Fukushima Agricultural Dead Zone
CNN’s Sanjay Gupta concerned about food in Japan, first the spinach, then the milk, tea leaves around Tokyo, hay and cows. Bloomberg lists that “spinach, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tea, milk, plums and fish have been found to be contaminated with cesium and iodine as far as 225 miles as well as cesium in milk about 100 miles away near another nuclear plant. What’s next, chicken and pigs and nightcrawlers? Nobody was controlling the feed or what cows outside Fukushima might be eating it. Some folks leaving comments say they’re still going to be eating Kobe beef because it’s hundreds of miles away, but is the world going to eat Japanese anything at this rate?
What about radioactive cow manure, is it going to be allowed to be used as fertilizer? I’m stilling seeing people say that death-wise the meltdown was still a big zero compared to tsunami deaths. But this is rapidly is turning into an ecological catastrophe that’s going to turn the Fukushima region if not most of Japan into an agricultural desert / dead zone once they get done banning selling of milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, animal feed, fish, processed sewage for concrete and whatever else might be produced besides electricity.
Another expert observed that the reactors really aren’t stabilized at all, the only major improvement is that they have a jury rigged mess that is prone to breakdown that can re-use cooling water rather than being a radioactive water factory, but they’ll have to do that for YEARS. Radioactive steam is still coming out of the various buildings, most of which lack roofs and / or walls.
What/Who Else is Radioactive
If you put all the reports of people being exposed to radiation, they’ve got a couple of workers with a pretty good fraction of a full sievert, a thousand-odd workers who are showing internal exposure, residents of all kinds are showing indications of internal exposure and in their urine samples, and it’s even showing up in mothers breast milk (of course in “amounts of no immediate concern for health).
It’s becoming really hard to believe that the plant site is in any way “safe”, let alone any corner of the prefecture, even though Tokyo assumes that they are safe now despite reports that a school group that gathered tea leaves on a field trip nearly drank the stuff before somebody rushed back from a testing lab in the nick of time to stop them.
Unusual to above legal limit/dangerous levels of radiation are basically everywhere in Japan depending on what you look at if you count sewage, tea leaves and beef in stores. To a lesser degree we should have the same problem in the US as people are arguing over the meaning of above-normal radiation found in rainfall, and I’m pretty sure nobody is even testing agricultural products such as spinach, potatoes, grain or meat in the US for the effects of the brief spurt of cesium and iodine seen immediately after the original meltdowns that was measured in rainwater and / or milk from either coast.
At least one Fukushima farmer has already committed suicide as yet another indirect nuclear radiation victim that is not counted in the radiation death toll after his cows were destroyed as he had no future. Other than nuclear plants, there’s not much people can do with land other than agriculture and natural resources, and that’s been destroyed by the radiation spread by the melt downs and explosions.
The government and TEPCO evidently aren’t going to be able to compensate every farm and farmer to buy them out until it is safe to farm again (basically when hell freezes over according to the TEPCO action timeline), and they’re not going to require or pay for evacuation of children who have to stay indoors with windows closed because of contaminated playgrounds. Nobody may have died of radiation directly, but we’ve got suicides, heat stroke, abandoned hospital patients, not to mention of all the animals that WERE harmed in the production of the crisis. Some people are saying at least the Russians were organized enough to at least forcibly remove everybody from the areas most obviously at risk, something Japan is not yet doing.
Hanford’s Radioactive Bunnies
In 2010, radioactive mice and rabbits were trapped and found leaving radioactive droppings with cesium from an old “hot” building that was torn down at the Hanford nuclear reservation. Hanford was set up to use reactors to make and refine plutonium as one of two paths to an atom bomb, and in this building workers had to work remotely behind massive amounts of shielding. I watched a public TV documentary that mentioned that during WWII, it was entirely expected that things WOULD blow up, so three redundant units were built widely separated so a catastrophe at one unit would not affect the others.
Foust on Beef and Ft Calhoun
Here’s a note I got from Nancy Foust who is behind simplyinfo.org which is where a lot of crowd-source analysis of the nuclear crisis is being posted.
