Fukushima Fallout – who to believe – the paid experts or ordinary people

BBC asks Beddington to describe what would happen if material was released from the reactors at Fukushima in meltdown:

Beddingon: “In that situation you would get an explosion and radioactive material would be emitted. But it would be emitted to about 500 metres and it would be a relatively short duration of the order of an hour or so. Compare that with Chernobyl…”

(BBC material rebroadcast by SBS TV Australia, 15 March 2010)

Meanwhile:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jun/20/japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-japan

UK government’s Fukushima crisis plan based on bigger leak than Chernobyl

Exclusive: As Japan’s nuclear emergency unfolded, scientists devised a worst case scenario involving issuing iodine pills to Britons
The British government made contingency plans at the height of the Fukushima nuclear crisis which anticipated a “reasonable worst case scenario” of the plant releasing more radiation than Chernobyl, new documents released to the Guardian show.

The grim assessment was used to underpin plans by the British embassy in Tokyo to issue protective iodine pills to expats and visitors. It also prompted detailed plans by Cobra, the government’s emergency committee, to scramble specialist teams to screen passengers returning from Japan at UK airports for radioactive contamination.

The UK government’s response to the unfolding crisis is revealed in documents prepared for Sir John Beddington, the chief scientist and chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. The 30 documents include advice from the National Nuclear Laboratory on damage to the plant, public safety assessments from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), computer models of the radioactive plume from Defra’s Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network (Rimnet), and the worst case scenario that might unfold at the plant.”

end quote. Either the British Chief Scientist does not know how far 500 metres is, or he was lying to the public via the BBC.

It is now known that three reactors suffered core meltdown in March 2011.

The Japanese Press explains its views in a two part review article:

The Mainichi Daily News

Journalists’ responsibilities heavy in face of unprecedented crisis (Part 1)
The front page of the March 13 morning issue of the Mainichi, reporting on an explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. (Mainichi)
The front page of the March 13 morning issue of the Mainichi, reporting on an explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. (Mainichi)

The unprecedented disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, in which fuel meltdowns were found to have taken place simultaneously at three reactors, poses a massive challenge to the media. Looking back, did we promptly deliver accurate information that could save the lives of the public? Reflecting upon our experiences gathering information from the disaster areas, as well as from the Prime Minister’s Office, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), and other groups and individuals, what can we say about our coverage of the ongoing crisis?

—–

Press conferences were held intermittently by TEPCO and NISA beginning March 11, when the nuclear disaster was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. As the safeguards meant to guarantee the safety of the nuclear power plant failed one after another, it was our task as reporters to discern the state of the plant with the limited information we had, motivated by a sense of impending danger to residents living in close proximity to the power plant. At the mercy of backtracking government and TEPCO officials, however, we were often at a loss as to how to confirm the legitimacy of the information we were given and how the information should be relayed to the public.

A little after 3:30 p.m. on March 12, images of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant appeared on the screen of a television at TEPCO’s head office in Tokyo’s Uchisaiwaicho district. It appeared as though just the steel frame of the upper part of the No. 1 reactor building remained. The reporters grew alarmed. “Something’s not right,” one said.

However, even after seeing the footage, TEPCO’s public relations officer stubbornly insisted: “We don’t know what’s going on. We’re trying to confirm with those on the scene.” Finally, at a press conference held four hours later, TEPCO admitted that there had been a hydrogen explosion at the plant’s No. 1 reactor.

By that afternoon, radioactive cesium and iodine were detected in the power plant’s surrounding areas. Koichiro Nakamura, then deputy director-general of NISA and the press officer for the agency, explained that it was possible that a reactor meltdown had taken place. Soon thereafter, Nakamura stopped appearing in press conferences. The new press officer refused to offer any further information, sticking to the line: “We can’t discuss anything until the Prime Minister’s Office has made an announcement.” Subsequently, NISA avoided using the phrase “core meltdown,” replacing it with either “fuel damage” or “core damage.”

However, several months later, it emerged that NISA had previously asked power companies to fake support for nuclear power at a symposium, and on Aug. 10, approximately five months after the onset of the nuclear crisis, then NISA director Nobuaki Terasaka announced: “We recognized the possibility of a core meltdown soon after the incident began.”

On March 12, NISA designated the Fukushima disaster a level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), but a month later upgraded it to level 7, the worst level on the scale, which had until then been given only to Chernobyl. An understated announcement would be made, followed later by a revision. Statements concerning the nuclear disaster simply repeated this pattern.

So did TEPCO and the government respond appropriately to the crisis? I cannot shake the feeling that the damage could have been reined in far more than it has been. And slowly, through the efforts of the “Investigation Committee on the Accidents at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company” set up by the government, it’s become clear what prevented officials from being more effective.

In preparation for a midterm report to be submitted by the end of the year, the committee has been conducting interviews with TEPCO and government officials. These interviews have revealed that it occurred to neither NISA nor to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to use a computer system called the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), in coming up with an evacuation plan. Furthermore, no one in NISA had even recognized the necessity of contacting neighboring countries, let alone raising the issue, before low-level radioactive water was dumped into the Pacific Ocean on April 4.

What I’ve gathered from my experiences trying to understand the disaster is that both TEPCO and the government have failed to look at the crisis from the point of view of the victims.

Norio Kanno, the mayor of the Fukushima Prefecture village of Iitate, lamented that he did not receive any information from the central government for a month or two after the nuclear disaster began, and suggested that it was because “hearts (of government officials) lacked concern for the disaster areas.” There is anger directed toward media, too, which we as journalists must accept and learn from.

