Mainstream media had coverage of the 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan on rotation back in March 2011. The catastrophic imagery included coverage of the triple meltdown that occurred when the ruinous earthquake and tsunami knocked out power and emergency generators at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility (tactlessly constructed next to the Pacific Ocean), disabling the plant’s vital cooling system. The radioactive fuel rods melted down, releasing high levels of radioactive debris into atmosphere, land and sea.
On the West Coast of the US, there were scant reports predicting when the jet stream would blow the fallout our way. There was a good deal of coverage about the plant’s 3 remaining – and badly damaged – reactors that threatened to erupt & TEPCO’s (the plant’s operator) effort to hurry up and put a band aid on it in efforts to keep that revenue flowing.
However, shortly after the cataclysmic event, Media was assuring us that we here in the States would be fine. Sure, it may take a few decades, but TEPCO was on it and the ‘trace’ amounts of radioactive material being spewed forth by the plant would have no ill effects on human heath. True to form, Ann Coulter was out there pouring the Kool-Aid on Faux News claiming a little radiation is actually good for folks. Eventually, updates on the worst meltdown since Chernobyl subsided. The reality was the crisis had only just begun.
It’s a complicated situation over at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The triple meltdown that appeared to be the primary concern was actually the first of several. Since the cooling system went kaput, a constant stream of water was sprayed onto fuel rods (preventing nuclear eruption). Shortly thereafter, watchdog sites such as Enenews presented reports that nuclear waste was somehow making it’s way into the Pacific ocean & TEPCO’s use of robots to detect any damage and potential source of leakage had been futile since the intense heat caused them all to malfunction. Questions arose: “Where will the contaminated water used to cool the fuel rods be stored? Will it be treated and poured into the Pacific?”
In September of 2013, the Japan Times reported “Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday formally revised its groundwater flow simulation and now believes up to 400 tons of contaminated water is seeping into the Pacific every day from the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The previous estimate was about 300 tons per day. According to TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, who was invited to appear as an unsworn witness at a special Diet committee session, the utility now believes 800 tons of groundwater are flowing each day into the compound and damaged reactors.”
The repercussions remain to be seen once this toxic mess starts swirling around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The Effects On Planetary Life
There hasn’t been enough data to connect the dots in the USA, but there’ve been countless reports of people, namely children, living in the surrounding area of the Fukushima plant coming down with all forms of ailments, including cancer and leukemia. Various nuclear watchdogs have presented additional stories of a spike in stillbirths and birth defects.
TEPCO is currently being sued by a group of ailing Navy sailors who took part in a relief effort titled Operation Tomodachi. The 70+ men and women who claim to be suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning including testicle and optic nerve removal, leukemia’s, and polyps allege that TEPCO was well aware that their vessel (the USS Ronald Regan) sailed directly into a plume of radioactivity which entered the ships water supply, and potentially contaminated their drinking water as well as the water they cooked, washed and brushed their teeth with. The Environmental News Service reported, “TEPCO officials knew how serious the radiation leak was and knew that American troops were heading to Japan to offer relief, but did nothing to warn them of what they were sailing into.”
There’s no conclusive evidence, but it’s suspected that wild life in the Pacific are succumbing to the radioactive poisoning via Fukushima Daiichi, with a recent sea star, sea urchin & cucumbers epidemic. Additional reports of “strange animal behavior” have accompanied concerns that the radioactive material have infiltrated our food chain.
TEPCO’s Questionable Approach to Clean Up Efforts
The Fukushima nuclear plant is in a rapid state of decay after being rocked by a number of earthquakes and typhoons since March 2011 – not to mention the searing heat of compromised fuel rods. Any human efforts to repair the plant are basically a suicide mission as the amounts of radiation being emanating from it are lethal. TEPCO’s clean up efforts reveal the desperation of the situation. Last year
Forbes stated “More than a year after the earthquake, after the crisis at Fukushima went from bad to worse, the Japanese government commandeered the cleanup effort… The report published this morning by Reuters suggests that the cleanup effort is still broken… Reuters revealed that the Yakuza, the notorious criminal syndicates that control Japan’s underworld, are filling a manpower void with homeless men they’ve recruited off the streets.”
Japan’s State Secrets Law
A massive outcry followed the passing of the nation’s clandestine law in December. The official rationale points to the nation’s unsteady relationship with China. Nuclear watchdogs propose the law is also designed to put the brakes on Fukushima investigations. The Japan Times: “Following political turmoil that rocked the Diet over the past week, ruling block Upper House members finally enacted the contentious state secrets bill late Friday night. Earlier in the day, opposition parties intensified their protests in vain over a law that’s being criticizing for not creating an independent oversight body capable of preventing the government from hiding inconvenient information at its discretion.”
The Global Post explained the essence of the law that “defines terrorism as imposing one’s opinions on others, criminalizes investigative journalism and that basically, anything can be a secret.”
No end in sight
Nuclear critics and TEPCO spokespeople are in unison acknowledging of the risks posed by the irreparable plant’s remaining fuel rods. It’s a time-sensitive undertaking that could end up taking decades, given the dire state of the facility and the ominous predicament it presents.
Last fall, at the University of Alberta, Award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki said, “Fukushima is the most terrifying situation I can imagine. You ask, what can we do? First of all you have got a government that is in total collusion with TEPCO, they’re lying through their teeth… The fourth [reactor] has been so badly damaged that the fear is if there’s another quake of a 7 or above that that building will go, and then all hell breaks loose. And the probability of a 7 or above quake in the next 3 years is over 95%… They don’t know what to do. We need to get a group of international experts to go in with complete freedom to do what they suggest. Right now the Japanese government has too much pride to admit that. I’ve seen a paper which says that if in fact the fourth plant goes under an earthquake and those rods are exposed, it’s bye-bye Japan, and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate. Now if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is.”