Friday, June 24, 2011

Governments "Lied" About Meltdowns and Radiation, Radioactive Dust From Japan

Governments "Lied" About Meltdowns and Radiation, Radioactive Dust From Japan Hit North America Days After Disaster ...


Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry.

We know only two things for certain: worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it—at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough.....

Mainichi Daily reports today:
Radioactive materials spewed out from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant reached North America soon after the meltdown and were carried all the way to Europe, according to a simulation by university researchers.
The computer simulation by researchers at Kyushu University and the University of Tokyo, among other institutions, calculated dispersal of radioactive dust from the Fukushima plant beginning at 9 p.m. on March 14, when radiation levels around the plant spiked.
The team found that radioactive dust was likely caught by the jet stream and carried across the Pacific Ocean, its concentration dropping as it spread. According to the computer model, radioactive materials at a concentration just one-one hundred millionth of that found around the Fukushima plant hit the west coast of North America three days later, and reached the skies over much of Europe about a week later.
According to the research team, updrafts in a low-pressure system passing over the disaster-stricken Tohoku region on March 14-15 carried some of the radioactive dust that had collected about 1.5 kilometers above the plant to an altitude of about 5 kilometers. The jet stream then caught the dust and diffused it over the Pacific Ocean and beyond.
Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen notes that Seattle residents breathed in an average of 5 "hot particles" a day in April:

Hot Particles From Japan to Seattle Virtually Undetectable when Inhaled or Swallowed from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.
(No, the levels of radiation are not safe.)
I also have repeatedly said that Tepco, the Japanese government and governments around the world covered up the extent of the Fukushima crisis.
Now even the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Meteorological Organization are complaining that they were unable to obtain necessary information from Japan about Fukushima, which led to difficulties projecting how radioactive materials would spread around world.
However, this is somewhat disingenuous given that the IAEA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission knew within weeks that there had been meltdowns.

Indeed, as the prestigious scientific journal Nature
Shortly after a massive tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on 11 March, an unmanned monitoring station on the outskirts of Takasaki, Japan, logged a rise in radiation levels. Within 72 hours, scientists had analysed samples taken from the air and transmitted their analysis to Vienna, Austria — the headquarters of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international body set up to monitor nuclear weapons tests.
It was just the start of a flood of data collected about the accident by the CTBTO's global network of 63 radiation monitoring stations. In the following weeks, the data were shared with governments around the world, but not with academics or the public.
The attempted cover up of the severity of the Fukushima disaster is nothing new. Governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for 50 years, and the basic design for nuclear reactors was not chosen for safety, but because it worked on Navy submarines ... and produced plutonium for the military.
Arnie Gundersen has said that Fukushima is the worst industrial accident in history, and has 20 times more radiation than Chernobyl.

Well-known physicist Michio Kaku just confirmed all of the above in a CNN interview:
In the last two weeks, everything we knew about that accident has been turned upside down. We were told three partial melt downs, don’t worry about it. Now we know it was 100 percent core melt in all three reactors. Radiation minimal that was released. Now we know it was comparable to radiation at Chernobyl. ***
We knew it was much more severe than they were saying, because radiation was coming out left and right. So in other words, they lied to us.

In New York City, you can actually see it in the milk. You can actually see it has iodine, 131, actually spiked a little bit in our milk in New York City, but it is very small.


Realize Chernobyl was one core’s worth radiation causing a $200 billion accident and it is still on- going. Here we have 20 cores worth of radiation. Three totally melted, one damaged and the [rest in] spent fuel pumps, 20 cores worth of highly radioactive materials.
They know that they will not allow clean ups that cost too much and that they will lose their nuclear bombs if the public realize how stupid and ignorant they are.

A world governed by stupid greedy thieves yet they ban Comments and other manifestations that explicitly call for violence against them, using such crooked devices as the Patriot act.....

