Sunday, January 20, 2013

Denial of Harm


As I've mentioned, I'm writing a book on Fukusima titled Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk. The book will go to the publisher very soon as I'm almost done. It should be published in 2013.

I've been researching the disaster since it began in March 2011.

I've read many, many accounts of the disaster and of the history of radiation safety.

Based on the vast knowledge I've acquired and documented, I can say with certainty that this headline is not true:  

Fukushima: Fallout of fear After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan kept people safe from the physical effects of radiation — but not from the psychological impacts. By Geoff Brumfiel 16 January 2013

Majia here: The article describes people's fears of radiation contamination in Japan as "radiophobia." This language has the effect of psychologizing legitimate concerns about radiation exposure in order to trivialize and ridicule those concerns.

Geoff Brumfiel either hasn't done is research carefully or he is complicit in deliberate efforts to minimize the disaster in order to "save" the nuclear complex.

I strongly recommend reading the EXCELLENT rebuttal offered by Beverly Findlay-Kaneko in her comments to Brumfiel's article.

I will provide some additional evidence to falsify Brumfiel's claims that the people of Japan were protected from dangerous exposures to radiation.

First, it is important to recognize that the Japanese Diet concluded that the government and Tepco failed to protect Japanese citizens who were exposed to Fukushima fallout:

During the summer of 2012 Japan’s National Diet issued “The Official Report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.” On page 9 of the executive summary, the report describes the disaster primarily human wrought:
THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI of March 11, 2011 were natural disasters of a magnitude that shocked the entire world. Although triggered by these cataclysmic events, the subsequent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cannot be regarded as a natural disaster. It was a profoundly manmade disaster – that could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response. How could such an accident occur in Japan, a nation that takes such great pride in its global reputation for excellence in engineering and technology? This Commission believes the Japanese people – and the global community – deserve a full, honest and transparent answer to this question. Our report catalogues a multitude of errors and willful negligence that left the Fukushima plant unprepared for the events of March 11. And it examines serious deficiencies in the response to the accident by TEPCO, regulators and the government.   Japan National Diet “The Official Report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (2012): Published by The National Diet of Japan The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. Executive Summary Available:

Majia here: Second, it is important to acknowledge how far contamination spread:

It is believed that radioactive isotopes were released by the plant were absorbed into aerosol particles.[i] One study published in PNAS concluded that the use of salt water to cool the reactors may have contributed to the dispersion of radio-isotopes from Fukushima across long distances.[ii] Another study, headed by Priyadarshi, found evidence of (radioactive) Sulfur-35 (35S) in sulfate aerosol in southern California from March 20–28 2011.[iii] The researchers concluded that neutron leakage transformed salt water chlorine (35Cl) into radioactive 35S through a process of multistage decay. Fukushima contamination may have spread more widely because of the composition and durability of the radioactive aerosols produced

[i]          USGS Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program-West Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8-April 5, 2011. Open File Report 2011, 1277, p. 6.

[ii] Christopher R. Armstrong, May Nyman, Tatiana Shvareva, Ginger E. Sigmon, Peter C. Burns, and Alexandra Navrotsky. Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater PNAS 2012 109 (6) 1874-1877; published ahead of print January 23, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1119758109

[iii] A. Priyadarshi, G. Dominguez, M. H. Thiemens (2011) ‘Evidence of Neutron Leakage at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant from Measurements of Radioactive 35S in California’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(35), 14422-14425.

Majia here: Let us look also at the extent of plutonium contamination. Plutonium is chemically and radiologically genotoxic, just like uranium. Plutonium was dispersed widely, probably from the explosion of the unit 3 reactor:

