nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Radioactive cesium (134Cs and 137Cs) content in human placenta after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident

First published: 2 July 2013

Abstract

Aim

The degree of contamination with radioactive cesium (134Cs and 137Cs) in the human placenta after the accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant (FNP), which occurred on 11 March 2011, has not been assessed.

Material and Methods

134Cs and 137Cs contents were determined in 10 placentas from 10 women who gave birth to term singleton infants during the period between October 2011 and August 2012 using high-purity germanium detectors for gamma ray spectrometry. Five women resided within 50 km of FNP (neighbor group) and gave birth by the end of February 2012, while the other five women resided within 210–290 km of FNP (distant group) and gave birth in July and August 2012.

Results

All except one of the 10 placentas contained detectable levels of 134Cs and 137Cs, ranging 0.042–0.742 Bq/kg for 134Cs and 0.078–0.922 Bq/kg for 137Cs. One placenta from a woman living in Tokyo contained 0.109 Bq/kg 137Cs and no detectable level of 134Cs (<0.054 Bq/kg). 137Cs content was more than 0.2 Bq/kg in four and one placentas in the neighbor and distant groups, respectively.

Conclusion

Degree of contamination of the placenta with radioactive Cs was lower even in women who resided within 50 km of FNP compared to Japanese and Canadian placentas in the mid-1960s after repeated nuclear tests and in northern Italian placentas from 1986–1987 after the Chernobyl power plant accident.

Introduction

After the accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant (FNP), triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011, radioactive fallout was deposited over a wide area of Japan.[1, 2] Although the short-lived radionuclides, such as 131I (half-life, 8 days), decayed within a few days to months eventually reaching negligible concentrations, long-lived radioactive cesium (physical half-life, 2 years for 134Cs and 30 years for 137Cs) remained in detectable concentrations in the environment. These radionuclides reach pregnant women mainly through direct consumption of contaminated vegetables, crops, as well as animal and fish products. Contamination of breast milk with 131I was indeed documented in lactating women residing near FNP in April 2011.[1] The occurrence of milk powder contamination with 134Cs and 137Cs (22–31 Bq/kg) was announced by Meiji Holdings on 6 December 2011 (cited on 6 August 2012; available from http://www.meiji.co.jp/notice/2011/detail/20111206.html). This contamination was concluded to be derived from atmospheric air during the process of drying of milk powder, and not from water or dairy ingredients. Thus, environmental pollution with radioactive materials occurred and reached pregnant women after the FNP accident.

The placentas of women living in Hiroshima, Osaka, Tokyo and Canada in the 1960s contained detectable levels of 137Cs[3-5] due to environmental pollution with 137Cs after the repeated nuclear tests conducted by several countries, such as the USA and the former USSR. As the estimate of 137Cs deposition at the Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, after the FNP accident far exceeded that in the 1960s in Japan (Fig. 1),[6] the placentas of women living near FNP may contain higher levels of 134Cs and 137Cs than those in the 1960s in Japan. However, the degree of placental contamination with radioactive Cs has not been studied. Therefore, the present study was performed to investigate the 134Cs and 137Cs contents in the placentas of women living within 300 km of FNP.

1

Figure 1.

Estimates of 137Cs deposition at the Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, are presented for several months after the accident in March 2011. The estimate was computed based on the value obtained by measuring aliquots of the sample water (wet + dry depositions). As cesium is distributed between the liquid and the solid phases, the accurate value is not obtained unless the concentration of the whole sample by evaporation is achieved. Probably, current values are underestimates. Moreover, as 134Cs was deposited in comparable amounts, the total radioactive cesium had mostly doubled. image, 137Cs; image, 90Sr. (Adopted from [6]).

Materials and Methods

This study was conducted with the approval of the institutional review boards of Kameda General Hospital and Japan National Institute of Public Health.

Women who provided placentas

Placentas were obtained from 10 women: five (cases 1–5) living within 50 km (neighbor group) and five (cases 6–10) living within 210–290 km (distant group) of FNP until delivery after the FNP accident (Table 1). All 10 women gave birth to a healthy term singleton infant during the period between October 2011 and August 2012. The five women in the neighbor group gave birth earlier by the end of February 2012, while the five women in the distant group gave birth later in or after July 2012.

2

Measurement of radionuclides

Each whole placenta with a wet weight varying 0.418–0.672 kg was ashed to 4.13–7.40 g (Table 1) by muffle furnace at 450°C for 24 h after lyophilizing according to the preparation method recommended in the USA (http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/docs/marlap/402-b-04-001b-12-final.pdf). These ashed samples were placed individually into cylindrical plastic containers (100-mL capacity). To determine the gamma-emitting nuclides in the samples, gamma ray spectrometry was performed for more than 80 000 s with high-purity germanium detectors (GEM40-76; Ortec, Oak Ridge, TN, USA) connected to a multichannel analyzer and analytical software, and the activity concentrations of the radionuclides were corrected to the delivery dates. Each measured radioactivity was multiplied by 2(N/T): N and T were intervals until the measurement after delivery of the placenta (year) and half-life of each radionuclide (year), respectively. The energy and efficiency calibrations were performed using the nine nuclides mixed activity standard volume sources (MX033U8; Japan Radioisotope Association, Tokyo, Japan) composed of 109Cd, 57Co, 139Ce, 51Cr, 85Sr, 137Cs, 54Mn, 88Y and 60Co. These sources, contained in the same containers as the samples, had five different heights (0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 5 cm, respectively) to determine the detection efficiency of the detector as a function of sample height.

Results

As expected, 134Cs and 137Cs were detected in nine and 10 of the 10 placentas with varying activities ranging 0.042–0.742 Bq/kg for 134Cs and 0.078–0.922 Bq/kg for 137Cs, respectively (Table 1), while relatively constant levels of 40K were detected, ranging 46.5–59.3 Bq/kg, regardless of the differences in cities where they were living after the FNP accident. If we assumed that 134Cs content was 0.050 Bq/kg for case 8, median 134Cs content, 0.373 Bq/kg (range, 0.090–0.742) in the five placentas of the neighbor group was relatively higher than that of 0.061Bq/kg (range, 0.042–0.462) in the five placentas of the distant group, but difference did not reach a significant level (P = 0.05556, Mann–Whitney U-test). Median 137Cs content was 0.563 Bq/kg (range, 0.207–0.922) for the neighbor group and 0.109 Bq/kg (range, 0.078–0.694) for the distant group (P = 0.09524).

Discussion

The present study demonstrated that placentas of women living within 290 km of FNP contained detectable levels of 134Cs and 137Cs. The difference in degree of contamination of placentas with radioactive Cs may have reflected dietary habits, the degree of environmental pollution and the interval until delivery after the FNP accident. The shortened biological half-life of radioactive Cs from approximately 100 days for non-pregnant adults to approximately 60 days in pregnant women[7] may have also contributed to the lesser contamination of the placenta in women who gave birth in and after July 2012. Although environmental pollution with radioactive Cs has been decreasing, daily 137Cs activities of fallout exceeded 10 MBq/km2 in 15 days in March 2012 in Fukushima City (Preliminary results of monitoring the environmental radioactivity level of fallout [File number 93], cited on 10 August 2012; available from http://radioactivity.mext.go.jp/old/ja/1285/2012/03/1285_033018.pdf). Surface soils contained more than 1000 Bq/kg of radioactive Cs in wide areas of Fukushima Prefecture where the five women of the neighbor group were living (cited on 10 August 2012; available from http://www.s.affrc.go.jp/docs/map/pdf/02_2_04bunpu_fukushima.pdf).

As shown in Figure 1, environmental pollution with radionuclides occurred after the repeated nuclear tests in the mid-20th century and after the Chernobyl accident in 1986. According to a study that examined 137Cs content in the placenta and urine of inpatients at Hiroshima University Hospital and in daily foods served for these inpatients over a 5-year period from 1966–1970,[5] 137Cs content in the placentas was approximately 35 pCi (1.3 Bq)/kg, 137Cs daily dietary intake was approximately 30 pCi (1.1 Bq) and 137Cs daily excretion in the urine was approximately 25 pCi (0.9 Bq) in 1966. Japanese and Canadian groups investigated 137Cs content in the human placentas collected in the Tokyo and Osaka areas in Japan and in the Montreal area in Canada in the mid-1960s.[3, 4] The average content of 137Cs was similar in Japanese and Canadian placentas, regardless of the differences in dietary habits (averages of 25.2 pCi [0.93 Bq]/kg and 24.8 pCi [0.92 Bq]/kg for Japanese and Canadian placentas, respectively).[3] Thus, placentas of Japanese and Canadian women in the mid-1960s contained an average of 0.9–1.3 Bq/kg 137Cs. Placentas contained less than 0.8 Bq/kg 134Cs and less than 1.0 Bq/kg 137Cs in this study. Although there may be a problem of direct data comparison between studies in which different assay methods were used, these results suggested that placentas of Japanese and Canadian women in the mid-1960s were more heavily contaminated with 137Cs than the placentas examined in this study.

The Chernobyl accident occurred on 26 April 1986. According to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (released on 13 March 2012; cited on 6 August 2012; available from http://radioactivity.mext.go.jp/ja/list/338/list-1.html), total amounts of dispersed 131I and 137Cs into the environment after the FNP accident were 1.3–1.6 × 1017 Bq and 1.1–1.5 × 1016 Bq, respectively, while corresponding values after the Chernobyl accident were 1.8 × 1018 Bq and 8.5 × 1016 Bq, respectively. Thus, the degree of environmental pollution is estimated to be 11–14-fold higher for 131I and 6–8-fold higher for 137Cs after the Chernobyl accident than after the FNP accident. An Italian group examined 134Cs and 137Cs contents in the placentas of women who gave birth at the University of Bologna over a 13-month period from June 1986 to September 1987 after the Chernobyl accident.[8] Mean placental 137Cs content increased from 4.2 Bq/kg in June 1986, showing a peak of 11.5 Bq/kg in March 1987, and then decreased to 6.6 Bq/kg in September 1987.[8] The Italian group also estimated dietary 137Cs intake on the basis of the average diet in the region where study subjects lived;[8] daily 137Cs intake was estimated to be 15 Bq in the summer of 1986,[8] which is approximately 14-fold higher than that of 1.1 Bq in the Hiroshima area, Japan, in 1966.[5] An investigation conducted 4 months after the FNP accident in early July 2011 revealed that median values of daily dietary intake of 134Cs and 137Cs were 0.6 Bq and 0.9 Bq in Soma (neighboring city to the north of Minami-soma), and 0.4 Bq and 0.7 Bq in Iwaki, respectively.[9] Thus, 137Cs content per kg of the placenta well reflected daily 137Cs intake and appeared to be 50–120% of the daily 137Cs intake. Another Italian group reported daily urinary excretion of 13.5 Bq 137Cs in people living in the Pordenone area of Italy in the latter half of 1987,[10] which is more than 10-fold higher than that of 0.9 Bq in women living in the Hiroshima area in 1966.[5] Thus, levels of exposure to radioactive Cs in Japanese pregnant women in the mid-1960s and after the FNP accident were much lower than those in women living in certain areas of Europe after the Chernobyl accident. In another report from Germany,[11] the radioactive Cs load in the placenta was shown to have increased by 10-fold compared with studies before the Chernobyl accident in western Germany.

The ratio of radioactive Cs to total K (stable and radioactive) is conventionally taken as a measure of radioactive Cs contamination, independent of body size and sex.[12] Soft tissue 137Cs content corrected for potassium did not differ between mother and fetus,[13] suggesting that the placenta is not a barrier for radioactive Cs. Mean activities of placental 40K were reported to be 770 pCi per placenta (57 Bq/kg) and 45 Bq/kg in Japanese[4] and Italian[8] studies, respectively, consistent with the values ranging 46.5–59.3 Bq/kg in this study. The heaviest contaminated placenta contained 0.922 Bq/kg 137Cs and 46.5 Bq/kg 40K. This 40K activity was equivalent to a placental K level of 38.4 mmol/kg. Thus, this placenta exhibited a 137Cs to K ratio of 0.024 Bq/mmol. According to a study in Glasgow by Watson,[12] whole-body 137Cs to total body K was 0.109 Bq/mmol after the Chernobyl accident; this figure is several-fold higher than that of 0.037 Bq/mmol determined in mainland Scotland in 1978–1979,[14] and that of 0.024 Bq/mmol in the placenta of case 1 in this study. The mean whole-body activity of naturally occurring 40K was 2859 Bq for females (52 Bq/kg, if we assume that bodyweight was 55 kg),[12] falling between two figures (45 Bq/kg[8] and 57 Bq/kg[4]) of placental 40K activity. Thus, placental 40K activity concentration appeared to be similar to whole-body 40K activity concentration.

A study of the whole-body radioactive Cs[15] showed another aspect of exposure to 134Cs and 137Cs in Minami-soma residents after the FNP accident. Although only one Minami-soma resident was included in our study population, this woman showed less placental contamination than those reported in the published work.[3-5, 8] However, relatively heavy exposure to radioactive Cs occurred in residents in Minami-soma. According to a study that examined whole-body radioactive Cs (134Cs and 137Cs) in 9498 residents in Minami-soma during the period between 26 September 2011 and 31 March 2012,[15] radioactive Cs (≥210 Bq for 134Cs and ≥250 Bq for 137Cs) was detected in 38% (3051/8066) of adults and 16% (235/1432) of children (6–15 years old), ranging 210–12 771 Bq (median, 744 Bq), with a concentration of 2.3–196.5 Bq/kg (median, 11.4) for adults and 210–2953 Bq (median, 590), with a concentration of 2.8–57.9 Bq/kg (median, 11.9) for children. Based on these data, we speculated that the pregnant Minami-soma woman in this study may have managed to avoid contaminated food materials. Available data on whole-body 134Cs and 137Cs activities are as follows: whole-body 134Cs and 137Cs activities were 172 Bq and 363 Bq, respectively, in non-pregnant adults living in the Glasgow area in June and July 1986 after the Chernobyl accident;[12] and that for 137Cs activity was estimated to be 3 nCi (111 Bq) in 1966, with a gradual decline to less than 1 nCi (37 Bq) in 1969 in pregnant Japanese women living in the Hiroshima area.[5]

In conclusion, placentas from women living within 290 km of FNP contained detectable levels of 134Cs and 37Cs. However, the degree of contamination was lower than those in Japanese and Canadian women in the mid-1960s and in northern Italian women in 1986–1987 after the Chernobyl accident. It has not been elucidated how placental contamination with radioactive Cs occurring in the past affected fetuses adversely. Such adverse effects, if present, may be disclosed in follow-up studies that are being conducted in Fukushima Prefecture in future.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jog.12071/full


 

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s children thyroid cancer and justifiable anxiety over radiation

thyroid-cancer-papillaryThyroid cancer cases rise near Fukushima as schoolchildren flee radiation http://www.naturalnews.com/044938_thyroid_cancer_Fukushima_schoolchildren.html

Thursday, May 01, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer (NaturalNews) Disillusioned by the government’s questionable position on radiation dangers throughout the region, many Japanese families living in and around the Fukushima prefecture where a large nuclear power station sustained three full meltdowns back in 2011 are deciding to send their children away to greener, safer pastures.

Associated Press (AP) reporter Yuri Kageyama reports that many families living within the so-called “no-go zone,” which covers a six-mile radius surrounding the plant, are not so sure that their children are safe there. At least 33 children throughout the region have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the Fukushima disaster, and many more are suffering from other symptoms possibly caused by radiation.

This is why Yukie Hashimoto and her husband decided to send their 12-year-old daughter 200 miles away to a resort town in central Japan. Concerned that the girl might eventually develop symptoms from perpetual exposure to low-dose radiation, the Hashimotos decided to take advantage of an offer by the town’s mayor to take in, educate and care for young Fukushima refugees.

“The low-dose radiation is continuing,” stated Hashimoto to reporters about the decision. “There is no precedent. We don’t know what effect that will have on our children.” 

Local leader says radiation levels four times higher around Fukushima than after Chernobyl

And the Hashimotos aren’t alone. The families of at least seven other children near Fukushima have reportedly decided to do the same thing to protect their children from long-term harm. This comes as local leader Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba, a town near Fukushima, recently issued a warning about radiation levels near Fukushima being four times higher than they were near Chernobyl.

“It is by no means safe, no matter what the government says,” he is quoted saying to RT.com.

Many residents in the area feel the same way, having expressed concerns about the validity of government reassurances that radiation levels are too low to be harmful. If recent radiation readings are any indication, it is clear that things are hardly as rosy as the world is being led to believe.

“I didn’t really believe things are as safe as the government is telling us,” Hashimoto said to AP reporters. “We made our decision with her future, 10 years and 20 years later, in mind.”

Thyroid-cancer-surgeon-turned-mayor to care for refugee children

In Matsumoto, the ski town where their daughter and a handful of others have now been sent, the children will receive an education and be cared for by local families. If complications should arise from earlier radiation exposure, the children will have access to the town’s mayor, a medical doctor who previously performed more than 100 thyroid cancer surgeries following Chernobyl.

“If my fears turn out to be unfounded, nothing would be better news,” stated Akira Sugenoya, the mayor in question, to the AP last fall when he first announced taking in refugee children living near Fukushima. “But if they become reality, then there is little time before it’s too late.”

For the Hashimotos, not everyone in the family is necessarily on board with this precautionary measure. The young girl’s older brother and grandmother both think her relocation is extreme, and she herself is worried about her leaving her six-year-old brother behind, since he is too young to be accepted into the program. But at the end of the day, her parents are certain that the decision is sound.

“The bottom line is: No one knows for sure,” stated Hiroshi Ueki, a former Fukushima resident who moved with his wife and two children to Matsumoto to lead the project. “What we do know is that the cases of cancer are up, and so naturally we are worried.”

 

May 2, 2014 Posted by | children, Fukushima 2013, Japan | 1 Comment

Dire health consequences predicted from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Experts: Fukushima disaster victims to include up to 600,000 deaths, over 100,000 still-births, and over 100,000 children with genetic deformations http://enenews.com/experts-fukushima-victims-to-include-up-to-300000-deaths-over-100000-still-births-and-over-100000-children-with-genetic-deformations

 Anna Sablina, cancer researcher and assistant professor at University of Leuven, Dec. 26, 2013: […] in case of such high radioactive dose and exposure it obviously can increase a probability of cancer development especially thyroid cancer and leukemia. […] We can always compare what people already know about the Chernobyl accident because it is a quite similar situation [to Fukushima] […] the only problem in the Chernobyl area is a really increased rate of thyroid cancer especially for kids. More than 5,000 kids there diagnosed the thyroid cancer after Chernobyl, so I would say it probably could be the same case as in Japan. And for the rest it is a bit difficult to say […] I think most of the time the only people who were directly involved in cleaning up and fixing the accident could have a really increased rate of cancer but for the rest it will be really difficult to say […]

Health consequences of chronic internal contaminations by radionuclides (pdf) IRSN (Radio-protection agency of France), 2005: The IRSN then recommends then to initiate in-depth researches in order to improve the knowledge in the area of health consequences of chronic internal contaminations […] not only focusing to cancers but also to the other types of effects and to all tissues. The main criticism to the current system is that it is mainly […] relating to the probability for a cancer or severe hereditary effects to occur [and] does not incorporate other pathologies and, in fact, researches conducted during the past years in radiotoxicology basically focused to the occurrence of cancers while neglecting other effects. It is now important to fill the gaps in this area and to describe all biological and health effects that may occur after a chronic contamination by radionuclides.

Estimate of Consequences from the Fukushima Disaster, Jiřina Vitázková and Errico Cazzoli, Nordic PSA Conference (nuclear utilities in Finland and Sweden), September 2011 (emphasis added): The results with respect to health effects show that within 80 years the number of victims of the Fukushima disaster can be expected to be AT LEAST in the range of 10,000 to 300,000 people in terms of deaths due to infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, genetic diseases, and cancers; and about the same number of sicknesses/syndromes needing prolonged hospitalization and health care are expected to occur.This estimates accounts only for the population already living at the time of the accident. A comparable number of excess deaths and sicknesses may be expected in the population that will be born in the period. In addition to these, more than 100,000 excess still-births and a comparable or larger number of excess children born with genetic deformations (e.g. Down syndrome) are expected […]

See also: Nuclear Expert: 1,000,000 cancers from Fukushima in Japan over next 20 years — First thyroid, then lung, organ, brain, leukemia (VIDEO)

January 1, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Tepco’s plan to clean up Fukushima, -technology not invented yet, restart of idled reactors

eyes-surprisedThe plan, which includes a cost-cutting round of early retirements, assumes the giant utility will be allowed to restart some of its idled nuclear reactors.

The government believes it may take 40 years completely to dismantle the plant and could require the use of technology that has not yet been invented.

Fukushima operator readies new restructuring plan http://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/fukushima-operator-readies-restructuring-plan-000222900.html  27 Dec 13, Tokyo Electric Power Wednesday submitted a fresh restructuring plan to a Japanese government-backed fund that envisages the creation of a special unit to dismantle the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

text-Fukushima-2013-1

TEPCO president Naomi Hirose pledged thorough implementation of the plan, once approved by the government as expected next month. Continue reading

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

A family’s health wrecked by Fukushima nuclear radiation

Fukushima Mother: ‘Strange smell’ at start of nuclear disaster — Health of entire family has deteriorated — More people who stayed have died, more kids have leukemia and cancer — All our thyroid exams turned out totally different when tested in Tokyo (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/fukushima-mother-strange-smell-at-start-of-nuclear-disaster-health-of-entire-family-has-deteriorated-more-people-who-stayed-have-died-more-kids-have-leukemia-and-cancer-all-our-thy

Mother speaking at Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial Team press conference on Dec. 4, 2013, transcribed by Kiiko and translated by Fukushima Voice, Published Dec. 22, 2013:

[…] I still remember how it was very hard for me and my children to breathe due to strange smell […] Every day the government and specialists said […] “There is no immediate health effect.” […] we ate local vegetables and drank tap water. […] I began to have dry coughs of unknown etiology. When I went to a hospital, I was told “An increasing number of people had the same symptom.” […] My son [and] many others around us, at all ages, also complained of bone pain in the soles of their feet. […] Health of all the family members quickly deteriorated during the period awaiting evacuation. […] My dry cough got so bad to the point of nearly choking in the middle of the night […] arm bone pain was so bad that I could barely open and close doors. […] My grade school age son continued to have nausea and headache […] they found blood in his urine […] he often had diarrhea. I also began to have continuing nausea, headache and diarrhea. […] my son’s blood pressure had gone down to 82/50. […] [We] went to a hospital in Tokyo for thyroid examination. […] all of us had results which were totally different from the results in Fukushima [son diagnosed with thyroid adenomatous goiter and lymphadenopathy with over 10 lymph nodes involved]. When I took him to a hospital in Yamanashi, he was diagnosed with “autonomic nervous system disorder.” […] More people who remained in Fukushima are suffering from the same symptoms as mine. More people have died. There are more children who got leukemia, who began to have bloody noses and who have thyroid cancer. […]
Watch the press conference here

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, health, Japan | 2 Comments

Yet another record radiation level measured at Fukushima nuclear reactor no 2

TEPCO detects record radiation at Fukushima’s reactor 2, new leak suspected http://rt.com/news/fukushima-record-radiation-leak-616/  December 22, 2013  TEPCO has found a record 1.9 million becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances at its No.2 reactor. Also radioactive cesium was detected in deeper groundwater at No.4 unit’s well, as fears grow of a new leak into the ocean.

The level of beta ray-emitting radioactivity in groundwater around the crippled Fukushima reactor No. 2 reactor has been rising since November, NHK reported.

Previous the highest level – 1.8 million becquerels (bq/liter), of beta-ray sources per liter – was registered at reactor No.1 on December 13.

Meanwhile, TEPCO’s latest examination of deeper groundwater beneath the #4 reactor’s well has raised new concerns that there might be another source of radioactive substances leakage into the ocean.  For the first time, the analysis of water samples taken from a layer 25 meters beneath the No. 4 reactor’s well that is facing the ocean has revealed radioactivity in groundwater.

TEPCO investigators detected 6.7 bq/liter of Cesium 137 and 89 bq/liter of strontium as well as other beta ray-emitting radioactive substances.  However, the company’s officials said that it is early to talk about a hotspot of radiation leak and more examinations are needed to prove that. TEPCO suggested that current numbers could be wrong because radioactive substances may have been mistakenly mixed during the process of getting the sample.

Leakage of radiation-contaminated water has been the major threat to Japan’s population and environment from the very beginning of the Fukushima disaster in March 2011.

Only in late July 2013 did TEPCO acknowledge the fact that contaminated water is escaping from basements and trenches of the Fukushima plant into the ocean.

Since then, TEPCO reported about two major leaks of highly radioactive water into the ocean from storage tanks – a 300-ton leak in August and 430 liters in October.

December 23, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Critical situation of the decaying Fukushima nuclear buildings

Fukushima-reactor-6Experts: Fukushima is “increasingly critical due to decay of buildings… reactor blocks are sinking… alarming cracks in foundation” — “It was built very poorly, Japan cannot deal with problem alone… it’s a big problem” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/experts-fukushima-is-increasingly-critical-due-to-decay-of-buildings-reactor-blocks-are-sinking-alarming-cracks-in-foundation-it-was-built-very-poorly-japan-cannot-deal-with-problem-a

City of Berkeley City Council Meeting, Dec. 17, 2013 (at 2:25:00 in): Good evening, as many of you know I spent 13 years in the nuclear engineering department at Cal.  So I’m very familiar with the construction […] The reactor was designed poorly and also the way it was built was very poor and Japan cannot deal with the problem alone. […] The biggest part of the story is Japan by itself is not capable to fix the problem. We need to get the United Nations, the United States, all the countries — It is a big problem. […]
Article in the German economics paper ‘Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten’ on Oct. 9, 2013translated by pixigirl:Fukushima – German physicist: “The probability that the rescue succeeds goes to zero” […] The German physicist Sebastian Pfugbeil[President of the German Society for Radiological Protection] is extremely pessimistic that an elementary Fukushima disaster can be averted. The consequences would be felt over the entire northern hemisphere. […] Pflugbeil explains the situation in Fukushima: “The situation is becoming increasingly critical due to the decay of the buildings. The fuel rods have not been brought to safety. The reactor blocks are sinking. The ground on which the reactor sits can no longer bear any weight…It is floating. There has been such dramatic shifts that there are 1 meter height differences between one corner to the other which have caused massive cracks in the building structure resulting in alarming cracks in the building foundation and soundness.” […] It requires only a small earthquake or a storm surge or simply the failure of building structures to set this disaster in motion.” […]  Watch speaker at the meeting here (starts at 2:25:00 in)

December 21, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Radiation increase a thousand fold in Fukushima groundwater

water-radiationRadiation in Fukushima groundwater skyrockets 3,500+ times over weekend — Just 5 meters from Pacific Ocean — Nothing being done to stop it flowing into sea (PHOTO)  http://enenews.com/radiation-in-groundwater-skyrockets-3500-times-over-weekend-just-5-meters-from-pacific-no-steps-being-taken-to-stop-flow-into-ocean-photo[…]

Tepco, Dec. 17, 2013: As a result of the measurement, it was found that the gross-β density in the groundwater observation holeNo.0-3-2 obtained at the east of the Units 1-4 Turbine Buildings on December 16 [was] 63,000Bq/L

Jiji Press, Dec. 17, 2013: Highest Ever Radiation Detected in Fukushima Plant Well […] Some 63,000 becquerels of radioactive materials that emit beta rays, such as strontium-90, per liter have been found in groundwater […] the highest level at the well [Tepco] said Tuesday […] sample [was] taken on Monday from the observation well 5 meters from the coast […] Since the company is not takings steps to prevent tainted water in the well from flowing into the sea […] the water is likely to be reaching the plant’s bay. […] standards require strontium-90 levels to be less than 10 becquerels in water to be released into the sea. […]
See also: Asahi: Radiation levels spike to record high in Fukushima groundwater well nearby ocean — Trench failures to blame, says Tepco — Million times more strontium/beta-ray source than cesium

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, water | Leave a comment

Tepco resigned to permanent closure of the undamaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima

Fukushima nuclear operator Tepco to shut two more reactors BBC News, 18 Dec 13, The operators of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan are to decommission two reactors that were not badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

They have bowed to public pressure that the plant be shut permanently……Four reactors were severely damaged by the disaster that struck in March 2011.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) had delayed making a final announcement on the fate of reactors number 5 and 6 at Fukushima while negotiations continued about the financing of the decommissioning process.

The executive board has now accepted the inevitable and acknowledged there will be no attempt to generate electricity from the plant again…….http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25434996

December 19, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Fukushima 2013, Japan | Leave a comment

Cancer is clearly increasing in Fukushima children,

Tokyo Press Conference: Cancer is clearly increasing in Fukushima children, many experts starting to get concerned — Tepco has committed a crime; We’re going to the police tomorrow (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/tokyo-press-conference-clear-increase-in-cancer-among-fukushima-children-has-many-experts-concerned-tepco-has-committed-a-crime-and-we-are-going-to-the-police-tomorrow-video

Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan,, Dec. 17, 2013:

Ruiko Mutoh, Representative of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs: In the thyroid tests which were conducted on people under the age of 18 in 2011 and 2012, of 230,000 children who were tested, 59 have been found to have either thyroid cancer or potential likelihood of such cancer. According to the Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey it’s been one-way declared that these kind of health effects are unrelated to the radiation caused by the nuclear disaster. However this clear increase in the frequency is something that many more scholars and experts are starting to say that we need to look at the causes and the facts behind this more. The effects of this disaster are continuing to expand even today.

