Nuclear Apocalypse in Japan Lifting the Veil of Nuclear Catastrophe
By Keith Harmon Snow
Global Research<http://www.globalresearch.ca>, March 18, 2011
As the sun set over quake-stricken Japan on Thursday 17 March 2011,
we learned that four of six Fukushima nuclear reactor sites are
irradiating the earth, that the fire is burning out of
eignited/5727/> at Reactor No. 4's pool of spent nuclear fuel, that
there are six spent fuel pools at risk all told, and that the sites
are too hot to deal with. On March 16 Plumes of White Vapor began
xzz1GkIm1cEf> from crippled Reactor No. 3 where the spent fuel pool
may already be lost. Over the previous days we were told: nothing
to worry about.
Earthquakes and after shocks, tidal wave, explosions, chemical
pollution, the pox of plutonium, contradicting information too
obvious to ignore, racism, greed -- add these to the original Four
Horsemen of the
Conquest, War, Famine and Death. The situation is apocalyptic and
getting worse. This is one of the most serious challenges humanity
has ever faced.
The U.S. nuke industry is blaming Japanese experts, distancing
itself from the monster it created. Instead of sending nuclear or
health experts to assist the Japanese people in their time of
desperate need, US President Barack Obama first sent teams of
intelligence agents and FEMA trained military grunts with special
security clearances. The Pentagon floated a naval strike force led
by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald
lson_reagan/index.html?inline=nyt-per> off the coast of Japan:
advertised as a 'humanitarian' operation, the strike force was
repositioned after it was partially irradiated. Can we trust officials
and the corporate news media to tell us what is happening in an
honest, timely, transparent manner? Are there precedents to the
nuclear crisis in Japan? What is the U.S. defense establishment
really concerned with here?
Humanity now faces a deadly serious challenge coming out of Japan
-- the epicenter of radiation. Intentional efforts to downplay or
dismiss this catastrophe reveal the immaturity of western civilization
and some of our most acute human pathologies, including our worship
of technology and our psychopathology of denial. The widespread
distortion and cover-ups to protect private profits, national and
corporate interests, to fool and betray the people, are unacceptable.
Here are some of the deeper whats and whys and hows -- some technical
issues and the kinds of questions people need to ask -- about the
nuclear apocalypse unfolding on planet earth. Prayers are not enough.
It's time to question everything, to put politics aside, to take
personal action to halt nuclear expansion and defend ourselves from
this industrial juggernaut.
PRO-NUKE ANTI-NUKE NO NUKES
I know something about technology, and science: I have Bachelor's
and Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering -- with honors --
from one of America's top Engineering schools. Before 1990 I worked
in classified programs for General Electric -- the maker of the
nuclear reactors now irradiating Japan. I worked at GE Aerospace
Electronics Laboratories: low-level classified government programs
in communications, radars and missile guidance systems for Ronald
Reagan's infamous Star Wars (Strategic Defence Initiative) programs.
From 1990 to 1993 I taught English at Japan's big Soga Shosa (trading
houses) like Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Corporations, and meanwhile I
biked the rivers, swam the beaches, hiked the mountains and studied
the culture of Japan.
Japanese corporations were paving the shorelines and rivers with
concrete, sinking giant tetrapods off shore. One corporation even
developed these giant rubber bladders -- the size of football-fields
-- sunk offshore, which could be pumped full of seawater to provide
a giant barrier against tsunami's. Of course, the profit margins
for these corporations supplying these bags were huge, but I wonder
what happened to the technology, if these were ever deployed, and
For the first 34 years of my life I was in favor of nuclear power.
This changed when I saw young people in the United States put their
bodies on the line to protest the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Station
operations in Tennessee (1994). The commitment and integrity of
these young people made me rethink my nuclear bias.
I began my career as a journalist by looking deeply into the
rabbit-hole of nuclear power from 1993 to 2000. I visited the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Public Document Rooms -- which have
since been closed in many places -- where I read thousands of
microfilms and scanned microfiche records and excavated document
after document in search of truth. I visited nuke plants in New
England and industry conferences. I interviewed officials and I
attended the most boring and sometimes secretive public meetings
with the most stifling and unimaginative bureaucrats and with
engineers (like me) so dry they squeaked. And then I reported on
regulatory corruption, technical failures, undemocratic initiatives
to betray the public trust, and the accumulating radiation and
nuclear poisons -- and the many ways that the mass media supported
and perpetuated the mythology.
THE ARROGANCE OF HUMANISM
"I repeat, there was and will *not* be any significant release of
radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors," wrote Massachusetts
Institute of Technology professor Dr. Joseph Oehmen on March 13.
"By 'significant' I mean a level of radiation of more than what you
would receive on -- say -- a long distance flight, or drinking a
glass of beer that comes from certain areas with high levels of
natural background radiation."
So begins a recent U.S. business sector article titled You Can Stop
Worrying About A Radiation Disaster in Japan -- Here's
3W4JsZ>, published four days after the earthquake struck in Japan.
It has already proved false. Properly understood for what it is --
a childish, myopic, arrogant attempt to belittle the truth and
influence public opinion -- the article provides an apt example of
the rampant industry disinformation that is sweeping aside rational
and compassionate and precautionary assessments with irrational
jingoism, simplistic emotional appeals, and wrong-headed thinking.
The post went viral and was republished widely.
How do we define apocalypse? EARTHQUAKE + TSUNAMI + AGED NUKE
PLANT + LOSS-OF-COOLANT ACCIDENT + PLUTONIUM + FIRES + DISINFORMATION
+ GREED + DENIAL + FEAR + POLITICS = APOCALYPSE.
How many nuke plants are involved? We don't really know. Not that
we have not been told, we have. There are six reactors at the
Fukushima site, one reactor at the Tokai nuclear facility and three
reactors at the stricken Onagawa nuclear
There are toxic chemical spills, petroleum refinery fires, gas
fires, dangerous debris and human pathogens from the thousands of
dead people and animals. The place is an apocalyptic nightmare, to
be sure, but from the beginning the most important facts regarding
the status of the nuclear pants and their components, their functioning
or failing systems, the operability of the control rooms or integrity
of the reactor containment structures, were being denied to the
public. Now we are seeing some damage control by the U.S., the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the media.
