Fukushima Disaster Still Dangerous

Reading time: 3,140 words, 8 to 13 minutes

Synopsis:
Dubious cold shutdown in December
Burning radioactive debris wafting toward North America
Japanese ocean currents reach North America
If reactor # 4 collapses – Panic!
Expect more earthquakes

Dubious Cold Shutdown in December

Last December, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced they had achieved “cold shut down” of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants. Cold shut down is reducing the temperature of molten nuclear fuel to less than 100 degrees Centigrade i.e. below the boiling point of water.

This is a dubious statement since they also admitted the molten nuclear fuel not only melted down but melted through the containment structures, likely through the concrete basement floor and is probably melting its way into the soil and bedrock beneath. They aren’t sure. The world has never experienced anything like this; we have no instruments to measure, nor the tools or methods to clean it up. We have no accurate information about what’s happening inside the reactors and radiation levels in many parts of the debris-covered buildings prevent human or even robot access. As The Mainichi Daily News reported last September, “there is a possibility that nuclear fuel has fallen into the ground, in which case it will take 10 or 20 years to recover it. We are now head to head with a situation that mankind has never faced before.”

Announcing cold shut down is a public relations stunt. In the first place “cold shutdown” is achieved when nuclear fuel rods are still intact. This is not the case at Fukushima. Fuel rods over-heated and melted into a blob.

Secondly, if the molten fuel is burning its way into the ground it may be out of contact with water being pumped on top of it. Remember this is seawater with a high salt content. It’s likely that precipitated salt has formed an insulating layer between the molten fuel and the seawater that is being poured on to it. Since there is no longer any steam arising from the stricken plants, this has allowed TEPCO to announce “cold shutdown”.

There is still a danger of the fuel coming into contact with ground water and creating a steam explosion. However, that is likely a local problem; dangerous to the Japanese, but probably not a global concern. The Fukushima nuclear disaster still creates far greater global problems.

This so-called cold shut-down needs to be put into perspective. The only other level 7 nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, in 1986 took a couple of weeks to achieve cold shutdown. Fukushima has taken 9 months for this so-called cold shutdown. This illustrates how much larger a disaster Fukushima is compared to Chernobyl. This puts a lie to those pronouncements that Fukushima “is no worse than Chernobyl”. It is far worse.

Here’s another perspective. The single Chernobyl plant contained 180 tons of nuclear fuel. The six Fukushima plants contain between 2,200 and 4,400 tons of nuclear fuel depending on which report you choose to believe. In other words Fukushima has between 12 to 24 times more nuclear fuel than Chernobyl. And, that’s just tonnage. The actual amount of radioactive content is far greater. Huffington Post reports, “Nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl.”

Of course the ass media won’t tell you any of this because they’re complicit in the cover-up of this disaster. They, like the government want to keep us in the dark so we don’t panic. So far, they’ve done an excellent job of telling us next to nothing.

As Washington Blog tells us, Governments Have Been Covering Up Nuclear Meltdowns for Fifty Years to Protect the Nuclear Power Industry

Radioactivity Dangerous to the Young and Pregnant Mothers

However, radioactivity alone is NOT as dangerous as some fear-mongering websites would have us believe. After Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WW II, 90,000 survivors were followed for 66 years. Compared to normal cancer rates, only 500 cancer deaths or about half of one percent were attributed to radiation exposure. The greatest danger following the bombs was to the unborn children of pregnant woman who suffered horrible birth defects but there were few genetic defects afterwards. The second greatest danger is to babies and the very young because their cells are dividing rapidly.

