Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught off California Coast

Liberals unite

Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.

Over a year ago, in May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Stanford University study. Daniel Madigan, a marine ecologist who led the study, was quoted as saying, “The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world’s largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”

Another member of the study group, Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York State reported, “We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.”

That was over a year ago. The fish that were tested had relatively little exposure to the radioactive waste being dumped into the ocean following the nuclear melt-through that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011. Since that time, the flow of radioactive contaminants dumping into the ocean has continued unabated. Fish arriving at this juncture have been swimming in contaminants for all of their lives.

Radioactive cesium doesn’t sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through it and ingest it through their gills or by eating organisms that have already ingested it. It is a compound that does occur naturally in nature, however, the levels of cesium found in the tuna in 2012 had levels 3 percent higher than is usual. Measurements for this year haven’t been made available, or at least none that I have been able to find. I went looking for the effects of ingesting cesium. This is what I found:

When contact with radioactive cesium occurs, which is highly unlikely, a person can experience cell damage due to radiation of the cesium particles. Due to this, effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding may occur. When the exposure lasts a long time, people may even lose consciousness. Coma or even death may then follow. How serious the effects are depends upon the resistance of individual persons and the duration of exposure and the concentration a person is exposed to.  The half life of cesium 134 is 2.0652 years. For cesium 137, the half life is 30.17 years.

The Fukushima disaster is an ongoing battle with no signs that humans are gaining the upper hand. The only good news to come out of Japan has later been proven to be false and was nothing more than attempts by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to mislead the public and lull them into a sense of security while the company searched vainly for ways to contain the accident.

This incident makes Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pale in comparison. Those were nuclear meltdowns. A nuclear melt-through poses a much more serious problem and is one that modern technology doesn’t have the tools to address. Two and a half years later and the contaminants are still flowing into the ocean and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

The FDA assures us that our food supply is safe, that the levels of radiation found in fish samples are within safe limits for consumption. But one has to question if this is true and, if it is true now, will it remain true? Is this, like the statements issued from TEPCO, another attempt to quell a public backlash in the face of an unprecedented event that, as yet, has no solution and no end in sight?

As for me, fish is off the menu.

The REAL Fukushima Danger

Washington’s Blog

The fact that the Fukushima reactors have been leaking huge amounts of radioactive water ever since the 2011 earthquake is certainly newsworthy.  As are the facts that:

▪ Tepco doesn’t know how to stop the leaks

▪ Scientists have no idea where the cores of the nuclear reactors are

▪ Radiation could hit Korea, China and the West Coast of North America fairly hard

But the real problem is that the idiots who caused this mess are probably about to cause a much bigger problem.

Specifically, the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima.

If one of the pools collapsed or caught fire, it could have severe adverse impacts not only on Japan … but the rest of the world, including the United States.  

Indeed, a Senator called it a national security concern for the U.S.:


The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen and physician Helen Caldicott have both said that people should evacuate the Northern Hemisphere if one of the Fukushima fuel pools collapses. Gundersen said:

Move south of the equator if that ever happened, I think that’s probably the lesson there.

Former U.N. adviser Akio Matsumura calls removing the radioactive materials from the Fukushima fuel pools “an issue of human survival”.

So the stakes in decommissioning the fuel pools are high, indeed.

But in 2 months, Tepco – the knuckleheads who caused the accident – are going to start doing this very difficult operation on their own.

The New York Times reports:

Thousands of workers and a small fleet of cranes are preparing for one of the latest efforts to avoid a deepening environmental disaster that has China and other neighbors increasingly worried: removing spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building and storing them in a safer place. 

The Telegraph notes:

Tom Snitch, a senior professor at the University of Maryland and with more than 30 years’ experience in nuclear issues, said  “[Japan officials] need to address the real problems, the spent fuel rods in Unit 4 and the leaking pressure vessels,” he said. “There has been too much work done wiping down walls and duct work in the reactors for any other reason then to do something….  This is a critical global issue and Japan must step up.” 

