Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fukushima: Did Pool #4 Collapse?

The explosion reported toay at Fukushima http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=13723866

may have not, in fact, been a gas explosion (official explanation), but rather, may possibly have been pool #4 collapsing...

Or, at least, so argues Tom Burnett

If that were true, this explanation would account for the smoke/steam/radiation detectable in the new webcam early this morning.

Of course, TEPCO would be unlikely to report this event to the media because the implication is that the plant could quickly or already have become a "NO GO" locale

Let us hope that Burnett is not correct, although I agree that the official explanation makes little sense...

Fukushima Update May 31 2011

Smoke or steam visible coming from the far side of the screen, above the shrubbery

Viewers studying Fukushima webcams observing flashes of lights at the reactors 9:47 west coast time 5/31--comments here http://enenews.com/explosion-heard-near-heavily-damaged-no-4-reactor/comment-page-1#comment-78931

Radiation monitoring showing significant increases in plant radiation output this week

This increase no doubt stems from the skyrocketing radiation levels reported at units 1 and 2 (see my previous posts on this)

China syndrome anyone???

US Poverty and Global Hunger Rise: Less then Tepid Policy Response to Global Crisis in Human Welfare

By 2011, 14.5% of the U.S. population received food stamps http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34SNAPmonthly.htm

Brewer, James (2011, May 30). Cuts in US welfare programs hit hundreds of thousands of poor families. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/may2011/tanf-m30.shtml

"US states are implementing drastic cuts to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, creating further hardships for 700,000 families that include 1.3 million children. The slashing of funding for TANF, the welfare program financed by block grants to states from the federal government, is part of an overall attack on all social programs in the US.

"The impact and scale of the cuts are documented in a May 19 report issued by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a liberal policy group.

Read the report here: http://www.cbpp.org/files/5-19-11tanf.pdf

Watson, Deborah. (2011, March 30). Poverty, homelessness climb among US schoolchildren. World Socialist Website. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/mar2011/chil-m30.shtml

"In the two years since the onset of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008, the number of children living in poverty increased from 14 million to 16 million, the US Census Bureau reports. The US government estimates that 25 percent of children in America will soon be living in poverty.

"...The figure of one in four children in poverty is itself is an underestimation. The figure is based on the official US poverty rate of $22,000 a year for a family of four—a ridiculously low sum for a family to live on.

Johnson, Robert (2011, May 31). Dire Report Predicts Doubling Of Food Prices, And Billions Living With A Shortage Of Water. Business Insider.http://www.businessinsider.com/food-prices-double-oxfam-2030-2011-5#ixzz1NwPMJYFJ

"In Oxfam's new report, Growing A Better Future, the non-profit paints a dire picture of the world's impending food shortage.

"With price increases up to 180 percent on staple items by 2030, the group predicts a "wholesale reversal in human development" throughout afflicted areas.

"The report maintains that half the 180 percent increase in price will be the result of climate change.

"Other factors will include depleting natural resources, a scarcity of land and water, the rush to turn food into biofuels, growing population, and an increase in severe poverty.

"By 2050 more than four billion will live in areas short of water, and by 2030 demand for water is expected to increase by 30 percent.

"The non-profit agrees that increasing production by 70 percent within 40 years, to meet food requirements, will be difficult, but possible. Small farm's, it says, will be the key to success.


Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Disappear Environmental Illnesses

I read today in my local newspaper that researchers had found a very strong correlation between exposure to pesticides and Parkinson's disease.

ADHD has also been linked to pesticides, lead, and cigarettes.

Cancer, ADHD, Parkinson's, and autism are probably largely (albeit not exclusively) environmental illnesses.

The President’s Cancer Panel Found overwhelming evidence for role of environmental causes in cancer, which are under-studied and under-regulated. Human made chemicals and radiation are major culprits.

Why are chemicals unregulated?

The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) enabled the EPA to control chemicals known to pose unreasonable risks to human or environmental health

However, TSCA grandfathered in most existing chemicals in 1976: "Some sixty-two thousand chemicals were grandfathered into the market, with no testing or review. These included thousands of potentially highly toxic substances, including the likes of ethyl benzene, a widely used industrial solvent suspected of being a potent neurotoxin; whole families of synthetic plastics that are potential carcinogens and endocrine disrupters; and thousands of other substances for which there was little or no information.” http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/412/Exposed-Toxic-Chemistry.html

Morover, there are many exclusions for new chemicals http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/newchems/pubs/whofiles.htm
Furthermore, the EPA also weighs the cost to industry when evaluating whether a chemical will be approved. The GOA criticized this practice.
(quote) "The requirements that EPA include the "costs to industry" in determining whether a substance presents an "unreasonable threat to public health" and that it impose the "least burdensome regulation" (to industry) was a bar that the GAO found too high for effective protection from chemicals' potential harm. One result of these rules was that the EPA has banned just five chemicals since the agency's creation a quarter century ago. That includes the family of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), millions of tons of which were used as coolants and lubricants in transformers and electrical equipment until they were found to cause acute skin lesions, were a likely contributor to liver damage, and were carcinogenic. PCBs are also highly persistent: though the EPA banned them in 1977, residues are still turning up in drinking water and in the soil.” http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/412/Exposed-Toxic-Chemistry.html

What happens when chemicals are tested? Who tests and under what conditions?

Chemicals are typically tested in short term studies approximating 24 hours to 5 days. Chemicals are never combined, but are studied in isolation.

So, all sorts of chemicals get to market that may be unsafe when combined with other chemicals or when they accumulate in our bodies across time.

So, consequently, researchers can go about searching for the supposed genes for ADHD, cancer, and Parkinson's because chemicals are mistakenly believed safe because the EPA has approved them.

Blaming genes for illnesses is a popular and lucrative modern pursuit.

Researchers who persist with environmental studies have a hard time getting grant funding because industry plays such an important role in funding academic research today.