Costs rise in 'worst industrial disaster'
The day after the disastrous level-nine earthquake that triggered the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear crisis, March 12, an Israeli expert on air quality and poisoning, Professor Menachem Luria, told Israeli Channel 2: "From what we can gather, this disaster is even more dangerous than Chernobyl."

At the time, his was a minority opinion in the scientific community; very few believed that a nuclear accident as bad as the 1986 meltdown in Ukraine would occur again. "I think that's basically impossible," said James Stubbins, an expert at the University of Illinois, and many others agreed.

Yet, as we are now slowly coming to realize, Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl. In a revealing recent feature article published by al-Jazeera, Dahr Jamail conveys the comments of Arnold Gundersen, a senior former nuclear industry executive in the United States.

"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Gundersen asserts. "We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl ... The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometers being found 60 to 70 kilometers away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up." [1]

The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the operator of the crippled plant, now grudgingly acknowledge that their timeline for bringing the situation under control, by the end of the year, "may be" unrealistic. They also acknowledge that Fukushima has "probably" released more radiation than Chernobyl. Both have come under strong criticism in the past for withholding information and releasing overly optimistic estimates.

Yet even scientists working at the plant apparently have trouble comprehending the severity of the crisis. Last week, they attempted to install a filtration system to decontaminate and recycle the vast amounts of highly radioactive water accumulated as a result of the continuous efforts to cool the reactors. Fukushima is running dangerously low on storage capacities for the used water. However, the system jammed after just five hours of operation.

"The company said that the sprawling system, which is designed to siphon oil, radioactive materials and salt from the water used to cool the reactors, was shut down because of readings that indicated one of the filters had filled up with radioactive cesium," The New York Times writes. "The rapid depletion of a filter that was supposed to have lasted several weeks suggested the presence of far greater radioactive material than anticipated." [2]

According to another New York Times report, the Japanese government was initially in complete disarray over the crisis, issuing contradictory orders and finding itself unable to make use of available resources. Coordination with Tepco, which was in a state of panic itself, faltered. The plant manager likely prevented a greater calamity by disobeying an order to stop using sea water to cool the reactors.

"We found ourselves in a downward spiral, which hurt relations with the United States," a close aide to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told The New York Times. "We lost credibility with America, and Tepco lost credibility with us." [3]

Reportedly, American pressure for more information and concerted action eventually helped jerk the Japanese authorities from their shock. This narrative carries the seeds of another narrative which most of us would very much like to believe: a story of international cooperation and the coming together of the world's finest technological achievements to combat a natural disaster.

Yet American officials were also caught unprepared. Most continue to deny outright that the radioactive pollution will have a palpable effect on the United States. Recent reports, however, indicate that infant mortality rates in eight major cities in the northwestern United States, where the fallout was greatest, jumped 35% in the four weeks following the accident. This is consistent with the biological effects of radiation. [4]

Previous reports have indicated the presence of radioactive particles in rainwater as far east as Massachusetts, and in milk and other products throughout the country. The American authorities, as indeed most authorities in the world, appear to be in denial. Many important reports continue to be classified, and there is a sense that governments are lying to their people for lack of a better response.

In all likelihood, the scope of the disaster continues to evade us. There is little doubt that "the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind" will force us to learn painful lessons, and that we are only just beginning to grapple with its meaning.

Some of the consequences are fairly mundane, if hard to pinpoint very precisely yet, in that they are economic and technical. The nuclear industry will be doing some major soul-searching, and seems set for a period of decline; numerous countries are already reconsidering their reliance on nuclear plants. The global economy will face reshuffles, as will the global energy market.

It has the potential, however, to go much deeper than that, shaking the very foundations of our sense of collective security. Certainly if some of the worst-case predictions materialize, and a sizeable part of Japan turns into a nuclear desert, we'll face urgent questions about where we are heading as a species; this may happen even in a more optimistic scenario.

