Nuclear accidents never cease.
The New York Academy Of Sciences has published a book length report on the effects of Chernobyl: Chernobyl Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. This report posits that over 1,000,000 people have already died from this disaster. You can view the report here. A discussion of the report and its conclusions can be found here. Helen Caldicott calls this the most devastating report she has ever read. Helen and George Monbiot debate this report and other related issues on Democracy Now!
In Japan, the Fukushima accident continues. Please understand, dear reader, that the Japanese crisis continues, as one can read here and here. The Prime Minister of Japan declared publicly Wednesday that “Japan should aim to become nuclear free society”. Here in the United States radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster has turned up in rain water in the North West. Read about it here. It is reported that:
Portland, Olympia and Boise all showed signs of having elevated levels of radiation in rain water. Radiation levels were more than 40 times the drinking water limit in Olympia, Wash., and were found to be the highest in Boise, Idaho.
In Washington, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission‘s task force on near term recommendations to be drawn from the Fukushima accident is to be released tomorrow. According to a report in the New York Times the draft recommendations of the report include improvements to US nuclear plants including:
- that the “hardened vents” added to reactors over the years to prevent hydrogen explosions would actually work in an emergency, the report said, and determine where hydrogen, which is produced by overheated fuel, might flow. Japanese operators had trouble using the vents, resulting in the explosions in the secondary containment.
- Some of the improvements the industry voluntarily adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks have not been regularly inspected or maintained, the report said. Those should be inspected using the more “formal” procedures that are in place for the plants’ original safety equipment, the task force recommended.
- And plants should have a better way to add water to spent fuel pools and monitor conditions in those pools, the task force said.
- Fukushima focused new attention on spent fuel pools, which usually have more radioactive materials in them than the reactors do. In desperation, the Japanese used water cannons to refill them.
- Even now, the task force wrote, there was uncertainty about what happened at Fukushima, and information was “unavailable, unreliable or ambiguous because of damage to equipment at the site and because the Japanese response continues to focus on actions to stop the ongoing radioactive release.”
- Is Fukushima Worse Than Chernobyl (dlr2008.wordpress.com)
- IT’S OFFICIAL: ‘New Chernobyl’ Fukushima Will Take Decades To Clean (businessinsider.com)
- U.S. calls for stepped-up safety at nuclear plants (cnn.com)
- Fukushima already ten times worse than Chernobyl in ocean waters, suggests data (mysatelite.wordpress.com)
- Japan gov’t now admits 40% of total Chernobyl radiation was released in just one week at Fukushima – Still a “wide margin of error” (theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
- Chernobyl disaster, 25 year later: commemoration around the world (boingboing.net)
- Dr. Helen Caldicott: The Real Dangers of Nuclear Power and Nuclear War (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think! (pakos.me)