A Commentary on the Article “ The Fukushima Crew”, Weekend Australian, March 09-10, 2013

The first draft of this post was perhaps a little too harsh toward the Murdoch Press. The following is amended text. After reading it, it is an idea to contrast this weekend’s 2 year anniversary piece on Fukushima published by The Weekend Australian with the piece published by The Weekend Australian one year ago. It is linked here: https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/the-death-of-a-farm-in-iitate-one-year-later/

A Commentary on the Article “ The Fukushima Crew”, Weekend Australian, March 09-10, 2013

My comments are in plain text. Direct quotes from the Weekend Australian are in bold.

Before quoting, for study purposes, from the above article published today by “The Weekend Australian”, it is worth mentioning that throughout nuclear history cycles of nuclear emissions are followed by denials of harm, rebuttals of harms experienced by victims (refugeeism, early symptoms, stress, loss of employment, disruption and so on), assurances of safety, and, as public groundswell increases, official insults toward victims, official complaints of dissent (especially in democracies) and the occassional breakthrough articles published by the remanents of the independent press, where real journalists work.

These breakthrough pieces spur the mainstream media to catch up. Governments, having failing to sufficiently bring to heel the dog press, release admissions. This cycle of event, denial, suppression and gruding admission does not, and never has, resulted in justice for nuclear victims. It merely communicates the reality of nuclear industry, protected as it is by National security laws which protect the industry. And this is true throughout the Western world.

At least in the USA Americans (and other interested parties) are aware of the cornerstone law (the Atomic Energy Act 1954 as currently amendment and its associated legislation) which censors the press. These laws put a leash on a free press. In the case of Fukushima, it has meant, at least in part, that there has been a great and grave incongruence between paper based news and the online journals. This starkly revealed in the following piece, as quoted here. The information presented this weekend by the Murdoch press as new and “exclusive” is up to 2 years old. It was published first by net based media such the Huffington Post. The material relating to the vulnerability of the Fukushima Diiachi plant being raised by Robert Alvarez in 2011 and reported online and in sectoins of the press freer, apparently, and therefore faster to report than the Murdoch empire.

This cycle of denial – disclosure – rebuttal – admission is evident in any comprehensive account of nuclear disaster, particularly ones which relate the chronology of events. Disclosure takes decades. The first example is that of the Groves deception of 1945:

“Despite the foresight demonstrated at the Trinity test, on 12 September 1945, the New York Times published a story claiming that the reports of illness among Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings of their cities were false. The reporter, Laurence, wrote: “the Japanese described ‘symptoms’ that did not ring true.” Groves was quoted as saying: “The Japanese claim that people died from radiation. If this is true, the number was very small.” [29]
In response to similar press reports, Dr Robert Stone, head of the Manhattan Project’s code named Metallurgical Division’s Health Program wrote the following to Colonel H.L. Friedell, U.S. Engineer Corps, Manhattan District Engineeers, on 9 August 1945: “I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a series of news releases said to be quoting Oppenheimer, and giving the impression that there is no radioactive hazard. Apparently all things are relative.” [30]
[29] Laurence, W. L., New York Times, 12 September 1945, as related by Amy Goodman and David Goodman in “Hiroshima Cover-up: How the War Department’s Timesman Won a Pulitzer” at Commondreams.org News Centre
[30] US Department of Energy Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project, Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) : Introduction The Aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Emergence of the Cold War Radiation Research Bureaucracy” (ACHRE No. DOE-121494-D-1).

Taken from the text “Medicine and the Bomb: Deceptions from Trinity to Maralinga – The Use of Pre-War Medical Research by Nuclear Weapons Authorities” Langley, P.J., ISBN : 978-0-646-51823-7, Langley, P. J., Aldinga, SA, May 2009.

Quotes and my responses to the Weekend Australian piece:

“Through a series of exclusive interviews with several of the workers who fought to save the plant, “The Weekend Australian Magazine” has pieced together an account of how the battle to save Fukushima was waged – and how a new tragedy there remains a possibility. The workers tell a story of chaos, confusion and danger; a story of that was largely hidden from the public’s view ….These men…..also tell of a plant that, in spite of government assurances, remains critically vulnerable to another tsunami or quake. Their accounts reveal the incompetence at the top of the nuclear industry, and infiltration of corruption and organized crime at the bottom, in a country that many still associate with technological and organizational perfection.”

