Fukushima is Now Officially the Worst Nuclear Power Disaster in History


Move Over Chernobyl, Fukushima is Now Officially the Worst Nuclear Power Disaster in History

 

The radiation dispersed into the environment by the three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan has exceeded that of the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, so we may stop calling it the “second worst” nuclear power disaster in history. Total atmospheric releases from Fukushima are estimated to be between 5.6 and 8.1 times that of Chernobyl, according to the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report. Professor Komei Hosokawa, who wrote the report’s Fukushima section, told London’s Channel 4 News then, “Almost every day new things happen, and there is no sign that they will control the situation in the next few months or years.”

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has estimated that about 900 peta-becquerels have spewed from Fukushima, and the updated 2016 TORCH Report estimates that Chernobyl dispersed 110 peta-becquerels.[1](A Becquerel is one atomic disintegration per second. The “peta-becquerel” is a quadrillion, or a thousand trillion Becquerels.)

Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4 in Ukraine suffered several explosions, blew apart and burned for 40 days, sending clouds of radioactive materials high into the atmosphere, and spreading fallout across the whole of the Northern Hemisphere — depositing cesium-137 in Minnesota’s milk.[2]

The likelihood of similar or worse reactor disasters was estimated by James Asselstine of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), who testified to Congress in 1986: “We can expect to see a core meltdown accident within the next 20 years, and it … could result in off-site releases of radiation … as large as or larger than the releases … at Chernobyl.[3] Fukushima-Daiichi came 25 years later.

Contamination of soil, vegetation and water is so widespread in Japan that evacuating all the at-risk populations could collapse the economy, much as Chernobyl did to the former Soviet Union. For this reason, the Japanese government standard for decontaminating soil there is far less stringent than the standard used in Ukraine after Chernobyl.

Fukushima’s Cesium-137 Release Tops Chernobyl’s

The Korea Atomic Energy Research (KAER) Institute outside of Seoul reported in July 2014 that Fukushima-Daiichi’s three reactor meltdowns may have emitted two to four times as much cesium-137 as the reactor catastrophe at Chernobyl.[4]

To determine its estimate of the cesium-137 that was released into the environment from Fukushima, the Cesium-137 release fraction (4% to the atmosphere, 16% to the ocean) was multiplied by the cesium-137 inventory in the uranium fuel inside the three melted reactors (760 to 820 quadrillion Becquerel, or Bq), with these results:

Ocean release of cesium-137 from Fukushima (the worst ever recorded): 121.6 to 131.2 quadrillion Becquerel (16% x 760 to 820 quadrillion Bq). Atmospheric release of Cesium-137 from Fukushima: 30.4 to 32.8 quadrillion Becquerel (4% x 760 to 820 quadrillion Bq).

Total release of Cesium-137 to the environment from Fukushima: 152 to 164 quadrillion Becquerel. Total release of Cesium-137 into the environment from Chernobyl: between 70 and 110 quadrillion Bq.

The Fukushima-Daiichi reactors’ estimated inventory of 760 to 820 quadrillion Bq (petabecquerels) of Cesium-137 used by the KAER Institute is significantly lower than the US Department of Energy’s estimate of 1,300 quadrillion Bq. It is possible the Korean institute’s estimates of radioactive releases are low.

In Chernobyl, 30 years after its explosions and fire, what the Wall St. Journal last year called “the $2.45 billion shelter implementation plan” was finally completed in November 2016. A huge metal cover was moved into place over the wreckage of the reactor and its crumbling, hastily erected cement tomb. The giant new cover is 350 feet high, and engineers say it should last 100 years — far short of the 250,000-year radiation hazard underneath.

The first cover was going to work for a century too, but by 1996 was riddled with cracks and in danger of collapsing. Designers went to work then engineering a cover-for-the-cover, and after 20 years of work, the smoking radioactive waste monstrosity of Chernobyl has a new “tin chapeau.” But with extreme weather, tornadoes, earth tremors, corrosion and radiation-induced embrittlement it could need replacing about 2,500 times.

John Laforge’s field guide to the new generation of nuclear weapons is featured in the March/April 2018 issue of CounterPunch magazine.

Notes.

[1]Duluth News-Tribune & Herald, “Slight rise in radioactivity found again in state milk,” May 22, 1986; St. Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch, “Radiation kills Chernobyl firemen,” May 17, 1986; Minneapolis StarTribune, “Low radiation dose found in area milk,” May 17, 1986.

