by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution:
- The Facts:Dr. Helen Caldicott is considered by many to be one of the foremost experts on Nuclear Radiation. Here she shares her thoughts on the Fukushima disaster nearly a decade after it happened.
- Reflect On:How many incidents need to occur before the human race changes? Why are we still using nuclear energy when there are several other solutions that are more harmonious with the planet and all life on it?
Despite humanity’s increasing levels of intelligence, if you were an extraterrestrial looking down on our planet, you may conclude that we are one of the dumbest species in the universe. We have so much potential, yet we cling to our archaic ways that destroy our planet and do not operate in harmony with this planet and all life on it.
Energy generation is one of many great examples–we don’t have to use nuclear power, oil, or any other Earth-disrupting method to meet our energy goals and needs. There are a number of ways we can generate energy without harming our planet, and they were discovered decades ago.
This reveals a very important point about humanity and where we are at today. The issue is not finding and discovering solutions to our problems, because the solutions already exist. The issue is acknowledging and identifying what prevents us from implementing these solutions. The problems are red tape, human greed, ego, profit, money, and power. It’s a shame we have yet to dismantle these qualities and characteristics when we are sitting on so many of the solutions to the world’s problems.
The Fukushima disaster is a great example. The three meltdowns and at least four big core explosions at the Fukushima nuclear-power plant’s six American-designed Daiichi reactors in March 2011 still constitute the world’s worst nuclear nightmare thus far, surpassing even the Chernobyl #4 reactor’s explosion and meltdown of April 1986.
According to Global Research:
The eight year anniversary of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility passed mostly without comment in mainstream media circles. In spite of ongoing radiological contamination that will continue to spread and threaten human health for lifetimes to come, other stories dominate the international news cycle. The climate change conundrum, serious though it may be, seemingly crowds out all other clear and present environmental hazards.
As part of efforts to normalize this historic event and cover it up in its magnitude, the Japanese government has invested considerable financial, public relations and other resources into what they are billing the ‘Recovery Olympics‘ set to take place in a year’s time in Tokyo.
According to Harvey Wasserman (“14,000 Hiroshimas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, October 9, 2013), the situation on the ground was still rather catastrophic more than two years after the disaster, because
“Massive quantities of heavily contaminated water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean, dousing workers along the way. Hundreds of huge, flimsy tanks are leaking untold tons of highly radioactive fluids. At Unit #4, more than 1300 fuel rods, with more than 400 tons of extremely radioactive material, containing potential cesium fallout comparable to 14,000 Hiroshima bombs, are stranded 100 feet in the air.”
New readings at Fukushima have recorded the highest radiation levels seen on site.
Readings inside the containment vessel of reactor no. 2 are as high as 530 Sieverts per hour, a dosage that would be fatal dozens and dozens of times over if a human were to be exposed to it. The previous high was a still very fatal rate of 73 Sieverts per hour.
The new record at Fukushima of 530 Sieverts per hour is 70% higher than that of Chernobyl. The 530 Sievert reading was recorded some distance from the melted fuel, so in reality it could be 10 times higher than recorded, said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center. (source)
Most of this radiation is being washed out to sea and it is destroying the Pacific Ocean and much of the life in it. Huge amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere and it circled around the globe especially in the northern hemisphere.
How come we haven’t heard more about Fukushima?
Is it because authorities figure, “What’s the point? There is nothing we can do”? Although that is probably not true, as there are multiple solutions and steps that can be taken, like using hemp to clean up the radiation, for example.
Dr. Helen Caldicott is an author, physician and one of the world’s leading anti-nuclear campaigners. She helped to reinvigorate the group of Physicians for Social Responsibility, acting as president from 1978 to 1983. Since its founding in 2001, she served as president of the US-based Nuclear Policy Research Institute, later called Beyond Nuclear, which initiates symposia and educational projects aimed at informing the public about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and nuclear war. And she is the editor of the 2014 book, Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe.