The Japan Times writes:

In November, Tepco plans to begin the delicate operation of removing spent fuel from Reactor No. 4 [with] radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. …. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction. Removing its spent fuel, which contains deadly plutonium, is an urgent task…. 


The consequences could be far more severe than any nuclear accident the world has ever seen. If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire. Any of these situations could lead to massive releases of deadly radionuclides into the atmosphere, putting much of Japan — including Tokyo and Yokohama — and even neighboring countries at serious risk.

CNBC points out:

The radioactive leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is far from under control and could get a lot worse, a nuclear energy expert, who compiles the annual “World Nuclear Industry Status Report” warned.

***

The big danger – and it was identified by Japan’s atomic energy commission – is if you lose water in one of the spent fuel pools and you get a spent fuel fire.

CNN reports:

[Mycle Schneider, nuclear consultant:]  The situation could still get a lot worse. A massive spent fuel fire would likely dwarf the current dimensions of the catastrophe and could exceed the radioactivity releases of Chernobyl dozens of times. First, the pool walls could leak beyond the capacity to deliver cooling water or a reactor building could collapse following one of the hundred  of aftershocks. Then, the fuel cladding could ignite spontaneously releasing its entire radioactive inventory.

Reuters notes:

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.


Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.



“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
The operation, beginning this November at the plant’s Reactor No. 4, is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle, said Gundersen and other nuclear experts.



That could lead to a worse disaster than the March 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, the world’s most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.


No one knows how bad it can get, but independent consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt said recently in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013: “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.”

***

The utility says it recognizes the operation will be difficult but believes it can carry it out safely.


Nonetheless, Tepco inspires little confidence. Sharply criticized for failing to protect the Fukushima plant against natural disasters, its handling of the crisis since then has also been lambasted.

***

The process will begin in November and Tepco expects to take about a year removing the assemblies, spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters by e-mail. It’s just one installment in the decommissioning process for the plant forecast to take about 40 years and cost $11 billion.


Each fuel rod assembly weighs about 300 kilograms (660 pounds) and is 4.5 meters (15 feet) long. There are 1,331 of the spent fuel assemblies and a further 202 unused assemblies are also stored in the pool, Nagai said.

***

Spent fuel rods also contain plutonium, one of the most toxic substances in the universe, that gets formed during the later stages of a reactor core’s operation.

***

“There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said.
He was referring to an atomic chain reaction that left unchecked could result in a large release of radiation and heat that the fuel pool cooling system isn’t designed to absorb.



“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. “The spent fuel pool cooling system is designed only to remove decay heat, not heat from an ongoing nuclear reaction.”


The rods are also vulnerable to fire should they be exposed to air, Gundersen said. [The pools have already boiled due to exposure to air.]

***

Tepco has shored up the building, which may have tilted and was bulging after the explosion, a source of global concern that has been raised in the U.S. Congress.

***

The fuel assemblies have to be first pulled from the racks they are stored in, then inserted into a heavy steel chamber. This operation takes place under water before the chamber, which shields the radiation pulsating from the rods, can be removed from the pool and lowered to ground level.
The chamber is then transported to the plant’s common storage pool in an undamaged building where the assemblies will be stored.



[Here is a visual tour of Fukushima’s fuel pools, along with graphics of how the rods will be removed.]


Tepco confirmed the Reactor No. 4 fuel pool contains debris during an investigation into the chamber earlier this month.


Removing the rods from the pool is a delicate task normally assisted by computers, according to Toshio Kimura, a former Tepco technician, who worked at Fukushima Daiichi for 11 years.


“Previously it was a computer-controlled process that memorized the exact locations of the rods down to the millimeter and now they don’t have that. It has to be done manually so there is a high risk that they will drop and break one of the fuel rods,” Kimura said.