A similar situation has happened with radiation-induced illnesses.
I strongly recommend reading the latest article up on Chernobyl research and its implications for us all at CounterPunch
here is an excerpt of the article by RUDI H. NUSSBAUM "Clinging to the Nuclear Option"

After the accident at the Three Mile Island (TMI) plant, the official Columbia U. study found no increased health effects among the surrounding population, consistent with the officially accepted exposure levels as estimated by the TMI plant operators and applying the internationally accepted radiation risk factors, derived from the long-term follow-up of the externally exposed A-bomb survivors. Contradicting these findings, a subsequent study by Wing et al

found statistically significant excess cancers. These cancers have affected the lives of real persons. Yet, Wing's results were angrily dismissed by the radiation establishment and government health agencies because risk assessments, based on “current radiological science,” precluded that the officially accepted, very low levels of population exposures (doses) released from the TMI reactor could induce the observed excess cancers. The possibility that combining flawed dose estimates with flawed risk models could predict flawed numbers of cancers that might be off by several orders of magnitude (factors of ten), was never considered by the Columbia U. investigators.

Following a tradition illustrated nearly 400 years ago by Gallileo's fate, accepted beliefs and supporting theoretical models, combined with vested interests, trumped observation. Questioning assumptions in adopted radiobiological models and radiation risk assessments would be equivalent to heresy..."

High Radioactivity Near Reactor #2

NHK: "High radioactivity level at No. 2 reactor" (block quote)

"The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the radioactivity level and humidity are high in the Number 2 reactor building, which will make internal operations hard.

Workers entered the building last week to measure humidity and to gauge levels of radioactive substances in the atmosphere.

The results show the Number 2 reactor building's radioactive cesium level is twice as high as the cesium level in air not purified in the Number 1 reactor building. Steam is filling the Number 2 building, and humidity has reached 99.9 percent
The high humidity means an air purification unit cannot be used to lower the level of radioactivity.

In order to cool the spent fuel storage pool that's causing the steam, TEPCO will put in place a heat exchanger on Tuesday to serve as a cooling system.

But TEPCO does not know how effective the system will be, so it will be a while before it can install the purifier to lower the radioactivity level.

Monday, May 30, 2011 07:04 +0900 (JST)



Record Radiation at Reactor #1: 225 Sieverts an Hour

These record levels of radiation must mean that fission is occurring. China Syndrome????

What are the implications?

Additionally, there is evidence that other reactors in Japan are also having problems.

Today is Memorial Day so I'm only posting quickly but I think we all need to pay attention and demand more radiation testing. I've already signed the petition...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Are FDA Approved Drugs Always Safe and Effective?

Read this excellent article at Zerohedge for another point of view...

Fukushima #4 Building and the Typhoon / Water Contamination in #2 and #3 Rises

NHK is reporting that "Fukushima plant prepares for wind and rain"

"The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is stacking sandbags around buildings that house electrical equipment to keep heavy rain and strong winds from affecting the cooling system.
Weather authorities say heavy rain is expected around the plant from Sunday to Monday, and strong winds may blow at sea.
The giant storage barge that will be used to hold relatively low-level radioactive water has been fixed to the quay by Tokyo Electric Power Company to prepare for the thunderstorm.

Sandbags have been stacked around buildings that house electric equipment and the doors sealed to prevent water from affecting the cooling system.

A special vehicle used to inject water into the spent fuel storage pool of the Number 4 reactor has been evacuated and its 50-meter arm folded to prevent strong winds from toppling it over.

...The level of contaminated water in the tunnels and the turbine buildings of the Number 2 and 3 reactors has been rising. The utility will continue to monitor the situation to make sure that contaminated water will not overflow and run into the sea or groundwater

It is spraying a special processing agent on debris and buildings to stop radioactive materials from being washed out to sea through ditches.

MAJIA HERE: The ongoing concern has been that building #4 is listing and is in danger of collapsing. If it collapses, there is a great likelihood that the spent fuel in #4's pool will be scattered all over the grounds, which will make cooling impossible. This scenario would also make any future work at the plant difficult or even impossible.

Note that this report also mentions that the contamination of water in units 2 and 3 is rising. Cooling at these units has proceeded by continuous dumping of water. That water is contaminated since the reactor containment is breached and radioactive water is accumulating in the buildings.

There is no place left to store all the contaminated water. Plus, the radioactivity of the water is making it difficult for work to proceed in its vicinity.

Many people have speculated that the plant grounds will eventually become too contaminated for workers and for robotic equipment (which is sensitive to radiation).

We are creating a hell on earth--a place that no living being may go, a place that spreads death slowly but pervasively.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Could Fukushima Kill Millions???

I have read quite a few thoughtful posts by different individuals who say yes.

I do not know.

All I know is that the arguments I've read about how and why Fukushima might kill millions are persuasive.

Simultaneously, there appears no way to contain the reactor cores and spent fuel pools and the radiation at the plant may make it impossible for people to work there.

Yet there is no coverage by mainstream media other than an occasional relatively innocuous article at Bloomberg, WSJ, NYT, etc.

The combination of the lack of control, the lack of media coverage, and the growing radiation at the plant have me scared.

I recommend readers read this article linked here

A million deaths...?

Radioactive Water From Fukushima Threatens Marine Life and Complicates Work at the Plant

The Fukushima reactor situations for 1-3 continue to deteriorate.

The reactors' containments are cracked so water used to try and keep the melted fuel from producing nuclear fission is pouring into the basements and throughout the plant.

As the article below from Japan Today points out, the “basements of the turbine buildings of all six reactors have been flooded by about 100,000 tons of radioactive water. That's enough to fill roughly 40 Olympic-size swimming pools.”

The amount of contaminated water is making it difficult for work activity to occur at the plant.

TEPCO has no place to store the water and it is ending up in the groundwater and sea.

Radioactive contamination in the sea is already staggering.

TEPCO plans to use AREVA’s technology to de-contaminate the water.

However, this volume of contaminated water is simply staggering and the costs are so high that my bet is its going to end up in the sea. TEPCO has already demonstrated their deceitful and greedy corporate culture.

Saturday, May 28, 2011
“As nuke workers wait, tainted water climbs” (block quote)


While Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to set up a water treatment facility in mid-June to decontaminate the thousands of tons of radioactive water being generated at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, the utility must also find a safe place to store it before it leaks into the ground or finds its way to the sea.

Compounding the problem are the reactors, which are believed to be ridden with cracks, holes or damaged pipes that are allowing the water being used to cool what's left of the reactor cores to escape.

With the rainy season approaching, speed is of the essence. But experts say plugging the leaks is extremely difficult because of the high radiation, which means Tepco could be stuck with the water for years.

"The tainted water needs to be processed as quickly as possible," said Kenji Takeshita, a professor at the Research Laboratory for Nuclear Reactors at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and an expert on nuclear waste disposal. "If the amount continues to increase, there will be nowhere to store it. And if it overflows, the water could leak into the sea, which will be a big problem."

