Fukushima: Another Way of Saying Sayonara
Fukushima: Another Way of Saying Sayonara
By George Mantor
“I’m waking up to ash and dust, I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust, I’m breathing in the chemicals” –Radioactive, Imagine Dragons
Shunichi Tanaka, the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan and the country’s chief nuclear regulator, announced a couple of weeks ago that the nuclear power plant at Fukushima has been leaking contaminated water into the ocean since it went “China Syndrome” two years ago.
Fukushima, of course, is Japanese for ”That’s all folks!”
We have recklessly messed with things we should never have messed with. This will, in all likelihood, put the kibosh on planet Earth. The media may have mentioned it in passing but nobody seems too worried about it. Many people believe it doesn’t matter, it’s too far away, and like Vegas, what happens in Japanese waters stays in Japanese waters.
But, after that Japanese wharf turned up on an Oregon beach, it is hard to imagine that the radiation isn’t coming here as well.
Maybe it won’t hurt us. Ironically, Masao Yoshida, a nuclear engineer who took charge of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant two years ago as multiple reactors melted down after a tsunami, died on July 7th of esophageal cancer. He was 58.
Experts tell us that the radiation exposure was not the cause of his cancer. No problem then. Oh, ah, just one pesky question, what do they believe did cause Masao’s cancer?
They don’t know, so I was curious; have there been any studies showing a link between exposure to radiation and esophageal cancer?
Yes. Many. And, what in fact do these studies show?
“Strong evidence has been recorded of a possible connection between esophageal cancer and exposure to ionizing radiation. This evidence is based upon studies of nuclear workers and others exposed to ionizing radiation. These findings are consistent with the National Research Council’s determination that cancer of the esophagusincreased in populations exposed to ionizing radiation. Esophageal cancer is designated as a “specified” cancer under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. Historically, esophageal cancer incidence and mortality have both been moderate in Los Alamos County and in Rio Arriba County among New Mexico counties.” –Center for Environmental Health Studies.
In other words, the so called experts lied. Get used to it.
Another study conducted by a research team in Fukushima, Japan, found that more than a third (36%) of children in Fukushima have abnormal growths in their thyroid glands. Good luck with that.
According to a Stanford University study, children are more susceptible to radiation “because their cells are dividing more rapidly and radiation-damaged RNA may be carried in more generations of cells.”
And then there is highly respected nuclear scientist, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Founding President of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Founder of Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament, who asserts children are 10-20 times more sensitive to radiation. Girls are twice as sensitive as boys, and fetuses are 1000 times more sensitive to radiation and radiation in our food chain passed from mother to fetus.
This cannot be good news for downwind fetuses.
In addition, DNA damage is also common among people with prolonged exposure to the radiation through air, ground, and food.
There you have it; don’t drink the water, don’t touch the ground, don’t eat the food and for God’s sake, whatever you do, do not, ever, under any circumstances, breathe the air.
I’m about 20 miles south and east of San Onofre nuclear generating station, (SONGS) itself beset by radioactive water leaks so severe that they cannot be fixed, so the plant is completely off line and will be dismantled…just as soon as they can find a storage location for the radioactive waste.
Speaking of songs, did I just hear the Fat Lady?
Coincidentally, San Onofre is Spanish for Sayonara.
Finding a suitable location for the storage of nuclear waste, poses a huge challenge since it must be able to contain radiation for a million years. So far, there is no such place.
Consider the Hanford situation where the disposal of military grade radioactive material has breached containment.
Hanford Nuclear Reservation, as it is now called, is located in eastern Washington State about five miles from the Columbia River. Hanford hosts 56 million gallons of hot reactor byproducts in 177 steel-walled underground tanks. These have leaked an estimated 1 million gallons of waste into the desert soil, creating radioactive plumes that are headed for the Columbia.
Recently, increased radiation levels were detected while removing rainwater from the leak detection pit of double-shell tank AY-102. As of mid-July, the source of the leak remains unknown.
These newer tanks, built between 1960 and 1980, are slowly rotting into the ground.
One of the older tanks, T-111, is leaking at a rate of 300 gallons a year and this is a so-called stabilized tank.
These tanks were built for temporary storage in 1944, and were only meant to last 20 years.
The fact is we have no idea what to do with radioactive waste so most of it remains in temporary storage where it is created until somebody comes up with a solution. If you have any good ideas, contact the Department of Energy. You’ll be saving the planet…at least from this scourge.
In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states there are “millions of gallons of radioactive waste” as well as “thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material” and “huge quantities of contaminated soil and water.”
A 223 acre portion of the underlying Great Miami Aquifer had uranium levels above drinking standards. I guess they’ll have to increase the standards because the radiation isn’t going away.
The United States has at least 108 sites designated as areas that are contaminated and unusable; sometimes many thousands of acres.
In just one of these 108 larger designations, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, there were, for example, at least “167 known contaminant release sites” in one of the three subdivisions of the 37,000-acre area.
When asked what should be done, the response is something like, “Duh, we don’t know.”
So here we are; we have produced tons upon tons of nuclear waste that we have nowhere to store. We have numerous known radioactive leaks in progress around the world. We have innocent people suffering and dying. We have the legacies of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, San Onofre and numerous other less famous nuclear accidents and a growing problem we do not know how to solve.
This just in: TEPCO estimates the total amount of radioactive water leaked into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011 to be between 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels.
Not that is a boat load of becquerels and we don’t even know yet what the hell a becquerel is?
A Becquerel is not so much a thing as a measurement of a process, the process of radioactive decay. The question we are trying to answer is how bad is that? But that question cannot be answered simply by estimating the number of becquerels released since the accident. The process is ongoing and the outcome is based on other variables.
The answer to the question is to be found in the inability of the world’s top scientists to close Pandora’s Box. We are Fukushimad.