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Today is the anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, and the massive tsunami that devastated the northeastern coast of Japan in 2011. 15,884 people died. 2,633 people remain missing. Another 2,973 people died of causes related to the disaster. The quake and tsunami also touched off the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen, when over the next days three power reactors melted down and through their containments, and four units blew up, destroying the buildings. The four units all had jam-packed spent fuel pools situated 5 stories in the air, two of which burned off and on for days.

More than 270,000 people are still labeled as evacuees from the tsunami and the nuclear disaster, 104,000 of them still in hastily thrown together 'temporary' housing. The childhood thyroid cancer rate in the region and among evacuees is high and growing steadily, children well outside the 'Dead Zone' in Iwate, Tokyo and Miyagi are still passing cesium in their urine, demonstrating a situation of constant recontamination - likely from food and water.

Newly published research on the soot-like "Mysterious Black Substance" collected at more than 100 sites along roadsides in Fukushima Prefecture contain isotopes of uranium-236, plutonium-239 and 240, curium, americium and the cesium sisters, indicating that this heavy particle fallout came from the reactor cores at Daiichi. It's blown-out reactor fuel. This soot-like substance has been observed much farther afield as well, even causing a bit of an incident in Tokyo, later explained by 'officials' to have been attributable to 60-year old bottles of radium in an abandoned house.

'Officials' have come up with quite a list of industry-serving but highly ridiculous cover stories and brush-offs over the past three years. Dr. Shunichi Yamashita of the Atomic Bomb Disease Institute in Nagasaki and a member of WHO, the resident radiation health expert in Japan in case of nuclear accident, advised the Japanese government and Fukushima Medical University following the disaster that there was no need to distribute potassium iodide tablets to the public because the releases were "so low." This is the guy most famous for informing the Japanese public that doses of 100 mSv are perfectly safe, and that smiling prevents radiation damage.

Today I would like to point readers to an article by Hiroshima Peace Institute associate professor Robert Jacobs, condensed from a chapter of an upcoming book on the work of the Global Hibakusha Project with Dr. Mick Broderick. Because it speaks so eloquently about the true challenges the people of northeastern Japan face in the wake of the disaster at Daiichi. Which isn't over yet, and will not be over in any of our lifetimes -

Radiation Makes People Invisible



For those who would like a year-3 wrap on the disaster's impacts on health, environment, workers and gnarly technical situation at each plant as well as the facility in general, please see the links list at SimplyInfo.org -

Fukushima 3rd Anniversary Reports

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

    by Joieau on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:08:10 AM PDT

  •  also excellent discussion with Ex-Japanese PM (13+ / 0-)

    Naoto Kan and Noam Chomsky today on Democracy Now. I was pretty amazed to learn about the Japanese PM's change of heart and mind with regards to nuclear power. I think that happens very, very rarely among politicians.

    Just mentioning it, because your diary shows your interest in the subject. And because I was a bit astonished to learn about what PM Naoto Kan had to say.

    Thanks for your diary. People always sweep it under the carpet and "forget" it.

    •  Thank you for these, mimi. (10+ / 0-)

      The new PM Abe is busily attempting to jump public opinion and prefectural objections to restart the reactors in Japan, currently all shut down. Despite new geological data demonstrating most are on active fault lines in this quake-prone country, and the fact that as many as 14 reactor plants on the northeastern coast are so damaged from the Tohoku quake that they'll never operate again.

      Kan got some very bad advice early on. He has been courageous in coming out against nukes since leaving office.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:35:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow Kan just admitted that a meltdown (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, 3rock

      occurred in unit 1 4 hours after the earthquake. That pretty makes the tsunami a sideshow as far as causing meltdowns was concerned.

  •  Meditations (7+ / 0-)

      prayers, condolences and hope for the Japanese people.
       The sadness that the world has not responded to a massive humanitarian crisis for us all.
       The inexplicable unreality of entities who continue to insist that nuclear power and it's 10,000 year waste is viable. IT IS NOT!

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 11:09:48 AM PDT

    •  Speaking of waste, (7+ / 0-)

      4 more WIPP employees have tested positive for internal contamination with plutonium and americium from their little oops on Valentine's day.

      Contamination has also been confirmed in Carlsbad, 26 miles west of the facility (and New Mexico's 10th most populated city). At least they're now talking about their second-most likely accident scenario - an "exploded waste barrel" - instead of still running with the ghost forklift driver bunk. That's progress, I guess...

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 11:53:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spontaneous Waste Barrel Explosion (6+ / 0-)

        It happens sometimes. Nothing to see here.

      •  You don't understand. I have papers! papers! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        crose, Joieau, 3rock, HedwigKos, Sandino

        dammit which show that neither can such accidents occur at WIPP, nor can nukes plants go wrong. And just because they actually do, just supports the papers.

        Have you seen this btw:

        Study: Nuclear Reactors Are Toxic to Surrounding Areas, Especially With Age
        The study, released last week by the Santa Barbara-based think tank World Business Academy for its Safe Energy Project, found that public health indicators such as infant mortality rates and cancer incidence in surrounding areas rose dramatically after Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E) two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon power plant began operations in 1984 and 1985.
        Sr-90 found in baby's teeth and the like. Even when they haven't blown up, or the waste hasn't blown up or leaked into the water/food supply, they still hurt humanity and nature. Not 'risk' hurting: DO.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:37:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, also, saw the headline and stupidly (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          crose, Joieau, 3rock, HedwigKos

          figured I'd get back to it later. It was one of the Scandinavian countries, who's own nuke operators set up a group to work on health and risk. They published that 600,000 deaths in Japan alone are going to happen from the multi-melts at Fukushima.

