Fukushima Meltdown - An Environmental disaster with no end?
Over 6 years have passed since an underwater earthquake instigated a massive tsunami that in turn triggered the explosions at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The lack of media coverage would suggest the worst is over.........is it?
Some of this information is a few months old however there is still significant amounts of radioactive material being leeched into the ocean at Fukushima so the information is valid.
You need to go and specifically look for news regarding Fukushima these days as the story is clearly not sexy enough for the mainstream news networks, you won't get this spoon fed to you along with the latest accusation against Trump or a story of some 'B' list celebrities sordid affair. No this is a real news story with no happy ending and therefore unlikely to ever get onto our screens any more. Well maybe a sensational headline regarding radiation levels but nothing in depth.
What is happening currently? What effect has there been on marine life?.
This an article from the Guardian earlier this year called Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation at highest level since 2011 meltdown which is a sensationalist piece that had been picked up by many media outlets. Interestingly they amended the story 6 days later to account for the fact that the high readings were taken from an area closer to the reactor than previous readings, however still it doesn't make for happy reading. The article states.........
Extremely high radiation levels have been recorded inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, almost six years after the plant suffered a triple meltdown.
The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.
The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades.
Even if a 30-percent margin of error is taken into account, the recent reading, described by some experts as “unimaginable”, is far higher than the previous record of 73 sieverts an hour detected by sensors in 2012.
Tepco pointed out, however, that the camera had probed deeper inside the reactor than before and had focused on a single point. Radiation levels at other spots filmed by the camera are estimated to be much lower, it added.
A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks.
Four decades to decommission! Is it just me or does that sound like a really long time?
I wonder how much more pollution will be spewed into the surrounding area during that time? I'm fairly certain the ecological damage won't really be measurable for years to come however there are some horrifying deformities that are being attributed to the leak which we'll look into shortly.
The story above was picked up by many news feeds and they all have their take on it. I want to look at the same story from the perspective of a number of independent journalists some more sensationalist that's the others.
The first comes from Micheal Snyder who runs a number of conspiracy websites however this article I found posted at Silver Doctors and he has gone for click bait sensationalism with his title Entire Northern Hemisphere In Great Danger As Fukushima Radiation Spikes To ‘Unimaginable’ Levels.
Because so much nuclear material from Fukushima escaped into the Pacific Ocean, there are many scientists that believe that it was the worst environmental disaster in human history, but most people in the general population seem to think that since the mainstream media really doesn’t talk about it anymore that everything must be under control.
Unfortunately, that is not true at all. In fact, PBS reported just last year that “it is incorrect to say that Fukushima is under control when levels of radioactivity in the ocean indicate ongoing leaks“. And now we have just learned that the radiation level inside reactor 2 is so high that no human could possibly survive being exposed to it.
According to the Japan Times, the level of radiation inside the containment vessel of reactor 2 is now estimated to be “530 sieverts per hour”…
If this disaster was just limited to Japan, the entire northern hemisphere would not be at risk.
But that is not the case.
Most of the nuclear contamination from Fukushima ended up in the Pacific Ocean, and from there it was literally taken around the rest of the planet. The following was reported by PBS…
More than 80 percent of the radioactivity from the damaged reactors ended up in the Pacific — far more than reached the ocean from Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Of this, a small fraction is currently on the seafloor — the rest was swept up by the Kuroshio current, a western Pacific version of the Gulf Stream, and carried out to sea where it mixed with (and was diluted by) the vast volume of the North Pacific.
We don’t know if there is a connection, but it is extremely interesting to note that fisheries up and down the west coast of the United States are failing because of a dramatic decrease in fish populations. Just check out the following excerpt from a story that was posted on January 18th…
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today determined there are commercial fishery failures for nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, California and Washington.
In recent years, each of these fisheries experienced sudden and unexpected large decreases in fish stock biomass or loss of access due to unusual ocean and climate conditions. This decision enables fishing communities to seek disaster relief assistance from Congress.
Things are particularly bad up in Alaska, and biologists are “stumped” as to why this could be happening…
In 2016, the pink salmon harvests in Kodiak, Prince William Sounds, Chignik and lower Cook Inlet came in woefully under forecast and stumped biologists as to why.
