Friday, November 08, 2013

Fukushima -- The Nuclear Clock Is Ticking; Midnight Might Be At Hand

The following 13 minute-plus interview involves Jaisal Noor of The Real News Network and nuclear expert Arjun Makhijani concerning the imminent attempt (slated to begin November 9, 2013) by TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) to remove approximately 1300 spent -- but still highly radioactive -- nuclear rods from the crippled and teetering Building 4 reactor in Fukushima. The removal process is a very high-risk venture since even the smallest mistake by technicians could lead not only to uncontrollable fires that will release toxic, radioactive materials into the environment (in Japan and in many other parts of the world), but, as well, could initiate a condition of criticality that might result in one, or more, nuclear explosions that could entail a degree of radioactive contamination that would very likely have dire consequences for humanity -- both short term and long term.

For example, if either -- or both -- of the aforementioned events occurred (i.e., uncontrolled fires and/or criticality), experts such as world renowned biologist and environmentalist David Suzuki of Canada have indicated that you can kiss Japan goodbye and that much of the West coast of North America would have to be evacuated relatively quickly thereafter. Moreover, eventually, the radioactive contamination would have a devastating impact on the environment in many other parts of the world.

However, the alternative to TEPCO's proposed removal operation -- that is, leaving the spent nuclear rods where they are (which is in a very fragile, vulnerable state) -- is equally risky. Many experts believe there is a 95% chance that, at some point during the next three years, there will be another earthquake of magnitude 7.5, or higher, which will occur relatively close to the Fukushima site since the nuclear plant was (knowingly) built over a major fault line. The earthquake that devastated the area several years ago was around 7.5 in magnitude, and another earthquake of this size would likely destroy what remains standing of the original structures, and, in the process, bring about the very nuclear fires and condition of criticality that might result from the attempts of TEPCO to resolve the problem manually.

TEPCO has proven to be incompetent in a variety of ways with respect to its handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Furthermore, they have been lying about the severity of the situation almost from day one of the crisis.

For more than two years, radioactive contaminants have been released into the air, ground water, and ocean near Fukushima. A subset of unknown size comprised of this toxic material has made the journey to Hawaii and, then, on to the west coast of North America (and elsewhere in the world as well).

A variety of studies already have been done indicating that the radiation levels in North America (not to mention Japan and elsewhere) have been steadily rising since the meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011. As a result, there have been, among other things, thousands of deaths in North America which are above and beyond what would be expected otherwise (i.e., absent the Fukushima problem). 

Some individuals are attributing the foregoing unexpected death tolls to the impact of radiation contaminants from Fukushima ... especially in relation to the very young and very old. As well, there are a growing number of indications that the radiation reaching North America might be having a significantly problematic impact on marine life between Japan and North America.

For the most part -- and thanks, perhaps, in large part to the nuclear industry and its lobbyists -- the seriousness of the Fukushima crisis has not been properly covered by most mainstream media outlets in North America. Unfortunately, the Fukushima situation is many times more critical than the Chernobyl incident of April 26, 1986 that took place in the Ukraine, and the future of humanity may well depend on what occurs in Fukushima in the coming months. 

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