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Increasing Genetic Defects in Fukushima have to be Expected

23.08.2012

Susanne Gerber

The effects of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima have now become visible in butterflies. Researchers worry the effects may start to be felt among human beings. The butterflies found to be deformed as a result of radiation from the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima belong to the butterfly family of gossamer-winged butterflies. These butterflies can be found throughout the world. They are very sensitive to changes in the environment – to water and air pollution, chemicals and radioactivity. For scientists, gossamer-winged butterflies are thus a good biological indicator of the health of the environment. When they get sick, it means there is a problem somewhere in the ecosystem – even if there don’t seem to be any apparent problems, Winfrid Eisenberg, radiation expert and member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), told DW. „The findings of the Japanese scientists don’t surprise me. There were similar findings in studies conducted after Chernobyl,“ he explained. After the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, deformities similar to the ones recently seen in butterflies in Fukushima were also observed in plant insects. Even today, Eisenberg said researchers continue to find around 100 times more genetic mutations in field mice, now the 52nd generation since the disaster, than in mice in uncontaminated areas. Swallows were also greatly affected. In Chernobyl and its surrounding area, the birds are as good as extinct. The ones that do still exist there have „very small heads and very low success rates in breeding,“ Eisenberg explained. But not only animals and insects pass on genetic defects to their offspring. Nine months after Chernobyl, there was a significant increase in the number of babies born with trisomy 21 (also known as Down syndrome) – a disease in which there is one copy too many of chromosome 21 in the DNA. During that time, the number of deformities and miscarriages was especially high – even outside of Chernobyl. According to a report by the Society for Radiation Protection, there are between 18,000 and 122,000 people who have genetic defects as a result of the Chernobyl disaster throughout Europe. The minimum dose of radiation cells can be exposed to before mutating is unclear. Peter Jacob, head of the Institute for Radiation Protection at the Helmholz Center in Munich, told DW that even small quantities of radiation was enough to cause damage. But human cells have remarkable defense mechanisms that have evolved throughout time. Should any abnormalities occur during cell division, certain enzymes make sure that most of them are repaired. But a quick repair after short-term exposure to radiation could lead to further mutations, which are then passed on to the next generation of cells. In the long term, that could lead to cancer. And if the mutations happen to be in sperm or egg cells, there is a much higher risk that such disease-causing mutations can be passed down for generations. A study conducted by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) found that the number of cases of thyroid cancer and leukemia in Japan would not rise significantly as a result of the reactor meltdown in Fukushima. Yet Eisenberg said the deformed butterflies spoke for themselves, even if findings in research on animals and insects could not completely speak for humans. A series of ultrasound examinations conducted on over 40,000 children in Japan found 35 percent of the children to have lumps or cysts. „That is not normal among children,“ Eisenberg, who is also a retired pediatrician, told DW. He added that the figure was alarming. He, along with some of his colleagues, requested access to Japan’s birth statistics for the time since the disaster at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima. As of now, he is still waiting for access to be granted.

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16170549,00.html

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Danger, Fukushima, Radiation

Japan Times: Enough Electricity Without Any Nuclear Power

22.08.2012

Susanne Gerber

Sales by 10 major power utilities in July dropped by 6.3 percent due to a decline in demand, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan has revealed.

But while efforts to cut down electricity use by households and the business sector are paying off, some say the numbers prove that last month’s reactivation of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture may have been unnecessary.

„Electricity utilities may be opting to restart their nuclear reactors since they are cheaper than thermal power plants,“ Hideyuki Koyama, executive director of Mihama no Kai, which opposes Kepco’s nuclear power use, told The Japan Times.

„The data are solid proof that Japan can supply enough electricity even without any nuclear power generation,“ he stressed.

The federation said Monday that overall electricity use in July dropped 6.3 percent compared with the same month last year. Nine out of 10 utilities reported a decline in sales, with the exception being Tohoku Electric Power Co., where recovery from the March 2011 disasters is making progress.

Rolling blackouts are to be implemented if necessary this summer in the Kansai region and Kyushu, but so far none has been needed.

The decline in electricity demand also came even though higher than average temperatures were recorded nationwide last month, according to the Meteorological Agency.

In announcing the restart of the two Oi reactors, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in June warned that it was aimed at supporting the economy and the public’s livelihood. His appeal was validated at least in the Kansai region, where electricity demand would have surpassed supply levels during peak hours had the reactors remained offline.

But pundits say that instead of relying on nuclear power, Kepco could have easily covered any shortage by requesting neighboring electricity utilities, which had an oversupply, to provide backup.

