Two Months Later and Still an Out of Control Roller Coaster Ride
by John Vodila
It’s hard to believe Mar.13, 2011 was already two months ago, I can remember the sorrow I felt for the Japanese and the doom and fear I felt in the following weeks about the uncertainty of what would be to come over several nuclear reactors severely damaged by multiple earthquakes, a tsunami and explosions.
The silence recently surrounding the Fukushima disaster has been deafening, I have been keeping a close eye on the situation from the beginning and I am sure like most of us not being nuclear experts at any level have been trying to find reliable sources of information to keep informed and up to date on the situation to protect family and friends the best I can.
I will begin this report with the good news and save all the bad news (updates) for last.
I get 36 sometimes 48 hours off at home a week and work for a trucking company that pretty much runs only the Midwest to the East Coast. Every once in a while I get over to Denver this is about as far west as I go with this company. What I am getting at here is I can’t speak for the possible radiation levels on the west coast but I can for just about every state east of the Mississippi river.
I have had two dosimeters on me for the last forty five days and one at home none have shown any exposure. I am using two different kinds because of course I was concerned about the risk of traveling which raises my probability of exposure to radiation fallout and wanted to know for sure if I have been exposed, to date I have not according to the dosimeters in the photo below.
As I was out working my three acre micro ranch here in Kentucky today tilling the garden:
cleaning the chicken coop:
and repairing the driveway from the last storm that washed it out and taking in all the beauty of everything turning green, blooming flowers, the singing birds, bees buzzing:
and my dog enjoying the afternoon with his bone:
it is hard to imagine we are being exposed to deadly radiation; are we? Reading some posts out there in cyber land some would think we should all be skeletons by now.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come out with this statement as they have stopped their heightened monitoring of the fallout situation from Fukushima-
“After a thorough data review showing declining radiation levels related to the Japanese nuclear incident, EPA has returned to the routine RadNet sampling and analysis process for precipitation, drinking water and milk” going back to testing every three months.
The Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), stopped their public fallout forecast maps.
This is what they said on 5/13/2011- Thank you for your interest in the FLEXPART products for Fukushima. The Forecast system is no longer running.
“We have discontinued our Flexpart forecast of the atmospheric dispersal of radionucleides from Fukushima. This due to the fact that we do not have access to reliable release rates reflecting the current situation at the plant to be used as input to our simulations. It is likely that the release of radioactive material is significantly reduced compared to the initial period, and that levels no longer pose a health risk at distance from the plant.”
No more maps from NILU
So what is one to think?
Onto the bad news.
Here’s what I think- we are on a ball speeding through space and we have a bunch of masters of disasters running things calling themselves experts and authorities on things they have truly no idea what the end circumstances of their expertise are.
This is what I know – there’s a big difference from internal and external radiation exposure. Yes Japan is over 5000 miles across the Pacific so we are getting minimal amounts of fallout but remember it has been two months and these isotopes are bio-accumulating in the food chain and have been found in the air, milk, water and soil so far. Thousands of tons of radioactive water have been dumped in the Pacific Ocean.
UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering has been measuring grass, wild mushrooms, spinach, strawberries, cilantro, kale, arugula and seaweed from the Northern California coast and I131, I132, Cs134, Cs137 have been measured. The top soil, grass and especially strawberries don’t look good.
It is official since workers have repaired some of the metering devices and robots have been used that unit number 1 has had a nuclear meltdown, admitted by Japanese officials, and evidence that unit 3 has also. Radiation is now higher than radiation meters read at unit 1 and evidence the containment vessel has been breached. The robots found radiation limits unsafe for workers at units 1 and 3; radiation levels at unit 3 have doubled from April.
A TEPCO employee said:
“Until around June, we’ll make it our priority to remove debris with robots. We’ll then check how radiation levels change,” The company currently has no plans to send workers into the No. 3 reactor building, the employee said.
When the PackBot examined the power plant’s No. 1 reactor building in April, it found radiation levels had reached 1,000 millisieverts per hour at some pumps. Levels at the other pumps were 10 to 49 millisieverts per hour.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said water levels have fallen at least one meter below the fuel rods inside Reactor 1 and melted fuel has dropped to the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel.
Tepco general manager Junichi Matsumoto told reporters in Tokyo that the discovery means its timetable to entomb the containment reactor vessel in water may have to be scrapped. Matsumoto said “We can’t deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak.”
Reactor 3, containing MOX plutonium fuel, may have also have suffered a meltdown, and the situation inside Reactor 2 is still unknown.
“The situation is clearly far more serious than previously reported, and could escalate rapidly if the lava melts through the reactor vessel,” warned Jan Beránek of Greenpeace.
According to the telegraph – “There has been a huge cull of the livestock left inside the 18-mile mandatory exclusion zone with thousands of cows, horses and pigs being destroyed and some 260,000 chickens from the town of Minamisoma alone. The Environment ministry has announced, however, that it will attempt to rescue the thousands of pets that were left behind when residents were ordered to evacuate. At least 5,800 dogs were owned by the residents of the zone, although it is unclear how many remain alive, two months after the earthquake struck.”
The reactor four situation where the building has begun to lean and claims there’s a possibility of collapse due to damage from the explosion of unit three. I speculate that this building is leaning due to either a major meltdown or some kind of foundation failure because of multiple earthquakes and or all the water being pumped into these units. Officials have said they don’t know where all the water is going. The point is it is leaning and they say their trying to shore it up.
“Serious Situation”: Unit No. 4 leaning, in danger of collapse
Plans to raise radiation levels go back as far as Jan 2009 according to FOIA release.
Below From – Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
“With the Japanese nuclear situation still out of control and expected to continue that way for months, and with elevated radioactivity continuing to show up in the U.S., it is inexplicable that EPA would shut down its Fukushima radiation monitoring effort,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting radiation readings in seawater off the Japanese coast at depths of up to 100 feet are 1,000 times normal levels.
At the same time, EPA continues to review a plan to dramatically increase permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents. The proposed radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow long-term cleanup standards thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted, permitting doses to the public that EPA itself estimates would cause a cancer in as much as every fourth person exposed.
“This is the worst possible time for EPA to roll back radiological protections for Americans,” added Ruch, pointing out that the EPA PAGs are favored by the nuclear industry but are vigorously opposed by public health professionals inside EPA. “The lesson from Fukushima should not be that we just have to learn to live with high levels of industrial radioactive pollution.”
Documents PEER obtained under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that EPA made a decision to approve the PAGs months ago but has yet to make an official announcement. Last fall the agency hired contractors to prepare a Communications Plan for it. Sources tell PEER that EPA is ready to send the PAGs over to the White House Office of Management & Budget for approval prior to publication in the Federal Register.
RADIATION EXPOSURE DEBATE RAGES INSIDE EPA — Plan to Radically Hike Post-Accident Radiation in Food & Water Sparks Hot Dissent
Washington, DC — A plan awaiting approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would dramatically increase permissible radioactive releases in drinking water, food and soil after “radiological incidents” is drawing vigorous objections from agency experts, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At issue is the acceptable level of public health risk following a radiation release, whether an accidental spill or a “dirty bomb” attack.
The radiation arm of EPA, called the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (ORIA), has prepared an update of the 1992 “Protective Action Guides” (PAG) governing radiation protection decisions for both short-term and long-term cleanup standards. Other divisions within EPA contend the ORIA plan geometrically raises allowable exposure to the public. For example, as Charles Openchowski of EPA’s Office of General Counsel wrote in a January 23, 2009 e-mail to ORIA:
“This guidance would allow cleanup levels that exceed MCLs [Maximum Contamination Limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act] by a factor of 100, 1000, and in two instances 7 million and there is nothing to prevent those levels from being the final cleanup achieved (i.e., it’s not confined to immediate response of emergency phase).”
Another EPA official, Stuart Walker of the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, explains what the proposed new radiation limits in drinking water would mean:
“It also 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.”
“This critical debate is taking place entirely behind closed doors because this plan is ‘guidance’ and does not require public notice as a regulation would,” stated PEER Counsel Christine Erickson. Today, PEER sent EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson a letter calling for a more open and broader examination of the proposed radiation guidance. “We all deserve to know why some in the agency want to legitimize exposing the public to radiation at levels vastly higher than what EPA officially considers dangerous.”
The internal documents show that under the updated PAG 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.
PEER obtained the internal e-mails after filing a lawsuit this past fall under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) but the EPA has yet to turn over thousands more communications. “EPA touts its new transparency but when it comes to matters of controversy the agency still puts up a wall,” added Erickson, who filed the FOIA suit. “Besides the months of stonewalling, we are seeing them pull stunts such as ORIA giving us rebuttals to other EPA documents they have yet to release.”
Only In The Movies:
What is the hold-up and where is the international community in resolving this ongoing crisis that is worsening and will affect the entire globe in the future.
I wrote before this crisis began in an article titled World War III On The Horizon from 3/6/2011
” Russia is deploying Bastion missile systems and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles to the disputed South Kuril Islands that Japan claims as theirs with US backing.
Remember Russia and Japan have never signed a peace treaty from World War II over these disputed Islands. This is the real powder keg with a fuse ready to be lit. Who will light it?”
From a report I posted on 3/11/2010 from China national news titled-
China rejects US’ offer to host trilateral talks with Japan over Diaoyu Islands
‘Beijing has rejected America’s offer to host trilateral talks with China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.
According to China Daily, China reiterated its sovereignty over the islands and made it clear it is a bilateral issue between Beijing and Tokyo.
“The territorial dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands is the business of the two nations only,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement published on the ministry’s website.
“It is absolutely wrong for the United States to repeatedly claim the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,” Ma added, reiterating that the Diaoyu Islands and adjacent islets are an inalienable part of China’s territory.’
This month in May, two months later with radiation levels too high for workers to work on some of the units top US Department of Energy official Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman said “The US side had difficulty grasping what was actually happening. He said if US officials had been able to obtain data more quickly, they could have given better advice.”
The official said the US will continue the close coordination for several months to help stabilize the plant.
He also stated that even before the Fukushima crisis, the US had repeatedly urged Japan to ratify an international treaty over damage from serious nuclear plant accidents. Poneman expressed hope that Japan will ratify the pact soon.
The treaty is insurance for serious nuclear accidents and would be financially supported by funds collected from those that joined.
As usual the evidence shows there’s politics and greed standing in the way of yet another solution. Governments and politicians ‘the masters of disasters’ will be the ruination of this world and everyone on it as three billion people get lead around by the nose ring and fight with each other over their masters pre-determined conflicts to keep all of us full of apathy to their agendas.
Advice on Fukushima:
As the months go by and the units worsen it is only a matter of time before the 5000 miles of the Pacific will make no difference, this already is a global issue and can turn into a major fallout situation if these cores get to ground water. All we can do is stay as informed as we can and adjust our diets to the food contamination as they let this situation spiral out of control.
I have no doubt whatsoever this situation could have been resolved by now with the power and technologies of superpowers as the US, China and Russia possess. These three nations alone have the power to do anything to planet earth, the question is will the future be life, liberty and happiness or death, tyranny and sorrow. We have the highest power and the most beautiful planet given to us, what will we do with it?
The Fukushima Situation Remains Silent and Critical