***

Corrosion from the salt water will have also weakened the building and equipment, he said.
And if an another strong earthquake strikes before the fuel is fully removed that topples the building or punctures the pool and allow the water to drain, a spent fuel fire releasing more radiation than during the initial disaster is possible, threatening about Tokyo 200 kilometers (125 miles) away.

ABC Radio Australia quotes an expert on the situation (at 1:30):


Richard Tanter, expert on nuclear  power issues and professor of international relations at the University of Melbourne: 

Reactor Unit 4, the one which has a very large amount of stored fuel in its fuel storage pool, that is sinking. According to former prime Minister Kan Naoto, that has sunk some 31 inches in places and it’s not uneven. This is really not surprising given what’s happened in terms of pumping of water, the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami, the continuing infusions of water into the groundwater area. This is an immediate problem, and if it is not resolved there is an extraordinary possibility we really could be back at March 2011 again because of the possibility of a fission accident in that spent fuel pond in Unit No. 4. 

Xinua writes:

Mitsuhei Murata, a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland has officially called for the withdrawalof Tokyo’s Olympic bid, due to the worsening crisis at Fukushima, which experts believe is not limited to storage tanks, but also potential cracks in the walls of the spent nuclear fuel pools. 


Japan Focus points out: 


The spent-fuel pool … was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, and is in a deteriorating condition. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction. 

***


If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire. 

***

This is literally a matter of national security – another mistake by TEPCO could have incredibly costly, even fatal, consequences for Japan. 

Like Pulling Cigarettes Out of a Crumpled Pack 

Fuel rod expert Arnie Gundersen – a nuclear engineer and former senior manager of a nuclear power company which manufactured nuclear fuel rods – recently explained the biggest problem with the fuel rods (at 15:45):

I think they’re belittling the complexity of the task. If you think of a nuclear fuel rack as a pack of cigarettes, if you pull a cigarette straight up it will come out — but these racks have been distorted. Now when they go to pull the cigarette straight out, it’s going to likely break and release radioactive cesium and other gases, xenon and krypton, into the air. I suspect come November, December, January we’re going to hear that the building’s been evacuated, they’ve broke a fuel rod, the fuel rod is off-gassing. 

***

I suspect we’ll have more airborne releases as they try to pull the fuel out. If they pull too hard, they’ll snap the fuel. I think the racks have been distorted, the fuel has overheated — the pool boiled – and the net effect is that it’s likely some of the fuel will be stuck in there for a long, long time. 

In another interview, Gundersen provides additional details (at 31:00):

The racks are distorted from the earthquake — oh, by the way, the roof has fallen in, which further distorted the racks. 


The net effect is they’ve got the bundles of fuel, the cigarettes in these racks, and as they pull them out, they’re likely to snap a few. When you snap a nuclear fuel rod, that releases radioactivity again, so my guess is, it’s things like krypton-85, which is a gas, cesium will also be released, strontium will be released. They’ll probably have to evacuate the building for a couple of days. They’ll take that radioactive gas and they’ll send it up the stack, up into the air, because xenon can’t be scrubbed, it can’t be cleaned, so they’ll send that radioactive xenon up into the air and purge the building of all the radioactive gases and then go back in and try again. 

It’s likely that that problem will exist on more than one bundle. So over the next year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me that either they don’t remove all the fuel because they don’t want to pull too hard, or if they do pull to hard, they’re likely to damage the fuel and cause a radiation leak inside the building.  So that’s problem #2 in this process, getting the fuel out of Unit 4 is a top priority I have, but it’s not going to be easy. Tokyo Electric is portraying this as easy. In a normal nuclear reactor, all of this is done with computers. Everything gets pulled perfectly vertically. Well nothing is vertical anymore, the fuel racks are distorted, it’s all going to have to be done manually. The net effect is it’s a really difficult job. It wouldn’t surprise me if they snapped some of the fuel and they can’t remove it. 

