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The Standard

Fukushima

Written By: - Date published: 2:37 pm, August 24th, 2013 - 103 comments
Categories: disaster, energy, International, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Meanwhile back in the real world, the nuclear disaster at Fukushima is creeping back in to the headlines, for all the wrong reasons.

New crisis looms at Fukushima

Japan’s nuclear watchdog says a leakage of highly radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant could be the beginning of a new disaster – a series of leaks of contaminated water from storage tanks.

The operator of the plant has built hundreds of steel tanks to store massive amounts of radioactive water coming from three melted reactors, as well as underground water running into reactor and turbine basements.

Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Tuesday that about 300 tons (300,000 litres) of contaminated water leaked from one of the tanks. It said it hasn’t figured out how or where the water leaked, but suspects it did so through a seam.

The leak is the fifth, and the worst, since last year involving tanks of the same design at the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, raising concerns that contaminated water could begin leaking from storage tanks one after another. …

Japan nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level

Japan’s nuclear agency has upgraded the severity level of a radioactive water leak at the Fukushima plant from one to three on an international scale.

Highly radioactive water was found to be leaking from a storage tank into the ground at the plant on Monday. It was first classified as a level one incident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (Ines). But Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority proposes elevating it to level three on the seven-point scale.

Fukushima operator pleads for international help as radiation crisis deepens

TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, admits it needs overseas help to contain the radioactive fallout, after 18 months of trying to control it internally. It comes after the latest leak at the facility was deemed a “serious incident.” …

The call comes after one of the 1,060 temporary tanks used to store highly contaminated water sprang a leak on Wednesday, discharging as much as 300 tons of radioactive liquid containing large amounts of cesium. Further tests revealed excessive radiation levels elsewhere in the facility. …

TEPCO has been slow in measuring the levels of radioactive elements that have flowed out of the station, as well as publishing its data. The company finally revealed this month that highly unsafe tritium and cesium levels had been detected in the seawater near the plant. A concentration of these elements could damage the marine environment and build up in marine life, possibly endangering humans further up the food chain. …

Most experts say that it could take between four decades and a century to eliminate the impact of the Fukushima disaster.

Water leaks at Fukushima could contaminate entire Pacific Ocean

RT: An estimated 300 tonnes of contaminated water is spilling daily into the ocean. How come Tepco insists the leaks still pose no big threat to the environment?

HW: They are lying; they can’t face the reality of this situation. When have very serious quantities of radiation going into the Pacific Ocean. There is no medical or epidemiological or scientific basis for estimating how much damage this will cost. We are on entirely new ground here and this cannot go by without a serious impact on the entire human race. This is a terrible tragedy. …

Fukushima apocalypse: Years of ‘duct tape fixes’ could result in ‘millions of deaths’

Even the tiniest mistake during an operation to extract over 1,300 fuel rods at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan could lead to a series of cascading failures with an apocalyptic outcome, fallout researcher Christina Consolo told RT.

Fukushima operator TEPCO wants to extract 400 tons worth of spent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant’s damaged Reactor No. 4. The removal would have to be done manually from the top store of the damaged building in the radiation-contaminated environment.

In the worst-case scenario, a mishandled rod may go critical, resulting in an above-ground meltdown releasing radioactive fallout with no way to stop it, said Consolo, who is the founder and host of Nuked Radio. But leaving the things as they are is not an option, because statistical risk of a similarly bad outcome increases every day, she said. …

Although fuel rod removal happens on a daily basis at the 430+ nuclear sites around the world, it is a very delicate procedure even under the best of circumstances. What makes fuel removal at Fukushima so dangerous and complex is that it will be attempted on a fuel pool whose integrity has been severely compromised. However, it must be attempted as Reactor 4 has the most significant problems structurally, and this pool is on the top floor of the building. …

We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our lifetimes, but our children’s’ lifetimes. We have 40 million people living in the Tokyo area nearby. We have continued releases from the underground corium that reminds us it is there occasionally with steam events and huge increases in radiation levels. Across the Pacific, we have at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies so far that have already provided evidence of increased mortality in North America, and thyroid problems in infants on the west coast states from our initial exposures.

