Increasing Fukushima Radiation Dangers - by Stephen Lendman
Daily reports on efforts to contain Fukushima's disaster remain worrisome. On April 5, New York Times writers Andrew Pollack and Kevin Drew headlined, "Plant Operator Measures Higher Radiation in Sea," saying:
"(C)ompany officials said that seawater collected near the facility contained radiation several million times the legal limit."
According to Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), radioactive iodine-131 in samples collected measured 200,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter, or five million times above normal. Cesium-137's elevated level was 1.1 million times. No information on uranium and plutonium concentrations were given. Clearly, however, growing dangers are worrisome, yet official reports downplay them. Coverup and denial persist. According to TEPCO,
radiation levels have "no immediate impact" on the environment or human health. In fact, it's catastrophic. More on that below.
Moreover, thousands of tons of radioactive water are being dumped into the Pacific, likely to continue daily to make room for more runoff despite the great risk to sea life and humans. No amount of radiation is safe. Even dispersed in water, it poses grave dangers, and the more dumped, the greater the hazard.
Official reports, however, claim radiation dissipates quickly in the Pacific. They also say long-term effects of seawater radiation contamination are unclear, especially if dumping continues daily. In fact, they're very clear, posing serious future health risks, being downplayed by so-called experts, perhaps well-paid for their comments.
The Times added:
"The pumping effort is not expected to halt or alter a leak from a large crack in a six-foot-deep concrete pit next to the seawater intake pipes near" Unit 2. "The leak has been spewing an estimated seven tons of highly radioactive water an hour directly into the ocean."
In addition, other leaks "have flooded areas of the plant, complicating" efforts to contain the disaster. According to a Kyodo report, 60,000 tons of radioactive water are flooding the basement of Fukushima's reactor buildings and underground tunnels. So far, nothing done has stopped it.
On April 4, Washington Post writer Andrew Higgins headlined, "Peace of Mind, livelihood gone as Japanese city withers in shadow of nuclear plant," saying:
"The danger may or may not be grave, but one thing is certain: Confusing and often contradictory announcements by jittery officials in Tokyo and shifty obfuscation by (TEPCO) executives have already stripped (residents) of their livelihood, their peace of mind, and the fruits of decades of labor."
As radiation levels spread, however, Northern Japan (one-third of the country) is threatened, and if containment efforts fail, all bets are off.
EPA to Raise "Safe" Radiation Levels
On April 5, Natural News writer Mike Adams headlined, "EPA to raise limits for radiation exposure while Canada turns off fallout detectors," saying:
Planetary radiation contamination is increasing, exacerbated by dumping thousands of tons of radioactive water into the Pacific. On April 4, "2.4 million gallons of planetary poison" went in, calling it harmless. Potentially, it may continue for years, "making Fukushima the worst nuclear disaster in the history of the world." In fact, it's that and more.
America's Gulf was contaminated and destroyed by last April's disaster, making nothing in it safe to eat. Potentially, Fukushima may match it in the Pacific if no containment efforts work.
"So what to do," asked Adams. "If you're the (EPA)," one option remains: "Declare radiation to be safe!" As a result, its Protective Action Guides (PAGs) are being revised "to radically increase the allowable levels of iodine-131 (a radioactive isotope) to anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000 times the currently allowable levels."
In fact, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) learned of it through a FOIA request. Its April 5 press release headlined, "RADIATION EXPOSURE DEBATE RAGES INSIDE EPA," saying:
Its plan awaiting approval will "dramatically increase permissible radioactive releases in drinking water, food and soil after 'radiological incidents' is drawing vigorous objections from agency experts...."
EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (ORIA) plans to update its 1992 PAG, "governing radiation protection decisions for both short (and) long-term cleanup standards." However, agency experts object, including Stuart Walker of the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, saying:
"It appears that drinking water at the PAG concentrations....may lead to subchronic (acute) effects following exposures of a day or a week. In a population, one should see some express acute effects....that is, vomiting, fever, etc."
Moreover, proposed limits would also apply to food and soil, so when Fukushima rains hit US cities, announcements, if made, will claim they're "below accepted limits." In fact, though standards and data can be manipulated, human health effects cannot. If Obama's EPA gets away with it, millions of lives will be at risk.
