Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Dumping contaminated water from Fukushima plant into ocean – the lesser evil?

By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 11.03.2020

In February this year, a number of media outlets reported that the Japanese authorities intended to drain more than one million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. According to some experts, this method is the lesser evil because the ocean is able to dilute contaminated water, thus making it safe for people.

Nevertheless, this proposal has already caused discontent, both in Japan and in its neighboring countries.

The Japanese government has not yet officially announced this plan, but the intentions of the Shinzo Abe administration to follow through with this idea are becoming increasingly clear, especially considering the media campaign launched by the authorities in support of the proposal to release the contaminated Fukushima water into the ocean.

Let us remind the reader that 9 years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima power plant, but three of its damaged reactors are far from being dismantled. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, delivered an ultimatum to the Japanese government demanding that it resolve the problem with radioactive water immediately. Every day, cooling the molten reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant yields an additional 150 cubic meters of contaminated water containing tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) and other chemicals. The issue concerns the water originally used in the reactors’ cooling circuits during the disaster, and that used to cool the wrecked plant and the remaining fuel. A significant amount of water from underground sources flowing through the land towards the ocean is also being polluted. In total, TEPCO is currently storing 1.1 million cubic meters of radioactive water in one thousand special tanks on the territory of the nuclear power plant (NPP), but based on company’s estimates, it will run out of space for the contaminated water by the summer of 2022. TEPCO announced this in August 2019 and made a proposal to pump the contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi NPP into the Pacific Ocean.

The operator has so far failed to convince local fishermen and residents that draining water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean is the best solution. All other ways of resolving the problem, according to TEPCO management, are difficult.

The Japanese government has also not responded as yet to TEPCO’s ultimatum, not only for political reasons, but also in view of the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games, which are scheduled to be held in Japan after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assurances that the Japanese government had the situation under control after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Stating that radioactive water would have to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean in the current climate would be an extremely unfortunate option today, as it would, at the very least, lead to a heated discussion about the health of athletes who will be arriving for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Surfers, for example, will compete for medals 250 kilometers south of Fukushima, at Tsurigasaki Beach on the Pacific Ocean.

It is no secret that leakages of Fukushima water into the ocean earlier on have already resulted in serious environmental problems, i.e. deposits of Cesium-137 on sandy beaches at a considerable distance from the plant. They were brought there by the current. This was discovered in September 2017 (i.e. six and a half years after the nuclear accident), when researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) studied soil samples from a vast area around the nuclear power plant. The only saving grace was the fact that the region in question was uninhabited and there was no risk of radiation exposure.

There was another rather unpleasant incident for the Japanese authorities in 2018, when the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), was forced to apologize after admitting that its systems used to filter the water discharged into the ocean did not remove all hazardous materials from it.

In 2018, American wine from California was found to contain radioactive particles from the accident at Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima seven years prior. This was reported by scientists of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) Michael Pavikoff, Christine Marquet and Philippe Hubert, who were studying batches of Californian red and rose wines from grapes harvested in 2009-2012 when they found Cesium-137 particles, a.k.a. radiocesium, in them. This is a man-made isotope formed by nuclear fission in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. In the wine produced after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the level of radioactive particles was higher than before the disaster.

Small amounts of radioactive isotopes of Iodine and Cesium were also found in vegetables grown in South Korea and in fish caught off the Japanese coast. This caused a crisis in South Korea’s long-established industry: the seafood trade. Based on analyses, one in four fish caught one kilometer from Ibaraki (the main town of the Japanese prefecture of the same name, situated north of the Fukushima NPP) was found to have a slightly higher cesium content than allowed. According to traders, the reports of radiation leaking into the sea led to a 50% decrease in sales of seafood products. As a result, South Korea’s government banned imports of products from the areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The authorities have repeatedly stated that all fish products from Japan are being thoroughly checked.

And these are just some of the cases covered by local and international media outlets.

The sheer scale of consequences stemming from the Fukushima disaster, as well as the previous Chernobyl accident, is such that the problems arising as a result cannot be resolved effectively and completely unless the best world experts are involved. Otherwise, incorrect decisions may not only cause undesirable environmental consequences and affect the health of people in the region, but also further undermine confidence in the nuclear industry. The current Japanese government still has faith in nuclear power and wishes to increase the amount of energy produced by NPPs by 20-22% before 2030.

On February 4, 2020, Japanese authorities held a meeting with embassy officials where they tried to convince the latter of the advantages of the plan to release radioactive water from storage facilities at Fukushima.

It is understandable, to a certain extent, why TEPCO, the Japanese government and individual experts would like to resolve the issue with contaminated water as soon as possible, rather than put it off indefinitely. But it is difficult to support their approach to the problem at hand. Lack of transparency and essentially, the government’s reluctance to fully engage in cooperation with the international community in solving this problem are not beneficial for everyone.

It is still unknown what will eventually happen to the radioactive water from the Fukushima NPP. But so far, the Japanese government has decided to involve a wider group of experts in addressing the issue.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Cancer in US Navy Nuclear Powered Ships

By Chris Busby | CounterPunch | March 6, 2020

Here is a good one. In 2011, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100km off the coast of Japan at the time of the Tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima reactor explosions. It was directed by the US government to ride to the rescue in what was later called Operation Tomodachi (friendship)–to provide assistance to the victims of the floods. What no-one on board was told was that the reactors had exploded and a plume of highly radioactive material was blowing east from the site into the path of the vessel. Of course, when this arrived, all the radiation monitors on the boat started screaming, and the planes and helicopters that had flown the rescue sorties were contaminated.

