Green Action Japan has started a petition to stop the planned restart of the Ohi nuclear power plant. The Ohi plant — in Fukui Prefecture which has the highest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world — is just 37 miles from the historic city of Kyoto (pictured). As the petition states: “The Japanese national government wants everything ‘back to normal’ by the 2020 Olympics: Fukushima accident evacuees back to the Fukushima region, nuclear power plants restarted – everything back to pre-Fukushima days.” The reality is very different, with the destroyed Fukushima nuclear site still leaking deadly radioactivity and a country riddled with earthquake faults and volcanoes but a government eager to restart its nuclear reactors. The Governor and Mayor of Kyoto have petitioned the national government for the right to say yes/no to restart, to have control over Kyoto’s fate. Their plea has been answered with silence. Please help Koyoto, Japan and the world, by signing the Green Action petition today. No nuclear restarts! Please sign here. And watch a video about Ohi.
At the start of this year, the world was left baffled when evidence emerged of a male snow monkey unsuccessfully getting it on with a female Sika deer on Japan’s Yakushima Island.
Now another research team has recorded female monkeys humping male deer, and these romps happened in an entirely different group of animals, in another part of the country.
Snow monkeys, or Japanese macaques, are known to cohabit with Sika deer, as the latter are attracted by food scraps discarded by the monkeys on the forest floor.
Researchers have seen monkeys grooming the deer and even riding them, but this sexual stuff is something new.
The single male macaque caught in the act on Yakushima was thought to be a low-status male who couldn’t get a female mate and thus reduced his sexual frustration by taking it out on the deer – who seemed unphased by the affair.
But it’s hard to judge what might be going on between the species with just one example, so primatologists from the University of Lethbridge in Canada decided to gather more data from the groups they were observing in Minoo, central Japan.
Scientists already know that adolescent female macaques have similar urges – they routinely interact with male and female monkeys in a sexy way, soliciting them for sex and even mounting them.
Having seen adolescent monkey girls mounting male deer in the vicinity, the team decided to compare these two behaviours to see whether the interactions really were meant to be sexual.
“This is the first quantitative study of heterospecific sexual behaviour between a non-human primate and a non-primate species,” the team writes in the study.
After counting a total of 67 mounts between two female monkeys and 258 female-monkey-on-deer mounts, the researchers identified 25 “successful” interactions, defined by three or more mounts within a 10 minute period.
Twelve of these happened between monkeys, and the other thirteen were monkey-deer liaisons. The romps would take anywhere between just a few minutes to as long as two hours.
Mostly, the deer didn’t seem to care at all – they nonchalantly stood still and even kept eating, and only a few reared up to dislodge the horny monkeys from their backs.
In a video featuring sample interactions recorded during the study, the whole thing looks fairly innocent, as the monkeys grind away atop bored-looking deer (although the biting and occasional antler-pulling is a bit more disconcerting).
After analysing the behaviours, the team concluded there was no significant difference between monkey-monkey or monkey-deer interactions – so what we’re seeing is indeed macaques having sexy time with deer.
But why are they doing this? The short answer is, we still don’t really know.
The team hypothesises there could be several reasons for these unproductive affairs – adolescent females could be practising their sex moves before engaging in the real deal, or perhaps relieving sexual tension since they couldn’t get a mate of their own species.
It all could be down to surging adolescent hormones, as female monkeys get a taste for what genital stimulation feels like, and decide to partake in it with non-threatening deer, as opposed to potentially aggressive adult male monkeys.
The researchers note they may have seen a larger number of interspecies action because of their observation area – a place in the national park where staff provide food twice a day to prevent monkeys from roaming too far out into the nearby city.
But apart from the possibly increased frequency, the researchers don’t think the sexual interactions had anything to do with human influence on the environment, as the two species hang around each other in many parts of the country.
“Future observations at this site will indicate whether this group-specific sexual oddity was a short-lived fad or the beginning of a culturally maintained phenomenon,” the team writes in the study.
The research was published in Archives of Sexual Behavior.
(Wearing protective clothing and masks, a husband and wife walk along the coast damaged by the 2011 tsunami, with the Fukushima plant in the background. (Photo: AP)).
Hidden Fukushima nuclear waste being released into ocean — ‘Surprisingly’ high levels of radiation now detected along Pacific coast and in groundwater far from reactors — Expert: No one expected this — “Alarming example of how radiation has spread”
Published: October 5th, 2017 at 3:25 pm ET
Newsweek, Oct 4, 2017 (emphasis added): Radiation From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Discovered in Sand and Groundwater 60 Miles Away… the beach groundwater is even 10 times more radioactive than the ocean directly next to the Fukushima plant.
Gizmodo, Oct 4, 2017: Fukushima’s Radioactive Waste Is Leaking From an Unexpected Source — A new and unexpected source of radioactive material left over from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has been found up to 60 miles away along coastlines… The discovery shows that damaged nuclear reactors are capable of spreading radiation far from the meltdown site, and in some surprising ways.
UPI, Oct 3, 2017: Beaches found releasing radioactive cesium into ocean 60 miles from Fukushima… Scientists have discovered a surprising new source of radioactive cesium… [Researchers] found unusually high levels of radioactive cesium-137 in the groundwater beneath several beaches… “No one expected that the highest levels of cesium in ocean water today would be found not in the harbor of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but in the groundwater many miles away below the beach sands,” WHO researcher Virginie Sanial said…
Fox News, Oct 3, 2017: Fukushima’s radioactive cesium found an unexpected hiding spot… The find wasn’t just a surprise, but significant. As the researchers write, “Aside from the aquifer beneath [the plant], the highest recorded present-day activities of [cesium-137] in the aqueous environment in Japan are associated with brackish groundwater underneath beaches.”
IFL Science, Oct 2, 2017: Scientists investigating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan have found an unexpected source of radioactive material… [It’s] an alarming example of how radiation from the reactor has spread… “It is as if the sands acted as a ‘sponge’ that was contaminated in 2011 and is only slowly being depleted,” said study co-author Ken Buesseler…
Study – Unexpected source of Fukushima-derived radiocesium to the coastal ocean of Japan, Sep 26, 2017: [T]he highest radiocesium (137Cs) activities outside of the power plant site were observed in brackish groundwater underneath sand beaches… During our study period, we found the highest cesium-137 (137Cs) levels (up to 23,000 Bq⋅m−3) outside of the FDNPP site not in the ocean, rivers, or potable groundwater, but in groundwater beneath sand beaches over tens of kilometers away from the FDNPP. Here, we present evidence of a previously unknown, ongoing source of Fukushima-derived 137Cs to the coastal ocean… This estimated ocean 137Cs source (0.6 TBq⋅y−1) is of similar magnitude as the ongoing releases of 137Cs from the FDNPP site for 2013–2016, as well as the input of Fukushima-derived dissolved 137Cs via rivers… This unexpected and ongoing 137Cs source requires further investigation…
KTUU, Feb 14, 2017 (emphasis added): Following last year’s massive die-off of Alaskan seabirds, scientists still looking for answers… “Geographically and that it lasted a year, that’s unprecedented, [Kathy Kuletz, a biologist with US Fish & Wildlife Service]… “it’s certainly well over a hundred thousand and it could go many times that.”… “I would say possibly hundreds of thousands were killed… Almost always it’s been starvation… Sea birds are top predators,” [Heather Renner, biologist with Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge] said. “They’re sort of sentinels for our environment. They have definitely let us know that there’s change going on in the ocean ecosystem”… Renner says [the birds had an] exceptionally low birthing season… This reproductive die-off meant a “total failure” of murre reproduction that year… “The reproductive die off is something we’ve never seen in murres before, widespread. The refuge (AMNWR) has been monitoring these colonies for 4 decades and it’s like nothing we’ve ever observed before,” Renner said… http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Following-last-years-massive-die-off-of-Alaskan-seabirds-scientists-still-looking-for-answers-413757753.html
AP, Feb 10, 2017: [T]ens of thousands of common murres… starved and washed ashore on beaches from California to Alaska… “it’s because there’s no fish out there, anywhere, over a very large area,” [John Piatt, biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey] said. To see such effect over two sizeable marine ecosystems is extraordinary, he said… Common murres eat small forage fish [which] were largely absent when the National Marine Fisheries Service conducted surveys in summer 2015… A conservative extrapolation indicates 500,000 or more common murres died, Piatt said. Nearly all were emaciated… “In 2016, we had widespread breeding failure at all of the colonies in the Gulf of Alaska, as well as the Bering Sea,” Renner said. “It was a highly unusual event. Murres don’t fail regularly.”… “They died of starvation because there was no food,” Piatt said. “There was no food because there was no fish.”…
KYUK, Jan 25, 2017: “The birds were underweight to the point of starvation,” [Shannon Atkinson of the University of Alaska Fairbanks] said. The number of starved murres, and the length of their die-off, was something no one had seen before, but murres in the Gulf of Alaska were not the only seabirds to die in large numbers last year. Tufted puffins in the Bering Sea also showed up on beaches in large numbers… Scientists struggled to understand why a bird that spends most of the winter offshore eating fish would fly to the coast to die of starvation on the beach… research showed a link between the starving birds and trawl surveys that came up empty, or with only a few of the forage fish normally eaten by murres… “The main result to take away from this is the catch per unit effort for all of these species was very close to zero, meaning that the forage fish was simply not there,” Atkinson said. http://kyuk.org/post/massive-murre-die-last-winter-caused-warm-water-disrupting-food-chain-and-causing-starvation
KUCB, Dec 7, 2016: In the past two months, 300 dead puffins have washed up on St. Paul Island, alarming residents who had only seen six carcasses over the last decade… scientists say it could be the sign of a much larger ecosystem problem… [The co-director of St. Paul’s Ecosystem Conservation Office said] ‘There are dead puffins everywhere.’… The carcasses came ashore in waves… [Lauren Divine, co-director of St. Paul’s Ecosystem Conservation Office] said the extent of the die-off was frightening… “After we opened up the first five, it was very apparent that all of them were emaciated,” she said. “Their muscles were completely atrophied. They had empty stomachs. They had gastrointestinal bleeding, which indicates severe long-term starvation. They were in very, very poor shape… So we started digging into this more,” said Divine. “What is happening? Where is their food?“… [T]he ECO office is also seeing signs of stress in other species. [Divine] said the island’s seabirds laid barely any eggs this season, hunters had a hard time finding sea lions, and crab quotas were cut sharply after a survey showed low numbers. http://kucb.org/post/puffin-die-st-paul-island-may-point-larger-ecosystem-problems
Dr Helen Caldicott, explains recent robot photos taken of Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear reactors: radiation levels have not peaked, but have continued to spill toxic waste into the Pacific Ocean — but it’s only now the damage has been photographed.
RECENT reporting of a huge radiation measurement at Unit 2 in the Fukushima Daichi reactor complex does not signify that there is a peak in radiation in the reactor building.
All that it indicates is that, for the first time, the Japanese have been able to measure the intense radiation given off by the molten fuel, as each previous attempt has led to failure because the radiation is so intense the robotic parts were functionally destroyed.
The radiation measurement was 530 sieverts, or 53,000 rems (Roentgen Equivalent for Man). The dose at which half an exposed population would die is 250 to 500 rems, so this is a massive measurement. It is quite likely had the robot been able to penetrate deeper into the inner cavern containing the molten corium, the measurement would have been much greater.
These facts illustrate why it will be almost impossible to “decommission” units 1, 2 and 3 as no human could ever be exposed to such extreme radiation. This fact means that Fukushima Daichi will remain a diabolical blot upon Japan and the world for the rest of time, sitting as it does on active earthquake zones.
What the photos taken by the robot did reveal was that some of the structural supports of Unit 2 have been damaged. It is also true that all four buildings were structurally damaged by the original earthquake some five years ago and by the subsequent hydrogen explosions so, should there be an earthquake greater than seven on the Richter scale, it is very possible that one or more of these structures could collapse, leading to a massive release of radiation as the building fell on the molten core beneath. But units 1, 2 and 3 also contain cooling pools with very radioactive fuel rods — numbering 392 in Unit 1, 615 in Unit 2, and 566 in Unit 3; if an earthquake were to breach a pool, the gamma rays would be so intense that the site would have to be permanently evacuated. The fuel from Unit 4 and its cooling pool has been removed.
But there is more to fear.