The basic mission of newspapers is to collect information in the field and deliver it accurately to the public. At the beginning of the nuclear crisis, however, we had no idea whether the information we had to work off of was accurate. In addition, many experts were divided on what they believed. Requests for permission to go on-site to the power plant to report were denied by TEPCO. When reporters haven’t looked at the scene themselves, how are they to communicate the very limited information that they do have?
Junko Adachi, Science and Environment News Department (Mainichi)
Junko Adachi, Science and Environment News Department (Mainichi)

Settling of the ongoing crisis, including decontamination beyond the plant’s borders, is expected to take many years. The investigation into the disaster’s cause has just begun. The responsibility to stand on the side of those who receive the news, and write articles that will contribute to reconstruction and to shed light on the cause of the disaster weighs squarely on our shoulders. (By Junko Adachi, Science and Environment News Department)

(This is part one of a six-part series on coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.)

Click here for the original Japanese story

(Mainichi Japan) October 20, 2011

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20111021p2a00m0na007000c.html

Journalists strived to get truth about nuclear fallout to public (Part 2)
A worker in protective gear uses a high-pressure washer to decontaminate the windows at Kashima Elementary School in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Minamisoma on Aug. 12. (Mainichi)
A worker in protective gear uses a high-pressure washer to decontaminate the windows at Kashima Elementary School in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Minamisoma on Aug. 12. (Mainichi)

The question of how much and where radioactive materials were dispersed by the hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have been of the utmost importance to residents of both Fukushima Prefecture and beyond, and one we began to pursue soon after the nuclear disaster started to unfold.

The government initially designated the area within a 20-kilometer radius of the power plant an evacuation zone, while those living between 20 kilometers and 30 kilometers from the plant were instructed to remain indoors. However, high levels of radiation were being detected even beyond those areas. A long-term advisory to stay indoors had not been a part of the government’s disaster preparedness guidelines, and would pose too great a burden on residents. It seemed to us that a designation of evacuation zones based on actual radiation measurements was necessary.

That was when we came up with the idea of calculating cumulative radiation levels at various locations. At the time, radiation monitoring results released by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and municipal governments were limited to the amount of radiation detected in the atmosphere per hour (dosage rate). But since local residents would continue to be exposed to radiation, we felt it far more important to provide information on cumulative radiation levels.

When we appealed to MEXT to provide this information, we were told it was not something they could do right away. It was decided then that the Mainichi would crunch the cumulative radiation level numbers by adding together dosage rates released by public sources.

Between March 14 and March 21, the cumulative radiation level in the city of Fukushima reached 1770.7 microsieverts. The figure was 299.7 microsieverts for the Fukushima prefectural city of Iwaki and 34.1 microsieverts for the Tochigi Prefecture capital of Utsunomiya for the same period, and 33.2 microsieverts in the Ibaraki Prefecture capital city of Mito between March 15 and March 21. Having found the cumulative radiation in the city of Fukushima to exceed the average 1500 microsieverts of natural background radiation that we are normally exposed to annually, the Mainichi’s Science and Environment News Department debated what to do with the information, concerned about the public response the information could spark.

Ultimately, we decided to release the information along with the explanation that cumulative radiation levels indicate how much radiation one would be exposed to if they stayed outdoors all day, and that radiation levels in general were trending downwards. We also added commentary from multiple experts that the radiation levels posed no health risks for people “stepping out to shop” for groceries, and published the information in the March 23 morning issue of the Mainichi’s Japanese edition.

Following publication, we received inquiries from various municipal governments in Fukushima Prefecture, and were criticized by some readers for “causing panic among Fukushima city residents.” We maintain, however, that by contributing information on cumulative radiation levels — which until then had been largely ignored — we helped residents come to their own conclusions on what to do next.

On March 25, MEXT began releasing cumulative radiation figures. Since then, it has gone on to conduct detailed monitoring of radiation levels, and has posted predicted cumulative radiation levels through March 2012.
Taku Nishikawa, Science and Environment News Department. (Mainichi)
Taku Nishikawa, Science and Environment News Department. (Mainichi)

We still regret not having been able to predict that radioactive contamination would spread to the extent that it has. We keep asking ourselves if there was any way we could’ve sounded a more precise alarm when large volumes of radioactive materials were released on March 14 and March 15, as we continue working toward protecting the public from unnecessary exposure. (By Taku Nishikawa, Science and Environment News Department)

(This is part two of a six-part series on coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.)

Click here for the original Japanese story

(Mainichi Japan) October 21, 2011

end quote. Meanwhile, the Australian nuclear industry continues to maintain the hormesis theory -that radiation is good for you, despite profound evidence to the contrary.

I a quite sick of Australian experts who refuse to retract their statements of March 2011- that the reactors in Japan are, Ziggy S said, the best in the world” and that the disintegration of the outer containment buildings of three reactors was described as “normal”. If they were not needed, and if the breached reactors are not still venting, why is the Japanese government attempting to seal them with covering? What of the intermittent fission ocurring in the molten cores, the false methodology of claiming the empty vessels are cooling – big deal, the fuel in no longer inside them.

We are witnessing a re run of the 1950 nuclear deception, perfected by the West during the atomic test era. Only this time, its three reactors, not bombs.

Where next? Which paid hack scientist s going to tell the next lie? Barry Brooks? Pam Sykes? Grimes? The head of BHP? They all think they are doctors. Sykes is a B.Sc. Funded by DOE. Brooks? who pays him for their thoughts?

Evacuate Fukushima. 500 metres my foot.


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