In 2014 I was engaged by some California attorneys to advise on a court case being taken against the Japanese company TEPCO and the US reactor makers GEC on behalf of the sailors who served on the aircraft-carrier. A significant number of the Ronald Reagan crew were reporting a wide range of weird illnesses including cancers, all of which they were attributing to their radiation exposures. Between 2014 and now, the court arguments were all about procedure: whether the cases should be heard in Japan or in the California where the vessel’s home port of San Diego was. There was a lot of publicity [1]. Eventually, and recently, the California judge decided that the case had to be heard in Japan. This is (in passing) monstrously unjust since Japanese law is different and the sailors cannot afford to go to Japan and hire Japanese lawyers. But this is not the story here.

In 2014, following all the publicity about the cancers, a number of US Senators and important people were asking pertinent questions—the Navy had to do something to answer the accusations that the Fukushima radiation was killing those who sailed on Operation Tomodachi. They panicked. A big report was prepared by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), entitled: Final Report to the Congressional Defense Committees in Response to the Joint Explanatory Statement Accompanying the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, page 90, “Radiation Exposure” [2]. Never use one word when ten will do.

This report rambled on about how low the Fukushima doses were, how everyone acted wonderfully and how all the radioactivity was rapidly cleaned up. The dose reconstruction showed no one got more than a fraction of the Natural Background dose and so forth. We have been here regularly. (The methodology for the dose reconstruction has since disappeared from the link given in the report). Since no-one believes any of this dose bullshit any more, to prove that there was no cancer excess, the Navy took one step too far. They reported the results of their own epidemiology study which they carried out on the Ronald Reagan sailors. This compared the illness yield (including cancers) of the 4,843 RR sailors with a matched control group of 65,269 sailors on nuclear powered ships that were not anywhere near Fukushima. The period of analysis was from 2011 to 2013, about 3 years. This showed that there were more cancers in the control group over that period. The idea clearly was to knock on the head any suggestion that the radiation from Fukushima was the cause of the cancers and other stuff that was the basis of the court case. And this it apparently did.

Their move was to compare the matched “unexposed” control group with the Ronald Reagan group. There were 30% more cancers in the control group after adjusting for age. But what I did was to compare the control group with the National population, using data on cancer rates by age group from the SEER database [3]. The result showed an astonishing 9.2-fold excess of cancer in the sailors on nuclear-powered vessels. There were 121 cancers predicted on the basis of the national rates, and 1119 reported by the DTRA study. For the Reagans it was about 6-fold with 46 reported and 7.76 expected. Now this result is astonishing. I wrote my study up for a good scientific peer reviewed journal, and it was published last week [4]. You can find it on academia.edu if you can’t afford the journal cost.

What I discuss in the paper to explain the result is my usual argument about how the radiation protection legislation is wildly incorrect when dealing with internal contamination from radionuclides. The legal limits in USA and the West are based on the comparison of cancers in those exposed to acute external gamma ray doses to the Japanese A-Bomb populations and cannot apply to internal exposures to substances which target DNA (Uranium, Strontium-90) or which provide huge local ionisation to some living cells but nothing at all to others (DU particles, reactor discharge particles).

But this time it really is a big deal. Nine times the expected rates? What are they going to do? It is their own data which they stupidly released. It shows that all the sailors on nuclear powered Navy ships are dying from cancer. You can bet the telephone lines are hot, and that we won’t see any coverage of this in the Theatre newspapers and media. But the sailors themselves and the veterans? What will they think when they find this online but not reported?

Studies of nuclear workers have been the new battleground for this Chess game since it became apparent in the last few years that the Japanese A-Bomb studies were dishonestly manipulated and ignored internal exposures to fallout and rainout [5]. We have seen a number of attempts to kill the argument about low dose radiation and health using nuclear worker studies. There was the Lancet publication in year 2015 [6]. There was the desperate and disgraceful Royal Society publication last year [7]. The late Alexei Yablokov and I wrote to the Lancet Editor on behalf of the Independent WHO [8] asking if we could point out in the journal that the Lancet articles reassuring everyone that the science of radiation risk was secure were written by nuclear industry scientists and were unsafe. The Lancet refused. I wrote to the Royal Society. They also refused to publish anything. What is Truth—says Pilate—waits for no answer.

Nuclear workers work outside at a nuclear site where the discharges get dispersed. Nuclear sailors live in a tin box that also contains the reactors. Nuclear worker studies are based on data that is provided by the nuclear industry to show there are no cancers. The DTRA study had to show more cancers in order to swamp the Ronald Reagan sailors’ cancers. But to do this, they brought out their Queen. And it was taken.

Anyway, let’s not walk further into the What is Truth swamp and discuss the News Theatre. Thankfully this story shows that in this truth argument there are two last frontiers. These are the scientific peer-review literature and the courts. I am representing the widow of a UK nuclear submariner, a man who was a reactor servicing technician and who died from cancer. Let’s see what the Scottish court makes of this paper. Read it yourself and have a laugh. If you are a Navy sailor on a nuclear-powered ship, be very frightened. Write to your Senator. Kick up a fuss.

