— The Erimtan Angle —

Recently a post originally submitted by “Tyler Durden on 08/05/2013 10:44 -0400” is doing the rounds on another website, and that just goes to show that the public-at-large just has no idea about what is happening in Japan . . . Anyways, here is “Tyler Durden” and what he had to say two years ago under the headline ‘Japan Finally Admits The Truth: ‘Right Now, We Have An Emergency At Fukushima”: “Tepco is struggling to contain the highly radioactive water that is seeping into the ocean near Fukushima. The head of Japan’s NRA, Shinji Kinjo exclaimed, ‘right now, we have an emergency’, as he noted the contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier and is rising toward the surface – exceeding the limits of radioactive discharge. In a rather outspoken comment for the typically stoic Japanese, Kinjo said Tepco’s ‘sense of crisis was weak’, adding that ‘this is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone’ to grapple with the ongoing disaster. As Reuters notes, Tepco has been accused of covering up shortcomings and has been lambasted for its ineptness in the response and while the company says it is taking actions to contain the leaks, Kinjo fears if the water reaches the surface ‘it would flow extremely fast’, with some suggesting as little as three weeks until this critical point”.[1]

On the other hand, last Wednesday, Danielle Demetriou reported from Tokyo that “[m]ore than 7,000 residents from a Fukushima town completely evacuated following the 2011 nuclear crisis will be able to return home permanently from September [2015], the Japanese government has announced. The 7,401 residents of Naraha will become the first evacuees able to return home permanently among the seven Fukushima municipalities whose entire populations were ordered to leave following the crisis. The lifting of the first evacuation order will take place more than four years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged nearby Fukushima nuclear power plant. However, it was not immediately clear how many residents from Naraha, which is around two miles from the plant, will want to return to their hometown from September 5, due to lingering radiation concerns and lack of infrastructure”.[2]

Demetriou explains that “Naraha’s rehabilitation as a livable town began in March [2015] when the government announced that its decontamination was completed, with radiation contamination down 60 per cent from 2011 levels to 0.3 microsievert per hour. The following month, residents were allowed to return home for three-month stays in preparation for a permanent return when the evacuation order was lifted, with 688 people from 326 households taking part in the initiative. This week, the government confirmed the September 5 return date for all Naraha residents to return permanently, after assessing with local authorities the airborne radiation levels and monitoring how infrastructure was being improved as well as consulting with residents. The new evacuation order will permit the biggest homecoming of Fukushima evacuees since the 2011 disaster, with a total of 7,401 residents from 2,704 households allowed to live at home once again”.[3]

Location of Naraha in Fukushima Prefecture

In the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown the people inhabiting a 20 kilometer exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant were evacuated for safety reasons . . . as reported by the Washington Post Staff Writers Chico Harlan and Steven Mufson in 2011, “[s]ome 170,000 people have been evacuated around a 12-mile radius of the plant. They join more than 450,000 other evacuees from other quake- and tsunami-affected regions”.[4]  And now, after more than 4 years of 7,401 residents are allowed to return home . . . last March The Japan Times reported that “[a]round 120,000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture remain evacuees due to lingering fears of radiation exposure four years after the start of the nuclear crisis. Although the central government lifted evacuation orders on some areas last year, evacuees have been slow to move back and an increasing number are choosing to rebuild their lives in new places without returning to their old homes. Of the 120,000 nuclear evacuees, 79,000 are from areas adjacent to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant who were ordered to evacuate because of high radiation levels, according to the Cabinet Office . . . The number of evacuees currently residing outside Fukushima Prefecture total about 47,000. At least a few are in every other prefecture. A growing number of the people from areas where residents were ordered to leave are using compensation to find permanent homes in the areas where they now live. Those still under evacuation orders are entitled to a real estate tax break adopted by the central government to help them buy property. The number of land purchases using the tax break was only 35 in fiscal 2011 but rose to 356 in fiscal 2012 and 804 in fiscal 2013. In the first half of fiscal 2014, the number of purchases was 593. As of the end of last September, 1,451 of the deals were for plots in Fukushima Prefecture. The rest were in 29 other prefectures, including 88 in Ibaraki, 69 in Tochigi, 36 in Miyagi and 33 in Saitama. The number of purchases for other forms of housing under the tax break stood at 28 in fiscal 2011, 323 in fiscal 2012 and 598 in fiscal 2013”.[5] Deutsche Gründlichket à la Japonaise . . .

