— Deadly plutonium — one nuclear reactor make 250 kg each year

From Helen Caldicott:

May 1, 2014

…Plutonium, one of the most deadly radioactive substances, is an alpha emitter. It is highly toxic, and one millionth of a gram will induce cancer if inhaled into the lung. As an iron analogue, it combines with transferrin. It causes liver cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, or multiple myeloma. It concentrates in the testicles and ovaries where it can induce testicular or ovarian cancer, or genetic diseases in future generations. It also crosses the placenta where it is teratogenic, like thalidomide. There are medical homes near Chernobyl full of grossly deformed children, the deformities of which have never before been seen in the history of medicine.

The half-life of plutonium is 24,400 years, and thus it is radioactive for 250,000 years. It will induce cancers, congenital deformities, and genetic diseases for virtually the rest of time.

Plutonium is also fuel for atomic bombs. Five kilos is fuel for a weapon which would vaporize a city. Each reactor makes 250 kg of plutonium a year. It is postulated that less than one kilo of plutonium, if adequately distributed, could induce lung cancer in every person on earth.

http://www.helencaldicott.com/the-impact-of-the-nuclear-crisis-on-global-health/

— China issues warning on Fukushima radiation

From Global Times
By Xuyang Jingjing in Tokyo and Zhang Yiqian in Beijing
February 15, 2017

○ The Chinese Embassy in Japan issued a warning over Fukushima radiation last Sunday, causing panic in China

○ Meanwhile, in Japan, everything went on normally, tourists and residents remain largely unaffected by the matter

○ In recent years, as the popularity of Japan as a tourist destination increases, Chinese people have developed a love-hate relationship with their neighbor. Any political rift or societal change between the two countries can cause large-scale effects.

An update of an old issue in Japan has sent ripples across the East China Sea to shake China. After the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced its latest analysis of the inside of its crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima that showed the radiation level there has seemingly risen from 73 sieverts per hour to 530 – a potentially lethal dose – the news has been traveling fast on the Chinese Internet.

[Editor: This was misinformation; the reading was taken in an new area that TEPCO had not been able to measure before — it was not an increase. Experts say that as they are able to get farther inside, they will find higher measurements.

From Helen Caldicott: The radiation measurement was 530 sieverts, or 53,000 rems (Roentgen Equivalent for Man). The dose at which half an exposed population would die is 250 to 500 rems. So “potentially” lethal is a lie. This radiation level is even frying robots.]

Last Sunday, the Chinese Embassy in Japan issued a safety warning in reaction to this announcement, telling Chinese citizens to manage their travel plans to avoid potential radiation risks that may come if nuclear material leaks out into the surrounding environment. The warning caused even more discussion and when rumors started spreading, many Chinese became worried, some even canceling their trips to Japan.

Business as usual

A couple of weeks after the news came out, people in Japan seemed as calm and reserved as ever. There are still many Chinese tourists on the streets and in shops. According to Chinese tourism agencies, their business has been basically unaffected.

The director of a large Chinese travel agency told the Global Times last Sunday that Fukushima wasn’t a regular travel destination for Chinese tourists anyway, and the company doesn’t offer any travel packages there.

Li Dan, manager of a branch of the Beijing-based Tianping International Travel Agency, said that there haven’t been any tour groups traveling to Fukushima since the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami. She also said that even tourists who travel independently do not usually go to Fukushima.

Last week, Will Davis, a member of the American Nuclear Society, refuted claims that radiation levels are soaring at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as “demonstrably false.” In a post on the society’s blog, Davis wrote that the readings have not changed and that TEPCO’s reported 530 sieverts per hour estimate was not “unimaginable” or particularly worrying.

His argument is that rather than a real increase from 73 to 530 sieverts, the 530 reading is simply a more accurate estimate of the radiation level at a particularly affected area that has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years.

Compared with China, news of the radiation levels in Fukushima has not generated much discussion in Japan. The responses from the media or public to the Chinese safety alert are also few.

For people living in Tokyo, three hours’ drive from Fukushima, life has continued as usual. While they feel a little concerned whenever such reports come out, they are not actively worried in their daily lives, several Japanese white-collar workers said.

For people trying to get their lives back to normal in the affected area, their biggest headache and frustration is the bad reputation and rumors that dog their agricultural products.

In supermarkets, consumers who are concerned about radiation contamination choose more expensive products from different areas over cheaper product from Fukushima. Local residents, NGOs and governments are still working to scrub the stain off the reputation of food produced in Fukushima.

