tagged w/ nuclear fallout
Now we are learning that the water pumped in from the ocean to cool the Fukushima reactors is flowing back to sea mixed with deadly plutonium, endangering sea life too. Until workers can find a way to somehow stop, contain and store it, dangerous levels of radioactivity will continue to spread to the ocean and the biosphere. Particulates in the form of radioactiive iodine and other radioisotopes from Fukushima have traveled across the United States as far as Massachusetts. Increased radiation is now being detected in cows milk in Washington, Vermont, and other states. While we continue to send our prayers and support to the people of Japan, it is clearly time to understand that this is a global crisis which will affect many nations, including the United States. Citizens in India, China, France and other countries are being told to carefully handle or not to eat large leafy green vegetables and some dairy products. Here in the US, closer downwind on the jetstream from Japan, we are STILL not receiving honest, accurate and consistent information from our government agencies. The FDA has announced that there is no need to test north Pacific fish for radioactivity, and the EPA announced scaling back monitoring of water and milk to quarterly testing only.
First, tell Congress and President Obama that we need to monitor all food and water imports from Japan, including the estimated annual 5 million gallons of bottled water, soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages containing water. Seafood shipments and other food products also are still being imported by the US.and they must be monitored immediately.
Next, tell Congress and President Obama that the Environmental Protection Agency must significantly expand the monitoring of air particulates, rain water, drinking water, and milk and to make the findings readily transparent and immediately available to the public.
Last, tell Congress and President Obama that the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration should receive adequate funding for expanded food and water inspection both here and overseas and to communicate those findings immediately to the public. Congress must rethink our agricultural policies as well as international trade policies as they effect imports from other countries also trading with Japan.
http://www.silencedeafening.com/Now we are learning that the water pumped in from the ocean to cool the Fukushima... more
Fukushima prefecture (state) has opened its first beach to swimmers since last year's nuclear disaster after judging the water to be safe.
About 1,000 people on Monday descended on Nakoso beach, about 40 miles south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The opening was celebrated with beach volleyball games and hula dancers from a nearby spa.
Iwaki city official Joji Kimura says negligible radiation was detected in water at the beach. Airborne radiation was measured at 0.08 microsieverts per hour, far below dangerous levels.
Swimming had been banned at all beaches in Fukushima prefecture (state) since last March's disaster.
The beach was reopened as tens of thousands of people rallied at a Tokyo park Monday demanding that Japan abandon nuclear power as the country prepares to restart another reactor shut down after last year's tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant.
Led by Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe, pop star Ryuichi Sakamoto and visual artist Yoshitomo Nara, the protesters expressed outrage over a report that blamed the Fukushima disaster on Japan's culture of "reflexive obedience" and held no individuals responsible.
Japan ordered all its nuclear power plants shut down for safety inspections after last year's March tsunami and earthquake set off multiple meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Some 150,000 people evacuated from a 12-mile zone around the plant because of radiation fears, and the area is deemed unsafe to live in more than a year later.
The world's second-worst nuclear accident after Chernobyl has deeply divided Japan, which had been previously bullish on nuclear technology.
Monday's rally at sprawling Yoyogi Park was the latest and among the biggest — drawing possibly as many as 200,000 people, according to organizers — in a series of large protests that is unusual for normally reserved Japanese.
"We want to leave a world without nuclear power for our children," said hospital worker Takeshi Shinoda, wearing a "No Nukes" T-shirt and strolling with his 3-year-old son in a long line of demonstrators.
The movement's leaders say they have collected 7.4 million signatures for a petition demanding a phase-out of nuclear power.
Until last month, when Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda decided to restart the reactor at Ohi plant in central Japan, all of this nation's 50 working reactors had been offline. The second reactor at Ohi is set to go online later this week.
Noda has said some nuclear energy is needed to ensure an ample power supply and protect people's livelihoods. Japan's economy is still struggling after last year's disaster, and the towering costs of oil imports to fuel non-nuclear power plants threaten to derail its fledgling recovery.
Critics are not convinced, saying Japan has done fine without atomic energy for more than a year.
The demonstrators also said they were offended by a parliamentary investigation that blamed Japanese culture for the Fukushima disaster.
The report, released earlier this month, said, "Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture — our reflexive obedience, our reluctance to question authority, our devotion to `sticking with the program,' our groupism and our insularity."