The reactor complex was built adjacent to a mountain range and millions of gallons of water emanate from the mountains daily beneath the reactor complex, causing some of the earth below the reactor buildings to partially liquefy. As the water flows beneath the damaged reactors, it immerses the three molten cores and becomes extremely radioactive as it continues its journey into the adjacent Pacific Ocean.
Every day since the accident began, 300 to 400 tons of water has poured into the Pacific where numerous isotopes – including cesium 137, 134, strontium 90, tritium, plutonium, americium and up to 100 more – enter the ocean and bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain — algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish then us.
Fish swim thousands of miles and tuna, salmon and other species found on the American west coast now contain some of these radioactive elements, which are tasteless, odourless and invisible. Entering the human body by ingestion they concentrate in various organs, irradiating adjacent cells for many years. The cancer cycle is initiated by a single mutation in a single regulatory gene in a single cell and the incubation time for cancer is any time from 2 to 90 years. And no cancer defines its origin.
We could be catching radioactive fish in Australia or the fish that are imported could contain radioactive isotopes, but unless they are consistently tested we will never know.
As well as the mountain water reaching the Pacific Ocean, since the accident, TEPCO has daily pumped over 300 tons of sea water into the damaged reactors to keep them cool. It becomes intensely radioactive and is pumped out again and stored in over 1,200 huge storage tanks scattered over the Daichi site. These tanks could not withstand a large earthquake and could rupture releasing their contents into the ocean.
But even if that does not happen, TEPCO is rapidly running out of storage space and is trying to convince the local fishermen that it would be okay to empty the tanks into the sea. The Bremsstrahlung radiation like x-rays given off by these tanks is quite high – measuring 10 milirems – presenting a danger to the workers. There are over 4,000 workers on site each day, many recruited by the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia) and include men who are homeless, drug addicts and those who are mentally unstable.
There’s another problem. Because the molten cores are continuously generating hydrogen, which is explosive, TEPCO has been pumping nitrogen into the reactors to dilute the hydrogen dangers.
Vast areas of Japan are now contaminated, including some areas of Tokyo, which are so radioactive that roadside soil measuring 7,000 becquerels (bc) per kilo would qualify to be buried in a radioactive waste facility in the U.S..
As previously explained, these radioactive elements concentrate in the food chain. The Fukushima Prefecture has always been a food bowl for Japan and, although much of the rice, vegetables and fruit now grown here is radioactive, there is a big push to sell this food both in the Japanese market and overseas. Taiwan has banned the sale of Japanese food, but Australia and the U.S. have not.
Prime Minister Abe recently passed a law that any reporter who told the truth about the situation could be gaoled for ten years. In addition, doctors who tell their patients their disease could be radiation related will not be paid, so there is an immense cover-up in Japan as well as the global media.
The Prefectural Oversite Committee for Fukushima Health is only looking at thyroid cancer among the population and by June 2016, 172 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident have developed, or have suspected, thyroid cancer; the normal incidence in this population is 1 to 2 per million.
However, other cancers and leukemia that are caused by radiation are not being routinely documented, nor are congenital malformations, which were, and are, still rife among the exposed Chernobyl population.
Bottom line, these reactors will never be cleaned up nor decommissioned because such a task is not humanly possible. Hence, they will continue to pour water into the Pacific for the rest of time and threaten Japan and the northern hemisphere with massive releases of radiation should there be another large earthquake.
