It’s been while since posted something on Fukushima . . . and now, as we can read in The Independent, it has been a ‘year since the Fukushima nuclear plant was destroyed, the fight to prevent disaster goes on. In an exclusive dispatch from the reactors, David McNeill becomes the first European journalist to revisit Japan’s ground zero’. But before digging into McNeill’s narrative, here is Dr Helen Caldicott, whom I have featured on numerous occasions in the past, talking to Arnie Gundersen on her weekly radio show If You Love This Planet.
(14 Feb 2012)
And, as the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown happened quite some time ago, here is a handy timeline compiled by the Independent:
11 March 2011
At 2.46pm a magnitude 8.9 earthquake strikes Japan’s north-eastern coast, triggering a devastating tsunami and a series of strong aftershocks.
A state of emergency is declared. About 170,000 people are evacuated from a 20km (12-mile) zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant after an explosion in one of its reactors.
Around 190 people are treated in hospital for radiation exposure.
Helicopters dump tons of water over the Fukushima plant in an attempt to cool the overheating nuclear reactors as fears over a meltdown grow.
Abnormal radiation levels are detected in tap water, vegetables, milk and fish.
Japan expands the exclusion zone around the plant, and asks a further 130,000 residents to evacuate as fears over the extent of the damage to the reactors worsen.
Levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the Fukushima nuclear plant are found to be 1,250 times higher than the safety limit, according to officials.
Radiation contamination is found in 10 children’s urine samples, according to a citizen’s group.
Transport of beef from Fukushima is prohibited, but a crisis ensues after it emerges that meat from cattle fed on contaminated hay has already been distributed nationally.
A total of 15,000 terabecquerels of radiation were released into the sea from the damaged plant, according to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.
Core temperatures for all three damaged reactors dip below 100C for the first time.
The Fukushima plant released twice as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as originally thought, a study by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research finds.
27 January 2012
The Japanese government had a secret plan to evacuate everyone living within 155 miles of the plant should the situation have spiralled out of control, it emerges. This would have included the Tokyo metropolitan area – home to 30 million people.
Researchers working around the Fukushima plant say bird populations there are dwindling, one of the first indications of the impact of radioactive fallout on local wildlife.
And now let’s turn to The Independent’s David McNeill: the “journey to Fukushima Daiichi begins at the border of the 12-mile exclusion zone that surrounds the ruined nuclear complex, beyond which life has frozen in time. Weeds reclaim the gardens of empty homes along a route that emptied on a bitterly cold night almost a year ago. Shop signs hang unrepaired from the huge quake that rattled this area on 11 March , triggering the meltdown of three reactors and a series of explosions that showered the area with contamination. Cars wait outside supermarkets where their owners left them in Tomioka, Okuma and Futaba – once neat, bustling towns. Even birds have deserted this area, if recent research is to be believed. The reason is signalled by a symphony of beeping noises from dosimeters on our bus. As we drive through a police checkpoint and into the town of Tomioka, about 15km from the plant, the radioactivity climbs steadily, hitting 15 microsieverts per hour at the main gate to the nuclear complex. At the other end of the plant, where the gaping buildings of its three most damaged reactors face the Pacific Ocean, the radiation level is 100 times this high, making it still too dangerous to work there. Inside the plant’s emergency co-ordination building, the air is filled with the sound of humming filters labouring to keep the contamination out”.
Radiation Spread in Pacific from Fukushima 2012
But already in May 2011, the Natural News’ Ethan Huff reported that the ‘US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced [on 4 May 2011] that it is ceasing its special monitoring protocols in the US for radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, despite the fact that no real progress at the plant has been made, and threats to the US are persistent. At the same time as the EPA announcement, foreign reports also indicate that levels of radiation in Pacific waters near the Fukushima plant are now up to 1,000 times normal levels, with no real indication of where this radioactive water is flowing. The EPA has stated that radiation levels in the US related to the Fukushima incident have been “consistently decreasing,” and that the agency no longer needs to regularly test food, air, and water for radiation in the manner that it has been. In fact, the agency is so confident that it states in its announcement that “[t]he next round of milk and drinking water sampling will take place in approximately three months.” But just a few weeks ago, EPA data revealed that several milk and water samples from across the country were testing positive with dangerously high levels of radiation‘. And now we are in February 2012, and the Fukushima disaster fallout is still in full swing . . .
 David McNeill, “Fukushima: Return to the disaster zone” The Independent (21 Feb 2012). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/fukushima-return-to-the-disaster-zone-7237419.html.
 David McNeill, “Fukushima: Return to the disaster zone”.
 David McNeill, “Fukushima: Return to the disaster zone”.
 Ethan A. Huff, “EPA ends special monitoring for Fukushima radiation despite continued rise in nuclear fallout, increased threats to US” Natural News (05 May 2011). http://www.naturalnews.com/032291_Fukushima_radiation_monitoring.html.