And Chris Harris – a, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer – notes that it doesn’t help that a lot of the rods are in very fragile condition:


Although there are a lot of spent fuel assemblies in there which could achieve criticality — there are also 200 new fuel assemblies which have equivalent to a full tank of gas, let’s call it that. Those are the ones most likely to go critical first. 

***

Some pictures that were released recently show that a lot of fuel is damaged, so when they go ahead and put the grapple on it, and they pull it up, it’s going to fall apart. The boreflex has been eaten away; it doesn’t take saltwater very good. 


Like Letting a Murderer Perform Brain Surgery On a VIP 

What’s the bottom line?
Tepco has an abysmal track record:

 ▪ Engineers warned Tepco and the Japanese government many years before the accident that the reactors were seismically unsafe … and that an earthquake could wipe them out

 ▪ The Fukushima reactors were fatally damaged before the tsunami hit … the earthquake took them out even before the tidal wave hit

 ▪ An official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster,  caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design

 ▪ Tepco knew right after the 2011 accident that 3 nuclear reactors had lost containment, that the nuclear fuel had “gone missing”, and that there was in fact no real containment at all.  Tepco has desperately been trying to cover this up for 2 and a half years … instead pretending that the reactors were in “cold shutdown”

 ▪ Tepco just admitted that it’s known for 2 years that massive amounts of radioactive water are leaking into the groundwater and Pacific Ocean

 ▪ Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has only been pretending to clean it up. And see this 

 ▪ Tepco’s recent attempts to solidify the ground under the reactors using chemicals has backfired horribly

And NBC News notes: “[Tepco] is considering freezing the ground around the plant. Essentially building a mile-long ice wall underground, something that’s never been tried before to keep the water out. One scientist I spoke to dismissed this idea as grasping at straws, just more evidence that the power company failed to anticipate this problem … and now cannot solve it.”

Letting Tepco remove the fuel rods is like letting a convicted murderer perform delicate brain surgery on a VIP.

Top scientists and government officials say that Tepco should be removed from all efforts to stabilize Fukushima.   An international team of the smartest engineers and scientists should handle this difficult “surgery”.

The stakes are high …

The FDA Allows Shocking High Levels of Radiation in Food

Internal ingestion of radiation from nuclear power accidents is the most dangerous kind of exposure. As you may know the American Medical Association (AMA) recently passed a resolution calling on the US to test seafood for radiation due to Fukushima. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently using a huge radioactive loophole by allowing a 1,200 becquerels per kilogram level of Cesium 134 and 137 in the US food supply. 

And this is a recommendation, not a binding limit, an important distinction because it means zero protection for US kids from internal contamination from man-made radiation in our food supply.

By contrast, Japan allows 100 Bq/Kg or lower in their food supply. It’s highly unlikely they can hold to that standard now due to Fukushima, but under current law Japan is in fact allowed to export to the US at levels 12 times as high or higher than what they allow their own citizens. Also, Korea and Canada and now starting to test their own seafood. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Germany is recommending much lower levels for the EU.

Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) member groups including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Health and Ecological Options Network filed a Citizen Petition with the Food and Drug Administration on March 12, 2013.  This is a legal document that requires a response from FDA.  If you still need to comment on the FDA Citizen Petition to lower current outrageous recommended levels of radioactive Cesium in our food supply, please see the sample language below and use it as a guide to write your own comments. FDA has stated recently in the press that they don’t feel that there is a need to test Pacific fish for radiation. Please send your comments to FDA today and demand that they do their job!

And please remember to sign the companion petition to President Obama, Congress, and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg here.

SAMPLE LETTER


“I am writing to demand, in the continuing wake of the Japan nuclear catastrophe, that FDA lower the amount of radioactive cesium allowed in our food to 5 Bq/kg. I also request that FDA spearhead widespread testing of the US food supply immediately. It is our RIGHT TO KNOW how contaminated our food is and our choice whether or not we eat it. Everyone has the right to say “Bye-Bye, Becquerels!”