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— Japanese agency launches investigation to stop “negative effects of groundless rumors” on Fukushima products

From Asahi Shimbun

Agency to probe reasons behind underpricing of Fukushima items

By NORIYOSHI OHTSUKI/ Senior Staff Writer

February 15, 2017

Prices of agricultural products and foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture declined after the nuclear plant accident in March 2011, and almost six years later, have yet to recover to pre-disaster levels.

Now the government is seeking to ascertain why these items are still being sold at lower prices, suspecting that wholesalers are deliberately underpricing products being shipped from the prefecture.

The Reconstruction Agency will survey wholesalers’ purchase prices of Fukushima-made food products, according to sources.

The agency believes crops and other items grown in the prefecture are being undersold because of the negative effects of groundless rumors stemming from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The latest decision is aimed at preventing the spread of those rumors.

The agency’s plan is expected to be included in a draft revision of the Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, to be submitted during the current Diet session.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the nuclear accident, Fukushima-made foodstuffs have been shipped only after their radioactivity levels are confirmed to be below safety standards.

The levels for those agricultural and other products typically fall below detectable levels, meaning most foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture are completely safe to eat.

Despite the fact, trading prices of rice and beef produced in the prefecture are still nearly 10 percent lower than national averages, according to the agency.

The agency suspects that the prices have not recovered to their pre-disaster levels not only because consumers tend to avoid Fukushima-made articles, but also because they are “purchased at unreasonably low rates” at the time of shipping.

When prices to wholesalers of food products grown in the prefecture are lower than pre-disaster rates, farmers can be compensated for the difference by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

“Some wholesalers may knock down the price, misusing the compensation system,” said a source at the Reconstruction Agency.

To prevent the abuse of the compensation system, the special measures law will be amended to include a plan to conduct “a survey to make clear why they (Fukushima-made products) are suffering from sluggish sales.”

Based on the revised law, the agency will survey the prices farmers are selling their crops for to wholesalers, how much consumers are paying for the agricultural products and other trading prices of foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture.

After identifying the reason for the lower prices, the agency will offer instructions and advice to wholesalers and other related parties.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702150001.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules

 

— Helen Caldicott: The Fukushima nuclear meltdown continues unabated

Global Research, February 14, 2017
Independent Australia 13 February 2017

Global Research Editor’s Note

In 2011, with foresight and scientific analysis Dr. Helen Caldicott focussed on the implications of the Fukushima disaster at a Press Conference in Montreal organized by Global Research. The 2011 GRTV video presentation featuring Dr. Caldicott tells us the truth. This is the most devastating catastrophe in human history.  And six years ago Helen Caldicott analyzed in detail the significance of this tragic event. (M. Ch)

Dr Helen Caldicott, explains recent robot photos taken of Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear reactors: radiation levels have not peaked, but have continued to spill toxic waste into the Pacific Ocean — but it’s only now the damage has been photographed. 

Recent reporting of a huge radiation measurement at Unit 2 in the Fukushima Daichi reactor complex does not signify that there is a peak in radiation in the reactor building. All that it indicates is that, for the first time, the Japanese have been able to measure the intense radiation given off by the molten fuel, as each previous attempt has led to failure because the radiation is so intense the robotic parts were functionally destroyed.

Satellite image shows damage at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (via ecowatch.com).

The radiation measurement was 530 sieverts, or 53,000 rems (Roentgen Equivalent for Man). The dose at which half an exposed population would die is 250 to 500 rems, so this is a massive measurement. It is quite likely had the robot been able to penetrate deeper into the inner cavern containing the molten corium, the measurement would have been much greater. These facts illustrate why it will be almost impossible to “decommission” units 1, 2 and 3 as no human could ever be exposed to such extreme radiation. This fact means that Fukushima Daichi will remain a diabolical blot upon Japan and the world for the rest of time, sitting as it does on active earthquake zones.

Robot image of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor (Source: tepco.co.jp)

What the photos taken by the robot did reveal was that some of the structural supports of Unit 2 have been damaged. It is also true that all four buildings were structurally damaged by the original earthquake some five years ago and by the subsequent hydrogen explosions so, should there be an earthquake greater than seven on the Richter scale, it is very possible that one or more of these structures could collapse, leading to a massive release of radiation as the building fell on the molten core beneath. But units 1, 2 and 3 also contain cooling pools with very radioactive fuel rods — numbering 392 in Unit 1, 615 in Unit 2, and 566 in Unit 3; if an earthquake were to breach a pool, the gamma rays would be so intense that the site would have to be permanently evacuated.

