Must see 4:52 video
From Stop 5G International —
Candle/Lantern Vigils for Safer Technology
December 18, 19 2021
We invite people around the world to join together on December 18/19 with Candle/Lantern Vigils to honor increasing reverence for nature, and to call for a Stop to 5G.
5G is the “next generation” of wireless telecommunications infrastructure build-out. It presents unacknowledged risks to human health and the environment, and perpetuates rather than addresses economic, digital, and racial inequities. 5G will vastly increase energy consumption, the exploitation of poorer nations via resource extraction and e-waste, and violates human and community rights by placing profits before people.
Freedom remains a central theme for the events, as surveillance and control increasingly infiltrate our world.
We invite you also to focus events on the newest threat, the “Smart Ocean”, aka the “Internet of Underwater Things (IoUT)” which poses an imminent danger to marine life and Earth. (For more click HERE.)
The “Smart Ocean” will complement c. 100,000 Satellites being planned and launched into Low Earth Orbit, and 4G/5G infrastructure on land. Together these three domains — the heavens, ocean, and land — will weave together one global massive Web of Destruction to be used by the military, and that also poses a dire threat to the Natural World and all living beings. (For more on satellites, click HERE.) (For an Overview of 5G vs Safe Tech, click HERE.)
This unconscious disregard for Earth must stop before our Planet is trapped in a blanket of Electrosmog and we are all locked into an inescapable Planetary Electronic Surveillance Grid.
The winter solstice has been observed for millennia in cultures that were aligned with the rhythms of nature, as a time for reflection on the balance between darkness and light. The Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere. (NB: The Candlelight Vigil has been set for Saturday/Sunday, December 18/19, although winter solstice falls on December 21. Any of these days would work for an event.)
The call to Stop 5G represents the intention to reclaim reverence for the abundance and generativity of the natural electromagnetic environment of the Earth. It recognizes the need for technological innovation to operate within, rather than in defiance of, the Laws of Nature.
In times like these, each one of us needs to be a beacon, and what better way than to create Circles of Light all over the World?
Stop 5G Candle/Lantern Lit Vigils would be good in the Northern Hemisphere, to shine a Light in the dark.
In the Global South, Stop 5G Bonfires/Barbecues might be an idea! Wherever you live and whatever you fancy, consider making Light a main theme.
Post your Event – and later your pictures – to Global 5G Protest and to Stop 5G International:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
NB: Stop 5G International does not endorse any forms of vandalism or destruction in its advocacy for safer technology and environmental stewardship.
To download poster for the event, please click HERE.
From Physicians for Social Responsibility
Congressional and Local Elected Officials Release Letters to CalEPA Complaining that the SSFL Soil Cleanup, Which Was to Have Been Completed by 2017, Hasn’t Even Begun
For Immediate Release: October 14, 2021
A peer-reviewed study, just published by the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, found that radioactive contamination from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) migrated offsite during the 2018 Woolsey Fire, which began at SSFL. The study calls into question widely distrusted claims by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and its toxics department that no contamination was released.
SSFL is a former nuclear and rocket-engine testing facility located in the hills above the Simi and San Fernando valleys. Decades of accidents, spills, and releases – including a partial nuclear meltdown – resulted in extensive radioactive and chemical contamination that still has not been cleaned up.
The study “Radioactive microparticles related to the Woolsey Fire in Simi Valley, CA” was conducted by Marco Kaltofen of the Dept. of Physics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education. It examined 360 samples of household dust, surface soils, and ash from 150 homes as well as other locations collected in December 2018 through February 2019 by community volunteers who received training in sample and safety protocols. Photos and video of the sample collection can be downloaded here. The study found radioactive particles associated with the fire at SSFL as high as nineteen times background (normal) as much as nine miles away.
The study concludes that while most samples collected were at background levels, “some ashes and dusts collected from the Woolsey Fire zone in the fire’s immediate aftermath contained high activities of radioactive isotopes associated with the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). The data show that Woolsey Fire ash did, in fact, spread SSFL-related radioactive microparticles….Alpha and beta counting, high-resolution alpha and gamma spectroscopy, and X-ray microanalysis using SEM/EDS confirmed the presence of radioactive microparticles in the Woolsey Fire-related ashes and dusts.”
