Fukushima Five Years On: Not a Comedy of Errors, a Calamity of Terrors

Since it began March 11, 2011, thousands of freelancers have reported on the Fukushima-Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns and radiation gusher, the deluge of accidents, leaks, faulty cleanup efforts, the widespread contamination of workers, citizens, soil, food and water, and the long series of cancer studies, lawsuits, and ever-changing clean-up and decommissioning plans. As Japan Times reports last October, “Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for [Tokyo Electric Power Co.] to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors.”

The journalism is partly a response to the lack of mainstream US news coverage, and partly a warning against similar radiation disasters risked in the United States every day by the operation of 23 identical GE reactors (Fukushima clones) in this country.

Japanese media coverage of the catastrophe in English, along with analysis by independent scientists, researchers, and institutes is mostly available online and much of it is reliable.

Five years into the crisis, officials from Tepco have said leaks from the wreckage with “at least” two trillion Becquerels of radioactivity entered the Pacific between August 2013 and May 2014. “At least” is vague enough to beg the question: Is the actual total 5 trillion; 25; 50? Relentless drainage of contaminated water from the site is estimated to be about 300 tons a day and has continued for 60 months. “We should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” researcher Ken Buesseler, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute said last September.

However, Japan isn’t even monitoring seawater near Fukushima, according to The Ecologist.

Greenpeace launches study of 300-year effect on oceans

On Feb. 26, Greenpeace International launched a major investigation into the gusher’s effects on the Pacific Ocean near the wrecked Fukushima complex in Northeast Japan. The group said in a press release that its investigation will employ an underwater vehicle with a sensitive gamma radiation “Spectrometer,” and a sediment sampler.

Greenpeace noted that, “In addition to the initial release of liquid nuclear waste during the first weeks of the accident, and the daily releases ever since, contamination has also flowed from the land itself, particularly nearby forests and mountains of Fukushima, and are expected to continue to contaminate the Pacific Ocean for at least the next 300 years.”

 

 

 

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