Notes.

1) https://www.courthousenews.com/us-sailors-face-grim-diagnoses-after-fukushima-mission/

2) Radiation Exposure Report – Health.mil www.health.mil › Reference-Center › Reports › 2014/06/19 › Radiati…

3) https://seer.cancer.gov/data/

4) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07357907.2020.1731526?journalCode=icnv20

5) https://www.genetics.org/content/204/4/1627

6) https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2017.1070

7) https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2017.1070

8) https://independentwho.org/en/our-demands-to-who/

Dr Chris Busby is the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Riskand the author of Uranium and Health – The Health Effects of Exposure to Uranium and Uranium Weapons Fallout (Documents of the ECRR 2010 No 2, Brussels, 2010). For details and current CV see chrisbusbyexposed.org. For accounts of his work see greenaudit.orgllrc.org and nuclearjustice.org.

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Nuclear Power | | 5 Comments

Back to Fukushima. Former residents weigh up returning to nuclear ghost town of Okuma

RT Documentary • December 12, 2019

In March 2011, an earthquake hit Japan, setting off a tsunami that caused an accident at the Daiichi nuclear power station in Fukushima prefecture. Radioactive contamination settled on the surrounding area, and the authorities decided to evacuate the population living within a 20km radius around the power station.

Watch full video here: https://rtd.rt.com/023wp

Eight years later, inhabitants of the town closest to the nuclear disaster, Okuma, were allowed to move back to some of its territory. RTD takes a bittersweet tour of the nuclear ghost town with former residents considering whether to return to their hometown, and meets those who have already moved into new homes built in a less-contaminated part of town. Torn between loyalty to their roots and the desire to build a future for themselves, the people of Fukushima now have an agonising choice to make.

February 17, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , | 2 Comments

US At Risk of Ecological Disaster Due to Improperly Stored Nuclear Waste, New Study Finds

Sputnik – January 29, 2020

The United States does not currently have a landfill for nuclear waste from the defence industry, which is normally stored inside metal canisters buried underground near the nuclear plants where it was produced.

The United States could face the risk of nuclear contamination due to inadequate nuclear waste storage methods, a new publication in the journal Nature Materials revealed.

According to the lead scientist behind the research, Xiaolei Guo, the existing techniques are insufficient to keep waste stored safely, as the material used in the current storage methods quickly becomes corroded, raising the risk of nuclear waste leaking into the soil, water and air.

The research team carried out an experiment in simulated conditions under Yucca Mountain where the US waste repository is expected to be built. They found that the corrosion level of stainless steel, used in storage canisters, was ‘severe’ due to chemical reactions being accelerated by nuclear waste.

“In the real-life scenario, the glass or ceramic waste forms would be in close contact with stainless steel canisters. It creates a super-aggressive environment that can corrode surrounding materials”, Guo said.

According to the scientist, if the casing of the containers gets damaged, the high-level radioactive material could cause ecological devastation.

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Japan’s Nuclear Watchdog Approves Decommissioning 2 Reactors at Oi Plant – Reports

Sputnik – 11.12.2019

TOKYO – Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday approved plans to decommission two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the Kyodo news agency reported.

According to the Japanese news agency, Kansai Electric Power, which operates the Oi plant, decided to spend about $1.1 billion to dismantle the two most powerful reactors — namely No. 1 and No. 2 — by 2049 rather than shoulder the high cost of implementing additional safety measures.

Given that the reactors were commissioned in 1979, their lifespan is set to expire soon. In anticipation of this, Kansai submitted a decommissioning plan to the authorities in November 2018. In particular, the company said that in order to shut down the reactors it needed to utilize over 20,000 tonnes of low-level radioactive waste with over 10,000 tonnes of non-radioactive waste.

The plant’s two other reactors were commissioned much later — in 1991 and 1993 — so they will remain active.

After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, Japan’s nuclear watchdog introduced a 40-year limit on the lifespan of nuclear reactors in the country, but added the possibility of a 20-year extension if the stringent safety measures were met.

All of Japan’s 54 operating nuclear reactors were shut down in March 2011 after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to a leakage of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Before the disaster, 30 percent of Japan’s electricity came from nuclear power.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Norway Opens Up for Nuclear-Powered Allied Submarines’ Port Calls Despite Local Resistance

Sputnik – 08.11.2019

According to local media, the presence of international submarines in Norwegian waters has tripled. In 2018 alone, 27 port calls by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines were registered in Norway.

Soon, nuclear-powered submarines will become commonplace near the centre of Norway’s largest Arctic city of Tromso, Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen confirmed to the military newspaper Forsvarets Forum.

According to the minister, work is currently underway to prepare for port calls by allied nuclear-powered vessels at the Grotsund industrial port in Tonsnes. No exact time frame has been given, but it is assumed that the work will be completed over the next few months.

This means that warships of all calibre calling in for maintenance, logistics, or to rest their crews may become a common sight for the inhabitants of Tromso.

“Grotsund industrial port has been chosen as a port of call in Northern Norway because of a suitable dock and and good infrastructure in the area. This will be a permanent offering to our allies”, Bakke-Jensen said, describing the arrival of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the allied activity in Norway and surrounding areas.

Bakke-Jensen estimated the future number of calls at four to five a year. According to him, this will not entail any change in policy or approach to dealing with allied activity. This implies that Norway’s time-tested Bratelli Doctrine of 1975 that explicitly prohibits the arrival of foreign warships with nuclear weapons on board will stand.

