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The Tokyo Electric Power Company is now saying that it will take nine months or more to secure the Fukushima Daiichi power facility from the meltdown that it is experiencing. As I’ve said here earlier, it’s been hard for me to figure out exactly where truth resides in all of the excited reporting coming from all directions. This much seems clear: a great deal (more than 100 tons) of radioactive material began to be discharged onto the land, sea and air. Exposed fuel rods in empty, cracked cooling pool may soon release 130 tons of uranium directly into the environment. Some of the reactors were dramatically out of control and melting down. TEPCO Confirms Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool Is Now An Uncontrolled, Open Air Fission Process.
Here’s an informative, but critical, assessment of a number of aspects of the distribution and potential impact of the radioactive plume. Radioactive Currents and Winds The radioactive particles (not radiation) are being carried around the world, primarily in the northern hemisphere. The reach of this fallout is quite extensive. Europeans have already been warned to avoid drinking milk or eating vegetables due to high radiation levels and significant radiation levels have been measured in some areas of the western US. Radiation Found In San Francisco, CA Tap Water – Rainwater Radiation 18,100% Above Drinking Water Limit (There’s an interesting, animated forecast of the airborne distribution of the particles near the end of this piece.) For data on increasing radioactive iodine levels over time in various cities across the entire U.S. Both Korea and Singapore, among other countries, have measured increased radiation in their food. Japanese imported vegetables in Singapore ‘radioactive.
In the sea near the plant, the radiation increased to the highest level ever seen in history: Level of Radioactivity in Seawater near Fukushima Plant Near Hitting Record. The dispersion into the ocean, though concentrated in relatively narrow areas, is modeled to be extending quite far out to sea. Fukushima Daiichi Radioactive Seawater Model
To the question of what should be done about all this, there are essentially conventional and unconventional approaches. Here is a conventional assessment from CNN: Radiation safety: What you should know. There are a number of unconventional approaches, here’s one from Tom Kenyon and the Hathors. Protection and Healing from Radiation Poisoning, Neurotoxins, Bacteria and Viruses.
There has been a great deal of commentary about the truth – or shortage of it – that is being promulgated by governments and nuclear industry leaders about this event. The Japanese government has admitted that they have been both manipulating and withholding information to contain potential “panic” – which strangely seems to always be the only way that governments think that informed citizens will respond. It’s as though they can handle the information, but believe that we can’t. Perhaps they’re simply acting out of an inability to provide citizens with either effectively useable information or protection. Just guessing.
So, do you think this lack of transparency will result in a better long-term solution? If the continuing situation in the Gulf of Mexico since the capping of the blown oil well is any indication, then we’re almost certain to find out in the coming months and years that this accident was much more dangerous to life than we have been led to believe. The Gulf of Mexico is Dying: A Special Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spill