It is simultaneously as though we are believed to be incapable of
even the most rudimentary understanding of what is going on, while
also being denied the truth in keeping with more than sixty years
of secrecy and denial by the cult of the atom and its incestuous
cult of intelligence.
[http://spectrum.ieee.org/image/1808470] The question is: what can
we believe to be true? Look at the photos of the explosion. Are we
stupid enough to believe that no radiation has been released from
this reactor's primary or secondary containment systems? On Wednesday
March 16 we were finally told that Tokyo Electric Power Company
(TEPCO) had ordered its remaining staff to evacuate areas of the
Fukushima plant after radiation levels spiked and plumes of white
vapour "were seen pouring from what authorities identified as
[emphasis added] the station's No. 3 reactor.
The language about white vapors "seen pouring from what authorities
identified as the stations No. 3 reactor" does not inspire confidence
that 'authorities' had any clue about the status of things. Indeed,
they are not in the control room, obviously, or anywhere near it,
or anywhere near 'the station's No. 3 reactor' because they are
standing back trying to identify what they are seeing, to see what
is going on, and where it is going on. The reactor's are too hot:
this is radiation: this is the nightmare scenario we were told could
not happen. Radiation is contaminating air, soil, ocean, people.
The You Can Stop Worrying "article" first appeared as a reader's
comment posted following the Business Insider journal story Japan
Death Toll Climbs Astronomically As Nuclear Crises
7d1eb4cadcbb9e4c0c0000>, which was itself a republished and retitled
New York Times feature of Monday March 13. At first glance, the two
Business Insider stories couldn't be further apart in their general
themes: You Can Stop Worrying, which translates to, calm down, don't
get hysterical, pay no attention to those anti-nuclear fanatics who
think that even microwave ovens will kill you, versus the Death
Toll Climbs Astronomically feature, which for all practical purposes
we can translate to Holy shit, brother! Run for your life! Duck and
However, both stories serve as part of the unraveling global media
disinformation campaign about the ongoing nuclear catastrophe in
Japan. The primary imperatives of this campaign are economic. In
other words, most of the reportage out there about what is happening
in Japan -- so far -- has been anchored in western epistemological
frameworks based in money, greed, private profits and loss. The
loss should not be interpreted to mean that people (mostly we are
talking about people NOT affected by the apocalypse in Japan) care
about who lives or dies, but rather that their primary concerns are
their financial balance sheets, their corporate images, their
personal retirement portfolios, and the fall of the Nikkei Index
and Dow Jones trading they drool over.
Sadly, the attitudes of many "news" writers (and their readers),
government officials, energy consultants, corporate executives,
nuclear experts and technicians, western humanitarian relief
professionals (such as World Vision careerists), or of environmentalists
for nuclear power -- like scientist James Lovelock -- and many
other people who, for one reason or another, have had something to
say about the nukes crisis in Japan, or about how Japan's nuclear
misfortune can never become a Chernobyl, or how Three Mile Island
didn't kill anyone, or why the events in Japan, no matter how
alarming, should not be allowed to interrupt the "nuclear renaissance"
touted by U.S. President Barrack Obama, or something about the
beauty of some nuke somewhere else, are all based in self-interest,
not the altruistic and compassionate concerns of all humanity, of
environmental stewardship or the preservation of all life on earth,
but in a self-righteous, arrogant and ignorant selfishness of the
kind that author David Ehrenfeld elaborated in his monumental work,
The Arrogance of
Japanese are technical geniuses. The rail system and subways were
precise: you could set your watch by them. In 2003, their advanced
magnetic levitation Shinkansen bullet trains performed at 581
kilometers per hour (361 mph). If the Japanese can't do, no one
can. Yet today Japan is on fire -- the epicenter of deadly radiation
now emanating out of that sizable island. This is not about Japan,
folks, or national borders: its about all of us, everywhere.
SPENT FUEL POOL FOOLS
While the absence of cooling water facilitated the nuclear crises
in Japan, most likely some major reactor components (proven unsafe)
also failed under the seismic stresses of the 9.0 quake. Key
components likely cracked or shattered. The tsunami and huge
aftershocks advanced the chaos. These factors were complicated by
the loss of offsite electrical power (an electrical BLACKOUT), the
failure of emergency diesel generators, and the subsequent
Embrittlement of nickel-based superalloys that comprise reactor
internals was flagged as a major safety issue as early as the 1960s,
yet such problems were bureaucratically dismissed, covered over,
buried in paperwork and regulatory studies produced by the NRC
("NUREG" documents), and ignored. Intergranular stress corrosion
cracking of BWR core shrouds (the core shroud is next to fuel rods
deep inside) is another major safety issue in GE designed BWRs built
by Hitachi at Fukushima, and these plague every BWR reactor in the
We don't know, however, and for many days we were offered the
standard industry refrain: no need to worry, no threat to public
health and safety. BWR core shroud cracking (NUREG-1544), reactor
pressure vessel cracking (NUREG-1511), embrittled components and
aging (NUREG/CR-5939), cooling system failures (NUREG/CR-6087),
reactor containment isolation systems failures (NUREG/CR-6339) --
all thoroughly documented.
The redundancy and ever-touted 'defense-in-depth' systems failed
All over the U.S. such systems have been routinely disabled to
minimize electricity-generating outages, increase output power and
maximize corporate profits. There are as many possibilities of
failures outside what we have been spoon-fed -- the official sequence
of events -- as there are dead people.
Amongst the most troubling and most deeply underplayed questions
of the entire crisis concern the Fukushima Spent Fuel
ma>. These basin are packed with tons of irradiated fuel rods that
need to be cooled. One of the major postulated accident scenarios
involves a Loss-of-Coolant Accident (LOCA) to the reactor core, but
a LOCA event can also occur with a spent fuel pool. It has. Fires
and explosions in Japan. The Spent Fuel Pools at the six Fukushima
reactors are NOT inside primary containment.