“The Bratteli Doctrine has been established as Norwegian policy for over 40 years and has served Norway well”, the minister said.

However, these calls are not without controversy, and the project has met local opposition, among others from the Tromso Municipal Council. Local politicians and activists question the safety measures and are concerned over the consequences if anything goes wrong.

Bakke-Jensen stressed that regional actors have always been involved in the plans. He stressed that no call will be granted unless the Directorate of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety is sure that security is adequately safeguarded, and alleged that no accidents with western nuclear-powered vessels have occurred.

Meanwhile, the presence of international submarines in the waters outside of Norway has tripled, according to the daily newspaper Aftenposten. In 2018 alone, 27 port calls by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines were registered in Norway.

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Childish Fantasies vs Real World Energy Needs

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | October 2, 2019

Certain politicians are making promises about carbon dioxide emissions and the year 2050 – three full decades from now. Certain adults are telling elementary school children that transforming the world’s energy system is easy peasy.

But that’s not the case. In an article titled Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day, Roger Pielke Jr. delivers the harsh, mathematical truth. Even if every person in the world thought abandoning fossil fuels made sense, even if every last government was committed to such a plan, the sheer size of the task would remain. In Pielke’s words: “The scale…is absolutely, mind-bogglingly huge.”

In an entire year, a nuclear power plant is capable of producing 1 “million tons of oil equivalent” of energy – or 1 mtoe for short. Says Pielke:

In 2018 the world consumed 11,743 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum… there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 mtoe of carbon-free energy…every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years. Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day.

Let us be honest and grownup here. The chances of this happening are remote.

Now let’s remember that many people insist nuclear power is off the table. We’re supposedly in the midst of a climate crisis caused by CO2 emissions, yet low-emissions nuclear power is forbidden.

Such people think we should rely on wind power, instead. According to Pielke’s calculations, that would require the construction of 1,500 wind turbines every single day from now until 2050.

Currently, the US consumes approximately 20% of the energy used across the globe. Its share of the 1,500 new wind turbines required daily would therefore be 300.

Despite years of massive subsidies designed to encourage wind energy investment, fewer than 10 turbines are currently installed in the US each day. Surely even a child understands that ramping up from 10 turbines a day to 300 is a massive challenge that couldn’t possibly happen overnight. Even in an affluent country with a booming economy.

And please, let us also put aside fairy tales about wind power being environmentally friendly. As Mark P. Mills explained recently in the Wall Street Journal :

Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass…

Those who “dream of powering society entirely with wind and solar farms” says Mills, are actually demanding “the biggest expansion in mining the world has seen.”

October 2, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science | 2 Comments

Fukushima Disaster Puts Japan in ‘Nuclear Limbo’ Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Pundit

Sputnik – September 14, 2019

On 10 September, Japanese authorities announced that Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant which in 2011 experienced the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, currently has no technology to clear its wastewater from radioactive waste, and is instead discharging it into the sea.

More than a million tonnes of wastewater is reportedly stored in tanks at the Fukushima NPP (nuclear power plant). The facility is reportedly running out of available space and expects to exhaust its capacity by summer 2022. Japanese Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada admitted earlier that “we have no way but to release it [into the sea] and dilute it”.

Local residents reportedly have deep concerns about the potential damage this move can inflict, especially to the fishing industry, which is essential for Japan.

Christina Consolo, a nuclear expert, has shared her view on the issue.

Sputnik: It’s been reported that there’s enough room to keep the liquid (1 million tons of contaminated water) through summer 2022, but after that, there will be no space left?

Christina Consolo: It was somewhat surprising at how quickly the Environmental Ministry in Japan made a decision to release the contaminated water once their official meeting convened. I am not surprised at all however by their decision.

The situation is very serious. There is no other option then to release the contaminated water, but under the control of TEPCO’s time and choosing, or it may be released for them. An earthquake could release it, a tsunami could release it, a typhoon could release it.

But releasing the water goes far beyond just a ‘storage issue’ alone; the tanks are also under duress for a number of reasons. If you recall, at the beginning of the original water storage, the tanks were not assembled properly. Concrete slabs were hastily poured without rebar reinforcement.

TEPCO workers had to drill holes in the tops of them to release hydrogen build-up, or risk explosion and collapse of the tanks themselves.

There have also been a series of leaks, due to miles of pipes and flushing radioactive water great distances through sometimes ducted-taped hoses, with at least one reaching the official scale of a Level 3 Nuclear Accident in and of itself, in July of 2015.

And the longer this radioactive water sits in these giant metal tanks, the matrix of the metal itself at the atomic level is undergoing acceleration of entropy, known as “The Wigner Effect” – named after Professor Eugene Wigner, who discovered it at the Oak Ridge Laboratory while doing research for the US Government during World War II.

Metal exposed to radiation creates embrittlement issues and acceleration of corrosion, the same problem that caused 16,000 cracks in the nuclear reactors in Belgium.

This is problematic for the biggest reason of them all: if any of these tanks leak or break open outside of the control of TEPCO and prevents workers from being able to continue the myriad of daily maintenance involved due to spillage of radioactive water, creating no-go zones within the site itself, then TEPCO can have yet another very serious situation on their hands, on top of everything else happening over there. Anything and everything must be done to assure that workers can continue with the tremendous daily management of what is still an ongoing Level 7 Nuclear Accident.

