Monthly Archives: October 2013
EON’s Mary Beth Brangan and Jim Heddle join Japanese activist Aileen Mioko Smith and U.S. journalist Harvey Wasserman on KWMR.com’s “Post-Carbon” radio program with Bing Gong and Bernie Stephan, Oct. 28, 2013.
Here are some useful links to share:
At nukefree.org there is a new petition to sign from Aileen Miyoko Smith in Japan. Its deadline is October 30 so please hurry if you can. https://fs220.xbit.jp/n362/form2/
Aileen’s site: GreenAction-Japan.org
Harvey’s NukeFree.org Site
Nuke News sources:
Harvey’s NukeFree.org Site
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Wherever You Are…There It Is
In an event mirrored in other places around the world, 500 people gathered Saturday, October 19, 2013 on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach in an event organized by Jina Brooks, Brad Newsham, John Bertucci and other members of FukushimaResponse.org.
Laying their bodies on the lines staked out by the organizers, participants spelled out the words ‘Fukushima Is Here’ for the purpose of helping to widen global public awareness about the on-going radioactive contamination of the planet emanating from the still out-of-control nuclear disaster in Japan.
The event was intended to counter the cover-up of this permanent planetary catastrophe being attempted by the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Japanese and U.S. governments, the global nuclear industry and a collusive international ‘mainstream’ media.
Pssst…spread the word.
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This is an expanded version of EON Co-Director’s article in this week’s edition of the West Marin Citizen. Mary Beth points out, in addition to facing the reality that Fukushima fallout in food, water and air will continue, and taking what steps we can to mitigate its health and environmental impacts, we must accelerate the shutdown of our own potential Fukushima, Diablo Canyon in California – and all 99 remaining nuclear power reactors in the U.S. [Source links are included in this version.]
Following this article is a list of upcoming California events!
Fukushima is here. Now What?
by Mary Beth Brangan
Like most blessed to be living here in this spectacular beauty, I’m deeply in love with West Marin and the California coast.
So facing the reality of the permanent radioactive contamination that continues to pour from Fukushima into the air and Pacific ocean has been like going through the stages of confronting individual death – moving through denial, outrage, bargaining to acceptance. But despite the pain, we must begin community discussions about the implications of this horrendous new reality because now we, and future generations, have this spiritual and literally existential challenge.
Fukushima Dai-Ichi’s badly designed GE nuclear reactor site is deteriorating. Due to fears that damaged Fukushima building #4 will collapse from ongoing earthquakes and ground liquification, plans are to begin in November extricating 1,300 intensely radioactive fuel rods precariously perched 100 feet in the air in its used fuel pool. This extremely difficult operation must be accomplished perfectly since allowing the heavy 15 ft. rods to touch, ignite or fall may cause another nuclear criticality. The entire site could become too lethal for humans causing unchecked radioactive release. Those rods alone, not counting other onsite reactors and fuel rods, total 400 tons and contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Extremely challenging maneuvers must be performed manually underwater though the rods and frames are already damaged by an earlier explosion. Normally computerized cranes that were destroyed do this, but now workers who can tolerate only so much radiation before receiving a lethal dose, must handle it. There’s little confidence in the capacity of Fukushima Dai-ichi’s operator, Tepco, to do this flawlessly. Japan’s PM Abe is now finally asking for international help.
Many people are raising the alarm about this impending operation that threatens potential radiation release in amounts that could have major impacts on Japan and the whole planet. Radiation from the original explosions was detected along the west coast within a week. And see here.
Fukushima has been pouring tons of intensely radioactive water daily into the ocean since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused three meltdowns and multiple explosions. While many people assume that the ocean will dilute the Fukushima radiation, a previously secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents – there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly concentrated radiation. See here and here.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences did a simulation that shows radiation on the West Coast of North America could end up being 10 times higher than in Japan from the way ocean currents move away from the Fukushima area. See here and here.
However, the NOAA and GEOMAR simulation study was based on a single tracer-cloud moving within the ocean. They didn’t allow for the actual situation of the continuous flooding of intensely radioactive water into the Pacific. No one knows how to stop the continuous flow of contamination created by the tons of water workers are using to cool the three melted-through reactor cores and from groundwater pouring through the radioactive site. It isn’t from a one-time spill that they must calculate impact to our coast, it’s from a massive continuous flow. Already Japanese tests of plankton showed elevated levels of Cesium 134 and 137 in all ten areas of the Pacific they sampled.This could be the beginning of a potential epidemic of radiation-related deaths from fish in the Pacific.
