By Michael Leonardi
FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station on the shore of Lake Erie near Port Clinton.
According to recent reports from the nuclear watchdog Beyond Nuclear and several Great Lakes environmental organizations, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is up to its usual practices as an industry captured agency. Collusion and flagrant cover-ups at the Davis Besse nuclear power plant on the shores of Lake Erie and at the Palisades nuclear plant on the shores of Lake Michigan have drawn the ire of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who have called on the NRC’s investigator general to investigate NRC region 3 practices and motivations of the NRC in allowing these plants to operate with grave safety concerns.
With respect to Davis Besse it seems like a flashback to the 2002 hole in the reactor head incident as part of the history of this nuclear nightmare between Toledo and Cleveland on the western Lake Erie basin. In 2003, the NRC’s chairman resigned after the General Accounting Office found the agency guilty of collusion with plant operator FirstEnergy in their attempts to cover-up the seriousness of corrosion issues that brought Davis Besse within 3/16ths of an inch of a core containment breach and catastrophic release of radioactivity.
Then Representative Kucinich led the call of the Inspector General’s office as he is once again after FirstEnergy and the NRC have colluded to downplay the seriousness of widespread cracking that has been discovered over the past year throughout the concrete shield building that houses the Davis Besse reactor.
According to some alarming revelations found in NRC documents revealed through a Freedom of Information Act filing by Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear, NRC investigators have serious reservations as to whether the Davis Besse shield building could withstand even minor seismic activity and admit that even before the widespread cracking was discovered that the shield building was never designed “for containment accident pressure and temperature.”
This means that, even when brand new and un-cracked, Davis Besse’s shield building was not capable of preventing catastrophic radioactivity releases during a reactor core meltdown. An inner steel containment vessel, a mere 1.5 inches thick when brand new, would thus be the last line of defense.
However, the environmental intervenors have un-earthed NRC and FirstEnergy documents showing that the steel containment vessel has suffered significant corrosion over the past several decades due to infiltrating and standing chemically “aggressive” groundwater in the “sand bed” region surrounding the bottom of the containment vessel (which has also degraded the shield building’s underground “moisture barrier”), as well as due to an acidic borated water leak from the refueling channel near the top of the containment vessel.
The coalition of environmental and citizens groups fighting the relicensing of Davis Besse has pointed to a 1982 study, Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences (CRAC-2), commissioned by the NRC, to show how bad the casualties and property damage would be downwind and downstream of a catastrophic radioactivity release which escapes Davis Besse’s corroded inner steel containment vessel and cracked outer shield building. CRAC-2 lists the following consequences at Davis-Besse: 1,400 Peak Early Fatalities; 73,000 Peak Early Injuries; 10,000 Peak Cancer Deaths, and $84 billion in property damage. However, CRAC-2 was based on 1970 U.S. Census data.
As reported by Jeff Donn at the Associated Press in summer 2011, populations around U.S. nuclear power plants have “soared” in the past 42 years, meaning those casualty figures near Davis Besse would likely now be much worse. And, when adjusted for inflation from 1982-dollar figures, property damage would today surmount $187 billion in 2010-dollar figures.
According to the environmental coalition’s attorney Terry Lodge, “What we have established from NRC’s own documents is that there are two Nuclear Regulatory Commissions: some hard-working, intelligent people who set out to find out the truth of these very dangerous technical problems and their causes, and a political class in the agency that is dedicated to pulling the plug on any investigation that threatens utility profits, above all else. The search for truth about the shield building had to be cut off because it went too close to the cash cow.”
Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan in Monroe stated: “These multiple crackings, complete with concrete degradation of the shield containment building, are but a metaphor for the entire dilapidated Davis Besse atomic reactor. This reactor is running on borrowed time, propped up on stilts by a captured regulator that is now under investigation for doing so.”
Kevin Kamps, of national watchdog Beyond Nuclear in Takoma Park, Maryland stated: “NRC staff and management, both at its national headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, as well as its Region 3 office outside Chicago, worked long hours, during evenings, on weekends, and even through the Thanksgiving holiday, in order to rubber stamp reactor restart approval at Davis Besse in a great big hurry, despite countless unanswered questions and unresolved concerns about the shield building cracking.”
As regards to the chronically leaking Palisade’s nuclear reactor located on the shores of Lake Michigan in southwest Michigan, the NRC’s investigator general is conducting an investigation into why recently resigned NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko was kept in the dark, along with the public, about a leak of Safety Injection Refueling Water from a storage tank into buckets in the control room when he was on a visit to the facility before meeting with nuclear watchdogs and environmentalists back in May of this year.
This investigation was called for by Congressman Markey after it was revealed that ongoing safety issues were covered-up by the Entergy owned Palisades even while a tour of the plant was in act. Palisades has a terrible record of leaks, mishaps and accidents, some of which were outlined in this 2010 report Headaches at Palisades: Broken Seals & Failed Heals, by the Union of Concerned Scientist’s David Lochbaum. Most recently on Aug. 12 Palisades was shut down for a leak of radioactive and acidic primary coolant, escaping from safety-critical control rod drive mechanisms attached to its degraded lid, atop what is considered by the NRC itself to be most embrittled reactor pressure vessel in the U.S.
Palisades’ operator Entergy is also in the habit of periodically releasing radioactive steam into the area due to reoccurring electrical accidents most recently in September of 2011. This steam may be a contributing factor to the fact that the area around South Haven is considered a cancer cluster by medical researchers from the state of Michigan Health department.