We have increasing contamination of the food chain, through bioaccumulation and biomagnification. And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area. As impossible as this sounds, you cannot live in an area which does not have access to safe water.

See also “Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Leak: What You Should Know”.

Fossil fuels will kill the planet. Conventional nuclear energy can never be safe. Renewable sources (and/or some breakthrough in fusion) are the only viable alternative. Any rational government would be investing massively in renewable energy R&D.

103 comments on “Fukushima”

  1. Raa 1

    Thanks for the post. I have been watching this emerge in the news again .. a significant coverup by the authorities about the scale of the event and its implications .. among other things .. for the water table.

  2. Bill 2

    Anybody any idea if NZ followed the US lead of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ with regards the contamination of Japanese imports?

    Or what about the declaration by the Japanese government that sea food caught from the vicinity of Fukushima was safe for sale and consumption? Any flip-flop on that one?

    Anything further from our own government on the accumulation of radioactive contamination present in NZ’s mutton bird colonies (migration route passes Fukushima)?

    Any excuses from anyone as to why this ever dropped out of the news in the first place?

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Time for fifty million Japanese to resettle in California. Not kidding.

    An ‘above ground criticality incident’ sounds a heck of a lot like what happened at Hiroshima…

    • weka 3.1

      California? You mean that other place on a major earthquake fault line that uses nuclear power?

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      While not at all good, I don’t think Fukushima can explode like a nuclear weapon. Criticality in this case means the fission chain reaction begins, but the reactants blow themselves apart before an actual full scale explosion happens. It means a lot of radioactive material gets spread all over the place, but without the blast damage. Hiroshima without the blast would have still been disgusting, but not as many people would have died. (I am also not a nuclear physicist or nuclear engineer, so there’s plenty I don’t know.)

      Of course, if Tepco and the Japanese government keep people in the area, the numbers could easily keep rising. I’ve seen maps that show the radioactive material reaching the Kiwi east coast as well. It’s a real disaster, and I don’t think anyone knows what to do about it. Maybe nothing can be done except make sure similar things can’t happen in the future.

    • A Short Plank 3.3

      It has already been published (sorry, can’t remember the link) that whatever radiation goes into the ocean at Fukushima will be carried by ocean currents to the US West Coast, where it will be concentrated on shore at ten times the levels at Fukushima. So re-settling in California would just be a move out of the frying-pan.

  4. RedLogix 4

    I recall an interview with Gorbachev who stated that he believed this was the proximate cause of the break-up of the Soviet Union, not Afghanistan or the failure of their economic system:

    According to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union spent 18 billion rubles (the equivalent of US$18 billion at that time) on containment and decontamination, virtually bankrupting itself.

    In Belarus the total cost over 30 years is estimated at US$235 billion (in 2005 dollars).

    On-going costs are well known; in their 2003–2005 report, The Chernobyl Forum stated that between 5% and 7% of government spending in Ukraine is still related to Chernobyl, while in Belarus over $13 billion is thought to have been spent between 1991 and 2003, with 22% of national budget having been Chernobyl-related in 1991, falling to 6% by 2002. Much of the current cost relates to the payment of Chernobyl-related social benefits to some 7 million people across the 3 countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

    With time it may well be shown that Fukushima will turn out to be an even more expensive disaster, even if the fuel rod removal process goes well. The potential for not just environmental, but even more destabilising economic and social disruption is evident.

    Ultimately if it a goes very wrong and the impact spreads regionally, the Chinese will not sit idly by.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Small fairly irrelevant detail – a government cannot go bankrupt if it is buying goods and services in its own currency, which it issues itself.

      If the goods and services it requires are priced in hard foreign currency, that’s another issue.

      I agree about China. No love lost anywhere there. However, the US will not allow China to do anything too rash.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        True, but printing money is only worthwhile if it does not overwhelm the ability of the real economy to effectively utilise it.