Directly after Fukushima, California seaweed tested high in radioactive iodine 131 and last year, 15 out of 15 Blue Fin tuna caught off southern California coast showed elevated levels of Cesium 134 and 137, the markers for Fukushima radiation. Scientists reported that the low Bequerals (a radioactive decay per second) per kilogram of Cesium that they measured in the tuna was way below ‘permissible’ levels, so not to worry. See here and here.
However, the US ‘permissible’ levels are among the highest in the world – twelve times higher than Japan.
This means that food too contaminated for consumption in Japan can be legally sold here.
After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Dr. Yuri Bandazhevsky, Director of Gomel Medical Institute, took tissue samples from Belarus children’s autopsies that showed disease began with Cesium levels at 11 Bq./kg. and permanent damage by 50 bq./kg. His studies were internationally published; afterwards he was imprisoned and tortured for eight years because Belarus officials wanted to resume normal use of the highly contaminated land.
The National Academy of Science, BEIR VII report, 2006, states “… there is a linear dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of solid cancers in humans. It is unlikely that there is a threshold below which cancers are not induced.”
Radiation damages the heart and other organs and causes many diseases other than slow-growing cancers. The most severe damage occurs when radioactive particles are ingested or inhaled, lodging in the body and permanently irradiating the cells nearby.
Since radiation deposition is erratic, with hot spots next to uncontaminated spots, and individual response varies, damage will not be uniform, so there is hope. However, because we have an increasing invisible mine field of radioactive particles to negotiate, we must enlist our best minds in this challenge to the health of our planetary DNA.
Our organization, EON, has joined with others to form the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network and has submitted an official citizen’s petition to the FDA demanding they systematically test food and supplements and lower permissible radiation levels to 5 Bq./kg. from the current 1,200. We’re also working with others to develop methods and equipment to enable citizen testing.
Other actions include a resolution to the UN to establish an international team of experts that would be empowered to properly and transparently deal with mitigating the Fukushima challenges.
Above all, we must prevent more radioactive contamination by shutting down our own potential Fukushima’s here in California. Our nuclear power stations, San Onofre in San Clemente and Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo, are both near multiple earthquake faults in tsunami zones and store even more radioactive waste than Fukushima.
Thankfully, San Onofre was shutdown in June, but its tons of intensely radioactive used fuel rods are still vulnerable to earthquakes or any power outages that would prevent the cooling necessary to prevent releasing radiation. Closing Diablo Canyon is imperative. Data from the California Public Utilities Commission show California has a surplus of energy capacity even without these risky reactors. See here and here.
One down and one to go in California!
And lets not forget about Hanford, Washington, Indian Point near New York, and Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station near Boston, among others.
Five down and 99 reactor stations to go in the U.S.!
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Ongoing Lessons
To view this week’s two historic conferences in New York and Boston with Former Japanese Prime Minister Niato Kan, Ralph Nader, Former NRC Chair Gregory Jaczko, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, sponsored by the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, go here.
Exciting Upcoming California Events
October 17, 2013
Berkeley Town Hall Meeting
Scientists are saying that Fukushima is here. What does this mean for us, and what can we do about it?
Thursday, October 17, 7:00 pm
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St., @ Bonita, Berkeley (2 blocks North and 3 blocks East of N. Berk. BART)
Presented by BFUU Social Justice Committee, Fukushima Response Network, Codepink Golden Gate, EON, The Ecological Options Network
Sliding scale $5-$10 donation, no one turned away; refreshments served; information, books, videos available at event.
Wondering what’s going on at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant these days, and whether the effects of the reactor meltdown and precarious spent fuel pools have reached California yet? Join us for Speakers and Videos assembled to provide you with up-to-the-minute information and mitigating precautions that we on the West Coast should really start thinking & talking about. Come with your questions and concerns, there will be ample time reserved for Q&A and you will leave with practical understanding and suggested actions to take regarding this critical situation.
