Fukushima – sorry about the doom and gloom, but…

It’s a sad fact that most of the mainstream media continue to ignore the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan. For instance, last August, fish that were caught 20 kilometres north of the Fukushima plant were found to have cesium levels of 25,800 becquerels per kilogram (see here) The government safe limit for food is 100 becquerels per kilogram. 25,800 becquerels were the highest levels ever found in fish. More than a year after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, radiation levels should be declining; but they are not, which tells us that the crippled reactors – all of which are in complete meltdown – are still spewing radiation into the environment. Also, wild mushrooms picked in Towada, Aomori Prefecture, were found last month to have cesium levels of 120 becquerels per kilogram, 20 bq above the safe limit (see here). Towada is located 350 kilometers north of Fukushima (remember, the exclusion zone around Fukushima is 20km). Radiation hotspots contunue to be found all over the center and north of Japan (see here) including Tokyo. Arnie Gunderson, of Fairewinds, took soil samples in Tokyo earlier this year. He said that all the samples would be considered nuclear waste in just about any other country. Of course, shortly after the Fukushima disaster the Japanese government raised the safe limit of radiation exposure from 1 millisievert to 20 millisievert, and thus were able to downplay the danger from fallout and avoid evacuating a very large number of people (see here).

It’s easy to be critical of the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), who are trying to cope with a disaster of unprecedented magnitude. The thing is, unlike the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima is an ongoing crisis that has the potential to become much worse. The Japanese government has not asked for any outside assistence and has not thrown any military resources at Fukushima. Instead the crisis is being managed by TEPCO, a company which is widely acknowledged to be corrupt and incompetent (it’s all well documented). As the old saying goes, you couldn’t make it up.

To get a handle on the scale of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as it is at present, it’s worth comparing figures. The damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami is estimated to be up to $38 billion. The economic cost of the Fukushima exclusion zones is estimated at between $250 billion and $500 billion (an area of more than 300 square miles/800 sq km has had to be evacuated), and the cost of trying to contain three reactors in meltdown, and a fuel pool that is in danger of collapse, will almost certainly run into 100s of billions over the decades. More importantly, the earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 16,000 people. How many people will Fukushima kill..? I’ll let Dr Helen Caldicott explain. She’s talking at a press conference during a recent trip to Japan. It’s interesting to note that Caldicott is a well-known, prize-winning physician, yet very few people are listening to her…

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