Midori Tanaka, a schoolteacher marching at the park, said the right people should face up to their mistakes.
"Things can never change if we blame culture. We need to get to the bottom of this," she said.
Oe said blaming culture was a cop-out, adding that individuals — including the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi — should be held responsible.
Addressing the rally from a stage, Sakamoto said it was ridiculous to risk people's lives for electricity.
"Life is more important than money," he said in Japanese, then added in English, "Keeping silent after Fukushima is barbaric."Fukushima prefecture (state) has opened its first beach to swimmers since last... more
Radioactive waste swamps Japan sewage plants
Uploaded by AlJazeera English on Aug 30, 2011...
Environmental experts in Japan are warning of new fallout from the country's nuclear crisis.
Radioactive waste is piling up at several sewerage plants, well away from the crippled Fukushima reactor.
Months after the tsunami and earthquake that triggered the nuclear meltdown, the government still has no policy on what to do with the waste.
Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Saitama.
Click on picture to watch video.
Radioactive waste swamps Japan sewage plants
Uploaded by AlJazeera English on... more
Japan islanders oppose proposed nuclear plant, year after year
For decades, residents of Iwaishima have taken an aggressive stand, turning their backs on negotiation. Graying residents, mostly in their 70s, have allied with young antinuclear activists.
By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
May 4, 2011
Reporting from Iwaishima, Japan—
For centuries, Yoshiaki Hashibe's ancestors have chiseled out a natural, no-nonsense existence on this tiny island where farmers and fishermen ride to their labors by bicycle.
Tradition matters here. At 69, veteran fisherman Hashibe does things just like his great-great-grandfather once did, each day venturing out to sea to haul in seaweed, octopus and red snapper.
He barters his extra catch for vegetables from a farmer who lives so close in their town of meandering back alleys that Hashibe can smell his nightly dinner. Villagers are proud of their tightknit camaraderie and historical harmony with nature.
But a utility company plans to build a nuclear power plant just across the bay, at the tip of the Kaminoseki peninsula. After receiving compensation, several nearby communities have hesitantly embraced the project.
Not Iwaishima. Many residents are convinced that the twin reactors will threaten not just their way of life but the long-term survival of the Inland Sea, a national park known as Japan's Galapagos for its range of sea life.
The utility insists that the project is safe, but residents worry about radiation leaks caused by human error. They say the plant's warm water discharge will raise sea temperatures, altering the ecosystem.
So for three decades, since the Chugoku Electric Power Co. unveiled its plans in 1982, islanders have taken an unusually aggressive stand, turning their backs on efforts at negotiation. Graying residents, mostly in their 70s, have in recent years formed an alliance with young antinuclear activists.
Together, they have staged hunger strikes, picketing and sit-ins, using a flotilla of fishing boats and kayaks to block company construction cranes from reaching the site.
As he carved up a fish on the deck of his 40-foot boat, Hashibe said he would continue the fight until he dies.
"There's a graveyard up on the mountain where I'm planning to finish up," he said. "But I won't be able to sleep gently if they build that power plant."
Not everyone is opposed to the plant. About 50 of the island's 500 residents say the plant will bring money and jobs. So much tension has risen between the two camps that many residents here no longer speak to each other.
Then on March 11, a mammoth magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that damaged the cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant along Japan's northeast coast, spilling dangerous radioactive isotopes into the air, soil and sea.
The disaster accomplished what activists couldn't. The utility temporarily suspended plant construction after local officials expressed safety concerns.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has suggested a possible nationwide freeze on Japan's plans to build 14 or more nuclear power stations by 2030. The nation already has 54 nuclear plants, which supply 30% of its energy.
It remains unclear what effect the Fukushima incident will have on Japan's nuclear future, but other communities — stunned by the continuing nuclear fallout from Fukushima — are looking to the Iwaishima battle as a possible indicator.
"Without our protests, that plant would already be running," said Masue Hayashi, 59, who began her opposition to the project when she was 30. "Those people near Fukushima could have been us."
No nuclear plant project in Japan has ever been stopped outside the voting booth, solely by community activism and protest. This one, Hayashi says, could be the first.
*Japan islanders oppose proposed nuclear plant, year after year
For decades,... more
Mycoremediation of the Japanese landscape after radioactive fallout:
Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone
Many people have written me and asked more or less the same question: “What would you do to help heal the Japanese landscape around the failing nuclear reactors?”
