The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is spinning out of control. All underground storage tanks are leaking contaminated water into the Pacific.
Groundwater is flooding into the reactor buildings, creating 400 tons of radioactive water per day, which leaks into the sea. The alleged spent fuel pools repeatedly have their cooling shut down, which leads one to think that the pools are either leaking like sieves, or all the contents of the pools are on the floor, and they are dumping water on them in a vain effort to keep it cool.
The entire contents of the plant are leaking into the ocean. And, as noted here previously, the radioactive materials into the ocean do not all stay in it, but move into the atmosphere and come down as rain over the North American continent. The ocean phytoplankton, which supply 50-70% of the Earth’s oxygen is going away, sea lions are washing up on the west coast, the ocean is rapidly dying.
In the midst of this unparalleled catastrophe, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published guidelines in the Federal Register which dramatically relax the guidelines of radioactive contaminants which are allowed in water and food.
After years of internal deliberation and controversy, the Obama administration has issued a document suggesting that when dealing with the aftermath of an accident or attack involving radioactive materials, public health guidelines can be made thousands of times less stringent than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would normally allow.
The EPA document, called a protective action guide for radiological incidents, was quietly posted on a page on the agency’s website Friday evening. The low-profile release followed an uproar of concern from watchdog groups in recent weeks over news that the White House had privately agreed to back relaxed radiological cleanup standards in certain circumstances and had cleared the path for the new EPA guide…
Such circumstances could include the months – and possibly years – following a “dirty bomb” attack, a nuclear weapons explosion or an accident at a nuclear power plant, according to the guide, a nonbinding document intended to prepare federal, state and local officials for responding to such events.
For example, the new EPA guide refers to International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines that suggest intervention is not necessary until drinking water is contaminated with radioactive iodine 131 at a concentration of 81,000 picocuries per liter. This is 27,000 times less stringent than the EPA rule of 3 picocuries per liter.
“This is public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace,” Jeff Ruch, executive director for the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said in a statement Monday, referring to Peter Sellers’ character in the Stanley Kubrick film of the same name.
In a statement to Global Security Newswire, EPA spokeswoman Julia Valentine said the new document does not propose specific drinking water guidelines, but rather seeks comment on what guidelines are appropriate. “The agency would like to hear from state and local partners on this issue and is seeking input from states and local authorities as it considers the appropriateness of, and possible values of, a drinking water PAG,” she said.
However, while the new guide will be subject to a 90-day public comment period once it formally is published in the Federal Register, it has been labeled for “interim use,” meaning it is effective immediately.
Not that it really makes a difference, the government is literally doing nothing to prevent radioactive contamination of our air, water, and food. But it’s “official” now.
According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER),
Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:
In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;
In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Don’t look to the US Government for any protection from radiation, any action to fix the situation at Daiichi, or anything, except to promote the radioactive poisoning of Americans.