The tainted water is becoming such a big problem in fact that it is interfering with the beleaguered utility's main task of securing the stricken reactors.

So far, the basements of the turbine buildings of all six reactors have been flooded by about 100,000 tons of radioactive water. That's enough to fill roughly 40 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Tepco started pumping out unit 2 in April and unit 3 last week after leaks in cracked utility pits were found draining into the sea after being filled via trenches linked to the turbine buildings. But these operations had halted by Friday because the temporary storage facility set up for the water is nearly at its full capacity of 14,000 tons.

Now Tepco must wait for the water treatment facility. In the meantime, it has cut the water flow to unit 3 to 14.5 tons per hour from 15.5. Unit 2 continues to get 7 tons per hour.

The water will only rise, but the act of keeping it in the turbine buildings presents the risk of a leak somewhere making it to the Pacific, experts said. As of Saturday morning, water levels had risen to 3.382 meters in unit 2 and 3.570 meters in unit 3, up about 16 mm since 5 p.m. Friday.

The extracted water put in the nuclear waste disposal area is already a problem: It is leaking into a corridor connecting the two buildings storing it.

"The water is not stored in tanks but in the building, so there is the possibility of it leaking from somewhere" to the outside and flowing into the sea, said Akio Koyama, professor at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute and an expert on managing radioactive waste.

(YAH RIGHT) Tepco said the water in the waste disposal area is not entering the sea and that daily radioactivity tests show that ground water has not been affected. This may change as the rainy season gets under way and starts filling the trenches around the plant, which could overflow.

Much of Tepco's hopes have been pinned on the water treatment facility being set up by Areva SA. The facility removes radioactive substances from water, canceling out the danger.

…as long as the breaches in the pressure and containment vessels do not get fixed, any water that touches the melted fuel will flood the facility unless it can be trapped or stored…

…."Because of the high radiation, I'd assume the workers won't be able to build the cooling system that strongly," he said, confirming that it might not be able to hold up if big aftershocks occur.


NKH: “Radioactive materials found off Miyagi and Ibaraki” (block quote)

"Japan's science ministry has detected extraordinarily high levels of radioactive cesium in seafloor samples collected off Miyagi and Ibaraki Prefectures.

Experts say monitoring should be stepped up over a larger area to determine how fish and shell fish are being affected.

The ministry collected samples from 12 locations along a 300-kilometer stretch off Fukushima prefecture's Pacific coast between May 9th and 14th. It hoped to get an idea about the spread of nuclear contamination caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Radioactive substances were found in all locations, including those off Miyagi and Ibaraki Prefectures, which had not been previously investigated.

Radioactive cesium 134, measuring 110 becquerels per kilogram or about 100 times the normal level, was found in samples collected from the seabed 30 kilometers off Sendai City and 45 meters beneath the surface.

Samples collected from the seabed 10 kilometers off Mito City and 49 meters beneath the surface measured 50 becquerels or about 50 times the normal level.

Professor Takashi Ishimaru of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology says plankton most probably absorbed the radioactive substances carried by the current near the sea surface, and then sank to the seabed.

He said monitoring must be stepped up over a larger area, as radioactive materials in the seabed do not dissolve quickly, and can accumulate in the bodies of larger fish that eat shrimp and crabs that live on the seafloor.

As I've Been Saying, The Recession Isn't Over for 80-99% of Americans

Calculated Risk Reports: "Real GDI (gross domestic income) and Personal Income less Transfer Payments still below pre-recession levels"


Fukushima: Can a Species Commit Suicide?

It seems that the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

It appears that it will be over a year and maybe years before the Fukushima disaster is brought under control. It seems it will spew radiation into the air, sea, and groundwater for months upon months upon years...

Already it is has caused more contamination in the oceans than Chernobyl.

More and more politicians and scientists are speaking up about their concerns that the situation is out of control and will take year(s) to contain




I especially recommend reading the earthfiles link.

I wonder how many people this disaster will sicken and kill?

Dr. Helen Caldicott stated there is enough plutonium at the plant to kill all humanity. Of course, that plutonium would have to be pretty well distributed...

Winds and precipitation are fickle. They are now infused with random death when blowing out of, and over, Japan. How will fickle winds distribute the clouds of death?

Will they spare some in Japan? Can some benevolent entity - God perhaps - please intercede on behalf of the loving mothers and fathers and children of Japan...

What about those of us on the U.S. west coast? Will the plutonium and other particles of illness and death randomly fall into my food or be breathed in with a simple gulp of air? Will my children be victims of fickle winds or rains that disperse death?

Will we even know how many are affected? Will our government and private health authorities manipulate statistics on cancer and birth defects in order to promote "normalcy"? I recall that public health statistics were first described as "political statistics."

Can a species commit suicide? Why yes I do believe it can....

Friday, May 27, 2011

ProPublica on Corruption in Juvenile Corrections

"In Florida, Doctors With Drug Company Ties Prescribe Drugs for Jailed Youth"

by Marian Wang ProPublica, May 23, 2011, 12:55 p.m.

"About a third of psychiatrists serving Florida’s juvenile jails and prescribing drugs to incarcerated youths have accepted payments from the drug companies [1] that manufacture antipsychotic medications, according to an investigation by the Palm Beach Post. Massive amounts of the medications have been purchased and administered by the state juvenile justice system, which has no method for tracking prescriptions and diagnoses [2] to see whether the drugs were prescribed appropriately.

"A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice told the Post that the department “expressly prohibits the use of these medications as a chemical restraint.” A former spokesman, however, acknowledged that doctors serving the state’s jailed youths do prescribe the drugs off-label—or for uses that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration...."

MAJIA HERE: Anti-psychotics, such as risperdal, are dangerous drugs that have serious health consequences for kids. These drugs zombify kids. They make them gain approximately 30 pounds and can cause diabetes--yes "cause" diabetes.

The drug companies have aggressively recruited psychiatrists to prescribe these dangerous drugs.

Doctors are inappropriately prescribing them for kids who could instead take safer drugs, such as the anti-depressants or anti-anxieties.

I don't believe in prescribing drugs for kids, but recognize that under some circumstances drugs may be helpful, or even necessary, but they should always be very closely monitored and combined with psychological and positive behavioral interventions.