They are exposed. Burning. About to burn.
Reactors No. 4, 5, and 6 at Fukushima were shutdown when the
earthquake struck. After the water drained and the spent fuel became
exposed, the pool at reactor No. 4 caught fire, and continues to
burn, as of Thursday March 17, releasing massive amounts of radiation
into the environment. The status of the other six spent fuel pools
at Fukushima is unknown. A courageous U.S.
journalist Rachel Maddow explored the spent fuel pool issue with a
former government official<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjdgHqY2K-4>.
The most important, critical point made by Princeton professor Frank
Von Hippel occurs at minute 14:19 -- where Rachel Maddow talks over
him: these are LONG-LIFE RADIONUCLIDES being emitted from the spent
fuel pool(s). Isotopes of cesium:
Cs-137 has a half-life of 30 years and will be around and hot for
How much disaster are we talking about? The atomic bomb that exploded
at Hiroshima created about 2000 curies of radioactivity. The spent
fuel pools at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant (U.S.) are said to hold
about 75 million curies.
There are six spent fuel pools at Fukushima, but the numbers of
tons of fuel rods in each have not been made public.
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) did the math:
If Fukushima's Reactor No. 4 operated for 35 years and produced 30
tons of irradiated fuel per year and each ton is equivalent to 24
times the amount of cesium-137 produced by the Hiroshima bomb, then
each fuel pool could contain on the order of 24,000 times the amount
of cesium-137 produced by the Hiroshima bomb, if all the produced
irradiated fuel remains in the fuel pool.
Nuclear stupidity No. 1: the Fukushima reactor buildings are square
(not circular) and had to absorb the force of the tsunami wave
Stupidity No. 2: six reactors clustered too close together. Stupidity
no shoreline protection against a tsunami. Stupidity No. 4: reactors
sited on earthquake faults. Stupidity No. 5: assumptions and
calculations proving that the reactor, prior to its construction,
could withstand anything that nature threw at it. Stupidity No. 6:
it didn't begin in Japan: the industry, with all its corruptions,
false assumptions and technological hubris, was born in secrecy in
the United States of America.
Stupidity No. 125: spent fuel pools are packed too tightly, as is
well-established by industry documents, for economic reasons,
discarding safety concerns. Stupidity No. 458: the Spent Fuel
ma> at Fukushima are suspended up high inside the reactor buildings
secondary containment -- the same buildings whose roofs are blowing
off! Are we to believe that the massive explosions that were captured
on film, and others that were not, did not damage these elevated
How many stupidities do we need to admit before we admit that it
can happen in the United States and Europe and Canada too? Imagine
those courageous Japanese nuclear workers at Fukushima -- sacrificing
their lives! -- trying to save their families, Japan and the rest
of us from our unprecedented stupidity!
During World War II they were called
kamikazis<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze> and we have always
portrayed them as terrorists: they were soldiers and pilots sacrificing
their lives for the sake of their nation. Well, these heroic men
and women sacrificing themselves at Fukushima have my deepest
There is an ocean adjacent to the Fukushima complex, and yet the
reactors and fuel pools cannot be kept cool. Impossible. The huge
heat sink necessary to cool the melting fuel is not available. This
is not about earthquakes and tsunamis -- it is about loss of off-site
power, backup generators and emergency systems that occur in a
blackout. Do electrical outages and blackouts occur anywhere else?
Blizzards? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? The world is seeing more and more
extreme and unpredictable weather. Claims that a serious nuclear
'accident' cannot happen in the U.S., Europe or Canada are false,
and nuclear executives know it. That is why corporations refused
at first to get into the nuclear power business, until the U.S.
Government indemnified them with the Price Andersen Act (1957).
"What this [Fukushima] station suffered was a station blackout,"
says Deb Katz of the Citizens Awareness Network, who helped shut
down Yankee Atomic in Rowe Massachusetts, "and the backup safety
systems that were supposed to keep it operational -- the backup
diesel generators -- failed. This can happen without an earthquake.
A midwest [U.S.] power company caused the northeast grid to fail a
few years ago; a flood or a terrorist attack could do the same. We
could then experience a similar slow motion catastrophe though not
on the grand scale of the Japanese site with its 6 nukes."
A LONG HISTORY OF DECEPTION
Like the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the International
Atomic Energy Agency, Japanese officials have a long history of
covering up ugly nuclear realities. In a recent WikiLeaks diplomatic
politician Taro Kono, a high-profile member of Japan's lower house,
diplomats that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (MITI)
-- the Japanese government department responsible for nuclear energy
-- has been "covering up nuclear accidents and obscuring the true
costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry." In 2002
"the chairman and four executives of TEPCO, the company that owns
the stricken Fukushima plant, resigned after reports that safety
records were falsified."
Such singular but remarkable events follow a pattern of wholesale
cover-ups that define the industry as secretive and criminal, and
they involve shoddy equipment, human incompetence, unsafe designs,
inadequate safety measures, and economic decisions that have occurred
since the very beginining of Japan's nuclear power era -- which
itself was born out of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with
U.S.-made weapons of mass destruction.
In the 1960's, TEPCO planned to build a reactor outside Kashiwazaki
nuclear officials told the local community, for example, that
radioactivity from the plant would increase rice cultivation and
the coloring of the carp (a delicacy): seven reactors were eventually
built there. In June 1973, radioactive waste water leaked from a
storage tank at Fukushima's reactor No.
1. In July 1974, Kansai Electric asked Westinghouse Corporation to
replace the steam generator of one of Kansai's two Mihama reactors
after Mihama I experienced four major shutdowns in less than four
In September 1974, following the emergency shutdown of 21 of the
then 55 U.S.
reactors due to radioactive leaks at the Illinois Dresden Reactor
No. 1, Japanese officials inspected their six Boiling Water Reactors
(BWRs), similar to the Dresden BWR, and they found similar defects
at Fukushima I and Hamaoka.
Ditto, 1975: emergency shutdown's in the U.S. prompted inspections
that discovered Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) problems at
the Fukushima I and Tsuruga BWR reactors. Japan's Mihama reactors
were plagued with radioactive 'leaks' and faulty equipment that
prompted Kansai officials to demand a refund from U.S. contractor
Westinghouse Corporation. The Mihama Pressurized Water Reactors
(PWRs) have been scrammed and shutdown and leaked.
The accident at the Mihama Reactor No. 3 on 9 August 2004 was
previously considered Japan's worst nuclear accident: there was no
tsunami, and no earthquake.
Japan's fleet of white elephant nukes only grew more problematic.
From April to September 1977, six of Japan's fourteen reactors were
shutdown. Japanese corporations joined with Westinghouse and General
Electric in the 1980's to export their destructive technology to
other countries, mostly targeting the so-called Third World. Before
1979 there were some 25 reactors under construction or completed
in Japan, and until last week there were 55 operating reactors. In
2006, GE and Hitachi Corporation teamed up to create three joint
venture nuclear companies to expand nukes in North America.
One fact is certain: we have already been massively lied to about
a massive and still unfolding nuclear disaster. The radiation
releases from some four to six nuclear reactors in collapse are
already known to be excessive, described by reputable experts as
"worse than Three Mile Island but not as bad as Chernobyl." It may
be worse than Chernobyl yet.
Additional radiation has been reported at the Onagawa complex, but
this was explained away as wind-blown radioactivity from the Fukushima
Meanwhile, in the same reports, officials said that radiation was
not leaking from Fukushima, or it was minimal, and there was no
cause for alarm.
After several days of lies and distortions and official government
censorship, reports appeared under the headlines Japan radiation
leaks feared as nuclear experts point to possible
Reports also began citing partial meltdowns of nuclear fuel rods.
The threat of meltdown is real, it has been happening to some degree,
and it has already occurred far more than we have been told. The
physical and thermonuclear states of materials and systems and the
spread of radioactivity at Japan's reactors remains shrouded in
disinformation and silence.
THE CLEAN AND GREEN PROPAGANDA
Of course, technology gurus and corporate executives and financial
consultants are hysterical, claiming there were no deaths from Three
Mile Island and that deaths at Chernobyl are exaggerated by the
mass media. These claims are false.
The new book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People
provides irrefutable evidence of massive loss of life.
"The book is solidly based -- on health data, radiological surveys
and scientific reports -- some 5,000 in al," says journalist Karl
Grossman. "It concludes that based on records now available, some
985,000 people died, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl
accident. That is between when the accident occurred in 1986 and
2004. More deaths, it projects, will follow."
James Lovelock, author of the renowned GAIA
htm>, is a celebrated environmentalist for nuclear
energy<http://www.ecolo.org/base/baseus.htm> peddling nuclear power
as a clean, green, renewable energy source of the future. However,
Lovelock has a long history working for NASA -- the outer-space
division of the Pentagon -- and is deeply enmeshed in the western
Commenting on Japan's nuclear
ion-energy-renewables>, Lovelock said that people were 'prejudiced'
against nuclear power unreasonably. "It is very safe," he said.
Chernobyl, for instance, was "an idiotic mess-up that could only
have occurred in the Soviet Union", and according to UN estimates
had killed only about 56 people. More people are routinely killed
in oil refineries and coal mines, he pointed out."
James Lovelock's Chernobyl statement should immediately discredit
him as a quack: Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is unwilling
to go on record claiming anything less than many, many deaths.
Further, Lovelock's comment about the 'idiotic mess-up' by Russians
is inherently racist: the Russians were the first to put a satellite
(Sputnik) into orbit, for example, and NASA collaborated with the
Russian MIR Space Station, which broke all kinds of records.
Lovelock suggests that nuclear reactors are our only hope to curtail
global climate change, and that this may involve, for example, the
'suspension of democracy'. However, democracy has been long since
suspended for many of the earths people and species -- forced to
live and die with our burgeoning wastes, consumption and exploitation.
Lovelock's analysis is patently false -- contaminated by his own
inability to see beyond his privilege and self-interests.
Not convinced? Lovelock has also reportedly stated, wrongheadedly:
"One of the striking things about places heavily contaminated by
radioactive nuclides is the richness of their wildlife. This is
true of the land around
bomb test sites of the Pacific, and areas near the United States'
Savannah River<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savannah_River> nuclear
weapons plant of the Second World War."
Tell this to the mutant babies, weak-spined and deformed children
from the Chernobyl killing zones, chronicled in Russian filmmaker
Vladimir Kuznetsov's, "While We Are Still Alive, and to the people
of Bikini Atoll<http://www.nuclearclaimstribunal.com/biksum.htm>
whose stolen island is officially acknowledged to be highly
contaminated. Savannah River is another SUPERFUND site.
The nuclear power cycle involves disease, despair and death from
the uranium mining to daily operations to the nuclear waste "'dumping'.
Uranium mines in Niger that have built France's entire nuclear
complex are toxic wastelands spreading radiotoxins across north and
sub-Saharan Africa. The Tuareg and Toubou nomads have been completely
by the confiscation, exploitation and irradiation of their lands
by the nuclear complex. Native Americans continue to suffer massive
epidemics of disease, contamination and confiscation of lands in
the Secret Nuclear War at the American Ground
Zero<http://americangroundzero.blogspot.com/>: the nuclear complex
has compounded the native American genocide begun in 1492. Daily
contamination releases into water, soil and air occur at every
operating nuclear reactor in the world. There is no 'disposal' of
deadly nuclear toxins that now exist to perpetuity, and yet wastes
are typically dumped on poor communities like Barnwell, South
Carolina, or native American lands.
