Note: the main article is now below these Special Updates
It seems, all hell is breaking lose on this incredibly dangerous thing at Fukushima Reactor No. 4 with its cesium radiation material ready to uncork at the next rumble. Most people don’t realize how DANGEROUS this is and how the whole world is being kept in the dark about this beyond a problem affair! Talk about the end of the world as we know it…an international emergency would be declared.
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Special Updates on Fukushima
That picture is worth 10,000 words, if you know what you are looking at. That’s radioactive iodine.
Fukushima Radioactive Contamination is Spreading Around the World
It seems we are being exposed to radiation in Western North America far worse than we know. Harmful radiation levels are affecting us from L.A. to Northern Canada and we’re doing nothing to warn the people – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Senator Wyden sounded the alarm – no one is listening – Obama says, be happy, we have everything under control – that’s 100% baloney (whoops, radiated baloney) – go to this video and listen to the whole thing:
Hanging by a Thread
from Mark Sircus Blog
Are you ready—it is becoming clear that we, our children and our entire civilization is hanging by a thread. It is a very sorry thing to report that we have literally shot ourselves in the foot with a big nuclear shotgun full of radioactive particles of the worst conceivable kind.
It has taken a year but finally “a U.S. Senator finally got off his ass and went to Japan to see what is going on over there. What he saw was horrific. Reactor No. 4 building is on the verge of collapsing.
Seismicity standards rate the building at a zero, meaning even a small earthquake could send it into a heap of rubble. And sitting at the top of the building, in a pool that is cracked, leaking, and precarious even without an earthquake, are 1,565 fuel rods.”
If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain, this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire that could wipe out most of the northern hemisphere; certainly it would be a massive civilization-breaking event. — Read more…
– – –
Washington, D.C. – After an onsite tour of what remains of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities decimated by last year’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki looking for ways to advance and support clean-up and recovery efforts. Wyden’s principal concern is the relocation of spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean. He strongly urged the Ambassador to accept international help to prevent dangerous nuclear material from being released into the environment.
“The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting,” Wyden wrote in the letter. “The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”
Wyden visited Fukushima on April 6, 2012 while on a Congressional delegation trip to the region. He and a staff member wore radiation suits as they toured the facility and met with workers and managers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, which is responsible for the clean-up. Wyden found that the facilities designed to house spent nuclear fuel and the reactors themselves were still in a state of disrepair and located in areas that would make them susceptible to further damage from future seismic events. The reactor buildings still contain large amounts of spent fuel – making them a huge safety risk and the only protection from a future tsunami, Wyden observed, is a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.
Wyden is also sending letters today to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko asking them to identify additional resources and assistance that their agencies could provide to Japan to address these risks.
May 9, 2012
Now that we know plutonium has been detected in the mysterious black dust discovered in different locations in Japan and the mists seen swirling around the damaged nuclear reactors is radioactive water vapor, the news TEPCO may be covering up the true amount of highly radioactive contamination leaking into the sea.
According to a new article posted by the Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus, After The Media Has Gone: Fukushima, Suicide and the Legacy of 3.11, there has been a continuous leakage of radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean, radioactive waste water that includes strontium-90, and, the dire claim Fukushima’s radioactive waste water “contamination will spread all over the world, reaching to Kamchatka, Hawaii and the U.S. soon”.
Possibly angry at this situation, on April 21st a 62-year-old nuclear worker broke the silence on the continued leakage of contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi. Speaking to me, he requested anonymity for fear of losing his job. He supervises a construction site aimed at building a new facility to extract radioactive materials such as cesium and strontium from the contaminated water used to cool the plant’s crippled reactors. He revealed that the current facility removes only cesium and that other radioactive materials such as strontium cannot be cleaned up.
He expressed astonishment at the scale of the cleanup operation. “You know how much contaminated water is stored at the Fukushima Daiichi site? It is 200,000 tons. It is an enormous amount!” “In reality,” he said, raising his voice, “it is impossible to store that much water on site. So, it is obvious that some of the contaminated water has been leaked into the ocean.”
