Chernobyl 26th Anniversary April 26 – Fukushima Leaking Massive Radiation Poisoning Pacific
April 26 2012 marks the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It has been estimated by Dr. Alexei Yablokov et. al., that, so far, about one million people have died premature deaths due to the steam explosion and ten day graphite fire that occurred at nuclear reactor Number Four in Ukraine, when that nation used to be part of the USSR back in 1986. These deaths have occurred, and many more will follow, not from just the explosion itself (‘only 31 died’ many media forums continue to say), but from the long-lived radioactive contamination of the soil, air and water that will continue killing and mutating life forms for centuries.
Unfortunately, just as Chernobyl blew radiation all around the globe, similar to the ‘fallout’ from atomic bombs that continues falling in micro-minute particles even today to quietly cause lung cancer and other forms of cancer, the Fukushima disaster is even worse. Though most Americans probably think Fukushima is ‘over,’ we should be aware that this is far from true. The groundwaters and rivers are so contaminated from the accident that, as they continue to run out into the Pacific Ocean to spread the various 500 + radionuclides all around the Pacific basin, all life forms are threatened by similar mutation and cancerization, for half of our ‘world,’ the Pacific Ocean half of our planet Earth.
How could this be? our champions of denial naively ask. Radioactivity is something you cannot taste, smell or feel, but by silently emitting its neutrons and electrons repeatedly over very long periods of time, striking our and other life forms’ DNA, genetic sequences are bombarded and changed, sometimes causing harmless new sequences, sometimes being spontaneously corrected by our marvelous bodies’ immune systems, but sometimes causing long lasting mutations and cancers.
Essential to the understanding of how radiation can damage our bodies, and those of other innocent animals and plants, is that the various unstable radionuclides go on emitting their becquerels-worth of rays and beams for sometimes hundreds and thousands of years. The easiest radionuclide to measure is cesium, which makes up about 40 percent of nuclear waste from nuclear reactors. The human body takes in cesium, recognizing it like it is potassium, incorporating it into our cells, where potassium is the most plentiful electrolyte/element. Cesium has a ‘half life’ of 30 years during which half of its radioactivity dissipates, but the other half of it remains, to continue radiating the tissue surrounding it to possibly cause cancer. In actuality, science has discovered that a radioactive element like cesium – or strontium or plutonium or iodine, etc. – continues to be dangerous for 10-20 half lives, what we now call the element’s ‘hazardous life.’ In the case of cesium, that is 300-600 years.
That is why the area around Chernobyl will be unsafe to live upon or near for the next 3 to 6 centuries. Similarly, the area around Fukushima will threaten all life forms for at least the same period of time. However, with Fukushima, three reactors melted down and leaked, continuing to be a threat to do so for the next few decades, while thousands of tons of radioactive water remain in the basements of the damaged reactors. Then there are the very hot ‘fuel pools’ where the super-radioactive reactor assemblies have to sit and be covered by water that keeps them below the boiling point. For otherwise they will be exposed and emit all the possible 500 + radionuclides into the air to travel around the Earth and contaminate our lungs or other parts of our bodies and those of other life forms.
Remember, the long-lived element plutonium-239, which most Earthlings have heard about, and should fear essentially forever, has a half life of 24,000 years, and a hazardous life of 240,000 to 480,000 years. Only one microgram, or one MILLIONTH of one gram, has been found to be the lung-cancer-causing dose. There are 454 grams in one pound, to give you an idea of plutonium’s potency. Just twenty pounds of plutonium-239 could theoretically cause lung cancer in every human being on Earth. And there is then plenty of plutonium in Fukushima’s nuclear waste, Chernobyl’s nuclear waste (the devastated reactor No. 4 is now leaking through its surrounding sarcophagus), plus the rivers and groundwaters around Fukushima, and now the Pacific Ocean and all the land masses it touches, plus the fish and seaweed, etc., potentially vulnerable to its contaminating radionuclides’ effects. Every commercial nuclear reactor produces 400-1000 pounds of plutonium per year.