„Reactivation of the reactors was decided considering the cost and profits of the electricity utilities,“ Mihama no Kai’s Koyama said. „But under the circumstances, nuclear plants should be shut down for the safety of the public.“

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120822a3.html

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Fukushima, Politics

Beklemmende Warnungen

29.07.2012

Susanne Gerber

 

http://www.tagesschau.de/multimedia/video/video1152320.html

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Fukushima

Nearly 36pc of Fukushima children diagnosed with abnormal thyroid growths

19.07.2012

Susanne Gerber

The Sixth Report of Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey, released in April, included examinations of 38,114 children, of whom 35.3 percent – some 13,460 children – were found to have cysts or nodules of up to 5 mm (0.197 inches) on their thyroids.

A further 0.5 percent, totalling 186 youngsters, had nodules larger than 5.1 mm (0.2 inches).

A study by the Japan Thyroid Association in 2001 found that zero percent of children in the city of Nagasaki had nodules and only 0.8 percent had cysts on their thyroids.

„Yes, 35.8 percent of children in the study have lumps or cysts, but this is not the same as cancer,“ said Naomi Takagi, an associate professor at Fukushima University Medical School Hospital, which administered the tests.

„We do not know that cause of this, but it is hard to believe that is due to the effects of radiation,“ she said. „This is an early test and we will only see the effects of radiation exposure after four or five years.“

The local authority is carrying out long-term testing of children who were under the age of 18 on March 11 last year, the day on which the magnitude-9 Great East Japan struck off the coast of north-east Japan, triggering the massive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Thyroid examinations were first conducted in October last year and will be carried out every two years up to the age of 20 and every five years for the rest of the children’s lives.

A second report has been issued by Japan’s Institute of Radiological Sciences in which it found that some children living close to the plant were exposed to „lifetime“ doses of radiation to their thyroid glands.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9410702/Nearly-36pc-of-Fukushima-children-diagnosed-with-abnormal-thyroid-growths.html

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Fukushima, Radiation

Tokyo police preparing early for protesters — Large buses with no windows

13.07.2010

Susanne Gerber

車7台ー pic.twitter.com/viJ1J7pO

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Politics

Mortality rising in contaminated regions of East Japan

10.07.2012

Susanne Gerber

According to a report, the number of cases of disease and death of children from 1 to 19-year-old increased in prefecture Fukushima in 2011 (March-November) compared to the previous year. Likewise, in prefecture Chiba, increase was reported in the case of young people from 4 to 29-year-old, while decrease was seen in the case of children under 4-year-old.

[…]

It’s evident that the prefectures that have at least 1.5 times bigger number of cases of disease and death of any one of 3 groups of children than the previous year are Iwate, Yamagata, Fukushima, Tochigi, Chiba and Nagano. Those are the prefectures that are radiation-contaminated.
Then, Shizuoka (group of 1-4-year old 1.41 times more) and Saitama (group of 5-19-year old 1.36 times more) follow. As for adult, the prefectures that have at least 1.2 times bigger number of cases of disease and death of any one of brackets compared to the previous year are Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba, Toyama. The result of Iwate (group of 20-29-year old, 0.56 times more) is especially remarkable. The number of cases of disease and death of some age brackets in these prefectures declined over the previous year. However, the year-on-year increases were marked in these 6 prefectures, as well as Akita and Toyama (Some areas of Toyama are also contaminated).

It is very likely the number of cases of disease and death increased associated with radiation.

http://enenews.com/report-mortality-rising-in-contaminated-regions-of-east-japan-very-likely-the-number-of-cases-of-disease-and-death-increased-associated-with-radiation

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Fukushima, Radiation

10300 Millisievert per Hour in Fukushima Reactor No.1

28.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

The highest level of radiation to date has been detected inside the No.1 reactor vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company said it used endoscopes and dosimeters to examine the interior of the reactor on Tuesday. Internal measurements were made for the first time since the accident in March last year. The utility detected a record level of 10,300 millisieverts per hour. The measurement was taken 20 centimeters above the surface of a contaminated water puddle in the reactor’s suppression chamber. This high level of radiation would be fatal for humans within 50 minutes. No broken parts were identified in the containment vessel during the survey. 1,000 millisieverts per hour was detected about 4 meters above the water surface. The figure is 10 times higher than measured in the No.2 and No.3 reactors. Workers are expected to engage in clean-up and other tasks mostly at the 4-meter level, which is raising health concerns. TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto said he suspects that a higher radiation level in the No. 1 reactor is caused by more fuel rods melting down than in other reactors. He said robots will be used for damage assessment because it is unsafe for humans to work on site.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120628_01.html

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Fukushima, Meltdown, Radiation

Fukushima prefecture requested Hirosaki university to stop internal exposure test

14.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

Fukushima prefectural government requested Hirosaki University to stop internal exposure test “because it causes fear of Fukushima people”.