The enormity and unprecedented nature of this combined natural and human-made disaster will require a massive and completely novel approach to management and remediation. And with this comes a never before seen opportunity for collaboration, research and wisdom.
The nuclear fallout will make continued human habitation in close proximity to the reactors untenable. The earthquake and tsunami created enormous debris fields near the nuclear reactors. Since much of this debris is wood, and many fungi useful in mycoremediation are wood decomposers, building the foundation of forest ecosystems, I have the following suggestions:
http://goo.gl/WOJvOMycoremediation of the Japanese landscape after radioactive fallout:
Nuclear Forest... more
A sea of underground water polluted by years of nuclear tests now covers a vast tract of Nevada.A sea of underground water polluted by years of nuclear tests now covers a vast tract... more
Even with a half-century's hindsight, the U.S. government's willingness to risk the health of the nation's children seems somewhere between unfathomable and unconscionable.
Between 1951 and 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated more than 100 nuclear bombs in the atmosphere over its Nevada Test Site, just 65 miles from Las Vegas. The radioactive fallout menaced not only the ranchers and the miners unlucky enough to live in that remote area of southern Nevada, but -- as a new study unveiled Tuesday demonstrated -- untold millions of unsuspecting Americans as well.
The winds carried Strontium-90, Iodine-129 and other lethal particles across a broad swath of the country. Infants who were bottle-fed, which was then considered the modern approach, were particularly vulnerable to the Strontium-90 that ended up in cows' milk.
In 1961, as John Kennedy was poised to resume atmospheric testing after a two-year moratorium, he met with White House science adviser Jerome Wiesner in the Oval Office one rainy day. The president wondered how fallout reached the earth. Wiesner explained that it was washed out of the clouds by rain. "You mean," Kennedy asked, "it's in the rain out there?" As Wiesner tells it, the president then "looked out the window, looked very sad and didn't say a word for several minutes." Nonetheless JFK, fearful that the Soviet Union might score a nuclear breakthrough, authorized a new round of above-ground testing before negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963.
With Nov. 9, 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of the breaching of the Berlin Wall, Cold War retrospectives are again in season. But the grim legacy of nuclear testing is apt to be lost amid the memories of Josef Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, the Berlin airlift, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Ronald Reagan's famed exhortation at the Brandenburg Gate. The mushroom clouds over the Nevada desert seem so long ago, so devoid of any real-world consequences.
But a study released Tuesday documents the enhanced cancer risk that Baby Boomers face because of these long-ago atmospheric tests. Epidemiologist Joseph Mangano analyzed the lingering radiation in infant teeth (donated long ago by the parents of baby boys born in the St. Louis area between 1959 and 1961) and compared the results to contemporary cancer data from the subjects. "What we found out was shocking," Mangano said. "Persons who had died of cancer had more than double the Strontium-90 in their (baby) teeth than did healthy persons." The original variance in Strontium-90 levels among individuals, he explained, was caused by seemingly small factors such as how much milk expectant mothers drank, diet and the source of the municipal water supply.
more at link...Even with a half-century's hindsight, the U.S. government's willingness to... more
Seventy-nine Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant groups have joined together to reject administration plans to reactivate the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure and build new nuclear bomb plant facilities, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) have announced.
In a formal letter to the Energy Department, religious organizations from across the country called instead for the United States to end new nuclear weapons production and commit to multilateral disarmament.
"We call on our political leaders to show the moral and political courage necessary to bring about a shift in our nations nuclear weapons posture. Today we have a historic opportunity to begin the journey out from under the shadow of nuclear weapons," stressed the religious groups.
The letter was submitted to the Energy Department as part of a public comment period required to assess the environmental impact of Complex Transformation, the proposed plan to rebuild the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The centerpiece of this proposal is a new nuclear weapons facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, located 25 miles northwest of Santa Fe, NM.
The new bomb plant facility would enable the mass production of plutonium pits, the primary detonators in modern nuclear weapons.
The statements signers expressed concern that the new and upgraded facilities would be used in the development of a new generation of nuclear warheads, despite the moral and legal obligations of the United States to reduce its weapons arsenal.
Seventy-nine Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant groups have joined together to... more