[2]Ian Fairlie, “TORCH-2016: An independent scientific evaluation of the health-related effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster,” March 2016 (https://www.global2000.at/sites/global/files/GLOBAL_TORCH%202016_rz_WEB_KORR.pdf).

[3]James K. Asselstine, Commissioner, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Testimony in Nuclear Reactor Safety: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, May 22 and July 16, 1986, Serial No. 99-177, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1987.

[4] Progress in Nuclear Energy, Vol. 74, July 2014, pp. 61-70; ENENews.org, Oct. 20, 2014.

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ENENews Headlines for the last week. It is not good.



March 29th, 2017, 8:53 am ET
New radiation spikes detected in multiple countries — Mystery deepens as officials work to triangulate source — Nuclear Expert: “It is serious… likely means a continuing release still going on”


March 23rd, 2017, 7:40 am ET
TV: Explosion hits US nuclear plant — Officials declare emergency alert — “Fire shuts down reactor” — Gov’t conducting special investigation, possible “serious safety consequences” — “Atmospheric steam dumps” required (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/tv-explosion-hits-us-nuclear-plant-officials-declare-emergency-alert-fire-shuts-down-reactor-govt-conducting-special-investigation-possible-serious-safety-consequences-video


March 21st, 2017, 7:07 am ET
“Massive leak” at nuclear plant after reactors contract “small pox” — Stunning Discovery: Contagion has spread all over critical structures — Multiple large cracks found — Experts befuddled… Literally a plot similar to a movie thriller


March 20th, 2017, 3:28 pm ET
Nuclear Investigator: Worry over underground explosions at Fukushima — New data shows molten fuel is “dropping lower each day”, melting deeper into ground below plant — Disaster far worse than public being told — “Why aren’t we reading about this everywhere?”


March 19th, 2017, 3:40 pm ET
Report: Hundreds of millions of Pacific salmon missing, presumed dead — Gov’t issues emergency order along US West Coast — Japan suffering historic collapse, fish starving to death — All forms of ocean life dying in stunning numbers across Pacific


March 17th, 2017, 6:19 am ET
Nuclear Engineer: My biggest concern is Fukushima plant will collapse… Concrete under reactors is being “eaten away”… “There’s ongoing chemical attacks” — Containment structures are tilting, in jeopardy of falling over (AUDIO)


March 16th, 2017, 2:35 pm ET
Massive die-offs reported in Pacific Ocean — Officials: “No fish out there, anywhere, over a very large area”… “What’s happening? Where’s their food?” — “Alarming… Frightening… Total failure in reproduction… Like nothing we’ve ever observed before” (VIDEO)


March 14th, 2017, 6:36 pm ET
Nuclear Engineer: Fukushima is “worst industrial cataclysm in history of world… As close to hell as I can imagine” — Melted fuel ‘disappeared’ — Contamination will go on for hundreds of thousands of years… “No one knows when it’ll end” — Gov’t perpetrating ongoing cover-up (VIDEO)

March 13th, 2017, 1:47 pm ET

ENENews: “Highly radioactive ‘glass’ rained on Tokyo — Fukushima nuclear fuel with 500 Trillion Bq/kg found “



Highly radioactive ‘glass’ rained on Tokyo — Fukushima nuclear fuel with 500 Trillion Bq/kg found — “Significant consequences for human health” — Scientists: This changes understanding of disaster… Extreme importance… Our ideas of health implications should change… Do not discuss on social media

Published: June 28th, 2016 at 12:46 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/intensely-radioactive-glass-rained-downtown-tokyo-fukushima-nuclear-fuel-particles-500-trillion-becquerelskg-significant-consequences-human-health-scientists-understanding-disaster-extreme-im?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Public Release from Goldschmidt Conference, Jun 26, 2016 (emphasis added): New research shows that most of the radioactive fallout which landed on downtown Tokyo a few days after the Fukushima accident was concentrated and deposited in non-soluble glass microparticles, as a type of ‘glassy soot’. This meant that most of the radioactive material was not dissolved in rain and running water… The particles also concentrated the radioactive caesium (Cs), meaning that in some cases dose effects of the fallout are still unclear… Japanese geochemists… analysed samples collected from within an area up to 230 km from the FDNPP… [I]t had been anticipated that most of the radioactive fallout would have been flushed from the environment by rainwater. However… most of the radioactive caesium in fact fell to the ground enclosed in glassy microparticles… [T]hese particles… formed during the molten core-concrete interaction inside the primary containment vessel in the Fukushima reactor units 1 and/or 3. Because of the high Cs content in the microparticles, the radioactivity per unit mass was as high as ~4.4×10^11 Bq/g [440,000,000,000,000 Bq/kg]… Analysis from several air filters collected in Tokyo on 15 March 2011 showed that 89% of the total radioactivity was present as a result of these caesium-rich microparticles, rather than the soluble Cs, as had originally been supposed.