Routinely prescribing anti-psychotics began when a corrupt psychiatrist popularized the category of biopolar disorder for kids in his research, while advocating use of risperdal. Dr. Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist at Harvard University, promoted use of the bipolar diagnosis for children, received $1.4 million in outside income from pharmaceutical companies who produce antipsychotics (Harris “Research Center”).

The 40 percent increase in bipolar diagnoses in children and adolescents from 1994 to 2003 led to a fivefold increase in prescription rates for powerful antipsychotics, particularly Risperdal (generic risperidone) and similar agents (Carey “Bipolar”; Harris “Use of Antipsychotics”).

This practice of buying psychiatrists to prescribe dangerous drugs is criminal and morally reprehensible.

Carey, Benedict. “Bipolar Illness Soars as a Diagnosis for the Young.” The New York Times 4 September 2007. 4 September 2007 www.nytimes.com/2007/09/04/health/04psych.html.

Carey, B. “Parenting as Therapy for Child’s Mental Disorders.” The New York Times 22 December 2006. 22 December 2006 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9506E7DC1131F931A15751C1A9609C8B63

Harris, Gardiner. “Proof is Scant on Psychiatric Drug Mix for Young.” The New York Times 23 November 2006: A1.

Harris “Research Center Tied to Drug Company.” The New York Times 24 November 2008. 24 November 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/health/25psych.html.

Harris. “Use of Antipsychotics in Children is Criticized.” The New York Times 19 November 2008. 19 November 2008 www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/health/policy/19fda.html.

Harris, Gardiner, and Carey, Benedict. (2008, June 8). “Researchers Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay.” The New York Times 8 June 2008. 8 June 2008




October 2, 2010: Side Effects May Include Lawsuits. The New York Times


FOR decades, antipsychotic drugs were a niche product. Today, they’re the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion and surpassing sales of even blockbusters like heart-protective statins.

While the effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in some patients remains a matter of great debate, how these drugs became so ubiquitous and profitable is not. Big Pharma got behind them in the 1990s, when they were still seen as treatments for the most serious mental illnesses, like hallucinatory schizophrenia, and recast them for much broader uses, according to previously confidential industry documents that have been produced in a variety of court cases.

Anointed with names like Abilify and Geodon, the drugs were given to a broad swath of patients, from preschoolers to octogenarians. Today, more than a half-million youths take antipsychotic drugs, and fully one-quarter of nursing-home residents have used them. Yet recent government warnings say the drugs may be fatal to some older patients and have unknown effects on children....


Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young. The New York Times.


OPELOUSAS, La. — At 18 months, Kyle Warren started taking a daily antipsychotic drug on the orders of a pediatrician trying to quell the boy’s severe temper tantrums.

Thus began a troubled toddler’s journey from one doctor to another, from one diagnosis to another, involving even more drugs. Autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, oppositional defiant disorder. The boy’s daily pill regimen multiplied: the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and one for attention-deficit disorder. All by the time he was 3.

He was sedated, drooling and overweight from the side effects of the antipsychotic medicine. Although his mother, Brandy Warren, had been at her “wit’s end” when she resorted to the drug treatment, she began to worry about Kyle’s altered personality. “All I had was a medicated little boy,” Ms. Warren said. “I didn’t have my son. It’s like, you’d look into his eyes and you would just see just blankness.”

Today, 6-year-old Kyle is in his fourth week of first grade, scoring high marks on his first tests. He is rambunctious and much thinner. Weaned off the drugs through a program affiliated with Tulane University that is aimed at helping low-income families whose children have mental health problems, Kyle now laughs easily and teases his family.

Ms. Warren and Kyle’s new doctors point to his remarkable progress — and a more common diagnosis for children of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder — as proof that he should have never been prescribed such powerful drugs in the first place.

Tracking the American Epidemic of Mental Illness. The Public Record. June 9, 2010.

By Evelyn Pringle

This is the first installment of Ms. Pringle’s five-part series.

Over a twenty-year span, starting when Prozac came on the market in 1987, the number of people on government disability due to mental illness went from 1.25 million to more than 4 million today. There has been a 35-fold increase in the number of children disabled by mental illness who receive federal disability payments, rising from 16,200 in 1987, to 561,569 in 2007.

These statistics come from a new book titled, “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness, in America,” by award winning journalist, Robert Whitaker, who also authored “Mad in America.”

For the book, Whitaker reviewed 50 years of outcomes in the medical literature, for adults with schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness, and the childhood disorders of ADHD, depression and juvenile bipolar disorder, to see whether medications had altered the long-term course of the disorders and whether drugs could bring on new or more severe psychiatric symptoms.

His intent was to assess whether this paradigm of care increased the risk that a person would become chronically ill, or ill with disabling symptoms, he reports in his “Mad in America” blog, on the Psychology Today website.

“Although we, as a society, believe that psychiatric medications have “revolutionized” the treatment of mental illness, the disability numbers suggest a very different possibility,” he wrote in the April 28, 2010, Huffington Post....


PROPAGANDA ALERT: G8 Calls for New Nuclear Safety Standards

This press release by the G8 is simply propaganda. It is aimed at squelching public resistance against nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants can never be truly safe because any number of natural disasters or human errors can turn them into radioactive bombs.

However, there are many vested interests in maintaining the energy status quo. Moving to alternative energy sources and re-designing our energy infrastructures impinge against profit structures and political power.

Yet, we must confront the vested interests because our longevity as a species depends upon it. Coal, Natural Gas, Petroleum, and Nuclear Power are addictive drugs that are going to slowly kill us by making our planet uninhabitable for our species.

This is not an overstatement. Look at the environmental and health costs of these energy sources. They are poisoning us and most living species on the planet.

Fracking for natural gas is destroying our limited fresh water supply.

Burning coal puts mercury and radioactive nuclides in our environment.

Ditto for extracting and burning petroleum -- yes the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico released radioactive contamination!

The disaster at Fukushima is so large and pervasive in scope that it is hard to really grasp. This is perhaps our most significant warning. We must heed it....

Einstein opened Pandora's box and unleashed a predator of unmeasurable proportions....