The fuel from Unit 4 and its cooling pool has been removed. But there is more to fear. The reactor complex was built adjacent to a mountain range and millions of gallons of water emanate from the mountains daily beneath the reactor complex, causing some of the earth below the reactor buildings to partially liquefy. As the water flows beneath the damaged reactors, it immerses the three molten cores and becomes extremely radioactive as it continues its journey into the adjacent Pacific Ocean.

Six years later, radiation levels at Fukushima are so high not even a robot can survive inside http://buff.ly/2lzNesd 

Every day since the accident began, 300 to 400 tons of water has poured into the Pacific where numerous isotopes – including cesium 137, 134, strontium 90, tritium, plutonium, americium and up to 100 more – enter the ocean and bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain — algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish then us. Fish swim thousands of miles and tuna, salmon and other species found on the American west coast now contain some of these radioactive elements, which are tasteless, odourless and invisible. Entering the human body by ingestion they concentrate in various organs, irradiating adjacent cells for many years.

The cancer cycle is initiated by a single mutation in a single regulatory gene in a single cell and the incubation time for cancer is any time from 2 to 90 years.

Continue reading

— Los Angeles: Public meetings on SSFL cleanup — Tell Dept. of Energy to clean up Santa Susana contamination, not leave it behind!

From the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group
February 13, 2017

“Unless people rise up and our elected officials act strongly to enforce the promises, people in neighboring communities will be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactivity and toxic chemicals.”  Read New Ventura County Star Op-Ed: Santa Susana Field Lab Broken Promises

The Department of Energy (DOE) is attempting to break its obligation to clean up all of the nuclear and chemical contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), proposing instead to leave between 34 -94% of the contamination not cleaned up. That is dangerous and unacceptable!

Urgent action is needed to protect communities near SSFL!

1. Attend one or both of the upcoming DOE hearings and voice your concerns.

  • Saturday, February 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m. Grand Vista Hotel, 999 Enchanted Way, Simi Valley, CA (Open house from 9 – 9:30 a.m.)
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Airtel Plaza Hotel, 7277 Valjean Avenue, Van Nuys, CA (Open house from 6 – 6:30 p.m.)

2. Submit a comment demanding that DOE clean up all contamination at SSFL.

3. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to also submit a comment and attend the DOE hearings. Please forward this email and share on social media.
Background

The DOE recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that proposes three alternative cleanup plans for its operational area of SSFL, which is where most of the nuclear contamination is located. The three alternatives would respectively leave up to 34%, 86% or up to 94% of the contamination on site, where it can continue to migrate and put nearby communities at risk.

All of the alternatives directly violate the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) that DOE signed in 2010, which committed them to clean up all detectable contamination. DOE’s DEIS also fails to acknowledge that DOE as the polluter doesn’t have the authority to decide how much of the mess that it made is going to get cleaned up. The decision rests with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, not DOE.

Click here to learn more about key problems with DOE’s DEIS. Click here to read the DEIS itself. Again, it is critical that as many people as possible attend the DOE hearings and submit comments demanding a full cleanup of SSFL. Thank you!.

The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), also known as Rocketdyne, is a former nuclear and rocket engine testing facility that is contaminated with radiological and chemical pollutants. The 2,850 acre site is near Simi Valley, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, West Hills, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, and Thousand Oaks. For over twenty-five years, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group has served to keep the community informed about the contamination at SSFL and assure it is thoroughly cleaned up.

To learn more visit www.ssflworkgroup.org or contact us at info@ssflworkgroup.org

— Los Angeles: DOE breaks agreement to clean up Santa Susana Field Lab contamination; may leave behind 94%

For action and upcoming meetings, go to http://www.ssflworkgroup.org

From the Ventura County Star

February 11, 2017

Our region has just been hit by two significant events that affect the health of our community.

While we have long awaited some relief for our drought, torrential rainstorms inundated the Santa Susana Field Lab, one of the most polluted places in the state. Runoff from far lesser storms in recent years resulted in more than 200 instances in which highly toxic and radioactive contaminants migrated off site at levels in excess of state pollution limits, and one can only imagine the effect these recent large storms have had.

Around the same time, the Department of Energy broke its solemn cleanup commitments and announced it would leave as much as 94 percent of the soil contaminated at the field lab site not cleaned up. Unless people rise up and our elected officials act strongly to enforce the promises, people in neighboring communities will be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactivity and toxic chemicals.

The field lab housed 10 nuclear reactors, of which at least four suffered accidents, including a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959. There was a factory for fabricating reactor fuel rods out of plutonium, perhaps the most dangerous substance on earth. In a “hot lab” there, highly irradiated nuclear fuel rods shipped in from around the nation were cut apart, with several radioactive fires.