Discovery (Seeker), Jun 27, 2016: Fukushima Accident Rained Glass Particles on Tokyo… Most of the radioactive fallout that descended upon downtown Tokyo in the days after the March 2011 accident [was] glass microparticles — essentially, glass-filled soot. As a result, the fallout, which contained concentrated radioactive cesium, wasn’t dissolved by rainfall, and probably lingered in the environment… Japanese scientists thought that most of it would be washed away by rainwater. Instead, analysis… revealed that most of the radioactive cesium in fact fell to the ground enclosed in glassy microparticles.

ANI, Jun 28, 2016: Research indicates Fukushima radioactive fallout may be worse than expected… Most of the radioactive fallout, which landed on downtown Tokyo a few days after the Fukushima accident, was concentrated and deposited in non-soluble glass microparticles, as a type of ‘glassy soot’…

Inverse, Jun 26, 2016: Radioactive “Glassy Soot” Fell Over Tokyo After the Fukushima Meltdown… The findings… show that the radioactive fallout… has been poorly understood. Previously, it was assumed that most of the radiation that fell dissolved in rain. This would mean that it would wash out of the soil and through the environment… These tiny glass particles entered the air and fell as soot on the surrounding region. Because the radioactive molecules are contained in an insoluble medium, they will not wash out of the soil with rainwater to the same extent… Beyond the consequences for the environment, there are significant consequences for human health. Breathing caesium encased in glass particles may have a very different impact from exposure to it as radioactive rain…

Scientists from Fukushima Univ., Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Stanford Univ., etc, June 2016: Cesium-rich micro-particles unveil the explosive events in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant — Cesium-rich micro-particles (CsMPs) retain novel information on the molten core-concrete interaction… CsMPs specimens were discovered… in atmospheric particulates collected at Suginami, Tokyo… [Note: “The author has requested that this abstract is not discussed on social media.”]

Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya, Kyushu Univ.: “This work changes some of our assumptions about the Fukushima fallout… This may mean that our ideas of the health implications should be modified“.

Prof. Bernd Grambow, Director of SUBATECH laboratory, France: “[The observations] presented here are extremely important. They may change our understanding of the mechanism of long range atmospheric mass transfer of radioactive caesium from the reactor accident at Fukushima to Tokyo, but they may also change the way we assess inhalation doses from the caesium microparticles inhaled by humans. Indeed, biological half- lives of insoluble caesium particles might be much larger than that of soluble caesium“.

See also: Nuclear fuel found 15 miles from Tokyo — Fukushima uranium in ‘glassy’ spheres flew over 170 km (PHOTOS)

Global consequences of exposures from nuclear project based on UNSCEAR figures up to 1989… ECRR yield: Cancer death – 61,619,512; Cancer total – 123,239,024; Infant death – 1,600,000; Foetal death – 1,880,000



Scientists: Over 60,000,000 killed by nuclear fallout… More than 120,000,000 cancers from radioactive releases… Doesn’t include millions more dead babies and fetuses — Professor: “Horrifying… This is a war crime far greater in magnitude than any that has occurred in recorded human history” (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/scientists-120-million-cancers-caused-nuclear-radiation-leading-60-million-deaths-war-crime-greater-magnitude-occurred-recorded-human-history-video
Published: May 5th, 2016 at 12:38 pm ET
By ENENews

Transcript excerpt from the documentary ‘Atomic Wounds’ – see IMDB page (emphasis added): Starts at 50:00 in — “Since the explosion of the first atomic bomb in 1945, there have been several thousand tests in the atmosphere and underground… Hundreds of supposedly secured nuclear sites are still active and the atomic waste they cause are dispersed everyday… The official number of deaths from cancer due to nuclear activities since 1945 is 1,000,100. Taking into account low level radiation, European researchers have upped this estimate to 61 million. In other words 60 times the UN official figure.”

European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR’s Wikipedia page), 2010 (pdf): Global consequences of exposures from nuclear project based on UNSCEAR figures up to 1989… ECRR yield: Cancer death – 61,619,512; Cancer total – 123,239,024; Infant death – 1,600,000; Foetal death – 1,880,000

Latvian Academy of Science, presentation by Prof. Chris Busby of the University of Ulster, 2009 (pdf): ECRR calculations show that this has resulted in more than 60 million excess cancer deaths worldwide due to exposures up to 1995… The ECRR 2003 model makes clear that the contamination of the environment from nuclear discharges comes at a very great cost in human suffering for those now living and their descendants.
http://www.inaco.co.jp/isaac/shiryo/pdf/ECRR_riga_20090814.pdf
Prof. Chris Busby, University of Ulster, 2009 (pdf): The global death yield of the nuclear age to 1992 has been horrifying. According to objective calculations by the European Committee on Radiation Risk… 61 million cancer deaths; 1,600,000 infant deaths; 1,880,000 foetal deaths; There has been a loss of life quality of 10% (in terms of illnesses and ageing effects). The blame for this can be squarely placed at the door of those scientists and administrators (WHO, UNSCEAR, ICRP) who developed and supported the scientific risk models. This is a war crime far greater in magnitude than any that has occurred in recorded human history.
http://www.nuclear-heritage.net/images/0/00/Helsinki2010.pdf
See also: CIA Agent: Gov’t covering up effects of radiation; I hope public becomes more aware of threat to their health — Study: Actual radiation risks are “orders of magnitude greater” than official estimates; “Completely changes the picture… a serious public health hazard” (VIDEO)

And: Secrecy agreement between Fukushima and IAEA revealed by Tokyo newspaper — They hid health effects in Chernobyl… same thing could happen to Fukushima”
http://enenews.com/cia-agent-govt-covering-effects-radiation-hope-americans-become-aware-threat-public-health-study-actual-radiation-risks-orders-magnitude-greater-official-estimates-completely-picture-serious-public
http://enenews.com/secrecy-agreement-between-fukushima-and-iaea-revealed-by-tokyo-newspaper-iaea-has-a-history-of-hiding-information-about-health-effects-in-chernobyl-same-thing-could-happen-to-fukushima
Watch the documentary ‘Atomic Wounds’ here

ENENews: Experts: Fukushima ‘ice wall’ could destroy reactor units, turn site into swamp — Risk of fractures, ground movement, building subsidence — Must be frozen for 200 years — Officials: High cliffs just behind plant may become unstable — Gov’t: “Observable heaving” and deformations possible



Experts: Fukushima ‘ice wall’ could destroy reactor units, turn site into swamp — Risk of fractures, ground movement, building subsidence — Must be frozen for 200 years — Officials: High cliffs just behind plant may become unstable — Gov’t: “Observable heaving” and deformations possible (VIDEO)
Published: May 2nd, 2016 at 9:18 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/experts-fukushima-ice-wall-could-destroy-reactor-
buildings-turn-site-swamp-concern-fractures-ground-movement-subsidence-
around-structures-will-stay-frozen-200-year-period-govt-observable-heav?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy
+News%29


AP, Apr 29, 2016 (emphasis added): Fukushima No. 1 plant’s ice wall won’t be watertight, says chief architect… Even if the frozen barrier… works as envisioned, it will not completely block all water… because of gaps in the wall… said Yuichi Okamura, a chief architect… Tepco resorted to [this] after it became clear it had to do something drastic… [Okamura said,] “We have come up against many unexpected problems.” The water woes are just part of the many obstacles… No one has even seen the nuclear debris…


Huffington Post, Apr 1, 2016: ‘Ice Wall’ Is Japan’s Last-Ditch Effort To Contain Fukushima Radiation… [It’s] a desperate attempt to stop radiation that’s been leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for five years…

Kyodo, Mar 30, 2016: The NRA warned earlier that if the groundwater levels within the [ice] walls is reduced excessively by blocking the flow from outside, highly contaminated water within the buildings could seep out as a result.

Proposal for controlling ground water and radioactive leakage in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (by World Water and Climate Foundation): [TEPCO] has a plan to freeze soil around the plant… this idea may not be sustainable… over the 200-year period that will be required for the reactors to be decommissioned.… The problem with freezing… is that solutes may be expelled from the ice… This can result in extremely concentrated saline solutions that do not freeze even at low temperatures. It is likely that under these conditions radioactive materials could become highly concentrated in dense brines that could then flow as density currents… Also, heating and cooling during the four annual seasons in Japan may make the ground of the station site softer and wetter like a swamp, and it could create another risk to the reactors, such as building destruction… The authors would like to express sincere thanks to Dr. W.F. Vincent, Dr. I. Ostrovsky, Dr. S. Kudoh and Dr. L. Legendre for their valuable comments and suggestions for strengthening this proposal.

