aired a documentary called Radioactive Wolves. The film examines the flourishing wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ), and raises fascinating questions about whether this land will ever recover from the worst industrial accident in history.
While pro and anti-nuclear activists have always had extremely different conclusions about the effects of long-lasting, low-level radiation, a comment by the director of Radioactive Wolves, Klaus Feichtenberger, offers a fundamental point that both sides should be able to agree on. An interviewer asked him:
“Q. We are expecting to see animals in trouble here, struggling with radiation poisoning and mutations. How is it that nothing seems to be wrong?
A. In the first few years after the accident, when high concentrations of various radionuclides dotted the land, there were, in fact, many casualties. In the wild, any sick animal will soon disappear. Twenty-five years down the road, much of the fall-out has been diluted by water or sand, washed away or blown away by the wind. The ambient radiation is not very high, although dirty spots with Plutonium in the ground remain and will remain for a long time.
According to a very elaborate study by Belarusian scientists, 4 to 6 % of every new generation of small rodents suffers some sort damage from radiation. These individuals will usually not reproduce. If they do, they do not seem to pass on radiation-induced changes to the next generation. The overall population is not affected by a loss of 4 to 6 % per generation.
Q. Would we be more affected by radiation than the animals here? Why are people not allowed to return to the zone?
A. Simply because 4 to 6% of all babies being in some way handicapped would be a disaster for humans, even though a human population as a whole would continue to live.”
So, while anti-nuclear activists could concede the point here that some animals appear to be thriving, by a revised definition of the word thriving, pro-nuclear activists have to admit that the finding means little to humans. The question is not whether a location is fit of habitation, or whether the local radiation is going to give me cancer, but whether it is fit for human procreation. The anti-nuclear side can admit that most adults can indeed tolerate fairly high levels of radiation, but the pro-nuclear side has to admit that fetuses and children can be severely damaged by very low levels of radiation.
This is why the CEZ will remain uninhabited, and why people in Fukushima are justified in wanting compensation to leave the area. Despite government expenditures to prop up the economy of contaminated areas, these areas are probably doomed. The market will speak. No one will want to raise children in such areas, and it is impossible to imagine any revitalization plan that can succeed in the absence of young people.
In April, 2011, Wired Magazine covered the controversy over wildlife studies in the CEZ, discussing the conflicting research findings on whether wildlife really was recovering. The article was more supportive of the view that the bad effects have been exaggerated, but it mentioned one grim qualification that should give pause to the optimists who think this land is going to recover:
“While iodine-131 decayed long ago and the strontium and cesium are slowly becoming less potentially lethal, the hot particles of plutonium-241 scattered across the landscape are actually decaying into an even more toxic isotope, americium-241. A more powerful emitter of alpha radiation than plutonium, americium is also more soluble and can easily find its way into the food chain. Americium-241, in turn, decays into neptunium-237, another energetic alpha emitter that has a half-life of more than 2 million years. As of yet, the long-term effect of americium-241 on animals remains largely unknown.”
No end in sight for nuclear crisis – Japan Times
Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government on Oct. 17 released a newly revised a road map to bring the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant under control. It shows that a “cold shutdown” of the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors at the plant will be achieved by the end of the year.
But it must be emphasized that the state of “cold shutdown” that Tepco and the government speak of does not meet the true definition of a cold shutdown — when the temperature inside the pressure vessel is below 100 C and the reactors no longer release radioactive substances. Therefore, achieving this state would not mean that the nuclear crisis has been brought under control.
Gundersen Testifies to the NRC About Mark 1 Safety (Fairewinds)
What are officials hiding about Fukushima? Straight.com
Evidence has emerged that the radiation in Canada was worse than Canadian officials ever let on.
Post-Fukushima, ‘they’ can no longer be trusted — if ever they could (Japan Times)
Review of Asahi Shinsho’s new book, “Fukushima Meltdown: The World’s First Earthquake-Tsunami-Nuclear Disaster.” This is the book that Hirose had hoped he would never have to write. For three decades he has been warning Japanese people about the catastrophes that could been visited on their country — and now his worst nightmare has become a reality.
“This is called the ‘3/11 Disaster’ by many,” he writes, “but it did not happen on 3/11, it began on 3/11 and it is continuing today. … Nuclear power plants are a wildly dangerous way to get electricity and are unnecessary. The world needs to learn quickly from Japan’s tragedy.”
The willful absence of care by both industry and government comprises nothing less than a blatant act of savagery against the people of Japan.
Citizens’ forum queries nuclear ‘experts’ / The Japan Times/
To whom does scientific debate belong?
That was a central question raised by many of the 200-plus people who attended a citizens’ forum in Tokyo on Oct. 12, as they criticized the ways in which the Japanese government and radiation specialists working for it are assessing and monitoring the health effects of the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant….
ome of the speakers took issue with the stance of the majority of official bodies that the health damage from Chernobyl was observed only in a rise in the number of cases of thyroid cancers.
Eisuke Matsui, a lung cancer specialist who is a former associate professor at Gifu University’s School of Medicine, argued in his papers submitted to the conference that the victims of Chernobyl in the neighboring present-day country of Belarus have suffered from a raft of other problems, including congenital malformations, type-1 diabetes and cataracts.
Matsui cited a lengthy and detailed report of research by the Russian scientists … that was published in 2007, and republished in English in 2009 by the New York Academy of Sciences under the title “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.” (free pdf book, 347 pp.)
Other Japanese media headlines:
Mini hot spot emerges in Kashiwa – Japan Times
Journalists keep close eye on Fukushima workers exposure – Mainichi Daily News
Tokyo int’l film fest opens with performance of Fukushima hula dancers – Mainichi Daily News
TEPCO will need 1 trillion yen from the govt for compensation of disaster victims – Tokyo Times
Blood clots found in veins of evacuees’ legs – Daily Yomiuri
Fukushima power plant video shows progress – NHK
Japan, France to propose nuclear efforts – NHK
Latest headlines from ENEnews.com:
German Study: Children near nuclear plants have DOUBLE leukemia rates
Local Gov’t: 276,000 Bq/kg cesium sample in Kashiwa
“Geiger counters going off their scales” in Watari during recent survey
High internal radiation exposure detected in young children
Gundersen: Clouds of radioactive steam should not be coming from reactors if in ‘cold shutdown’
Nuclear Expert Discusses ‘Melt-Through’ at NRC Meeting
Latest headlines from Enformable.com:
Report from Fukushima site October 22nd 2011 (Japanese)
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Reference materials
Reactor 3 – Equipment hatch opening pictures 1 and 2
November 1 Public Meeting – NRC’s restart review and North Anna post-quake inspection