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Environmental Impacts

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity that contaminates the environment. Radiation can affect the air, water, soil, plants, animals, places of residence and recreation and elsewhere.

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Tuesday
May292012

Bluefin tuna contaminated with Fukushima Daiichi cesium documented on U.S. West Coast

Bluefin tuna can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh 1,000 pounds. They can swim up to 45,000 miles in a 16 month period of time.Common DreamsReuters, and the Guardian (including a videoof the Japanese government's response to the news) have reported that bluefin tuna which had migrated from Japan's east coast to the U.S. west coast tested positive for elevated levels of radioactive cesium in August 2011, about four months after massive radioactively contaminated water releases to the Pacific Ocean took place at Fukushima Daiichi. Bluefin tuna is a prized seafood. Although the levels of radioactive cesium-137 and cesium-134 are reportedly lower than Japanese and U.S. permissible levels for consumption, the U.S. National Academy of Science has long maintained that any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how low the dose, carries a health risk of cancer, and that these risks accumulate over a lifetime.

The Reuters article gives the false impression that radioactive cesium-137 is somehow naturally occurring. While Cs-137 was released from atmospheric atomic bomb tests for decades beginning in 1945, and thus can be termed a part of "background" radioactivity levels, this should not be confused with "natural background," for atomic weapons blasts, and their radioactive fallout, are far from "natural." Cs-137, with a 30 year half-life and 300 to 600 year hazardous persistence, was released in large amounts by the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, especially in March and April 2011. Cs-134, with a 2 year half-life (and 20 to 40 year hazardous persistence), contamination in bluefin tuna is unmistakably of Fukushima Daiichi origin.

Saturday
Mar032012

A young girl's world circumscribed by radioactive risks: precautions are not child's play in Fukushima Prefecture

A heartbreaking BBC News Asia video focuses on Ayaka, a young girl who lost her grandfather and home to the tsunami in Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2011, and whose life is now circumscribed by radiation precautions that limit her freedom to play outdoors. This, despite now living beyond the arbitrarily small 12.4 mile (20 km) "Dead Zone" around the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Her father bought a Ukrainian radiation monitor on the internet, which he uses to check background levels before he lets Ayaka play on the parking lot for at most 30 minutes, only on weekends. She's not allowed to play on the grass, or near trees or surface water, because the radiation levels are higher there. Ayaka also wears a face mask on her way to school, and a personal radiation monitor to track her exposures. Ayaka reads from her diary entry from March 13, 2011, in which she expresses her fear of the invisible radioactivity around her. Writing helped her deal with her emotions -- she was afraid to express her fears directly to her father or grandmother.

Saturday
Mar032012

Lessons from Fukushima: new Greenpeace report a warning on nuclear risks

Saturday
Aug272011

"Ex Japanese Nuclear Regulator Blames Radioactive Animal Feed on 'Black Rain' "

In a video dated July 19th and entitled "Ex Japanese Nuclear Regulator Blames Radioactive Animal Feed on 'Black Rain'," Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates describes widespread radioactive contamination caused by fallout from Fukushima Daiichi. Radioactive hay fed to cows contaminated beef long distances from the melted reactors. Mushrooms grown indoors far from Fukushima Daiichi exhibited severe contamination. The data points for severe radioactive contamination over a broad region of Japan are very troubling. ("Black Rain" was first observed by the survivors of the atomic bombings of Japan by the U.S. in August 1945, and refers to radioactivity precipitated down to the ground by rain.)

Tuesday
Jun282011

Warning against radioactive catastrophe for ocean at Fukushima Daiichi

Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer at The Mainichi Daily News, has published a compelling editorial calling upon Tokyo Electric Power Company and the federal government of Japan to build an underground barrier to prevent catastrophic amounts of radioactivity from leaking into the ocean from Fukushima Daiichi's three melted down atomic reactors.