2 relatively new scientific papers released in January and February this year (2014) have been released describing research conducted on the biological effects and ongoing Pacific Ocean contamination as a result of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi just over 3 years ago.
Look at that photo. There are many more in the paper linked, of various weird mutations documented by Akimoto among "instars" - the stable stage of growth in immature insects between moultings. The abnormalities Akimoto has documented in populations examined in 2012 and 2013 show radical morphological mutations at a significant enough rate in 2012 to present serious selection pressure, reflected in a lesser rate of abnormalities for the 2013 samples.
While there were 7 control populations from outside the area for comparing general rates and factors (such as inbreeding and clonal populations) that tend to affect robustness of the offspring generation(s), Akimoto calls for continuing and expanded research to explore whether populations will actually manage to overcome the contamination-caused developmental abnormalities through selection for radiation tolerance, or will instead express one-off genetic abnormalities in later years due to the accumulation of damaged genes.
From the conclusion -
Several factors are probably responsible for morphological abnormality and mortality in insects, and at present, there is no decisive evidence that any single factor is causally related to the observed abnormalities. However, comparisons between the research results in 2012 and 2013 suggest that a specific environmental factor from 2011 until the spring 2012 was involved in the incidence of abnormalities and mortalities. Evidence from this study suggests that of several potential factors, radioactive fallout from Fukushima Daiichi in the spring 2011 is most likely to have had the strongest effect, because other factors can be readily ignored as the causal factor.[emphasis mine]
The results seem unsurprising when you consider that in the spring of 2011 there were hundreds of millions of curies of relatively short-lived radionuclides thickly contaminating the area. Those have dissipated (noble gases) or decayed away (iodine, etc.) now, revealing the steady levels of longer-lived isotopes like cesium and strontium. And then there are the dust-sized particles of actual reactor fuel blown out by the explosions that are being found as far away Tokyo and beyond. These will be contributing to radiation levels in Japan for millennia.
How it translates to dangers of mutation in human beings is not something this research is designed to address. Answers there will be forthcoming over time too, per any considerable genetic damage is now latent but will show up down the line. At least Akimoto isn't trying to obfuscate the obvious correlations by hemming and hawing about 'natural background' radiation levels not at issue in the questions being asked. That's kind of refreshing, given the US contingent of oceanographic researchers' odd timidity on the subject of Daiichi's specific effects on the ocean's food chains and how those are affecting sea life now and into the future. We aren't gall-forming bugs, after all. We're food chain overlords.
Woods Hole semi-celebrity Ken Buesseler, two of his associates and two Japanese marine researchers contributed to the paper, so here we have some hard confirmation that they are now well aware that, a) contamination's getting out well past the breakwater and silt fencing, and b) it's going out 24-7. While this tends to diminish previous assurances from some of the same players (and associated others) that it's all over and everything's fine now, it is good to see that they do recognize the need for ongoing monitoring and investigation because it's not over yet. And won't be over until somebody figures out a way to contain it. Nobody has so far stepped forward on that, though there are engineering solutions that could be employed if the world got together and committed to it. Bottom line: The world is never going to do that if those in power are not convinced by sound science and popular demand that it must be done.
TPTB [The Powers That Be] project a constant - but feigned - Uber-concern that if the public knew the truth, they'd "panic" and... um... do panic things. Whatever that translates to in their playbook. They aren't really concerned about what we might 'do' about the truth, they're concerned that actual harms being done to us might be considered unacceptable. By us. They are, as always, concerned about themselves, their pocketbooks, and their positions.
Airborne and Waterborne Releases To Get Much Worse
And just in case anyone were to be laboring under the gross misapprehension that the clean-up and decommissioning of Daiichi's ruined facilities will somehow diminish or stop constant releases of radioactivity to the environment, here's a couple of articles demonstrating not so...
TEPCO and their pet government lapdogs have announced that they will begin pumping groundwater from the Daiichi nuclear reservation directly into the Pacific Ocean beginning next month.
Workers at Fukushima Daiichi hope to pump groundwater flowing from the mountains near the plant before it mixes with highly contaminated water in the basements of the crippled reactor buildings, but do not know the levels of contamination that the water will have.TEPCO says running out of room to store contaminated debris at Fukushima Daiichi
Tokyo Electric believes that they can reduce some 340,000 cubic meters of debris by burning wood debris and other combustible materials and crushing contaminated rubble to use to pave roads within the plant.Huh. "We're gonna need a bigger boat," said the police chief of Amity when he got his first look at the shark they were hunting. I'd say we're gonna need a bigger planet, but there's no chance we'll get one. This ain't no piddly-assed shark. It's Leviathan.