TEPCO announced on March 26th, 2012 that approximately 120 tons of water had leaked from a treatment pipe, forcing them to halt operating the treatment facility. Thi was the second time in two weeks that contaminated water leaked from the nuclear power plant.3
After being used to cool the reactors, the water contains massive amounts of radioactive substances and is put into the water-processing facility so it can be recycled for use as a coolant. “Everyone there knows that the amount of water is huge but does not speak about it. Anyone who works there understands that nothing can be done except to leak the water!” he stressed. “Everyone criticizes North Korea for its missiles. But what about Japanese morality? The contamination will spread all over the world, reaching to Kamchatka, Hawaii and the U.S. soon,” he added.
Toward the end of our conversation, he said, “You know, in Japan, there is ‘honne’ (honest feeling) and ‘tatemae’ (polite-face). “Our tatemae is that we are doing our utmost to stop the leakage of contamination, and our honnne is that we are dumping massive amounts of contaminated water into the ocean.”
Strontium-90, with a half-life of 28.8 years, can cause internal radiation exposure leading to bone cancer, cancer of nearby tissues and leukemia.
The entire article, astonishing, a more than stark contrast to what is reported by both the Japan and U.S. mainstream news media. Our source for the article, ENEnews.com, the go-to website for Fukushima radiation related news.
On April 5, 2012, the Japan Times reported officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) reported 12 tons of radioactive waste water containing strontium-90 leaked out of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea after a ‘leak’ of 80 liters of water containing strontium-90 had escaped to the sea on March 26th.
Forty-five tons of radioactive water containing 130,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter of radioactive strontium leaked out of the facility in early December, 2011. In the NHK news report officials were trying to determine where the 45 tons of waste water had gone, into the sea or in a ditch.
In the midst of the radioactive waste water leaks the news TEPCO, in late February, had begun to line the seabed with cement:
23 Feb (NucNet): Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) says it will begin cementing the seabed near the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant to prevent radioactive materials from spreading at sea.
The utility was yesterday scheduled to start pouring cement and clay over a 70,000-square metre area near the water intakes of the plant’s six reactors, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) said. The seabed is about six meters deep.
Tepco said a 60-centimetre layer of cement on the seabed will prevent the spread of contaminated mud and sand for about 50 years.
High levels of radioactive caesium have been detected in the area. The caesium mainly came from melted nuclear fuel rods from three crippled reactors at the plant and contaminated water that leaked into the sea in the weeks following the March 2011 accident.
Radioactive cesium was detected in 51 food products from nine prefectures in excess of a new government-set limit in the first month since it was introduced April 1, according to data released by the health ministry Tuesday.The limit was exceeded in 337 cases, or 2.4 percent of 13,867 food samples examined by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.Cesium exceeding the previous allowable limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram was detected in 55 cases, while the new limit of 100 becquerels was exceeded in 282 cases. Full article
Spent reactor fuel, containing roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl, still sits in pools vulnerable to earthquakes. More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster began, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world are far from over. After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese officials, nuclear experts, and now a U.S. senator, it’s sinking in that the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools amidst the reactor ruins pose far greater dangers than the molten cores. Full article
An Update from NaturalNews Insider Alert
Dear NaturalNews readers,
I’m interrupting our normal email schedule to bring you an urgent alert that makes everything else seem insignificant by comparison.
The issues of GMOs, fluoride, food freedom and vaccines won’t matter at all if we don’t solve this far bigger issue that threatens human civilization: Fukushima reactor No. 4.
Right now, the reactor’s spent fuel pool is just one earthquake away from a structural failure that could set off a chain of events leading to the release of anywhere from 10 times to 85 times the Cesium-137 released in the Chernobyl disaster.
Such circumstances caused one of Japan’s former ambassadors to make the following extraordinary statement:
“It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor.” – Mitsuhei Murata, Former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland and Senegal, Executive Director, the Japan Society for Global System and Ethics.
A failure of the reactor — and the subsequent catastrophic release of Cesium-137 — would decimate human life across North America, killing off crops, polluting groundwater, causing widespread infant stillbirths and unleashing an explosion in cancer rates. North America could become uninhabitable by humans for centuries.
Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, meaning that if North America is blanketed with a layer of radioactive dust in 2012, that radioactivity will still be half as strong in the year 2042. It will drop by half again by the year 2072. By the year 2102, it might be low enough to where humans could start to re-colonize the continent, but even then, rates of cancer and birth defects would likely be off the charts.
Yet, as we speak, the mainstream media is running a total media blackout on this story. Governments are pretending there is no problem, and the corporations that built these nuclear facilities (like GE) are quietly running disinfo campaigns to convince everybody there is no problem.
I’ve just published an urgent feature story on this issue, outlining the facts about Fukushima reactor No. 4:
I’ve also reprinted an urgent press release from a coalition of organizations calling for urgent UN intervention to deal with Fukushima before it kills us all:
I’m urging you to forward and share these stories and help raise the alarm. Nothing else is important anymore. It doesn’t matter who is running for President, what’s in the vaccines, or whether GMOs are labeled if our civilization is dead from radiation!
NaturalNews is shifting our editorial priorities to focus on Fukushima. All other stories are being made secondary to this urgent issue.
I’m also recording a “radiation survival 101” audio program today, to be included as a downloadable bonus item in my upcoming “Preparedness Defense” LIVE event happening Tuesday evening. A small number of seats remain available, and even those will likely be sold out by tonight. Register at:
I’m assigning coverage of Fukushima to our staff writers and investigators, so expect to see a lot more reporting on Fukushima until (and if) this Reactor No. 4 problem is properly addressed.
In the mean time, just one earthquake in Japan could unleash the worst-case scenario, sending a massive plume of Cesium-137 headed directly at North America. The fate of our world now rests on the unpredictability of Pacific Rim earthquakes! This is a stupidly risky roll of the dice we’ve all walked into, and if we don’t make it, future archeologists will one day discover a fine layer of Cesium-137 dust followed by a global mass extinction event.
Nothing else is important compared to this. We either solve the Fukushima situation — and then eliminate ALL nuclear power plants on the planet — or we carve our own graves in the sad, pathetic history of an arrogant civilization “suicided” by corporate-run science.
Pray for our world today. We may have already killed ourselves with stupidity.
Fukushima reactor No. 4 vulnerable to catastrophic collapse; could unleash 85 times Cesium-137 radiation of Chernobyl; human civilization on the brink
(NaturalNews) The news you are about to read puts everything else in the category of “insignificant” by comparison. Concerned about the 2012 U.S. presidential election? Worried about GMOs? Fluoride? Vaccines? Secret prisons? None of that even matters…
Fukushima reactor 4 requires urgent intervention; coalition calls for emergency UN action to halt catastrophic release of radiation
(NaturalNews) Kyoto, Japan — On 30 April, seventy-two Japanese NGO organizations lead by Shut Tomari and Green Action send an urgent request to the UN and Japanese government urging immediate action to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant…
Another Update from a former Nuclear Engineer
It seems, all hell is breaking lose on this incredibly dangerous thing at Fukushima Reactor No. 4 with its cesium radiation material ready to uncork at the next rumble. Most people don’t realize how DANGEROUS this is and how the whole world is being kept in the dark about this beyond a problem affair! Talk about the end of the world as we know it…an international emergency would be declared. Here are some comments from a former Nuclear Engineer:
My plan (placing tons of concrete surrounding this monster) is, in theory, a perfect plan but it is not possible.
Why, because concrete takes so long to dry. It would take years to dry to a hardness to contain that kind of radioactivity. Or, they would have to lay 3-4 inches every 2 weeks for the next 10 years. The only issue with that is, we most likely don’t have more than this year to resolve this.
And since this situation is equivalent to a man dangling over a cliff and all the threads of the rope EXCEPT ONE (that are holding him up) have broken and now we are in a holding pattern of “wait and see…”
So we now sit and wait for the next earthquake, most likely any size will trigger the final events to unfold over there. The media black-out is perfect for them – they can play ignorance and say they didn’t know about the contents of reactor #4. When something does happen over there, It would allow the President to declare a state-of-emergency here in the USA and suspend the constitution (and the election) declare martial law, and wait till the radioactive cloud hits the country.
