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Fukushima Still in Meltdown, Radiation Fallout Affecting U.S. West Coast


By: David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, May 2, 2012

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, visited the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor on April 6, 2012 while on a Congressional delegation trip to the region. He and a staff member wore radiation suits as they toured the facility and met with workers and managers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) which is responsible for the clean-up. Wyden found that the facilities designed to house spent nuclear fuel and the reactors themselves were still in a state of disrepair and located in areas that would make them susceptible to further damage from future seismic events. The reactor buildings still contain large amounts of spent fuel – making them a huge safety risk and the only protection from a future tsunami, Wyden observed, is a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.

“The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting,” Wyden wrote in a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, exploring ways to advance and support clean-up and recovery efforts. “The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”

Wyden has also sent letters to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko asking them to identify additional resources and assistance that their agencies could provide to Japan to address these risks.

The damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has been leaking massive amounts of radioactive material into the air and sea for the past thirteen months and TEPCO appears to be at a loss as to how to contain it. Those radioactive isotopes have been bombarding the west coast of the United States for months and is now showing up in elevated amounts in fruits, vegetables, pollen, seaweed, and milk from that area.

“The most preliminary reports of soil contamination are starting to come in from the USGS, who has seemed reluctant to share this information. Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, so far have the highest radioactive particle contamination out of the entire US,” wrote Christina Consolo, on . “That being said, every single city tested across the country showed contamination from Fukushima. What is even more alarming, however, about the numbers coming in, is that they are from samples taken April 5th, of last year.”

TEPCO has only recently confirmed that there were three meltdowns, and they have been ongoing, unabated, for thirteen months, and no effort has been made to contain them. Technology has not yet been developed or invented to deal with the melted out corium under the reactors. Until it is, they will continue to melt down.

“TEPCO just keeps dumping water on them, after which they let it pour into the ocean, and steam up through the ground, every second of every day,” wrote Consolo. “The jet stream, and a highly dynamic portion of our atmosphere called the troposphere, have been swirling around massive amounts of radioactive particles and settling them out, mostly in rain, over the entire northern hemisphere, especially the west coast of North America, from Alaska down to Baja and even further.”

Iodine, cesium, strontium, plutonium, uranium, and a host of other fission products have been raining down on the west coast for thirteen months. “Maybe you have heard about sick seals, polar bears, tainted fish, mutations in dandelions and fruits and vegetables, possibly even animals already, and seaweed. In fact the kelp from Corona del Mar contains 40,000,000 bcq/kg of radioactive iodine, as reported in Scientific American several weeks ago.”

There are up to 1,600 different isotopes floating around in the air over most of the Northern Hemisphere, still pouring out of the damaged Japanese reactors, and steaming out of the ground. The so-called “mainstream” news media has been silent on this issue for months.

Reports in the past week indicate some pollen in southern California is radioactive now. “If you live there and go outside, you are breathing it in. And so are your children,” wrote Consolo.

According to report on , authorities in the U.S. insist that there is no danger to public health or the environment from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and that levels of radiation that have been detected in water, air, soil and food in North America since the accident are in such minuscule quantities as to present little to no danger. “EPA discontinued its Fukushima radiation monitoring efforts, and FDA says there is no danger to our food or seafood and therefore testing is not necessary,” said the report. “Yet, in limited testing conducted by states and independent labs since the accident, radioactive iodine and cesium—both toxic to human health—have appeared at elevated levels in milk and vegetables produced in California. Radiation has also been detected in milk sold in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Vermont and Washington since the accident.”

One of the greatest threats to humans is radioactive iodine, which concentrates in the thyroid gland once it is ingested from tainted food or water. A reasonable defense for the thyroid gland is to consume elevated amounts of non-radioactive iodine, in the form of Potassium Iodate (KIO3) tablets. Potassium Iodate fills the thyroid with iodine and prevents it from absorbing any more, even if it's ingested in the food. So far, no State emergency management agencies have been recommending either ingesting Potassium Iodate, or for their citizens to acquire a reasonable store of the product in their homes. However, it is strongly suggested by this writer for prudent people to take the necessary steps to acquire a supply of Potassium Iodate and ability to monitor radiation levels in their food for the foreseeable future.



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