Then too, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were local events and radioactive fallout was fairly well contained. Speaking of Fukushima, Shunichi Tanaka, the former acting head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency says, “Usually the contamination happens in a nuclear facility, inside a controlled area, but this type of contamination is global environmental contamination – it’s completely different,”

The World Health Organization’s 2006 study, “Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes” found that the greatest danger was to the “Liquidators”, the workers who helped clean up Chernobyl. The effect of radiation on the general population was supposedly insignificant. “From more than 4000 thyroid cancers in children and adolescents (0–18 years) diagnosed in 1992-2002 in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, less than 1% of patients have died…”

However, the WHO report does caution, “Because of the uncertainty of epidemiological model parameters, predictions of future mortality or morbidity based on the recent post-Chernobyl studies should be made with special caution. Significant non-radiation related reduction in the average lifespan in the three countries over the past 15 years remains a significant impediment to detecting any effect of radiation on both general and cancer morbidity and mortality.” In other words, there is still much we do not know for certain.

On the other hand. Greenpeace estimates that 200,000 deaths were attributable to the Chernobyl disaster and Dr. Helen Caldicott, a physician and anti-nuclear activist, estimates up to a million deaths in the 25 years since that disaster.

A March 6, 2012 report by Lucas W. Hickson for Global Research states, “studies in Belarus found that in 2000, 14 years after the Chernobyl disaster, fewer than 20 percent of children were considered ‘practically healthy,’ compared to 90 percent before Chernobyl.” In regards to the Fukushima disaster, he states, “The release of radioactivity from Fukushima is the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history, and it is still on-going. It will likely take decades before results are available to fully evaluate the impacts of this accident on the ocean.”

So, there is a wide range of estimates and analysis. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It is better to be safe than sorry. As well, there are things we can do to mitigate the danger without significantly impacting our lifestyles. Keep reading.

Hot Particles from Japan

Nuclear expert, Arnie Gundersen recently visited Tokyo; about 200 kilometers south of Fukushima and supposedly protected from the prevailing wind blowing Fukushima radioactive contamination eastwards toward North America. He took random soil samples from different areas of Tokyo including a children’s playground and had them analyzed. The results showed readings of Tokyo soil that, were it to occur in the U.S., the EPA would consider it “nuclear contamination” requiring its removal and safe storage. It is impossible to remove all the soil from Japan. Besides, where would you put it?

In other words, all of Japan is covered in nuclear contamination. Admittedly, this is a problem for the Japanese, but it is also of concern to North Americans because the Japanese are burning debris from the earthquake and the tsunami. Since almost everything in Japan is radioactively contaminated, the smoke containing hot radioactive particles from these fires is blowing eastwards on the prevailing winds. The first stop is Hawaii. The second stop is North America.

These hot particles are being washed out of the atmosphere by rain. Radioactive “rain-outs” have already been covered in previous posts and have been detected as far east as Toronto. See Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Cover-Up and various other postings on Nuclear Disaster Japan

The burning of radioactive debris in Japan is expected to continue for the rest of this year. Therefore, you should AVOID RAINWATER.
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What You Can Do

Do what your mother told you and stay out of the rain. If you have to go out in the rain, use a hat, raincoat and/or umbrella. If you have a mudroom, leave the wet rain gear there and when they’re dry, shake them outdoors in case they contain hot particles. Stand upwind to avoid inhaling any contamination.

If you’re caught in the rain assume you and your clothes are contaminated. This is not a problem as long as you and your clothes are wet. However, once dry, assume you’re shedding and breathing hot particles. Wash, bathe or shower and launder your clothes as soon as possible.

Do NOT let children drink rainwater. Do NOT let pets drink from puddles.

Vegetable and fruit gardens are ok but assume the surfaces of fruit and above-ground vegetables are rainwater contaminated. Thoroughly wash and rinse all vegetables. Use a bit of ‘veggie & fruit wash’ soap available from most health food stores. Unless you have very hard water, you can use less than the recommended amount of soap. All you want is enough to ‘wet’ the water i.e. overcome water’s cohesiveness. This is especially important for rough textured vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower because you want the water to penetrate the rough surface structure.

Flowers are another matter. Do NOT bring them indoors. If they are grown outdoors, assume they are contaminated unless you know they are hot-house grown.
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Japanese Ocean Current Reaches North America

The experts are wrong again. Contaminated ocean currents from Japan were not expected to reach North America until 2013 – 2014. Based on that, some of my previous commentary indicated we could buy Pacific fish products as well as vitamins and supplements derived from fish until 2013 to 2014. The picture below is part of the coast of Alaska. Fifty miles of beach look like this.