        The key to understanding these nuclear disasters is that they represent an immense damage to the physical economy … thus merely throwing printed money at the problem may be less helpful than you hope for.

      • srylands 4.1.2

        “Colonial Viper 4.1
        24 August 2013 at 3:18 pm
        Small fairly irrelevant detail – a government cannot go bankrupt if it is buying goods and services in its own currency, which it issues itself.”

        Viper you are a fucking moron spouting irrelavancies as usual.

        You are technically right. But the currency and everything else can get fucked up by the policies you espouse. And fuck up the poor especially. You are a dangerous waste of air.

        Idiot.

        • RedLogix 4.1.2.1

          So where do you think money comes from sry?

          • srylands 4.1.2.1.1

            “So where do you think money comes from sry?”

            For those on the Left, it grows on trees.

            • RedLogix 4.1.2.1.1.1

              And on the right? Where do you think it comes from?

              Or might I wonder if you understand the question….

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1.1.2

              I’m just saying what every one of the 21 Primary Dealers already knows, shitlands. Why the opprobrium? It’s just a fact.

  5. QoT 5

    Meanwhile back in the real world

    Well that’s a really nice slap in the face to your fellow bloggers.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      I guess while the minutiae of Labour party and NZ beltway politics is of importance to some of us, and after the next election … maybe of interest to New Zealand as a whole.

      But to my tiny mind an event that potentially releases many 10’s of thousands of times more radiation than ever before strikes me as fairly real.

      • QoT 5.1.1

        It’s not a matter of comparative importance. It’s a matter of making dismissive, smug statements which elevate the writer at the expense of everyone else on the platform he deigns to share with us.

        But you know, there is form for that.

        ETA: not to mention that if it were a commenter saying “Oh my god why aren’t you focusing on the real world” they’d quickly meet the sharp end of lprent’s moderation.

        • gobsmacked 5.1.1.1

          Yes, that phrase jumped out at me as well.

          In itself, it hardly matters. But considering the last 20 months, it’s irony overload. I would suggest the author might try for a little more humility and a little more reflection on who really has been living in that “real world”.

  6. Sable 6

    Stay away from Japanese glow in the dark beer!

    • northshoredoc 7.1

      No one is listening.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Hundred billion dollar nuclear industry sells multiple melt-throughs as “meh no problem”

    • weka 7.2

      “And for a contrasting view to the hysteria:”

      It’s true that the media are often very bad at covering science issues. Problem is, the general public no longer trusts the scientific community implicitly (for good reason).

      So where to from here?

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.1

        Oh look, Dept of Nuclear Engineering at UCLA Berkley put up a comment suggesting that, uh, the potential problem is massive.

        But that’s OK boys and girls, back to your Playstations.

        http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/forum/218/nuclear-expert-fukushima-spent-fuel-has-85-times-more-cesium-released-chernobyl-%E2%80%94-%E2%80%9Cit-woul

        • srylands 7.2.1.1

          Oh look, Dept of Nuclear Engineering at UCLA Berkley put up a comment suggesting that, uh, the potential problem is massive.

          But that’s OK boys and girls, back to your Playstations.”

          You can get fucked. Why would you give credence to the UCLA Berkley?

          • RedLogix 7.2.1.1.1

            I dunno … why should we give credence to anyone, or anything?

            On the other hand the article quotes:

            ” I asked top spent-fuel pools expert Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy”

            Why would this guy know shit about “spent-fuel pools”?

            • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan reckon that the free market and cutting red tape will sort out the nuclear cesspool at Fukushima.

      • geoff 7.2.2

        for good reason?

        Do you not trust the scientific community?

        • weka 7.2.2.1

          “Do you not trust the scientific community?”

          No more or less than anyone else. ie they get trust depending on who they are, how they act, and how they earn that trust. My point is that the public don’t consider the scientific community to be trustworthy just because they’re scientists. And for good reasons. It’s a sad state of affairs, because there are many good scientists out there. But being naive about how science has been co-opted, and what science’s limitations are, doesn’t help them.

