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Updating Japan's Nuclear Disaster

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"Nuclear radiation is forever," she added. It doesn't dissipate or disappear. Jeff Patterson, former Physicians for Social Responsibility president said, "There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period." In 1953, Nobel laureate George Wald agreed saying "no amount of radiation is safe. Every dose is an overdose."

On March 19, Ralph Nader's "Nuclear Nightmare" article said:

"Over 40 years ago....the Atomic Energy Commission (now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) estimated that a full nuclear meltdown could contaminate an area 'the size of Pennsylvania' and cause massive casualties."

In square miles, Pennsylvania is one-third the size of Japan. Nader said that "people in northern Japan may lose their land, homes, relatives, and friends as a result of a dangerous technology designed simply to boil water."

On March 25, New York Times writers Hiroko Tabuchi, Keith Bradsher and David Jolly headlined, "Japan Encourages a Wider Evacuation from Reactor Area," saying:

"New signs emerged Friday that parts of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were so damaged and contaminated that it would be even harder to bring the plant under control soon."

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) measured seawater showing "the level of iodine-131 at 50 becquerels per cubic centimeter - 1,250 times the legal limit."

Moreover, several workers were contaminated by water measuring 10,000 times above normal, according to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences. In addition, a senior nuclear executive said "a long vertical crack" running down the side of the reactor vessel (expected to enlarge) was detected "leaking fluids and gases." The Times said, "There is a definite crack in the vessel - it's up and down and it's large. The problem with cracks is they do not get smaller."

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In addition, contamination is spreading, now affecting Tokyo water with elevated radioactive iodine levels, an alert saying don't let infants drink it. Milk, vegetables, fruits, and likely all crops in northern Japan are affected. Further, on March 25, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said:

"Iodine-131 detected in Tokyo hit 12,000 becquerels, compared with the previous day, a tenfold increase in both radioactive iodine and cesium." In addition, "Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture, saw the highest radioactive values recorded, with 12,000 becquerels of cesium, iodine and 85,000 becquerels."

On March 25, the Takoma Park, MD-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) said:

"Radioactive iodine releases from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactors may exceed those of Three Mile Island by over 100,000 times....While Chernobyl had one source of radioactivity, its reactor, there are seven leaking radiation sources at the Japanese site. Together, the three damaged reactors and four spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiicho contain (much) more long-lived radioactivity, notably cesium-137, than the Chernobyl reactor." 

Its half life is about 30 years. According to IEER president Arjun Makhijani, "This accident has long since passed the level of Three Mile Island." Already, large parts of Honshu, Japan's main island, have been affected. Even so, Japanese authorities haven't been forthcoming about actual radiation releases that independent experts believe are extremely high and dangerous.

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On March 26, government officials said predictions on when Fukushima could be stabilized aren't known, spokesman Yukio Edano saying "this is not the stage for predictions." According to IAEA head Yukiya Amano, "(t)his is a very serious accident by all standards, and it is not yet over." Ending it "will take quite a long time."

So far efforts to stabilize the damaged reactors haven't succeeded. On March 24, Natural News.com writer Mike Adams headlined, "Radioactive fallout from Fukushima approaching same levels as Chernobyl," saying:

"The radioactive (iodine-131) fallout is now as much as 73 percent of the daily radiation emitted from Chernobyl following its meltdown disaster." For cesium-137, it's 60%.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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