Fukushima Symposium

Earlier this week there was a two-day symposium, held at The New York Academy of Medicine and titled The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. It was a project of the Helen Caldicott Foundation (here). Caldicott arranged the symposium because she doesn’t want Fukushima to become another huge medical cover-up, like Chernobyl was. There were a large number of speakers during the two day event, including usual suspects like Arnie Gunderson and Robert Alvarez. There was also a press conference given by US Navy Quartermasters Maurice Enis and Jaime Plym, who both suffered radiation exposure and subsequent health damage while serving on the USS Ronald Reagan during a Fukushima aid and rescue mission. Enis and Plym are taking part in a lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), for misleading US officials about the extent of radiation released (here).

Opening the symposium was Naoto Kan, who was the Prime Minister of Japan when the Fukushima disaster began (Kan was later kicked out of office and is now an anti-nuclear campaigner). In his speech, Kan is obviously trying to paint himself in a good light, yet what he says is factual (he did order TEPCO not to abandon the nuclear plants, and thus averted 10 reactors going into meltdown). Particularly interesting is just how close they came to having to evacuate Tokyo and 50 million people, almost half the population of Japan…

Another interesting speech was given by Hiroaki Koide, Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering at Kyoto University. Going on figures supplied by the Japanese Government, Koide estimates that the amount of cesium-137 that Fukushima has released into the atmosphere is equivalent to 168 Hiroshima atom bombs. Furthermore, Koide believes these figures supplied by the Japanese Government are underestimated, and the real amount could be between 400 and 500 Hiroshima bombs…

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