(If the same cannot occur in the USA or elsewhere, why did the US NRC order the placement of emergency DIESEL GENERATORS at US reactors in the wake of Fukushima? This issue is technological in nature, not organizational. It is not specifically a risk confined to Japanese reactors. The Japanese culture is not the source of out of control fission releases, the reactors are. None of the above is new to anyone who has followed qualified sources publishing on the internet but excluded from many paper based broadsheets such as the Australian. The free-est organisations have reported the events disclosed by the Weekend Australian up to 2 years earlier than the Murdoch Press’ “Weekend Australian”. It’s supposedly “new’ “exclusive” reports are in fsact neither. Calamity is not an accurate description of the situation in Japan today. It has been in nuclear disaster since March 2011. It is now March 2013. And sadly, despite the evidence to the contrary, the Australian and Weekend Australian in March 2012 labelled the March 2011 events and its results a mere “Calamity” for Japan. Whereas in fact the situation was remains a national and internationals Disaster. (Allbeit one which Toshiba Corp states it can survive even if it were to repeat once every 3 decades. There is profit to made apparently by such corporations from such disasters. It is the taxpayer that pays for the consequences and remediation after all. BP in Florida and London must be watching with utter envy at the tricks and influence the nuclear slum has over elected governments.)

It is valid to examine the experience of the workers at the Fukushima Diiachi plant. It is not valid to examine their possible fate and risks of shortened life in isolation to those who suffered an entirely different type of hazard and possible outcome. That is, the children of Japan and the customers of the Japanese electricity suppliers who did not buy nuclear fallout, but who were assured all was safe and well, and who indeed still are lied to in this regard by nuclear authorities around the world. The reader is urged not just to read this article but to read previous ones which confirm the fact that children miles from the TEPCO have already reached their ALLOWABLE LIFE TIME DOSE. They range in ages from babies to pre teens to teens. They have the thyroid dose exposure, expected as worst case, to occur only when they were 70 – 80 years old. This is the nature of the risk pressed upon them in order to cheaply present to the world the Fukushima “Calamity” rather than the true nuclear disaster the situation remains.

Disclosure then, as demonstrated by every nuclear disaster since 1942, is no guarantee justice or acknowledgement of victims. Rather with disclosure comes an officially seeded public argument about effects which is aimed at isolating victims rather than elevating as a coherent political and social force. The seeds of this argument can be in fact discerned within the Weekend Australian article here.

“Reactors one, two and three had melted down, and without cooling water the spent fuel alongside reactors three and four was at risk of ignition – development that would put Chernobyl in the shade..”

I have to say at this point, on reading the above for the first time this morning I was incredulous. For the IAEA Alert issued to all member states, obtained by a US citizen under US FOI directly confirms a fire in fuel pool four. This fire occurred on the 15th of March 2011.
Source Link to FOI document wad: http://www.scribd.com/doc/85541471/IAEA-ENAC-Data-March-15th-Reactor-4-Spent-Fuel-Pool-Fire-Pages-from-ML12037A104-FOIA-PA-2011-0118

Murdoch cannot have it both ways. This is 2013, not 1956 or 1958.

“Suspicions remain that the plant was critically damaged by the earthquake even before the tsunami struck, casting doubt on the resilience of reactors throughout Japan. ….Sakamoto and the other workers laugh scornfully when asked if it could withstand another large quake or tsunami . “It remains very vulnerable Sakamoto (not his real name) says. “…if it happens again….I would evacuate….”

Not once did the journalists mention or wonder at the forced resettlement of civilians back into fallout affected areas late in 2011. They do not wonder at the risks to children, merely mentioning the high doses the workers have bravely and without complaint borne on behalf of and for the sake of, Japan and the world. In fairness, a year ago the Murdoch press cover the plight of Japan’s nuclear refugees. Is once a year enough?

Surely Japan risks it’s future when it risks its children, knowing many have been returned by government policy, to areas which remain unclean and which remain at risk from further failures of the Fukushima reactors, as confirmed by senior TEPCO site workers. So why did the Murdoch press give such credence to people who claimed all was well in Japan in the wake of its allegedly little “calamity”?

“One worker, Kazuki Sasaki, tells us he saw “smoke rising pouring from out of the reactor one building” well before the tsunami…”

In 2011 video footage taken by a Japanese TV station showed this smoke issuing from this reactor. The footage was repeatedly placed on Youtube, who repeatedly removed it. Had the Murdoch Press been interested in this truth at that time, they would have contacted the source broadcaster and displayed images on its flagship front pages for months. In any event, the UK Guardian has reported all this in 2011. Murdoch is 2 years late with this.