          6 0 0 , 0 0 0


          Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

          by Jim P on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:39:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  People in Japan are presenting (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, Gordon20024, 3rock, HedwigKos

          with more symptoms than just thyroid nodules/cysts and cancer. One of the reports at SimplyInfo cites doctors saying chronic low white blood cell counts for people in the more-than-Chernobyl contaminated areas but well outside the Dead Zone are rampant. When the families go far away, either relocating or for extended vacation, it gets better. But hundreds of thousands are 'stuck' in grossly contaminated areas unless they can relocate on their own. The Japanese government hasn't even compensated the evacuees. Why would they care about anybody else?

          ...they've got an Olympics to plan and spend billions on, by golly!!!

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:18:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Was talking with a screenwriter (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, Gordon20024, 3rock, HedwigKos

          earlier today about why scram failure at TMI2 was such a Huge Deal, so dangerous to the industry that they might kill to keep it secret. The answer is today (35 years later) the same as it always was. If it were known these things might not turn off once they'd been turned on - hence, melting/exploding nukes in or next to population centers - it would mean the technology itself is fatally flawed. If the people found out, they'd insist they all be shut down. Or so they feared, since that would be the only rational response.

          All these years later it's so anticlimactic that the chairman of the NRC during the Daiichi disaster can say the very same thing - out loud, in public - and nobody bats an eye. They don't even have to suffer scram failure in order to melt/explode, just having the lights go out will do that. Fatal flaw in the technology.

          Nukes are the most effective means of Premeditated Random Mass Murder ever conceived in the dark hearts of men. Never forget that making humanity extinct in one fell swoop because 'the other guys' might win a political argument is the reason this technology was developed at all. Charging people Big Bucks for their own slower extinction while boiling water with it is just gravy.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:58:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This makes all the other news minor. Sort of takes (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, 3rock, HedwigKos

            the thrill out of mere politics. Can't let go of the thought that there are 16 active nukes on our Coasts (utilities, research & gov), and from what I've read sea level rise is in process right now.

            I think a greatly clarifying question is to ask all the magical-thinking scientists just what the plans are for moving the cores off the shore. One guy told me 'dikes. The Dutch did it for hundreds of years.'

            And we're to think that rivers never alter their course, nor run shallow nor flood.

            There's 'inactive' nukes on the oceans, too, I'd think, but I haven't counted them up yet.


            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:18:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Again Thank You Joieau, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HedwigKos, Joieau

      being one that follows this just in the news and blogs, this diary cheered me up because the media wash is, that Japan will go back to nuclear and it is heartening to know that most of the reactors are still off line.
       It's only been 3 years. Not many comments, but in my experience of AIDS deaths, I learned one of the givens about most human people, is to talk of death is like the Grim Reaper has appeared because we are talking about, you are the messenger, therefore... mentally shut down and run like hell :) Not abnormal.
       Also

    Spontaneous Waste Barrel Explosion by Sandino's comment,
    I'm still laughing, Grim Reaper absolve me. It deserves an acronym SWBE. Top comment to me.
       There are higher beings, they will read someday and say Joieau was cool :) I think there's a saying, if you reach or could be teach one person...
       Bookmarked the reports website with the "Crane"
       

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:45:53 PM PDT

  •  The black substance isn't "blown out reactor fuel" (0+ / 0-)

    Again you mention "blown out reactor fuel," and claim that this is the identity of the black road dust being referenced.

    From your linked paper (Sakaguchi):

    Following the accident, road dust, blackish in color, has attracted the attention of citizens in the Fukushima and Tokyo areas, the dust being given the name "Black Substances". The material is composed of aerosol particles, asphalt and minute tire particles originating from traffic, residue of dried lichens, soil and other fine grained environmental debris.
    The authors go on to explain the high levels of activity and the suitability of this sample material for their analysis, being that it has a "relative absence of soil matrix components".  I want to draw attention to the important distinction between the known identity of this sample material and explanation for its high activity as discussed in your own reference, versus what is implied by calling it "blown out reactor fuel."  I would hope we can all agree that this sample material, like all other soil samples, air samples, water samples, and other environmental samples from the FD vicinity, contains radionuclides from the fuel of the involved reactors.  That much is true.  However, it's inaccurate to imply that this sample is, or contains, contiguous fragments of nuclear fuel.  That is precisely the claim made by a large number of pseudo-scientific bloggers right now.  And it appears to be your own as well.

    One other unrelated thing I'll note about the paper's findings are that the actinide releases witnessed in those samples are small and hard to detect (not true of nuclear fuel fragments), consistent with previous estimates based on the canonical explanation of the FD accident and other environmental sampling studies (about 500 mg total plutonium), and smaller than the Japanese government's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) estimates from 2011.  The authors make this point very clearly.

    Although the technically-disinclined, sensationalist nether reaches of the blogosphere are rife with rumors about black residues being nuclear fuel (blown from the reactors explosively), and your own diaries have uncritically made the same claim several times that I've seen, your reference material explicitly repudiates that assertion rather than supports it.  The findings in the paper are consistent with the canonical explanation of the accident as a series of meltdowns uncomplicated by explosive dispersal of core contents.

    -Carl

     

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