A few weeks ago the most radioactive fish measured so far was caught in Fukushima prefecture. It measured 18,700 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, a reading over 37 times more than the Japanese government-imposed provisional limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram. A becquerel equals one nucleus decay per second of a quantity of radioactive material – that can strike and mutate your DNA. The rivers around Fukushima are washing out readings up to 20 BILLION becquerels per day of cesium per river, into the Pacific. And that is just cesium. And these nuclear-plant-produced radionuclides have been found in whales and other animals higher up the food chain. Obviously kelp and tuna and other things we would consider eating have to be seriously weighed for consideration as we have essentially polluted half of the planet for the next millennia by our stubborn dependence on nuclear power. Award-winning investigative journalist Michael Collins reports there is a mass of radioactive Fukushima water the size of the state of California that will reach southern California during the summer of 2013.
The next Fukushima or Chernobyl could occur here in America where we have 104 nuclear reactors, as opposed to Japan which has 54 reactors (and 53 have been closed for the last few months). The much vaunted AP-1000 has been deemed the next infallible version of nuclear power plant, but it too is just as prone to having an accident as the other versions of this ultimately dangerous technology which should have been immediately shut down forever when the Fukushima disaster started on March 11, 2011, if not on April 26 1986 when Chernobyl’s plant No. 4 exploded.
….Now, let us go back in time….to the last century…only 26 years ago it was…Early in the morning. Still dark out. April 26, 1986. Over in the northern reaches of northern Ukraine. When that country was still part of the USSR.
Testing was going on at reactor number four at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station. Power output had dropped to 7%, when suddenly it surged to 100 times 100% of full power in less than one minute!!! A catastrophic steam explosion occurred that “flipped the reactor’s massive cap like a coin and left it wedged and hanging askew inside the ruined reactor. The reactor’s core caught fire, leading to the largest single non-military radiation release in history.” [*1]
Here is another description from corpwatch.org:
“The nuclear fuel elements ruptured, and the resulting explosive force of steam lifted off the cover plate of the reactor, releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere. A second explosion threw out fragments of burning fuel and graphite from the reactor core and allowed air to rush in, causing the graphite moderator to burst into flames.”
Just in case it has been drubbed into your brain, NO, Chernobyl was NOT a “meltdown” like many media babblers continue to mouth. The core did not simply, and more innocuously, just “melt” into the ground. Nope. Explosions occurred, and then the fires.
Estimates vary, but nuclear physicist Dr. Vladimir Chernousenko, who supervised the clean-up [and subsequently died from cancer] “for a 10-kilometer zone around the exploded reactor, [stated] that 80 per cent of the reactor’s radioactivity escaped – – something like 7 BILLION curies” out of a possible 9 billion curies. That is an unbelievable quantity of radiation. A food irradiation plant theoretically holds up to 10 MILLION curies of radiation.
Of course, the “Russians and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] claimed in a 1986 report that 50 million curies of radioactive debris, plus another 50 million curies of rare and inert gases were discharged.”[*2] Baloney for the nuclear soul, that report was later “condemned as a cover-up.”[*3] Sadly, Soviet authorities cared so much for their people that they “neither officially acknowledged the explosion, nor warned their citizens until May 2, 1986.”[*4]
Meanwhile, “the fire in the reactor core burned for ten days,” continuing to release radioactivity for months afterward.[*5] Yet (from Svetlana Alexievich’s tragic collection of ‘Voices From Chernobyl’):
“They suddenly started having these segments on television, like: an old lady milks her cow, pours the milk into a can, the reporter comes over with a military dosimeter, measures it. And the commentator says, See, everything’s fine, and the reactor is just ten kilometers away. They show the Pripyat River, there are people swimming in it, tanning themselves. In the distance you see the reactor and plumes of smoke above it. The commentator says: The West is trying to spread panic, telling lies about the accident.”[*6]
Soviet authorities took advantage of their people’s ignorance concerning radioactivity. The fact that you cannot see, taste or feel radioactivity contributes to it being kind of unbelievable that it can kill you. Might I ask: Are Americans any better with their knowledge concerning radioactivity than
the 1986 Soviets?