Jaczko was the subject of what Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) called a witch hunt by politically motivated commissioners angered at the fact that Jaczko had helped to mothball the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and resigned in June. A December 2011 article by Andrew Cockburn, provides an overview of the politically motivated actions at an NRC that has clearly distinguished itself to be nothing more than a regulatory agency under complete control by an industry always willing to put profit margins above any considerations of health, public safety or property values. As Kevin Kamps was quoted as saying in this article in regards to Jaczko “He’s not ‘our guy’ by any means, he has voted to re-license plants that should probably be shut down, but he does care about safety, in ways that the others do not.” It was also well put by distinguished journalist Karl Grossman, when he said “Jaczko was insufficiently pro nuclear.”
One of the NRC commissioners responsible forcing out Jaczko was Commissioner William Ostendorff. Ostendorff reportedly threw a temper tantrum at the NRC calling on the NRC’s Investigator General to halt her investigation into the cover-up at Palisades calling it a waste of taxpayer dollars. Now Ostendorff finds himself under investigation for impeding an investigation. Ostendorff is an explicit representation of how the NRC operates as a captured agency through orchestrated industry deception.
The story of the NRC and nuclear regulation in the U.S. is one of corruption and collusion at the whim of industry dictates. Rep. Kucinich, along with Rep. Markey and Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are some of the few voices of credibility in the wilderness of congressional complacency and acquiescence to the profit driven desires of an industry driven by the vast mythology of the “peaceful atom” that has been perpetrated by decades of propaganda from the likes of the industry front group the Nuclear Energy Institute. Corporations like Exelon, GE, FirstEnergy, Entergy and their political escorts that prop them up from the White House and throughout the halls of Congress continue to allow the operation of 104 reactors across the U.S.
Obama has surrounded himself with nuclear industry advisors and cabinet members as part of his nuclear powered White House. Meanwhile members of Congress like Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who’s district includes Palisades and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) who resides over the district that includes Davis Besse give carte blanche to the NRC, Entergy and FirstEnergy putting what they define as “good jobs” and “economic partnership” over any concerns of health and safety for their constituents or for the entire Great Lakes ecosystem.
In regards to the cases of Palisades and Davis Besse, Rep. Kucinich stated “I can’t say the cases are related, but the similarities between these two investigations are troubling. In Michigan, an effort to determine why a radioactive leak was kept from the Chairman of NRC may have been undermined. In Ohio, we witnessed agency officials give public statements that varied dramatically from what engineers had told my staff. I cannot determine what caused this change in the answers of these Region III engineers, but I am concerned that it was in response to political pressure. I hope that the Inspector General is able to restore confidence in the NRC’s ability to provide effective oversight of our nation’s nuclear power plants.”
This is a confidence that for many citizens that have been following culture of collusion and corruption at the NRC since its inception has never existed.
Jaczko has now been hunted out and replaced by Allison Macfarlane who has so far decided to keep her head in the sand when it comes to the political motivations of the NRC and its cosiness with the nuclear industry that it purports to regulate. The commissioners responsible for Jaczko’s demise remain. When asked about the perception of the NRC being a captured agency at a recent press conference Macfarlane feigned ignorance, or maybe it is that she is truly ignorant that this perception exists. If she wants to “restore confidence” as Kucinich puts it or “build public confidence in the agency by improving communication and increasing transparency” as she put it, she better get on top of the ongoing investigations of her own Inspector General very quickly. The reality that the NRC is now regulating based on deception and lies does not bode well for her attempts to build public confidence.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) recently referred to NRC commissioner Bill Magwood as a “treacherous, miserable liar,” referring to questions regarding Magwood’s support for a nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain. This repository was considered to be geologically inadequate by former chairman Jaczko and the new chair Allison Macfarlane until she jumped into the political playing field and said she would keep an open mind about the Yucca Mountain repository during her senate confirmation hearing.
Macfarlane is a geologist and expert on radioactive waste chosen at a time when the unsolvable problem of high level radioactive waste has come to the forefront once again and threatens to block any future relicensing of nuclear plants. As another in the long line of myth perpetrators Macfarlane wants to assure the American people that a safe geological storage site to keep high level radioactive waste safe and sound for more than 100,000 years is surely possible if Congress has the political will to make it happen. So far there has been no solution to high level radioactive waste discovered anywhere by anyone in the world, until even a myth of a solution comes from the lips of Macfarlane wouldn’t it be prudent to shut down our 104 behemoth’s of poison and stop producing it?
Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats
by Kristen Iversen
Hardcover, 400 pages
June 12, 2012
Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to
write about before realizing that biggest story she’d ever cover
was in the backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her
childhood in Colorado close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons
factory, playing in fields and swimming in lakes and streams
that it now appears were contaminated with plutonium. Later, as
a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but knew little of
its environmental and health risks until she saw a feature about
it on Nightline.
Iversen’s new book, Full Body Burden: Growing up in the
Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, is in part a memoir about
her troubled family, and also an investigation into the
decades-long environmental scandal involving nuclear
contamination in and around Rocky Flats. Weapons production
ended there after FBI agents raided the plant in 1989. Its
operators later pleaded guilty to criminal violations of
But during Iversen’s childhood, the people living near Rocky
Flats had no idea that plutonium bomb components were being
constructed so close to their homes — or that radioactive
waste was leaking into the surrounding environment. The
plant’s day-to-day activities were highly secretive. So
secretive, in fact, that Iversen’s family didn’t know
what their neighbors who worked at the plant did for a
“The rumor in the neighborhood was that they were making
cleaning supplies,” says Iversen. “My mother thought they were
making Scrubbing Bubbles.”