What measly preparations we could make will not make much difference. Along the coast, (say 100 miles from the ocean) Huge swaths of populations will either die, or get cancer within months (radiation poisoning tends to do that to you). The survivors will try to flee the area and will overload the rest of the country. If the president foresees this, barricades will be set up to contain them to the coastal areas to die there. They will simply be deemed casualties and this would be a necessary function to ensure the survival of the country. but this would not be limited to the coastal areas, the radioactive clouds would sweep the country. The death toll would not be by numbers, it would be by cities lost. Following a radioactive cloud would be like following a tornado. The damage by a tornado can be seen from the air as a path. now enlarge that path to 20-30 miles wide and hundreds of miles long leaving less than 1% unaffected by the radiation. That’s just the radiation.
One of the little nasties is that cesium. Wow that stuff is a nightmare. One pound of vaporized cesium above Sacramento would kill every living human being there. Hide in your bunkers and bomb shelters if you want to, but as soon as you come out, you die. Now think about the fact that they have tons of it in reactor #4. It’s sitting in a pool that must be kept full of water. Earthquake anybody.
Scriptures state that the waters and streams became as blood, where blood represents death. If there is cesium in the waters, then anybody that drinks from that water will die. Might want to start drilling a well. That would be the only unaffected water to drink safely.
Am I an alarmist, maybe, maybe not. Guess what, they still have firemen hosing water on those reactors in Japan. And the water is still running off into the ocean. Anybody want to ask WHY?
Sorry for the long rant. I love nuclear energy, but hate the dangers. Going through US Naval training to be a Nuclear Engineer, (too bad Trojan nuclear power plant was shut down when I got out) I remember many of the details. Who knows, maybe they have changed. The death ratios wont be as bad as they thought. Ever wonder what happens when an airplane fly’s through a radioactive cloud?
I guess it’s time to get on our knees and send God some knee-mail.
Love that graphic World Mysteries put on their front cover. Wow oh wow. That picture is worth 10,000 words, if you know what you are looking at. That’s radioactive iodine, far worse than I even thought it was. Man-oh-man are we deep in trouble. Now I know why the thyroid cancer rates have skyrocketed in the last year, as well as the still-borne along the coastal states of the USA. Just look at that. Think of the firemen that are hosing down the fuel rods in reactor’s 2 and 3 (24hrs a day/7days a week), if there is anything left in them. All the water that has been poured onto those reactors has been running into the ocean for the last year. Now look at the graphic on World Mysteries and tell me that they have this thing under control. Not just no, but hell no. They have opened up the gates of hell over there. They are killing the planet. That’s death staring us in the face. Someone needs to research how the sea-life has been affected by this. Any guesses???
What can we do? That iodine can be avoided by keeping your thyroid saturated with good iodine, so find a good cheap source of iodine and max out on it. If your thyroid gland is saturated with good iodine…. then when you come into contact or ingest the radioactive stuff, it simply passes through your body and does little to no harm.
As for the cesium… and the radiation…. let me think on that one.
If they can just figure out a way to keep the fuel rods in water, then this apocalyptic disaster can be postponed. (I did not say avoided) I’ve heard that the reactor #4 may contain the mox fuel rods. That’s Plutonium folks. 1 molecule on your body and you die. Just what in the he!!! have they been doing over there? Time to research the test results in that local area to see just how bad this thing is.
Chernobyl….. When it blew, everything within 500 miles was affected. If it were to have Plutonium, everything within 1000 miles would have been killed. Plutonium fuel rods need to be stored for some 50,000 years till they are safe. We should know, we have thousands of tons of it in permanent, super deep, storage facilities.
Pray that the father in heaven doesn’t allow this to happen. Everyone needs to pray.
What in the heck is going on in this world. Everything appears to be coming unglued.
I suppose the Antichrist will rise up and save the world from this mess and he will be declared a hero. No wonder everyone will worship him. To literally save the world from extinction…..
His loyal followers would kill their children for him.
