by Michel Chossudovsky
January 25, 2012
In view of the
official cover-up and media disinformation campaign, the
contents of the articles and video reports in this
Online Interactive Reader have not trickled down to to
the broader public. (See Table of contents here)
This Online Interactive Reader on Fukushima contains a
combination of analytical and scientific articles, video
reports as well as shorter news reports and
Part I focusses on The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: How
it Happened? Part II pertains to The Devastating Health
and Social Impacts in Japan. Part III centers on the
"Hidden Nuclear Catastrophe", namely the cover-up by the
Japanese government and the corporate media. Part IV
focusses on the issue of Worlwide Nuclear Radiation and
Part V reviews the Implications of the Fukushima
disaster for the Global Nuclear Energy Industry.
In the face of ceaseless media disinformation, this
Global Research Online I-Book on the dangers of global
nuclear radiation is intended to break the media vacuum
and raise public awareness, while also pointing to the
complicity of the governments, the media and the nuclear
We call upon our readers to spread the word.
We invite university, college and high school teachers
to make this Interactive Reader on Fukushima available
to their students.
Chossudovsky, January 25, 2012
The World is at a critical crossroads.
The Fukushima disaster in
Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear
The crisis in Japan has been described as "a nuclear war without a
In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami:
"This time no one dropped a bomb on
us... We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own
hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying
our own lives."
Nuclear radiation - which threatens life
on planet earth - is not front page news in comparison to the most
insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level
crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.
While the long-term repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
disaster are yet to be fully assessed, they are far more serious
than those pertaining to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine,
which resulted in almost one million deaths. (New Book Concludes - Chernobyl death
toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer - Global Research, September 10,
2010 - Also
The Severity of the
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and
Fukushima - Global Research, May 25, 2011)
Moreover, while all eyes were riveted on the Fukushima Daiichi
plant, news coverage both in Japan and internationally failed to
fully acknowledge the impacts of a second catastrophe at TEPCO's
(Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc) Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant.
The shaky political consensus both in Japan, the U.S. and Western
Europe is that the crisis at Fukushima has been contained.
The realties, however, are otherwise.
Fukushima 3 was leaking
unconfirmed amounts of plutonium.
According to Dr. Helen Caldicott,
"one millionth of a gram of
plutonium, if inhaled can cause cancer".
An opinion poll in May 2011 confirmed
that more than 80 per cent of the Japanese population do not believe
the government's information regarding the nuclear crisis. (Fukushima: Japan's Second Nuclear Disaster
Research, November 10, 2011)
The Impacts in
The Japanese government has been obliged to acknowledge that,
"the severity rating of its nuclear
crisis... matches that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster".
In a bitter irony, however, this tacit
admission by the Japanese authorities has proven to been part of the
cover-up of a significantly larger catastrophe, resulting in a
process of global nuclear radiation and contamination:
"While Chernobyl was an enormous
unprecedented disaster, it only occurred at one reactor and
rapidly melted down. Once cooled, it was able to be covered with
a concrete sarcophagus that was constructed with 100,000
There are a staggering 4400 tons of nuclear fuel rods
at Fukushima, which greatly dwarfs the total size of radiation
sources at Chernobyl."
(Extremely High Radiation Levels
in Japan: University Researchers Challenge Official Data, Global
Research, April 11, 2011)
Fukushima in the wake of the Tsunami
The dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean
constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive
Radioactive elements have not only been
detected in the food chain in Japan, radioactive rain water has been
recorded in California:
"Hazardous radioactive elements
being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at
each step of various food chains (for example, into algae,
crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil,
grass, cow's meat and milk, then humans).
Entering the body, these elements -
called internal emitters - migrate to specific organs such as
the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating
small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or
gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer".
(Helen Caldicott, Fukushima:
Nuclear Apologists Play Shoot the Messenger on Radiation, The
Age, April 26, 2011)
While the spread of radiation to the
West Coast of North America was casually acknowledged, the early
press reports (AP and Reuters) "quoting diplomatic sources" stated
"tiny amounts of radioactive
particles have arrived in California but do not pose a threat to
"According to the news agencies, the unnamed sources have access
to data from a network of measuring stations run by the United
Nations’ Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization...
... Greg Jaczko, chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, told White House reporters on Thursday (March 17)
that his experts “don’t see any concern from radiation levels
that could be harmful here in the United States or any of the
The spread of
Disaster - Economic Impacts
What prevails is a well organized camouflage.
The public health disaster in Japan, the
contamination of water, agricultural land and the food chain, not to
mention the broader economic and social implications, have neither
been fully acknowledged nor addressed in a comprehensive and
meaningful fashion by the Japanese authorities.
Japan as a nation state has been destroyed. Its landmass and
territorial waters are contaminated.
Part of the country is
uninhabitable. High levels of radiation have been recorded in the
Tokyo metropolitan area, which has a population of 39 million (2010)
(more than the population of Canada, circa 34 million - 2010)
are indications that the food chain is contaminated throughout
Radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit was detected in tea
made in a factory in Shizuoka City, more than 300 kilometers away
from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Shizuoka Prefecture
is one of the most famous tea producing areas in Japan.
A tea distributor in Tokyo reported to the prefecture that it
detected high levels of radioactivity in the tea shipped from the
city. The prefecture ordered the factory to refrain from shipping
out the product.
After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power
plant, radioactive contamination of tea leaves and processed tea has
been found over a wide area around Tokyo.
(5 More Companies
Detect Radiation In Their Tea Above Legal Limits Over 300 KM From
Fukushima - June 15, 2011)
Japan's industrial and manufacturing base is prostrate. Japan is no
longer a leading industrial power.
The country's exports have
plummeted. The Tokyo government has announced its first trade
deficit since 1980.
While the business media has narrowly centered on the impacts of
power outages and energy shortages on the pace of productive
activity, the broader issue pertaining to the outright radioactive
contamination of the country's infrastructure and industrial base is
a "scientific taboo" (i.e. the radiation of industrial plants,
machinery and equipment, buildings, roads, etc).
A report released in January 2012 points
to the nuclear contamination of building materials used in the
construction industry, including roads and residential buildings
throughout Japan. (FUKUSHIMA
- Radioactive Houses and Roads in
Japan - Radioactive Building Materials Sold to over 200 Construction
Companies - January 2012)
A "coverup report" by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
(May 2011), entitled "Economic Impact of the Great East Japan
Earthquake and Current Status of Recovery" presents "Economic
Recovery" as a fait accompli. It also brushes aside the issue of
The impacts of nuclear radiation on the work force and
the country's industrial base are not mentioned.
The report states that the distance
between Tokyo-Fukushima Dai-ichi is of the order of 230 km (about
144 miles) and that the levels of radiation in Tokyo are lower than
in Hong Kong and New York City. (p.15).
This statement is made without
corroborating evidence and in overt contradiction with independent
radiation readings in Tokyo (see map below).
In recent developments, Sohgo Security
Services Co. is launching a lucrative,
"radiation measurement service
targeting households in Tokyo and four surrounding prefectures".
"A map of citizens' measured radiation levels shows
radioactivity is distributed in a complex pattern reflecting the
mountainous terrain and the shifting winds across a broad area
of Japan north of Tokyo which is in the center of the of bottom
of the map."
"Radiation limits begin to be
exceeded at just above 0.1 microsieverts/hour blue. Red is about
fifty times the civilian radiation limit at 5.0 microsieverts/hour.
Because children are much more sensitive than adults, these
results are a great concern for parents of young children in
potentially affected areas."
The fundamental question is whether the
vast array of industrial goods and components "Made in Japan" -
including hi tech components, machinery, electronics, motor
vehicles, etc - and exported Worldwide are contaminated?
Were this to be the case, the entire
East and Southeast Asian industrial base - which depends heavily on
Japanese components and industrial technology - would be affected.
The potential impacts on international
trade would be far reaching.
In this regard, in January, Russian
officials confiscated irradiated Japanese automobiles and autoparts
in the port of Vladivostok for sale in the Russian Federation.
Needless to say, incidents of this nature in a global competitive
environment, could lead to the demise of the Japanese automobile
industry which is already in crisis.
While most of the automotive industry is in central Japan, Nissan's
engine factory in Iwaki city is 42 km from the Fukushima Daiichi
plant. Is the Nissan work force affected? Is the engine plant
The plant is within about 10 to 20 km of
the government's "evacuation zone" from which some 200,000 people
were evacuated (see map below).
and Nuclear War
The crisis in Japan has also brought into the open the unspoken
relationship between nuclear energy and nuclear war.
Nuclear energy is not a civilian economic activity. It is an
appendage of the
nuclear weapons industry which is controlled by the
so-called defense contractors. The powerful corporate interests
behind nuclear energy and nuclear weapons overlap.
In Japan at the height of the disaster,
"the nuclear industry and government
agencies [were] scrambling to prevent the discovery of
atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian
nuclear power plants".1
Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant?
- Global Research,
April 12, 2011)
It should be noted that the complacency
of both the media and the governments to the hazards of nuclear
radiation pertains to the nuclear energy industry as well as to to
use of nuclear weapons.
In both cases, the devastating health
impacts of nuclear radiation are casually denied. Tactical nuclear
weapons with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima
bomb are labeled by the Pentagon as "safe for the surrounding
No concern has been expressed at the political level as to the
likely consequences of a US-NATO-Israel
attack on Iran, using "safe
for civilians" tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state.
Such an action would result in "the unthinkable":
a nuclear holocaust over a large
part of the Middle East and Central Asia.
A nuclear nightmare, however, would
occur even if nuclear weapons were not used.
The bombing of Iran's
nuclear facilities using conventional weapons would contribute to
unleashing another Fukushima type disaster with extensive
Nuclear Radiation -
At Fukushima, reports confirm that alpha, beta, gamma particles and
neutrons have been released:
"While non-ionizing radiation and
x-rays are a result of electron transitions in atoms or
molecules, there are three forms of ionizing radiation that are
a result of activity within the nucleus of an atom. These forms
of nuclear radiation are alpha particles (α-particles), beta
particles (β-particles) and gamma rays (γ-rays).
Alpha particles are heavy positively charged particles made up
of two protons and two neutrons. They are essentially a helium
nucleus and are thus represented in a nuclear equation by either
α or n1. See the Alpha Decay page for more information on alpha
Beta particles come in two forms: n2 and n3. n3 particles are
just electrons that have been ejected from the nucleus. This is
a result of sub-nuclear reactions that result in a neutron
decaying to a proton.
The electron is needed to conserve charge
and comes from the nucleus. It is not an orbital electron.
n2particles are positrons ejected from the nucleus when a proton
decays to a neutron. A positron is an anti-particle that is
similar in nearly all respects to an electron, but has a
positive charge. See the Beta Decay page for more information on
Gamma rays are photons of high energy electromagnetic radiation
(light). Gamma rays generally have the highest frequency and
shortest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. There is
some overlap in the frequencies of gamma rays and x-rays;
however, x-rays are formed from electron transitions while gamma
rays are formed from nuclear transitions.
See the Gamma Rays for
"A neutron is a particle that is found in the nucleus, or
center, of atoms. It has a mass very close to protons, which
also reside in the nucleus of atoms. Together, they make up
almost all of the mass of individual atoms.
Each has a mass of
about 1 amu, which is roughly 1.6×10-27kg. Protons have a
positive charge and neutrons have no charge, which is why they
were more difficult to discover."
"Many different radioactive isotopes are used in or are produced
by nuclear reactors.
The most important of these are
Uranium 235 (U-235) is the
active component of most nuclear reactor fuel.
Plutonium (Pu-239) is a key
nuclear material used in modern nuclear weapons and is
also present as a by-product in certain reprocessed
fuels used in some nuclear reactors. Pu-239 is also
produced in uranium reactors as a byproduct of fission
Cesium (Cs-137 ) is a
fission product of U-235. It emits beta and gamma
radiation and can cause radiation sickness and death if
exposures are high enough...
Iodine 131 (I-131), also a
fission product of U-235, emits beta and gamma
radiation. After inhalation or ingestion, it is absorbed
by and concentrated in the thyroid gland, where its beta
radiation damages nearby thyroid tissue
(SOURCE: Amesh A. Adalja, MD,
Eric S. Toner, MD, Anita Cicero, JD, Joseph Fitzgerald, MS, MPH,
and Thomas V. Inglesby MD,
Radiation at Fukushima: Basic Issues
and Concepts, March 31, 2011)