          • Hanswurst 7.2.2.1.1

            “[…] they get trust depending on […] how they earn that trust.”

            They earn that trust by constant research, publication and peer-review. That is the process that defines them collectively as the “scientific community”. Your implicit conflating of members of that community with any yob wheeling a corporate barrow who goes on TV claiming to have a PhD is a misrepresentation.

            • weka 7.2.2.1.1.1

              “Your implicit conflating of members of that community with any yob wheeling a corporate barrow who goes on TV claiming to have a PhD is a misrepresentation.”

              That’s not what I am talking about. Why not take the time to find out what I mean instead of making assumptions, and then your argument that Science is inherently trustworthy might come across better.

              “They earn that trust by constant research, publication and peer-review”

              Kind of. Problem is that that process has been corrupted and co-opted. Look at medicine and big pharma for the most obvious examples, but issues around the environment also demonstrate the problems.

              • Colonial Viper

                What? The practice of science is riven by political, funding, profitability and reputational concerns? Please say that it is not so!

        • Richard Christie 7.2.2.2

          I’m glad someone else spotted that dodgy assertion as well.

          • weka 7.2.2.2.1

            Which dodgy assertion?

            • Richard Christie 7.2.2.2.1.1

              I’ll allow you the wriggle room afforded by your use of the qualifier ‘implicitly’.

              But in reality the public has better, and very good reason, to trust science and scientific consensus the broader context.

              • weka

                Still not clear what you are objecting to about my statement.

                “But in reality the public has better, and very good reason, to trust science and scientific consensus the broader context.”

                Better than what? And even if there is better reason, do they actually trust those things (as opposed to you saying they have reason to)?

                Mostly the public has no idea about what the scientific consensus on something is.

                And please note, I didn’t say the public don’t trust science, or scientific consensus. I said they don’t trust the scientific community, for good reason.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  And you’re expecting the scientific community to fit into a media-driven false frame that many of them explicitly reject.

                  Science isn’t promoted as “the truth” by any scientist I’ve ever met or read. At best they sound more like Churchill: science is the worst possible system apart from all the other ones.

                • Richard Christie

                  Better and stronger reason to trust information from the scientific community than to distrust what the scientific community tells them.

                  • weka

                    “Better and stronger reason to trust information from the scientific community than to distrust what the scientific community tells them.”

                    Sorry, but that is just ideological nonsense. It’s a nice ideal, but in the real world, science gets corrupted often, including by scientists, and the public often has no good way of weeding out what is good science from what is poor science from what is downright fucked science.

                    So I will say again, irrespective of your ideals, the public doesn’t have implicit trust in the scientific community and for good reasons. Trust should be given when its earned.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      False frame alert.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I think OAK would like you to separate out your ideas of how science operates as an ideal paradigm and shining model of truth and reality, and to ignore what actually happens with it in the gritty, dirty real world.

                    • weka

                      Possibly. I’m just noticing the surfeit of sentences that lack any real explanation of what the person writing them means.

  7. srylands 8

    “Fossil fuels will kill the planet. Conventional nuclear energy can never be safe. Renewable sources (and/or some breakthrough in fusion) are the only viable alternative. Any rational government would be investing massively in renewable energy R&D.”

    50 years from now most countries will have nuclear power, or they will be energy starved.

    The capital costs of power stations is coming down, especially in the new Chinese designs.

    Kawau Parua Inlet is an excellent site for a future power station to serve the Auckland region.

    Australia will see nuclear power stations much sooner than NZ. Otherwise they will continue to choke on coal. (The incoming government in Australia has signaled a wind back of renewables so there goes that expensive plan.)

    New Zealand will be last to take up the nuclear option.

    • tc 8.1

      Your not a very clever troll are you, think about the fuel. Oz has plenty of uranium, we have hydro and declining demand once tiwai closes we are fine.

