Archive for the ‘Chernoybl’ Tag

Discrimination against Fukushima’s “Nuclear Refugees”   20 comments

Fukushima Residents Suffer Discrimination At Refugee Shelters

Japanese residents who fled the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are being rejected by shelters and evacuation centres for fear they may be radioactive and contaminate others. These displaced people-”nuclear refugees” had to leave their homes, their farms, their animals, because of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant number 1 now will require an official certificate proving they are not contaminated in order to have shelters accept them, as they are expected to accommodate all the homeless.

Displaced Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Refugees

Radiation Fears and Distrust Push Thousands From Homes

Many are already traumatized by the tsunami that swept away entire towns in northern Japan, leaving more than 15,000 dead or missing. They tell tales of gruelling journeys, of post-disaster shortages, of scrounging for gasoline, and arriving with only the clothes on their backs.

They are driven not just by suspicion of the government but also by a deep fear of radiation, in a nation where the word conjures images of the atomic devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As they flee, they enter a life in limbo, camped out on gym floors with hundreds of others, uncertain when or if they will ever be able to return to their homes.

 japanese-child-screened-radioactivity-fukushimaScreening_for_radioactivityScanning Nuclear Refugees_Fukushima Radiation

Each shelter set-up to accommodate the displaced “nuclear refugees” around Fukushima Prefecture, where the plants are, unlike the areas further North ravaged by the tsunami, is equipped with radiation detection equipment at its entrance and serves as an entry checkpoint for people. These are staffed with health officials in plastic body suits and masks who scan new arrivals with Geiger counters to check for radiation.

Scanning For Radiation At A Temporary Scanning Centre For Residents Living In Fukushima Prefecture, Japan

Scanning for Radiation_Fukushima sheltersjapan-radiation-dog-eg_temp scan centre for residents nr Fuk plantScanning for Radiation_Fukushima shelters

Japanese experts have stated that Fukushima evacuees are not a threat to others. Kosuke Yamagishi of the medical department of the prefecture of Fukushima stated that ordinary people from the area are not dangerous unless they are employees of the Daiichi plant.

fukushima fear

Ichiro Yamaguchi, head of the Testing Station in Yamagata also confirmed regular evacuees are registering only low-levels of radiation. But the people are fearful, and it is this fear that is leading to discrimination against Fukushima residents.

 

An eight-year old child who lived 20 kms. from the nuclear site was refused entry into a Fukushima hospital and their appointment at the hospital had been cancelled as she had no non-radioactivity certification; her shocked father told Japan’s Mainichi newspaper.

However, officials at evacuation centres are sticking to their guns:

Rad_check_point‘All persons residing within a radius of 30 km around the plant must provide a certificate; If they do not, they must submit to an on-site detection. This is so that other evacuees feel safe.’

Tens of thousands have been forced to leave an area of a ​​20-km radius around the Fukushima Daiichi plant or being confined to their homes in an are of 10 kms further. “How can you stay at home if you have to go out to get drinking water?” asked Kumiko Kowata, 45, a homemaker, after the earthquake knocked out water supplies to her home. The exodus has also been spurred by private companies in towns near the plants who chartered buses to help their employees and families flee to the shelter in Yamagata, even as the government has played down the effects. Many believe that the situation at the plants was twice as bad as authorities and the government were admitting. “We might be overreacting, but we also know Tokyo Electric” — the plants’ operator — “is not telling us everything,” says Hitoshi Suzuki, a 34-year-old construction worker.

Munehiro Okamoto, 36, who works for a drug making company, led a convoy of four cars and 15 people, and one golden retriever, to Yamagata from Namei, a town right by the Fukushima Daiichi plant. He described a situation in which the parents feared that their children would get radiation sickness. He said the group would reach a city, stop, then fear that it was not far enough, and resume their journey westward. “We didn’t want to keep panicking and moving on and then stopping again,” he said.

Prime Minister adviser Kenichi Matsumoto, told the press that the region surrounding the Fukushima central plant could be uninhabitable for 10 or 20 years+. But if Fukushima Daiichi becomes another Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl then they may never go back. In the meantime, people are furious at being refused shelter and medical services on the assumption that they are contaminated.