It illegally burned radioactive and chemically hazardous wastes in open air pits, by shooting barrels of the waste with rifles to ignite them, with the toxic plumes blown over surrounding communities. It conducted tens of thousands of rocket tests, many using very dangerous fuels, and then flushed out the engines with a million gallons of toxic solvents that were allowed to simply percolate into the soil and groundwater.

The result of this shameful violation of basic environmental protections is widespread contamination of groundwater, surface water and soil with strontium-90, cesium-137, plutonium-239, perchlorate, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and much more. And because the site sits in the hills overlooking more than 500,000 people within 10 miles, the contamination wants to flow off site to the places and people below.

The site has been fined more than $1 million in recent years for allowing pollutants to migrate off the property at levels deemed unsafe for people or the environment. And as long as the site doesn’t get cleaned up, that will continue.

These awful materials cause cancers including leukemia, genetic defects, neurological and developmental disorders and other health problems. A federally funded study by Dr. Hal Morgenstern of the University of Michigan found a greater than 60 percent increase in key cancers in people living near the site compared with people living farther away. Another government-funded study by a team from UCLA led by Dr. Yoram Cohen concluded that numerous pollutants from the site had migrated off site at levels in excess of EPA levels of concern.

For these reasons, the community was joyous in 2010 when the Department of Energy and NASA signed legally binding agreements with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control requiring all contamination that could be detected in the soil to be cleaned up by 2017.

It is now 2017 and the cleanup hasn’t even begun. And the DOE just issued a draft environmental impact statement breaking the 2010 cleanup agreement and saying it will only consider three options, none of which comply with its past commitments.

One would leave 34 percent of the contamination in place. A second would leave 86 percent. And the third would walk away from a staggering 94 percent of the contaminated soil, just leaving it in place. The 2010 agreement barred any consideration of leave-in-place alternatives.

The DOE has essentially thumbed its nose at California. Even if the cleanup agreement didn’t exist, the decision on how much toxic pollution to clean up doesn’t rest with the polluter, but with the state regulator. The DOE can’t decide to just walk away from most of the contamination.

But the state has been remarkably silent so far in response to this assault on its authority. Indeed, it has in its own actions undercut the cleanup agreement it signed. Toxic Substances Control is years late on its own environmental impact report and has been busy undermining the cleanup in other ways as well.

In 2010, we were promised that, with a couple of narrow exceptions, all of the soil contamination that could be detected would be cleaned up. Now it appears likely than close to none will be, and the people in the area will continue to be at perpetual risk from migrating radioactive and toxic contamination — unless they speak out now, loud and clear, and their elected representatives do the same.

Robert Dodge, a family physician in Ventura, serves on the boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. Daniel Hirsch is director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at UC Santa Cruz and president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap.

 

http://www.vcstar.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/02/11/dodge-hirsch-santa-susana-field-lab-broken-promises/97766134/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Lost in translation: Fukushima readings are not new spikes, just the same “hot mess” that’s always been there

From Beyond Nuclear
February 9, 2017

The ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe has been back in the news lately following record high readings at the reactor site. Radiation levels were estimated to be 530 sieverts per hour, the highest recorded since the triple core meltdown in March 2011.

But upon further examination, the story has been misreported, in part due to mistranslation. In fact, according to Nancy Foust of SimplyInfo.org, interviewed on Nuclear Hotseat, there was no spike. High readings were in expected locations that TEPCO was only able to access recently. Therefore, the reading became evident because workers were getting closer to the melted fuel in more dangerous parts of the facility. In other words, it’s not a new hot mess, just the same hot mess it’s always been, pretty much from the beginning. The good news is nothing has changed. The bad news is – nothing has changed.

The confusion was initially caused by a translation error that SimplyInfo.org thinks occurred between the Kyoto News and Japan Times.  Since this happened, Foust and her group have been trying to get news sources to correct the stories, with limited success.

The elevated radiation levels are inside containment (good news) in ruined unit 2 and were discovered using a camera, not proper radiation monitors. Therefore, the high reading may not be reliable since it is an estimate based on interference data with the camera. (It has been reported that the 530 Sievert/hour figure could be 30% too low, or 30% too high. 530 Sieverts/hour equates with 53,000 Rems/hour, a dose rate that would deliver a fatal dose of radiation to a person a short distance away, with no radiation shielding, in a minute or less exposure time.) TEPCO is planning on sending in a robot properly equipped with radiation detectors to take a reliable reading. Although no date has been given, TEPCO indicates it expects to deploy the robot within 30 days or so…

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/japan/2017/2/9/lost-in-translation-fukushima-readings-are-not-new-spikes-ju.html