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The U.S. National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that 1.5 million tons (30 billion pounds) of debris will hit the west coast of North America. The picture above is just the beginning of it. Much of it will be plastic garbage, millions of containers of household and toxic industrial chemicals as well as radioactive particles that will contaminate the environment for decades. Light-weight, wind-driven debris such as Styrofoam, buoys, bottles and empty containers have already started to arrive. Heavier, fuller, current-driven containers will arrive later.

Be aware that 25% of global protein is derived from our oceans. If you have the time you might want to see this 1:19 video on “Wilderness Issues Lecture 2012” on “Oceans of Marine Debris: Rescuing Alaska’s Shoreline”

The time is fast running out for west coast fisheries and fish-derived vitamins and supplements. I used to enjoy salmon steaks. They will now be relegated to ancient history. Salmon are large fish. Tuna are even larger. They are higher up the food chain so they bio-accumulate large amounts of toxins and radioactive contamination. This is now the last opportunity for us to buy tinned tuna and salmon. From now on it will be of questionable safety.

Do not be fooled by Geiger-counter checks. Some restaurants use a Geiger-counter to supposedly check for radioactivity in their fish. This is a gimmick to fool the public. The biggest danger is hot particles. These are gamma ray emitters. Geiger-counters pick up alpha and beta rays. The far more deadly gamma ray particles if contained inside a fish are not detected by a Geiger-counter unless the particle is on the surface. Gamma rays do not penetrate more than a centimeter or two of flesh. However, once you ingest a hot particle, they continue to bombard surrounding tissue with deadly, cancer-causing gamma rays.

Also, do not eat Japanese seaweed. See EnviroReporter’s “Japanese Seaweed Radiation Doubles”

And with contamination reaching North America’s west coast, I would think twice about eating our west coast seaweed also.
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If Reactor # 3 or 4 Collapses, Kiss Your Ass Good-bye

And now, for the really bad news. Fukushima # 4 nuclear plant is in danger of collapsing and taking it’s spent fuel pool down with it. Fuel is “spent” when it has about 90% radioactivity remaining thus losing efficiency inside a reactor. Spent fuel must be kept submerged in water and cooled for many years. If exposed to air, the fuel rods overheat, melt, catch fire and explode, sending highly radioactive debris far and wide. As well, the smoke from the fire contains hot particles that enter the atmosphere.

Below is a drawing of the Fukushima Mark 1 Containment facility. Pictured is #3 but they are all very similar.

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The brown cylinder in the middle is the reactor. The spent fuel pool is highlighted with the red circle. Notice how high in the building the fuel pool is located. That is a very poor design. Small wonder several of the GE designers resigned after these were built. Above that, the orange girders are the gantry crane used to move the nuclear fuel rods.

Below is a photo of Unit 3 fuel pool before the disaster. The size of the workers in white coveralls gives you an idea of the scale of the building and the pool.
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The crane at unit 4 is broken. Worse yet, the crane at unit 3 fell into the fuel pool making it very difficult to eventually retrieve the fuel rods.

Below is a photo of Unit # 4 after the building exploded. The building’s outer shells are designed to blow out to minimize damage to the reactor. In the case of Fukushima, it did not matter because the loss of water inside the reactors caused the nuclear fuel to overheat and melt through the reactors anyway.

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Below is an aerial photo of the roof of Unit # 4. The green rectangle on the bottom right shows where the spent fuel pool is covered by debris..


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Here’s the problem. Building # 4 is starting to lean. It is in danger of collapsing. The explosion weakened the structure. Then salty seawater pumped and sprayed to cool the nuclear fuel has corroded and further weakened the steel structure. If the building topples over, it will take with it the spent fuel pool situated ten stories up. It is impossible for the fuel pool to survive a 100 foot drop, remain upright, remain intact and remain free of debris so water can continue to be pumped in for cooling.