Ray in Canada does a far better job at displaying images and proofs of lies in pictures of the plant than the entire global resources of the Murdoch empire.

“Kenji Watanabe, an engineer from a major nuclear company who’s been on site throughout, agreed the plant was damaged by the quake. “If you ask me, officially it’ was the tsunami,” he says, “But as an engineer – and someone with a conscience – I can say there’’ no doubt the reactors were damaged by the quake.”

This information also is not new. This source is not new. This disclosure to Internet illiterates or deprived in Australia is many many months old. How did the quake damage the reactor? Most people limit their considerations to breaks in coolant pipes, and this is reasonable. However, broken pipes are only one possible outcome from the quake. A Japanese patent, some years old, reflects a nuclear engineering concern within Japan. And that is fuel pellet impaction due to quake. See this link for a discussion on the modification of fuel pellets for decreased risk in earthquakes: https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/the-vulnerability-of-reactor-fuel-rod-pellets-to-earthquake/ Engineers generally do not waste time trying to prevent disaster where there is no need.

The energy density of the fuel depends upon the density of the fuel and its surface area presented to the heat sinks. If the quake powdered and compressed the fuel pellets, then the rate of energy release would increase and heat outcome would increase at the very time the amount of fuel surface area in contact with the heat sink reduces due to compression. The resultant increase in reactor output, if it occurred immediately upon the quake event, and any such reactor would be primed for additional disaster when the quake struck. The truth of this scenario cannot be confirmed. However the very existence of the patent for hollow centred fuel pellets (like a “life saver” lollies, the ones with the hole in the middle) shows at least one senior nuclear engineer in Japan has considered this and has placed, for a number of years, both his concern and his creative and technical solution to the risk posed by quake compressed fuel pellets. No paid journalist has mentioned this to date that I am aware of.)

There is much more to consider in regard to today’s Weekend Magazine article on Fukushima. No doubt the writers did their best and no doubt they wish they had written this piece with its most crucial information prior to any other publication. Sadly they are among the last journalists interested in the nuclear disaster in the world to report it. A primary school student with an Eeepc and a net connection could have reported more 15 months ago. And thank the Lord for that fact.

While I agree without reservation with the observation by the reporters for the Weekend Australian that the workers on site at Fukushima are heroes and very brave men, I cannot agree that the article published this weekend by the Murdoch Press gives news. All of this information may have been purchased by Rupert from the Huffington post and Ray in Canada 2 years and 1 year ago. And I also say that the bloggers of and in Japan actually release more news and release it far earlier than most anyone else. The language barrier much used by the Occupation Forces in 1945 to suppress and isolate nuclear victims is not the same barrier today.

The Vulnerability of Reactor Fuel Rod Pellets to Earthquake

“ANALYSIS OF FUEL BEHAVIOR DURING REACTIVITY INITIATED ACCIDENTS” by L. B. Thompson, E. L. Tolman, and P. E. MacDonald, Aerojet Nuclear Co. March 1975”. (not so old.) On page 22 it states : “fuel pellet enthalpy has a positive influence coefficient with respect to maximum cladding temperature; that is, an increase in maximum enthalpy increases the maximum temperature. An increase in heat transfer coefficient or rod diameter causes a decrease in expected maximum temperatures. “ end quote.

Enthalpy is about the energy in a system. The energy density of the fuel pellet influences things in the reactor. Can this suddently change due to internal vibration (inter-pellet impact) of the fuel rod contents during earthquake? According to the followin patent, yes:

Patent 4587089 Fuel assembly for boiling water reactor Takeda et al.
Quote: “The present invention relates to a reactor. More particularly, the present invention relates to a reactor having a fuel assembly which is excellent in the safety, the resistance to earthquake, the stability, the fuel soundness and the fue leconomy.” ” It is a primary object of the present invention to provide a reactor in which the earthquake resistance of the core is improved and the change of the power at the transient stage is reduced.” “the safety, the earthquake resistance, the stability, the fuel soundness and the fuel economy can be improved by means described below according to the presentinvention.” “FIG. 8 shows a response displacement of the fuel assembly at the time of an earthquake in a reactor site where the difference of the characteristic frequency between a reactor building and the fuel assembly is 0.04 second.” end quote.

The patent admits the earthquake vulnerability of fuel pellets.

Is the method described in this patent immune to the effects of earthquake? Was this improved fuel in use at Fukushima Diiachi at the time the March 2011 quake struck?

link to patent : http://www.patentgenius.com/patent/4587089.html

Murdoch: “the spent fuel alongside reactors three and four was AT RISK of ignition – development that would put Chernobyl in the shade..”

