WEATHER »

Patrick Chappatte, Le Temps, Switzerland

Fukushima Remains an Intractable Disaster

Low-Level Radiation Can Build to the Cancer-Causing Kind


Why argue that everything is fine when it is as far from fine as we’ve ever known?

The Santa Barbara Independent‘s article on Fukushima was replete with incorrect information that, in my view, was dangerous to the community. The facts bear out that the reactor explosions at Fukushima-Daiichi constitute the most dangerous nuclear event of all time, larger than the tragedy at Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to the triple meltdown (melt-through) of three nuclear cores.

Days after 3/11 occurred, Arnie Gunderson of Fairewind Energy Education flew to Seattle to take random samples of radiation levels around the city, which was captured on video. His findings were not surprising but were nonetheless disturbing to many of us who had studied radiation from Chernobyl as described in Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for the People and the Environment, by Alexey V. Yablokov, et al.

Hot particles were not only found in the tests but also inhaled by citizens of the Northwest. The bogus maps in the article should have been replaced with those that show the radioactive tracers reaching the Northwest. Inhaling one hot (radioactive) particle can cause cancer.

The Journal of Environmental Radioactivity shows iodine-131, cesium-134 and 137 and plutonium-239 and 240 in Lithuania, Monaco, France, Italy, U.S., and more right after Fukushima blew.

Radiation recognizes no boundaries; it took only days for the radiation to hit Russia and then the West Coast of the U.S. and then spread downward into the Southern Hemisphere. According to measurements from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Organization, the entire planet was hit with radiation from Fukushima.

Meanwhile, back in Japan on a humanitarian mission, the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan situated just offshore from Fukushima and caught in the initial plume, received massive doses of radiation resulting in illnesses, cancers, brain tumors, birth defects, internal bleeding, and more to the personnel on board. The victims are now suing TEPCO.

Contrary to your account, California did have very early reports of highly radioactive uranyl peroxide (buckyballs) found on the coast that were generated by bathing hot reactor cores in seawater. Their structure makes them highly transportable by air and water.

Scientists from Stonybrook and Stanford universities found radionuclide concentrations in bluefin tuna off the California Coast directly linked to Fukushima. Fifteen out of 15 fish showed levels of radiation. To date, only very few tests have been done on fish and biota in the Pacific. What you don’t know can hurt you.

Would we accept that low levels of e. coli or botulism in our food was safe? Trace amounts of iodine-131 and cesium-134/-137 were detected in the seaweed off San Diego. Scientists are now finding strontium-90 as well. This is much harder to detect, but it is being detected! Strontium-90 collects in your bones giving you bone cancers.

While scientists like Ken Buesseler say that low levels of radiation won’t create deleterious impacts on health, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Alexey Yablokov, Chris Busby, and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service show that there is no safe level of exposure and no dose of ionizing radiation so low that the risk of malignancy is zero.

Those downplaying the gravity of this event base their data on low levels of radiation they get at this time. The loophole in the argument is that time is not factored in. This will build up. We live in a closed system. But because we have three loose coria [melted nuclear cores] that no one knows how to stop and with no end in sight, this radioactive contamination will continue until it reaches a tipping point.

Arnie Gunderson describes the severity: “Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it … ” All water touching the coria goes into the ocean. Unlike flushing a toilet, this is like a faucet that no one can turn off. It’s worse than a worst-case scenario. Those who wish to downplay the threat to all living species are not factoring in the effects over time. And it seems that no one has a clue what to do about it.

What can citizens do? Here in Portland, Oregon, we’ve been monitoring radiation ourselves. We know we have radiation fallout on the West Coast because we track what is happening at Fukushima regarding spills, steam, explosions, etc., and we watch the wind and weather patterns across the Pacific. This is not rocket science; it is a most common way to monitor radiation.

I’m in close contact with the office of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) regarding our radiation readings. It’s absurd to say that everything will be fine; we are seeing more miscarriages, birth defects, cancers, thyroid disease, and leukemia, and it’s likely we’ll see a drastic change in the future from altered DNA. This is based on science, not based on facts formed by opinion or mere conjecture, as Ken Buesseler is wont to do.

Since the rise in thyroid disease in Japanese children is up 70 percent, it would makes sense that U.S. studies should find, to a lesser extent, thyroid disease showing up on the West Coast of the U.S. due to the iodine-131 fallout from the very early days following the initial explosions.

Freedom of Information Act documents show explicitly that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) withheld critical information regarding the myriad of catastrophic events at Fukushima and the degree to which the situation was dire. The corporate media has just now realized, three years too late, that the NRC withheld the truth. So in knowing we were lied to, why is the corporate media still MIA on these issues?

Panic? If ever there was cause, now would be the time, though panic does no good. The NRC was so afraid of what it knew, it wouldn’t tell us.

We need to get armed with Geiger counters and knowledge as our tools. As a citizen collective, we can certainly “see” where the fallout is and how to mitigate its effects.

Radiation reports, as seen on RadCast.org, should become as ubiquitous as weather reports. You must begin to think critically. Remember this: There are no safe levels of ionizing radiation. Trust yourself. Armed not with guns but with meters, we can make real data happen.

We need public outcry regarding the utter lack of public data from the Environmental Protection Agency! We have a right to be afraid. We would not be human if we were unafraid as we continue to learn more of these awful truths, not only of what happened on 3/11 and not only how it affected all of us then, but how it will affect us for millennia to come. Europeans are still dealing with Chernobyl fallout!

It may be comforting to hear that everything is really fine, but that isn’t what’s real. Demand the shut down of all GE Mark 1 and Mark II nuclear reactors. We’ve an opportunity to use this moment to come together as citizens and stewards of our one planet.

Knowing the truth is the key to making informed decisions regarding where to live, what to eat, and when to stay out of the rain.

Mimi German, cofounder of No Nukes NW in Portland, Oregon, founded radcast.com after the Fukushima disaster as a central location where citizens around the world could report and find radiation readings, and also as an education hub about radiation and nuclear power.

event calendar sponsored by: