A Japanese child on
the eastern shores of Japan.
The U.S. nuke industry is blaming Japanese experts, distancing itself from the monster it created.
Instead of sending nuclear or health experts to assist the Japanese people in their time of desperate need, US President Barack Obama first sent teams of intelligence agents and FEMA trained military grunts with special security clearances.
The Pentagon floated a naval strike force led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan off the coast of Japan: advertised as a 'humanitarian' operation, the strike force was repositioned after it was partially irradiated.
Can we trust officials and the corporate news media to
tell us what is happening in an honest, timely, transparent manner?
Are there precedents to the nuclear crisis in Japan? What is the
U.S. defense establishment really concerned with here?
Intentional efforts to downplay or dismiss this catastrophe reveal the immaturity of western civilization and some of our most acute human pathologies, including our worship of technology and our psychopathology of denial. The widespread distortion and cover-ups to protect private profits, national and corporate interests, to fool and betray the people, are unacceptable.
Here are some of the deeper whats and whys and hows - some technical issues and the kinds of questions people need to ask - about the nuclear apocalypse unfolding on planet earth. Prayers are not enough.
It's time to question everything, to put politics
aside, to take personal action to halt nuclear expansion and defend
ourselves from this industrial juggernaut.
Before 1990 I worked in
classified programs for General Electric - the maker of the nuclear
reactors now irradiating Japan. I worked at GE Aerospace Electronics
Laboratories: low-level classified government programs in
communications, radars and missile guidance systems for Ronald
Reagan's infamous Star Wars (Strategic Defence Initiative) programs.
One corporation even developed these giant rubber bladders -
the size of football-fields - sunk offshore, which could be pumped
full of seawater to provide a giant barrier against tsunami's. Of
course, the profit margins for these corporations supplying these
bags were huge, but I wonder what happened to the technology, if
these were ever deployed, and where.
The commitment and integrity of
these young people made me rethink my nuclear bias.
The giant sea walls of concrete tetrapods used off the eastern coast of Japan
to protect smaller sea ports and fishing villages from waves.
Photo c. keith
harmon snow, 1994.
I began my career as a journalist by looking deeply into the rabbit-hole of nuclear power from 1993 to 2000.
I visited the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Public Document Rooms - which have since been closed in many places - where I read thousands of microfilms and scanned microfiche records and excavated document after document in search of truth. I visited nuke plants in New England and industry conferences.
I interviewed officials and I attended the most boring and sometimes secretive public meetings with the most stifling and unimaginative bureaucrats and with engineers (like me) so dry they squeaked.
And then I
reported on regulatory corruption, technical failures, undemocratic
initiatives to betray the public trust, and the accumulating
radiation and nuclear poisons - and the many ways that the mass
media supported and perpetuated the mythology.
So begins a recent U.S. business sector article titled You Can Stop Worrying About A Radiation Disaster in Japan - Here's Why, published four days after the earthquake struck in Japan.
It has already proved false.
Properly understood for what it is - a childish, myopic, arrogant attempt to belittle the truth and influence public opinion - the article provides an apt example of the rampant industry disinformation that is sweeping aside rational and compassionate and precautionary assessments with irrational jingoism, simplistic emotional appeals, and wrong-headed thinking.
The post went viral and was republished widely.
How many nuke plants are involved? We don't really know. Not that we have not been told, we have.
There are six reactors at the Fukushima site, one reactor at the Tokai nuclear facility and three reactors at the stricken Onagawa nuclear complex (below video).
There are toxic chemical spills, petroleum refinery fires, gas fires, dangerous debris and human pathogens from the thousands of dead people and animals.
The place is an apocalyptic nightmare, to be sure, but from the beginning the most important facts regarding the status of the nuclear pants and their components, their functioning or failing systems, the operability of the control rooms or integrity of the reactor containment structures, were being denied to the public.
we are seeing some damage control by the U.S., the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission and the media.
The question is: what can we believe to be true? Look at the photos of the explosion.
Are we stupid enough
to believe that no radiation has been released from this reactor's
primary or secondary containment systems? On Wednesday March 16 we
were finally told that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) had
ordered its remaining staff to evacuate areas of the Fukushima plant
after radiation levels spiked and plumes of white vapor "were seen
pouring from what authorities identified as [emphasis added] the
station's No. 3 reactor.
Indeed, they are not in the control room, obviously, or
anywhere near it, or anywhere near 'the station's No. 3 reactor'
because they are standing back trying to identify what they are
seeing, to see what is going on, and where it is going on. The
reactor's are too hot: this is radiation: this is the nightmare
scenario we were told could not happen. Radiation is contaminating
air, soil, ocean, people.
At first glance, the two Business Insider
stories couldn't be further apart in their general themes: You Can
Stop Worrying, which translates to, calm down, don't get hysterical,
pay no attention to those anti-nuclear fanatics who think that even
microwave ovens will kill you, versus the Death Toll Climbs
Astronomically feature, which for all practical purposes we can
translate to Holy shit, brother! Run for your life! Duck and Cover!
The primary imperatives of this campaign are economic. In other words, most of the reportage out there about what is happening in Japan - so far - has been anchored in western epistemological frameworks based in money, greed, private profits and loss.
should not be interpreted to mean that people (mostly we are talking
about people NOT affected by the apocalypse in Japan) care about who
lives or dies, but rather that their primary concerns are their
financial balance sheets, their corporate images, their personal
retirement portfolios, and the fall of the Nikkei Index and Dow
Jones trading they drool over.
...are all based in
self-interest, not the altruistic and compassionate concerns of all
humanity, of environmental stewardship or the preservation of all
life on earth, but in a self-righteous, arrogant and ignorant
selfishness of the kind that author David Ehrenfeld elaborated in
his monumental work,
The Arrogance of Humanism.
The rail system and subways were precise: you could set your watch by them. In 2003, their advanced magnetic levitation Shinkansen bullet trains performed at 581 kilometers per hour (361 mph). If the Japanese can't do, no one can.
Yet today Japan is on fire - the epicenter of deadly radiation now emanating out of that sizable island.
This is not about Japan,
folks, or national borders: its about all of us, everywhere.
components likely cracked or shattered. The tsunami and huge
aftershocks advanced the chaos. These factors were complicated by
the loss of offsite electrical power (an electrical BLACKOUT), the
failure of emergency diesel generators, and the subsequent
Intergranular stress corrosion cracking of
BWR core shrouds (the core shroud is next to fuel rods deep inside)
is another major safety issue in GE designed BWRs built by Hitachi
at Fukushima, and these plague every BWR reactor in the U.S.
There are as many possibilities of failures outside what we have been spoon-fed - the official sequence of events - as there are dead people.
Amongst the most troubling and most deeply underplayed questions of the entire crisis concern the Fukushima Spent Fuel Pools.
These basin are packed with tons of
irradiated fuel rods that need to be cooled. One of the major
postulated accident scenarios involves a Loss-of-Coolant Accident (LOCA)
to the reactor core, but a LOCA event can also occur with a spent
fuel pool. It has. Fires and explosions in Japan. The Spent Fuel
Pools at the six Fukushima reactors are NOT inside primary
containment. They are exposed. Burning. About to burn.
After the water drained and the spent fuel became exposed, the pool at reactor No. 4 caught fire, and continues to burn, as of Thursday March 17, releasing massive amounts of radiation into the environment. The status of the other six spent fuel pools at Fukushima is unknown.
A courageous U.S. journalist Rachel Maddow explored the spent fuel pool issue with a former government official.
The most important, critical point made by Princeton professor Frank Von Hippel occurs at minute 14:19 - where Rachel Maddow talks over him:
How much disaster are we talking about?
The atomic bomb that
exploded at Hiroshima created about 2000 curies of radioactivity.
The spent fuel pools at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant (U.S.) are said
to hold about 75 million curies. There are six spent fuel pools at
Fukushima, but the numbers of tons of fuel rods in each have not
been made public.
Are we to believe that the massive explosions that were
captured on film, and others that were not, did not damage these
elevated time bombs?
Do electrical outages and blackouts occur anywhere else? Blizzards? Tornadoes? Hurricanes?
The world is seeing more and more extreme and unpredictable weather. Claims that a serious nuclear 'accident' cannot happen in the U.S., Europe or Canada are false, and nuclear executives know it.
That is why corporations refused at first to get into the nuclear power business, until the U.S. Government indemnified them with the Price Andersen Act (1957).
In a recent WikiLeaks diplomatic cable, politician Taro Kono, a high-profile member of Japan's lower house, told U.S. diplomats that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (MITI) - the Japanese government department responsible for nuclear energy - has been,
Such singular but remarkable events follow a pattern of wholesale
U.S. cover-ups that define the industry as secretive and criminal,
and they involve shoddy equipment, human incompetence, unsafe
designs, inadequate safety measures, and economic decisions that
have occurred since the very beginning of Japan's nuclear power era
- which itself was born out of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
with U.S.-made weapons of mass destruction.
The control room at
the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Station, Tennessee.
One fact is certain: we have already been massively lied to about a massive and still unfolding nuclear disaster.
The radiation releases from some four to six nuclear reactors in collapse are already known to be excessive, described by reputable experts as,
It may be worse than Chernobyl yet. Additional radiation has been reported at the Onagawa complex, but this was explained away as wind-blown radioactivity from the Fukushima complex.
Meanwhile, in the same reports, officials said
that radiation was not leaking from Fukushima, or it was minimal,
and there was no cause for alarm.
The core of the
nuclear reactor at Tennessee Valley Authority's Unit 2 Pressurized
After several days of lies and distortions and official government censorship, reports appeared under the headlines Japan radiation leaks feared as nuclear experts point to possible cover-up.
Reports also began citing partial meltdowns of nuclear fuel rods. The threat of meltdown is real, it has been happening to some degree, and it has already occurred far more than we have been told.
The physical and thermonuclear states
of materials and systems and the spread of radioactivity at Japan's
reactors remains shrouded in disinformation and silence.
These claims are false.
The new book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment provides irrefutable evidence of massive loss of life.
However, Lovelock has a long history working for NASA - the
outer-space division of the Pentagon - and is deeply enmeshed in the
western epistemological framework.
James Lovelock's Chernobyl statement should immediately discredit him as a quack: Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is unwilling to go on record claiming anything less than many, many deaths.
Further, Lovelock's comment about the 'idiotic mess-up' by Russians
is inherently racist: the Russians were the first to put a satellite
(Sputnik) into orbit, for example, and NASA collaborated with the
Russian MIR Space Station, which broke all kinds of records.
Lovelock's analysis is patently false - contaminated by his own
inability to see beyond his privilege and self-interests.
Tell this to the mutant babies, weak-spined and deformed children
from the Chernobyl killing zones, chronicled in Russian filmmaker
Vladimir Kuznetsov's, "While We Are Still Alive," and to the people
Bikini Atoll whose stolen island is officially acknowledged to be
highly contaminated. Savannah River is another SUPERFUND site.
Uranium mines in Niger that have built France's entire nuclear complex are toxic wastelands spreading radiotoxins across north and sub-Saharan Africa. The Tuareg and Toubou nomads have been completely shattered by the confiscation, exploitation and irradiation of their lands by the nuclear complex.
Native Americans continue to suffer massive epidemics of disease, contamination and confiscation of lands in the Secret Nuclear War at the American Ground Zero: the nuclear complex has compounded the native American genocide begun in 1492.
Daily contamination releases into water, soil and air occur at every operating nuclear reactor in the world.
There is no 'disposal' of deadly nuclear toxins that now exist to
perpetuity, and yet wastes are typically dumped on poor communities
like Barnwell, South Carolina, or native American lands.
The author at first did not identify himself, which is a tactic many people use so that they do not have to take responsibility, or worry about being held accountable.
Appended as a sort of disclaimer to the article that morphed out of the comment we find the statement:
In the nuclear arena, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) is known for the infamous Nuclear Reactor Safety Study (WASH
1400), chaired by MIT nuclear scientist Norman P. Rasmussen
(commonly known as The Rasmussen Report), that whitewashed the
massive flaws and safety failures of a burgeoning, secretive,
incestuous nuclear power industry, even while it exposed them to
Produced at the height of the United States' anti-nuclear movement in 1974, the Rasmussen Report downplayed the risk of nuclear accidents and polished the image of a technologically diseased industry.
The stridently pro-nuclear MIT has spent billions of taxpayers dollars on secretive and highly biased research programs of all things nuclear.
MIT is also a known hotbed of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with a revolving door from MIT to government to the CIA.
Turns out Dr. Oehmen's report had so many errors, and yet was so widely regurgitated, that it was taken over by MIT's nuclear experts.
Dr. Oehmen employs the standard ruse of claiming that the press, which can very easily be shown to as stridently pro-nuclear as MIT itself, is instead plagued by "tendentious anti-nuclear journalism - that is quite normal these days."
He then explains nuclear power (wrongly) arriving at last at his definitive statement that,
Pollution off the
coast of Japan caused large scale fishkills.
It takes about five seconds to spell R-A-D-I-O-N-U-C-L-I-D-E and it
takes about the same amount of time to read a chart (below) which
shows the actual lifetimes and half-lives of radioisotopes that
people need to be concerned about today.
While millions of people in Japan are suffering the personal psychological terror of a possible nuclear holocaust, the fears and horrors of life and death from a natural disaster, starvation and thirst, and radioactive poisoning.
Dr. Joseph Oehmen - safe in Boston
Massachusetts - has been been boasting about his blog post -
popular with people who hate it and love it - which spread like a
virus on the Internet.
These include dangerous,
Some fissionable elements decay rapidly and are inconsequential during releases, but some decay into other, more deadly nuclides. The most dangerous nuclides have half-lives in days (I-131 = 8 days), years (Cs-137 = 30 years) or centuries (Pu-239 = 24,000 years).
is the time it takes for one-half of the material to decay - lest we
forget that the other half is still present.
Tables 17.2 and 17.3 from
A Guide to Nuclear Power Technology
All of these fissionable products are potentially released and they have varying degrees of half-lives, mobility, migration and toxicity depending on factors like atmospheric conditions, temperature of the reactor core and operating capacity (megawatts) at shutdown, and the presence of coolants.
The most dangerous of these are,
All of these negatively affect the human body and all of these have been released in nuclear power 'accidents', during venting of radioactive steam or flushing of radioactive water, and other 'events'.
Another deadly isotope which seems to consistently
'escape' from nuclear power sites is cobalt 60 (Co-60), half-life
5.2 years. Co-60 accumulates and migrates through steam generator
tubes and other secondary coolant processes, in core shrouds and
reactor pressure vessels, and many of the other components of
nuclear reactors whose histories of failures are thoroughly
The term 'leak' suggests air squeaking out of a balloon. In Japan we have leaks, here and there, but we also have explosions, fires and other phenomena that create massive radioactive emissions. To say 'leak' is to downplay what is happening. The balloons in Japan have burst: primary containment has been breached at Reactor No. 3 and at least one spent fuel pool is burning up.
With the walls blown out and roof
blown off, it seems at least one other spent fuel pool is gone or
Many credible physicians, scientists and other nuclear experts - free of the self-interests of nuclear profits, academic sponsorship or career advancement - have outlined the absence of epidemiological studies of certain radionuclides emitted or flushed at nuclear reactors.
Dr. Helen Caldicott has elaborated the detrimental health effects of the noble gases xenon (Xe) and krypton (Kr), and she notes that these have appearance hundreds of miles from reactors believed to have emitted them.
On March 14 Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) outlined the risks from Japan.
Iodine 131 migrates in air and is known for causing thyroid cancers, especially in children. Strontium 90 causes different cancers. Cesium 137 concentrates in bone and causes leukemia. Microscopic particles of plutonium 239 cause lung cancer if inhaled and Pu-239 kills instantly in any sizable dose.
Areas contaminated by plutonium will have to be abandoned - as happened at Chernobyl.
The proponents of nuclear power have used all kinds of disinformation and tactics to protect the industry - compelling the nuclear complex to arm guards to 'protect' these secrets and to 'protect' civilian reactors.
It is not only 'terrorists' that the nuclear establishment seeks to protect us from: the armed guards and classified documents are to prevent the public from learning the truth about the destruction of documents, the disappearing of evidence, the falsification of reports and records, the calculated fudging of risk and safety assessments.
There have been countless
exposes, such as Daniel Ford's 1982 book
The Cult of the Atom: The
Secret Papers of the Atomic Energy Commission.
officials - and the media that quoted them - repeatedly reiterated
that there was no cause to worry. At first, no radiation was
released, we were told, over and over, even though, admittedly,
there were some slight reactor problems here and there. Then there
were explosions, but still the radiation levels were normal, or,
well, maybe there was a puff of steam, which we were told was a
hydrogen blast, but radiation monitors showed nothing, and there was
no threat to the public health or safety.
A handful of
citizens reported to the hospital showing signs of radiation
poising, but still there were 'no serious radiation concerns',
officials were everywhere quoted, or else what little radiation was
released was compared to what you might get riding on a school bus
in the sunshine. While evacuating thousands of people in the 20
kilometer zone (12 miles) around Fukushima, on the one hand, the
government continued to tell people that the public was not at risk,
on the other, and the media continued to report the lie, as they
have always done, and still do, with radiation emergencies in the
Like the 'news reportage' coming out of Japan, the Three Mile Island leak story was bereft of any discussion, analysis, counterpoint or critique from anyone. Journalists who collaborate with the western English-language news-consuming media have no comprehension of the technological issues, the industry cover-ups, the deceptions, the bureaucratic inertia or the radiological poisons produced and the concomitant epidemics of disease clustered around nukes.
They have swallowed the industry slogans and green-washing for so long that their capacity to provide comprehensive, informed, investigative reportage is less than zero.
Hence we find innocent [sic] people like CNN's Anderson Cooper (360) reporting from 100 kilometers north of Fukushima and then freaking out and running for their lives from the invisible killer: radiation.
Meanwhile, CNN cuts back-and-forth from Cooper to Jim Walsh - 'our nuclear expert and CNN contributor' - who arrogantly reassures the increasingly anxious Anderson Cooper that everything is under control and the blasts and white smoke are of no concern.
Of course, from this point on the western press increasingly focuses the public's attention on the trials and tribulations and death-defying escape of the courageous [white] investigative reporter, Anderson Cooper.
Walsh is barely able to contain his laughter as he sells Cooper out.
Dr. Jim Walsh then pontificates that radiation releases that ostensibly drift out over the ocean - releases questioned by the ill-prepared and uneducated Cooper - are 'mildly radioactive', unwanted but not dangerous, in any case, that they are being screened for dangerous radionuclides by the Japanese reactor experts, and,
Here is a simultaneous catastrophe beyond human comprehension:
Of course, according to his own biography, CNN's nuclear consultant, Dr. Jim Walsh, an 'expert' in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program (SSP) - which also shares U.S. special forces as 'research fellows'.
He is published and selected as the chosen expert by the major U.S. and European media.
Dr. Jim Walsh is the former Executive Director of the Managing the Atom project at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - one of our Department of Energy SUPERFUND sites, deep down the dark [nuclear] rabbit hole.
Dr. Jim Walsh is another
In one sentence we are told that a nuclear meltdown may be imminent, and in the next sentence, same paragraph, Japanese officials assured the public (the New York Times backed them up) that an explosion occurred but the reactor was not harmed.
Is this believable? When the Japanese nuke experts took the drastic measure of pumping seawater into the reactors they knew that the reactors would be ruined forever.
Given the economics of such a choice - billions upon billions of Japanese yen destroyed forever - we can infer that the situation is beyond grave: the Fukushima area is now a permanent sacrifice zone: people, wildlife, land has been sacrificed to the Gods of nuclear technology.
Environmental activists in the area of the Fukushima reactors began to cry foul after finding that radiation monitoring stations were not operating.
At the top of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Monitoring Website it said,
Activists believed that TEPCO was downplaying radioactive
releases. At the same time, TEPCO was announcing that it planned to
vent the containment [vessel] to relieve the pressure, which caused
releases of radioactivity into the air.
course, National Public Radio has been heavily subsidized by the
nuclear power industry and has consistently
advanced the nuclear
The statement from the NRC said that,
On Wednesday March 16, the United Nations Comprehensive Test Ban treaty Organization reported that a radiation plume from Japan nukes would hit Southern California late Friday.
Of course, health and NRC
officials say it poses very little risk.
One of these was clearly intended to distance General Electric and the nuclear Regulatory Commission from Japan, a sort of betrayal of the culture of secrecy and their historically incestuous relationship.
Why? To perform
damage control, improve investor confidence, assuage public fears of
a similar catastrophe at one of the 110 reactors in the U.S.
Again, the standard tactic of reporting that contamination has occurred - this time it is on his shoes - but that it is of no danger.
the myths about radioactivity and its deadly means of spreading
disease, the shoe bottom problem was nothing a little soap and elbow
grease couldn't fix. And so, later in the hour, they showed the
shoes being scrubbed and everything being returned to [business as]
Cut to the U.S. Congress, where NBC brings us a very, very short clip from a special Senate hearing held on Wednesday March 16.
Suddenly the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is awake, and they care, and they are telling an equally awake and suddenly concerned U.S. Congress that they believe that Japan has covered up the extent of the nuclear disaster.
Finally, NBC informs its viewers, in passing, that General Electric
- the designer and salesmen of the GE Mark I Boiling Water reactors
that General Electric dumped on Fukushima back in the 1970s - is a
part owner of MSNBC. Full disclosure, of course.
These banners remind good, tax-paying and law-abiding citizens - good people watching the evening news after a hard day's work - that GE has reviewed the safety concerns that were previously raised about GE BWR reactors, and so reactors in the U.S. are safe.
It was no longer news: it was a public
relations ploy, a photo op for GE to improve its image, right out of
The message is also that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
runs a tight ship, that oversight is comprehensive and thorough,
people are doing their jobs, and that the nuclear industry in the
U.S. is nothing like the secretive and bungling industry in Japan.
Our first and foremost concern is safety, he says, and we must continue to develop and site and license and operate new reactors world wide.
The hearing was completely corporate, one Senate official citing recent New York Times stories that have suddenly awoken them (the Senators) to the many warnings that had previously occurred. My God, we didn't know.
Meanwhile, the NRC Chairman testified that the NRC
can not attribute a single death to the nuclear accident at Three
Instead of talking about limits to growth, the focus is on
expansion, profits, trade and so-called progress. Why would this
situation be any different? As Senator Barbara Boxer eventually
said: we should be humbled.
People in the evacuation zones - elders and those without fuel or transport - are getting no help, and no information.
We should be humbled.