Out of sight, out of mind: nuclear poisons are colorless, odorless,
START WORRYING, HERE'S WHY
The writing You Can Stop Worrying About A Radiation Disaster in
Japan -- Here's
3W4JsZ> is packed full of disinformation and technical jargon,
masked as scientific expertise, meant to confound, confuse and
scientifically impress the un-technical (concerned) reader. The
author at first did not identify himself, which is a tactic many
people use so that they do not have to take responsibility, or worry
about being held accountable. Appended as a sort of disclaimer to
the article that morphed out of the comment we find the statement:
"Since posting this, we have learned that it was written by Dr.
Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT."
In the nuclear arena, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) is known for the infamous Nuclear Reactor Safety Study (WASH
1400<http://www.ccnr.org/rasmussen.html>), chaired by MIT nuclear
scientist Norman P. Rasmussen (commonly known as The Rasmussen
Report), that whitewashed the massive flaws and safety failures of
a burgeoning, secretive, incestuous nuclear power industry, even
while it exposed them to some degree.
According to a Nuclear Information and Resource
lear-power-cover-up/www.nirs.org> fact sheet on Fukushima, in 1986,
Harold Denton, then the NRC's top safety official, told an industry
trade group that the GE "Mark I [BWR] containment, especially being
smaller with lower design pressure, in spite of the suppression
pool, if you look at the WASH 1400 safety study, you'll find something
like a 90% probability of that containment failing."
Produced at the height of the United States' anti-nuclear movement
in 1974, the Rasmussen Report downplayed the risk of nuclear accidents
and polished the image of a technologically diseased industry. The
stridently pro-nuclear MIT has spent billions of taxpayers dollars
on secretive and highly biased research programs of all things
nuclear. MIT is also a known hotbed of the Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA), with a revolving door from MIT to government to the
"I have been reading every news release on the incident since the
wrote MIT's Dr. Josef Oehmen in his initial post of March 12. "There
has not been one single report that was accurate and free of errors...
By 'not free of errors' I do not refer to tendentious anti-nuclear
journalism - that is quite normal these days. By 'not free of errors'
I mean blatant errors regarding physics and natural law, as well
as gross misinterpretation of facts, due to an obvious lack of
fundamental and basic understanding of the way nuclear reactors are
build and operated. I have read a 3 page report on CNN where every
single paragraph contained an error."
Turns out Dr. Oehmen's report had so many errors, and yet was so
widely regurgitated, that it was taken over by MIT's nuclear experts.
Dr. Oehmen employs the standard ruse of claiming that the press,
which can very easily be shown to as stridently pro-nuclear as MIT
itself, is instead plagued by "tendentious anti-nuclear journalism
-- that is quite normal these days." He then explains nuclear power
(wrongly) arriving at last at his definitive statement that, "I
repeat, there was and will *not* be any significant release of
radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors."
"The first 'type' of radioactive material is the uranium in the
wrote Dr. Oehmen, "plus the intermediate radioactive elements that
the uranium splits into, also inside the fuel rod (Cesium and
Iodine). There is a second type of radioactive material created,
outside the fuel rods. The big main difference up front: Those
radioactive materials have a very short half-life, that means that
they decay very fast and split into non-radioactive materials.
By fast I mean seconds. So if these radioactive materials are
released into the environment, yes, radioactivity was released, but
no, it is not dangerous, at all. Why? By the time you spelled
"R-A-D-I-O-N-U-C-L-I-D-E", they will be harmless, because they will
have split up into non radioactive elements..."
It takes about five seconds to spell R-A-D-I-O-N-U-C-L-I-D-E and
it takes about the same amount of time to read a chart (below) which
shows the actual lifetimes and half-lives of radioisotopes that
people need to be concerned about today.
Not only does Dr. Oehmen intentionally misinform people about the
inherent design flaws and potential failures of nuclear reactors
and subsystems, but he knowingly disinforms about the potential for
serious health consequences and the radioactive contaminants that
are typically released during a nuclear power accident. While
millions of people in Japan are suffering the personal psychological
terror of a possible nuclear holocaust, the fears and horrors of
life and death from a natural disaster, starvation and thirst, and
radioactive poisoning. Dr. Joseph Oehmen -- safe in Boston Massachusetts
-- has been been boasting about his blog post -- equally popular
with people who hate it and love it<http://mitnse.com/> -- which
spread like a virus on the Internet.
During nuclear fission, the uranium from the fuel rods splits into
many radioactive fission products that can then escape during a
nuclear power 'event'. These include dangerous Noble Gases (xenon
and krypton); Hallogens (including iodines and bromines); Alkali
Metals (including cesium 137);
Alkaline earths (including barium 133 and strontium 90) and the
elements Tellurium and Ruthenium. Some fissionable elements decay
rapidly and are inconsequential during releases, but some decay
into other, more deadly nuclides. The most dangerous nuclides have
half-lives in days (I-131 = 8 days), years (Cs-137 = 30 years) or
centuries (Pu-239 = 24,000 years).
Half-life is the time it takes for one-half of the material to decay
-- lest we forget that the other half is still present.
All of these fissionable products are potentially released and they
have varying degrees of half-lives, mobility, migration and toxicity
depending on factors like atmospheric conditions, temperature of
the reactor core and operating capacity (megawatts) at shutdown,
and the presence of coolants. The most dangerous of these are iodine
131 (I-131), cesium 137 (Cs-137), strontium 90 (Sr-90), cobalt 60
(Co-60) and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). All of these negatively affect
the human body and all of these have been released in nuclear power
'accidents', during venting of radioactive steam or flushing of
radioactive water, and other 'events'. Another deadly isotope which
seems to consistently 'escape' from nuclear power sites is cobalt
60 (Co-60), half-life 5.2 years. Co-60 accumulates and migrates
through steam generator tubes and other secondary coolant processes,
in core shrouds and reactor pressure vessels, and many of the other
components of nuclear reactors whose histories of failures are
Is radiation leaking in Japan? Yes and no. The term 'leak' suggests
air squeaking out of a balloon. In Japan we have leaks, here and
there, but we also have explosions, fires and other phenomena that
create massive radioactive emissions. To say 'leak' is to downplay
what is happening. The balloons in Japan have burst: primary
containment has been breached at Reactor No. 3 and at least one
spent fuel pool is burning up. With the walls blown out and roof
blown off, it seems at least one other spent fuel pool is gone or
Nuclear advocates deride and dismiss public ignorance about
radionuclides like, for example, the noble gases. Nuclear advocates
frequently state that both xenon and krypton decay and disappear
in a matter of seconds or minutes.
What they don't tell us is that these isotopes decay into daughter
isotopes that are extremely deadly emitters. Many credible physicians,
scientists and other nuclear experts -- free of the self-interests
of nuclear profits, academic sponsorship or career advancement --
have outlined the absence of epidemiological studies of certain
radionuclides emitted or flushed at nuclear reactors. Dr. Helen
Caldicott has elaborated the detrimental health effects of the noble
gases xenon (Xe) and krypton (Kr), and she notes that these have
appearance hundreds of miles from reactors believed to have emitted
Xenon 137, with a half-life of 3.9 minutes, converts almost immediately
to the notoriously dangerous cesium 137 with a half-life of thirty
Krypton 90, half-life of 33 seconds, decays to rubidium 90, half-life
of 2.9 minutes, then to the medically toxic strontium 90, half-life
of twenty-eight years.
Xenon 135 decays to cesium 135 with an incredibly long half-life
of 3 million years.
Large amounts of xenon 133 are released at operating reactors, and
although it has a relatively short half-life of 5.3 days, it remains
radioactive for 106 days.
Krypton 85, which has a half-life of 10.4 years, is a powerful gamma
Argon 39 has a 265-year half-life.
"Other dangerous noble gases include xenon 141,143 and 144, which
decay to cerium 141,143 and 144," Dr. Helen Caldicott reports in
Nuclear Power is Not the Answer<http://calitreview.com/19>. "According
to the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP Report No.
60) these three cerium isotopes,which are beta emitters,are abundant
products of nuclear fission reactions and have moderately long
half-lives. They bio-concentrate in the food chain, and they irradiate
the lung, liver, skeleton, and gastrointestinal tract, where they
act as potent carcinogens."
On March 14 Physicians for Social
ctor-crisis-worsens.html> (PSR) outlined the risks from Japan.
Iodine 131 migrates in air and is known for causing thyroid cancers,
especially in children. Strontium 90 causes different cancers.
Cesium 137 concetrates in bone and causes leukemia. Microscopic
particles of plutonium 239 cause lung cancer if inhaled and Pu-239
kills instantly in any sizeble dose. Areas contaminated by plutonium
will have to be abandoned -- as happened at Chernobyl.
"Since 2010, Fukushima Daiichi Unit-3 reactor had been using
mixed-oxide fuel (also called plutonium fuel or MOX)," PSR reported,
in Japan's Nuclear Crises
isis-worsens.html>, "which is even more dangerous to the public
than a severe accident with uranium fuel. Plutonium fuel contains
plutonium and other very toxic actinides that would increase the
number of resulting cancers. Current reports say that this fuel has
been exposed to air."
"Pressure in at least two of the reactors have reported to be well
above normal levels," continued PSR, "and the reactor operator,
Tokyo Electric Power Company, released some of the pressure by
venting radioactive vapor from the containment structure. In
addition, the radionuclide cesium has been reportedly found outside
the reactor, which indicates that there has been fuel damage."
The proponents of nuclear power have used all kinds of disinformation
and tactics to protect the industry -- compelling the nuclear complex
to arm guards to 'protect' these secrets and to 'protect' civilian
reactors. It is not only 'terrorists' that the nuclear establishment
seeks to protect us from:
the armed guards and classified documents are to prevent the public
from learning the truth about the destruction of documents, the
disappearing of evidence, the falsification of reports and records,
the calculated fudging of risk and safety assessments. There have
been countless exposes, such as Daniel Ford's 1982 book The Cult
of the Atom: The Secret Papers of the Atomic Energy
FALSE STATEMENTS AND PREMATURE ASSURANCES
The original New York Times story, Death Toll Estimate in Japan
Soars as Relief Efforts
(retitled by Business Insider, commented on by Dr. Joseph Oehmen),
follows the patterns of the media and government begun on DAY ONE,
wherein authorities offered false assurances, premature evaluations,
and outright lies. These officials -- and the media that quoted
them -- repeatedly reiterated that there was no cause to worry. At
first, no radiation was released, we were told, over and over, even
though, admittedly, there were some slight reactor problems here
and there. Then there were explosions, but still the radiation
levels were normal, or, well, maybe there was a puff of steam, which
we were told was a hydrogen blast, but radiation monitors showed
nothing, and there was no threat to the public health or safety.
The Japanese Government soon dispatched health and rescue teams
dressed in white moon suits and breathing through respirators and
hauling around geiger counters to measure radiation levels in
frightened children, but still, no radiation was released, they
chanted, no cause for alarm, the media reported.
A handful of citizens reported to the hospital showing signs of
radiation poising, but still there were 'no serious radiation
concerns', officials were everywhere quoted, or else what little
radiation was released was compared to what you might get riding
on a school bus in the sunshine. While evacuating thousands of
people in the 20 kilometer zone (12 miles) around Fukushima, on the
one hand, the government continued to tell people that the public
was not at risk, on the other, and the media continued to report
the lie, as they have always done, and still do, with radiation
emergencies in the United States.
For example, on November 23, 2009, a radioactive contamination at
Three Mile Island led to a Reuters news report titled Federal
Officials: Radiation Leak At Three Mile Island No Threat to Public
n-leak-at-three-mile-island-no-threat-to-public-safety/>. Like the
'news reportage' coming out of Japan, the Three Mile Island leak
story was bereft of any discussion, analysis, counterpoint or
critique from anyone. Journalists who collaborate with the western
English-language news-consuming media have no comprehension of the
technological issues, the industry cover-ups, the deceptions, the
bureaucratic inertia or the radiological poisons produced and the
concomitant epidemics of disease clustered around nukes. They have
swallowed the industry slogans and green-washing for so long that
their capacity to provide comprehensive, informed, investigative
reportage is less than zero. Hence we find innocent [sic] people
like CNN's Anderson Cooper (360) reporting from 100 kilometers north
ed-fukushima-plant-487679> and then freaking out and running for
their lives from the invisible killer: radiation. Meanwhile, CNN
cuts back-and-forth from Cooper to Jim
'our nuclear expert and CNN contributor' -- who arrogantly reassures
the increasingly anxious Anderson Cooper that everything is under
control and the blasts and white smoke are of no concern.
