Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Interesting Cold War Links and Annoying Comparisons Between Chernobyl and Fukushima


Japan jet scrambles against China planes double in Jan-March. Reuters. April 23, 2016, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201604230033.html

Japan's fighter jet scrambles against Chinese planes more than doubled in the first three months of the year, underscoring a "tougher security environment", the Defense Ministry said on Friday.

Japanese combat planes scrambled 198 times to prevent possible incursions by Chinese planes, up from 93 times from January to March last year.

In the year that ended on March 31, such scrambles rose 23 percent from a year earlier to a record 571.

James Heddle, March 22, 2016. Plutonium Pie in the Sky: the Dangerous Delusion of New Nukes. Counterpunch, http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/22/plutonium-pie-in-the-sky-the-dangerous-delusion-of-new-nukes/

...Nuclear weapons and energy have been joined at the hip from the birth of the Atomic Age.  They both rely on the same essential core technology.  That’s what the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ is all about.  That’s why Japan’s current militaristic Abe government being in possession of an estimated 47.8  tons of stock-piled plutonium, with which it could produce 6,000 nuclear weapons, is worrying neighboring countries like China ... Barak Obama began his presidency with the celebrated April 5, 2009 Prague Speech in which he stated “…clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons….”  In practice Obama has not only re-invigorated nuclear weapons development, but embraced an ‘all of the above’ energy policy including heavy investments in new nuclear reactor construction and design development.

James Heddle, April 8, 2016  12 Nuclear Realities Whose Names Must Not Be Spoken http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/08/12-nuclear-realities-whose-names-must-not-be-spoken/ Those who advocate for nuclear energy as a response to climate change, or for new nuclear weapons in pursuit of ‘national security,’ must ignore or deny an overwhelming burden of facts from the history and legacy of these nuclear technologies so far.
 Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East. Charles Glass. The Intercept. Apr. 23 2016,  https://theintercept.com/2016/04/23/andrew-bacevich-and-americas-long-misguided-war-to-control-the-greater-middle-east/
ZeroHedge:Computer Virus Discovered In German Nuclear Power Plant

The news is full of stories about Chernobyl. Re-telling the tale offers opportunities for some authors to trivialize the scale of the Fukushima disaster. (For my review of published research please see here: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/comparing-fukushima-and-chernobyl.html).

In my opinion, there are a few problems with the tale that Chernobyl was far worse than Fukushima. Fukushima had 3 reactor meltdowns and at least one reported spent fuel pool fire. Chernobyl had one reactor that burned for 9-10 days.

NONE of the published atmospheric estimates for Fukushima extend beyond the first few weeks of the disaster although there were scientifically documented increases in atmospheric radiation levels at different points in 2011 and 2012. Please read my book, Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk (Palgrave, 2013) for evidence of these claims.

And of course Fukushima has not ceased contaminating the ocean since the disaster began as a result of inadvertent leakages as the underground river encounters melted reactor fuel and seeps into the port and out into the Pacific AND as TEPCO dumps contaminated water into the ocean while denying scale and severity of risks. 

This is for me the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR that calls into question the source terms used to represent the scale of the Fukushima disaster. Ocean and fresh water contamination have never ceased.

Hence, while I do not deny that Chernobyl contaminated more land, I believe that Fukushima's ocean impacts are being under-represented.

Finally, Chernobyl reportedly spread more plutonium contamination than Fukushima. However, plutonium contamination has not been studied extensively in Japan. I've been reviewing those studies and they report conflicting findings, with studies calling for additional, long-term research.

At any rate, the tale that Chernobyl is/was worse than Fukushima will continue to be spun and promoted aggressively, but although reading tales aimed at trivializing the latter in relation to the former is highly annoying, one can also find interesting tidbits about the horrors of radiation damage to the environment, particularly as exacerbated by human greed, as illustrated by illegal harvesting of radioactive lumber:
Chernobyl’s Silent Exclusion Zone (Except for the Logging) by Andrew E. Kramer, April 23, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/world/europe/chernobyls-silent-exclusion-zone-except-for-the-logging.html?emc=edit_th_20160424&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=32962000&_r=0

The Zone of Alienation, as it is also known, is a rough circle with an 18-mile radius, fenced off with barbed wire. Access is strictly controlled, so that delegations and guided tours typically travel a few fixed routes. Outside those areas frequented by tourists, Stop Corruption said, under the guise of salvage logging of trees killed in wildfires, healthy pines are being felled in great numbers for sale in Ukraine and Romania, from where the timber may be resold throughout Europe.

“We thought these incidents were isolated and unimportant, but when we started to investigate, it turned out the problem was gigantic and systemic,” said Vadim V. Vnukov, the group’s head lawyer.

Lumber from Chernobyl, while not exactly glowing in the dark, would pose risks to anybody living in a house made from it, Mr. Vnukov said.


  1. All the Japanese militarists and nuclear cartel are going to end up doing is blowing up what's left of Japan and killing the rest of the people. Bloody losers.

  2. "A strange birth defect is on the rise in the United States" http://www.infowars.com/a-strange-birth-defect-is-on-the-rise-in-the-united-states-says-the-cdc/

    You were predicting this some time ago. And of course the scientists are puzzled.