On the other hand, Reuters reported some months ago that “radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has for the first time been detected along a North American shoreline, though at levels too low to pose a significant threat to human or marine life, scientists said on Monday [, 6 April 2015]. Trace amounts of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 were detected in samples collected on Feb. 19 off the coast of Ucluelet, a small town on Vancouver Island in Canada’s British Columbia, said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Ken Buesseler. “Radioactivity can be dangerous, and we should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” Buesseler said in a statement”.[6]  Dr Ken Buesseler went on like this: “[r]adioactivity can be dangerous, and we should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history”.[7]

About a month prior to the Reuters’ reports, Dr Buesseler gave a lecture on this very topic: “The triple disaster of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent radiation releases at Fukushima Dai-ichi were unprecedented events for the ocean and society. This presentation will provide an overview of studies of Fukushima radionuclides in the ocean. The radioactive releases from Fukushima will be compared to natural and prior human sources. The fate and transport of cesium and its uptake by fish and impacts on Japanese fisheries will be discussed. Although levels of cesium in the ocean and being released from Fukushima nuclear power plants four years later are a thousand times lower than in 2011, other isotopes such as strontium-90 are becoming of greater concern as they are elevated relative to cesium in the groundwater and storage tanks at the reactor site. Across the Pacific, ocean currents carrying Fukushima cesium are predicted to be detectable along the west coast of North America by 2015, and though models suggest at levels below those considered of human health concern, measurements are needed. A report will be given on Our Radioactive Ocean,[8] a citizen scientist launched to monitor the arrival of Fukushima cesium along the west coast over the coming 2-3 years”.[9]

And just the other day, Daily Buzz‘ Lisa Reddy posted that “[p]hotos of flowers on Twitter and Instagram may be as commonplace as sunsets and selfies, but one Japanese amateur photographer has captured something a bit more unique than a beautiful bloom. Twitter user @san_kaido posted a photo of mutated yellow daisies last month, found in Nasushiobara City, around 70 miles from Fukushima, the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster. The photos show daisies with fused yellow centres and with the petals growing out the side of the flower. The daisies are not the first deformed plants found after the disaster. In 2013, the Daily Mail posted photos of mutated vegetables and fruit, attributing the apparent abnormalities to high levels of radiation found in the groundwater. The daisy photos come four years after the Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Power Plant meltdown which was caused after a devastating earthquake and tsunami knocked out three of the plant’s nuclear reactors. Earlier this month, The Telegraph reported that on Sept. 5, residents of Naraha, close to Fukushima, will finally be allowed to return home”.[10]

