Last week, a reader (Linda) wrote and asked about the Fukushima melt-through volcano stories carried by many
western news outlets. The source was difficult to pin down. This past weekend a former architect for unit #3 at Fukushima Daiichi admitted he was the source of the story. The perpetrator of this fiction is Uehara Haruo, former president of Saga University. His architect credentials are iffy, at best. It seems he was involved in the design of buildings for non-nuclear systems on unit #3, but had little or nothing to do with design of the plant’s technology. From what he says, it’s safe to say his level of nuclear illiteracy is severe. However, in a country where nuclear myth seems to have greater credibility than nuclear reality, Haruo’s impressive-sounding (albeit misleading) credentials coupled with his sensational statements makes him just the sort of quotable person the Press drools over.
Haruo says both TEPCO and the Tokyo government are covering up the truth and China Syndrome is now happening in the geology underneath the power complex. He alleges that all the fuel cells have melted through their building base mats and into the underlying rock, are still molten and burrowing deeper and deeper as time passes. In conclusion, he says there will be a nuclear volcano at Fukushima due to the molten masses hitting an underground aquifer causing a hydro-volcanic explosion of cataclysmic proportions.
Now for today’s updates…
- The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology reports that the first traces of Fukushima water-borne isotopes (essentially Cesium) have reached the international dateline, 4,000 kilometers east of
Japan. The Cesium concentrations are barely detectable and more than 2,000 times below international standards. Although the concentrations are many times less than those once existent due to Atomic weapon’s tests more than 5 decades ago which showed no effects to Pacific fish or shellfish, the Ministry
recommends monitoring continue in the long term for possible adverse effects on the fauna. (Asahi Shimbun)
- Some old news is being recycled because of yet another TEPCO gaffe. Back on March 11, the single cooling component attached to the unit #1 RPV (reactor pressure vessel) that was operable through-out the
blackout was the isolation condenser (IC). It has been reported several times previously that the IC was cycled in and out of operation for the first two hours of the emergency in order to maintain RPV pressure within its prescribed band. This new report adds that TEPCO believes the component did not work at
full capacity soon after the blackout started because hydrogen from the damaged fuel cell may have caused it to lose some of its cooling ability. Junichi Matsumoto, head of TEPCO’s nuclear power division, said, “Even if the IC had been working, it could have only delayed the damage to the reactor core a little bit. It wouldn’t have been a fundamental solution.” ( Mainichi Shimbun) As we have said in previous updates, the cooling system was not itself being cooled because of the blackout, so it naturally over-heated and lost its ability to keep up with RPV decay heat. There is no record of malfunction. Control Room records strongly suggest that the loss of cooling effectiveness started some hours before the onset of fuel damage.
- During the first few days of the Fukushima emergency, several hundred Tokyo residents fled the city and moved far south to the island of Okinawa. They are called “evacuees” by the Press. One of them, Jin Tanimura, is used as an allegedly typical example when he explains why he and his entire family fled Tokyo on March 11, “The risk of radiation is fundamentally different from other risks. It is invisible, and information is of mixed quality, and there are so many things that you don’t understand. That’s what makes it scary.” Another “evacuee” Mari Takenouchi, 44, who has been criticizing nuclear plants for more than 10 years, alleges there is a health epidemic in Tokyo, “Internet sources say that a growing number of people are having health problems in the Tokyo metropolitan area. This will result in an awful outcome if the situation continues.” Another, Mamiko Yanaka, says the exposure she got in Tokyo before she moved in July has caused her severe health issues including nosebleeds, diarrhea and “other symptoms”. A search for information on the Internet led her to believe she was suffering from low-level radiation exposure. All of the people cited say they don’t trust information put out by the government, news media, or university experts because it is not what they want to hear. (Asahi Shimbun) Paranoiac fear of the unknown caused this minority of Tokyo residents to act irrationally. Some, like Yanaka, have suffered psychologically-induced physical ailments, but conveniently blame their afflictions on radiation exposures hundreds of times less than have ever hurt anyone.
- The Columbia Journalism Review’s blog, The Observatory, has posted an entry that parallels our Monday update about the “hidden cancers” story reported by the Associated Press. There are many excellent points made. For example, “Journalists often play up the dramatic and alarming aspects of the information they’ve found, and play down or leave out the ameliorative, neutral, or balancing aspects that might help do justice to the truth, but which could “weaken” the story. The AP’s article illustrates what this looks like.” Another section of the critique says, “Risk reporting that overplays worrisome information and underplays the encouraging can actually hurt people. Fear fueled by coverage that goes beyond the evidence of the actual danger can lead to unhealthy choices by individuals and by society (fear of nukes has contributed to an energy policy that relies more on coal burning for electricity, the particulate emissions from which kills tens of thousands of people per year). Fear certainly adds to stress, which is bad for our health in all sorts of ways.” If you wish to read the entire story, go to http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/ap_rings_the_alarm.php.
- In the “it was only a matter of time” category, Great Britain has exposed and discredited one of their citizens as a Fukushima snake-oil-salesman. Dr Christopher Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster, has been marketing and selling fake “anti-radiation” pills at $35-$50 a bottle, urine tests for $1,000, and food tests for $1,100. The anti-radiation pills are no more than calcium and magnesium dietary supplements available in Japan for a third of Busby’s price. The urine and food test costs are double those already available in Japan, and not being analyzed by a reputable laboratory. “I’m conducting the tests, “ he said, “I’m Busby Laboratories.” Busby calls his non-profit scam the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima, clearly exploiting the parents in Japan with phobic radiation fears and complete distrust of their government. His efforts have been condemned by all British official and academic sources, and, most surprisingly, the British Green party! Perry Kemp, Green party communication’s director said they cannot condone Busby’s promotion. Since he isn’t marketing his junk in Great Britain, he’s not breaking any laws in his own country. (UK Guardian)