      Our problem is the system rewards profit not ensuring generation capacity is assured, otherwise that wind farm would be going ahead.

      But you already know that.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      50 years from now most countries will have nuclear power, or they will be energy starved.

      Very few countries can afford the upfront capital costs, and almost none of those can afford the inevitable decomissioning costs.

      “50 years from now…”

      sorry mate anyone who pretends that they know what is happening with science and technology that far out is dreaming.

      No one will be able to build nuclear power stations once oil is unaffordable.

      • srylands 8.2.1

        Very few countries can afford the upfront capital costs, and almost none of those can afford the inevitable decomissioning costs.”

        Bullshit. The Government just needs to issue more currency.

        • RedLogix 8.2.1.1

          I think you misunderstand … printing money is not equal to pumping oil.

          CV would have been better to have argued that once oil energy becomes more expensive it will make no sense whatsoever to use large amounts of it to create and maintain the infrastructure required to produce lesser amounts of nuclear energy.

        • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.2

          Incorrect.

          The main reason being that NZ doesn’t build its own nuclear reactors, so it would have to purchase them using hard foreign currency. The NZ Government cannot issue Euros to pay Areva, nor can it issue Yen to pay Toshiba, nor can it issue USD to pay GM for new reactors.

          You really have no idea about monetary matters, do you?

          EDIT yes what RL said as well
          also, the EROEI of nuclear power sucks to the maximum. Issuing currency =! issuing energy.

          • srylands 8.2.1.2.1

            “Incorrect.

            The main reason being that NZ doesn’t build its own nuclear reactors, so it would have to purchase them using hard foreign currency. The NZ Government cannot issue Euros to pay Areva, nor can it issue Yen to pay Toshiba, nor can it issue USD to pay GM for new reactors.

            You really have no idea about monetary matters, do you?

            EDIT yes what RL said as well
            also, the EROEI of nuclear power sucks to the maximum. Issuing currency =! issuing energy.”

            Get fucked. You lecturing me on monetary matters? Fool.

            The theory of comparative advantage no longer applies. We can build everything we need for a nuclear power station in NZ. Paid for by NZD issued by the Reserve Bank, under the SOVEREIGN authority of Parliament. (We do need some enriched uranium but the Aussies but we can get that at a good deal from Lucas Heights.)

            So we don’t have to purchase them with hard currency. It is all right here. Plus it would provide lots of jobs for the unskilled welfare recipients. They can easily be retrained in a few weeks to build nuclear reactors.

            Oh and get fucked. Again.

            • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.2.1.1

              Please remind me which nuclear power plant patents and designs NZ holds? We have uranium nuclear fuel processing and enrichment here or in Australia as well do we?

              It appears that not only are your economic theories 30 years old and that you have no idea of basic monetary operations (shit dude, come on, these are the ABCs), but your grip on how the real economy works is equally tenuous.

              If I were you, I’d be so very embarrassed. Go back to school mate.

              • srylands

                “If I were you, I’d be so very embarrassed. Go back to school mate.”

                You can get fucked. Again. New Zealand can design its own nuclear power plants. We have 30 years to prepare. And it can all be paid for by magic sprinkles (ooops I mean “issuing currency”)

                You have no grip on anything except the sewer you live in. In Hamilton.

                Fucking moron.

            • weka 8.2.1.2.1.2

              Srylands, factor in Peak Oil and EROEI then.

              And NZ’s cultural abhorrence of nuclear tech outside of medicine.

              Then cover the safety issues.

              • srylands

                “And NZ’s cultural abhorrence of nuclear tech outside of medicine.”

                Wagon wheel makers had a cultural abhorrence of motor vehicles in 1896. They go swept aside. Same thing will happen here.

            • Murray Olsen 8.2.1.2.1.3

              How does Lucas Heights sell enriched uranium when they don’t enrich it? In fact, it looks like the big reactor there will be closed down soon. They concentrate on isotopes for medicine, research, and maybe smoke alarms.

    • Martin 8.3

      yeah right!