Researching team of Hirosaki university conducted radiation test for Iodine 131 taken in the thyroid for 17 people in Namiemachi, where is in planned evacuation area and 45 people who evacuated from MInamisoma to Fukushima (62 in total). The researching team obtained the permission of the citizens and local government.
To make the reliable data, they needed over 100 testees but the local medical department of Fukushima prefecture stopped them conducting further research. They commented, “The researching team is allowed to measure environmental radiation level but internal exposure test causes fear, it shall be stopped.”

The medical department states, they don’t remember that comment but they actually requested other universities to “understand the feelings of local citizens.” as well.
As the result, almost none of the internal exposure data of Iodine 131 remained.

The radiation data of those 62 people are already published. On the assumption that they took Iodine 131 to their thyroid on 3/12,the total dosage of internal exposure of the 5 people exceed 50 mSv, which they had to take iodine preparation from the regulation of IAEA. However now it’s considered to be more possible that they took iodine 131 on 3/15, they are analyzing the data again.

Around the end of March 2011, Nuclear disaster headquarters of the government actually conducted thyroid internal exposure test for 1080 of 0 ~ 15 years old people living in Iidate mura but because they used the simple equipment, they couldn’t measure iodine 131 directly.

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/06/fukushima-prefecture-requested-hirosaki-university-to-stop-internal-exposure-test/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FukushimaDiary+%28Fukushima+Diary%29

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Fukushima, Politics, Radiation

TEPCO again fails to find leaks at Fukushima plant

14.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says a new method has failed to locate radioactive water leaking from one of the reactors. Identifying the leaks is a key step towards decommissioning the plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company said workers used an infrared camera on Tuesday to search for the leaks in the suppression chamber at the No.2 reactor. It was hoped that the infrared images would reveal the leakage spots by showing the temperature difference between the water and the air. But the images failed to show a big gap in temperatures. TEPCO says it will devise other ways to find the locations. The utility has been injecting water into the reactor to cool melted fuel rods to prepare for their removal. But some of the radioactive water is leaking from unidentified places.


http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120613_05.html

Einsortiert unter:Accident, Consequences, Fukushima, Radiation

If this global catastrophe occurs, what will the world history books say?

14.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/06/what-is-the-united-states-government-waiting-for.html

By Akio Matsumura

I was amazed when I heard that one million Japanese had read our article that introduces Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata’s courageous appeal at the public hearing of the House of Councilors of Japan and Robert Alvarez’s famous figure that there is 85 times greater Cesium-137 at Fukushima than at Chernobyl accident. People from 176 nations have visited our blog and Ambassador Murata and Robert Alvarez have been quoted in online and print media in many of them. Despite this global attention, the Japanese government seems to be further from taking action to deal with the growing dangers of Fukushima Dai-ichi. In April I flew to Japan to meet with government and opposition party leaders to convey how dangerous the situation is. Ambassador Murata and I met with Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary, who assured us he would convey our message to Prime Minister Noda before his departure for Washington to meet with President Obama on April 30. It was to our great disappointment that the idea of an independent assessment team and international technical support for the disaster were not mentioned publicly. I was also astonished to hear that many Japanese political leaders were not aware of the potential global catastrophe because they were not told anything about it by TEPCO. I find it difficult to understand their mindset. Why would the Japanese political leaders think it appropriate to depend on one source (with an obvious and inherent conflict of interest) to judge what issues have resulted from the Fukushima accident and who is most appropriate to handle it? As a result of this myopia, Japan’s leadership lacks a clear picture of the situation and has little idea where it is steering its country and people.

Let me clarify briefly why Fukushima Dai-ichi remains an enormous danger for which no scientists can recommend a solution at the moment.

Any one of the following accidents could seriously endanger the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi area.

1.      In reactors 1, 2 and 3, complete core meltdowns have occurred.  Japanese authorities have admitted the possibility that the fuel may have melted through the bottom of the reactor core vessels. It is speculated that this might lead to unintended criticality (resumption of the chain reaction) or a powerful steam explosion – either event could lead to major new releases of radioactivity into the environment.

2.      Reactors 1 and 3 are sites of particularly intense penetrating radiation, making those areas unapproachable.  As a result, reinforcement repairs have not yet been done since the Fukushima accident.  The ability of these structures to withstand a strong aftershock earthquake is uncertain.