In a more alarmist voice, Robert Hunziker remarked last month that “Fukushima’s still radiating, self-perpetuating, immeasurable, and limitless, like a horrible incorrigible Doctor Who monster encounter in deep space. Fukushima will likely go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century. Governments and corporations are not leveling with citizens about the risks and dangers; similarly, truth itself, as an ethical standard, is at risk of going to shambles as the glue that holds together the trust and belief in society’s institutions. Ultimately, this is an example of how societies fail. Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents remain in temporary housing more than four years after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the outskirts of Fukushima have officially reopened to former residents, but many of those former residents are reluctant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is okay and safe. Part of this reluctance has to do with radiation’s symptoms. It is insidious because it cannot be detected by human senses. People are not biologically equipped to feel its power, or see, or hear, touch or smell it (Caldicott). Not only that, it slowly accumulates over time in a dastardly fashion that serves to hide its effects until it is too late”.[11]  In the next instance, Hunziker takes a few steps back and relates “some Chernobyl facts that have not received enough widespread news coverage: Over one million (1,000,000) people have already died from Chernobyl’s fallout. Additionally, the Rechitsa Orphanage in Belarus has been caring for a very large population of deathly sick and deformed children. Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults. Zhuravichi Children’s Home is another institution, among many, for the Chernobyl-stricken: ‘he home is hidden deep in the countryside and, even today, the majority of people in Belarus are not aware of the existence of such institutions’ (Source: Chernobyl Children’s Project-UK)”. Quite rightly Robert Hunziker next asserts that “[o]ne million (1,000,000) is a lot of dead people. But, how many more will die? Approximately seven million (7,000,000) people in the Chernobyl vicinity were hit with one of the most potent exposures to radiation in the history of the Atomic Age. The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as ‘Death Valley’. It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent ‘dead zone’. Additionally, over 25,000 died and 70,000 disabled because of exposure to extremely dangerous levels of radiation in order to help contain Chernobyl. Twenty percent of those deaths were suicides, as the slow agonizing ‘death march of radiation exposure’ was too much to endure”. Turning next to Fukushima, Hunziker states that “[i]n late 2014, Helen Caldicott, M.D. gave a speech about Fukushima at Seattle Town Hall (9/28/14) . . . Dr. Helen Caldicott is co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and she is author/editor of Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastroph . . . For over four decades Dr. Caldicott has been the embodiment of the anti-nuclear banner, and as such, many people around the world classify her as a ‘national treasure’ [for Australia, arguably]. She’s truthful and honest and knowledgeable. Fukushima is literally a time bomb in quiescence. Another powerful quake and all hell could break loose. Also, it is not even close to being under control. Rather, it is totally out of control. According to Dr. Caldicott, ‘It’s still possible that Tokyo may have to be evacuated, depending upon how things go’. Imagine that! According to Japan Times as of March 11, 2015: ‘There have been quite a few accidents and problems at the Fukushima plant in the past year, and we need to face the reality that they are causing anxiety and anger among people in Fukushima, as explained by Shunichi Tanaka at the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Furthermore, Mr. Tanaka said, there are numerous risks that could cause various accidents and problems’. Even more ominously, Seiichi Mizuno, a former member of Japan’s House of Councillors (Upper House of Parliament, 1995-2001) in March 2015 said: ‘The biggest problem is the melt-through of reactor cores . . . We have groundwater contamination . . . The idea that the contaminated water is somehow blocked in the harbor is especially absurd. It is leaking directly into the ocean. There’s evidence of more than 40 known hotspot areas where extremely contaminated water is flowing directly into the ocean… We face huge problems with no prospect of solution’ . . . At Fukushima, each reactor required one million gallons of water per minute for cooling, but when the tsunami hit, the backup diesel generators were drowned. Units 1, 2, and 3 had meltdowns within days. There were four hydrogen explosions. Thereafter, the melting cores burrowed into the container vessels, maybe into the earth”.[12]