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Integrated model of groundwater flow and radionuclide migration at Fukushima Daiichi… we will be able to answers critical questions such as… Will the cryogenic barrier lead to salt water intrusion at the site thereby mobilizing contaminants such as Cs and Sr that are mobile under high salinity conditions?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2015: Independent Technical Support for the Frozen Soil Barrier… several references discuss soil heave in the context of artificial ground freezing… It is possible that some observable heaving will occur directly above and directly adjacent to the frozen soil barrier… Monitoring of temperatures, heave pressures, and deformations… would provide information to assist in managing impacts from soil heave…


Geological Survey of Japan, 2015: [T]he sustainability of the ice wall remains doubtful… Furthermore, the ice lenses will grow irregularly as per the distribution of chiller pipes, and the sediment desaturation might lead to the aquitards’ compaction and subsidence around the buildings. In effect, a decrease in pore water pressure could increase the effective stress of the ground and result in movements and the formation of fractures in the superficial units.

IAEA, 2016: The IAEA group of experts reviewed the status of groundwater inflow, countermeasures and modelling… During the visit to Daiichi NPS on 18 February 2016, groundwater seepage on the slopes [i.e. cliffs over 100 feet high directly behind plant] that have been covered with facing was observed by the IAEA experts… seepage through the facing could create geotechnical instability on the slope if horizontal drains are not installed…

Watch TEPCO’s video on the ‘ice wall’ here

Published: May 2nd, 2016 at 9:18 pm ET
By ENENews
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May 2nd, 2016 | Category: Audio/Video Clips, Fukushima Daiichi, Japan (Fukushima)

ENENews: ““Fatally high” levels of radioactive material has entered ocean… serious pollution is ongoing”



TV: North America will not be safe from Fukushima radiation if plant keeps leaking — Animals “suddenly died” on west coast right after 2011 disaster… Whole world noticed this strange phenomenon — “Fatally high” levels of radioactive material has entered ocean… serious pollution is ongoing (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/tv-west-coast-north-america-will-be-safe-fukushima-radiation-ocean-contamination-continues-animals-suddenly-died-shores-canada-after-nuclear-disaster-fatally-high-levels-radioactive-material-flo?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Published: April 28th, 2016 at 11:45 am ET
By ENENews
Arirang (Government-funded Korean TV network), ‘Fukushima and Its Aftermath’, Mar 16, 2016:
28:00 in — Vancouver is located on the west coast of Canada. Right after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in 2011, seals suddenly died on the shores of Vancouver, and Cesium levels five times the usual amount were detected in the seaweed and fish. The whole world took notice of the strange phenomena that occurred on the shores of Vancouver, thousands of kilometers away from Japan. One Canadian research center has been analyzing marine plants on the Vancouver shores since 2012 to identify the cause. The result of their tests showed that iodine and cesium were detected in much of their marine plants…

31:20 in — Not many people directly feel the dangers of radiation yet, but if the Fukushima radiation contamination continues, not even Canada will be safe. The Japanese government is still dumping contaminated water into the sea.

31:35 in — Hisako Sakiyama, former head researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Science: “There is a lot of strontium as well as tritium in the contaminated water. There will be serious problem if those matters reach outside… Buts since the Fukushima accident, the contaminated water has been flowing underground… It is flowing into the sea from somewhere. So the sea is also becoming contaminated.”

32:20 in — Tepco has been insisting that no radioactive materials have been detected in the sea. However it’s been confirmed through press reports that fatally high concentrations of radioactive material has been leaked to the sea. [Graphic: “The problem of radioactive materials from Fukushima leaking into the sea still serious… it has been revealed that ‘serious ocean pollution has been going on.'”]

42:15 in — The Fukushima accident was catastrophic not just to Japan but to humanity as a whole. There have been considerable damages until now, but no one knows how far the damages will be in the future. The Fukushima accident is not a thing of the past but something that is ongoing even now and the future that we will face.

Watch the broadcast here

Published: April 28th, 2016 at 11:45 am ET
By ENENews
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ENENews: “100% death rate of baby seals on California coast — ‘None have survived'”


100% death rate of baby seals on California coast — “None have survived” — “Many are starving, suffering from shortage of food in Pacific Ocean” — “Extremely thin… all sorts of illnesses, infections” — “Milkless moms immediately abandoning pups” — TV: “The problem is getting worse” (VIDEOS)