The estimated value of Kodiak’s 2016 haul was $2.21 million, compared to a five-year average of $14.64 million, and in Prince William Sound the ex-vessel value was $6.6 million, far less that the $44 million five-year average. The total state harvest was the smallest since the late 1970s.
Although state biologists weren’t ready to declare a cause for the poor pink salmon performance, the Commerce Department press release attributed the disasters to “unusual ocean and climate conditions.”
Further south, it was being reported last month that millions of dead sardines are washing up on the shores of Chile.
I could go on and on with a lot more examples like this, but hopefully you get the point.
Something really strange is happening in the Pacific, and a lot of people believe that there is a link to Fukushima.
Our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster is just one piece of the puzzle.
But it is definitely a very important piece. The nuclear material from Fukushima is continuously entering the food chain, and once that nuclear material gets into our bodies it will slowly irradiate our organs for years to come. The following is an excerpt from an absolutely outstanding opinion piece by Helen Caldicott that was published in the Guardian…
Internal radiation, on the other hand, emanates from radioactive elements which enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radionuclides such as iodine-131, caesium 137, and other isotopes currently being released in the sea and air around Fukushima bio-concentrate at each step of various food chains (for example into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). After they enter the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, where they continuously irradiate small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years, can induce uncontrolled cell replication – that is, cancer. Further, many of the nuclides remain radioactive in the environment for generations, and ultimately will cause increased incidences of cancer and genetic diseases over time.
Are you starting to understand the gravity of the situation?
Sadly, this crisis is going to be with us for a very, very long time.
As you can see Snyder takes a seriously dim view of the situation and the figures regarding fishing along the whole western seaboard of both North and South America appear to back his views. He finishes the article with this statement.
A lot of people that end up dying as a result of this crisis may never even know that it was Fukushima that caused their deaths.
Personally, I am convinced that this is the greatest environmental crisis that humanity has ever experienced, and if the latest reading from reactor 2 is any indication, things just took a very serious turn for the worse.
There have been many examples since 2011 of how marine life have been affected by the release of radiation into the Pacific, fukushimawatch.com do a great job linking the latest news regarding the ongoing disaster. This recent article titled Mass die-off in the Pacific as hundreds of sharks wash up on the shores of San Francisco highlights the disturbing amount of mass 'die offs' that could be linked to Fukushima.
Ohia.org reminds us that sharks are both scavengers and super -predators, who greatly assist in keeping the ocean’s ecosystem balanced. Sharks eat fish that are the “weakest, sick or dead,” and also “maintain prey species diversity” by keeping other predator species in check. A decline in shark populations not only threatens fishery operations, but can also indicate deeper problems within our ecosystem. This may be the case in the waters of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Francisco, where for more than seven weeks, hundreds of Leopard sharks have been found dying, or dead, as reported by the San Francisco Gate.
This isn’t the first time the Leopard shark has had a die-off. US.BlastingNews.com states that the Leopard shark had a population decrease in 2016, as well as in 2011, when a thousand dead leopard sharks perished and washed up on shore with scientists estimating those numbers might be much higher. This year’s die-off could be “in the thousands,” as well. According to Sean Van Sommeran, founder and executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, an education and shark research consortium based in Santa Cruz, California, this event could be “just the tip of the iceberg.”
The epicenter where many of the dead sharks have been found is Redwood City, California. This has led Van Sommeran to surmise that the cause of the deaths can be attributed to the closing of the Redwood City tide gates during low tide, which is done to prevent flooding during the rainy season. When the tide is low, however, the leopard sharks are making their way into the shallower waters to mate. When those flood gates close, the sharks get trapped and exposed to storm water runoff, which contains what Van Sommeran calls “extra crud going into the watershed.” The water inside the gates becomes stagnant and creates a toxic environment in which the shark cannot survive. When the tide gates are reopened, those rotting carcasses of dead sharks are released into the waters and then contaminate others. Here’s a brief synopsis of the current explanation of this year’s die-off, which is still in progress:
But is stagnant water inside a flood gate the only explanation for what could be thousands of more deaths? Certainly not, according to AllNewsPipeline.com, which explains that in the six years since the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, there have been “mass deaths throughout the Pacific Ocean and the West Coast,” starting with one-celled organisms and smaller creatures, then moving on to the tuna fish and now up the food chain to an important ocean predator.