    • Rich the other 8.4

      srylands,
      currently nuke isn’t an option for NZ or isn’t until we have a population of 15 mill or more.

      What we are seeing is a surge in coal fired generation around the world.
      Coal Prices are down and volumes are up.
      Ageing nukes are being replaced with coal fired generation in Japan , Germany and several other country’s.
      Many new coal fired plants are planned for India and China, some of their gas fired plants are also being converted to coal.
      The reason for this is safety and cheap coal , these developments are the reason why Australian coal exporting ports have in the last two months been working at record levels.

    • felix 8.5

      “Kawau Parua Inlet is an excellent site for a future power station to serve the Auckland region.”

      srylands is being a little sarcastic here I think. S/he knows that the vast tidal mudflats of the Kaipara could only provide silty, salty water for a few hours a day.

      S/he also knows that no-one refers to that area as “Kawau Parua Inlet” except people who’s only experience of it is a quick squizz at the google map.

  8. HealthPhysicist 9

    Seriously folks, here’s some actual scientific perspective:

    http://xkcd.com/radiation/

    PS there is a small mistake on that chart. The unit of the dose for staying in Tokyo following the fukushima disaster should be micro sieverts not milli sieverts as shown.

  9. the pigman 10

    This is nowhere close to the real world. The presence of hysterical claims from the west coast of the US and partisan Russia Today news tells me all I need to know…

    Meanwhile in Tokyo, life goes on, 3 of my friends have given birth to healthy babies in the last year and my wife is pregnant with her first.

    I do get a rueful chuckle out of the yanks, who unleashed atomic destruction on 2 major civilian areas in this country, speculating about health impacts thousands of thousands kilometers away while here in Tokyo we’re drinking the water, eating the food, and we’re fine.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The presence of hysterical claims from the west coast of the US and partisan Russia Today news tells me all I need to know…

      I don’t think that is a logical way to assess the issue. There have been plenty of instances of the Japanese Govt and Tepco downplaying the problems, only to admit later that things were worse than initially stated.

  10. johnm 11

    Saw some fish on reduction from Alaska the other day, didn’t buy it. Currents and air flow will if not already bring radiation contamination to the West Coast of the US. Tuna from the west Pacific needs to be checked for radiation. This disaster is the worst environmental catastrophe in Human History and it’s going to keep going. Three melted down cores no one knows where they are, if they go down far enough they’ll radiate the Tokyo aquifer.

    In November they are going to begin transferring spent fuel rods from the damaged storage pool structure which is one or two stories up in the air. If they get it wrong fission ignition could happen spewing huge amounts of radiation into the air which’ll travel around the whole northern hemisphere.

    It’s madness that the World’s nuclear scientists and Powers have not been helping TEPCO fron Day 1 D Day! The Japanese government are only now stepping in to help!

    Cr@pping yourself is not an option here this is apocalyptic! In otherwords more politely it’s do or die for Japan and even the World.

    • Martin 11.1

      If you want normal descendants anything that feeds from the North Pacific ocean should be off the menu. That includes muttonbirds.

      Our MSM is saying little about what is going on but plenty is going on.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        Hmmmmmm had a can of Alaskan pink salmon earlier this week. I think that’ll be the last one.

    • johnm 11.2

      “Helen Caldicott in Montreal – Press Conference in March 2011 ”

      Back in 3/11 She reports on the gravity of this crisis :-(

    • A Short Plank 11.3

      TEPCO and the Japanese Government could have had all the help from the world’s nuclear scientists and Powers they wanted from day one, had they asked for it. However that isn’t the Japanese way.

  11. infused 12

    It never left. It’s been leaking constantly since the earthquake.

    Have to love the internet. Everyone here has a PHD in everything.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      That’s pretty much the truth, I suspect. The PR war and short media attention span is one thing, but Mother Nature is not fooled.

      • infused 12.1.1

        Yes, and it seems there is not stopping it. The US must be getting pissed.