And what about the nuclear French, with 80 percent of their electricity produced by 58 nuclear reactors?[*7] In the immediate wake of the Chernobyl explosion, “France, instead of taking precautions like other European countries, had its state television stations issue weather reports indicating that the cloud of radioactivity from Chernobyl had miraculously stopped short at the Franco-German border!”[*8] Amazing how a society or culture, distorted by nuclear power, can have its people sacrificed to the radioactive gods.
(I know a lot of you think that the French are SO HAPPY with their nuclear power. However, you should know that:
“Even the French are having second thoughts. Less than 31 percent of the French public favor nuclear energy as a response to today’s energy crisis. 54 percent are now opposed to investing 3 billion euros in the construction of a new reactor, while 84 percent favor the development of renewable energy.14 But the French are stuck and will be for some time, since they have dug a much deeper nuclear hole for themselves proportionally than the United States.” The reference noted as 14. www.actu-environnement.com/ae/news/1872.php4 is quoted from Science For Democratic Action Vol 15, No. 2, January 2008, Arjun Makhijani’s magazine).Back at the ole #4 Chernobyl reactor now, slipping into the time machine…..
According to Sergei Vasilyevich Sobolev, Deputy Head of the Executive Committee of the Shield of Chernobyl Association:
“There was a moment when there was the danger of a nuclear explosion, and they had to get the water out from under the reactor, so that a mixture of uranium and graphite wouldn’t get into it – with the water, they would have formed a critical mass. The explosion would have been between three and five megatons. This would have meant that not only Kiev and Minsk, but a large part of Europe would have been uninhabitable. Can you imagine it? A European catastrophe.
So here was the task: who would dive in there and open the bolt on the safety valve? They promised them a car, an apartment, a dacha, aid for their families until the end of time. They searched for volunteers. And they found them! The boys dived, many times, and they opened that bolt, and the unit was given 7,000 roubles. They forgot about the cars and apartments they promised – that’s not why they dived. These are people who came from a certain culture, the culture of the great achievement. They were a sacrifice.
And what about the soldiers who worked on the roof of the reactor? Two hundred and ten military units were thrown at the liquidation of the fallout of the catastrophe, which equals about 340,000 military personnel. The ones cleaning the roof got it the worst. They had lead vests, but the radiation was coming from below, and they weren’t protected there. They were wearing ordinary, cheap imitation-leather boots. They spent about a minute and a half, two minutes on the roof each day, and then they were discharged, given a certificate and an award – 100 roubles. And then they disappeared to the vast peripheries of our motherland. On the roof they gathered fuel and graphite from the reactor, shards of concrete and metal.
It took about 20-30 seconds to fill a wheelbarrow, and then another 30 seconds to throw the “garbage” off the roof. These special wheelbarrows weighed 40 kilos just by themselves. So you can picture it: a lead vest, masks, the wheelbarrows, and insane speed.”[*9]
Karl Grossman has documented, with his EnviroVideo interview of Dr. Chernousenko, the madness on the roof, each individual soldier’s run actually lasting up to about 4 to 5 minutes worth of very high level radioactive exposure, from getting onto the roof, loading the wheelbarrow, or just a shovel, and then running it to the edge, where it could be tipped off and dumped over the side, then rapidly as possible exiting the roof.[*10] Many of these men died, or their reproductive organs were severely compromised. Soviet wives, naturally, were averse to have sex with these men for fear that their babies would be congenitally damaged.
From historian Aleksandr Revalskiy: “A while ago in the papers it said that in Byelorus alone, in 1993 there were 200,000 abortions. Because of Chernobyl. We all live with that fear now.”[*11] Of malformed babies, or stillbirths, or children that will tragically develop cancer. Like the boy that was born with “a mouth that stretches to his ears and no eyes.”[*12] Or the girl born, that “wasn’t a baby, she was a little sack…not a single opening, just the eyes….more simply: no pee-pee, no butt, one kidney.”[*13] …..
For more on this, and also the reference to the Yablokov et. al., book reviewing ~5000 articles, concluding that ~ one million premature deaths have occurred thus far from Chernobyl: two posts here on this website you may please link to…
(C) April 26 2012 Conrad Miller M.D.