Currently, debate continues behind closed doors. PEER wants everything discussed made public. Internal documents it obtained showed a single glass of water "could give a lifetime's permissible exposure. In addition, it would allow long-term cleanup limits thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These new limits would cause a cancer in as much as every fourth person exposed," a likely conservative estimate.
Contaminating Planet Earth
One of Project Censored's (PC) top 2007 stories was Mother Jones writer Julia Whitty's article titled, "Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger," saying:
"Oceanic problems once found on a local scale are now pandemic." Evidence shows "seas are changing in ominous ways....According to oceanographers, the oceans are one, with currents linking the seas and regulating climate."
Yet, thousands of contaminants are "poison(ing) marine creatures and devastat(ing) propagation." Before last April's BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster, America's Gulf had "the highest mercury levels ever recorded...." It also had a dead zone measuring nearly 8,000 square miles in 2001.
Moreover, since 2000, "the global wild fish harvest has begun a sharp decline despite (new) technologies and intensified fishing." (If) the maelstrom of human assault on the seas continues, (they'll soon) reach a point of no return."
Fukushima accelerated the process, besides lots of other contributors daily because governments powerful enough to stop it let it to continue unabated.
Rosalie Bertell (now in her 80s) is a longtime distinguished environmental/nuclear expert. Two of her important books include "No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth" (1985) and "Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War (2000)."
In "Planet Earth," she discussed how the space program and electromagnetic weapons destabilized the ecosystem, causing widespread environmental, economic and social devastation. In "No Immediate Danger," she exposed the dangers of radiation, saying:
"Should the public discover the true health cost(s) of nuclear pollution, a cry would rise from all parts of the world and people would refuse to cooperate passively with their own death."
"On a clear day, the Earth looks wonderful," she said, so it's "hard to believe the warnings that we have seriously compromised its health," en route to destroying it entirely. The dangers from unbridled militarism alone are doing it, compounded by the madness of sacrificing environmental safety for profit.
In 1991, her article titled, "Radioactivity: No Immediate Danger?" coined a new word to describe the ultimate human rejection of life - "omnicide," what she called "difficult to comprehend," but it's happening. Nuclear industries are killing us by ionizing radiation exposure - cumulative, unforgiving amounts over time.
On the one hand are risks to life and health, including dying of cancer or having a deformed child. "The benefit side is to make money or gain political power. The bad news is that the people who make these trade-offs for us are the same" ones who profit.
She called industrial radioactive pollution "cumulatively greater than from Chernobyl....We are now in a no-win situation with radioactive materials, where (it's) acceptable to have cancer deaths, deformed children, and miscarriages."
Moreover, industry propaganda claims nuclear power is clean and green, when, in fact, the nuclear fuel cycle discharges significant amounts of greenhouse gases, as well as hundreds of thousands of curies of deadly radioactive gases and elements into the environment every year. "Claiming nuclear production of energy is 'clean,' " said Bertell, "is like dieting but stuffing yourself with food between meals."
Planetary survival depends on ending all forms of nuclear proliferation. It's "imperative, because we now find ourselves in a strange situation, where the military strategy to save industrialized countries is not only destroying the environment and the gene pool in (them), but also destroying the biosphere, as radioactive material is circulated in the air, water, and food - whether or not (there's) a nuclear accident or war."
Gene pool mutations "create a next generation that is physically less able to cope with hazardous material," a degenerating process over time, affecting physical and mental well-being. Moreover, "(w)hen chromosomes are damaged and then damaged a second time before (having) a chance to repair," bizarre problems occur. For example, "a child developed from damaged chromosomes may have a broad spectrum of defects."
All toxic hazards are serious, nuclear pollution worst of all because "all human life is threatened....Our present path is headed toward species death - whether fast, with nuclear war or technological disaster, or slow, by poison."
Our present path is suicide. Bertell said so in 1985 and again in 1991. Continued nuclear proliferation and Fukushima accelerated it. What will it take to convince policy makers and profiteers to end this madness? Nothing so far has worked.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.