By Guest Writer Gary Evans MD
The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster is far from over. Despite the paucity of information flowing from the corporate presses, radioactive water has been running directly into the Pacific Ocean continuously since the set of reactors on Japan’s northeast coast were damaged and then destroyed March 11, 2011, and is now gushing at high rates, contaminating both ground water under Fukushima Prefecture and secondarily, the Pacific Ocean.
Shortly after the disaster occurred, corporate media typically reported the radioactive contamination as only a short lived event - serious, but nothing much to worry about: the contaminated water would quickly dissipate and result in no measurable health hazards. After nearly 2 ½ years of ongoing contamination, corporate media remains silent on the potential risk to public health associated with the consumption of foods harvested from the Pacific.
The relatively long lived radioisotopes Cesium-137 and Cesium-134, which continue to leak from Fukushima’s core damaged nuclear plants, are now regularly detected in blue fin tuna that have migrated between Japan’s East - and California’s West coasts.
The contaminating radioactive Cesium levels were found to be well within US government safety limits, although there is no lower threshold of safety with respect to radiation exposure and the induction of cancers.
Additionally, a recent study indicates that ocean currents will likely bring an increase in Cesium radioisotope contamination to the US West Coast over the next few years.
TEPCO, The Tokyo Electric Power Company responsible for the operation and now cleanup of the plant, has worked to downplay the seriousness of the ongoing and evolving nuclear plant disaster, but is now forced to admit that all efforts to stem the flow of tons of radioactive water from entering the ocean’s biosphere have failed. As of early August, 2013, the company has begun pumping groundwater from beneath Fukushima with a stated goal of pumping 100 tons a day by the end of August, 2013, while Japan’s Ministry of Industry estimates the daily flow of contamination into the aquifer continues at approximately 300 tons (~72,000 gallons) per day.
1 Environmental Science & Technology, 2013, 47 (5), pp 2287–2294.
3 Science China Earth Sciences August 2013, Volume 56, Issue 8, pp 1447-1451