They can not risk waiting for the tanks to empty themselves.

Sputnik: What is going to happen next? Do you think this liquid is a real threat to the ecological situation?

Christina Consolo: Any radiation released to the environment is always going to have detrimental effects… the question is how much and how far will those effects extend from the site of the release. Without knowing what exactly is in those tanks, that question is impossible to answer.

I personally have issue believing the radioactive water contained within them only contains Tritium, as I have followed this story for over eight years, and I can say without a doubt that every machine brought in to ‘filter out’ radioactive substances has failed miserably, as has every camera, robot, robot claw, robot snake, robot on rollers, etc.

TEPCO also has a history of withholding important facts that also make them very untrustworthy.

But more importantly from an ecological perspective, and a far bigger issue though which is rarely discussed, is the groundwater that moves through the Fukushima site because of the geology of the surrounding features.

The plant was built on a riverbed, where the volcanic spine of Japan funnels water down from the mountains. Groundwater experts estimate that every single day somewhere between 5-15,000 tonnes of groundwater flow underneath the plant, and out to the Pacific ocean.

Keep in mind, the only remnant of the cumulative 450 tonnes of corium or melted nuclear fuel that has been found is splatter on the insides of the reactors, or pebble-like material and drips.

TEPCO still has not located the 3 melted cores after 8 years of looking, leaving a looming question of how far these cores travelled as they melted, and how much groundwater is making contact with these cores before pouring into the Pacific each day. They are concerned enough that they are still pouring 300 tonnes of water through them daily.

Is it 10 percent – 50 percent – 80 percent? How much of this natural groundwater flow is making contact with the cores, under the plant? We have no idea. If indeed this is occurring, which some Fukushima experts believe that it is, then the 1000 tanks are a ‘drop in the bucket’ in comparison to what may be pouring into the Pacific each and every day.

We need answers to these questions. It is abhorrent and inexcusable that with today’s known technology, TEPCO does not know where the cores are, 8 years after the accident. We have powerful ground penetrating radar that could likely tell, so why are they not telling us?

Sputnik: It’s been 8 years since the Fukushima disaster. How have Japanese authorities adapted to this situation?

Christina Consolo: The Japanese authorities that were in charge at the beginning of this disaster, such as former Prime Minister Kan, have expressed a tremendous amount of regret, and even guilt, over mistakes they made withholding information about how dangerous the situation was from the Japanese people in the early part of the accident.

The fact TEPCO outright lied that meltdowns had occurred from Day 1, even though every nuclear physicist in the world was aware they had, due to the presence of neutron beams occurring in 13 different locations on the site (which indicated at least one reactor was breached), is difficult to forgive considering the US had an entire fleet of Navy ships offshore providing humanitarian aid that were getting absolutely blasted by nuclear fuel including MOX and plutonium.

PM Abe is very pro-nuclear but his wife is not, making for an ongoing and very publicized drama in Japanese news, and the pushback from massive demonstrations by the Japanese people continue to this day on a weekly basis.

The people are fighting any and all attempts at restarting reactors, in a very hardcore way. The authorities are pretending everything is fine, focusing on the Olympics in 2020, and I am certain the water will be dumped long before then.

But the tanks are going to just get filled right back up again, after some unfortunate TEPCO workers climb inside and test them for metal fatigue issues.

Sputnik: What has changed in nuclear safety since Fukushima has occurred?

Christina Consolo: In Japan a majority of the reactors still remain shutdown, which is good considering they never should have been built there in the first place.

An article in The Japan Times predicted the Fukushima disaster in 2004, and there are no guarantees that TEPCO will always be able to keep the Fukushima site under control, or another earthquake and tsunami will cause a similar, or even larger disaster at another site, as there are so many littering Japan.

Japan sits in a highly unstable zone of 4 intersecting tectonic plates and the island has an enormous amount of earthquake and volcanic activity.

The US did review some of its safety measures after 3/11 but the problem is it keeps re-issuing licenses to old plants, with ageing infrastructure.

And many plants in the US, and worldwide, are also prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, hurricanes, even tornadoes and lightning strikes.

We have been playing with this very dangerous technology despite having no safe way to dispose of the waste, and many studies done over decades that prove that illnesses and cancer are extremely high the closer that you live to a nuclear plant.

Sputnik: Despite the Fukushima explosion, the Japanese government didn’t abandon its nuclear energy program. How do you explain this decision?

Christina Consolo: I can not answer that question. There is no logical answer for it, except to decommission a plant is outrageously expensive.

TEPCO announced in the past month it will be decommissioning the Fukushima Daini plant to the south, which also sustained damage in 2011.

Right now Japan is in a nuclear limbo of sorts, with the water tank problem, the fishery pushback, the Olympics in 2020, and the somewhat surreal efforts of the Japanese government to assure the world it can handle the Olympic athletes and crowds without making them sick.

There are always economic issues to consider, and the costs of decommissioning of two huge nuclear plants, one with 3 melted cores that have never been found.

Japan has a lot of convoluted issues surrounding nuclear and there is always the dark cloud over what is truth or fiction when it comes to TEPCO, and the nuclear industry in general. I really can not explain this decision at all.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , , | Leave a comment

Who is Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution? Oceanographer or defense contractor?