"We had an explosion," MIT's Dr. Jim Walsh reports, the Boston,
Massachusetts skyline and the Prudential Center skyscrapers glimmering
brightly behind him.
"It turned out that explosion did not compromise the [nuclear] core
he guesses (minute 29). Walsh immediately betrays his speculation
a few minutes later (minute 59). "Hopefully [emphasis added], it's
just the outer structure, and has left unaffected the reactor, and
unaffected the containment vessel. Because if it were to affect
those things...uh... that would be bad news..."
"The subtext here is Should I Get Out of
interrupts the alarmed Anderson Cooper, in the live on-the-air
broadcast. Of course, from this point on the western press increasingly
focuses the public's attention on the trials and tribulations and
death-defying escape of the courageous [white] investigative reporter,
"I hear you Anderson," responds expert Jim Walsh, chuckling. "I
want to err on the side of caution for you here, Anderson." Walsh
is barely able to contain his laughter as he sells Cooper out. "Uh,
ah, my guess is that you are O.K.
But I don't want you to sue me if I am wrong. But, uh, I'm inclined
that you're O.K."
"There have been release of..uh..uh...I guess a gas," Cooper
continues, "and correct me, I flunked science... There have been
releases out over the ocean...why were they doing these controlled
Dr. Jim Walsh then pontificates that radiation releases that
ostensibly drift out over the ocean -- releases questioned by the
ill-prepared and uneducated Cooper -- are 'mildly radioactive',
unwanted but not dangerous, in any case, that they are being screened
for dangerous radonuclides by the Japanese reactor experts, and
"it's not going to be a major health threat."
Nonsense! Here is a simultaneous catastrophe beyond human comprehension:
At least six nuclear reactors in various states of collapse,
out-of-control, and in partial meltdown, and at least one even more
deadly spent fuel pool overheating and burning, amidst the apocalypse
from the original Richter 9.0 earthquake, the Richter 5.0 and 6.0
aftershocks, the Tsunami, the massive death toll, the lack of
emergency vehicles and spreading radioactivity, the fires, the
melting Spent Fuel Pools -- they are not "screening" radioactive
releases which, in any case, are now uncontrolled.
Of course, according to his own biography, CNN's nuclear consultant,
Dr. Jim Walsh, an expert in international security and a Research
Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security
Studies Program (SSP) -- which also shares U.S. special forces as
'research fellows'. He is published and selected as the chosen
expert by the major U.S. and European media. Dr.
Jim Walsh is the former Executive Director of the Managing the Atom
project at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government,
and a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research
at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory -- one of our Department
sites, deep down the dark [nuclear] rabbit hole. Dr. Jim Walsh is
another government spook.
For another example, "[T]he most urgent worries concerned the
failures at two reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power
plant," the New York Times wrote, in Death Toll Estimate in Japan
Soars as Relief Efforts
"where engineers were still struggling to avert meltdowns and where
some radiation had already leaked. An explosion at one of the
reactors on Monday did not appear to have harmed it, Japanese
In one sentence we are told that a nuclear meltdown may be imminent,
and in the next sentence, same paragraph, Japanese officials assured
the public (the New York Times backed them up) that an explosion
occurred but the reactor was not harmed. Is this believable? When
the Japanese nuke experts took the drastic measure of pumping
seawater into the reactors they knew that the reactors would be
ruined forever. Given the economics of such a choice -- billions
upon billions of Japanese yen destroyed forever -- we can infer
that the situation is beyond grave: the Fukushima area is now a
permanent sacrifice zone: people, wildlife, land has been sacrificed
to the Gods of nuclear technology.
"We have no evidence of harmful
Cabinet secretary Noriyuki Shikata told reporters after one of the
recent reactor building explosions.
Environmental activists in the area of the Fukushima reactors began
to cry foul after finding that radiation monitoring stations were
not operating. At the top of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)
Monitoring Website<http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/pamp/index-j.html> it
said "monitoring goes on around the clock year round" and at the
bottom it said "THIS SYSTEM IS CURRENTLY SHUTDOWN." Activists
believed that TEPCO was downplaying radioactive releases. At the
same time, TEPCO was announcing that it planned to vent the containment
[vessel] to relieve the pressure, which caused releases of radioactivity
into the air.
On Wednesday March 16, National Public Radio
that "the chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that
all the water is gone from one of the spent fuel pools at Japan's
most troubled nuclear plant, but Japanese officials denied it." Of
course, National Public Radio has been heavily subsidized by the
nuclear power industry and has consistently advanced the nuclear
More nonsense: Radiation from Japan's troubled nuclear reactors has
virtually no chance of reaching the
U.S.<http://www.ocregister.com/news/-292270--.html> -- the West
Coast, Alaska or other locations -- the Nuclear Regulatory
ANR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT> said Tuesday March 15. (Note
that they don't want to disturb the tourist industry, so they say
nothing about Hawaii.) The statement from the NRC said that "the
'small' radiation releases so far [sic] from the Japanese reactors
has been blown out to sea, away from populated areas."
On Wednesday March 16, the United Nations Comprehensive Test Ban
reported that a radiation plume from Japan nukes would hit Southern
California late Friday. Of course, health and NRC officials say it
poses very little risk.
DISTANCING U.S. NUKE INDUSTRY FROM JAPAN
NBC News on Wednesday evening (March 16) ran several short 'news'
clips about Japan's nuclear crises. One of these was clearly intended
to distance General Electric and the nuclear Regulatory Commission
from Japan, a sort of betrayal of the culture of secrecy and their
historically incestuous relationship. Why?
To perform damage control, improve investor confidence, assuage
public fears of a similar catastrophe at one of the 110 reactors
in the U.S.
The NBC broadcast began by pointing out that the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) has advised U.S. citizens who are within
50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima reactors to evacuate or
stay indoors. The U.S.
set a higher standard, and the news went on to promote the idea
that Japanese officialdom cannot be trusted, but U.S. officialdom
Then the NBC News reporter, Lester Holt, was shown being scanned
for radiation after returning from the Sendai area: no contamination
on his body, but his "shoe bottoms [soles] contained slightly
elevated amounts of radiation, but of no danger to us," he said.
Again, the standard tactic of reporting that contamination has
occurred -- this time it is on his shoes -- but that it is of no
danger. Furthering the myths about radioactivity and its deadly
means of spreading disease, the shoe bottom problem was nothing a
little soap and elbow grease couldn't fix. And so, later in the
hour, they showed the shoes being scrubbed and everything being
returned to [business as] normal.
NBC followed the news tidbits about radioactive shoes with pictures
of Fukushima reactors -- buildings with their roofs blown apart --
accompanied with assertions that there is a POSSIBLE breach of
containment at the Fukushima Reactor No. 2, and that a breach of
Reactor No. 3 containment vessel is CONFIRMED.
Cut to the U.S. Congress, where NBC brings us a very, very short
clip from a special Senate hearing held on Wednesday March 16.
Suddenly the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is awake, and they
care, and they are telling an equally awake and suddenly concerned
U.S. Congress that they believe that Japan has covered up the extent
of the nuclear disaster.
"Radiation levels are extremely high," proclaims NRC chief Dr.
Jaczko. The spent fuel pools are dry. Secondary containment at the
reactor [No. 3] has been breached, but Tokyo is denying this."
Finally, NBC informs its viewers, in passing, that General Electric
-- the designer and salesmen of the GE Mark I Boiling Water reactors
that General Electric dumped on Fukushima back in the 1970s -- is
a part owner of MSNBC.
Full disclosure, of course.
Suddenly the 'news' shifted to big bold banners flashed across the
TV screen in big blue fonts. These banners remind good, tax-paying
and law-abiding citizens -- good people watching the evening news
after a hard day's work -- that GE has reviewed the safety concerns
that were previously raised about GE BWR reactors, and so reactors
in the U.S. are safe. It was no longer news: it was a public relations
ploy, a photo op for GE to improve its image, right out of George
The latest psychological operation underway is to convince and
reassure the U.S. public and English-language speaking world that
General Electric is not responsible for what is happening in Japan;
that U.S.-based G.E.-designed reactors elsewhere, being of the same
age and design, are not going to have the same problems as reactors
in Japan. The message is also that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
runs a tight ship, that oversight is comprehensive and thorough,
people are doing their jobs, and that the nuclear industry in the
U.S. is nothing like the secretive and bungling industry in Japan.
While the message is racist at its [nuclear] core, nothing could
be further from the truth. It can happen here. San Onofre. Diablo
Canyon. Vermont Yankee.
There have been all kinds of warning signs. It won't be a tsunami,
on the back of an earthquake, or maybe it will. It will be a BLACKOUT
scenario of some kind, as it is in Japan.
In the Congressional Hearing, Senator Barbara Boxer was suddenly
awake, and suddenly concerned, and suddenly the U.S. Congress is
going to straighten this all out and protect us. The U.S. Senate
aring_id=bb6c78e6-802a-23ad-4c7b-9aa7a3bb0c31> began with some
grandstanding by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), whose jabs were
directed at Republicans, but in the end she asked a few questions.
The next speaker, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla) reads a garbage
speech about how wonderful the NRC is and how safe are U.S. reactors.
Our first and foremost concern is safety, he says, and we must
continue to develop and site and license and operate new reactors
world wide. "We've delayed for 30 years now. So I think that we
certainly don't want to slow down, let's keep going."
The hearing was completely corporate, one Senate official citing
recent New York Times stories that have suddenly awoken them (the
Senators) to the many warnings that had previously occurred. My
God, we didn't know. Meanwhile, the NRC Chairman testified that the
NRC can not attribute a single death to the nuclear accident at
Three Mile Island.
A few months ago, President Obama signed some 8.5 billion dollar
loan guarantees for a nuclear reactor construction project for U.S.
nuclear corporation Southern Company, in partnership with the Tokyo
Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
Of course, the Price Andersen Act, passed in 1957, indemnifies
nuclear utilities and reactor operators from all lawsuits, financial
liability or related responsibility.
Everything suggests that it will be business as usual. Destabilization,
destruction, war and catastrophe have always been turned into a big
business for the United States of America. Across the ocean tens
of thousands of people are protesting in Germany and France and
Briton. Here, even the discussion is off course. The wrong questions
are being asked and the wrong people are answering them. Instead
of talking about limits to growth, the focus is on expansion,
profits, trade and so-called progress. Why would this situation be
any different? As Senator Barbara Boxer eventually said: we should
Perhaps the worst horror of all is that people trapped in the
contaminated zones are now being shunned by outsiders, including
Radiation fears, mingled with a sick sense of
ukushima-20110317,0,5992544.story>, reported the Los Angeles Times,
as people are afraid to help them. People in the evacuation zones
- elders and those without fuel or transport -- are geting no help,
and no information. We should be humbled.
Keith Harmon Snow is a war correspondent, photographer and independent
investigator, and a four time (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010) Project
Censored award winner. He is also the 2009 Regent's Lecturer in Law
& Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, recognized
for over a decade of work, outside of academia, contesting official
narratives on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide while
also working as a genocide investigator for the United Nations and
other bodies. From 1985 to 1989, he worked as Engineer, and then
Manager, GE Aerospace Electronics Laboratories, Syracuse NY. He has
three papers published in the journals of the Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole
responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those
of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this
article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for
Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any
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