“Unimaginable”: Record high radiation levels at Fukushima plant — “Gaping hole” found under containment vessel — Officials now admit: “It’s highly possible melted fuel leaked through” — Concern over radioactive gas leaks (PICS & VIDEO)
By ENENews, on February 2nd, 2017
Kyodo, Feb 2, 2017 (emphasis added): Radiation level at Fukushima reactor highest since 2011 disaster — The radiation level inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex stood at 530 sieverts per hour at a maximum, the highest since the 2011 disaster, the plant operator said Thursday… The previously highest radiation level monitored in the interior of the reactor was 73 sieverts per hour. https://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2017/02/456777.html
Kyodo, Feb 2, 2017: Record radiation level detected inside damaged Fukushima reactor… The reading means a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and [Tepco] grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors that melted down…
Nikkei, Feb 3, 2017: Based on the “noise” in the images, the utility estimated that one area of the containment vessel was emitting radiation at a level of 530 sieverts per hour… Tepco previously believed that most of the reactor’s nuclear fuel had been contained in the pressure vessel, based on last year’s muon tomography inspection… But “it’s highly possible that melted fuel leaked through,” said Yuichi Okamura, a company spokesman for nuclear power. http://asia.nikkei.com/Japan-Update/Nuclear-fuel-likely-melted-through-Fukushima-reactor-vessel
Japan Times, Feb 2, 2017: Tepco finds gaping hole in grate under containment vessel… The hole could have been caused by melted fuel penetrating the vessel… Tepco plans to deploy a robot at the bottom of the containment vessel… to check out the conditions there… The actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown because the radiation is too high…
Mainichi, Feb 2, 2017: [TEPCO said] a hole measuring 2 meters in diameter has been found on a metal grating… Images captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm on Monday also showed part of the grating has gone. A further analysis of the images found a 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure… http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170202/p2g/00m/0dm/087000c
NHK, Feb 2, 2017: [Tepco] says its latest estimation of the radiation level inside one of the reactors was extremely high and had the potential to be lethal to a human within a short period of time… An analysis of the images found that the radiation was up to 530 sieverts per hour at a concrete cylinder supporting the reactor… In the latest estimation inside the vessel, the area near its opening logged 50 sieverts per hour at maximum. The operator officials say that there are no leaks of gas with radioactive substances from the containment vessel. Officials suspect that fuel… may be emitting strong radiation inside the vessel. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170202/p2g/00m/0dm/087000c
See nearly other 70 posts mentioning fuel penetrating the containment vessel here
Nuclear Expert: Largest amount of Fukushima radiation fell on US West Coast and Pacific — “Why don’t we hear complaints from US?”… Officials are criminals and trying to cover it up — Public must be aware even more radiation is coming… “People need to realize impact of contamination on them”
Interview with nuclear engineer Hiroaki Koide (translation by Prof. Robert Stolz, transcription by Akiko Anson), published Mar 8, 2016 (emphasis added): http://apjjf.org//2016/06/Hirano.html
Now, strontium-90 [Sr-90] has been leaking from Fukushima into the ocean, so it will eventually reach the United States, especially the west coast. This much we are sure of… it is the masses of people who need to realize the impact of the contamination on them. In the case of the Fukushima disaster, for example, they need to be aware that some radioactive material is reaching the North American coast, and the prevailing westerly winds will carry anything released into the atmosphere to the US…
While we are not really sure [how much radioactive material has leaked from Fukushima] we do know that a portion of this material will ride the prevailing winds across the Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, closer to the ground, the winds will be east, south, and north, and therefore this other portion will fall on Japan―and we can investigate the actual levels here: how much fell on this town, on this prefecture? Adding these up, it seems to be only 2.4 PBq. Which is to say of the total fifteen PBq, 2.4, or roughly only 16%, fell on Japanese soil. If the totals are higher, still a smaller share of the total contamination will have fallen on Japan compared with the Pacific, with the largest portion falling on the west coast of the United States.
So why don’t we hear complaints from the US? Why are there no calls for compensation? Whenever someone asks me this, I simply say that there just aren’t any such complaints. Why is this so? Well the levels released by the US during the atmospheric testing were tens of times greater than Fukushima. They are the criminals, so they cannot ask for compensation from Japan. The U.S. government does not want to have to reflect on its own past, and I think they are eager to completely avoid bringing up anything like that conversation.
See also: TV: North America will not be safe from Fukushima radiation if plant keeps leaking — Animals “suddenly died” on west coast right after 2011 disaster… Whole world noticed this strange phenomenon — “Fatally high” levels of radioactive material has entered ocean… serious pollution is ongoing (VIDEO)
AP June 21, 2016, 8:28 AM
Fukushima meltdown apology: “It was a cover-up”
32 Photos http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/first-look-inside-fukushima-nuclear-plant/5/
In this June 1, 2011 file photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers inspect equipment inside the cesium absorption tower, part of the radioactive water processing facilities at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.
TOKYO — The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactorswas tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose’s apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose’s predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word “meltdown.”