Fukushima Daiichi chernobyl_openpit3-Mile Island

Fukushima Fallout–Radiation on the Nation   26 comments

Fukushima Fallout

Radiation on the Nation – The Truth and the Lies

“The story that the world forgot, and that everyone wishes could just be buried under a 10 foot lead plate, not only refuses to go away but is getting worse by the day. “

“The Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster has 5 nuclear reactors burning, 2 in partial meltdown and 3 in full meltdown- and they’ve all been uncontrollably burning since March 11th. It’s been over 3 months and this nuclear disaster remains completely out of control.”

Fukushima Fallout–Radiation on the Nation

 

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the ‘federal environmental safety agency arm of the US government’ fearing that the American people will learn the TRUTH as regards the exact amount of lethal radioactive fallout afflicting them, has hurriedly shut down the vast majority of its radiation detection monitors. But the food chains and water tables of the nation have already been contaminated by significant amounts of plutonium, strontium, cesium, uranium along with a wide range of other highly radioactive particles. Best not to let onto US residents about that though.

Reports from Japan including one by the Ministry of Science ~ The ABC quoting NHK news, say that concentrations of radioactive strontium 90 has been found in soil samples from 11 sites in Fukushima prefecture, including in Fukushima City, with a citizenship of 290,000 residents, about 60 kms from Japan’s stricken nuclear plant far exceeded the level that triggered compulsory resettlement ordered by Soviet authorities following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

Strontium 90 is the result of of uranium fusion in nuclear reactors fuel rods. It has a half life of 29 years. It builds up in bone and bone marrow, causing cancer and leukaemia.

Four locations in Fukushima city, outside the nuclear evacuation zone, showed that all soil samples contained caesium exceeding Japan’s legal limit of 10,000 becquerels per kilogram (4,500 per pound). . “Soil contamination is spreading in the city… Children are playing with the soil, meaning they are playing with high levels of radioactive substances. Evacuation must be conducted as soon as possible.” ~ Kobe University radiation expert professor Tomoya Yamauchi

Plutonium from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 reactor has been detected in the town of Okuma, about 1.7 km away from the plant’s front gate. It has a half-life of 24,000 years and some other radioactive elements such as uranium have a half-life of 4.47 billion years. So let’s hope that you’re not one of the statistical 1 in 2 unfortunates who will contract cancer in their lifetimes…

Evacuee Radiation Checksjapanese-child-screened-radioactivity-fukushimaRad_check_point

The latest news from Fukushima is that the highly radioactive water has started leaking from Reactor #2, into a trench which is located just 180 feet away from the sea. The Telegraph reports: “The water seeping into a trench outside the Number two reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan had a radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour.” (100,000 times the normal level)

TEPCO, is of course here to remind us that this is perfectly normal and 1 sievert water is nothing to be at all worried about:

“We do not believe it is leaking into the ocean. We are now working out where the cause of the leak is and finding ways to remove the water as soon as possible.”

Luckily, nobody believes the lies out of Japan anymore: Too bad they still believe the lies out of the US government.

“In terms of radiation leaking into the sea, this would be diluted very quickly and there would be no particular risk to fish for example ” ~Yoshiaki Oka, a professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University, told The Telegraph.

Besides the 22 samples of seaweed tested in May, 10 of which were contaminated, with five times the legal limit of iodine 131, and 20 times of caesium 137, high levels of radioactive caesium (half life of 30 years, making it extremely toxic) have been found in fish off Japan’s east coast, in Ibaraki prefecture about 80 kilometres south of the Fukushima plant.It is believed to have its origins in the overheated fuel rods at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, Also found, radioactive iodine 7.5 million times above the legal limit in seawater near the facility.


Daily Yomiuri reports: “Fukushima Prefecture began checking the internal radiation dose levels of selected residents Monday, the first step in its plan to examine the health of all its 2 million residents amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. About 28,000 residents of Namiemachi, Iitatemura and the Yamakiya district of Kawamatacho were to receive the initial checks.”

120 randomly chosen people will receive examinations by the National Institute for Radiological Sciences in Chiba. The remainder will be checked via questionnaires which will be used to estimate suspected dosages of internal radiation in their bodies.

Estimates naturally being infinitely preferable to knowing exactly.