Instead, the plant was manufacturing balls of plutonium that
were integral to creating nuclear chain reactions. Workers at
the plant manipulated plutonium using lead-lined gloves that
were attached to stainless steel boxes. The plutonium was then
shipped to a facility in Texas, where it was encased in
conventional explosives and made into bombs.
Iversen notes that plutonium, which contains alpha particles,
is extremely dangerous to humans if ingested or inhaled.
“If it is inhaled into the lungs — and very, very tiny
particles can be inhaled into the lungs — it can lodge in
lung tissue and it creates a constant and ongoing source
of radiation,” says Iversen. “So that’s where we see lung
cancer and various other health effects.”
Accidents At Rocky Flats
Over the course of Rocky Flats’ history, there were several
accidents that sent radioactive particulates into the
atmosphere. On several occasions, barrels of radioactive waste
were found to be leaking into open fields. And fires in 1957 and
1969 at the plant sent plumes of radioactive material over the
Denver metro area.
“One of the most important things about the fire [in 1969] that
we didn’t know about was that it burned out all of the filters
and the measuring equipment so we still don’t know how much
plutonium and other radioactive material was released into the
that the building got so hot that it started to melt the roof.
The roof started to rise like a marshmallow bubble, and if that
roof had actually been breached, we would have had an accident
of catastrophic effect, something along the lines of Chernobyl,
in the Denver area and beyond.”
Even though the event was not catastrophic on the scale of
Chernobyl, it was still the costliest industrial accident to
ever occur in the United States. The cleanup from the accident
took over two years.
“Plutonium particles were found at an elementary school 12
miles away,” says Iversen. “There was plutonium and radioactive
particles found throughout the Denver metro area.”
The fire led to safety upgrades on site at Rocky Flats. It also
increased public scrutiny. Throughout the 1970s, protesters
began to flock to Rocky Flats to bring attention to the
environmental and health hazards posed by the plant. They began
asking questions about where the radioactive contamination at
the plant had originated.
“And the Department of Energy admitted, ‘Yes, there is
contamination off-site but it’s not from the 1969 fire. It’s
from a 1957 fire. We don’t know how much contamination escaped
from that fire,’ ” says Iversen. And the Department of Energy
also said, ” ‘It’s also from barrels, on what’s been called the
903 pad.’ There were 3,000 barrels filled with radioactive
material, liquid and solid waste — primarily plutonium
— and they stood out in the open for 11 years from
1959 to 1970. And the bottoms of the barrels rusted out
and all of that stuff got into the local water supply.”
The protests continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Then, in
the late ’80s, the Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI
began working with whistle-blowers to investigate unsafe
conditions at the plant. The FBI started flying covertly over
the plant at night to measure airborne contamination. In 1989,
after several years of investigation, the FBI and the EPA raided
“I believe it was the first and only time two government
agencies have raided another,” says Iversen. “The EPA and the
FBI raided the Department of Energy [which controlled the
operation of the plant].”
[Kristen Iversen is director of the M.F.A. program in
creative writing at the University of Memphis and
editor-in-chief of the literary journal The Pinch.]
courtesy of the author
Kristen Iversen is director of the M.F.A. program in
creative writing at the University of Memphis and
editor-in-chief of the literary journal The Pinch.
The Grand Jury Investigation And Findings
After the raid, a grand jury investigation opened to examine
what, if any, criminal wrongdoing took place at the site. The
grand jury recommended indictments for the Department of Energy
officials controlling the site as well for as Rockwell
officials, who were contracted to run day-to-day operations.
“But what happened was that a deal was cut with Rockwell,” says
Iversen. “There were no indictments and the grand jurors, after
having met for 21 months, were infuriated that there were no
indictments and there was not going to be any responsibility
here or any transparency for what was actually happening.”
Rockwell did plead guilty to several environmental crimes and
agreed to pay an $18.5 million fine, says Iversen. But, she
notes, many felt like that was not enough.
“The fine, although it was a substantial fine at the time, was
almost exactly the same as the bonus that Rockwell received for
that particular year for meeting production quotas,” she says.
“At Rocky Flats was always the highest priority and safety of
workers always took second place to that. … Part of the reason
that there were no indictments was that it was argued that these
were officials with the Department of Energy and Rockwell who
were operating within instructions from the Department of Energy
— that is, that these environmental violations were sort
of OK because what is most important is the production of
plutonium [parts for bombs].”
Rocky Flats halted plutonium bomb component production in 1990
and closed two years later because of safety concerns for
workers and because the U.S. stopped making nuclear bombs when
the Cold War ended. The DOE estimated that it would take 70
years and $30 billion to clean up the pollution at the site, but
the agency accelerated those plans — and the cleanup was
finished in less than 10 years.
It is now slated to eventually reopen as a wildlife refuge and
public recreation area, where people will be allowed to bike,
hike and possibly hunt. Iversen says she wants to make sure
people know the risks they’re getting into if they choose to go
into the Rocky Flats area for any kind of public recreation.
“There are breathable particles of plutonium out there in
various hot spots and people need to know the kind of risks
they’re taking if they’re hiking or biking out at the Rocky
Flats National Wildlife Refuge,” she says. “Or if they’re going
to let their kindergartener or first-grader go out on a trip to
Rocky Flats. People need to know what remains.”
On plutonium pits, which were developed at Rocky Flats
“They’re about the size of a half-grapefruit, slightly
flattened, gray in color. And they were shaped and machined
— there was a foundry where the plutonium was
melted — and then they were shaped and machined
within these glove boxes. And the process itself created
a lot of dust and shavings and that sort of thing. So
that was always a problem. But when a worker was finished
with that particular part of the process, the plutonium
pit was moved up to a conveyer line and then it went down to the
next part for the next stage.”