“I would say it was a cover-up,” Hirose told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable.”
Japanese woman breaks silence on Fukushima-related cancer
TEPCO instead described the reactors’ condition as less serious “core damage” for two months after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, wrecked the plant, even though utility officials knew and computer simulations suggested meltdowns had occurred.
Yasushi Ooishi of TEPCO poses for a portrait on February 23, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Ooishi works in the team to handle the contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclea Power Plant.
An investigative report released last Thursday by three company-appointed lawyers said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials not to use the specific description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, though the investigators found no proof of such pressure.
Play Video http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fukushima-tepco-power-japan-nuclear-meltdown-apologizes-cover-up/
Japan struggles in cleanup of Fukushima meltdown
The report said TEPCO officials, who had suggested possible meltdowns, stopped using the description after March 14, 2011, when Shimizu’s instruction was delivered to vice president at the time, Sakae Muto in a memo at a televised news conference. In a video from that day, a company official rushes over to Muto, showing the memo and telling him that the Prime Minister’s Office has banned the word.
Government officials also softened their language on the reactor conditions around the same time, the report said.
Former officials at the Prime Minister’s Office have denied the allegation. Then-top government spokesman Yukio Edano, now secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party, criticized the report as “inadequate and unilateral,” raising suspicion over the report by the lawyers seen close to the ruling party ahead of an upcoming Upper House election.
TEPCO has been accused of a series of cover-ups in the disaster, though the report found TEPCO’s delayed meltdown acknowledgement wasn’t illegal.
Hirose said he will take a 10 percent pay cut, and another executive will take a 30 percent cut, for one month each to take responsibility.
Fukushima: Three Years Later
The report said Shimizu’s instruction delayed full disclosure of the plant’s status to the public, even as people who lived near the plant were forced to leave their homes, some of them possibly unable to return permanently, due to the radiation leaks from the plant.
TEPCO reported to authorities three days after the tsunami that the damage, based on a computer simulation, involved 25 to 55 percent of the fuel but didn’t say it constituted a “meltdown,” even though the figures exceeded the 5 percent benchmark for one under the company manual.
TEPCO in May 2011 publicly acknowledged “meltdown” after another computer simulation showed significant meltdown in three reactors, including one with melted fuel almost entirely fallen to the bottom of the primary containment chamber.
The issue surfaced earlier this year in a separate investigation in which TEPCO reversed its earlier position that it had no internal criteria regarding a meltdown announcement, admitting the company manual was overlooked.
Triple meltdowns remain out of control causing up to 66,000 excess cancers say two new reports while Americans feast on fishy Pacific seafoodSnow squalls brought the temperature down to a frigid 15.8 degrees Fahrenheit on the trawler January 20. The sea pitched in a rough chop.
Cold Japanese fisherman plied the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of Japan with three klieg lights at 2:30 in the morning. They were the only vessel around.
These weren’t just any waters the men fished in the freezing winds. The water was ‘hot’ with radiation. But the fish were plentiful and if they didn’t pass rad testing, they could be sold overseas.
The vessel bobbed in the choppy waters several hundred yards away from the still stricken, still leaking, still out of control triple nuclear reactors in full meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Gone fishing in the hot zone.
“Here’s a screenshot I took on 1/20/2016 at 2:36 [Japanese Standard Time] via the TBS Webcam,” says Sierra Nevada musician Chas Haws in a Radiation Conversation comment on EnviroReporter.com not long after taking it earlier this year. “It looks like a very large fishing boat with its trolling lights on. The thought that somebody somewhere could unknowingly consume those fish is a very scary thought. So scary I can’t believe any human being in their right mind would do such a thing.”
Exactly five years after the beginning of one of the two worst nuclear disasters in history, people are doing just that, eating fish from the seas off of Fukushima. If the catch is too radioactive under loose Japanese regulations, it’s sent to seafood consumers in the United States where the allowable radiation limits in fish are even more lax.Americans have been eating meltdowns-contaminated food for half a decade, as EnviroReporter.com’s Fukushima investigation shows. Radioactive cesium (caesium) is rising in fish caught off of British Columbia, the region (including Alaska and the Pacific Northwest) that supplies America’s ravenous seafood consumption.