It is possible, for example, that people's trust in the state system will be shaken, and on many levels. This is not to say that the predominant current form of political and social organization will disappear, at least in the near future. But it has been under stress for quite some time now, and this disaster seems capable of bringing the existing stresses into public attention; so far they have been mostly confined to academic discourse.

A few leading anthropologists and political theorists have concluded that the current state system (whose origins arguably lie in the distant 1648 when the treaty of Westphalia was signed) is obsolete, and that it is incapable of adjusting to the ever more fluid borders and rapid rates of communication that come with globalization. Their argument is that new types of organizations, some criminal while others representing legitimate economic, political, and other interests, will rise up to challenge the national state; we have started to see some of this in the proliferation of multinational corporations, international political organizations, and international crime networks of the last decades.

But while these former developments draw on the positive aspects of globalization - the availability of new resources to which new types of structures are better adapted - there is also a darker side. It is visible in Fukushima. The new possibilities have led to the manufacture of technology that is too powerful to control; its effects cannot be confined to national borders - and what better example than Japan of the fact that, to paraphrase John Donne, no society is an island nowadays.

Add to this that increased global interdependence comes with increased global vulnerability to crises in distant parts of the world, and we have a situation where our sense of security is not guaranteed any more.

The concept of the state, in a sense, offers a counter-balance to all these powerful and often blind forces, a regulatory mechanism that we like to believe works well and in the public interest.

This is part of why the scale of the Fukushima disaster is so hard to grasp, both for experts and for lay people. In the face of the increased vulnerability of modern societies, we desperately need something that gives us a sense of security. What better safeguards than progress, technology, and order, exemplified by the spectacular ability of nation states, separately and in concert, to mobilize unprecedented resources to achieve an urgent goal? And where a more safe expectation for all these forces to produce the desired effect than in Japan, one of the top industrialized world economies and a paradigm of social cohesion and discipline?

In many ways, Fukushima is the perfect paradigm for the failure of our source of security at its finest. The confusion and panic of the government and industry officials in the wake of the disaster should humble us all. So should our face to face encounter with our limitations, and the contrast with how we like to imagine ourselves.

In some of our most popular science-fiction narratives, the best astronauts of the leading world powers destroy asteroids that threaten the Earth with nuclear weapons (Armageddon grossed over half a billion dollars, attesting to our eagerness to consume the images; suffice it to mention that early on in the Fukushima crisis, some observers suggested nuking the reactors). [5] Yet in reality, we can't deal with a sizeable pile of radioactive waste, even long after the chain reaction has stopped.

Gundersen's conclusions speak loudly: "Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn't exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor."

So do those of Dr Sawada, another scientist interviewed by Dahr Jamail: "Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations."

Fukushima is worse than what we are being told. There is no doubt about that. How bad exactly it is may not become clear for years. Debates about its meaning are likely to stretch much longer. The crisis brings some fundamental questions about our system of social organization to the fore, and the answers may influence what the world looks like in the future.....

FUKUSHIMA-DAIISHI Cover-ups unravel......
The Japanese government, other governments and nuclear companies have covered up the extent of the Fukushima crisis.
Asia Pacific Journal reports:
Japan’s leading business journal Toyo Keizai has published an article by Hokkaido Cancer Center director Nishio Masamichi, a radiation treatment specialist.


Nishio originally called for “calm” in the days after the accident. Now, he argues, that as the gravity of the situation at the plant has become more clear, the specter of long-term radiation exposure must be reckoned with.


Former Minister for Internal Affairs Haraguchi Kazuhiro has alleged that radiation monitoring station data was actually three decimal places greater than the numbers released to the public. If this is true, it constitutes a “national crime”, in Nishio’s words.
The Atlantic points out:
The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire ... who sounded the alarm about the firm in his 2007 book explains it this way: “If TEPCO and the government of Japan admit an earthquake can do direct damage to the reactor, this raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run. They are using a number of antiquated reactors that have the same systematic problems, the same wear and tear on the piping.”