On missing plutonium at Rocky Flats
“The Department of Energy has admitted to more than 3,000
pounds of missing plutonium. It has kind of a funny acronym.
It’s called MUF, which stands for missing unaccounted-
plutonium. Well, where did that missing plutonium go? Three
thousand pounds is a lot when you think about the fact that
one-millionth of a gram of plutonium can cause cancer or a
health effect. So where was it? Well, in 1990, they revealed
that 62 pounds of plutonium had been trapped in the vents and
the piping between the building. That’s enough for six or seven
bombs right there. The Department of Energy has claimed that
much of the plutonium that was missing was due to administrative
errors or they put it somewhere and meant to put it somewhere
else. It’s just plutonium that has somehow been lost in the
system. Or it could be administrative errors for part of it. I
think some of it ended up in my backyard, frankly. A lot of it
went out into the Denver metro area.”
By Muriel Boselli
PARIS, Jan 11 (Reuters) – The incidence of leukaemia is twice as high in children living close to French nuclear power plants as in those living elsewhere in the country, a study by French health and nuclear safety experts has found.
But the study, to be published soon in the International Journal of Cancer, fell short of establishing a causal link between the higher incidence of leukaemia, a type of blood cancer, and living near nuclear power plants.
France has used nuclear power for three decades and is the most nuclear-reliant country in the world, with 75 percent of its electricity produced by 58 reactors.
The study, conducted by the French health research body INSERM, found that between 2002 and 2007, 14 children under the age of 15 living in a 5-kilometre radius of France’s 19 nuclear power plants had been diagnosed with leukaemia.
This is double the rate of the rest of the country, where a total of 2,753 cases were diagnosed in the same period.
“This is a result which has been checked thoroughly and which is statistically significant,” said Dominique Laurier, head of the epidemiology research laboratory at France’s nuclear safety research body (IRSN).
INSERM has carried out similar research with the IRSN since 1990, but has never before found a higher incidence of leukaemia in children living near nuclear power plants.
“But we are working on numbers which are very small and results have to be analysed with a lot of care,” said Laurier, one of the authors of the study.
Laurier said the findings indicated no difference in risk between sites located by the sea or by rivers, nor according to the power capacity of the plant.
The IRSN said it recommended a more thorough study of the causes of the leukaemia cases found near nuclear power stations and hoped to set up international research collaboration.
“It’s a rare disease and working on a bigger scale would allow more stable results,” said Laurier.
A 35-year British study published last year found no evidence that young children living near nuclear power plants had an increased risk of developing leukaemia.
The research, conducted by scientists on the Committee of the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), found only 20 cases of childhood leukaemia within 5 km (3.1 miles) of nuclear power stations between 1969 and 2004.
The scientists said the rate was virtually the same as in areas where there were no nuclear plants.
Studies have been conducted around the world into possible links between the risk of childhood blood cancers and living near nuclear plants.
A study on Germany, published in 2007, did find a significantly increased risk, but the COMARE team said these findings were probably influenced by an unexplained leukaemia cluster near a nuclear plant in Krummel, north Germany, that lasted from 1990 to 2005.
Excluding Krummel, evidence for an increased leukaemia risk among young children living close to German nuclear power plants was “extremely weak”, it said.
(Reporting By Muriel Boselli, Editing by Alexandria Sage and Tim Pearce)
As fallout from Fukushima heads our way, the government turns a blind eye
By Michael Collins 06/07/2012
Millions of Southern Californians and tourists seek the region’s famous beaches to cool off in the sea breeze and frolic in the surf. Those iconic breezes, however, may be delivering something hotter than the white sands along the Pacific.
According to a recent U.C. Davis study, uranium-filled nanospheres are created from the millions of tons of fresh and salt water used to try to cool down the three molten cores of the stricken reactors. The tiny and tough buckyballs are shaped like British Association Football soccer balls.
Water hitting the incredibly hot and radioactive, primarily uranium-oxide fuel turns it into peroxide. In this goo buckyballs are formed, loaded with uranium and able to move quickly through water without disintegrating.
High radiation readings in Santa Monica and Los Angeles air during a 42-day period from late December to late January strongly suggest that radiation is increasing in the region including along the coast in Ventura County.
The radiation, detected by this reporter and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, separate from each other and using different procedures, does not appear to be natural in origin. The EPA’s radiation station is high atop an undisclosed building in Los Angeles while this reporter’s detection location is near the West L.A. boundary.
Both stations registered over 5.3 times normal, though the methods of sampling and detection differed. The videotaped Santa Monica sampling and testing allowed for the detection of alpha and beta radiation while the sensitive EPA instrument detected beta only, according to the government website.
A windy Alaskan storm front sweeping down the coast the morning of March 31 slammed Southern California with huge breakers, a choppy sea with 30-foot waves and winds gusting to 50 mph. A low-hanging marine layer infused with sea spray made aloft from the chop and carried on the winds blew inland over the Los Angeles Basin for several miles bringing with it the highest radiation this reporter has detected in hot rain since the meltdowns began, over five times normal.
Scientific studies from the United Kingdom and Europe show that sea water infused with radiation of the sort spewing out of Fukushima can travel inland from the coast up to 300 kilometers. These mobile poisons include cesium-137 and plutonium-239, the latter with a half-life of 24,400 years.
Even with government, University of California and this reporter’s tests showing high radiation in the air, water, food and dairy products in this state, the state and federal governments cut off special testing for Fukushima radionuclides more than half a year ago.
Southern California is still getting hit by Fukushima radiation at alarmingly high levels that will inevitably increase as the main bulk of polluted Pacific Ocean water reaches North America over the next two years.
