Japan Nuclear Plant Crisis: Is Fukushima an INES Level 7 Nuclear Event
“The discovery of nuclear reactions need not bring about the destruction of mankind any more than the discovery of matches” -Einstein
As an American, watching the media coverage of the aftermath of natural disaster in Japan, I was filled with empathy. Now,as a global citizen watching a nuclear meltdown I am filled with uncertainty of the long range potential results. The media seems to be avoiding fearmongering, but is this perhaps at the expense of a real accounting of how far reaching and long lasting the effects could really be?
Satellite Image of Fukushima Nuclear Plant
Can Japanese and Industry Information Sources be Trusted?
"Let's not beat about the bush. They have visibly lost the essential of control (of the situation). That is our analysis, in any case, it's not what they are saying" - Besson, French Minister of Industry
A very plausible fear any thinking world citizen may have right now is, "Are they telling the truth?"
Japanese officials have the very real concern that hysteria leading from the nuclear emergency and possible radiation levels could halt international aid in areas already effected by the quakes and tsunamis. Nuclear Energy and Industry officials have vested interest in keeping the adage alive that Nuclear Energy is safe.
"After Chernobyl, all the force of the nuclear industry was directed to hide this event, for not creating damage to their reputation. The Chernobyl experience was not studied properly because who has money for studying? Only industry. But industry doesn't like it," Andreev told Reuters news agency" - Louli Andreev
I would prefer to never be the one wearing a tin foil hat. But there is absolutely no chance that either the Japanese or American Governments are telling us anything near the whole truth. What purpose would it serve to admit the actual scope of this threat. Nothing could be done, you cant run and hide from radiation so its best to keep the cattle calm and tell use everything is under control.
One telling point that the intrepid could research further has been the claims that testing is being done or that information will have to wait until testing can be performed. This is nonsense, the US Military has real time and constant radiation detection program across the globe.
The Constant Phoenix Program was created in 1947 and continues to this day. With the mandate of confirming that Nuclear Arms are not being tested. The AF has specially fitted Boeing WC-135 airplanes to perform this air sampling. Are we really supposed to believe or even accept that the US waited until the 17th to deploy this option?
Read More about: Constant Phoenix
What does make me feel a little bit better about US response
"The advice the Japanese government is giving, based on information it has, is different from the advice that we would be giving if this incident were happening in the United States of America," Carney said. "It is not about the quality of information. It is about the standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission here in the United States and the kind of advice it would be giving should this incident happen in the United States." White House- Jim Carney
I read "advice" and think of Federal response to Katrina, but at least they admit that Japans reaction in the media is below our own standards.
But, to be sure, "radiophobia," can have long term damage too. People from effected communities could be ostracized, food industries in possible effected areas as far away from Japan as Southern California could take hits with far reaching consequences. A tight and balanced accounting of risk is necessary when reporting on this issue.
Where is Fukushima?
Significant Risk to people and Environment -
With all these satellite photos and charts and graphs of radiation fallout and reactor core temperatures, i have seen very little about the people of Fukushima. I wanted to get a feel for the impacted community, what type of region is potentially poisoned for the rest of our lifetimes?
Quick Glance at The People and Environment of Fukushima:
I looked through Flickr for the better part of an hour looking at images of the Fukushima Prefecture, the area is outstandingly beautiful and is filled with many national parks, If you have a moment you should look through the photos posted that show a snapshot of the daily lives and environment of Fukushima.
See More of Fukushima at Flickr
Will the US Food Supply be endangered by Radiation from Japan Imports?
When news coverage said , it seems as if the winds will be forcing any possible radioactive gas into the Pacific, I instantly worried about the effect on fisheries and well, the entire global ecosystem! It seems that was not a completely paranoid thought as fishing and tourism are the main draws of the region outside of Nuclear Energy, of course,
The FDA has released a Q&A to directly address these concerns about Japanese Imports:
- Less than 4% of all imported foods stem from Japan, although seafood makes up the greatest portion of that 4%
- Currently, production and importation is basically stopped by the crises
- In the long run, the great amount of water in the Pacific should dilute any radioactivity to far below any amounts that should concern us.
Read the full FDA response: Current Hazards posed by Japan Crisis
The last bullet seems like a harder one to swallow, concentrations tend to increase up the food chain over time but at least it seems its not an issue to worry about this week.
What is the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale
Will the Fukushima crisis reach Level 7?
A level 6 event means that consequences are broader and countermeasures are needed to deal with the radioactive contamination. A level 7 event would constitute a larger release of radioactive material, and would require further extended countermeasures. The international community should increase assistance to Japan to both contain the emergency at the reactors and to address the wider contamination. We need to find a solution together.
For the past couple days headlines and experts keep referring to INES ratings and comparisons between 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl. Which disaster will Fukushima be more similar to, they speculate.... As the meltdown has increased in intensity, experts are starting to embrace the possibility of a a Chernobyl level disaster.But, It is important to note that Chernobyl occurred near a populated city center and had a significantly greater level of radioactive material. So does Chernobyl level disaster just mean
"Major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures" (Official Definition of L7 Event)
or is it suggestive of:
an estimated 4,000 deaths attributed to the Chernobyl Crisis by an Industry report to the UN and signed by the WHO or the 475,000 deaths attributed by more advanced population studies? .. or the reports that include children of Chernobyl victims and the respiratory and heart issues they experienced? ... they put the number at 1-2 Million attributed deaths
There has never been an accident where 3 reactors experienced failure at the same time, until now.
See Full Report: Nuclears Endless Nightmare
For my research and analysis I included Chelyabinsk, I once was active in SuperFund legislation awareness and as a result met many impacted communities exposed to toxic chemicals at Love Canal, Seneca Babcock and by the Kodak Plant in Rochester, NY - the story of Chelyabinsk- "The Most Polluted Place In The Planet" was not unknown in these crowds. Yet, I see no mention of it in todays news, so I guess it is irrelevant. Chelyabinsk wasnt the location of any great meltdown, but rather a long and deadly poisoning of the water supply.
Chernobyl , Ukraine INES 7
Site of Level 7 INES Nuclear Event - 30km area deemed uninhabitable
TMI, PA INES 4
Trusted Sources to Donate for Japan Assistance
Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone (you'll be prompted to confirm with a second text reading YES).
ShelterBox: To give, go to your country's page and click "Donate."
International Medical Corps: go to its site,
GlobalGiving: is accepting donations online, with a funding goal of $90, 000.
Convoy of Hope: Donate online or via phone by texting TSUNAMI to 50555
Salvation Army: Donate online or by texting JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
Doctors Without Borders: Donations can be made online
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/vizpix/ Fukushima explosion
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanaka_juuyoh/ Beauty of Fukushima
http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_gyobu/ People of Fukushima