Two new studies detail the extent of the contamination in Japan, its cancerous impact upon the population and continued Pacific contamination. Government testing has shown sea creatures high in Fukushima radionuclides caught of West Coast of the U.S. and Canada. Yet judging from the robust U.S. consumption of crashing seafood stocks in the Pacific, which have repeatedly tested positive for Fukushima radionuclides, America has ‘gone fishing’ too in the gastronomical sense.
Gone fishing. Most Americans would fit in this category when it comes to the Fukushima meltdowns and their effects. Meltdown fatigue, complicated science and an assortment of pro-nuclear naysayers comparing Fukushima’s radiation with eating bananas has understandably numbed great numbers of people to their peril.
The Long and Ionizing Road
EnviroReporter.com’s 2014 anniversary piece Fukushima – The Perfect Crime? reported that 441 tons of highly radioactive water was sluicing into the Pacific from the stricken cores every day. According to a new report by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) called 5 Years Living With Fukushima, that number is now 300 tons per day.
The reduction in toxic water released is the good news (even though more than 500,000 thousand tons of radioactive waste water has now gone into the Pacific since 2011). The bad news is up to 66,000 “excess cancers” will hit the Fukushima area because of the meltdowns, according to the report. Workers who fought to save the reactors and their comrades paid the highest price for their valor.
“More than 25,000 cleanup and rescue workers received the highest radiation dose and risked their health, while preventing a deterioration of the situation at the power plant site,” the report says. “If data supplied by the operator TEPCO [plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company] is to be believed, around 100 workers are expected to contract cancer due to excess radiation, and 50 percent of these will be fatal. The real dose levels, however, are most likely several times higher, as the operator has had no qualms in manipulating the data to avoid claims for damages – from hiring unregistered temporary employees to tampering with radiation dosimeters and even crude forgery.”Even five years out, no one is allowed to live within 12.5 miles of stricken reactors. The hardships experienced by the Japanese people who had to flee Fukushima is well documented in the new short film Five Years On – Voices of Fukushima. About 180,000 remain displaced.
Coinciding with the PSR/IPPNW report launch March 9, Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar specializing in nuclear disarmament, environmental, and energy policies, Institute for Public Studies, and former senior policy advisor, US Department of Energy, issued a statement highlighting their tragedy.
“Radioactive fallout from the reactors has created de faco ‘sacrifice zones’ where human habitation will no longer be possible well into the future,” Alvarez said. “In November 2011, the Japanese Science Ministry reported that long-lived radioactive cesium had contaminated 11,580 square miles (30,000 sq km) of the land surface of Japan. Some 4,500 square miles – an area almost the size of Connecticut – was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s allowable exposure rate.”
Some cries for justice are finally being heard in Japan. Three top TEPCO executives including the chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, and two former executive vice presidents were indicted February 29 for professional negligence resulting in injury and death. It would seem unlikely that the judgement of these men will happen very quickly since it took five years to call them to task.
Cleaning up the mess in Fukushima won’t happen very quickly either, says TEPCO. The company says it needs 50 years to contain and remediate the reactors with the missing, oozing corium. It claims to have completed 10 percent of that work.
What appears to be a Sisyphean task to restore Fukushima is confirmed in the new March 4 Greenpeace report “Radiation Reloaded: Ecological Impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident 5 years later.” The comprehensive study found that “The current approach of Japanese authorities to forest decontamination is the removal of leaf litter, soil, and understory plants in 20 meter strips along the roads and around homes that are surrounded by forests. In terms of decontaminating the large areas of Fukushima this approach is futile. Over seventy percent of Fukushima prefecture is forested, which is not possible to decontaminate.”
Greenpeace found that even if there is decontamination, it may subsequently be undone. “Mountain streams and rivers transport radioactive particulates and contaminated forest litter downstream, potentially contaminating areas that did not receive fallout, recontaminating ‘decontaminated’ areas, or discharging radioactivity to estuaries and marine ecosystems,” the report said.
