Fukushima, 3 Years After



Deadly Fukushima Crisis Further Corrodes Viability of Nuclear Energy

By H Patricia Hynes, Truthout

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:08

More than 35 percent of some 38,000 Fukushima children examined have cysts or nodules on their thyroids, as compared with 1 percent of a control group of Japanese children. In a callous move to keep schools open in Fukushima, the Japanese government raised the “permissible” level of radiation for children. Japanese children now can be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously allowed, a level comparable to the yearly limit for German workers.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive water from the site have emptied and continue to leak via groundwater into the Pacific Ocean at the rate of 400 tons per day. Radioactive cesium, a carcinogen that bioaccumulates in animal, fish and human tissue, has been found throughout mainland Japan, in fish off the coast of Fukushima (thus closing that industry) and in large migratory fish such as Bluefin tuna off the coast of California. A plume of radioactive water from Fukushima is expected to reach the West Coast of the United States in early 2014. Tragically, there is no solution in sight to trapping and treating the cesium-, tritium- and strontium-contaminated groundwater before it reaches the Pacific Ocean. “The situation at the reactor site is progressively deteriorating, not stabilizing,” stated an international group of experts in their urgent appeal for international action to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Radioactive waste is the nuclear industry’s nightmare, most currently so in Fukushima Dai’ichi, where intensely radioactive spent fuel rods lie in a warped and sinking structure and at risk of a catastrophic fire if another (and potentially likely) earthquake strikes the region. For this reason, the US State Department advised Americans soon after March 11 to evacuate to at least 50 miles from the plant.

Study: Nuclear Reactors Are Toxic to Surrounding Areas, Especially With Age

By Candice Bernd, Truthout

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:06

The United States currently has 100 operating nuclear reactors in 31 states. The last nuclear plant to be constructed was finished in 1996, and the oldest was built in 1969. The average age of all operating nuclear plants in the United States is about 30 years.

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is at a major risk of a Fukushima-style disaster because it sits atop an active fault line, and the plant’s age is a factor in its vulnerability to seismic activity.

But (David) Lochbaum (Director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists), who authored a report for UCS called, “Seismic Shift: Diablo Canyon Literally and Figuratively on Shaky Ground,” maintains the earthquake hazard in the 1970s, when the Diablo Canyon plant was proposed and constructed, led its designers to protect against seismic activity no greater than 0.4 g-forces. That was before two other major active fault lines in the region were discovered and estimated to cause a ground motion of around 0.75 g-forces. PG&E has not made any structural adjustments or modifications to account for this discrepancy.

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