[Paraphrasing] A study released in Scientific Reports published by Nature titled “Isotopic evidence of plutonium release into the environment from the Fukushima DNPP accident” by Zheng et al found that a wide array of highly volatile fission products were released, including 129mTe, 131I, 134Cs, 136Cs and 137Cs, which were all found to be “widely distributed in Fukushima and its adjacent prefectures in eastern Japan.”[i] The study also found evidence of actinides, particularly Pu isotopes, on the ground in northwest and south of the Fukushima DNPP in the 20–30 km zones. The study called for long-term investigation of Pu and 241Am dose estimates because of findings of “high activity ratio of 241Pu/239+240Pu (> 100) from the Fukushima DNPP accident.” The study concluded that in comparison to Chernobyl, the Fukushima accident “had a slightly higher 241Pu/239Pu atom ratio, but lower ratio of 240Pu/239Pu.” Unit 3 was seen as the likely source for the high Pu detections.
[i]           Jian Zheng,  Keiko Tagami,  Yoshito Watanabe,  Shigeo Uchida,  Tatsuo Aono,  Nobuyoshi Ishii,  Satoshi Yoshida,  Yoshihisa Kubota,  Shoichi Fuma  & Sadao Ihara  Isotopic evidence of plutonium release into the environment from the Fukushima DNPP accident Scientific Reports 2, (2012, March 8)

Majia: NOW let us look at evidence of Fukushima contamination of animals and urban areas:

Zerohedge reports on a highly radioactive fish caught recently off the coast in Japan: "Almost two years after the awful nuclear disaster occurred, a fish caught near Fukushima on Friday January 18th had a record-breaking level of radioactive contamination over 2500x the legal limit. TEPCO measured 'Mike the Murasoi' at 254,000 becquerels per kilogram (with the limit for edible seafood at 100 becquerels)."  original source available here:

Yahoo News: Cesium over 500,000 Bq/kg detected in sediment nearby Fukushima gov’t offices  

Worries over highly radioactive fish prompt study 
276,000 Bq/Kg from soil of Kashiwa Chiba Posted by Mochizuki on November 13th, 2012 

Excellent assemblage of headlines and links of contaminated food from Japan, the US, and South Korea available here 

Video of detection of Americum 241 posted by Fukushima Diary[Video] Am-241 measured in Edogawaku Tokyo

Japanese government detections of strontium, posted by Fukushima Diary: Strontium-90 measured from west of Tokyo

Headline from Enenews: Experts Warn of Accumulating Fukushima Radiation
Title: The muddy issue of cesium in a lake
Source: Japan Times by Tomoko Otake Nov 18, 2012

[Excerpted] Lake Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture is facing an environmental threat that has essentially turned it into a time bomb ticking away 60 km northeast of Tokyo.
Experts warn that Japan’s second largest lake with a surface area of 220 sq. km is quietly but steadfastly accumulating radioactive cesium [...] [It] is not only rich with fishery resources but whose water is used for irrigation, industrial purposes, and even for consumption as drinking water for 960,000 people in Ibaraki Prefecture. Furthermore, no one knows how and by how much the problem has worsened over the months, except for one obvious thing: it hasn’t gone away. [...]

Majia here: And the incineration of radioactive debris is not helping[Debris incineration] Radiation level is jumping up near Kitakyushu city

Majia here: Now let us examine the issue of health effects. The truth is that when radioisotopes are involved there is NO THRESHOLD FOR EFFECTS

Excerpt of interview with Dr Caldicott about Fukushima and "random, compulsive genetic engineering" 

Even Low-Level Radioactivity Is Damaging, Scientists Conclude. Science Daily. November 13, 2012
[Excerpted] The organisms studied included plants and animals, but had a large preponderance of human subjects. Each study examined one or more possible effects of radiation, such as DNA damage measured in the lab, prevalence of a disease such as Down's Syndrome, or the sex ratio produced in offspring. For each effect, a statistical algorithm was used to generate a single value, the effect size, which could be compared across all the studies.

The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.

"There's been a sentiment in the community that because we don't see obvious effects in some of these places, or that what we see tends to be small and localized, that maybe there aren't any negative effects from low levels of radiation," said Mousseau. "But when you do the meta-analysis, you do see significant negative effects."

"It also provides evidence that there is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation," he added. "A theory that has been batted around a lot over the last couple of decades is the idea that is there a threshold of exposure below which there are no negative consequences. These data provide fairly strong evidence that there is no threshold -- radiation effects are measurable as far down as you can go, given the statistical power you have at hand."

