Tag Archives | Fukushima

Radiation Risks From Fukushima ‘No Longer Negligible’

From EurActiv:

The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer “negligible,” according to CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity. The NGO is advising pregnant women and infants against “risky behaviour,” such as consuming fresh milk or vegetables with large leaves.

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In response to thousands of inquiries from citizens concerned about fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Europe, CRIIRAD has compiled an information package on the risks of radioactive iodine-131 contamination in Europe.

The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese.

The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered “negligible” and it is now necessary to avoid “risky behaviour,” CRIIRAD claimed.

However, the institute underlines that there is absolutely no need to lock oneself indoors or take iodine tablets.

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Michio Kaku: Fukushima Is A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

From Democracy Now! The Japanese government is trying to calm fears about radiation levels and food safety in the region around the heavily damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, even as it has raised the severity rating of the crisis to the highest possible level. "Radiation is continuing to leak out of the reactors. The situation is not stable at all," says Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York and the City College of New York. "The slightest disturbance could set off a full-scale meltdown at three nuclear power stations, far beyond what we saw at Chernobyl."
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Radiation Detected In Drinking Water Across The U.S.

Radiation warning symbolJeff McMahon writes for Forbes:

Radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in 13 more American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk—in Montpelier, Vermont—for the first time since the Japan nuclear disaster began, according to data released by the Environmental Protection Agency late Friday.

Milk samples from Phoenix and Los Angeles contained iodine-131 at levels roughly equal to the maximum contaminant level permitted by EPA, the data shows. The Phoenix sample contained 3.2 picoCuries per liter of iodine-131. The Los Angeles sample contained 2.9. The EPA maximum contaminant level is 3.0, but this is a conservative standard designed to minimize exposure over a lifetime, so EPA does not consider these levels to pose a health threat.

The cesium-137 found in milk in Vermont is the first cesium detected in milk since the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident occurred last month. The sample contained 1.9 picoCuries per liter of cesium-137, which falls under the same 3.0 standard.

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Fish For Dinner? Bring Your Geiger Counter

Photo: Librado Romero/The New York Times

Photo: Librado Romero/The New York Times

I ate sushi last night at the extraordinary Japanese restaurant Sushi of Gari. Now that I’ve read this story by William Neuman and Florence Fabricant in the New York Times I’m wishing I’d brought along a Geiger counter. The photo is essential, so NYT, we hereby claim fair use:

Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernardin, the high temple of seafood in Manhattan, bought a new kitchen gadget a few days ago: a radiation detector.

“I just want to make sure whatever we use is safe,” said Mr. Ripert, whose staff is using the device to screen every item of food that enters the restaurant, regardless of its origin. He has also stopped buying fish from Japan, which means no high-quality, farm-raised hamachi and kampachi for raw seafood dishes.

“Nobody knows how the currents will carry the contaminated water,” he said.

Despite assurances by health officials that radiation from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is unlikely to show up in the food supply, worries about contaminated foods are growing among consumers, businesses and governments across the globe.

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Inside Report: Fukushima’s Nuclear Evacuation Zone

Fukushima, Japan - The Japanese government issued an evacuation order on March 12 for residents living within the 20 kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Since then, residents have left their homes, and the "no man land" has been out of touch with the rest of the world. A Japanese journalist, Tetsuo Jimbo, ventured through the evacuation zone last Sunday, and filed the following video report. He says that inside the evacuation zone, homes, buildings, roads and bridges, which were torn down by the tsunami, are left completely untouched, and the herd of cattle and pet dogs, left behind by the owners, wanders around the town while the radiation level remains far beyond legal limits.
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Japan’s MOX Public Opposition Prevented Larger Plutonium Disaster

Fukushima Reactor Unit 3 on 16 March. Photo: Digital Globe Imagery (CC)

Fukushima Reactor Unit 3 on 16 March. Photo: Digital Globe Imagery (CC)

Via Common Dreams:

A concerted Japanese citizen action that delayed the loading of mixed plutonium-uranium fuel — known as MOX — into the core of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima and prevented the use of MOX at several other reactors, likely prevented a far worse outcome than is currently occurring at the troubled reactor today.

Japanese citizen groups successfully resisted the use of MOX fuel at Fukushima-Daiichi for a decade. MOX fuel was not loaded into the reactor until August 21, 2010 and the reactor began operation on September 18, 2010. Consequently, all the MOX fuel remains in the core and none of it had yet been transferred to the unprotected fuel pool.

Last August, Beyond Nuclear’s radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was invited by Green Action Japan and their local Fukushima anti-nuclear environmental allies to travel to Fukushima specifically to speak about the risks of storing MOX high-level radioactive waste in storage pools.

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Will You Drink Fukushima Milk?

Photo: FiveRings (CC)

Photo: FiveRings (CC)

How do you feel about drinking milk with trace radiation from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, even if our government assures us there’s no health hazard? From US News:

In an update to its ongoing radiation monitoring following the Fukushima Daiichi reactor crisis in Japan, U.S. government officials announced late Wednesday that milk sampled March 25 in Washington state contained low levels of radiation not likely to cause harm to humans.

In a statement released jointly by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the two agencies said that their screening of milk from Spokane, Wash., showed levels of iodine-131 that were “more than 5,000 times lower than the Derived Intervention Level” set by the FDA.

The level of iodine-131 found in the Spokane milk is “far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the FDA and the EPA both said.

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The ‘Nuclear Boy’ Viral Video Sensation From Japan

For those of you who haven't already seen this video, currently making the rounds of weirdness aggregation sites everywhere, here's the Japanese cartoon that explains the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis to children. Apparently Kazuhiko Hachiya's “Nuclear Boy” is actually playing on national TV in Japan.
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A Glowing Report On Radiation

Radiation warning symbolWhile manufactured “arguments” continue to wage about topics such as climate change and evolution, Anne Coulter has stepped up the game, adding the benefits of radiation to the pot:

As The New York Times science section reported in 2001, an increasing number of scientists believe that at some level — much higher than the minimums set by the U.S. government — radiation is good for you. “They theorize,” the Times said, that “these doses protect against cancer by activating cells’ natural defense mechanisms.”

Among the studies mentioned by the Times was one in Canada finding that tuberculosis patients subjected to multiple chest X-rays had much lower rates of breast cancer than the general population.

And there are lots more!

A $10 million Department of Energy study from 1991 examined 10 years of epidemiological research by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, some of whom had been exposed to 10 times more radiation than the others from their work on the ships’ nuclear reactors.

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