Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dispossessed in Japan: No Timely Publication of Radiation Releases, Continuous Revisions of Amounts


Fukushima has laid bare the complicity of governments with a corporate order that attaches little to no value to human life or the vitality of the biosphere. 

During the midst of these disasters, Japanese authorities insisted that there was little to no danger. On March 12, University of Tokyo Professor Naoto Sekimura appeared repeatedly on Japanese television to reassure local residents that all was under control. David McNeill of CNN reports Sekimura’s comments: “‘Only a small part of the fuel may have melted and leaked outside,’ he said. Residents near the power station should ‘stay calm,’ because ‘most of the fuel remains inside the reactor, which has stopped operating and is being cooled.’ (McNeill)”  

In April, a former nuclear regulator who had served as a consultant to TEPCO in April claimed publicly that there was no danger of a total meltdown (Ex-Regulator). 

In addition to withholding information about the state of the reactors, Tepco and the Japanese Government suppressed information about the scale of radiation released. It took Japanese officials over a month to disclose large scale radiation releases that occurred at the Fukushima plant in mid-March (see Tabuchi, Bradsher and Pollack).   

Japan used a system called Speedi—System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose information—to model March radiation releases and blamed the delay in reporting results to the public in mid-April to their efforts to narrow the margin of error in their calculations, although nuclear regulators in other countries were privy to Speedi’s results early on. 

In June 2011, Japan’s nuclear safety agency acknowledged suspicion that the official statement of the radiation releases for March of 370,000 terabecquerels (publicized in April) had been grossly under-estimated. At that time, Japan's nuclear safety agency doubled the amount of radiation previously reported by TEPCO to have “leaked” from the Fukushima Daiichi plan in the first week of the accident. This new figure reported in June 2011 by the Japanese Nuclear Safety Agency of 770,000 terabequerels of (equivalent to 770,000,000,000,000 becquerels) radiation released failed to calculated radiation losses after the first week into the air or sea (see McCurry).  

In July of 2011, the Atomic Energy Society of Japan publicly criticized the Japanese government and TEPCO for delays in reporting Speedi data to the public, as illustrated here: 
[excerpted] "The society notes that there is the possibility that the damage to people's health from radiation exposure has increased because the government, Tepco and other related institutions did not properly disclose information on the status of the nuclear accidents and the environmental contamination by radioactive substances. It says that although they had information that must be disclosed, they have not done so. An example that surfaced recently is the education and science ministry's failure to immediately disclose the name of a radiation hot spot in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture." (see “Nuclear Accident Disclosure”)

In February of 2012 scientists from the Meteorological Research Institute released data collected in April and May of 2011,which calculated that 40,000 trillion becquerels of radiation released was from Cesium alone. This figure did not include subsequent air emissions or releases of radioactive water into the ocean from the plant. Radioactive water has been produced continuously for over one year now as Tepco douses the reactors with water to prevent fission from escalating (see Taubchi).

The latest word on the radiation releases was released on April 3, 2012 when the Japanese Jiji Press reported that in March 2011 the Japanese government had failed to share with the public a Speedi estimate that approximately 10 trillion becquerels per hour of radioactive iodine were released on March 14, 2011 (see Japan fails).

The ongoing contamination of Japan, the Pacific Ocean and the northern hemisphere continues as Tepco struggles with three reactors that have total loss of containment.
The collective welfare of the population was clearly not the priority of the Japanese energy corporation Tepco, nor Japanese policy makers, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

ENDNOTES

David McNeill “Who's Telling the Truth On the Fukushima Meltdown?” CNNGo.Com (2011, June 15):| CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/life/tell-me-about-it/david-mcneill-whos-telling-truth-fukushima-448215#ixzz1PMTJwTk1

      Ex-Regulator Resigns from Tepco,” Reuters video (2011, April 19): http://www.reuters.com/article/video/idUSTRE73I10E20110419?videoId=204721879

      Hiroko Tabuchi, Keith Bradsher, and Andrew Pollack “Japanese Officials on Defensive as Nuclear Alert Level Rises,” The New York Times (2011, April 13): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/world/asia/13japan.html.

      Tabuchi, Bradsher, and Pollack “Japanese Officials on Defensive,” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/world/asia/13japan.html

      “Nuclear Accident Disclosure,” Japan Times (2011, July 8): http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20110708a1.html.

      Justin McCurry “Japan Doubles Fukushima Radiation Leak Estimate. Inquiry Launched Into Nuclear Disaster as Studies Reveal Contamination More Widely Spread Than First Thought,” The Guardian (2011, June 7): http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/07/japan-doubles-fukushima-radiation-leak-estimate.


      McCurry “Japan Doubles Fukushima Radiation,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/07/japan-doubles-fukushima-radiation-leak-estimate.

      Akiko Okazaki. “Scientists:Far more cesium released than previously believed” Asahi (2012, February 29):  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201202290025

      On March 29, 2012 a Japanese professor of nuclear engineering reported “Unfortunately, all we can do is keep pumping water inside the reactors” in response to reports that the drywell inside reactor 2 had radiation levels of 72.0 sieverts an hour. Hiroko Taubchi “Japan Nuclear Plant May be Worse Off Than Thought.” New York Times (2012, March 29): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/inquiry-suggests-worse-damage-at-japan-nuclear-plant.html?_R=1&src=tp

      Japan Fails to Disclose 10-T.-Becquerel Radioactive Fallout Estimate. Jiji Press English News Service [Tokyo] (2012, April 3): Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/docview/963705047?accountid=4485
also reported at Ex-SKF  http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/04/wspeedi-simulation-showed-10.html


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