In response to news stories that Ft Calhoun put in a replacement barrier for the big garbage bag that got punctured:
They put that up about a week ago. To replace the water berm they said they didn’t need. The NRC is completely avoiding the issue of Calhoun in their talks with the media this week about revised safety.
Calhoun either needs to be decommissioned or have some sort of heavy duty permanent flood control in place.
I think they think the public will forget about the whole thing. Calhoun supplies 25% of Omaha’s power according to OPPD.
I have been working on a couple of different projects so I haven’t done much analysis of anything lately. TEPCO has been lax
on images. I am pretty sure that is on purpose. Workers are saying #4 is still a concern and it is tipping/sinking etc. TEPCO denies this to the media.
The beef issue is spiraling out of control. They are up to around 1200-1300 contaminated cattle. They are starting to show up in far away prefectures
and where straw was not bought from Fukushima. I think this is going to blow open the PR that the radiation is contained around the plant. It is also
going to lead to major problems with other food products as now all food will be suspect.
Parents groups are forming as are other ones and they are getting organized. I hope there is enough momentum to educate people and push for change.
People I have talked to or heard from through 3rd parties say there is an ignorance factor as is seen elsewhere. People don’t understand radiation so they
believe the govt. talking points until something or someone prods them to wise up.
SimplyInfo has been working on some informational articles & materials geared at people in Japan so they can understand the facts and reality. We have made contact
with a couple of groups in Japan and the US and we are working a couple of possible connections to help get information out and a project to get plug in radar detectors for smart
phones to people at cost along with water filters and hepa filters for AC/Heat units.
We also have a good story on the site this week where we outlined why the cold shutdown claim is bogus and that people should not be sent back to the evacuation zone.
I’m hoping maybe some of the workers can get more photos out. It seems that right now the high radiation levels are causing problems. People are getting dosed and frequently for
activities that are more PR based than needed to stabilize the reactors.
Uncle Arnie’s Latest Nuclear Mushrooms
The other kind of mushroom, still alarming though if you eat them. Also a report of badness in a playground about halfway to Tokyo, and a hospital that found outside radiation 3X inside background levels. It’s a joke that Japan thinks they might START removing the mass of melted fuel pellets in 10 years based on Three Mile Island when the stuff at least was all in the reactor vessel when it’s more like Chernobyl with the crap all over the floor of the concrete/steel containment which is LEAKING. The Japanese govt expects that in 10 years somebody will figure out how to remove the stuff, but right now nobody has a safe way to dismantle a PROPERLY WORKING reactor, let alone 4 of them as damaged at Fukushima. Last time I checked, the expected date of Chernobyl fuel removal was … never. Arnie also showed up on CBS Early Show. One of his japanese scientist e-mail pals believes the radioactive cows fed on hay left outdoors that absorbed what he called “black rain” (also the title of a movie with Michael Douglas, but also the contaminated rain that fell on Hiroshima) Now just because I don’t completely trust anybody from the “peace and democracy” crowd doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but I’d retain a healthy skepticism about stuff that’s too alarming.
Cows Suspected of Cesium Contamination Top 1,500 in JapanJiji press says straw contamination has affected 1500 cows. I don’t think anybody dares check the state of hay and cows in the US. Remember if, or more like when one of the dozens of nuclear reactors in the US has a boo boo, it’s going to be the same story here. Another article noted that Fukushima normally raises 70,000 cattle to feed Tokyo. What on earth do you do with 70,000 cattle when no one wants to eat them?? You can’t even put 70,000 cows on livestock ships (no such thing) and send them to Australia even if you wanted to save them.
NHK Cesium Beef Cartoon
Posted by guy from his hotel room television in Tokyo. This ought to prove that’s fine to stay in a hotel there this summer, as long as you’re fine with playing beef roulette or abstaining. Other than a couple of elementary schools and wedding banquets, no really big groups of people need to panic over whether eating one meal of questionable beef is going to be harmful or not.