“Most of the fire-impacted samples found near the SSFL site’s perimeter were on lands accessible to the public. There were, however, scattered localized areas of increased radioactivity due to the presence of radioactive microparticles in ash and recently-settled dusts collected just after the Woolsey fire. These radioactive outliers were found in Thousand Oaks, CA, and Simi Valley, CA, about 15 and 5 km distant from SSFL, respectively. The Thousand Oaks samples had alpha count rates up to 19 times background, and X-ray spectroscopy (SEM) identified alpha-emitting thorium as the source of this excess radioactivity. Excessive alpha radiation in small particles is of particular interest because of the relatively high risk of inhalation-related long-term biological damage from internal alpha emitters compared to external radiation.”
The findings contradict conclusions by CalEPA’s Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), which, a mere 9 hours after the fire began on November 8, 2018, declared that the fire didn’t result in releases of hazardous materials. CalEPA/DTSC issued an interim study in December 2018, affirmed in a final version in December 2020, which asserted that “data from sampling and measurements did not detect the release of chemical or radiological contaminants from SSFL.” The CalEPA/DTSC claims were widely criticized (see, e.g., Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists).
The new findings call these claims into question and further reinforce concern about their failure to clean up SSFL as long promised. Had the state and the parties responsible for the contamination (Boeing, Dept. of Energy, and NASA) met their legally binding obligations to clean up SSFL by the 2017 deadline, the 2018 fire couldn’t have released contamination. And further failure to remediate the site will pose continuing risks to the offsite population, as set forth in letters by Congressional and local elected officials released today.
Congressional Letter to CalEPA Complaining About Failure to Clean Up The Site
Congressmembers Sherman, Brownley, Correa, and Napolitano and Senator Padilla sent a letter to CalEPA today, stating:
“The 2007 Consent Order and 2020 Administrative Orders on Consent govern clean-up of the site and tasked the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) with responsibility for overseeing the clean-up. These Orders required that soil cleanup be completed by 2017, however the agreed upon soil remediation at the site has yet to begin. We are deeply concerned about the lengthy delays in the clean-up of SSFL….”
“We strongly support the existing cleanup agreements between the state and the three responsible parties. These agreements should be vigorously enforced and proceed with all appropriate urgency.”
Eleven Local Elected Officials Confront CalEPA About Its Delayed Cleanup, Failure to Enforce Cleanup Agreements, & Negotiations With Boeing to Weaken Cleanup Standards
Also today, County Supervisors from Ventura and LA County, six mayors, and an LA City Councilmember sent a letter to CalEPA saying:
“It is now four years after the clean-up was supposed to have been completed per adopted agreements, and as yet the promised soil clean-up has not begun. We are opposed to any action that would significantly delay or weaken site clean-up. We are specifically concerned with the following activities of your agency:
- No State effort to enforce the 2007 Consent Order and 2010 Administrative Orders on Consent.
- Confidential negotiations between DTSC and Boeing that could delay or weaken clean-up by Boeing as required by the Consent Order and Administrative Order on Consent (CO & AOC).
- Proposed further delays in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Report while having not addressed shortcomings in the EIR that the City of LA, the County of Ventura, and others identified over three years ago.
- Possible changes to the Standardized Risk Assessment Methodology (SRAM2 Update) that would allow Boeing to delay and weaken clean-up.”
As indicated in the letter, there is widespread concern among electeds and the community about secret negotiations between the state and Boeing that could have the effect of further delaying the cleanup while allowing Boeing to walk away from cleaning up most of its contamination. In particular, there is concern that the core of such a Boeing-Newsom Administration deal would be to revise the Standardized Risk Assessment Methodology, or SRAM, which forms the basis for the cleanup standards, and to do so in a way that would allow as much as twenty times higher levels of contamination than permitted in the current SRAM.
“The community is incredibly grateful that our elected representatives are standing up for us, especially now while CalEPA remains in secret negotiations with Boeing. Given the agency’s conduct with the SSFL cleanup and its failure to protect many other impacted communities in California, we are concerned that CalEPA will cut a deal with Boeing that will leave the vast majority of contamination at SSFL,” said Jeni Knack, a community member who helped collect samples for the radiation study.
“Federally funded studies have previously confirmed that contamination has migrated offsite over U.S. EPA levels of concern, and that the incidence of key cancers in the neighboring communities increases with proximity to the site,” said Denise Duffield, Associate Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA. “In addition, site owner Boeing has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for exceeding contamination limits in surface water runoff leaving the site over many years. Until and unless CalEPA and the parties responsible for the pollution finally live up to their cleanup agreements, people living around the site will be at further risk to their health.”