The AP’s Tokyo-based reported Mari Yamaguchi also wrote last June that “[f]our years after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the road ahead remains riddled with unknowns. The government approved a revised 30-to-40-year roadmap Friday [, 12 June 2015] that delays by three years the start of a key initial step — the removal of still-radioactive fuel rods in the three reactors that had meltdowns following the March 2011 disaster in northeast Japan. Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the melted fuel inside the three reactors and study it, and still need to develop robots capable of working safely in such highly radioactive conditions. And then there’s the question of what to do with the waste”. Yamaguchi then goes on to list “[s]ome of the uncertainties and questions”: “THE FUEL RODS: Kept cool in storage pools on the top floor of each of the three reactors, they need to be removed to free up space for robots and other equipment to go down to the containment chambers. The 1,573 bundles of fuel rods — mostly used but some new — are considered among the highest risks at the plant, because they are uncovered within the reactor building. To remove them, the building roofs must be taken off and replaced with a cover that prevents radioactive dust from flying out. Each building is damaged differently and requires its own cover design and equipment. The government and plant operator TEPCO hope to start the process in 2018, three years later than planned. THE MELTED FUEL: Once the spent fuel rods are out of the way, workers can turn their attention to what is expected to be the hardest part of the decommissioning: Removing the melted fuel from the three wrecked reactors. The biggest questions are where the melted fuel is and in what condition. Radiation levels are too high for humans to approach. Based on computer simulations and a few remote-controlled probes, experts believe the melted fuel has breached the cores and fallen to the bottom of the containment chambers, some possibly seeping into the concrete foundation. A plan to repair the containment chambers and fill them with water so that the melted fuel can be handled while being kept cool may be unworkable, and experts are studying alternatives. How to reach the debris — from the top or from the side — is another question. A vertical approach would require robots and equipment that can dangle as low as 30 meters (90 feet) to reach the bottom. Experts are also trying to figure out how to obtain debris samples to help develop radiation-resistant robots and other equipment that can handle the molten fuel. CONTAMINATED WATER: The plant is still plagued with massive amounts of contaminated water — cooling water that must be added regularly, and subsequently leaks out of the reactors and mixes with groundwater that seeps into the reactor basements. The volume of water grows by 300 tons daily. TEPCO runs it through treatment machines to remove most radioactive elements, and then stores it in thousands of tanks on the compound. Water leaks pose environmental concerns and health risks to workers. Nuclear experts say controlled release of the treated water into the ocean would be the ultimate solution. RADIOACTIVE WASTE: Japan currently has no plan for the waste that comes out of the plant. Under the roadmap, the government and TEPCO are supposed to compile a basic plan by March 2018. Waste management is an extremely difficult task that requires developing technology to compact and reduce the toxicity of the waste, while finding a waste storage site is practically impossible considering public sentiment. This raises serious doubts about whether the cleanup can be completed within 40 years”.[13]

[1] Tyler Durden, “‘Japan Finally Admits The Truth: “Right Now, We Have An Emergency At Fukushima”‘” Zero Hedge (05 August 2013). http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-05/japan-finally-admits-truth-right-now-we-have-emergency-fukushima.

[2] Danielle Demetriou, “Thousands of residents to return home following Fukushima nuclear disaster” The Telegraph (08 July 2015). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/11725300/Thousands-of-residents-to-return-home-following-Fukushima-nuclear-disaster.html.

[3] Danielle Demetriou, “Thousands of residents to return home following Fukushima nuclear disaster”.

[4] Chico Harlan and Steven Mufson, “Japanese nuclear plants’ operator scrambles to avert meltdowns” Washington Post (13 March 2011). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/12/AR2011031205493.html.

[5] “More Fukushima evacuees are deciding to stay away for good” The Japan Times (04 March 2015). http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/04/national/more-fukushima-evacuees-are-deciding-to-stay-away-for-good/#.VaTYMu9rPpB.

[6] “Radiation From Japan’s Fukushima Detected Off Canada” Reuters (06 April 2015). http://www.newsweek.com/radiation-japans-fukushima-detected-canada-320009.

[7] “Radiation From Japan’s Fukushima Detected Off Canada”.

[8] http://ourradioactiveocean.org.

[9] Ken Buesseler,” Fukushima–A View from the Ocean” USC Dornsife (12 March 2015). http://dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/218/docs/events/2015-03-12_Buesseler.pdf.

[10] Lisa Reddy, “Deformed daisies from Fukushima disaster site gain Internet fame” Daily Buzz (14 July 2015). https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/author/lisa-reddy/.

[11] Robert Hunziker, “What’s Really Going on at Fukushima?” CounterPunch (17 June 2015). http://www.globalresearch.ca/whats-really-going-on-at-fukushima/5456277.

[12] Robert Hunziker, “What’s Really Going on at Fukushima?”.

[13] Mari Yamaguchi,” What’s ahead for Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant: Latest roadmap riddled with uncertainties” AP (12 June 2015). http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/06/12/whats-ahead-for-japans-fukushima-nuclear-plant.

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