      • the pigman 12.1.2

        If the yanks could point to a single radioactive fish they’ve had come into their food chain, or a surprisingly high radiation measurement on the West Coast of the US, their pathetic hysteria would warrant sympathy, but at the moment it is just hysteria.

        Meanwhile, radiation levels in Tokyo are about the same as NYC.

        The fact is, food standards are pretty high in Japan because of previous (mercury) contamination issues. Japanese people are enormously conservative, especially about the pollution of their own bodies (wear masks everywhere, wash your hands 100 times a day, etc.)

        I’m not defending TEPCO for a second, but it is supremely unhelpful to have what often amounts to casual racism packaged up as non-science about the future of Fukushima.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          No US radioactive fish I know of, but radioactive fish have been captured near Fukushima.

    • Murray Olsen 12.2

      What’s your PhD in?

  12. xtasy 13

    There was even a report on tonight’s TV news on this. A large field full of contaminated earth in large bags, that cannot be buried or otherwise transported away and disposed of safely was shown. Anita McNaught reported on the Fukushima disaster and how they even have radio-active rain to deal with. That part of Japan will be uninhabitable for many years if not centuries, and the radio-active water that leaks into the Pacific every day will certainly end up in the food chain.

    Yet the nuclear industry continues to lobby governments and power companies, to build ever more plants in many places across the globe.

    It is just one other aspect of the total dependence of human societies on electricity so far largely generated with using fossil fuels, and increasingly also nuclear power.

    So imagine what will happen when fossil fuels will become unaffordable, and some countries ill-prepared to change to sustainable energy generation? A looming large scale disaster is to be expected.

    The Fukushima disaster is largely being covered up, because there are too many having an “interest” in keeping things running as they are, as the alternative could mean economic and social ruin for Japan. But hopefully the now growing anti-nuclear movement there will get more support, will push governments to start an energy revolution and move away from this high risk technology. In any case it will be a costly exercise, but apparently inevitable.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Japan is basically stuffed – a technological and industrially intensive economy with no energy resources of its own.

      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        Oh ..CV. If you recall I mentioned about a month ago that I was off on a spot of late career madness. Packed and away within the week. So far it all seems meant to happen. I think I’ll draw a line under my contribution here ..at least for the time being. I’m probably the longest serving member, having joined The Standard as a member about two weeks after Lynn set it up. A combination of the fact that it is no longer safe to be on the internet, and the demands on my time and energy over the next few years make this a timely decision.

        Sad to go. Wish you the very best CV. Personally I can only hope that the NZ Labour Party renews itself entirely under Cunliffe’s leadership. Maybe that’s too big a burden to place on one man … surely it’s dependent on the core activist membership to get in behind him if this is going to happen. I would hope that there is a real leadership contest, with a real vote. People WILL come back to the Party if they can see that it means something other than than just AGM’s and putting signs up. While I’ve always been a Green Party member and voted Green, there’s a large part of my soul that’s very respectful of all that Labour has achieved over all the many decades since Mickey Savage’s first government. For at least the foreseeable future any viable left-wing government in this country is going to depend on a vibrant, constructive relationship between Labour and the Greens.

        I’ve enjoyed much and learned a lot from all we’ve all talked about over the years. It’s changed me as a person. Many names here are old friends now. A number of you feel like soul-mates for want of a better word. And I think you’d know who you are. Even the trolls have mostly been fun to play with.

        I’ve often wished we could all meet over a beer or two just the once. Farewell.

        • karol 13.1.1.1

          Oh. RL, a farewell speech almost slipping under the radar?

          I have appreciated your excellent contributions. I hope your upcoming endeavours go well.

          • Anne 13.1.1.1.1

            Really sorry you’re going RedLogix. Your sensible, well reasoned posts and comments were always a must read for me. Didn’t necessarily understand your technological and geological summaries (being the technical dummy that I am) but still read them. :)

            Go well…

          • weka 13.1.1.1.2

            I’ve also appreciated your contributions here RL, even when we’ve had our odd clashes. Have to say, some of your comments on ts of late have had a rare quality to them, of thoughtful intelligence matched with tolerance and willingness to afford someone you are disagreeing with respect. It’s been a pleasure to watch. For that I am sad you leaving ts, but wish you all the best with the changes in your life.

