Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is Fukushima an ELE?


The Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant has had massive steam and smoke releases intermittently for about 18 months now. I've been watching the Tecpo and JNN-TBS webcams for almost that long and I would say the biggest releases at the plant after March of 2011 were in June of 2011, August of 2011, and late Nov-Jan of 2011-2012. 

We've had even even more emissions since March of 2012.

I think that units 3 and 4 have both had massive fires on more than one occasion based on my observations of the sources of the emissions visible in the webcams.

Tapes of these emissions have been made available by Nuchelchen and Fuku1live, among others, at youtube.

I believe that we can safely assume considerable amounts of the fuel in units 1-4 and the common spent fuel pool have burned or have melted into the groundwater at the site. I believe unit 5 also had a fire, based on visual evidence and because I know from my research that unit 5 was the same design as units 1-3. Unit 6 may still be intact.

This is truly a mega-disaster. 

That said, I am concerned about discussions of it as an ELE, or extinction level event.

I am afraid that people will consider the situation futile and not fight for care for those afflicted. 

I'm afraid that futility will erode the fight to end the madness of nuclear weapons and energy.

What I would like to suggest is that even if it is an extinction level event, it is unlikely to unfold in one generation.

Radiation bio-magnifies and bio-accumulates in the environment. Lower levels in soil and water bio-accumulate in plants. 

Bio-magnification occurs as animals that eat plants bio-accumulate radiation from soil and water. It takes time for significant magnification to occur in animals at the top of the food chain.

We are at the top of the food chain, especially if you eat meat, fish, eggs, and milk. It will take time for the full impact of the fallout to play out.

Furthermore, genetic damage may not result in cancer or the cancer may be very slow to develop.

The biggest problem as I see it is that genetic damage to germ-line cells is going to be inherited.

So, your kids are going to get all the genetic damage from you and your partner.  Then, your kid will accumulate his/her own genetic damage from exposure to an increasingly radioactive and chemically mutagenic environment.

Their kids (your grandchildren) will inherit even more genetic damage and accumulate their own from ever more exposure to mutagens.

Recessive genes are often more affected by radiation (I don't know why yet) so the genetic damage may not show up in visible deformities, but these recessive genes can undermine health and shorten lives.

Eventually, on our current path, the genetic damage that has bio-magnified and bio-accumulated within and across generations will make successful reproduction impossible.

We simply don't know when that will occur, but rest assured it will if we don't start making changes very, very quickly. 

We must act now to reduce risks to our kids and future generations.

Now let us look at the fuel at Fukushima and consider the ELE hypothesis.

Robert Alvarez says:

"The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel)." (cited at Akio Matsumura http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/04/682.html)
[end quote]

Majia Here: So, if everything burned at Fukushima, an additional volume of radiation would be added to our atmosphere totaling 1/2 of all the cesium 137 released by Chernobyl, atmospheric testing, and reprocessing plants.

We don't know how much uranium and plutonium would be added.

Although this is a staggering amount, I don't think it is likely to kill all the people in the northern hemisphere in 1 generation.

It might take many generations for the radiation to bio-accumulate and bio-magnify in people.

It may take many generations for genetic errors to accumulate to a critical point.

Maybe we will manage to survive it as a species.

We cannot lapse into despair. This is most certainly our last chance for making the changes necessary for survival.

It is critical that we learn from this disaster and do what we can to reduce and mitigate exposure in those who are most directly impacted, especially people in Japan. 

Lying about and censorship of the effects of radiation are effectively genocidal.

What follows is a brief excerpt concerning a 95 year old doctor in Japan who is doing everything in his power to bring awareness to the consequences of the Fukushima disaster:

While nuclear regulators in Japan discuss re-starting reactors and limiting liability, one of Japan’s most vocal physicians, 95 year old Shuntaro Hida, charges that people in Japan are starting to develop symptoms of internal radiation poisoning.[i] Dr. Hida is a native of Hiroshima. After the bombing there he treated patients exposed to the fallout. In 1950 he opened a clinic to help those afflicted by radiation illness. Many of his patients were ashamed of their symptoms and tried to hide them despite significant health afflictions.

Hida recently announced that he has received calls from residents in the Fukushima prefecture describing fatigue, diarrhea and hair loss. He believes these people are being poisoned by ingested radionuclides. He was quoted in the Japan Times:

"I am worried because I received such calls much earlier than I expected," he says.

He no doubt also worries that past practices of censoring information about radiation related illnesses will prevail today as well:

Under the Occupation until the early 1950s, people were forbidden from "speaking, recording or doing research into symptoms of atomic-bomb survivors," he says. "I was stalked by the military police when I was talking about what I witnessed in Hiroshima," and arrested several times by the Occupation forces for "not abiding by their Occupation policy."

Hida contends that the US “concealed” information about fallout related illnesses in Japan and has since censored public knowledge and about research about exposure to ionizing radiation, particularly through internally ingested alpha and beta emitters.[ii]



[i]           Megumi IIzuka. A-bomb doctor warns of further Fukushima woes. Japan Times (2012, July 12), http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120712f3.html#.T_-lU_V0jwl and Bomb survivor doctor continues to speak up about significance of internal exposure. Mainichi ( 2012, January 23), http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120123p2a00m0na013000c.html

[ii]               Megumi IIzuka. A-bomb doctor warns of further Fukushima woes. Japan Times(2012, July 12), http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120712f3.html#.T_-lU_V0jwl.

2 comments:

  1. Majia the excerpts above are hard to read. Blocks of white with nearly invisible text. If I put my cursor in the block to highlight it as if I were going to copy the text I can read it because highlighting it changes the font color.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with your premise Majia.

    Even if it is an ELE, none of us are likely to ever know it, so we've got to keep moving forward with our lives.

    I agree with your assessment of the site - with the exception of the Common Spent Fuel Pool. Although i've claimed fires coming from the vicitinity several times, the latest fly by video seem to render the building relatively intact with not much damage.

    Which is a really good thing. As I've said many times before, if they let it go, that's just criminal. They really should have been removing those fuel assemblies from that location before now. Even if they moved them 1 Km away I would feel so much better about them.
    James

    ReplyDelete