At 17:45 in
Mutoh:: So if Tepco had not been concerned with financial considerations, but had at an early stage taken the required measures, then the situation would not have become as serious as it is today, and I believe that this is a criminal act. Tomorrow on behalf of the Fukushima nuclear disaster plaintiffs, we will be taking the second stage of complaints to the Fukushima Prefectural police and this includes complaints on behalf of 6,042 people who submitted them as part of our action.
Watch the full press conference here

December 19, 2013 Posted by | children, Fukushima 2013, Japan | 1 Comment

Th world’s worst nuclear pollution – Fukushima radiation

Japan Professor: Damage from Fukushima is unprecedented, a disaster never before experienced in human history; Some say it could affect whole northern hemisphere — Experts: “Very likely the largest nuclear accident which mankind experienced” http://enenews.com/japan-professor-damage-fukushima-unprecedented-disaster-never-before-experienced-human-history-could-affect-northern-hemisphere-experts-ver

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster : One of the World’s Worst-Ever Cases of Pollution,, Professor Fumikazu Yoshida of Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Economics, Economic Journal of Hokkaido University, March 2013: The Fukushima nuclear disaster, however, has been responsible for the largest and worst case of pollution to have occurred during the postwar era […] its complexities and scale are greater than anything that has gone before. […] So severe are [the myriad of problems] that we can characterize this disaster as a “second war defeat” since its impact on the nation questions the whole basis of Japan’s postwar society […] [There are] immense dangers that the ‘accident’ still poses […] Rather than simply being a local problem, it has been from the beginning a nationwide and potentially international issue (some say that it has the potential to affect the whole of the northern hemisphere).

If we consider the nature of the devastation and the number of victims […] as well as the extent of affected area […] then we understand that the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident has been the cause of injury to human society and the natural environment on a scale that is unprecedentedly wide-spread and lifethreatening in its effects. […] The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is a “multiple disaster” never before experienced in human history […]

Estimate of Consequences from the Fukushima Disaster, Nordic PSA Conference (nuclear utilities in Finland and Sweden), September 2011: Comparison of results for the Fukushima best estimate and Chernobyl source terms used for the Fukushima site shows that the Fukushima accident, as a whole, is very likely the largest nuclear accident which mankind experienced because estimates of long term fatalities, risks of death and other societal impact based on Chernobyl source terms in Fukushima show lower potential of consequences than Fukushima source terms.

See also: Experts: Fukushima cesium release could be more than triple Chernobyl

December 18, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | 1 Comment

Shock revelations about US sailors exposed to Fukushima radiation

exclamation-5 1 Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan Suffering Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors After Participating in Fukushima Nuclear Rescue Efforts
Thursday, 12 December 2013 – Crew members in their mid-20’s from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are coming down with all sorts of radiation-related illnesses after being deployed less than 3 years ago to assist with earthquake rescue operations off the coast of Japan in 2011.  It looks as though the onboard desalinization systems that take salt out of seawater to make it drinkable, were taking-in radioactive water from the ocean for the crew to drink, cook with and bath-in, before anyone realized there was a massive radiation spill into the ocean.

Charles Bonner, attorney representing sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan said “the crew members were not only going to the rescue by jumping into the water and rescuing people out of the water, but they were drinking desalinated sea water, bathing in it, until finally the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan alarmed people that they were encountering high levels of radiation.”

Bonner says that as a result of this exposure, the 51 sailors have come down with a host of medical problems, “They have testicular cancer, they have thyroid cancers, they have leukemias, they have rectal and gynecological bleeding, a host of problems that they did not have before … people are going blind, pilots who had perfect eyesight but now have tumors on the brain. And it’s only been 3 years since they went in.” Bonner pointed out that these service men and women are young people, ages 21, 22, 23 years old and no one in their family had ever suffered any of these kinds of illnesses before.

At present, 51 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan are named as Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Bonner says he anticipates adding twenty additional Sailors soon, bringing the total to 70 to 75 because “The Japanese government is in a major conspiracy with TEPCO to hide and conceal the true facts.”

In an utterly shocking admission at a meeting of the Japan Press Club on December 12, 2013, the former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, who was in-office when the Fukushima disaster took place, told assembled journalists “[People think it was March 12th but] the first meltdown occurred 5 hours after the earthquake.” This means that the government of Japan KNEW there was horrific radiation being released, but did not tell the U.S. Navy which had deployed the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to assist with rescue efforts. Our  story covering this new aspect of the Fukushima incident is available…..http ://www.turnerradionetwork.com/news/99-pat 

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, health, USA | 5 Comments

Record radiation levels detected in well at Fukushima nuke

water-tanks-Fukushima A record 1.8 million becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter of water were detected at a monitoring well at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Dec. 13.  
The reading concerns strontium and other beta-ray sources.  The water was sampled at a monitoring well in an area close to the sea near the No. 2 reactor building on Dec. 12. The well is located close to trenches holding highly radioactive water.  TEPCO said the reading apparently spiked after highly radioactive water seeped into the surroundings through failed parts of the trenches.
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201312140043

December 15, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | 1 Comment

Japan’s nuclear regime slides towards fascism

Wasserman, HarveyJapan’s New ‘Fukushima Fascism’ Eco Watch, 12 Dec 13,   Fukushima continues to spew out radiation. The quantities seem to be rising, as do the impacts.

The site has been infiltrated by organized crime. There are horrifying signs of ecological disaster in the Pacific and human health impacts in the U.S.

But within Japan, a new State Secrets Act makes such talk punishable by up to ten years in prison.

civil-liberty-2smTaro Yamamoto, a Japanese legislator, says the law “represents a coup d’etat” leading to “the recreation of a fascist state.” The powerful Asahi Shimbun newspaper compares it to “conspiracy” laws passed by totalitarian Japan in the lead-up to Pearl Harbor, and warns it could end independent reporting on Fukushima.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been leading Japan in an increasingly militaristic direction. Tensions have increased with China. Massive demonstrations have been renounced with talk of “treason.”