There have been other instances of different species of West Coast sharks dying from unusual circumstances. Unknown microorganisms were discovered in a Great White Shark that perished due to multiple organ failure. Other sharks off the west coast have died from unknown pathogens and shared brain infections across species. Could this possibly have anything to do with the plumes of radiation from the Fukushima meltdown that have been detected on Oregon’s shores? According to this broadcast of the TRT World program called Insight, it will take 100 years for a clean up of the radiation, if indeed there can even be a clean up at all. Perhaps the question will eventually be, will any sea life survive?
Concerns about mass die-offs and mutations due to Fukushima are quite a big subject and when you start looking for the information there is plenty out there. Whether it can all be attributed to the reactor meltdown is up for debate but there are many examples that have been found in recent months.
OAA Fisheries, Apr 2, 2015: Here is an unusual sea star collected during last year’s bottom trawl survey on the chartered West Coast fishing vessel.
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – Local Environmental Observer, Jun 21, 2015: Deformed fish – Tununak, AK… I caught a halibut with… part of its nose and upper lip part appears missing… [Dr. Ted Meyers, State Fish Pathologist said] “The abnormality appears to be an upper and lower jaw deformity, and possibly a deformity of the eyes… The right eye is sunken and has thickened peri-orbital tissue, likely another developmental anomaly. Most likely the jaw deformity is congenital, possibly occurring during embryogenesis… Eye deformities are usually congenital as well.”
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – Local Environmental Observer, Feb 27, 2015: Deformed fish – Toksook Bay, AK… This is blackfish that has either a growth or dislocation on the left side of the fish. It looks more like a growth to me. There’s small tannish colored on top of the bump. On top of the head is white-ish colored streak… LEO Comment: … this is probably not cause for concern, although certainly worth posting as a LEO observation. If however, you observe several fish with the same condition, we begin to question if there is some kind of illness or environmental cause that would require further investigation… [Dr. Ted Meyers said] “This fish looks like a developmental deformity… There could be a neoplastic growth underneath the tissues causing the linear deviation but more likely there was either a defect during embryogenesis or a traumatic injury early after hatching…”
The Marine Mammal Center, Apr 2012: A modern day health problem! Congenital defects in elephant seals, such as spinal deformities and cleft palates… [A]n elephant seal pup, has... a deformity, or birth defect, which gives her a “hunchback”… why are elephant seals so prone to birth defects? The answer may lie with this pinniped’s brush with near extinction hundreds of years ago… potentially causing the present-day problems of congenital defects such as cleft palates, spinal deformities and heart, brain and eye deformities… researchers plan on comparing the spines of these and other recent patients…
SF Chronicle, Apr 19, 2012: With her dewy brown eyes, velvety fur and glossy whiskers, TVA is a lovely specimen of an elephant seal. Except for the hunchback. The month-old pinniped [was] rescued in… Marin County… [She] has an extra vertebra in her spine, bulging into a pronounced hump… Several of her compatriots at the center also have birth defects – cleft palates, scoliosis, extra brain lobes… Scientists are seeing signs of weakened physiologies – specifically, emaciation – this spring at the Marine Mammal Center. (CAPTION: … Many of the baby elephant seals that turn up at the Center all have the same defect – curvature of the spine.)
So there are a number of anomolies appearing across the Pacific. I'm not going to labour the point of much however there are one or two more examples I'd like to show you, one which is a direct result and one that is normal but weird.
The first is from this article from allnewspipeline.com which shows a two headed, two tailed whale washed up in Baja.
The following picture was reported originally as an example of what pollutants from Fukushima was doing to the fish population however it is not a deformity it is just a rather large ugly ass Wolf Fish!!! Our Oceans produce enough weird and wonderful creatures without the need for us to keep polluting it.
Finally onto a journalist that decided to dig into the latest figures, ignore the hyperbole from the mainstream media outlets and attempt to break down the most recent data from Fukushima to make it more understandable to those of us who aren't in the scientific community.