"G8 calls for new nuclear safety standards"


"Leaders of the Group of Eight industrial countries have called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish new international standards for nuclear power plants, following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan.
"The G8 leaders announced a declaration focusing on nuclear safety before wrapping up their 2-day summit in the French city of Deauville on Friday.
"In the joint declaration, the leaders urge the IAEA to create new international standards for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in areas of high risk, including threats posed by terrorism and earthquakes.
"The document says the major industrial countries should toughen treaties related to nuclear safety.
"It also notes the need to take into account locations when new plants are built, to avoid a concentration of reactors, which has compounded problems at the Fukushima plant.
"In addition, the G8 countries recognize the resilience of the Japanese economy and Japan pledges to make every effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the global economy.
"They also call on member countries to base trade and travel restrictions on scientific grounds alone, addressing import bans imposed by some countries on Japanese products after the nuclear accident.

Friday, May 27, 2011 21:15 +0900 (JST)

May 27: Fukushima Updates

A Letter from a Fukushima Mother

Govt to reduce school radiation levels

"Japan's education minister says the government will strive to keep cumulative radiation levels at school in Fukushima Prefecture below one millisievert per year. The prefecture is home to the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

"Yoshiaki Takaki also told reporters on Friday that if the levels exceed a benchmark of one microsievert per hour, the topsoil of school grounds will be removed, and most of the cost will be paid for by the government.

"Removing the surface soil is said to be an effective method of limiting the radiation exposure of children who use the school grounds.

"The government had earlier set a yearly limit of 20 millisieverts of accumulated external radiation for children taking part in outdoor activities. But parents have protested the decision.

"Twenty millisieverts per year is in line with the levels set by the International Commission for Radiological Protection when dealing with emergency situations, although it recommends one millisievert per year as a benchmark.


Tepco Failed to Disclose Scale of Fukushima Radiation Leaks, Academics Say By Stuart Biggs and Yuriy Humber - May 27, 2011 2:22 AM

"As a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled nuclear plant today, academics warn the company has failed to disclose the scale of radiation leaks and faces a “massive problem” with contaminated water.

"The utility known as Tepco has been pumping cooling water into the three reactors that melted down after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into basements and other areas of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. The volume of radiated water may double by the end of December and will cost 42 billion yen ($518 million) to decontaminate, according to Tepco’s estimates.

“Contaminated water is increasing and this is a massive problem,” Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist in isotope analysis and radiation detection at Nagoya University, said by phone. “They need to find a place to store the contaminated water and they need to guarantee it won’t go into the soil.”

Seabed radiation 100-1,000 times normal level off Fukushima plant

"TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Radiation readings have risen to 100-1,000 times the normal level on the Pacific seabed near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said Tuesday.
The high levels of radioactive materials were detected in samples collected Friday from the seabed at two points 20-30 meters deep in the first contamination probe of the seabed by Tokyo Electric Power Co., it said.

"The seabed samples collected 3 kilometers from Minamisoma and 3 km from Naraha, both in Fukushima Prefecture, contained 98-190 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram and 1,200-1,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium…


Soil contamination from Fukushima crisis comparable to Chernobyl: study

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- "Radiation released by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has caused soil contamination matching the levels seen in the Chernobyl disaster in some areas, a researcher told the government's nuclear policy-setting body Tuesday.

"A massive soil decontamination project will be indispensable before residents in those areas can return," said Tomio Kawata, a research fellow of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, at the meeting of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, which sets policies and strategies for the government's nuclear power development.

"According to Kawata, soil in a 600 square kilometer area mostly to the northwest of the Fukushima plant is likely to have absorbed radioactive cesium of over 1.48 million becquerels per square meter, the yardstick for compulsory migration orders in the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

"Kawata also said soil in a 700 square km area is likely to have absorbed 555,000-1.48 million becquerels per square meter, which was a criteria for temporary migration during the Chernobyl disaster.
Kawata estimated the soil contamination using data on radiation levels in the air monitored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The size of the contaminated areas in the Fukushima crisis is one-tenth to one-fifth of those polluted in the Chernobyl disaster, Kawata said.

MAJIA HERE: I'VE NO DOUBT THE CONTAMINATION IS MUCH, MUCH BROADER. Tepco and the govt have lied so very much. THE JAPANESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE THOUGH THAT THE WINDS TOOK SO MUCH RADIATION OUT TO SEA. Unfortunately, the impending typhoon season may bring it all back...

Evidence of Radioactive Contamination in Japan Flora


Japan car output falls 61% in April on disaster

TOKYO, May 27, Kyodo: "Total domestic output at eight major Japanese automakers in April plunged 60.1 percent from a year earlier as the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the northeast forced them to suspend production, they said Friday.

"The country's top automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., saw its domestic output nose-dive 78.4 percent to 53,823 units, the lowest monthly figure since comparable data began to be compiled in 1976. The year-on-year drop was the sharpest since then.

"The combined domestic production, totaling 279,345 units, marked the second consecutive fall. The drop was 57.5 percent in March.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fukushima Updates May 26: Radiation in Phoenix UP AGAIN and Thoughts on Global Contamination

Radnet data posted for Phoenix today show 160 Beta. That is the highest level posted since April (there were days in mid May that no data were posted at all so we might have had higher levels then).

Either our local nuclear power plant is spewing radiation or we are being hit by more Fukushima contamination. This is very concerning.


Here is a powerpoint on the accident development from UT:

TEPCO finds new leak

"Tokyo Electric Power Company has been removing highly radioactive wastewater from the plant's Number 2 and Number 3 reactors to waste disposal facilities within the compound.

"The utility initially planned to transfer 14,000 tons, but it now wants to remove an additional 5,000 tons because there has been no noticeable drop in accumulated water in the reactors.

"TEPCO suspended the transfer from the Number 3 reactor on Thursday to check whether the disposal facility could hold more water.

"It found that the water level at the facility had dropped by 4.8 centimeters over a 20-hour period, meaning some 57 tons of water had been lost.

"TEPCO says there has been no increase in radiation levels in nearby groundwater, but that the water level continues to fall.

Nitrogen injection into No.1 reactor stops again

"Nitrogen injection to prevent a hydrogen explosion was stopped for more than 4 hours at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Wednesday.

"Engineers have been pumping nitrogen into the No.1 reactor since April 6th. The aim is to prevent another hydrogen blast when hydrogen - created when nuclear fuel reacts with water - builds up inside the containment vessel.

"On Saturday, the device for pumping nitrogen temporarily stopped, but plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, quickly replaced it.