IAEA via NRC via FOI document from US Gov to US citizen:

I conclude Murdoch global crew either cannot research their way out of a brown paper bag.

Better late than never Rupert. I suppose. Let us see what you do with the dose and fallout impact debate.

Lastly, in regard to the gross contamination of the village and farms at and around Iitate, it was GreenPeace in March 2011 who alerted the Japanese government to it. The Japanese government refuted the Greenpeace findings. Greenpeace informed the IAEA. The conservative press at the time panned Greenpeace. The Greenpeace findings were validated and international and national pressure compelled the IAEA to advise the Japanese government to evacuate Iitate and surrounding areas. Prior to this the Japanese government had contracted with a private company to monitor internet traffic and to take steps to ensure “accuracy on the internet in regard to fukushima and its impacts.” The Japanese government spent billions of yen to this end.

None the less, the evacuation Iitate did proceed, much to the disappointment of nuclear industry. Who called it “meltdown down in reason”. eg https://blogs.flinders.edu.au/flinders-news/2011/07/14/radiation-response-a-meltdown-in-reason/ I have never followed the Goldilocks theory of radiation exposure. It does not work because over a life time every exposure adds up. There is therefore no single ideal dose. All are components of the radiological insults which accrue to define the parameters of one’s life. Neither TEPCO, the Japanese government nor the mighty Flinders Unversity of South Australia has the power or right to tell me how to set my parameters. They claim medical authority when they are not my doctor and when I have not given my consent. These two things plus the absence of medical need defines the alleged “medicine” of nuclear industry to be what it is. Voodoo to keep the uranium share price up. They failed in that attempt too. The more they crow, the faster the price falls, so, for the moment, they have shut up.

Written from the heart of Bechtel territory, South Australia.

3 Responses to “A Commentary on the Article “ The Fukushima Crew”, Weekend Australian, March 09-10, 2013”

  1. Sue-Ellen Campbell Says:

    Thank you for your article.
    I agree with the gist of what you say however ” better late than never”. All those people we have primed will read this and know our fears and worries were valid and that we DO NOT WANT A NUCLEAR ACCIDENT IN OUR BACKYARD OR INDEED ANYONE ON OUR PLANETS BACKYARD.
    Galling and ludicrous as it seems, it has given our cause credibility and reflected badly on their sloth.
    Now what do we do with this heightened awareness that will help Fukushima affected and will prevent any more nuclear power plants?

    • nuclearhistory Says:

      Hi Sue Ellen, Agreed. I think using this belated information from The Australian as a source is a good way of showing people the early reports about true conditions were indeed correct. As you say.

      If the Murdoch press confirms it, it is another source.

      The danger in the article is the exclusive focus on the high dose the adult males have so far survived.

      This focus excludes children, women, and people with illness and who do not qualify as healthy.

      I am in the process of rewriting the piece, I realise it is wordy and wobbly, I will be sharpening it up. While there are omissions in the piece, it is a sign of validation for those who use the conventional media as a form validation. (as unwise as that might be, though I do it myself. ) However, no doubt we are still in the same old cycle of event > denial > disclosure > lack of justice none the less. And the press is used I believe in that process, and has been since 1945. Though of course in each case, one cannot be sure pieces are plants and which ones are the result of ernest pursuit of the truth. This article does contain a lot of old information.

  2. CaptD Says:

    Each nuclear incident and every nuclear accident adds yet another data point, that taken together charts the effects of Nuclear “Gone Bad”…

    Fukushima is STILL a nuclear black eye for the entire Industry (tow years and still counting afterward), as well as responsible for polluting the Earth globally with its radionuclides. The Japanese Government and their Utility “Gangs” don’t care, instead they bow and push for “business as usual”. I along with many others believe that it will take a number of Fukushima’s to end our Nuclear Energy Slavery; something that the German’s are now in the process of doing as we speak. By studying what Germany is doing, other countries can avoid the allure of nuclear energy which generates big profits for their Utilities and HUGE risks along with mountains of radioactive waste for future generations to deal with!

    For those in the USA, look no farther that San Onofre in California that just missed having a nuclear incident/accident on 1/31/12; yet the NRC and Edison treat it like was just a tiny bump in their profitability highway, seeking to restart one reactor at partial power in order to “see” if anything bad happens to the already damaged steam generators; something that the majority of the nearby 8 million residents want no part of.

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