Harvey Wassserman via Skype (Nukefree.org)
Dr. Carol Wolman (StopFukushimaRadiation petition)
Mary Beth Brangan & James Heddle (EON & Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network)
Steve Zeltzer & Chizu Hamada (NoNukesAction Committee)
Professor Masaki Shimoji (anti-nuclear activist from Osaka Japan)
John Bertucci, Nick Thabit & Holly Harwood (FukushimaResponse.org)
Brad Newsham, (organizer of the “Fukushima is Here” beach mural)
Vic Sadot (“No Nuke Blues”)
Cynthia Papermaster, Codepink. [Note: Local, state and federal officials are being invited]
Please post and forward widely to lists, groups, friends, family.
Contact: Cynthia_papermaster@yahoo.com, 510-333-6097
[ Related story on our PlanetarianPerspectives.net blog: World Action Now on Fukushima – Harvey Wasserman with petition to sign)
“Fukushima Is Here” A human mural on Ocean Beach
Saturday October 19th, 2013
Ocean Beach in San Francisco
FukushimaResponse will host a human mural event. The message, spelled out on sand by a multitude of people, will read“Fukushima Is Here.” This event is intended to raise public awareness about the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan. Organizers are assembly people from all over California to join in a collective gesture of public recognition: that the radioactive contamination released daily from Fukushima, for two years already and many more yet to come, poses a serious threat to the global ecosystem. A helicopter has been reserved for a photographer. Similar actions are being planned worldwide on Oct. 19.
Following the Mural event on October 19, in San Francisco:
The Truth and Reality of Fukushima / an Educational Conference
No Nukes Action
Saturday October 19, 2013 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
San Francisco State University, Room BH1, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF 94132
Sponsored by SF Bay Area PSR, No Nukes Action Committee, Tri-Valley CARES, Nuclear Study Group and the Livermore Conversion Project.
Download Flyers here…10_18,19 講演会 10.19announcement
Japan and the world continue to be threatened by the Fukushima meltdown and further contamination of the land and sea as well as a growing cancer epidemic of children, workers and the people of Japan.
The conference will challenge the information being propagated that we can overcome radiation and that Fukushima can be decontaminated.
Dr. Robert Gould – Physicians for Social Responsibility, An expert on the medical effects of radiation
Prof. Masaki Shimoji – Assistant Professor of Osaka Japan, Anti-nuclear activist in Osaka Japan who was imprisoned for organizing against the burning of nuclear rubble in Osaka
Possible speaker by Skype: Taro Yamamoto – Member of Parliament from Tokyo
Film: How Nuclear Power Was Brought To Japan
Music: Okinawan music
Community Symposium on Decommissioning San Onofre
Saturday Oct. 19
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
The Center for Spiritual Living, 1201 Puerta Del Sol, Suite 100
San Clemente, CA. 92673.
Arjun Makhijani, expert on Hardened On Site Storage of nuclear waste and long-term high-level waste management issues and President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
Marvin Resnikoff has worked on nuclear waste issues with government, industry, and activists for decades, Senior Associate at Radioactive Waste Management Associates and is an international consultant on radioactive waste management issues. He is Principal Manager at Associates and is Project Director for dose reconstruction and risk assessment studies of radioactive waste facilities and transportation of radioactive materials.
Gene Stone of ROSE, email@example.com
Glenn Pascall of the Sierra Club, firstname.lastname@example.org
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After All These Years
Journalist, author, activist and historian Harvey Wasserman has been reporting on, and participating in, the nuclear free movement for decades.
In that time, by his judgment, only one other event matches the nuclear danger to the world posed by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
That event is the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
Haven’t heard about it in the corporate media? That’s because the deadly and dying global nuclear industry and its allies don’t want you to know.
That’s why Wasserman, who edits NukeFree.org, has organized a petition drive to the UN advocating international expert oversight of, and participation in, management of the Fukushima crisis.
In this EON interview, he explains why we must all be involved in this world-historical challenge to human and planetary survival.
Sign the petition HERE.
[Production team: Morgan Peterson and Herb Peterson in LA; Mary Beth Brangan and Jim Heddle somewhere in Northern California.]
To view on our YouTube Channel click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NucjTiOXxSQ
The Demand for a Global Take-Over at Fukushima has Hit Critical Mass
by Harvey Wasserman – The Free Press
More than 62,000 global citizens have now signed a petition at www.nukefree.org asking the United Nations and the world community to take charge of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Another 48,000 have signed at www.rootsaction.org. An independent advisory group of scientists and engineers is also in formation. The signatures are pouring in from all over the world. By November, they will be delivered to the United Nations.
