Yesterday the EPA reported its first detection in Hawai’i of radiation from the Japanese nuclear meltdown: “The isotope was “far below any level of concern for human health,” the EPA said.”
As the New York Times reported that Japanese authorities have issued a warning not to drink tap water in Tokyo due to contamination by radioactive Iodine 131, Chip Ward reminds us in “How the “Peaceful Atom” Became a Serial Killer”, “When nuclear reactors blow, the first thing that melts down is the truth. ”
Doug Lummi published in Counterpunch this partial translation of a Japanese news media interview with Hirose Takashi, a well known Japanese nuclear expert. The picture he paints of the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima is much worse than the media has reported. Similar to the arguments made by anti-DU activists in Hawai’i, reports that radiation detections being at “safe levels” are terribly misleading:
They compare it to a CT scan, which is over in an instant; that has nothing to do with it. The reason radioactivity can be measured is that radioactive material is escaping. What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside. These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what to they say? They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance. I want to say the reverse. Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body. What happens? Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millimeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter. That’s a thousand times a thousand: a thousand squared. That’s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.” Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion. Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.
According to Mr. Takashi, the only solution is to bury the damaged nuclear plants in a solid block of cement. But the only thing Japanese authorities seem intent on burying is the truth.
March 22, 2011
“You Get 3,500,000 the Normal Dose. You Call That Safe? And What Media Have Reported This? None!”
What They’re Covering Up at Fukushima
By HIROSE TAKASHI
Introduced by Douglas Lummis
Hirose Takashi has written a whole shelf full of books, mostly on the nuclear power industry and the military-industrial complex. Probably his best known book is Nuclear Power Plants for Tokyo in which he took the logic of the nuke promoters to its logical conclusion: if you are so sure that they’re safe, why not build them in the center of the city, instead of hundreds of miles away where you lose half the electricity in the wires?
He did the TV interview that is partly translated below somewhat against his present impulses. I talked to him on the telephone today (March 22 , 2011) and he told me that while it made sense to oppose nuclear power back then, now that the disaster has begun he would just as soon remain silent, but the lies they are telling on the radio and TV are so gross that he cannot remain silent.
I have translated only about the first third of the interview (you can see the whole thing in Japanese on you-tube), the part that pertains particularly to what is happening at the Fukushima plants. In the latter part he talked about how dangerous radiation is in general, and also about the continuing danger of earthquakes.
After reading his account, you will wonder, why do they keep on sprinkling water on the reactors, rather than accept the sarcophagus solution [ie., entombing the reactors in concrete. Editors.] I think there are a couple of answers. One, those reactors were expensive, and they just can’t bear the idea of that huge a financial loss. But more importantly, accepting the sarcophagus solution means admitting that they were wrong, and that they couldn’t fix the things. On the one hand that’s too much guilt for a human being to bear. On the other, it means the defeat of the nuclear energy idea, an idea they hold to with almost religious devotion. And it means not just the loss of those six (or ten) reactors, it means shutting down all the others as well, a financial catastrophe. If they can only get them cooled down and running again they can say, See, nuclear power isn’t so dangerous after all. Fukushima is a drama with the whole world watching, that can end in the defeat or (in their frail, I think groundless, hope) victory for the nuclear industry. Hirose’s account can help us to understand what the drama is about. Douglas Lummis
Hirose Takashi: The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident and the State of the Media
Broadcast by Asahi NewStar, 17 March, 20:00
Interviewers: Yoh Sen’ei and Maeda Mari
Yoh: Today many people saw water being sprayed on the reactors from the air and from the ground, but is this effective?
Hirose: . . . If you want to cool a reactor down with water, you have to circulate the water inside and carry the heat away, otherwise it has no meaning. So the only solution is to reconnect the electricity. Otherwise it’s like pouring water on lava.
Yoh: Reconnect the electricity – that’s to restart the cooling system?
Hirose: Yes. The accident was caused by the fact that the tsunami flooded the emergency generators and carried away their fuel tanks. If that isn’t fixed, there’s no way to recover from this accident.