She is also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and holder of 21 honorary doctorate degrees.
On the week marking the eighth anniversary of the Fukushima meltdowns, the Global Research News Hour radio program, hosted by Michael Welch, reached out to Dr. Caldicott to get her expert opinion on the health dangers posed by the most serious nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl event.
Global Research: Now the Japanese government is preparing to welcome visitors to Japan for the 2020 Olympic Games, and coverage of the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster is hardly, it seems to me, registered given the significant radiological and other dangers that you cited and your authors cited in your 2014 book, Crisis Without End. Now it’s been more than four years since that book came out. I was hoping you could update our listenership on what is currently being recognized as the main health threats in 2019, perhaps not registered in the book, that you’re currently looking at in relation to the Fukushima meltdown.
Helen Caldicott: Well it’s difficult because the Japanese government has authorized really only examination of thyroid cancer. Now thyroid cancer is caused by radioactive iodine and there were many, many cases of that after Chernobyl. And already, they’ve looked at children under the age of 18 in the Fukushima prefecture at the time of the accident, and … how many children… 100…no 201 by June 18 last year… 201 had developed thyroid cancer. Some cancers had metastasized. The incidence of thyroid cancer in that population normally is 1 per million. So obviously it’s an epidemic of thyroid cancer and it’s just starting now.
What people need to understand is the latent period of carcinogenesis, ie the time after exposure to radiation when cancers develop is any time from 3 years to 80 years. And so it’s a very, very long period. Thyroid cancers appear early. Leukemia appears about 5 to 10 years later. They’re not looking for leukemia. Solid cancers of every organ, or any organ as such appear about 15 years later and continue and in fact the Hibakusha from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki who are still alive are still developing cancers in higher than normal numbers.
The Japanese government has told doctors that they are not to talk to their patients about radiation and illnesses derived thereof, and in fact if the doctors do do that, they might lose their funding from the government. The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency interestingly set up a hospital – a cancer hospital – in Fukushima along with the Fukushima University for people with cancer, which tells you everything.
So there’s a huge, huge cover up. I have been to Japan twice and particularly to Fukushima and spoken to people there and the parents are desperate to hear the truth even if it’s not good truth. And they thanked me for telling them the truth. So it’s an absolute medical catastrophe I would say, and a total cover up to protect the nuclear industry and all its ramifications.
GR: Now, are we talking about some of the, the contamination that happened 8 years ago or are we talking about ongoing emissions from, for example–
HC: Well there are ongoing emissions into the air consistently, number one. Number two, a huge amount of water is being stored –over a million gallons in tanks at the site. That water is being siphoned off from the reactor cores, the damaged melted cores. Water is pumped consistently every day, every hour, to keep the cores cool in case they have another melt. And that water, of course, is extremely contaminated.
Now they say they’ve filtered out the contaminants except for the tritium which is part of the water molecule, but they haven’t. There’s strontium, cesium, and many other elements in that water – it’s highly radioactive – and because there isn’t enough room to build more tanks, they’re talking about emptying all that water into the Pacific Ocean and the fishermen are very, very upset. The fish already being caught off Fukushima, some are obviously contaminated. But this will be a disaster.
Water comes down from the mountains behind the reactors, flows underneath the reactors into the sea and always has. And when the reactors were in good shape, the water was fine, didn’t get contaminated. But now the three molten cores in contact with that water flowing under the reactors and so the water flowing into the Pacific is very radioactive and that’s a separate thing from the million gallons or more in those tanks.
They put up a refrigerated wall of frozen dirt around the reactors to prevent that water from the mountains flowing underneath the reactors, which has cut down the amount of water flowing per day from 500 tons to about a hundred and fifty. But of course, if they lose electricity, that refrigeration system is going to fail, and it’s a transient thing anyway so it’s ridiculous. In terms… So over time the Pacific is going to become more and more radioactive.