The corporate media has blacked out meaningful coverage of the most critical threat to global health and safety in decades.
The much-hyped “nuclear renaissance” has turned into a global rout. In the face of massive grassroots opposition and the falling price of renewable energy and natural gas, operating reactors are shutting and proposed new ones are being cancelled.
This lessens the radioactive burden on the planet. But it makes the aging reactor fleet ever more dangerous. A crumbling industry with diminished resources and a disappearing workforce cannot safely caretake the decrepit, deteriorating 400-odd commercial reactors still licensed to operate worldwide.
All of which pales before the crisis at Fukushima. Since the 3/11/2011 earthquake and tsunami, the six-reactor Daichi site has plunged into lethal chaos.
For decades the atomic industry claimed vehemently that a commercial reactor could not explode. When Chernobyl blew, it blamed “inferior” Soviet technology.
But Fukushima’s designs are from General Electric (some two dozen similar reactors are licensed in the US). At least four explosions have rocked the site. One might have involved nuclear fission. Three cores have melted into the ground. Massive quantities of water have been poured where the owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), and the Japanese government think they might be, but nobody knows for sure.
As the Free Press has reported, steam emissions indicate one or more may still be hot. Contaminated water is leaking from hastily-constructed tanks. Room for more is running out. The inevitable next earthquake could rupture them all and send untold quantities of poisons pouring into the ocean.
The worst immediate threat at Fukushima lies in the spent fuel pool at Unit Four. That reactor had been shut for routine maintenance when the earthquake and tsunami hit. The 400-ton core, with more than 1300 fuel rods, sat in its pool 100 feet in the air.
Spent fuel rods are the most lethal items our species has ever created. A human standing within a few feet of one would die in a matter of minutes. With more than 11,000 scattered around the Daichi site, radiation levels could rise high enough to force the evacuation of all workers and immobilize much vital electronic equipment.
Spent fuel rods must be kept cool at all times. If exposed to air, their zirconium alloy cladding will ignite, the rods will burn and huge quantities of radiation will be emitted. Should the rods touch each other, or should they crumble into a big enough pile, an explosion is possible. By some estimates there’s enough radioactivity embodied in the rods to create a fallout cloud 15,000 times greater than the one from the Hiroshima bombing.
The rods perched in the Unit 4 pool are in an extremely dangerous position. The building is tipping and sinking into the sodden ground. The fuel pool itself may have deteriorated. The rods are embrittled and prone to crumbling. Just 50 meters from the base is a common spent fuel pool containing some 6,000 fuel rods that could be seriously compromised should it lose coolant. Overall there are some 11,000 spent rods scattered around the Fukushima Daichi site.
Dangerous as the process might be, the rods in the Unit Four fuel pool must come down in an orderly fashion. Another earthquake could easily cause the building to crumble and collapse. Should those rods crash to the ground and be left uncooled, the consequences would be catastrophic.
Tepco has said it will begin trying to remove the rods from that pool in November. The petitions circulating through www.nukefree.org and www.moveon.org , as well as atrootsaction.org and avaaz.org, ask that the United Nations take over. They ask the world scientific and engineering communities to step in. The Rootsaction petition also asks that $8.3 billion slated in loan guarantees for a new US nuke be shifted instead to dealing with the Fukushima site.
It’s a call with mixed blessings. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is notoriously pro-nuclear, charged with promoting atomic power as well as regulating it. Critics have found the IAEA to be secretive and unresponsive.
But Tepco is a private utility with limited resources. The Japanese government has an obvious stake in downplaying Fukushima’s dangers. These were the two entities that approved and built these reactors.
While the IAEA is imperfect, its resources are more substantial and its stake at Fukushima somewhat less direct. An ad hoc global network of scientists and engineers would be intellectually ideal, but would lack the resources for direct intervention.
Ultimately the petitions call for a combination of the two.
It’s also hoped the petitions will arouse the global media. The moving of the fuel rods from Unit Four must be televised. We need to see what’s happening as it happens. Only this kind of coverage can allow global experts to analyze and advise as needed.
Let’s all hope that this operation proves successful, that the site be neutralized and the massive leaks of radioactive water and gasses be somehow stopped.
As former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata has put it: full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”
Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are at www.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.” He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, at www.freepress.org.
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