Mousseau hopes their results, which are consistent with the "linear-no-threshold" model for radiation effects, will better inform the debate about exposure risks. "


blogger Ex-SKF reports #Radioactive Japan: Another Child Suspected of Thyroid Cancer in #Fukushima, Found During the First-Round Thyroid Screening Test

Nov 17, 2012 [excerpted]: Kyodo News just reported it was a girl, age 16 to 18. The first confirmed case of thyroid cancer in a child in Fukushima Prefecture was reported in September this year, after the 2nd screening test which was administered as a precaution.

Possibly the second one may have been found, according to Kahoku Shinpo. What's different in this case is that the child was immediately categorized as "C" in the 1st round of screening. Category C is " in need of immediate second testing", according to the Fukushima prefectural guideline. [end excerpt]

Enenews: Magazine Scandal: Serious abnormalities found in evacuees; Sapporo doctor shocked by quick onset of suspected thyroid cancers — Such rapid growth was impossible in children before 3/11, says report

original link


1. Post I:  Report Contains Numbers of Fuel Assemblies at Fukushima as of March 2010 
2. Post II: How  Much Radiation Is At Issue: Cesium 137 in Spent Fuel Pool 4




  1. Radiation Spread in the Pacific, a good model
    This model does self admit that they are completely ignoring the effects of bio accumulation, which would make things much worse. Looks like Hawaii is already seeing the ocean impact.

    The red zone is 1/1000 times less than the original dispersion in Japan. That doesn't sound all that great considering they just caught a fish with 2,500,000 Bq per kG at the Fukushima harbor. Anything above 100 Bq/kG is extremely bad.

  2. I've said it before, but I believe the coverup of the extent of radiation exposure - both in Japan and the US, and to a lesser extent the rest of the world, are crimes against humanity.

    The Cesium, the strontium, the Iodine, the Xenon are all bad, but the Plutonium might be devastating - or, they all might not be all that bad, or something in between.

    I feel the problem with being dishonest about the levels is there can be no way to determine how bad things really are. Especially when the governments and their agencies who are tasked with protecting the public are denying the problem's existence. When you ignore a problem, it doesn't go away, it just doesn't get studied or solved.

    This is my ultimate disappointment with the Fukushima disaster. I guess my ultimate disappointment with mankind and life on earth.

    I admit to having gone full circle emotionally on the topic. At first when I studied what was happening and studied the blueprints of a reactor in detail, I was astonished at how unsafe they really are. What happened at Fukushima was not a fluke - it will happen again in some similar fashion from time to time if we keep running nuclear fission reactors. Then I got angry. I was angry at those who were actively covering things up. Then I got afraid - afraid for my family - my kids and grandkids, afraid for my extended family and neighbors, afraid for the people of Japan, afraid for mankind. Then I got depressed a bit. Then I got over it all and started enjoying life again.

    I know some people believed the same way passionately about manmade Global Warming, however I studied the actual data and determined that it simply didn't exist - it was made up by the scientists who made a living from it. So I was angry at those who were covering up the truth, but I wasn't afraid of the underlying problem - because there wasn't one.

    If I were in a position of authority, I know that I would have told the truth about what had happened - I'm just that way: brutally honest to a fault. Often insensitively honest.

    What I wonder, though, is whether that would have made things better or worse. I'm feeling it would have made things in the short term much worse, as populations would shift and economic turmoil would occur, and certainly there would be a great deal of blame and lawsuit action going around. The nuclear power industry would likely die a quick death. In the long term, however, mankind would be better off with less risk of ongoing disasters, less dangerous nuclear waste stacking up and we would be forced to move on to a new source of energy that works better.

    Thanks for writing the book Majia. I'm sure it will be a fair account. I admire your courage for pushing through on it, despite the obvious challenges with getting this kind of information out.


    1. James, your thoughts express how I feel as well:

      you say: I feel the problem with being dishonest about the levels is there can be no way to determine how bad things really are. Especially when the governments and their agencies who are tasked with protecting the public are denying the problem's existence.

      When you ignore a problem, it doesn't go away, it just doesn't get studied or solved.

      I agree and I feel that the problem is much bigger than Fukushima. The new research studies on epigenetics and proteomics scream our vulnerabilities to environmental toxins.

      After the BP oil spill I realized that governments and corporations are unresponsive to the massive challenges facing humanity.

      Our biggest efforts at reform end up being perverted by greed.

      I'm afraid we are stupid cannibals, destined for extinction.