Oddly enough, while TEPCO later insisted that the cause of the meltdown was the tsunami knocking out emergency power systems, at the 7:47 p.m. TEPCO press conference the same day, the spokesman in response to questions from the press about the cooling systems stated that the emergency water circulation equipment and reactor core isolation time cooling systems would work even without electricity.


On May 15, TEPCO went some way toward admitting at least some of these claims in a report called “Reactor Core Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit One.” The report said there might have been pre-tsunami damage to key facilities including pipes. “This means that assurances from the industry in Japan and overseas that the reactors were robust is now blown apart,” said Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear waste consultant. “It raises fundamental questions on all reactors in high seismic risk areas.”


Eyewitness testimony and TEPCO’S own data indicates that the damage [done to the plant by the quake] was significant. All of this despite the fact that shaking experienced at the plant during the quake was within it’s approved design specifications.
The Wall Street Journal writes:
A former nuclear adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan blasted the government’s continuing handling of the crisis, and predicted further revelations of radiation threats to the public in the coming months.

In his first media interview since resigning his post in protest in April, Toshiso Kosako, one of the country’s leading experts on radiation safety, said Mr. Kan’s government has been slow to test for possible dangers in the sea and to fish and has understated certain radiation dangers to minimize what it will have to spend to clean up contamination.

And while there have been scattered reports already of food contamination—of tea leaves and spinach, for example—Mr. Kosako said there will be broader, more disturbing discoveries later this year, especially as rice, Japan’s staple, is harvested.

“Come the harvest season in the fall, there will be a chaos,” Mr. Kosako said. “Among the rice harvested, there will certainly be some radiation contamination—though I don’t know at what levels—setting off a scandal. If people stop buying rice from Tohoku, . . . we’ll have a tricky problem.”
British Shenanigans

It's not just the Japanese. As the Guardian
British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a co-ordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companies EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse...

Officials stressed the importance of preventing the incident from undermining public support for nuclear power.


The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, condemned the extent of co-ordination between the government and nuclear companies that the emails appear to reveal.


The official suggested that if companies sent in their comments, they could be incorporated into briefs to ministers and government statements. "We need to all be working from the same material to get the message through to the media and the public.


The office for nuclear development invited companies to attend a meeting at the NIA's headquarters in London. The aim was "to discuss a joint communications and engagement strategy aimed at ensuring we maintain confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations and nuclear new-build policy in light of recent events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant".

Other documents released by the government's safety watchdog, the office for nuclear regulation, reveal that the text of an announcement on 5 April about the impact of Fukushima on the new nuclear programme was privately cleared with nuclear industry representatives at a meeting the previous week. According to one former regulator, who preferred not to be named, the degree of collusion was "truly shocking".
The Guardian reports in a second article:
The release of 80 emails showing that in the days after the Fukushima accident not one but two government departments were working with nuclear companies to spin one of the biggest industrial catastrophes of the last 50 years, even as people were dying and a vast area was being made uninhabitable, is shocking.


What the emails shows is a weak government, captured by a powerful industry colluding to at least misinform and very probably lie to the public and the media.


To argue that the radiation was being released deliberately and was “all part of the safety systems to control and manage a situation” is Orwellian.
And - as the Guardian notes in a third article - the collusion between the British government and nuclear companies is leading to political fallout:
“This deliberate and (sadly) very effective attempt to ‘calm’ the reporting of the true story of Fukushima is a terrible betrayal of liberal values. In my view it is not acceptable that a Liberal Democrat cabinet minister presides over a department deeply involved in a blatant conspiracy designed to manipulate the truth in order to protect corporate interests”. -Andy Myles, Liberal Democrat party’s former chief executive in Scotland

“These emails corroborate my own impression that there has been a strange silence in the UK following the Fukushima disaster … in the UK, new nuclear sites have been announced before the results of the Europe-wide review of nuclear safety has been completed. Today’s news strengthens the case for the government to halt new nuclear plans until an independent and transparent review has been conducted.” -Fiona Hall, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European parliament....