“The bottom line is, if SSFL had been cleaned up by 2017 as required by the cleanup agreements, the community wouldn’t have had to worry about contamination released by the Woolsey Fire,” said Melissa Bumstead, co-founder of Parents vs. SSFL. “My daughter is a two-time cancer survivor, and no parent should have to worry that the SSFL might give their child cancer when there’s a fire on site, or when it rains or it’s windy.”
MSNBC to Air Award-Winning Documentary About the Santa Susana Field Lab
MSNBC has announced the acquisition of the documentary, “In the Dark of the Valley,” which follows the story of Melissa Bumstead and other local mothers whose children have been diagnosed with rare cancers and are fighting for SSFL to be fully cleaned up. The film has won numerous awards on the festival circuit, including Best Documentary at the Phoenix and Catalina Film Festivals. The film will air nationwide on November 14, 2021 at 10pm EST.
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA) has worked for the full cleanup of SSFL for over 30 years. PSR-LA advocates for policies and practices that protect public health from nuclear and environmental threats and eliminate health disparities.
Parents vs. SSFL is a grassroots group of concerned parents and residents who demand compliance with cleanup agreements signed in 2010 that require a full cleanup of all radioactive and chemical contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.
From Nuclear Hotseat
November 3, 2021
by Libbe HaLevy
Santa Susana Field Lab Fallout from Woolsey Fire Study of Radioactive Releases – Melissa Bumstead (above) of Parents Against SSFL.
This Week’s Featured Interviews:
Santa Susana Field Lab – the push to clean up the 2,680 acre site continues in the wake of findings about the Woolsey fire releasing radioactive micro-particles into the surrounding Los Angeles neighborhoods. One of the ongoing people helping to lead the fight is Denise Duffield. She serves as Administrator for Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA’s (PSR-LA) and directs its nuclear threats program, which advocates for health protective policies related to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Denise also works on environmental health and justice issues, addressing the needs of local communities who are impacted by toxic contamination and the failure of regulatory agencies to protect them. She leads PSR-LA’s efforts to ensure a full cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL).
Melissa Bumstead lives within 3.6 miles of the Santa Susana Field Lab. She became an “accidental activist” for the SSFL cleanup after her four year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia in 2014. She founded Parents Against SSFL and continues to lead community efforts for a complete clean-up of the Boeing – former Rocketdyne – site. (Her daughter is now 11 years old and cancer-free.)
From Physicians for Social Responsibility
MSNBC has acquired “In the Dark of the Valley,” an award-winning documentary film that chronicles the lives of a group of mothers turned advocates (Parents vs SSFL) who come face to face with corporate interests and governmental apathy in their fight to clean up the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL.) The film will air nationwide on Sunday November 14 at 10 pm EST. SSFL is a former nuclear and rocket-engine testing site located in the hills above the Simi and San Fernando valleys that remains heavily polluted with toxic contamination.
PSR-LA Board President Dr. Robert Dodge and Associate Director Denise Duffield are featured throughout the documentary, working alongside community members and organizational allies as we have for over 30 years. We urge our members and supporters to view this important, poignant, and moving film.
In the Dark of the Valley has also been racking up awards on the film festival circuit, winning Best Documentary at the Phoenix Film Festival, the Catalina Film Festival, and Best Feature Documentary, Best Director, and Best Editing at the Angeles Documentaries. It will also screen at The Ojai Film Festival on Friday November 5 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. View the film trailer below.
” seeing the wastewater flushed away by Ocean currents” —
and it magically disappears….
August 27, 2021
In a world where the UN is pressuring the west (but oddly not China) to drastically lower emissions to save the world from global warming, where ESG investing is the hottest new trend in the investment universe, it’s remarkable that the government of Japan would do something so retrograde as to dump treated wastewater from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant off shore.
TEPCO has finally settled on a plan to get rid of the nuclear wastewater that has been building up in the ruined reactors of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi. The utility will construct an underwater pipeline 1 kilometer long to dump the water directly from the ruins of reactor No. 1 into the Pacific Ocean, where experts believe currents will quickly dilute it and carry it away.
The undersea tunnel will be constructed by hollowing out bedrock on the seabed near the No. 5 reactor at the Fukushima plant, and will stretch 1km east to the sea, according to the Japan Times.
According to Nikkei, TEPCO is planning to officially announce the decision Wednesday. The final plan will then be presented to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority next month for review. The fishing industry in the area is understandably opposed to the measure, but few analysts expect their resistance to scuttle the plan, given the lack of alternatives for disposing of the radioactive wastewater.
