Fukushima: The Disaster May Have Only Just Begun
By James Donahue
How can we explain the corporate media’s strange silence about the disaster still unfolding at Japan’s earthquake and tsunami destroyed Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant complex since it began in 2011.
The disaster left about 19,000 people dead, millions homeless and forced an untold number of plant workers to literally sacrifice their personal lives and health to enter the radioactive plants. They were poisoned even though they were wearing protective suits to do whatever they could to repair the cooling system and prevent four of the six plants in the complex to go into complete meltdown.
It didn’t work. All four plants either went into meltdown or exploded anyway as make-shift cooling systems failed and the radioactive rods overheated. Thousands of tons of highly radioactive waster have been leaking daily into the open ocean from special tanks and containers quickly constructed in an early effort to prevent such leakage. Most fish and other sealife in the Pacific, especially near Japan, is considered unsafe to eat.
Radioactive fallout was recorded all across the United States and Canada within days of the disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPC) officials assured Japanese people that the disaster was under control and that the radiation leaks at the plant would have little effect on residents of Tokyo and that homes and crops located within a radius of a few miles were safe. Public officials went on television to publically eat food grown in fields not far from the disaster area to assure people that the food from Japan was safe.
Many of these same people who ate the radiated food have since died from radiation poisoning. But we have heard little about this. It is only now that we are learning that the City of Tokyo was so contaminated that Japanese officials were seriously considering evacuating the city. But Japan lacks room for relocating that many people. Tokyo residents were consequently not told of the danger and still live and work in a city that is killing them.
President Barack Obama told the American people shortly after the disaster that the U. S. is safe from radiation and that food grown and processed along the west coast is safe to harvest and eat. That may have been the case when he said it, but the damage is still drifting its way across the Pacific Ocean and radiation levels on the west coast are rising.
TEPCO this week began the delicate and very dangerous removal of spent fuel rods from an elevated, cracking and leaking water reservoir located about 100 feet from the ground at the Number 4 reactor. The rods are packed in like sardines, many of them bent and twisted. Thus this is a dangerous and ultra sensitive project. One mistake during the operation could cause a massive explosion that would have the potential of blowing up all six nuclear plants.
A story in Japan Times said such an explosion could release 14,000 times the amount of radiation released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Yet failure to separate those fuel rods may be the same disaster just waiting to happen. Officials said another earthquake or just the collapse of the cracking and damaged building could cause it to release all of that radiation into the atmosphere anyway.
Some officials have warned that such an explosion and release of radiation would put the entire northern hemisphere of the world at great risk, possibly making it uninhabitable for thousands of years.
The area was recently struck by a 7.1 magnitude quake and small tsunami that left a lot of people holding their breath. TEPCO officials assured us that the six plants remained unaffected by the new quake. Can we believe them?
A recent article in Russia Today said a team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has calculated that massive packets of radiation from Fukushima are forming and slowly drifting toward the U.S. West Coast.
The story warned that "within one year, it will have spread over the entire western half of the North Pacific, and in five years we predict it will reach the U. S. West Coast." Co-author of the report, Claus Boning, wrote: "The levels of radiation that hit the U.S. coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima. But we cannot accurately estimate what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima."
This is because TEPCO officials have reportedly been going to great lengths to cover up the full extent of the disaster and the release of radiation.
TEPCO officials say it may take up to a year to remove all of the toxic fuel rods from those damaged plants and move them to another safer location. In the meantime, we all should be holding our breath that the rods can be safely removed, and all goes well.