R/V Neil Armstrong arrives at Woods Hole Oceanographic … collectspace.com
By Richard Hugus | August 28, 2019

WHOI is the acronym for the ‘Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’, based on Cape Cod, Town of Falmouth, village of Woods Hole, Massachusettts. On August 2, 2019 WHOI applied to the town of Falmouth for the clearing of 2.7 acres of woodland and the construction of a 3 story, 50,000 square foot building on what it calls its Quissett Campus, about a mile north of Woods Hole village. Woods Hole residents, the town of Falmouth, and a regulating authority called the Cape Cod Commission are now in the position of having to evaluate the proposed project and decide on approving it. Documentation and promotion of the project provided by WHOI to the Falmouth Planning Department, and summarized by the Falmouth Enterprise, says its new building — the New Quissett Facility — “is proposed as a ‘technology accelerator . . . by creating this facility the NQF will become the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation at WHOI and around the world and could lead to a net increase in regional economic activity.”

Mention of “autonomous vehicle and sensor technology” brings up the question of military research into and use of underwater drone and warfare technology and WHOI’s role in developing that technology.  Though operating for years in the midst of a pleasant residential and tourist area, few people are aware that WHOI is a defense contractor. The Institution was created in 1930 and  was devoted solely to defense work during World War II.  In all available documents submitted to the Cape Cod Commission for its recent building projects, and in all currently available representations of its activities to the public, WHOI describes itself as a scientific and educational institution dedicated solely to studying the ocean. In its documentation for the Quissett project, WHOI calls itself “the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to ocean research.” The omission by WHOI of its significant military research and development amounts to deception. WHOI receives major funding from the Office of Naval Research, which  “coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.” These programs are highly unlikely to be peaceful and benevolent. The US Navy and Marines are, afterall, in the business of war.

Source: slideplayer.com (C4ISR-Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)

A July 20, 2018 Department of Defense listing of Navy/Office of Naval Research contracts states: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded a $7,719,478 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development and demonstration of advanced ocean battlespace capabilities . . . This contract was competitively procured . . . for science and technology projects for advancement and improvement of Navy and Marine Corps operations, including Ocean Battlespace Sensing . . . The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity . . .”

Ocean Battlespace Sensing has to do with submarine and mine warfare. There is no information on WHOI’s web site about this nearly $8 million grant, or about what it is doing in the area of ocean battlespace sensing and submarine warfare. On April 7, 2016 when the new research vessel Neil Armstrong first arrived in Woods Hole, Dr. Frank Herr, head of the U.S. Navy’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing department (so-called “code 32” above), was among the notables addressing a gathered crowd. WHOI Director Mark Abbott also spoke, telling him and others, “We’re very proud to have been selected by the Office of Naval Research to operate the Neil Armstrong.” Navy-owned ships and advanced ocean battlespace work are not what we normally associate with a “non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education”  — WHOI’s stated activities. Defense-related activities are clearly a part of WHOI’s operations, but they are consistently edited out of the public image WHOI promotes.

The Next Level – Drone Wars,  breakfornews.com

As another example: according to an April 22, 2019 report by the DoD Defense Logistics Agency: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded an $8,421,581 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research effort entitled, “Project Sundance.” Except for the announcement of this contract, there is no information available anywhere on the web, or at WHOI’s own web site,  about what Project Sundance is, leaving one to wonder if the project is classified — i.e., something the public is not entitled to know about.

Finally, in 1985, WHOI achieved fame when one of its scientists, Robert Ballard, discovered the wreckage of the Titanic. It wasn’t until years later that we got the full story. According to The National Geographic (November 21, 2017), the Titanic discovery only happened by the way in what was actually a top secret military operation to find two wrecked US Navy nuclear submarines. Remote sensing technology and an underwater submersible vehicle developed in Woods Hole and used aboard the WHOI research vessel, Knorr, was used in the discovery. National Geographic tells us the Knorr’s true mission: “the military wanted to know the fate of the nuclear reactors that powered the ships . . . this knowledge was to help determine the environmental safety of disposing of additional nuclear materials in the oceans.”

Ballard held the rank of Commander in the US Navy and was working as a liason to WHOI from the Office of Naval Research at the time of the discovery. Research on disposal of nuclear waste in the ocean is hardly in keeping with WHOI’s stated mission, “to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment.” Moreover, by making it look like this was just a fun adventure undertaken by WHOI to solve the mystery of the Titanic, a hoax was perpetrated on the public.

WHOI, the proponent of this new building project, is not being fully honest in the descriptions it gives of its mission and operations in Woods Hole. This calls WHOI’s credibility and full disclosure into question, and prompts further questions about the military-related role of the proposed new facility — “the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation.” The mentioned technology may well have uses in oceanographic research, but it may equally well have to do with “ocean battlespace sensing” — i.e., marine warfare. WHOI advertises itself as a humanitarian scientific institution without mentioning the clearly relevant fact that a significant part of its funding and research is from and for the US Department of Defense. It is not possible to fully evaluate a building proposal from an institution that is involved in secret projects because Cape Cod residents have no way of knowing if they are being given all the facts. Indeed, they have good reason to believe they are not being given all the facts,

