According to an international scientific group monitoring radiation around the world, the Fukushima reactors are emitting nuclear toxins at levels approaching those seen in the "aftermath" of Chernobyl. The Chernobyl disaster began with an explosion, Fukushima is a smoldering cauldron of toxins. Chernobyl had 180 tonnes of nuclear fuel on site. Fukushima has 1700 tonnes of nuclear fuel on site.
This isn't the beginning of the end as hoped. It's looking like the end of the beginning.
CounterPunch ran an interview wit Japanese nuclear industry author Hiroshe Takashi just yesterday in which the author lamented the poor reporting of the tragedy in the Japanese press:
they talk this nonsense, trying to reassure everyone, trying to avoid
panic. What we need now is a proper panic. Because the situation has
come to the point where the danger is real." Hiroshe Takashi, March 22
Just two days later, the "proper panic" is on its way.
The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics of Vienna, Austria has a world wide monitoring system set up to monitor the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. They are well positioned to monitor the effects of the Fukishima disaster.
The group told New Scientist that:
damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine
and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident
in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of
radiation detectors -- designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests --
to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent
of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137
released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount
released from Chernobyl." New Scientist, March 24
The concerns about spent fuel rods and cooling polls in the reactor have materialized. The Chernobyl event was more discrete and identifiable with a major explosion but damaged reactors at Fukushima are toxic nonetheless. The Austrian scientists point out that Chernobyl had 180 tons of nuclear on hand while Fukushima has nearly ten times that amount at 1700 tons.
fuel is damaged there is no reason for the volatile elements not to
escape," and the measured caesium and iodine are in the right ratios
for the fuel used by the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Also, the
Fukushima plant has around 1760 tonnes of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site, and an unknown amount has been damaged. The Chernobyl reactor had only 180 tonnes." New Scientist, March 24
In his interview on the 22nd, Takashi was blunt about the health risks. He distinguished between radiation in the atmosphere and radioactive particles carried in the atmosphere, then ingested into the body.
"Yoh: So making comparisons with X-rays and CT scans has no meaning. Because you can breathe in radioactive material.
If you ask, are any radioactive rays from the Fukushima Nuclear
Station here in this studio, the answer will be no. But radioactive
particles are carried here by the air. When the core begins to melt
down, elements inside like iodine turn to gas. It rises to the top, so
if there is any crevice it escapes outside.
"Hirose: That's right. When it enters your body, there's no telling where it will go. The biggest danger is women, especially pregnant women, and little children. Now they're talking about iodine and cesium, but that's only part of it, they're not using the proper detection instruments. What they call monitoring means only measuring the amount of radiation in the air. Their instruments don't eat. What they measure has no connection with the amount of radioactive material. . . .
"Yoh: So damage from radioactive rays and damage from radioactive material are not the same." Hiroshe Takashi, CounterPunch, March 22
The Austrian Institute scientists also pointed out that the spread of radioactive isotopes from Chernobyl are still causing thyroid cancer today: