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The World is Powerless Against Fukushima Fallout
by Yoichi Shimatsu
New America Media
5 March 2012
A year on, the Fukushima nuclear disaster has reached far beyond Japan as an encroaching threat to human health everywhere and to the very existence of life on Earth. As the fallout goes global, there’s nowhere to run or hide since even tiny dosages in rainwater and the food chain have a cumulative effect.
In high-tech societies under constant exposure to radiation from medical scanners, security systems, telecom devices and consumer electronics, nearly everyone is teetering at the brink of the cancer abyss. The slightest exposure to dust from Fukushima is a ticket to an early exit.
Despite new admissions of a cover-up from high officials and an independent investigation in Japan, governments and the nuclear establishment continue to deny or downplay the immense dangers posed by atmospheric fallout and sea dumping from the Fukushima meltdowns. An accurate reckoning of the danger to public health worldwide is not being discussed because governments are powerless against the nuclear monstrosity they created.
Decades of assurances about nuclear safety have been blown away by the unexpected global effects of the March meltdowns. The past year’s crisis yanked open a Pandora’s Box of bizarre science that staggers the imagination of corporate scientists and bureaucrat engineers, from whom there comes only dumbfounded silence.
Public at Risk From Official Silence
At the molecular level inside a biological cell, gamma-ray bombardment rewrites the genetic code contained in the chromosomes, scrambling the elegant poetry of life into gibberish. Since leukemia, cancers and birth defects can be falsely attributed to other disorders, the governments of North America, Europe and Asia along with international agencies can be counted on to remain silent or mount campaigns of misdiagnosis to protect their nuclear power and weapons programs, along with their food and travel industries. Bureaucrats, at heart and out of self-interest, are cowards.
While the World Health Organization imposed a strict travel ban on Hong Kong during the much less risky SARS outbreak of 1992, the WHO and governments accept those devious ads from the Japanese travel bureau luring tourists with the false claim that the country and its food are safe. With rising numbers of naive tourists returning with serious health problems, residents and travel agents in Singapore and Hong Kong have finally become wary of sending anyone to Japan. Business as usual is death abnormal.
Warhead Recycling Worsened the Crisis
Whatever his timid admissions about the official cover-up so far, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has yet to disclose the truth behind his more disturbing decisions: first, the absence of stenographers and voice recordings at his emergency Cabinet meetings; and why the government had to order the Tokyo Electric Power Company not to abandon Fukushima No.1 plant after the March 15 mini-nuclear explosions.
The high-level cover-up and lab analysis of cesium-isotope ratios indicate the Japanese nuclear establishment was illegally involved in the reprocessing of weapons-grade uranium at Fukushima No. 1 and probably two other civilian nuclear plants in northern Japan. The U.S. Department of Energy dares not address Tokyo’s violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty because much of the enriched nuclear material at Fukushima was covertly supplied from the American military arsenal under a suspected 2006 secret accord between the Bush and Abe administrations.
According to whistleblowers in the U.S. non-proliferation agency, highly reactive uranium from dismantled U.S. warheads stored in the Fukushima spent-fuel pools readily ignited after the quake knocked out the water pumps. A transport casket of elongated shape resembling a missile was sky-hooked out of a pool by helicopter soon after the tsunami, but the remainder of the weapons-grade stock was too heavy to remove. The series of detonations prevented repair crews from accessing controls of the reactor cores, which eventually melted through the containment chambers and into the subsurface soil.
When the quake and tsunami hit on March 11, only three reactors out of a total six at Fukushima were scheduled to produce electricity yet in actuality five were operational. Since then plant workers disclosed that the supposedly empty Reactor 4 had been refitted with a new steel shroud in secret by GE and that it was fully loaded with new fuel rods. The two extra reactors were running clandestine operations, the likeliest purpose being the enrichment of uranium prior to extraction. By no coincidence, Hitachi Electric and Honeywell are partners in developing a laser-plasma system to extract highly pure plutonium and uranium
The collaboration between Washington and Tokyo in a covert nuclear-weapons program was a violation of international law that in its hypocrisy and duplicity towers above Iran’s suspected program or North Korea’s puny attempts at bomb-making. Weapons production at Fukushima also violates the foundations of the U.S.-Japan Security treaty, which stipulates that Japan provide military bases in exchange for protection under the American nuclear umbrella. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s selective enforcement of the counter-proliferation treaty only spurs smaller nations to invest in nuclear deterrence against the real possibility of a covert build-up by Japan, Israel, India and other U.S. allies.
Now, to make an optimistic prediction: Considering the 33-year half-life of cesium, far more people worldwide can be expected to die horribly due to the fallout of Fukushima rather than in any nuclear war with Iran or North Korea. Proliferation begins at home; not only inside faulty nuclear plants but whenever we switch on a television set or open the refrigerator door. Our consumerist demand for convenience leads to docile acceptance of mass suicide. Laziness – both physical and mental - is thus the greatest of the seven deadly sins of this nuclear era.
Earthquakes and volcano eruptions are becoming more frequent in Japan as well as the entire Ring of Fire. Nearly every nuclear plant in the Pacific region has reached the limit of its spent fuel rod capacity, meaning these time bombs are fully loaded and ready to blow. Even when the cesium and strontium threats diminish, the possibility of mass extinction will remain for as long as humankind can muddle along. The chunks of uranium blasted into seawater around Fukushima have a half-life of 700,000 years. Many more quakes, tsunamis and lava eruptions are coming – Fukushima was only the first such crisis and it’s still not over.
Yoichi Shimatsu, former associate editor with Pacific News
Service and general editor at the Japan Times Weekly, has
reported from Fukushima and served as an environmental consultant
on countering radiation effects.
Copyright © 2012 New American Media