Japan’s nuclear industry and government have lost control (once again) of its ruined nuclear power complex at Fukushima, a site that continues to leak massive quantities of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean. This is on top of the releases from atomic bomb tests and nuclear power.

The AMA has called for testing of Pacific seafood. Canada is going to start testing its salmon in light of an historic low in salmon numbers. Korea has been testing imports from Japan, returning food with small amounts of cesium contamination. Bluefin tuna tested from off of the California coast has been contaminated with Fukushima cesium. The US FDA has a limit twelve times that of Japan at 1200 Bq/kg of cesium. Even with the continuing release of radioactivity into the Pacific, and food testing in other countries, the FDA stated to the press that it still sees no danger from man-made radiation in food even though children are more vulnerable to radiation damage.

Food testing is urgently needed FDA, do your job!”

Fukushima’s comeback: Radiation from unending mess could threaten Alaska’s fisheries

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
by Douglas A. Yates

FAIRBANKS — The Obama administration’s failure to alert Americans to the danger of Fukushima radiation is motivated by corporate politics and the interests of the nuclear power industry. The March 11, 2011, earthquake off the northwest coast of Japan wrecked a complex of nuclear power plants, throwing three units into meltdown and exploding high-level radionuclides into the environment. With the industry’s reputation and billions of dollars in financial arrangements hanging in the fire, the president chose expediency, saying there’s no threat to Americans.

These assurances were highlighted recently when Fukushima Dai-ichi’s operators reported that since the earthquake it has been spilling large amounts of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. While great efforts have been made to sequester hot water in tank farms, the tanks are leaking and the buildings are insecure. Among the toxics soaking coastal zone soils are fission products: cesium-134 and 137, strontium-90, iodine-131 and 129, along with various isotopes of tritium, uranium and plutonium. These elements and hundreds of others have escaped containment and are moving into the North Pacific at a rate that varies from 300-900 tons of water per day.

Following the president’s lead, most of the media has ignored the story, leaving many Americans in the dark. But the blinders are off in Alaska and the West Coast of North America as more people figure the implications of tainted seafood. Pacific tuna ranges between California and Japan on its annual migration. Sampled by scientists from Stanford University in 2012 and 2013, tuna were found with elevated cesium-134 and 137 in their muscle tissue. A public health official in British Columbia is urging the federal government to monitor salmon and tuna. Last week, the state of Washington said it will begin testing salmon and steelhead. The newspaper in Alaska’s capital, Juneau, is asking science to settle the question, writing “Let’s be 100 percent sure our Alaska salmon are safe to eat.” (See page F2 for an excerpt.)

Distrust of safety assurances here and in Japan mounted when the plant operator, TEPCO, admitted that it had low-balled previous data and that actual releases were 20-30 percent greater than earlier claims. Numbers are being revised upward almost daily. Currently, while the totals remain in flux, independent observers suggest that Fukushima has surpassed Chernobyl in the amount of radiation released to the environment. Chernobyl spilled 85 quadrillion becquerels across Europe while Fukushima’s totals climb to 276 quadrillion in some estimates. Outliers put it as high as 690 quadrillion. (A becquerel is the international system unit of radioactivity equal to one disintegration of an atomic nucleus per second.)

Approximately half of the initial aerosol releases fell into the ocean. Maps show that 12,000 square miles of land has been contaminated with cesium and other isotopes. Of this area, 4,500 square miles exceeds the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s human safety limit of 1 millisievert per year. (The sievert is a unit of exposure used to compare the biological effects of various forms of ionizing radiation.) Nearly 200,000 Japanese have been turned into refugees.

The Japanese government, as expedient as Obama, quickly raised the allowable dose from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year — 20 times higher than the limit on March 11. People who should have been evacuated remain at home, soaking in cesium. According to Physicians For Social Responsibility, the dose exposes children to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. “And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered ‘safe’ for children.”
Radionuclides concentrate as they move along the food chain, from plankton, kelp and herring, and up the line to salmon, seals, bears and people. Cesium-contaminated food bio-accumulates in the heart and endocrine tissues, as well as kidneys, small intestine, pancreas, liver and spleen.