It gets worse. The condition of Unit # 3 is almost as bad as # 4. If that’s not bad enough, each Unit contains ten times the amount of Caesium-137 released by Chernobyl. Huffington Post reports, “With a half-life of 30, years, Cs-137 gives off penetrating radiation, as it decays and can remain dangerous for hundreds of years. Once in the environment, it mimics potassium as it accumulates in the food chain. When it enters the human body, about 75 percent lodges in muscle tissue, with, perhaps, the most important muscle being the heart.”

Wait, it still gets worse. Unit # 3 uses MOX fuel. This contains Plutonium which is the most poisonous substance on earth. Just two grams of Plutonium ground up finely and evenly distributed will kill every human on earth. Originally developed for thermonuclear bombs, it would be converted to heat and energy. However, to use it in electricity generating nuclear plant which are subject to accidents is the height of insanity. Below is a photo of a two gram weight on the end of an index finger. Not very big is it?
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Earthquakes Forecast

And if that’s not bad enough, all it would take is a medium size earthquake to topple these already-weakened Fukushima buildings along with their spent fuel pools. Japan, situated on geological faults is prone to earthquakes.

I will ask astrophysicists to bite their tongues for the following simplistic explanation. Our solar system revolves around the spiral-shaped Milky Way galaxy. Looking at a side view of our galaxy and drawing a line along the center reveals what is called a gravitational lens. Most studies of gravitational lensing involve optical bending of light caused by mass objects. For our purpose, the Milky Way galaxy’s gravitational lens is the line of greatest gravitational force created by the mass of our galaxy. In the picture below our solar system does not revolve exactly along the dotted line but in a wave pattern along this line.
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As our solar system wave pattern crosses up and down the center line of this lens about every 4,000 years, the planets and our sun are subject to increased stresses caused by the increased gravity of this gravitational lens. This may explain the increase in the number and frequency of earthquakes. It may also explain the strange sounds and booms being heard all over the world. The increased gravity of the lens is stressing the earth’s crust. It is also doing the same with our sun and may be responsible for increased solar activity but that’s another story. Incidentally, it may also coincide with the Mayan calendar, but that’s also outside the scope of this article.

In any case, there has been an increase in earthquakes around Japan. Huffington Post, reports that, “The urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity where 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0-5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Japan between April 14 and 17” of this year.

So stay tuned to reports of Fukushima. If either of the building collapse, and if the ass media actually report it and if the sociopaths in government tell you not to panic then you damn well better PANIC! Hawaii will have about a day to kiss its ass good-bye before the highly contaminated prevailing wind from Japan hits. The west coast will have about two days. All of us better have supplies stockpiled. That includes lots of duct tape to seal windows and doors. Air purifiers are a good idea that I’ve mentioned previously. Have water stored in case the electricity goes out. Review some of the other articles in this series for other ideas.

Incidentally, physician and anti-nuclear activist, Dr. Helen Caldicott says if one of the buildings collapses, she’s immediately flying her family to South America because the northern hemisphere will be contaminated for the foreseeable future.

Got your passport handy?

Gerold
May 5, 2012

Update – May 10, 2012

There have been several unconfirmed reports of TEPCO’s financial difficulties which would make the Fukushima disaster even more worrisome. After all, if they’re broke, they can’t be expected to spend the money necessary to fix the problem. The New York Times has now confirmed this with a report headlined, “Japan to Nationalize Fukushima Utility”

The report says, “The Japanese government has been scrambling to keep the utility company from collapsing so it can meet the billions of dollars in compensation claims and decommission the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi”

This goes from bad to worse. TEPCO has already revealed its utter incompetence. Now that they’ll be run by the Japanese government, they’ll be totally inept at dealing with the Fukushima disaster. After all, have you ever heard of a government entity that knew what it was doing? Think Post Office. Worse, imagine the Post Office running nuclear power plants. Worst of all, imagine the Post Office in charge of decommissioning and cleaning up a nuclear disaster, and preventing it from getting completely out of hand.

Your comments are WELCOME!
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About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
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