And just to add insult to injury:

Germany announced it was going nuclear-free. Days later Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, said the UK will build a new generation of power stations. Very nice of him…Even nicer:

“Government officials launched a PR campaign to ensure the accident at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan did not derail plans for new nuclear power stations in the UK”. ~ The Guardian

“This highlights the government’s blind obsession with nuclear power and shows neither they, nor the industry, can be trusted when it comes to nuclear,” ~ Louise Hutchins, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace

But nevermind…

Radiation from Fukushima? Don’t worry they’re taking care of it. Nothing to worry about. Just walk on by…..

Chernobyl 25 Years…The World Remembers   8 comments

 

Remember Chernobyl 1986-2011–World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster

Remember Chernobyl 1986-2011

The world marks a quarter of a century since the world’s worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

Ceremonies were held around the world on Tuesday 26 April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. But haunted by a strange, eerie resonance and fears over the safety of atomic energy sparked by the Japanese earthquake -created troubles at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear.

Fukushima-nuclear-plant-2011 fukushima-milk100-200millisieverts rad risk deathjapanese-child-screened-radioactivity-fukushima-500x407the-fukushima-50-were-the-first-group-of-workers-who-remained-on-site-when-the-plant-was-burning-on-march-15

The Japanese in placing the disaster on the maximum Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the same level as Chernobyl prompted further public fear with almost cosmic timing. reactor with the resulting radiation leak it is an event the world is unlikely to forget.

A service was held by Russian Orthodox, Patriarch Kirill, in the Keiv region in the early hours of Tuesday, striking a bell at 1:23 am – the time the explosion happened. This formally marked the start of the Remembrance Ceremonies.

Raven and exclusion zone radiation warning  Deserted ghost city of Pripyat_inside the exclusion zone Exclusion zone radiation warning signchernobyl_openpit

The explosion sent a plume of radiation across Ukraine, Belarus, western Russia and other parts of Europe in 1986. Two workers died in the explosion and twenty eight other rescuers and staff died of radiation exposure in following months. Between 1986-1987 five thousand rescue workers (liquidators) were sent in to clear up the Chernobyl plant, and to decontaminate surrounding areas. Many were not fully aware of the scale of the disaster or the true risks of their exposure to such high levels of radiation.Hundreds received radiation injuries, while thousands of cases of child thyroid cancer in the region may be linked to Chernobyl. Tens of thousands were evacuated and fears still remain and the verdict is still inconclusive on the damage to human health.

 

For some mothers the memories of “bubbling and foaming” bright yellow puddles are still vivid, whilst children born years later are reminded by their cancer-ravaged bodies. In Belarus which received about 70% of the radioactive fallout thousands of children have been treated for cancers. The stricken Fukushima Daiichi has re-lit their fears and they are horrified. They have been through it and wish for no-one else to suffer in the same way.

 

                                     memorial to workers who died trying to contain the radiationTo those who saved the world_Chernobyl 1986 

 

He (Patriarch Krill) then went out to the affected zone to hold an Easter Service at a chapel in the Chernobyl settlement ,to which Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made an unprecedented visit alongside Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, to mark the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident.The two men attended a commemoration ceremony at the recently (December 2000) shut-down nuclear power station itself where a reactor exploded in 1986.

Tribute to Chernobyl disaster–Sleeping Sun–April 26 1986

 

Mr Medvedev made his first visit to Chernobyl for Tuesday’s commemoration. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko did not take part in events at Chernobyl.

Russian President 1st visit to Chernobyl_ April 26 2011

“The crisis at the Fukushima DaiIchi Plant reminded humankind that we shouldn’t relax” ~ Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

“The events of this day showed that nobody, no matter who they are, can be assured of their safety….and the recent events at Japan’s Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant only confirmed this bitter truth.” ~ Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukowich

 

Mr Yanukovych also stressed the need for global co-operation in nuclear safety, saying: "Chernobyl was a challenge of planetary dimensions. The answer to this challenge can be provided only by the world community." Soviet engineers encased the damaged reactor in a temporary concrete casing (sarcophagus) to limit the radiation but the existing sarcophagus is dilapidated and could leak. Or even worse collapse altogether triggering a large scale radiation release, consequently a new shield is now needed. A donor conference in Kiev, Ukraine, last week raised 550m euros (£486m; $798m) of the 740m euros needed to build a new shelter and a storage facility for spent fuel. The new containment shelter large enough to encase an area the size of “Madison Square Garden” and should be able to completely enclose the old casing and the Chernobyl Reactor 4 by 2015.