Since the Japanese government first approved the plan in April, TEPCO has explored whether it should release the water along the shore, or further out at sea.
The plan to dump it further from shore eventually won out, as experts decided that this strategy had a better chance of seeing the wastewater flushed away by Ocean currents (apparently, the flow of the currents can greatly complicate the dumping).
Innkeepers and other business operators in Fukushima were also in favor of discharging the wastewater far enough away to prevent reputational damage (or any potential blowback). Before releasing the wastewater, TEPCO plans to remove as much radioactive material as it can, then dilute what remains with at least 100 parts of seawater.
Before dumping the water, TEPCO says it will remove as much radioactive material as it can, then dilute whatever is left with 100 parts of seawater.
To be sure, Japan’s fishermen aren’t the only party opposed to the plan. Back in April, China slammed Japan’s plans to dump the wastewater in the Pacific, even going so far as to threaten retaliation.
Pumping the water out of (at least one) the [reactors] is an important step toward cleaning up Fukushima Daiichi, but the effort remains a long way from finished. Last year, TEPCO outlined a 44-year plan to decommission reactor No. 2.
It all but guarantees that Japan will be dealing with the cleanup of the disaster at Fukushima for some time. It might not even be finished by the time Japan hosts its next Olympics.
Posted under Fair Use Rules.
UPDATE: See below
Gavin Newsom may be forced to step down as Governor of California if a recall is approved September 14 by California voters.
He and the Democratic Party leaders are busy branding the recall a Republican effort, including a lawsuit by Newsom and divisive ads with Elizabeth Warren as spokeswoman – “distract and confuse” tactics. Many Californians are not interested in party power games and actually care about officials’ actions, such as when they protect special interests including utility companies and Big Oil, and allow risks or harm to the public and the environment.
For example, in 2016, when Newsom was Lieutenant Governor and on the California Lands Commission. Pacific Gas and Electric applied for a new permit for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The plant had never had state environmental review which many now urged the Commission to require. In addition,
– in 2015, it was revealed that PG&E had used incorrect safety data – since 1982 – and altered its operating license with the help of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to appear in compliance.
– Mothers for Peace SLO reviewed data and found PG&E committed 29 safety violations in 2014 alone, including inoperable backup generators. Fukushima meltdowns were initiated when the electricity grid shut down and backup generators failed when turned on. PG&E called these violations “gaps in excellence”.
– PG&E improperly packed high burn-up spent fuel rods into dry cask storage in 2015, creating a serious risk of a nuclear accident.
– the plant and its desal plant cause extensive damage to the ocean, including its devastating once-through water intake system that kills marine life.
– the plant sits amidst an active, connected network of earthquake faults
– a nuclear accident at Diablo Canyon would impact critical agricultural lands north in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties, east to the Central Valley, and south to Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, harm millions of people including Los Angeles, cause environmental destruction on land and to the Pacific Ocean, and devastate California, ranked the 5th largest economy in the world.
These are some of the issues. Friends of the Earth said in March 2015, “Diablo Canyon should never have been constructed in the first place, and now it is clear it should not be allowed to operate another day.”
Further, the Commission hearing was occurring as PG&E was on trial for the San Bruno disaster.
Despite the facts and the dangers from continued plant operation, Gavin Newsom refused to require environmental review and refused to delay the hearing to allow the public and experts to evaluate new information and Commission reports.
Instead, Newsom led the Commission in voting to approve the new permit, and applauded a recent agreement allowing the plant to operate for nine more years.
June 2016 hearing transcript; Diablo Canyon consideration starts on p. 78
Preceding April 2016 hearing transcript; Diablo Canyon starts on p. 55
Newsom’s comments at the hearings were very disturbing, given the issues and risks and PG&E’s safety history.
After 2016, California was hit with the powerful Ridgecrest earthquake and its many strong aftershocks – a powerful reminder of the daily risks. And even a power outage can cause a catastrophic nuclear accident, because nuclear power plants rely on grid power to keep fuel rods and spent fuel pools cool.
Newsom’s critical decision affecting the lives and future of so many is one example of his priorities and judgment. This is the reason many Californians support a recall.
– – –
From ABC10 Sacramento:
“For nearly three years, ABC10’s Fire – Power – Money team has been at the forefront covering California’s wildfire crisis, the danger of PG&E’s power lines, and how the company avoids accountability.
Now, ABC10’s award-winning investigative series reveals how California’s state government, under Governor Gavin Newsom, responded to PG&E’s deadly crimes by giving the company rewards and protection.”