But it’s Fukushima that hangs most heavily over the nation and the world. 

spent-fuel-rodsTokyo Electric Power has begun the bring-down of hot fuel rods suspended high in the air over the heavily damaged Unit Four. The first assemblies it removed may have contained unused rods. The second may have been extremely radioactive.

But Tepco has clamped down on media coverage and complains about news helicopters filming the fuel rod removal.

secret-agent-SmUnder the new State Secrets Act, the government could ban—and arrest—all independent media under any conditions at Fukushima, throwing a shroud of darkness over a disaster that threatens us all.

By all accounts, whatever clean-up is possible will span decades. The town of Fairfax, CA, has now called for a global takeover at Fukushima. More than 150,000 signees have asked the UN for such intervention.

As a private corporation, Tepco is geared to cut corners, slash wages and turn the clean-up into a private profit center.

safety-symbol-SmIt will have ample opportunity. The fuel pool at Unit Four poses huge dangers that could take years to sort out. But so do the ones at Units One, Two and Three. The site overall is littered with thousands of intensely radioactive rods and other materials whose potential fallout is thousands of times greater than what hit Hiroshima in 1945.

Soon after the accident, Tepco slashed the Fukushima workforce. It has since restored some of it, but has cut wages. Shady contractors Criminalshuttle in hundreds of untrained laborers to work in horrific conditions. Reuters says the site is heaving infiltrated by organized crime, raising the specter of stolen radioactive materials for dirty bombs and more.

Thousands of tons of radioactive water now sit in leaky tanks built by temporary workers who warn of their shoddy construction. They are sure to collapse with a strong earthquake.

Tepco says it may just dump the excess water into the Pacific anyway. Nuclear expert Arjun Makhijani has advocated the water be stored in supertankers until it can be treated, but the suggestion Pacific-Ocean-drainhas been ignored.

Hundreds of tons of water also flow daily from the mountains through the contaminated site and into the Pacific. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen long ago asked Tepco to dig a trench filled with absorbents to divert that flow. But he was told that would cost too much money.

ice-wall-FukushimaNow Tepco wants to install a wall of ice. But that can’t be built for at least two years. It’s unclear where the energy to keep the wall frozen will come from, or if it would work at all.

Meanwhile, radiation is now reaching record levels in both the air and water.

The fallout has been already been detected off the coast of Alaska. It will cycle down along the west coast of Canada and the U.S. to northern Mexico by the end of 2014. Massive disappearances of sea lion pups, sardines, salmon, killer whales and other marine life are being reported, along with a terrifying mass disintegration of star fish. One sailor has documented a massive “dead zone” out 2,000 miles from Fukushima. Impacts on humans have already been documented in California and elsewhere.

Without global intervention, long-lived isotopes from Fukushima will continue to pour into the biosphere for decades to come.

wind-turbine-oceanThe only power now being produced at Fukushima comes from a massive new windmill just recently installed offshore.

Amidst a disaster it can’t handle, the Japanese government is still pushing to re-open the 50 reactors forced shut since the melt-downs. It wants to avoid public fallout amidst a terrified population, and on the 2020 Olympics, scheduled for a Tokyo region now laced with radioactive hot spots. At least one on-site camera has stopped functioning. The government has also apparently stopped helicopter-based radiation monitoring.

A year ago a Japanese professor was detained 20 days without trial for speaking out against the open-air incineration of radioactive waste.

Now Prime Minister Abe can do far worse. The Times of India reports that the State Secrets Act is unpopular, and that Abe’s approval ratings have dropped with its passage.

censorshipBut the new law may make Japan’s democracy a relic of its pre-Fukushima past.

It’s the cancerous mark of a nuclear regime bound to control all knowledge of a lethal global catastrophe now ceaselessly escalating.

Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, politics | 2 Comments

Japan’s expensive problem – 132,738 tonnes of radioactive soil

wastesflag-japanJapan to spend $970 mn on nuclear soil store Phys Org News 12 Dec 13 Japan is planning to earmark 100 billion yen ($970 million) for a storage facility for tens of thousands of tonnes of soil contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima disaster, a report said Wednesday.

The government will set aside the cash to buy some 3 to 5 square kilometres (1.2 to 2 square miles) of land somewhere near the crippled plant, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

But finding a candidate site for the facility, which the government envisages using for 30 years, is a political challenge as no local authority has so far raised its hand.

Tokyo would like to use land in three heavily contaminated towns near the plant, said the paper, adding environment minister Nobuteru Ishiara will speak with local officials this weekend.

The mayors of the towns—Futaba, Okuma and Naraha—along with the governor of Fukushima prefecture Yuhei Sato, are believed to be concerned that the temporary site could easily become permanent………No one from the environment ministry was available for comment on the report.

As of the end of August, the total amount of  and debris collected through decontamination efforts, in which the top layer of soil is stripped from the land, stood at 132,738 tonnes, about 80 percent of which is from Fukushima prefecture.

This  is currently stored at waste incineration plants,  and agricultural and forestry facilities nationwide.

Experts say a more long-term solution needs to be found because storage capacity at these facilities is reaching its limits. http://phys.org/news/2013-12-japan-mn-nuclear-soil.html#jCp

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, wastes | Leave a comment