Luckily, the area is south of where the jet stream has brought hot rains from across the Pacific and Fukushima, more than 5,000 miles away, upwind and up-current of the West Coast. Those rains have brought extraordinary amounts of radiation to places like St. Louis, with multiple rain events detected and filmed, showing incredibly hot rains.
Unluckily, North America is directly downwind of Japan, where the government is having 560,000 tons of irradiated rubble incinerated with the ash dumped in Tokyo Bay. The burning began last October and continues through March 2014, enraging American activists for this unwitting double dose.
American media coverage of Fukushima’s continuing woes and of contamination spreading across Japan and threatening Tokyo’s 30 million residents, while not robust has been adequate. Coverage of contamination in America and Southern California has been practically non-existent.
That’s one of the reasons we started Radiation Station Santa Monica four days after the meltdowns began on March 11, 2011, transmitting live radiation readings for the Los Angeles Basin 24/7 ever since.
With nuclear radiation monitoring equipment, this investigation has performed more than 1,500 radiation tests in different media throughout four states and in and in jet airplane cabins where, even accounting for higher radiation at higher altitudes, readings were more than five times normal according to the manufacturer of our Inspector Alert nuclear radiation monitor.
Writer Michael Collins measuring the unfriendly skies in December 2011.
Those readings, along with the EPA’s, combined with the UC Davis study of buckyballs and a European study of sea spray radiation spread, strongly indicate that Southern California is being exposed to significant amounts of radiation. The closer to the coast, like much of populated Ventura County, the more pronounced the radiation in this scenario.
Other reports exist of what likely-Fukushima fallout in the Southland exist.
Researchers from Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, released a study May 28 that showed that all 15 samples of Pacific Bluefin tuna caught off of San Diego in August 2011 showed indisputable signs of radiation contamination emanating from Fukushima.
This suggests that the popular and expensive animal carved up usually for sushi is even more contaminated now nearly a year after it was first harvested and tested as at least 1,000 tons of highly radioactive water used to cool the melted cores and spent fuel ponds are being dumped daily into the ocean, according to recent revelations of the nuclear plants owners, Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The study also suggests that other highly migratory species, like turtles, sharks and marine birds, may also be contaminated with the radiation found in the tuna: cesium-134 and cesium-137.
The U.S. Geological Service (USGS) reported Feb. 21 that Los Angeles had more cesium-137 fallout than any other place in the nation during the opening days of the disaster from March 15 to April 5, 2011.
The amount of Cs-137 detected in precipitation at a monitoring station 20 miles east of downtown was 13 times the limit for the toxin in drinking water according to a report obtained by the VCReporter.
USGS released another astonishing study Feb. 22, from measurements taken at its Bennington National Atmospheric Deposition Program in Vermont, confirming a grim cesium-137 scenario for Southern California.
“Deposition actually decreased as the air mass traveled east to west,” Greg Wetherbee, a chemist with USGS, told the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper before imparting an additional bombshell.
“In the United States, cesium-134 and cesium-137 wet dispersion values were higher than for Chernobyl fallout, in part due to the U.S. being further downwind,” Wetherbee told the paper. “With Chernobyl, there was more opportunity for plume dispersion.”
This double whammy of cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years isn’t even in a uranium-60 buckyball. But they are in the unfathomable spread of goo throughout the Pacific on the second strongest current in the world headed right for us.
The three meltdowns have spewed trillions of becquerels of highly radioactive iodine-131, cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239 into the atmosphere and Pacific since March 11, 2011. The initial explosions and fires sent untold amounts of radiation high into the atmosphere.
A Feb. 28 report by the Meteorological Research Institute, just released at a scientific symposium in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, says that 40,000 trillion becquerels, double the amount previously thought, have escaped Unit 1 reactor alone.
This has resulted in fallout around the globe and especially impacting the Pacific and parts of America and Canada, two countries downwind of Japan on the jet stream. British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Ontario have been hit especially hard by rain, sleet and snow, in some cases with dizzying amounts of high radiation.
A March 6 study Department of Biological Sciences study conducted at California State University, Long Beach, found that kelp along the coast of California was heavily impacted by radioactive Iodine-131 a month after the meltdowns began. The virulent and deadly isotope was detected at 250 times levels the researchers said were normal in the kelp before the disaster.
Radioactive fallout in St. Louis, Mo., rainfall, which has been monitored at Potrblog.com since the crisis began, has been repeatedly so hot that levels have been reached that make it unsafe for children and pregnant women. An Oct.17, 2011, St. Louis rainstorm was measured on video at 2.76 millirems per hour or more than 270 times background.
The U.S. EPA considers anything 3 times background to be significantly above background. The California Highway Patrol deems any material more than three times background as a potential hazardous materials situation. The St. Louis rain was 90 times CHP’s hazmat trigger.
The main wave of water-borne radiation from the meltdowns, including highly mobile uranium-60 buckyballs, is surging across the Pacific along the Kuroshio Current, second only to the Gulf Stream for power on the planet.
Millions of tons of seawater and fresh water have been used to cool the melted cores and spent fuel rods, generating millions of tons of irradiated water. The Kuroshio Current is transporting a significant amount of this escaping radiation from Fukushima Daiichi across the Pacific toward the West Coast.
The 70-mile-wide current joins the North Pacific Current, moving eastward until it splits and flows southward along the California Current, which flows along the coast to Ventura County and beyond.The American government has done nothing to monitor the Pacific Ocean for over half a year, even though a Texas-sized sea of Japanese earthquake debris is already washing up on outlying Alaskan islands and is suspected to have already hit the West Coast, including California.
“In terms of the radiation, EPA is in charge of the radiation network for airborne radiation; it’s called RadNet,” EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld told the VCReporter on Feb. 9 during a news conference about new ship sewage regulations. “And we have a very significant and comprehensive array of RadNet monitors along the, actually along the coast, but on land. We don’t have jurisdiction for looking at marine radiation. Perhaps NOAA would be able to answer that question but we don’t have data or monitor it,” he said.
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suspended testing the Pacific for Fukushima radiation last summer after concluding that there wasn’t any radiation to be detected.
“As far as questions about radiation, we are working with radiation experts within the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy,” NOAA media liaison Keeley Belva wrote in a Feb. 10 e-mail. “Here are some contacts information for those agencies at the headquarters level.”
In other words, no federal agency, department or administration is doing anything to sample and analyze water from the Pacific. Fish aren’t being tested for contamination, either.
“NOAA is not currently doing further research on seafood,” Belva said adding “NOAA is doing a study related to radiation that is focused on radiation plume modeling.”
The lack of testing disappoints Dan Hirsch, U.C. Santa Cruz nuclear policy lecturer and president of Committee to Bridge the Gap which exposed the Rocketdyne partial meltdowns above the western San Fernando Valley in 1979 and continues to lead the fight to clean up Rocketdyne today.
“EPA did some special monitoring for a few weeks after the accident began, then shut down the special monitoring” Hirsch told the VCReporter. “What monitoring was done was very troubled. Half of the stationary air monitors were broken at the time of the accident. Deployable monitors were ordered not deployed.”
Even when the government testing did work, increasingly high levels of radiation seem to have been ignored.
The VCReporter has learned that the California Department of Public Health halted monitoring of Fukushima fallout when its Radiologic Health Branch issued its last report on Oct. 10, 2011.
That report shows an alarming rise in cesium-137 in CalPoly San Luis Obispo dairy farm milk beginning June 14, 2011, when it tested 2.95 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) and steadily rising in four subsequent tests until it was 5.91 pCi/l. The hot milk was at twice the allowable amount of this radionuclide in drinking water, according to the EPA’s 3.0 pCi/l limit.
Then the testing stopped, for no other reason than the government concluded that nothing from Fukushima had sufficiently contaminated anything to be of concern. Even detections of radioactive sulphur-35 in San Diego and plutonium-239 in Riverside did nothing to pique the interest of regulators.
“The lesson to be learned is that both the U.S. and Japan suffer from very lax regulation, a too-cozy relationship between nuclear regulators and the industry they are to regulate,” Hirsch said. “This can lead to dangerous outcomesThis was not unanticipated. Yet the need for immediate information was undeniable.
Live-streaming radiation readings from Santa Monica began four days after the meltdowns. Since then, this reporter has conducted more than 1,500 tests in four states and miles above the Earth, where jet radiation registered more than five times normal, even accounting for altitude.
Special tests revealed elevated radiation in Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon rain. Southwest Michigan rain samples were hot.
Santa Monica and Los Angeles rain and mist were also high. Readings taken in Agoura, Oxnard and Ventura mostly mirrored these measurements. The Radiation Station Ventura California provides near-daily radiation readings that include local food measurements.
Japanese sake, beer, vegetable juice, seaweed, pastries and tea all registered significant ionization above background. Powdered milk, turkey hot dogs, and jet travel breathing masks were all part of the specific media tested, many of which were recorded in these videotaped radiation detections.
HEPA filters may also be effective in capturing buckyballs, which are geodesic dome-shaped structures that are spherical with multiple flat sides. Strong evidence suggests that these hardy radioactive Uranium-60 nanoparticles have crossed the Pacific quickly, with their concentrations rising.
That evidence includes our and the EPA’s high beta readings in Los Angeles. Our radiation station is a little more than a mile from the Pacific shoreline. Downtown Los Angeles is more than 13 miles away from the sea.
The Jan. 27, 2012, U.C. Davis report “Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater,” is the first account to analyze what is happening to the gargantuan amount of seawater, as well as fresh water, that has been hosing down the melted reactor cores and flushing into the Pacific.
Alexandra Navrotsky, Ph.D., director of nanomaterials research at U.C. Davis (center) with colleagues.
The study spells out a horrific scenario in which compromised irradiated fuel turned huge amounts of ocean water into a series of uranium-related peroxide compounds containing as many as 60 “uranyl ions” in hardy nanoscale cage clusters that can “potentially transport uranium over long distances” and persist for “at least 294 days without detectable change.”
How hot these nano-cage clusters of cancer-causing radiation are depends on what kind and ratio of uranium isotopes make up the 60 in each one.
“A given isotope has the same radioactivity (half-life) regardless of what chemical state it is in,” Alexandra Navrotsky, Ph.D., director of nanomaterials research at U.C. Davis, told the VCReporter. “So the radioactivity for a constant number of U atoms depends on the proportion of different isotopes in the sample.”
There is a strong possibility that these uranium peroxide buckyballs are already sloshing around in the waters off Southern California as this reporter and the EPA’s radiation readings appear to indicate. But if it was the source of our high detections what was the mechanism that was transporting radiation inland.
Sea spray, perhaps. Radioactive sea spray has been shown to blow hundreds of kilometers inland in tests conducted in the United Kingdom by British and European researchers. As any one who has ever smelled the salty ocean air miles from the ocean might expect, salt in sea spray can travel a significant distance. The same holds true for radioactive particles floating in the sea, even if in addition to U60 buckyballs.
In the 2008 report “Sea to land transfer of radionuclides in Cumbria and North Wales,” the greatest average concentration of cesium-137 and plutonium-239 in soil at a depth of 0 to 15 centimeters was found 10 kilometers from the coast. The highest average amounts found at 15 to 30 centimeters deep were 5 kilometers away from the sea illustrating the unpredictability of radiation fallout.
