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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

Fukushima Daiichi workers ordered to cover dosimeters with lead plates

22.07.2012

Susanne Gerber

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0721/TKY201207200768.html

 

Einsortiert unter:Danger, Fukushima, Politics, Radiation

In case Tokyo devastated by next Big One

15.07.2012

Susanne Gerber

A government panel will recommend that the central government transfer its functions to one of five major cities, including Osaka and Nagoya, if an earthquake devastates the capital, according to a draft interim report. The other three candidates are Sapporo, Sendai and Fukuoka, a task force studying emergency measures under the Central Disaster Prevention Council said in the draft. Serious damage to core political, administrative and economic functions could „affect our country’s fate,“ the draft stressed, also calling on the government to make backups of disaster-related data for use at the emergency headquarters. At present, Tachikawa in western Tokyo is designated to take over if the prime minister’s office and other government offices are wiped out by a major quake. But since the area is only about 30 km from the capital’s center, it is also expected to suffer severe damage. The panel picked the five cities because they already have branch offices of the government and Bank of Japan, as well as other facilities that can be converted into emergency headquarters. Other recommendations include the preparation of temporary shelters in public and private facilities to help stranded commuters, such as those in Tokyo who were unable to return home following the Great East Japan Earthquake. The panel will present the draft at the council’s next meeting, and aims to compile a final report by next spring.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120715a3.html#.UAKGRnBmFdc

Einsortiert unter:Danger

„We Did It.“ The First Manufactured Nuclear Chain Reaction

14.07.2012

Susanne Gerber

On December 2, 1942, 49 scientists, led by Enrico Fermi, made history when Chicago Pile 1 (CP-1) went “critical” and produced the world’s first self-sustaining, controlled nuclear chain reaction. Seventy years later, two of the last surviving CP-1 pioneers, Harold Agnew and Warren Nyer, recall and explain the events of that historic day.

See the video here

http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2012/07/13/14696/?utm_source=ANS+Nuclear+Cafe&utm_campaign=70b559f5a2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email

Einsortiert unter:Danger, Research

Latest News About Reactor No 4

27.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

Video

http://enenews.com/japan-diplomat-one-denies-problem-fukushima-4-fuel-pool-be-japan-sleep-peacefully-video

Einsortiert unter:Danger, Fukushima

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

Rising Temperature in Fukushima No. 4 Spent Fuel Pool. Problems with Water Pumps.

07.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Wednesday that the temperature of water inside the No. 4 unit’s spent fuel pool rose to 42 C as of 5 p.m. following problems with the water circulation system pumps. One of two pumps which stopped was later reactivated, and the water temperature is expected to start falling, said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Junichi Matsumoto. On Tuesday morning, the water was 34 C. There are two pumps to cool water which is used to remove heat emitted from the spent nuclear fuel stored inside the No. 4 reactor’s pool. But the main pump stopped working on Tuesday, and the backup pump stopped on Wednesday.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/06/162400.html

 

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Danger, Fukushima

Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis

07.06.2012

Susanne Gerber

ay 15, 2012 post by Dr. Shunichi Ono, a medical doctor in Kyushu, translated by Dissensus Japan:

I got contacted by a woman in her early 30s who evacuated from Fukushima (Kôriyama) to the west Japan. She was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and is going to have an operation. She gave me a permission to introduce her note on this blog. We can’t determine that her cancer is caused by the accident, but we should certainly take it as a warning sign…

Third time to the clinic again. She had an uneasy feeling when she received a phone call from the clinic 4 days after the diagnosis, giving her an appointment to discuss her results, which was supposed to take 2 weeks. She was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. The 6 mm tumor appears on the right side of thyroid. The doctor told her about the diagnosis while showing the image of cytological diagnosis. Doctors with less experiences could have determined the tumor as benign, but her doctor was the one who specialized in treating persons affected by radiation, and did some study in Chernobyl as well. He also understood that she was from Fukushima, and radiation could give a health damage.

However, as it was written, she had 10ml of Isodine after the accident, left Ko-riyama quite quickly and also no abnormality in her thyroglobulin level is found. Considering all those facts, I should not prejudge but I can’t help expecting that we are going to have a catastrophic health hazard caused by the accident.

http://onodekita.sblo.jp/article/55872777.html

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Danger, Fukushima, Radiation

Removal of Unused Fuel out of the Spent-Fuel-Pool of Reactor 4

28.05.2012

Susanne Gerber

Tokyo Electric Power Co. might try to remove two unused fuel assemblies sitting in the spent-fuel pool above the Fukushima No. 1 plant’s No. 4 reactor in July, officials said Sunday.

The attempt would be a test run for securing the dangerous pool, which has become a priority because the building that housed the reactor and the pool — which sits on the fifth floor — was ripped apart by a hydrogen explosion in the early days of the nuclear crisis last year and could collapse in a strong earthquake. That might dump hundreds of fuel rods on the ground, where they would burn up and release even more radiation than in last year’s crisis.

Since the unused fuel is not generating heat from fission, it is less dangerous to handle than the spent fuel. The utility, known as Tepco, is hoping to determine how damaged the unused assemblies are and to devise ways to store them.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/05/160440.html

 

Einsortiert unter:Consequences, Danger, Fukushima

Unit No. 4 wall bulging — Local deformation confirmed

26.05.2012

Susanne Gerber

Tepco announced that the wall on the west side of reactor 4 building bulged. Also, the reactor 4 building is leaning to North West. They surveyed from 5/17 to 5/25/2012. From their survey, the corner of south west come out 33mm at 13m hight from the ground.

 

 

On the west side of the outer wall surface in the measurement, local deformation is confirmed, the trend of deformation. To confirm, measurements were performed in the vicinity. May 25 carried out.

Measurement result (Measurement points – Horizontal difference)

1 – 6mm
2 – 10mm
3 – 7mm
4 – 23mm
5 – 33mm
6 – 22mm

Bulge of the outer wall of the west side was found to be localized.

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/05/west-side-of-the-reactor4-building-bulged/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FukushimaDiary+%28Fukushima+Diary%29

Einsortiert unter:Danger, Fukushima