Soil contamination from Fukushima crisis comparable to Chernobyl: study (May 25)

"Radiation released by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has caused soil contamination matching the levels seen in the Chernobyl disaster in some areas, a researcher told the government’s nuclear policy-setting body Tuesday. ‘‘A massive soil decontamination project will be indispensable before residents in those areas can return,’’ said Tomio Kawata, a research fellow of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, at the meeting of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, which sets policies and strategies for the government’s nuclear power development.


The nuclear environmental disaster of Fukushima Daiichi is just beginning.
Hat tip nukefree http://www.nukefree.org/

By SERGE SARGENTINI 2011 05 05 [French version] "Contrarily to what we could think, the disaster of Fukushima Daiichi is just beginning: a new poisoning of the planet Earth is in progress. While many governments are finally becoming aware that the safety of the nuclear reactors cannot be reliable and are thus adopting a radical political change, on the other hand the Japanese people just begin to discover and to assess the extent of the environmental disaster of Fukushima Daiichi. While the world has its eyes riveted on the nuclear site of Fukushima, the main issue is not really the level of radiations, on the site of the nuclear power-plant, but the scale of the impact of the emissions of contaminating radioactive particles which have been generated and which are still generated and disseminated in the world environment…."

"Chernobyl Times Ten" at Counterpunch
Fukushima and the Radioactive Sea

"New readings show levels of radioisotopes found up to 30 kilometers offshore from the on-going crisis at Fukushima are ten times higher than those measured in the Baltic and Black Seas during Chernobyl.
"When it comes to the oceans, says Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceonographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, "the impact of Fukushima exceeds Chernobyl."
The news comes amidst a tsunami of devastating revelations about the Fukushima disaster and the crumbling future of atomic power, along with a critical Senate funding vote today..."

Majia here. There have been times over the last couple of months when I've felt as if I've fallen down the rabbit's hole. The sheer scope of the disaster, coupled with the media censorship, have been surreal. I feel as if I'm in a science fiction novel but in this narrative all the heroes and heroines are helpless against the forces of physics and corporate greed and corruption....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Greenpeace Finds High Levels of Ocean Radioactive Contamination


Thank you Greenpeace for your research. Here is what they found (excerpted block):

Press release - May 26, 2011

"Tokyo, Japan, 26 May 2011 – Greenpeace today slammed the Japanese authorities’ continued inadequate response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, after new data from its radiation monitoring showed seaweed radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits, raising serious concerns about continued long-term risks to people and the environment from contaminated seawater. In contrast, Japanese authorities claim that radioactivity is being dispersed or diluted (1) and are undertaking only limited marine radiation monitoring.

"Earlier this month, Greenpeace radiation monitoring teams on shore, and on board the international environmental organisation’s flagship Rainbow Warrior, collected samples of marine life including fish, shellfish and seaweed outside Japan’s 12-mile territorial waters (2) and along the Fukushima coast. Detailed analysis by accredited laboratories in France and Belgium (3) found high levels of radioactive iodine contamination and significantly high levels of radioactive caesium (4) in the samples.

“Our data show that significant amounts of contamination continue to spread over great distances from the Fukushima nuclear plant”, said Jan Vande Putte, Greenpeace Radiation Expert. “Despite what the authorities are claiming, radioactive hazards are not decreasing through dilution or dispersion of materials, but the radioactivity is instead accumulating in marine life. The concentration of radioactive iodine we found in seaweed is particularly concerning, as it tells us how far contamination is spreading along the coast, and because several species of seaweed are widely eaten in Japan.

read the full article at the link above

Reactor #1 Hits New Radiation High for Releases

Governments Lie, Japan Sacrifices its Children, and Radiation Threatens Humanity

Washington's Blog has a good article on the lies and deception that have occurred

MAJIA HERE: Japan's willingness to sacrifice its children in order to create the appearance of normality is simply reprehensible. What happens to a society that is willing to sacrifice so many of its offspring? We in the U.S. are hardly any better when you consider pesticides, radiation from coal and nuclear plants, GM crops, etc. However, this move to lift radiation risks for children is not necessary and seems to have no overt economic incentive. Please help me understand...

"Japan lifts radiation risks for kids" May 24 2011 Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"Outraged parents have held a rowdy demonstration outside Japan's education ministry in Tokyo to protest against the government's decision to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools

"Under new guidelines, Japanese children are allowed to be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible.

"The new regulation means children can now be exposed to as much radiation as a German nuclear worker...

"According to Nobel Prize-winning group Physicians for Social Responsibility, the new limits mean exposed children now have a one-in-200 risk of getting cancer, compared with a one-in-500 risk for adults

"The decision provoked outrage from within Japan's government, with the prime minister's chief scientific adviser resigning in protest.

"The government argues the change is essential to keeping schools open in the Fukushima region.

MAJIA HERE: and this presumes that the Japanese Gov. and TEPCO are even honestly reporting on actual levels of radiation released.

Radiation Safety Philippines has an interesting article up today about new calculations of radiation released and comparisons of the radiation contamination of Fukushima with Chernobyl

An alternative and more lengthy, detailed discussion comparing radiation releases can be found here (I strongly recommend)

Think the radiation risk is only in Japan? Think again. E-News is reporting on radioactive cesium in US milk again. Read the article linked above for explanation of why this is a problem.

I want to conclude by linking again Wasserman's plea for a global response to the global threat produced by Fukushima

Fukushima Updates May 25: A Tragedy of Epic Proportions

Here are the main points derived from the news articles excerpted below:

1. Fukushima Containment Vessels are Leaking (where we do not know but we can assume radiation is leaking into ground water, into the sea, and into the air). Already over 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water has been released into the ocean

2. TEPCO currently has no way of storing all the radioactive water accumulating at the site

3. TEPCO is still not releasing needed information about radiation at the plant, especially pertaining to plutonium and uranium

4. Radiation levels remain so high at the plant that workers can only spend minutes near reactors (and reactor #1 is probably too hot for workers to near at all). Cesium levels are increasing over reactor #1

5. Only 10% of plant workers have been tested for internal radiation

6. "When officials in Fukushima prefecture discovered 75% of the region's school sites had radiation levels above the existing safety standard of one millisievert a year, they upped the standard to 20 millisieverts a year, the maximum annual exposure allowed German nuclear workers" (Goodspeed, 2011)

7. Japan is experiencing an energy crisis: only about a third of the 54 nuclear reactors are operating.To avoid crippling power shortages, Japan must cut energy consumption by almost 20%..." (Goodspeed, 2011)

CONCLUSIONS: The situation at the plants is out of control. Radiation may rise to the point that workers cannot function at the plant. Japan is sacrificing its children. Japan's economy cannot function as it did prior to the disaster because of massive energy shortages. This is a tragedy of EPIC PROPORTIONS.