Children, particularly girls, are many times more susceptible than adults to the effects of ionizing radiation.
When the exclusion zone boundaries were announced, at a place inside the red line the oldest man in the village — 102 — killed himself rather than evacuate. “In front of the village hall, a machine that looked like an oversized parking meter flashed a real-time radiation reading in large red digits: 7.71 microsieverts … 8.12 … 7.57. Being there was equivalent to receiving a chest X-ray every twelve hours,” The New Yorker reported in Oct 17, 2011.

At the Berkeley campus of the University of California, rainwater collected on March 23, 2011, measured iodine-131 radioactivity at 20.1 becquerels per liter. The federal maximum level of iodine-131 in drinking water is 0.111 becquerels per liter. The sample exceeded this level by 181 times. Fukushima radiation was further confirmed when Berkeley researchers discovered iodine-131 in California dairy milk and in a local waterway. Similarly high levels of iodine-131 were recorded in Portland, Olympia, Boise and points east.

The U.S. government organized a multi-agency stealth response in the wake of the reactor meltdowns. Friends of the Earth and others filed FOIA requests to learn how the crisis was being managed in days after March 11. A trove of emails moving between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, its field agents in Japan and other agencies show efforts to downplay concern and withhold information. Within days of the event, federal managers’ emails tallied plumes of iodine-131 as they approached America.

Supervisors demanded confidentiality while maintaining a press blackout, assuring that most Americans had no chance to prepare or mitigate.
James Mangano, an epidemiologist, and Janette Sherman, a toxicologist, are expert in calculating health effects from radiation exposure. Their review of U.S. deaths before and after the March 11 event indicates that 18,000-22,000 Americans died as a result of radiation from Fukushima. Carried east by the jet stream, and deposited as rain and snow, uptake into people, plants and animals is primarily through inhalation, ingestion and contact. Infants under the age of one had the highest increase in reported deaths in the 14 weeks after Fukushima’s initial explosions. Increased mortality was also seen in the aged, the infirm and immune compromised.

Today, radioactivity washing out to sea is in a combination of seawater that’s being used to cool the wreckage and an influx of groundwater. The groundwater is rising at the toe of the slope behind the facility, threatening to inundate the complex. People working there say the surface is becoming unstable and that building foundations may fail.
Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute, represents a growing consensus that speculates the nuclear fuel in the three melted units has burned through the containment vessels and the basement foundations. The molten fuel (about 600 tons) is now tunneling through geologic strata that underlay the Japanese archipelago. If true, TEPCO’s engineers have lost control; with no options for retrieval, this is an unprecedented catastrophe with no end in sight.

Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear engineer who leads the watchdog group Fairewinds Energy Education, says this is the last year he’ll eat fish from the Pacific, reasoning that Fukushima’s toxic stew has contaminated the ocean. Gundersen says that north of Hawaii, midpoint between Japan and North America, scientists are measuring cesium levels 10 times higher than normal.

Background levels of 1 becquerel per cubic meter have been constant for years. It has now increased to 10 becquerels per cubic meter.
The Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl, it’s ongoing. While the North Pacific is a big place, wind and currents move in Alaska’s direction. Dilution is not a solution. A declassified military report, written in 1955, concluded that seawater may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents and that it’s likely to travel in highly concentrated “pockets” and “streams.”

While the radiation pouring out of Fukushima can’t be seen or smelled, its implications to Alaska’s fisheries, our economy and cultural resources are obvious. It’s past time to begin talking about the threat and planning for its consequences. We might begin by retrieving the president from the pocket of the nuclear power industry.

Related:  Is Fukushima Radiation Contaminating Tuna, Salmon and Herring On the West Coast of North America?