 

Chernobyl disused reactor_enclosed in a concrete and lead sarcophagus_In the foreground is a memorial to workers who died trying to contain the radiation

They also placed the first stone of a monument to clean-up workers and laid flowers at another monument. Officials unveiled a monument dedicated to victims from Belarus.

Officials unveil monument 

Mr Medvedev has called for new international rules covering safety at nuclear plants. Such rules would permit the "necessary" development of nuclear energy, he said.

"Today, I sent proposals to [world] leaders… aimed at guaranteeing the necessary development of nuclear energy in the world while preventing at the same time catastrophic global consequences [of accidents]," Mr Medvedev said in remarks as he stood in spring sunshine in front of the hulk of the disused plant, according to Reuters. He did not specify what the proposals were.

Chernobyl's Reactor No 4_enclosed in a concrete and lead sarcophagus

Soviet officials held off reporting the accident for several days, and Mr Medvedev said the disaster had taught nations of the importance of telling the truth to their people. "The duty of a state is to tell the truth to its people. It must be acknowledged that the [Soviet] state did not always behave correctly," he said." In order for such tragedies never to be repeated we must all be honest, we must provide absolutely exact information about what is going on."

Call for honesty

The call for honesty was welcomed by some 3,000 Chernobyl victims who joined a memorial service at a monument in Kiev. They complain that benefits packages for workers made ill by participating in the clean-up have been cut in recent years.

The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant has triggered renewed protests over the safety of nuclear power.

image People light candles placed in the form radioactive symbol in Kiev, Ukraine

The legacy of Chernobyl will be remembered for much, much longer than anyone would wish. According to estimates this area of Northern Ukraine will be uninhabitable for at the very least, decades, if not centuries.

                                                 Remember Chernobyl 1986-2011Exclusion zone-The Land of Wolves

Nuclear Ghost Town: The Reality of Nuclear Accidents and Relocation aka Chernobyl

WALK WITH ME IN THE LAND OF WOLVES   32 comments

Belorussian wolf within the Exclusion Zone

CHERNOBYL’S LOST CITY – COME WALK WITH ME IN THE LAND OF WOLVES

(Updated 12 June 2012)

In light of the the current crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor…Choose your future carefully! It is you who has to live in it!

 

  

  

“We walked into a wasteland, grey and desolate. The buildings had deteriorated, windows had been smashed. Trees and weeds had grown over everything. It was a ghost town.” (Pripyat)

 

Abandoned town of Pripyat Pripyat Fairground-most contaminated part of town(Image Credit: TimmSuess.com) A silent abandoned sentinal-Pripyat town-Chernobyl(Image Credit:TimmSuess.com)

(Tim Mousseau – Professor of Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina – describing his first visit to Chernobyl)

Along with Anders Møller, an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, Tim Mousseau has conducted on-site research into the effects of radiation on humans and animals, with highly controversial results.

The basic facts of the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine — the worst in history are well known. At 1.23am on April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Soviet nuclear power plant exploded, after an electrical test went horribly wrong. The radioactive material released was many times greater than the fallout over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, polluting about 80,000 square miles of land across Europe and spreading radioactive rain as far as north-west Ireland. In the wake of the accident, more than 300,000 people were evacuated and an 800 square mile exclusion zone created around the reactor – “the zone of alienation.”


LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF THE RUINED REACTOR – THE LAND OF WOLVES

Pripyat was built as a town for the Chernobyl power station workers. It was viewed a model town. The apartment blocks were alive with fir trees and rose beds. It was a town of young people and growing families.

25 years on the abandoned town of Pripyat has become a wildlife haven. The Land of Wolves.There have been sightings of wolves, bears, wild boar and moose wandering the deserted streets, and swifts swooping round abandoned office blocks. Likewise sightings of deer and wolves have been reported at Kiev Oblast, situated near the border with Belarus, in the zone of alienation in Northern Ukraine. The only other resident is a solitary guard. Prior to the accident the population had been around 50,000.

 

The site of the Red Forest remains one of the most contaminated radio-active sites in the world today. 