3.      The temporary cooling pipes installed in each of the crippled reactors pass through rubble and debris.

They are unprotected and highly vulnerable to damage. This could lead to a failure of some cooling systems, causing overheating of the fuel, further fuel damage with radioactive releases, additional hydrogen gas explosions, possibly even a zirconium fire and fuel melting within the spent fuel pools.

4.      Reactor No. 4 building and its frame are serious damaged. The spent fuel pool in Unit 4, with a total weight of 1,670 tons, is suspended 100 feet (30 meters) above ground, beside a wall which is bulging outward.

If this pool collapses or drains, the resulting blast of penetrating radiation will shut down the entire area. At the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, the spent fuel pools alone contain an amount of cesium-137 that is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl.

Any of these occurrences could have major consequences for the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi area.

Due to the pressure by the public and media, the government of Japan sent Mr. Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment and Nuclear Power Policy, to Reactor 4 on May 26. He spent half an hour on a temporary staircase at the site. Surprisingly, he said the structure supporting the pool appeared sound. (So our constant request for an Independent Assessment team was accomplished within 30 minutes, just like that. Thanks, Japan.) Minister Hosono also said at the press meeting that Reactor 4 could stand a Magnitude-6 earthquake. I don’t understand why he said this. We are warning that Japanese geologists predict that a 90% probability M-7 earthquake will be hitting Japan within three years.

Is he preparing his excuse that a M-7 earthquake was beyond his assumption?

Does the government of Japan think that the public is stupid enough to believe in such a performance? If they are so brazen, it’s probably because they know the Japanese media will cover what they wish to be covered. If we were talking about business as usual, I could ignore this as political theater, but we are talking about a global catastrophe that mankind has never experienced. “Frustration” and “disappointment” take on new meaning with each passing day.

I decided to visit Washington, D.C., to meet with a retired Army Lieutenant General, an old friend who I first met at the United Nations, to explain how Fukushima should be considered an urgent international security priority, and how it requires immediate U.S. action.

He agreed. He saw very clearly why Fukushima needs action now and he was puzzled why all possible actors have been so slow to move. One year and two months have now passed and it is a mystery what the United States government is waiting for. Investigating Reactor 4 should be a prioritized national security issue. We think we have been lucky for 14 months but it was a litmus test to see if opinion leaders from all walks of life would stand up to face the challenge. They haven’t thus far. And I don’t think we can count on luck for 14 more months.

I also met with Bob Alvarez in Washington and we talked for several hours. I thanked him for his calculation of Cs-137 at Fukushima Daiichi site; the simple figure has helped draw the public’s attention to the issue. Mr. Alvarez said that the figure of a ten times Cs-137 at Reactor 4 compared to Chernobyl is low, but is useful to avoid scientific arguments; a higher figure might be 50 times, which means that 85 times greater than Chernobyl might be an underestimate as well.

But it doesn’t matter, Alvarez said, whether the magnitude is 10 or 20 times greater at Reactor 4. The Cesium-137 in Reactor 4 would cause all of Japan’s land  to become an evacuation zone, the strong radiation would affect East Asia and North America, and the radioactive material fall out would remain there for several hundred years.  He asked me if Japanese leaders understand this. My answer is, yes, they understand it in theory but not in a practical sense. Prime Minister Noda, the sixth premier in the past five years, does not have the political power to make a decision to request the Independent Assessment team and the international technical support teams outside of TEPCO.

I told him that I came to Washington to explain that Japan will not take the first step; its leadership does not have the power to act first and survive politically, and does not have the courage to take the first step without thinking of the second.

Our guest speaker at the Moscow Global Forum in 1990, Dr. Robert Socolow, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University wrote his essay to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists dated March 21, 2011.

We must explain, over and over, the concept of ‘afterheat,’ the fire that you can’t put out, the generation of heat from fission fragments now and weeks from now and months from now, heat that must be removed. Journalists are having such a hard time communicating this concept because it is so unfamiliar to them and nearly everyone they are writing for. Every layman feels that every fire can be put out.

It is so difficult, as Dr. Socolow says, to convince political leaders to take action in the face of an unknown – in this case an unprecedented catastrophe that they cannot conceive of in terms of an election cycle.

In the same way, I must explain to foreign leaders over and over again that Japan’s Prime Minister is a consensus builder, not a risk taker. He won’t face up to this challenge.

The United States government is the only other logical actor, and I find it very difficult to understand why they remain silent.

If this global catastrophe occurs, what will the world history books say?

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Danger, Fukushima, Politics