The US military and its supporting contractors are the main source of wars of aggression and misery in the world today. It would be unethical to support expensive new facilities, paid for with our tax dollars and with what is left of our open space, for one of those contractors on Cape Cod. Yet war and militarization are so normalized in the American landscape, it is as if this is not even an issue.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Quakes Prompt Fears of Devastating Consequences of Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump in Nevada

Sputnik – July 19, 2019

Nevada state authorities have voiced fears that radioactivity could be released into the environment by powerful tremors, regularly hitting the proposed site of a nuclear waste repository, set to store thousands of tonnes of hazardous reactor fuel, according to the federal government’s plans.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and the state’s six Congressmen and Congresswomen have confronted the country’s Department of Energy over plans to license a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain in the Mojave Desert. The letter addressed to Energy Secretary Rick Perry followed powerful earthquakes in California in early July that hit an area just 100 miles northeast of the proposed waste dump site. It insisted that the seismic hazards in Yucca Mountain showed “one of the many geologic problems with the site as a nuclear waste repository”.

He stated that the quakes have only strengthened his “resolve to fight any continued federal effort to use Nevada as the nation’s nuclear dumping ground”.

“I’m proud to join our bipartisan group of federal representatives in once again sending the loud and clear message that Yucca has never been, and will never be, good for Nevada”, the letter from 16 July published by The Nevada Current reads.

The governor, joined by Senators and Representatives, threatened to challenge the DOE’s license application if its licensing resumes and criticised the federal government for considering proceeding with the development of the repository “at a location that evidences serious safety concerns and mounting uncertainties regarding its geological status”.

The letter cites the conclusions of the expert teams from the University of Nevada, Reno, and UNLV (University of Nevada in Las Vegas). In a separate letter to the governor from Reno’s experts, Nevada State Geologist James Faulds and Nevada State Seismologist Graham Kent noted that the proposed site “lies in a very dynamic, seismically active region, as evidenced by the Ridgecrest earthquakes as well as other historical temblors”. They insisted that more research is needed before the Yucca Mountain site can be determined as suitable for a nuclear waste storage.

The US government picked the area, stretching across the border between Nevada and California to store the by-products of reprocessing of old nuclear fuel into nuclear weapons-grade material in 2002. The state has fought these plans since then, debating whether the federal authorities are minimising seismic hazards there in their application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 2008, Nevada challenged the department’s conclusions during a NRC licensing hearing, and the project was put on hold two years later.

However, in March 2019, the current energy secretary decided to revive the licensing proceedings, allocating $116 million for the project.

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

‘Worse Than Chernobyl’ Security Scare at UK Nuclear Waste Plant

Sputnik – July 14, 2019

The UK’s sprawling nuclear processing Sellafield plant in Cumbria has a powerful claim to fame, dubbed the “most hazardous industrial building in western Europe”.

There have been 25 safety breaches reportedly logged at the huge Sellafield nuclear waste plant in the UK over the past two years, according to The Sun on Sunday.

The cited incidents include radiation ominously leaking from a water pipe, a nuclear waste container for some reason not welded completely shut, spilt uranium powder and a burst pipe found to be leaking acid, to name just a few.

Logs show a bomb squad was summoned in October 2017 after potentially unstable chemicals sparked a scare, while just a month later it was revealed that a worker had been exposed to a low level of radiation.

Earlier this year, when a high-voltage cable was sliced, causing a power loss, the Office for Nuclear Regulation was swift to hit Sellafield with an improvement notice.

The Cumbria compound has a 140 tonne plutonium stockpile and takes in radioactive waste from the UK’s working reactors.

As bosses insist nuclear safety is an “overriding priority”, the 6km long, razor-wired site has, nonetheless, been dubbed the most hazardous place in Europe.

Locals live in constant fear of a serious incident happening there, said Janine Smith, from the campaign group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment.

“One safety breach is one too many. There just shouldn’t be any. Just one error could be catastrophic. The buildings at Sellafield are all so close together that if something was to happen at that site it would be a disaster. It could be worse than Chernobyl”, said Smith.

In response to the nuclear security scares, Sellafield Ltd said it is “never complacent about safety.”

“None of the events recorded in the past two years have been above the lowest level of classification. In line with our commitment to openness and transparency, we investigate all incidents and report details on our website,” said a spokesman.

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. The meltdown generated a blast [radiation] equivalent to the detonation of 500 nuclear bombs when a reactor exploded and burned.

It is one of just two nuclear energy disasters rated at the maximum severity level of 7, with the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Three Nuclear Meltdowns Are “Under Control”: That’s a Lie

By William Boardman – Reader Supported News – June 22, 2019

The implementation of the safe decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is a unique complex case and expected to span several decades: the IAEA Review Team considers that it will therefore require sustained engagement with stakeholders, proper knowledge management, and benefit from broad international cooperation.

– Report by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Review Team, January 30, 2019

The bland language of the official IAEA report is itself a form of lying, offering the false appearance of reassurance that a catastrophic event will be safely managed “for several decades.” There is no way to know that: it is a hope, a prayer, a form of denial. The IAEA, as is its job in a sense, offers this optimism that is unsupported by the realities at Fukushima.

On April 14, 2019, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited the Fukushima meltdown site. According to The Asahi Shimbun’s headline, “Abe [was] pushing idea that Fukushima nuclear disaster is ‘under control’.” Abe entered the site wearing a business suit and no protective clothing to shield him from radiation. He stood on elevated ground about 100 meters from a building holding one of the melted-down reactors. He had his picture taken. He told reporters, “The decommissioning work has been making progress in earnest.” Abe’s visit lasted six minutes. This was a classic media pseudo-event, designed to be reported despite its lack of actual meaning – for all practical purposes it was another nuclear lie.