Fukushima Containment Vessels May Be Leaking, Tepco Says. May 25, 2011, 2:47 AM EDT
By Yuji Okada and Tsuyoshi Inajima


"May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the containment chambers of damaged reactors at its Fukushima nuclear plant were likely breached, identifying additional source of radiation leaks that may exceed Chernobyl.

"Computer simulations of the meltdowns of three reactors in March indicates holes formed in chambers, the company known as Tepco said in a report.

"The analysis confirms what independent researchers have said occurred after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit the plant. The report to the government raises fresh questions about how Tepco, which took more than two months to acknowledge fuel rods had melted, is handling the crisis, a nuclear researcher said.

“Unfortunately I can’t find any consistency in the report,” Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at Kyoto University, said by phone. “Tepco hasn’t released sufficient radionuclide analysis of leaked contaminated water. Now they’ve confirmed fuel rods melted, they should also release more data including plutonium and uranium readings.”

"Containment chambers surround the reactor vessel, which holds the fuel rods, and are meant to stop radiation and coolant leaks in the case of overheating...."


NHK: "TEPCO: reactor damage includes holes" May 25


"The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says data analyses suggest damage to its reactors may have caused cracks and openings in the reactor containment vessels equivalent to a 10-centimeter hole.

"Reactors 1 through 3 at the plant suffered nuclear fuel meltdowns after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. This is likely to have created holes and cracks at the bottom of the pressure vessels protecting the reactor cores and damaged the containment vessels.

"Massive amounts of highly radioactive water also leaked from the structures.

"Tokyo Electric Power Company analyzed the changes in pressure levels inside the pressure and containment vessels to gauge the scope of the damage.

"TEPCO said the analyses show that holes in the Number 1 reactor containment vessel amounting to 3 centimeters in total may have formed 18 hours after the quake. It said that may have expanded to 7 centimeters at least 50 hours after the quake.

"The utility said holes and cracks equivalent to 10 centimeters in diameter may have formed in the Number 2 reactor's containment vessel about 21 hours after the quake. It said a similar amount of holes could have been created in the suppression pool chamber by an explosion heard coming from there on March 15th.

"TEPCO said these results were obtained through data calculations, and that it has yet to confirm whether such holes actually exist.


National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada). May 21, 2011 Saturday National Edition

"A Perilous future; Nuclear catastrophe will haunt Japan for years to come"

BYLINE: Peter Goodspeed, National Post

"Radioactive isotopes have spewed into the air, contaminated the soil and been flushed into the sea, but the threat of even more dangerous exposures remains as nuclear experts try to determine the full extent of the damage.

"Radiation levels in the three damaged reactors are so high emergency crews can only spend a few minutes at a time near the buildings. They have been able to enter only two of the damaged structures to restart monitoring equipment...

"...If everything goes smoothly, the reactors could reach "cold shutdown" by early next year.

"But that timetable depends on how badly damaged the reactors are and how well the company manages to contain thousands of tonnes of contaminated water.

"The reactors are being cooled by circulating water that had leaked into the reactor containment vessels or basement areas after it has been cooled with heat exchangers.

"The aim is to extract hot water and inject chilled decontaminated water into the chamber containing the reactor fuel rods.

"To do this, TEPCO is building tanks to store up to 16,000 tonnes of contaminated water a month.

"It has already released 11,500 tonnes of the water into the ocean. Last Saturday, it discovered a further 3,000 tonnes that had apparently leaked from the damaged containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor into underground areas of the reactor building.

"Working with and storing so much radioactive water may slow repair work considerably.

"Even after TEPCO achieves a cold shutdown, it may take decades to decontaminate the plant….

"Even now, two months later, only 10% of the plant's workers have been tested for internal radiation exposure caused by inhaling or ingesting radioactive materials. That's because most of the testing equipment is inside the contaminated buildings….

"…when officials in Fukushima prefecture discovered 75% of the region's school sites had radiation levels above the existing safety standard of one millisievert a year, they upped the standard to 20 millisieverts a year, the maximum annual exposure allowed German nuclear workers….

"…But the combination of the Fukushima disaster and emergency inspections of existing nuclear plants has created a new energy crisis -only about a third of the 54 nuclear reactors are operating.

"To avoid crippling power shortages, Japan must cut energy consumption by almost 20%..."



High levels of cesium detected above No.1 reactor

"The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the density of radioactive cesium above the No.1 reactor is 18 times the permissible level for the edge of the plant's compound.

"Large amounts of radioactive substances have been released into the air since reactor cores and buildings were damaged, but measurements were not available.

"On Sunday, Tokyo Electric Power Company began measuring the density of radioactive elements above the No.1 and No.4 reactors....

"TEPCO detected 360 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic meter above the No.1 reactor, where most of the fuel rods are believed to have melted. The amount is 18 times the allowable limit for the plant's perimeter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Japan's Earthquakes and Nuclear Plants

I think that Fukushima is the nuclear disaster that could destroy Japan. However, the following article outlines other nuclear plant disasters that could easily occur in the context of the nation's heightened seismic activity.

"The Nuclear Disaster That Could Destroy Japan"
Tuesday 24 May 2011
by: Hirose Takashi, The Asia-Pacific Journal
By Translator C. Douglas Lummis

"The Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant is where expended nuclear fuel from all of Japan’s nuclear power plants is collected, and then reprocessed so as to separate out the plutonium, the uranium, and the remaining highly radioactive liquid waste. In short, it is the most dangerous factory in the world.

"At the Rokkasho plant, 240 cubic meters of radioactive liquid waste are now stored. A failure to take care of this properly could lead to a nuclear catastrophe surpassing the meltdown of a reactor. This liquid waste continuously generates heat, and must be constantly cooled. But if an earthquake were to damage the cooling pipes or cut off the electricity, the liquid would begin to boil. According to an analysis prepared by the German nuclear industry, an explosion of this facility could expose persons within a 100 kilometer radius from the plant to radiation 10 to 100 times the lethal level, which presumably means instant death.

"On April 7, just one month after the 3/11 earthquake in northeastern Japan, there was a large aftershock. At the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant the electricity was shut off. The pool containing nuclear fuel and the radioactive liquid waste were (barely) cooled down by the emergency generators, meaning that Japan was brought to the brink of destruction. But the Japanese media, as usual, paid this almost no notice..."

Fukushima Updates May 24

There is not much news this morning. I'll be out all day so I'll post updates tonight.

Radiation Safety Phillipines is reporting Cesium was found in milk from San Luis Obispo

Cesium was found also in strawberries by UC Berkeley

Cesium may be accumulating in our food chain.

E-News is reporting on a story from Bloomberg that TEPCO is confirming that reactors 2 and 3, in addition to 1, meltdown



Kyodo news is reporting that the soil contamination around Fukushima is as great as Chernobyl
Soil contamination from Fukushima crisis comparable to Chernobyl: study

I will get the full text of that story later tonight when I have time.

Comments at e-news refer to a vapor or steam release last night (our night). Lucas Whitefield Dixson has pictures here  http://news.lucaswhitefieldhixson.com/

Finally, CounterPunch has a good article on the globalization of radiation. I've excerpted a block below. Use the link to read the entire article:

"When Will Governments Act to Protect Us From Fukushima's Spreading Radiation? Fukushima Goes Global"

"To a limited extent, you can protect yourself and others against cancer from radiation.(1) But such means offer limited protection at best, and meanwhile massive amounts of irreparable damage are being caused ongoingly by the Fukushima disaster. Here are the high points of the latest disclosures and findings:

"First, there was a coverup, and that there were one or more meltdowns at the Fukishima site very early on, one of them even before the tsunami hit. Besides confirming the usual about reliability of official sources, a key conclusion to draw from that is that many reactors are even less safe than previously thought. Besides the four on the California Coast plus a number of smaller research reactors in their vicinity, all in line to be damaged by the earthquake and possible tsunami likely to happen sooner or later and possibly any time, there is at least one that was in danger of damage from the Mississippi flooding that just occurred last week.(2)

"Second, it becomes clearer all the time that we don't have to wait for one of the reactors in the U.S. to blow to create serious danger and harm...."

Monday, May 23, 2011

US Government Pursues Software for Propaganda Trolls

I started noticing troll behavior during the Gulf oil spill. It was easy to spot trolls because they are very aggressive and disagree with any industry criticism. The blogger at Naked Capitalism, Ives Smith, has found them so disruptive that she has stated she is going to censor trolls now.

Trolls are usually employed by industry (I've had students describe being employed as trolls) but the government is getting into full-scale troll warfare, as the article linked below illustrates.

Troll behavior has been very evident in discussion boards and comment sections examining the effects of radiation from Fukushima and the scope of the disaster. Troll comments often emphasize the (false) banana dose exposure equivalent for radiation or other false equivalents such as X-Rays or airline travel equivalents.

I've gone on at length about why these are false equivalents. They demonstrate how trolls are attempting to shape public opinion about the disaster specifically and nuclear energy more generally.

Here is the article about government's foray into Internet troll propaganda:

"U.S. Government Writes Software to Enable Squads of Propaganda Comment Trolls"

"Sounds like the deranged words of a conspiracy theorist: The U.S. military is (not so) secretly creating software that’ll generate phony online personae in order to subtly influence social media conversations and spread propaganda. But what may sound like wacky theory is actually wacky reality, or at least will soon be, depending on whether it’s already in the works.

Dubbed the “online persona management service,” this technology would enable a single soldier to assume upwards of 10 different identities. As United States Central Command Commander Bill Speaks told The Guardian, “The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”

"Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command. [The Guardian]


Hat tip Anna at e-news

Children of Japan Need Protection: Editorial from Kyodo News

I am pasting the entire article because of its importance. here is the link where it can be found in the original
OPINION: Children of Fukushima need our protection
By Tilman Ruff
MELBOURNE, April 26, Kyodo

I was dismayed to learn that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology earlier this week increased the allowable dose of ionizing radiation for children in Fukushima Prefecture.

The dose they set, 3.8 microsieverts per hour, equates to more than 33 millisieverts (mSv) over a year. This is to apply to children in kindergartens, nursery, primary and junior high schools. Let me try to put this in perspective.

Widely accepted science tells us that the health risk from radiation is proportional to the dose -- the bigger the dose the greater the risk, and there is no level without risk.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends that all radiation exposure be kept as low as achievable, and for the public, on top of background radiation and any medical procedures, should not exceed 1 mSv per year.

For nuclear industry workers, they recommend a maximum permissible annual dose of 20 mSv averaged over five years, with no more than 50 mSv in any one year.

In Japan the maximum allowed annual dose for workers, 100 mSv, was already higher than international standards. This has been increased in response to the Fukushima disaster to 250 mSv.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report estimates that each 1 mSv of radiation is associated with an increased risk of solid cancer (cancers other than leukemia) of about 1 in 10,000; an increased risk of leukemia of about 1 in 100,000; and a 1 in 17,500 increased risk of dying from cancer.

But a critical factor is that not everyone faces the same level of risk. For infants (under 1 year of age) the radiation-related cancer risk is 3 to 4 times higher than for adults; and female infants are twice as susceptible as male infants.

Females' overall risk of cancer related to radiation exposure is 40 percent greater than for males. Fetuses in the womb are the most radiation-sensitive of all.

The pioneering Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancer found that X-rays of mothers, involving doses to the fetus of 10-20 mSv, resulted in a 40 percent increase in the cancer rate among children up to age 15.

In Germany, a recent study of 25 years of the national childhood cancer register showed that even the normal operation of nuclear power plants is associated with a more than doubling of the risk of leukemia for children under 5 years old living within 5 kilometers of a nuclear plant.

Increased risk was seen to more than 50 km away. This was much higher than expected, and highlights the particular vulnerability to radiation of children in and outside the womb.

In addition to exposure measured by typical external radiation counters, the children of Fukushima will also receive internal radiation from particles inhaled and lodged in their lungs, and taken in through contaminated food and water.

A number of radioactive substances are concentrated up the food chain and in people. As a parent, as a physician, the decision to allow the children of Fukushima to be exposed to such injurious levels of radiation is an unacceptable abrogation of the responsibility of care and custodianship for our children and future generations.

(Tilman Ruff is chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and associate professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne, Australia.)