The final article is from voices.nationalgeographic.org and comes across a lot less sensational than others. The author is Ari Beser, who interestingly is the grandson of Lt. Jacob Beser, the only U.S. serviceman aboard both B-29s that dropped atomic bombs on Japan during World War II!
After looking at the same information that was released and reported on by the MSM and shown in the Guardian article above he has formed a slightly more positive opinion.
The question and answer section at the end is quite revealing....
Why does the world’s media claim a spike in the radiation, but Safecast is telling people that perhaps it’s not as bad as it seems. What makes you sure of this?
There’s no simple answer for why the findings were misrepresented in the media. TEPCO probably should have stated more clearly that they were measuring these high-radiation areas for the first time, not that radiation levels were rising. Some media posted alarming headlines about rising radiation levels, but their stories were actually pretty factual. Other media have a business model that uses “clickbait” and alarmism intentionally, regardless of fact. This time all these factored into the misreporting. Safecast has a network of real-time radiation sensors in Fukushima, including several within a few kilometers of the Daiichi plant. None of these have showed a spike in radiation, and no other official or independent monitoring has either.
Where are these high levels coming from?
Highly radioactive molten fuel almost certainly dropped to the 7m [23-foot] thick concrete floor of the reactor building beneath the RPV in March 2011. TEPCO believes that it is now covered by about 30cm [a foot] of water, which is being constantly purified and recirculated. It seems to be a very safe presumption that high radiation levels are from this core material, which has likely solidified.
Is the radiation contained? From where is the radiation still leaking?
It’s not fully contained, in that some of the recirculated cooling water, which becomes contaminated by contact with the core material, leaks out of the building, presumably through cracks in the basement walls of the reactor. Lots of measures have been taken to try to contain and minimize this, but none have been fully successful yet. Many of the steps being taken now are to prepare for locating and closing these leaks. This will be several years in the future at best, however.
Why has it taken so long to reach this hole? How do you imagine it can be dealt with finally and totally to decommission the plant?
In order to insert the telescoping arm and the robot, human workers need to have access to the maintenance opening. That area has high radiation as well — though not as high as inside the reactor. It took TEPCO much longer than initially estimated to decontaminate these areas sufficiently to allow the workers to perform their tasks with minimal risk. TEPCO and its partners have suggested several approaches for removing the melted fuel and dismantling the building, all of which rely heavily on developing new remotely operated and robotic technology. Again, this process will take decades.
Why is third-party citizen science reporting more believable than government information?
We believe that groups like Safecast can function independently of either pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear bias, which government agencies in Japan and abroad have not been able to fully free themselves from. Certainly governments are perceived by many as biased even when their information holds up. Our model depends on citizens themselves taking measurements and reporting them, so they can have full confidence in their data and in the system itself. We think our model can be widely adopted in other areas as well, from environment to food safety to supply chains. They key is the openness of the entire system.
In the era of fake news and misinformation, what can people do to verify these results for themselves?
There’s no substitute for doing the homework, becoming technically and media-literate, and informing oneself. Radiation issues are largely scientific, but as we’ve seen in the current political situation in the U.S., other issues are ripe for abuse and manipulation as well. We encourage people everywhere to be skeptical and to become skilled at fact-checking. This is only possible with adequate education.
It would appear that the Fukushima problem is one that is going to be with us for a very long time. Not only because the experts agree that the repair and clean up will take at least 40 years but also due to the on going effect the radioactive materials are having on the Eco-system of the Pacific Ocean.
I certainly don't subscribe to the 'end of the world' scenarios put forward by some commentators however I don't think burying the story will help. The World should be told what the true facts are in order to be able start dealing with them. If the authorities carry on withholding the true scale of this disaster I don't see any way it will ever be dealt with properly. The health of the people who live in the immediate vicinity is an obvious concern however if this leak isn't repaired soon and the meltdown stopped it does have the potential to affect millions more around the Pacific rim. The Pacific Ocean is the world's largest ocean, we must do everything we can to protect it and the life within. To do that we must know the truth.
I'm going to finish this post with a video from Anonymous who take a very fatalistic stance when it comes to this disaster.