The candidate reactor sites are the Wyodak plant near Gillette in coal-rich northeastern Wyoming, the Naughton plant near Kemmerer in southwestern Wyoming, the Jim Bridger plant outside Rock Springs in southwestern Wyoming and the Dave Johnston plant near Glenrock in uranium-rich east-central Wyoming.
…Wyoming is the top uranium-mining state, and the reactor would use uranium from “in situ” mines that extract the heavy metal from networks of water wells on the high plains, officials said.
…Proposals to store nuclear waste in Wyoming have failed to pass the state Legislature in recent decades. While some waste would need to be stored on site, the plant isn’t going to be a way to “solve the nation’s waste problems,” Gordon said.From the Associated Press,
6 June, 2021
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have chosen a top U.S. coal-producing state as the location for a new kind of nuclear reactor, using Natrium as its power source.
The natrium power plant, with an anticipated cost of $1 billion, will repurpose a coal plant for its operations in Wyoming, with the exact location to be announced by the end of 2021. The partners hope this will help the U.S. on its way to a carbon-zero future.
The development consists of a 345-megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with molten salt-based energy storage that could boost the system’s power output to 500MW during peak power demand. This would provide enough energy to power as many as 400,000 homes.
he project will be overseen by TerraPower and Pacificorp, founded by Gates and Buffett respectively. TerraPower has been key in exploring the potential of Natrium power as the US energy department awarded the company $80 million in funding last year to demonstrate the potential power of this chemical.
“We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry,” Gates stated of the project.
President and CEO of TerraPower, Chris Levesque, adds “We need this kind of clean energy on the grid in the 2030s.”
Some experts are critiquing the plans, warning that advanced reactors may present a higher risk than their conventional counterparts. Reactor fuel needs to be enriched at a higher rate than conventional fuel, making the supply chain a potential target for groups trying to build a crude nuclear weapon.
However, advanced nuclear reactors have simpler designs than typical reactors, making them easier to build, more fuel-efficient, cheaper, and safer.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon believes “This is our fastest and clearest course to becoming carbon negative,” stating, “Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy.”
The project is expected to provide on-demand, no-carbon energy, as well as providing hundreds of short and long-term jobs in construction and plant operations. This will give a much-needed boost to Wyoming’s job sector following two decades of coal plant closures.
While two out of every three nuclear power reactors globally are scheduled for retirement in the near future, the U.S. is still investing heavily in nuclear power. For example, the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia is expected to commence commercial operation in November 2021, at an estimated cost of $28 billion. It seems that despite a movement away from nuclear power in recent years we cannot overlook its potential as a global energy leader.
Following a decade of decline after major disasters such as Fukushima in 2011, which obliterated Japan’s nuclear power program, two countries, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates have recently commissioned new nuclear power plants. In addition, Japan is aiming to reintroduce nuclear capacities, with at least 5 safety-upgraded reactors expected to be recommissioned by 2025.
The Middle East and South Asia are expected to boost their nuclear power production by the end of the decade, with Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, China, and India all investing in nuclear reactors. This has sent uranium stocks up since late 2020, with two leading US-listed uranium miners, Uranium Energy Corp. and Cameco Corporation, both experiencing a steady climb.
Despite the recent decline in nuclear power, plans to invest in the recommissioning of existing reactors and develop new ones suggest that nuclear energy is not yet dead. Further, if Gates and Buffett are successful in developing their Natrium advanced reactor is could lead the way for future projects.
From the Defender
13 May 2021
Kelly Slater believes when humans become disconnected from nature, it’s a lot easier to disrespect the planet we all call home.
Slater, an 11-time world surf champion, knows all too well what it looks like when humans disrespect nature. He told Children’s Health Defense Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on the “RFK Jr The Defender Podcast,” that because of all the pollution in the world’s oceans, surfers are the “canaries in the coal mine.”
“I don’t even know where to start with ocean pollution. There’s so many scary pollutants out in the world, in the air, in the water. People dump their oil, and it’s nothing to spill your gas if you have a leak in a boat. Once you’re a mile or five miles or 20 miles offshore, you can dump a limited number of anything you want into the ocean because, ‘hey, it’s just going to float down to the bottom.’ How much respect do we have for ourselves when we treat our earth that way? It’s the only earth we have.”
Slater described the time he went to Bali and couldn’t surf because there was so much garbage in the ocean. The seasons had changed from dry to wet, and when it started raining, the rivers washed all the garbage that had piled up over time into the sea.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” said Slater. “We actually had to slow the boat down to an idle speed just to go through some of the garbage that was lodged out together in the middle of the channel 10 miles from land.”
The radioactive waste flowing into the ocean from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster also worries Slater. He said:
“The scientists have no idea what they’re going to do about Fukushima. That thing’s 10 years old now. The millions of gallons of water that are flowing full of radioactive waste in the ocean, every single day, it’s mind-boggling. No one even has any idea how much is going into the ocean. And they don’t know the effects of that.”
Listen to the full interview to hear Slater and Kennedy discuss surfing, the failures of recycling and Slater’s sustainable clothing line, “Outerknown.”
Posted by The Hill
by Rick Steiner Opinion Contributor
(THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL)
April 17, 2021
The Biden administration must urge Japan to abandon this unnecessary and dangerous plan.
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was caused by the 9.1 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and a 14-meter-high tsunami. The tsunami flooded and disabled emergency generators needed to pump cooling water into the nuclear reactor cores, causing three reactor core meltdowns and hydrogen explosions. Radionuclides flowed eastward across the Pacific and were eventually found in waters off California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. We all live downstream.
The storage tanks now hold seawater that has been used to continue cooling the reactor cores, and this water is contaminated with such radionuclides as Cesium-137, Carbon-14, tritium (including the more dangerous “Organically Bound Tritium”), Strontium-90, Cobalt-60, Iodine-129, Plutonium-239 — and over 50 other radionuclides. Some of this has reportedly been removed, but some has not (e.g. radioactive tritium and C-14).
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that owns Fukushima, and is now responsible for the cleanup (that is likely to last the remainder of this century), didn’t admit until recently that the wastewater contains significant amounts of radioactive Carbon-14. As C-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, and is known to bio-accumulate in marine ecosystems and cause cellular and genetic impairment. This is a very serious concern.
Fukushima C-14 will be added to the already elevated radioactive C-14 load in the oceans from nuclear weapons tests — or “bomb carbon” — last century. It’s now found in organisms even in the deepest part of the ocean, the Marianas Trench. It is easy to imagine the impact this new, intentional Fukushima release could have, rightly or not, on the public image of clean marine seafood and tourism along the Pacific coast.
TEPCO claims the water has been sufficiently treated and is OK to release, but the treatment system they are using is reported to be substandard and not up to the job. Communities across the Pacific deserve an independent scientific assessment of TEPCO’s claims, by an Independent Scientific and Technical Commission. Remember, TEPCO and the Japanese government approved locating the nuclear power plant’s emergency generators in a tsunami flood zone. Their assurances now that there is no risk in releasing this radioactive water are neither credible nor scientifically defensible.
China and South Korea have registered objections to the release plan with Japan, but other downstream nations — the U.S., Russia and Canada — have stayed quiet. It isn’t often that China expresses more concern for the environment than the U.S., but this is one such time.
And even if the ecological and public health risk from the planned release is indeed low, as claimed (this is highly doubtful), the risk is entirely unnecessary and avoidable.
Beyond marine discharge, several other disposal options have been considered, including evaporating the water, or injecting it into deep geologic formations.
But by far the best solution is for TEPCO to build more storage tanks and continue holding all contaminated water for another 15 years or so, during which time the radioactive tritium level will decay by half, and simultaneously treat it with best available technology (such as ion exchange systems and modular “detritiation” systems in the U.S.) to remove all radionuclides possible. Japan and TEPCO considered this long-term storage option, but opted instead for the cheapest choice — simply dumping the wastewater into the Pacific.
The era of intentionally dumping toxic waste in our one global ocean is, or should be, over.
Fukushima was, and continues to be, a nuclear nightmare, and all nations should join together in a collaborative effort to resolve this mess. This effort will take hundreds of billions of dollars, over many decades, and the U.S. and other G20 nations must step up and help both financially and technically.
Unless and until this wastewater is independently certified as effectively free of radionuclides and safe, not one drop should be released into the beautiful deep blue Pacific.
Finally, Fukushima should be the last nail in the coffin for the notion that nuclear fission power could be a realistic solution to our climate crisis.
Rick Steiner is a marine conservation biologist in Anchorage and former professor of marine conservation with the University of Alaska from 1980-2010. He now consults for the U.N., governments and NGOs on marine environmental issues. He is author of “Oasis Earth: Planet in Peril.”
Posted under Fair Use Rules.