Tag Archives | Fukushima
Apparently, highly radioactive beef from cows that lived near the Fukushima accident site is unknowingly being served up as burgers at Tokyo eateries, AFP reports:
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Radiation fears mounted in Japan on Wednesday after news that contaminated beef from a farm just outside the Fukushima nuclear no-go zone has been shipped across the country and probably eaten.
Meat from 11 cows at the farm was found at the weekend to be contaminated with up to six times the legal limit of caesium and the farmer has since admitted he fed the animals straw exposed to radioactive fallout.
Of the total amount, 3,165 pounds of beef were distributed to shops and restaurants in 12 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, a Tokyo metropolitan government official said.
Food testing remains largely under the control of prefectural officials, who admit that they can only carry out spot checks for contamination. Fukushima prefecture officials said the farmer had stated in a questionnaire that the cows had not been fed contaminated straw, but tests later showed the straw contained caesium 56 times the legal limit, Kyodo News reported.
Abby Martin writes on Media Roots:
“We are awash in electronic hallucinations. The worse it gets, the more we retreat into those hallucinations. Dying cultures always sever themselves from reality, because reality becomes so difficult to face, and we’re no exception to that.” — Chris Hedges, interview with Media Roots
Of Tiger Blood and Birthers
During the first four days of the corporate media’s fanatical coverage of actor Charlie Sheen’s drug-addled, tiger-blooded neurosis, four more US soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan. Yet, CNN only took notice after a Facebook campaign initiated by a fellow soldier went viral, which pitted the coverage of fallen soldiers against the celebrity addict. The campaign galvanized tens of thousands of people to write the following on their Facebook pages:
“Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he’s a celebrity drug addict, while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention.… Read the rest
An expert on the safety of nuclear power plants comes to the conclusion that there is simply no such thing as an 100 percent safe nuclear reactor. Via Miller-McCune:
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I soon came to the conclusion that neither international cooperation nor technological advancements would guarantee human societies to build and safely run nuclear reactors in all possible conditions on Earth (earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, wars, terrorism, climate change, tsunamis, pandemics, etc.). I am sadly reminded of this turning point in my life as I listen to the news about the earthquake, tsunami and extremely worrying nuclear crisis in Japan.
When Italy decided in the mid-’70s to add nuclear power to its power portfolio, young mechanical and nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi was among those attracted to the opportunities it presented. His work centered on nuclear safety issues — in particular, what might happen if something unexpected struck a power plant.
Corners he saw cut there eventually soured Silvi on that endeavor.
As roughly 450 workers remain at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the world watches with increasing anxiety at what will become of them. Unable to take the suspense and the guilt at being among those who promoted the reactors to begin with, a group of Japanese seniors have stepped up to offer their services to their country one last time. Called the “suicide corps” by one official, they say all they want to do is be of service if the jobs might risk the lives of younger people. While the government hasn’t yet said whether they would be used for any such purpose, talks were reportedly underway.
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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.
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.
Jeff McMahon writes for Forbes:
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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.
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:
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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.