The entire Fukushima site remains radioactive at varying levels, from unsafe to lethal, depending on location. The site includes six reactors, three of them in meltdown, and at least as many fuel pools, some of which still contain fuel rods. The site has close to a thousand large storage tanks holding more than a million tons (roughly 264.5 million gallons) of radioactive wastewater.

The prime minister’s stage-managed visit placed him on a platform where the radiation level “exceeds 100 micro-sieverts per hour,” a low level but less than safe. That’s why Abe’s visit lasted only six minutes. Prolonged exposure to that level of radiation is not healthy. A year’s exposure to 100 micro-sieverts per hour would total 87,600 micro-sieverts in a year. How bad that would be is debatable. By way of illustration, even US regulations, not known for their stringency, allow American nuclear workers a maximum annual radiation exposure of 50,000 micro-sieverts.

Translation: the Prime Minister was posing in an area of dangerous radiation level and pretending it was all fine. Call it lying by photo op.

The first thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they are not even close to being over. The second thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that no one really knows what’s going on, but officials routinely and falsely issue happy-talk reassurances that just aren’t true. The third thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they won’t be over for years, more likely decades, perhaps even ever.

Now, more than eight years after the triple reactor meltdown at Fukushima, the status of the three melted reactor cores remains somewhat contained but uncontrolled, with no end in sight. No one knows exactly where the melted cores are. No one has any clear idea of how to remove them or how to dispose of them safely. For the foreseeable future, the best anyone can do is keep the cores cooled with water and hope for the best. Water flowing into the reactors and cooling the cores is vital to preventing the meltdowns from re-initiating.

Clean groundwater continues to flow into the reactors. Then radioactive water flows out into the Pacific. Continuously. A frozen ice wall costing $309 million diverts much of the groundwater around the site to the Pacific Ocean. The water flow is not well measured. Some contaminated water is stored on site, but the site’s storage capacity of 1.37 million tons of radioactive water may be reached during 2020.

One proposed wastewater solution is to dilute the stored radioactive water and then dump it in the Pacific. Fukushima fishermen oppose this. Radioactivity in Fukushima fish has slowly declined since 2011, but the local fishing industry is only at 20 percent of pre-meltdown levels.

When it exists, reporting on Fukushima continues to be uneven and often shabby, buying into the official rosy view of the disaster, as The New York Times did on April 15. The day after Abe’s visit to Fukushima, the Times reported that an operation to begin removing fuel rods from a fuel pool was a “Milestone in Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup.” The Times, with remarkable incompetence, couldn’t distinguish clearly between the fuel pool and the melted reactor cores:

The operator of Japan’s ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant began removing radioactive fuel rods on Monday at one of three reactors that melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, a major milestone in the long-delayed cleanup effort….

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said in a statement that workers on Monday morning began removing the first of 566 spent and unspent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant’s third reactor. A radiation-hardened robot had first located the melted uranium fuel inside the reactor in 2017.

That is such a botch. The fuel pool is a storage pool outside the reactor. It contains fuel rods that have NOT melted down. They could melt down if the pool loses its cooling water, but for now they’re stable. The fuel pool has nothing more to do with the melted reactor cores than proximity. The fuel pool is outside the reactor, the melted cores are somewhere near the bottom of the reactor. The melted cores are beyond any remediation for the foreseeable future. To pretend that the start of fuel rod removal is any kind of meaningful milestone while the three melted cores remain out of reach is really to distort the reality of Fukushima.

The summer Olympics are planned for Tokyo in 2020. In 2013, two years after the Fukushima meltdowns, Prime Minister Abe pitched the Tokyo site by telling the Olympic Committee in reference to Fukushima: “Let me assure you, the situation is under control.”

This was a lie.

Even now, no one knows where the melted reactor cores are precisely. One robot has made one contact so far. Radiation levels at the core are lethal. There is, as yet, no way to remove the cores safely. They think they’re going to remove the cores with robots, but the robots don’t yet exist. The disaster may not be as out of control as it was, but that’s about the best that can be honestly said, unless there’s another tsunami.

Official government statistics show pediatric cancers almost doubling since the Fukushima meltdowns of 2011. Thyroid cancers are reaching epidemic levels. The Japanese government refuses to track leukemia and other cancers. The official Fukushima death toll is more than 18,000, including 2,546 who have never been recovered. Most of Fukushima prefecture remains uninhabitable due to high radiation levels.

On March 21, 2019, Dr. Helen Caldicot offered an assessment much closer to the likely truth:

They will never, and I quote never, decommission those reactors. They will never be able to stop the water coming down from the mountains. And so, the truth be known, it’s an ongoing global radiological catastrophe which no one really is addressing in full.

The Japanese government doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to re-start all its other nuclear power plants. TEPCO doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to stay in business as long as the Japanese government is willing to make the company profitable with billions of dollars in bailouts. The IAEA and the rest of the nuclear industry don’t want to address Fukushima in full because they don’t want to see the over-priced, over-subsidized, and ultimately dangerous nuclear industry die from its own shortcomings. With billions of dollars at stake, who needs the truth?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment