On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin remarks on the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, citing the scope of the radiation and lack of willingness by the international community to address the environmental crisis that is threatening the fate of humanity. Abby then talks to author & historian Peter Kuznick about historical revisionism in global conflicts, the US government’s double standards, the current crisis in Syria and the real factors driving US foreign policy. Abby wraps up the show talking to Brian Becker of the ANSWER Coalition and Mouaz Moustafa of the Syrian Emergency Task Force about whether or not the US should militarily intervene in Syria’s civil war, citing the rhetoric of chemical weapons, humanitarian intervention, and the lack of public support for a strike.
Tag Archives | Fukushima
Radiation levels were being measured using devices with far-too-limited scales, the BBC reports:
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Radiation levels around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant are 18 times higher than previously thought, Japanese authorities have warned.
Last week the plant’s operator reported radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank into the ground. It now says readings taken near the leaking tank on Saturday showed radiation was high enough to prove lethal within four hours of exposure.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.
The new reading will have direct implications for radiation doses received by workers who spent several days trying to stop the leak last week. Experts have said the scale of water leakage may be worse than officials have admitted.
Why hasn’t the Invisible Hand of the Market fixed this yet? Via Common Dreams:
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Radiated water leaking from tanks at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is 18 times more dangerous than had been previously reported.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which owns the Dai-Ichi Fukushima plant, originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was 100 millisieverts an hour.
Now, the company admits, the testing equipment used in the previously announced August 22nd testing could only read measurements of up to a maximum of 100 millisieverts.
Saturday’s test, using a more accurate device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour, a level that Reuters says is “enough to kill an exposed person in four hours.”
In addition, TEPCO announced Sunday that it has discovered a leak on another pipe emitting radiation levels of 230 millisieverts an hour. TEPCO said it halted the leak from a pipe connecting two water storage tanks by patching it with plastic tape just hours after stumbling upon the potentially lethal radioactive hot spot.
A summer vacation spot that will give you a healthy glow? Thanks to a tip from Rhoid – Japan Today reports:
Paying visits to historic places where death and suffering occurred is known as “dark tourism.” After taking note that in 2011, or 25 years after the accident, the Chernobyl reactor site has become open to general tourism, a group of individuals in Japan is attempting to lay the groundwork for plans to make the No. 1 reactor at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant a tourist spot.
The group includes author-critic Hiroki Azuma, tourism scholar Akira Ide, artist Kazuki Umezawa, media activist Daisuke Tsuda, sociologist Hiroshi Akenuma, editor Kenro Hayami and architect Ryuji Fujiwara.
Along with providing a venue to convey their own histories to future generations, the members aim for the activities to be useful in aiding in recovery of the affected areas.
Via the New York Times, a reminder to always take officials with a grain of salt when they issue statements denying that the oceans and air are being poisoned:
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The stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima has probably been leaking contaminated water into the ocean for two years, ever since an earthquake and tsunami badly damaged the plant, Japan’s chief nuclear regulator said on Wednesday.
In unusually candid comments, Shunichi Tanaka, the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, also said that neither his staff nor the plant’s operator knew exactly where the leaks were coming from, or how to stop them.
The operator, Tokyo Electric Power, has reported spikes in the amounts of radioactive cesium, tritium and strontium detected in groundwater at the plant, adding urgency to the task of sealing any leaks. Radioactive cesium and strontium, especially, are known to raise risks of cancer in humans.
Until recently, Tokyo Electric, known as Tepco, flatly denied that any of that water was leaking into the ocean, even though various independent studies of radiation levels in the nearby ocean have suggested otherwise.
Andrea Germanos writes at Common Dreams:
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Japanese officials raised the level of acceptable radiation doses for evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to avoid increasing costs for compensation, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported on Saturday.
A 5-millisieverts per year dose, the same level of exposure used as a yardstick to relocate residents after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, was proposed at an unofficial meeting of ministers in October of 2011, seven months after the disaster began, they report.
But just weeks later, the yardstick was upped to 20 millisieverts per year.
… at a meeting on Oct. 28, joined by Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura and Tatsuo Kawabata, internal affairs minister, participants appeared reluctant to approve a yardstick other than 20 millisieverts. […]
“The prefectural government could not function with population drain under the 5-millisievert scenario,” said a state minister who attended the meeting. “In addition, there were concerns that more compensation money will be needed, with an increase in the number of evacuees.” […]
The Abe administration in March decided to release by the end of this year a set of protection measures for evacuees returning to areas with doses of up to 20 millisieverts.
Harvey Wasserman writes at Counterpunch:
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Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima. They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.
Two years after Fukushima exploded, three still-smoldering reactors remind us that the nuclear power industry repeatedly told the world this could never happen.
And 72 years after the nuclear weapons industry began creating them, untold quantities of deadly wastes still leak at Hanford and at commercial reactor sites around the world, with no solution in sight.
Radiation can be slow to cause cancer, taking decades to kill.
But children can suffer quickly. Their cells grow faster than adults’. Their smaller bodies are more vulnerable. With the embryo and fetus, there can never be a “safe” dose of radiation. NO dose of radiation is too small to have a human impact.
One and a half years later, the consensus seems to be that the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident cannot be cleaned up or contained until future generations invent the technology to do so, Washington’s Blog notes:
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World-renowned physicist Michio Kaku said recently: “It will take years to invent a new generation of robots able to withstand the radiation.” The world leader in decommissioning nuclear reactors, and one of the main contractors hired to clean up Fukushima – EnergySolutions – made a similar point in May:
Concerning the extraction of fuel debris [at Fukushima], “There is no technology which may be directly applied,” said [top EnergySolutions executive] Morant.
A top American government nuclear expert – William D. Magwood – told the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:
There will need to be new technologies and new methodologies created to be able to enable them to clean the site up and some of these technologies don’t exist yet, so there’s a long way to go with that…There’s a long, long way to go.