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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/26/11

Fukushima's "Chernobyl moment" could be fast approaching

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The calamity at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is deteriorating and the nightmare scenario is becoming more likely. The levels of radioactive iodine in the seawater beyond the plant have soared to 1,250-times above normal, contaminating the fish in the area and turning the coastal waters into a nuclear wasteland. At the same time, the prospect of a full-core meltdown still looms-large with no remedy in sight. Brave workers have put their lives on the line with no meaningful sign of improvement. The lights are still "blinking red."

Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Maryland, details the toxic cocktail that will emerge if there's an explosion at Fukushima:

"The mechanisms of the accident would be very different than Chernobyl, where there was also a fire, and the mix of radionuclides would be very different. While the quantity of short-lived radionuclides, notably iodine-131, would be much smaller, the consequences for the long term could be more dire due to long-lived radionuclides such as cesium-137, strontium-90, iodine-129, and plutonium-239." (Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe, Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch)

If the spent fuel rods catch fire from lack of coolant, the intense heat will lift radiation plumes high into the atmosphere that will drift around the world. At present, the pools are in danger because two of the three stricken reactors have lost their cover due to hydrogen explosions. The risks are unparalleled and the remedies uncertain. A full damage assessment is still pending. There is no "quick fix."

The media has flipped into full "BP Oil Spill-mode," making every effort to minimize the disaster and to soothe the public with half-truths and disinformation. The media's goal is to conceal the scale of the catastrophe in order to protect the nuclear industry. It's another case of profits over people. Still, the truth is slipping out in dribs and drabs. Radiation has popped up in the Tokyo water supply, imports of milk, vegetable and fruit from four prefectures in the vicinity of Fukushima have been banned, and the evacuation zone around the plant has widened to an 18-mile radius. This is news that the public can use to prepare themselves as they see fit. The rest is propaganda.

Monitors have detected tiny radioactive particles which have spread from the reactor site across the Pacific to North America, the Atlantic and Europe...

According to Reuters: "It's only a matter of days before it disperses in the entire northern hemisphere," said Andrea Stahl, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research."

The Japanese government has been downplaying the crisis to make it look like they have matters under control. But it's all a sham. The only real change has been the way the gov-media have shaped the information to pacify the public. It's shameless. Rather than sweeping it under the rug, the government should be taking extra precautions to save lives. This is from the Union of Concerned Scientists website:

"Our assessment is that the Japanese government is squandering the opportunity to initiate an orderly evacuation from larger areas around the site--especially of sensitive populations, like children and pregnant women. It is potentially wasting valuable time by not undertaking a larger scale evacuation at this time."

Naturally, the government is covering up as much as possible for the powerful nuclear lobby. President Obama has continued flacking for the industry even while clouds of radiation still rise from Fukushima. It's not the public that politicians are worried about, but their big money constituents who fill the campaign coffers. Still, the truth is observable for those who wish to see. The Japanese have employed desperate measures to mitigate the accident, but to little effect. The prospect of a meltdown, a fire, or another apocalyptic explosion grows more likely by the day. Fukushima's Chernobyl moment could be fast approaching, putting tens of thousands at risk of thyroid cancer, childhood leukemia and other potentially life-threatening ailments.

Don't believe the media's lies.
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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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