Complicating matters even more is hot mist getting into everything, literally. “Both caesium-bearing particulates as well as vaporized, water-soluble radiocaesium were released,” the report says. “Water-soluble caesium, which came down as wet deposition with precipitation and fog, is readily absorbed via bark and leaves into the internal tissues of trees. Hot particles appear to weather and leach caesium under natural conditions. In addition, radiocaesium and 90Sr can be absorbed via root systems. Once absorbed into the internal tissues of trees, 134Cs and 137Cs are translocated with nutrient flows, concentrating in rapidly growing tissues such as new foliar structures, flowers and pollen. Japanese cedar pollen in Fukushima forests appears to have high concentrations of radiocaesium.”Radioactive fog, flowers and pollen? Yes, and hot honey too if the Fukushima sweet stuff soaks up the cesium like Croatian honey did from Chernobyl fallout adding fission to the flowers. It certainly has the potential to make even cherry tree festivals dangerous in the land of the rising radiation.
Naturally, it’s the perfect place to have the 2020 summer Olympics, i.e. Tokyo’s Radiation Olympics. If the swimming events are staged in Fukushima’s rivers, caution would be well advised if Greenpeace’s report is accurate.
“According to radiocaesium discharge projections for the century between 2011 and 2111, the major rivers whose catchments are primarily in Fukushima prefecture (the Abukuma, Arakawa, Naka, Agano, and Tadami rivers) could discharge as much caesium into the Pacific Ocean as is hemorrhaging from the Fukushima Daiichi plant itself,” the report says. “The Abukuma River alone is projected to discharge 111 TBq [Terabecquerel] of 137Cs [cesium-137] and 44 TBq of 134Cs [cesium-134], even with current rates of “decontamination”, in the century after the disaster.”
That is a lot of goo. All of it is headed for the Pacific Ocean. What goes into the water in Fukushima eventually makes its way on the Kuroshio Current to North American shores.
Just Say Glow
Many of the thousands of tests EnviroReporter.com has conducted and reported on since 2011 show Fukushima contamination in fish consumed in California and across America and Canada. Those tests keep coming in and include a variety of animals that have shown signs of Fukushima-related radionuclides in them.
In the summer of 2014, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries division found Fuku rads in northern fur seals. “We detected very small amounts of Fukushima-derived radioactive material in the seal tissue,” the NOAA report says. “We didn’t find any detectable radiation in the marine debris. The two [graph] peaks … show radiation energy for two isotopes of Cesium; 134Cs and 137Cs detected in fur seal muscle.”
Cesium-134 is a Fukushima signature radioisotope because it’s half-life of 2.07 years precludes anything else from being the source like nuclear fallout from atmospheric testing decades ago. It usually is found in tandem with cesium-137 as it indeed was in the seal.
Both of these isotopes of cesium are extremely dangerous with the shorter the half-life, the more intense a rate of ionization. That’s what makes cesium-134 such a perilous poison. NOAA also revealed that it tested water itself positive for cesium-134. Albacore tuna from the East Pacific Ocean, a foodie favorite, came in with 9.6 times higher in cesium-134 than the fur seal reading.“Estimated U.S. per capita consumption of fish and shellfish was 14.6 pounds (edible meat) in 2014,” according to recent NOAA data. “This total was essentially unchanged from the 14.5 pounds consumed in 2013.”
The U.S. fish feast of 2014 weighed in at 4,743,025 tons. Over 72 percent of that haul came from the Pacific with most of that harvested off of Alaska. That’s where so many Fukushima-related isotopes have been measured in all manner of flora and fauna over the last five years.
Foodies gone fishing from Fukushima who just have to have their seafood yet who care about radiation bioaccumulation can take heart. There are fresh water fish and seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. But eating anything out of the Pacific is lunched.
“I know humans do some pretty insanely stupid things, so I wonder,” Haws says of his Fukushima fishing screen capture. “Why else would those fish trolling lights be on… hmm? Did they unload their hefty catch at some far away port and say it came from somewhere else? It would be a crime beyond description. There are no fish police. At least not at 2:30 in the morning just east of ongoing TRIPLE MELTDOWNS.”
The image of that trawler fishing in the freezing night in the fission-rich waters off of Fukushima Dai-chi is truly disturbing. On whose plates will that catch land?
When it comes to Fukushima, and now five years of radioactive madness, most of America – and the world, seems to have simply gone fishing.