        • infused 13.1.1.2

          I have to laugh at this shit about the gcsb. Your machine probably has malware sending your every keystroke overseas. mail has never been encrypted. plain text going all over the world. you guys need to start getting clued up.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.2.1

            infused. You’re smart, but even you need to realise that a Nigerian scammer using your PC to send out spam is something completely different to the Five Eyes network building up a multidimensional human relations database on anyone and everyone with no limitations on official use or abuse.

            • weka 13.1.1.2.1.1

              One of the best summations of the problem I’ve seen so far, thanks CV.

              • Colonial Viper

                My pleasure. One of Edward Snowden’s first published remarks said it all for me: it is the power to change someone’s fate.

                That kind of power should only rest in the hands of an emperor, or of God Himself. And I don’t remember voting for either.

        • marty mars 13.1.1.3

          All the best red – I’d have a beer with you too when you get to the bay. Kia kaha.

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.4

          I must have missed that comment from you RL! Good luck with everything. At the right time get word to Lynn and perhaps he’ll assist in organising a real world catch up. It’s a small world and a very small country. Best wishes.

        • r0b 13.1.1.5

          All the best with the next phase RL. You will be missed.

        • xtasy 13.1.1.6

          RedLogix – Wow, sorry to hear you are signing off! But best of luck with that job or whatever it is, in Australia, I suppose it was meant to be.

          And you do not feel safe on the internet anymore? I wonder why that is. I have – like Kim Dotcom mentioned in his speech at the Auckland Town Hall nearly a week ago, also noticed that at times my internet connection seems to be rather slow and with hiccups.

          Yes, I also wonder, why the hell that is. Dotcom said that is when he noticed his internet traffic was being re routed for surveillance purposes (GCSB).

          I would not get paranoic though, as I am not a terrorist, am not involved in subversive activities or anything illegal, unless they consider my critical posting and commenting as “subversive”.

          Interesting times we are in, and yes, it pays to be mindful and careful now, in healthy measures.

          I hope you won’t regret making a move, and if I was healthier and had the finance, I would possibly be out of here also, given the system here tends to get more hostile and inhumane under this shit government.

          Your many good comments will be remembered, and perhaps you may even have some time later, to comment from offshore?

          • Anne 13.1.1.6.1

            I have – like Kim Dotcom mentioned in his speech at the Auckland Town Hall nearly a week ago – also noticed that at times my internet connection seems to be rather slow and with hiccups.

            Interesting comment xtasy.

            I’ve been having the same problem and this morning (Sunday) it’s been particularly bad. I put it down to an overload of traffic but maybe…

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1.1.7

          I will miss reading your comments RL. Good luck for the future.

        • joe90 13.1.1.8

          I’ve enjoyed your contributions and particularly ‘the engineers perspective’ immensely over the past couple of years RL. Haere rā.

        • Ugly Truth 13.1.1.9

          Sorry to see you go, RedLogix. IMO you’re of the sanest voices here.

        • Macro 13.1.1.10

          “I’ve often wished we could all meet over a beer or two just the once.”

          Me too..
          All the very best RL
          You will be missed.

  13. Outofbed 14

    bye good luck

  14. joe90 15

    Early last year Dr Hiroaki Koide from the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University spoke to Watanabe Taeko.

    http://www.japanfocus.org/events/view/136

    It’s work that requires a stopwatch held in one’s hand. But the work has to be done because, if the pool for spent fuel rods at # 4 crumbles, that’s the end.

    Also, this TEPCO hand out and images from Cryptome detail the damage.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120830_03-e.pdf

    http://cryptome.org/eyeball/daiichi-npp/daiichi-photos.htm

    http://cryptome.org/eyeball/daiichi-npp2/daiichi-photos2.htm

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