A 62-page UK study released in December 2011 found that sea spray and marine aerosols created from bubbles forming and popping when the sea is choppy or waves break have increased concentrations of radioactive “actinides.”
Actinides are chemically alike radioactive metallic elements and include uranium and plutonium. One actinide infused the spray with an 812 times greater concentration of americium-241 than normal amounts of Am-241 in ambient seawater.
The report cited information that sea-spray-blown cesium 137 was found 200 kilometers from the discharge source in the New Hebrides islands in northern Scotland.
Another UK study found that the Irish Sea has a micro layer on top of it, perhaps only thousandths of a millimeter in thickness, that can become imbued with fine particulate material and its absorbed radiation.
These concentrations of plutonium and americium are four to five times their concentrations in ambient seawater. Plutonium concentrates by 26,000 times in floating algal blooms at sea, says the report.
These radionuclides and buckyballs make up the goo inexorably crossing the Pacific, which may just have begun to impact our shores. Yet not a nickel of state or federal money is spent monitoring it. We are on our own in this Fukushima nightmare.
This report was originally published at EnviroReporter.com. Contact the writer and view additional materials at EnviroReporter.com.
(NaturalNews) It has been more than a year now since the massive 9.0-plus magnitude earthquake and corresponding tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the eastern coast of Japan, sending untold amounts of nuclear radiation into the environment. And to this day, the threat of nuclear fallout is ever-present all around the world in what some have described as a “nuclear war without a war.”
Though governments and many media outlets have downplayed the disaster, its aftermath continues to threaten the health and wellbeing of plants, animals and humans not only in Japan, but all around the world. Far worse than Chernobyl, the Fukushima catastrophe truly is a nuclear holocaust event with gradual, long-term consequences that we are only just now beginning to recognize and grasp.
Though the devastation was not delivered in one fell swoop via an atomic bomb, radioactive elements from Fukushima continue to be quietly delivered through air and ocean currents to soils, drinking water supplies, farms, lawns, children’s playgrounds, airplanes and countless other sources. Products made with elements and materials that have been contaminated with radiation, particularly in Japan, are also exposing untold thousands, if not millions, of people to dangerous levels of nuclear radiation.
“Hazardous radioactive elements being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at each step of various food chains (for example, into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans),” writes Helen Caldicott in her piece, Fukushima: Nuclear Apologists Play Shoot the Messenger on Radiation, in The Age.
“Entering the body, these elements — called internal emitters — migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer.”
Nuclear war, whether intentional or unintentional, has already been waged
Regardless of whether or not the Fukushima disaster was a natural event or a man-made terrorist conspiracy (http://www.naturalnews.com/032692_Fukushima_earthquake.html), the trigger has been pulled, and the quiet nuclear war has been set in motion. Fukushima’s thousands of exposed fuel rods continue to remain in a precarious plight. Reactor 4 is on the verge of collapse, and radiation from existing leaks and damage continues to spread.
Politically, the entire nation of Japan is the biggest casualty of this nuclear war so far, as the country’s economy is in dire straits, and on the verge of collapse. Tokyo is reportedly now suffering its first trade deficit since the 1980s, and the rest of the country’s manufacturing base is quickly dwindling as the world grows increasingly leery of importing goods from Japan that may be contaminated with Fukushima radiation.
Because no efforts are being made to contain Fukushima, as was done with Chernobyl, the facility itself is essentially a grounded nuclear weapon that every second of every day is waging war against Planet Earth. And as far as the human race is concerned, thousands have already died as a result, with millions more to follow in the years and decades to come as the unrelenting spew of radiation settles in every crevice of the global ecology, spurring rapid increases in cancer and other deadly conditions.
Sources for this article include:
F A C T S H E E T
“America’s Secret Chernobyl”
Uranium Mining and Nuclear Pollution in the Northern Great Plains
1. World War II ended with the nuclear bomb and introduced the use of nuclear energy for the production of electricity which caused the price of uranium to rise. Uranium mining in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota began in the middle of the 1960s. As the economy of the Northern Great Plains states depends primarily on agriculture, when uranium was discovered in the region, many get-rich-quick schemes were adopted. Not only were large mining companies pushing off the tops of bluffs and buttes, but small individual ranchers were also digging in their pastures for the radioactive metal. Mining occurred on both public and private land, although the Great Sioux Nation still maintains a claim to the area through the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868, the March 3rd Act of 1871, Article VI of the US Constitution, and the 1980 Supreme Court decision on the Black Hills. The Great Sioux Nation was never consulted on any of this.
2. In northwestern South Dakota, the Cave Hills area is managed by the US Forest Service. The area currently contains 104 abandoned open-pit uranium mines. Studies by the USFS show that one mine alone has 1,400 milliRhems per hour (mR/hr) of exposed radiation, a level of radiation that is 120,000 times higher than normal background of 100 milliRhems per year (mR/yr)! A private abandoned, open-pit uranium mine about 200 meters from an elementary school in Ludlow, SD, emits 1170 microRems per hour, more than 4 times as much as being emitted from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. This is only one abandoned, open-pit uranium mine in the middle of the United States.
3. Through research by an independent researcher, more than 3,000 open-pit uranium mines and prospects can be found in the four state region. A map from the US Forest Service shows the mines and prospects but not how many. The water runoff from the creeks and rivers near these abandoned uranium mines eventually empty into the Missouri River which empties into the Mississippi River. Research shows uranium is being carried down the Missouri River to the southern, South Dakota border. The costs for research outside of this Region has prohibited going outside the Region.
4. The following agencies are aware of these abandoned uranium mines and prospects: US Forest Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Bureau of Land Management, SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the US Indian Health Service. Only after public concern about these mines was raised a few years ago did the USFS and the EPA pay for a study in 2006 of the off site effects from only one mine, but not from the combined effects of all the mines. An effort to clean up that one mine was stopped when the mining company declared bankruptcy. Runoff and dust continue to pour from that mine.
5. More than 4,000 exploratory holes, some large enough for a man to fall into, are found in the southwestern Black Hills with an additional 3,000 holes just 10 miles west of the town of Belle Fourche, SD. These holes go to depths of 600 feet. This exploratory process itself has already contaminated the Regions aquifers with radioactive pollutants. Hundreds of more exploratory holes for uranium are being bored in Wyoming and South Dakota with those states’ approval.
6. The US Air Force also used small nuclear power plants in some of their hundreds of remote radar stations and missile silos. No data is available on the current status or disposal of these small nuclear power sources or of their wastes. As the US Air Force is responsible for monitoring these sites, although there is no stopping the radioactive pollution that could contaminate aquifers, this responsibility assists in continuing the funding for Ellsworth Air Force Base, a political convenience.
7. In Wyoming, hundreds of abandoned open-pit uranium mines and prospects can be found in or near the coal in the Powder River Basin. Both Wyoming and North Dakota coal is laced with uranium and its decay products. The coal is shipped to power plants in the Eastern and Western parts of the United States. Radioactive dust and particles are released into the air at the coal fired power plants on the East and West Coasts and often set off the warning systems at nuclear power plants. The same radioactive dust and particles are released into the air that travels across South Dakota and to the South and East in the coal strip mining process by itself.
8. The people in the Northern Great Plains Region have the highest rate of lung cancer in the country according to studies by the Indian Health Service. Although the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization were requested to come study the cancer rates in this Region, both agencies have never completed any studies. The CDC said there were not enough people in SD to warrant a study, since SD has less than 1 million people. South Dakota also contains the last majority of people of the Great Sioux Nation.
This Fact Sheet regarding past and planned uranium and coal mining in the Northern Great Plains region should give cause for alarm to all thinking people in the United States. This is the area that has been called “the Bread Basket of the World.” For more than forty years, the people of Northern Great Plains and beyond have been subjected to radioactive pollution in the air and water from the hundreds of abandoned open pit uranium mines, processing sites, underground nuclear power stations, and waste dumps.
There needs to be a concerted effort to determine the extent of the radioactive pollution in the environment, and the health damage that has been and is currently being inflicted upon the people of the United States and the world.
It is imperative that a federal bill be passed in Congress appropriating enough funds for the cleanup of ALL the abandoned uranium mines in this four State region. This harmful situation must not be placed on the end of the Superfund list of hazardous sites to be addressed in twenty years. Those responsible for this disaster must be held responsible for the consequences, but the cleanup and health concerns need to be addressed first.
The cleanup of all of these abandoned, open-pit mines must begin NOW!
********* What you can do ***********
1. Contact the President of the United States, Congressional Representatives and Senators by phone (202) 224-3121, through the mail, and email. Ask that they pass a bill for the cleanup of all the abandoned uranium mines and prospects, and underground nuclear sites in the Northern Great Plains Region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming as these abandoned mines are affecting the water, air, and food for the entire world.
2. Encourage the use of alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar. Nuclear energy is not the answer and only creates very long term problems for the whole world.
Compiled by Defenders of the Black Hills, PO Box 2003, Rapid City, SD 57709,
A 501(c)3. non-profit corporation.
For more information check out www.defendblackhills.org
Medical Journal Article: 14,000 U.S. Deaths Tied to Fukushima Reactor Disaster Fallout
|Category :||Topic :|
|Environment (29)||Environment Issues (12)|
|Date Posted :||Source Date :|
|Jan 24, 2012||Dec 19, 2011|
An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.
Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.
The IJHS article will be published Tuesday and will be available online as of 11 a.m. EST at http://www.radiation.org.
Just six days after the disastrous meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima on March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores. Subsequent measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal across the U.S. The highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation in the U.S. were as follows (normal is about 2 picocuries I-131 per liter of water): Boise, ID (390); Kansas City (200); Salt Lake City (190); Jacksonville, FL (150); Olympia, WA (125); and Boston, MA (92).
Epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, said: “This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world. Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation.”
Mangano is executive director, Radiation and Public Health Project, and the author of 27 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and letters.
Internist and toxicologist Janette Sherman, MD, said: “Based on our continuing research, the actual death count here may be as high as 18,000, with influenza and pneumonia, which were up five-fold in the period in question as a cause of death. Deaths are seen across all ages, but we continue to find that infants are hardest hit because their tissues are rapidly multiplying, they have undeveloped immune systems, and the doses of radioisotopes are proportionally greater than for adults.”
Dr. Sherman is an adjunct professor, Western Michigan University, and contributing editor of “Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” published by the NY Academy of Sciences in 2009, and author of “Chemical Exposure and Disease and Life’s Delicate Balance – Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues weekly reports on numbers of deaths for 122 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000, or about 25-30 percent of the U.S. In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S. (March 20 to June 25), deaths reported to the CDC rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, compared to just 2.34 percent in the 14 weeks prior. Estimated excess deaths during this period for the entire U.S. are about 14,000.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of a related news event will be available on the Web at http://www.radiation.org as of 4 p.m. EST/2100 GMT on December 19, 2011. Embargoed copies of the medical journal article are available by contacting Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.