We have seen this to some extent all along. Establishment groups, government bodies, schools etc. claim everything is safe while reality seems to say otherwise. Citizens document contamination while authorities continue to claim an area or a food type is safe. Initially the incredibly tone deaf authorities were assumed to be due to the chaos early in the disaster. Now it just seems to be more schadenfreude than anything else.
IEEE reports on the Pacific contamination from Fukushima Daiichi. Sediment has seen the highest concentrations and the plant is still dumping some level of contaminated water into the sea. The Montreal Gazette reports that 60-80 percent of the fish caught near Japan show up with radioactive contamination including some very common types like cod. Canada’s radiation limit in seafood is 1000 bq/kg, extremely high by most national standards. While Woods Hole researchers estimate the nuclear releases into the sea to be 10-100 times the size of those from Chernobyl, Canada is doing no seafood testing, neither is the US. High levels of cesium and stronium are being consistently found in the sediment of Osaka bay. Osaka is considerably south and west of Fukushima, showing a worrisome level of contamination traveled further than initially assumed.
IEEE also reports on the land contamination from Fukushima, that 8% of Japan’s land is no longer safe for farming and many sections in the regions near the plant are higher than the mandatory evacuation zones around Chernobyl. They also point out that all of Japan has had some level of fallout, even Okinawa. It was also discovered recently that plutonium from the blasts circled the world as nuclear fallout via the jet stream. There was early speculation by experts that this would happen, now there is documented information that it did. 1/3 of evacuees in Namie expetec to never return home. Earlier decontamination efforts are proving to be futile. Places test decontaminated are showing the contamination levels were double the “clean” level of contamination in 20 days.
The third IEEE report discusses the management failures that contributed to the disaster. A lack of real preparedness by all parties doomed the plant to catastrophic failure. While there was a robust safety myth that was presented to the public and the rest of the world, the reality was a system of insiders that had no method for real criticism or oversight.
Some of the tone deaf disconnect is coming from local governments trying to prop up industries at risk from the disaster. Fukushima prefecture is promoting local milk to be “safe for school lunches”, complete with a very creepy looking cow cartoon. Meanwhile contamination in milk in the region is rising.
A Tokyo school district is planning to send school kids on a winter ski trip to Fukushima that will feature meals of local food and produce. Questions about this plan resulted in a game of pass the buck where officials all blamed other officials as being the ones responsible for the decision.
Koriyama will have free radiation checks of homes in an effort to prop up jobs and the local economy.
TEPCO is looking to be nationalized as the costs mount for dealing with the disaster. Meanwhile shareholders are suing 60 current and former board members of the utility for negligence. It was also pointed out this week by a review panel that NISA has relied too much on reactor manufacturer information and manuals when accessing safety and aging risks.
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