Didn’t I see an article about DHS buying up enough bullets that would last them 7 years? And the government is buying up all the potassium/iodine for use by government/military officials?
In light of Japan’s reactor #4, does anyone really have to ask why? Maybe they know something we don’t.
— Guy Mitt
The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) was introduced in 1990 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to rate magnitude of nuclear accidents. The scale is intended to be logarithmic, similar to the scale that is used to describe the magnitude of earthquakes. There are seven nonzero levels on the INES scale: three incident-levels and four accident-levels. There is also a level 0.
Famuos Nuclear Disasters
Chernobyl, Ukraine (1986)
INES listed the famous Chernobyl disaster as the worst nuclear disaster (of level 7: major accident) ever in the history of mankind to occur and it happened in 1986. Despite the fact that it should have followed all the necessary measures and adopted the appropriate safety culture, explosion followed by large discharge of radioactive contamination due to improper handling of the device coupled with design failures. The Chernobyl power plant is located on the border area between Ukraine and Belarus and it is stated the explosion of the reactor released 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Chernobyl disaster occurred during a low-power engineering test of the Unit 4 Reactor. Safety systems had been switched off and improper, unstable operation of the reactor allowed an uncontrollable power surge to occur. That resulted in successive steam explosions that severely damaged the reactor building and completely destroyed the reactor. Upon that, the large discharge of radioactive contamination followed suit, changing the lives of about 400,000 people forever and the impression on nuclear power plant. Chernobyl disaster is a wake-up call where higher authorities related to nuclear industry, be it INES or IAEA will definitely improvise and enhance the already available safety culture. If it never failed, it would have never given way to development of the industry.When flaws are encountered, they can be rectified and the next time, the design will not fail for the same reason.
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster
Three Mile Island, United States (1979)
The United States’ most disastrous nuclear accident took place at the Three Mile Island Plant near Harrisburg, Penn., the state’s capitol. It all began with a simple plumbing break down. A small valve opened to relieve pressure in the reactor, but it malfunctioned and failed to close. This caused cooling water to drain, and the core began to overheat. The machines monitoring conditions inside the nuclear core provided false information, so plant operators shut down the very emergency water that would have cooled the nuclear core and solved the problem. The core began to overheat, and reached 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The water nearly reached the fuel rods, which would have caused a full meltdown of the core. But the nuclear plant’s designers were finally able to reach the plant operators several hours later to instruct them to turn the water back on, and conditions stabilized. The NRC determined that no one had died of causes related to the incident at Three Mile Island, but found there might be one excessive cancer death over a 30-year period as a result of radiation. Three Mile Island had a profound impact on the public’s attitude toward nuclear energy. In the 30 years since Three Mile Island, not a single nuclear power plant has been approved for development.
3 Mile Island Nuclear Disaster
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Japan (2011)
IAEA Fact-Finding Team completed a preliminary assessment of the safety issues linked with TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11,2011. In the draft report, it said the biggest problems are the tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated. Nuclear plant designers and operators should appropriately evaluate and protect against the risks of all natural hazards, and should periodically update those assessments and assessment methodologies. Officials already have concluded that the plant was not designed to withstand the 40-foot tsunami that hit it on March 11. But it is also likely that workers at the plant could have reduced the severity of the accident if they had made different decisions during the crisis. Some of the institutional issues have already emerged. Japan’s own preliminary investigation showed disagreement and confusion over who should be calling the shots. Barrett says this was partly cultural.
If you notice that it took 25 years for a disaster of such big scale in comparison to Chernobyl to happen. This is the evidence of concrete improvisations being made to nuclear safety culture to adapt well, along with the natural disasters. What happened in Fukushima is a wake-up call to continue improvising the safety enhancements for a better environment. […] People demand innovation, innovation needs energy, yet at the same time, being narrow mindedness when it comes to scaling into, be it renewable (wind, solar or hydro) or nuclear in our case is not helping the situation. Nuclear energy can offer a solution but is not the only option available for a greener environment.
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Fukushima – the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind
Scientific experts believe Japan’s nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president stated that “Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.”
Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those (140,000 residents) living within a 20km radius of the plant.
Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.
“Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.“ Even though the plant is now shut down, fission products such as uranium continue to generate heat, and therefore require cooling.
TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water – as well as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of.
“The problem is how to keep it cool,” says Gundersen. “They are pouring in water and the question is what are they going to do with the waste that comes out of that system, because it is going to contain plutonium and uranium. Where do you put the water?”
“The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor,” Gundersen added. “TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water.“
Independent scientists have been monitoring the locations of radioactive “hot spots” around Japan, and their findings are disconcerting.
“We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl,” said Gundersen. “The data I’m seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man’s-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing radiation spots found 60 to 70 km away from the reactor. You can’t clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl.”
Japan’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters finally admitted earlier this month (o6.2011) that reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the Fukushima plant experienced full meltdowns.
TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.
Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station – an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan – is now likely uninhabitable.
Dr MV Ramana, a physicist with the Programme on Science and Global Security at Princeton University who specializes in issues of nuclear safety said: “There is and should be concern about younger people being exposed, and the Japanese government will be giving out radiation monitors to children.”
Dr Ramana explained that he believes the primary radiation threat continues to be mostly for residents living within 50km of the plant, but added: “There are going to be areas outside of the Japanese government’s 20km mandatory evacuation zone where radiation is higher. So that could mean evacuation zones in those areas as well.”
Gundersen points out that far more radiation has been released than has been reported. […]
According to Gundersen, the exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as “hot particles”. “We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo,” he said. “Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters.” Radioactive air filters from cars in Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo are now common, and Gundersen says his sources are finding radioactive air filters in the greater Seattle area of the US as well. The hot particles on them can eventually lead to cancer. “These get stuck in your lungs or GI tract, and they are a constant irritant,” he explained, “One cigarette doesn’t get you, but over time they do. These [hot particles] can cause cancer, but you can’t measure them with a Geiger counter. Clearly people in Fukushima prefecture have breathed in a large amount of these particles. Clearly the upper West Coast of the US has people being affected. That area got hit pretty heavy in April.”
Dr Ramana expects the plant reactors and fuel cores to be cooled enough for a shutdown within two years. “But it is going to take a very long time before the fuel can be removed from the reactor,” he added. “Dealing with the cracking and compromised structure and dealing with radiation in the area will take several years, there’s no question about that.”
Dr Sawada is not as clear about how long a cold shutdown could take, and said the problem will be “the effects from caesium-137 that remains in the soil and the polluted water around the power station and underground. It will take a year, or more time, to deal with this”.
Gundersen pointed out that the units are still leaking radiation.“They are still emitting radioactive gases and an enormous amount of radioactive liquid,” he said. “It will be at least a year before it stops boiling, and until it stops boiling, it’s going to be cranking out radioactive steam and liquids.”
Gundersen worries about more earthquake aftershocks, as well as how to cool two of the units. “Unit four is the most dangerous, it could topple,” he said. “After the earthquake in Sumatra there was an 8.6 [aftershock] about 90 days later, so we are not out of the woods yet. And you’re at a point where, if that happens, there is no science for this, no one has ever imagined having hot nuclear fuel lying outside the fuel pool. They’ve not figured out how to cool units three and four.”
Gundersen’s assessment of solving this crisis is grim. “Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it, and that has to be removed from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years,” he said. “Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn’t exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor.”
Dr Sawada says that the creation of nuclear fission generates radioactive materials for which there is simply no knowledge informing us how to dispose of the radioactive waste safely. “Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations,” he explained. “To do otherwise is simply an immoral act, and that is my belief, both as a scientist and as a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.”
Gundersen believes it will take experts at least ten years to design and implement the plan. “So 10 to 15 years from now maybe we can say the reactors have been dismantled, and in the meantime you wind up contaminating the water,” Gundersen said. “We are already seeing Strontium [at] 250 times the allowable limits in the water table at Fukushima. Contaminated water tables are incredibly difficult to clean. So I think we will have a contaminated aquifer in the area of the Fukushima site for a long, long time to come.”
Unfortunately, the history of nuclear disasters appears to back Gundersen’s assessment. “With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started,” he said, “But they never end.”