 Exclusion zone sign-outside zoneWalking in the land of WolvesKiev Oblast_Geiger Counter_Dosimeter

Although radiation levels have dropped significantly since 1986, there are still "hot" regions. the most contaminated areas measuring 300 microSieverts per hour on the Geiger counter, the equivalent of 1,200 times normal radiation levels.


VEGETATION

Therefore it is surprising the vegetation in the zone of alienation has flourished. Like a strange nature reserve, flora and fauna, in the absence of human interference have reclaimed the abandoned land. Scientists have found that since 1990, growth flourished and the ecological effect has been positive. Eighty percent of the zone is now forested; before the disaster, it was just 20 percent. A total of 240                Russian Wolves - Chernobyl and PripyatForest City-Pripyat 25 years onChernobyl-Pripyat town-25 years on-forested species of animals have been counted within the exclusion zone, most of which were present only in low numbers before the disaster. Giant catfish swim in radioactive water that surround the six nuclear reactors. Since nobody is going to go fishing, they’ll continue to breed and grow.That one should never eat the mushrooms or berries found there and that some of the clover might have six leaves is however another story.

So, could it be that if wildlife can return so soon, nuclear radiation and power might not be as dangerous as we first thought?

AN ECOSYSTEM IN CRISIS

The first discovery that Professors Møller and Mousseau made was that birds in the fallout zone were suffering increased levels of genetic mutations. The examination of 20,000 Barn Swallows found crippled toes, deformed beaks, malformed tails, irregularly shaped eyes and tumours. Some birds had red plumage where it should have been blue, or blue where it should have been red.

Because of contaminated food supplies, bird species have declined by more than 50 per cent in high-radiation areas. Only a fraction of the Swallows and Great Tits are reproducing, and of those that do lay eggs, only five per cent hatch. Less than a third of birds survive to adulthood. Professors Mousseau and Møller could confirm that these abnormalities were genetic by examining the Swallows’ sperm.

They discovered a connection between antioxidants, radiation and plumage colour: showing birds with the brightest plumage are more likely to die.

Antioxidants in both humans and birds, help counteract the effects of radiation Brightly plumaged birds migrating long distances eg Swallows, produce a lot of free radicals as a by-product of their very high metabolic rate and , resulting in tissue damage ~ Professor Mousseau.

Supplies of antioxidants in their blood and liver offset this.  Large amounts of antioxidants are directed to the female’s eggs, causing the bright yellow yolk.

If their destination is in highly contaminated areas, they find it impossible to replenish energy reserves preventing Swallows from maintaining their bright plumage or re-directing enough antioxidants into their eggs, so few chicks hatch.

It continues down through the food chain. In the areas of highest contamination, fewer butterflies, bumblebees, grasshoppers, dragonflies and spiders are found. "The fact that insects, including pollinators, are sensitive to elevated contaminants has a significant impact on the rest of the ecosystem," ~ Professor Mousseau. There is also another tragedy here. Professor Mousseau has started working with the Hospital for Radiation Biology, in Kiev, on a long-term study of humans who live in the area: more than 11,000 adults and 2,000 children in the Narodichesky region, 50 miles from Chernobyl.What will be the consequences for the children of these children????

The incidence among locals of cancer, birth defects and reduced lifespan is alarmingly high.


Update: 10th June 2012

Re: In discussing the conflicting research findings on whether wildlife really is recovering in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, one deadly serious point the optimists who think this land is going to recover from the worst industrial accident in history should take into consideration is:

“While iodine-131 decayed long ago and the strontium and cesium are slowly becoming less potentially lethal, the hot particles of plutonium-241 scattered across the landscape are actually decaying into an even more toxic isotope, americium-241. A more powerful emitter of alpha radiation than plutonium, americium is also more soluble and can easily find its way into the food chain. Americium-241, in turn, decays into neptunium-237, another energetic alpha emitter that has a half-life of more than 2 million years. As of yet, the long-term effect of americium-241 on animals remains largely unknown.” ~ Wired Magazine

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You have walked with me through the Land of Wolves…There will without doubt be many and varied opinions on the use of nuclear energy as a "safe, clean, low-carbon" energy source. But the hard cold fact that remains, seems to be that we cannot live WITH it yet neither can we live WITHOUT IT.

I for one just hope that we too will not be walking in "The Land of Wolves."