Lawsuit seeks evacuation of Fukushima children


Fukushima *

Fukushima * (Photo credit: Sterneck)

 

Sunday April 14, 2013 1:15 AM

By YURI KAGEYAMA

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Their demand: The right to live free of radiation. The plaintiffs who started the legal battle: 14 children.

A Japanese appeals court is expected to rule soon on this unusual lawsuit, filed on behalf of the children by their parents and anti-nuclear activists in June 2011 in a district court in Fukushima city, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the crippled nuclear plant that spewed radiation when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit it more than two years ago.

The lawsuit argues that Koriyama, a city of 330,000, should evacuate its children to an area where radiation levels are no higher than natural background levels in the rest of Japan, or about 1 millisievert annual exposure.

In a culture that frowns upon challenging the authorities, the lawsuit highlights the rift in public opinion created by the baffling range in experts’ views on the health impact of low dose radiation. Although some experts say there is no need for children to be evacuated, parents are worried about the long-term impact on their children, who are more vulnerable to radiation than adults. Consuming contaminated food and water are additional risks.

After the Fukushima accident, the world’s worst since Chernobyl, Japan set an annual exposure limit of 20 millisieverts for determining whether people can live in an area or not. The average radiation for Koriyama is far below this cutoff point, but some “hot spots” around the city are above that level.

“This is the level at which there are no major effects on health and people can live there,” said Keita Kawamori, an official with the Japanese Cabinet Office. “Academic experts decided this was the safe level.”

A prominent medical doctor in charge of health safety in Fukushima has repeatedly urged calm, noting damage is measurable only at annual exposure of 100 millisieverts, or 100 times the normal level, and higher.

A lower court rejected the lawsuit’s demands in a December 2011 decision, saying radiation had not reached the 100-millisievert cutoff. The International Commission on Radiological Protection, the academic organization on health and radiation, says risks decline with a drop exposure, but does not believe there is a cutoff below which there is no risk.

An appeal filed is still before Sendai High Court in nearby Miyagi Prefecture more than a year later.

After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which emitted more radiation than the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the Soviet government made it a priority to evacuate women and children from within a 30-kilometer (20-mile) radius of the plant, bigger than the 20-kilometer (12-mile) no-go zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

The number of children behind the original lawsuit dwindled to 10 for the appeal, and is now down to one as families left the prefecture voluntarily or the children grew older. Legally in Japan, a city has responsibility for children only through junior high, since high school is not compulsory.

But the case serves as a precedent for other Fukushima children.

Toshio Yanagihara, one of the lawyers, criticized the government as appearing more worried about a population exodus than in saving the children.

“I don’t understand why an economic power like Japan won’t evacuate the children — something even the fascist government did during World War II,” he said, referring to the mass evacuation of children during the 1940s to avoid air bombings. “This is child abuse.”

After Chernobyl, thousands of children got thyroid cancer. Some medical experts say leukemia, heart failure and other diseases that followed may be linked to radiation.

In Fukushima, at least three cases of thyroid cancer have been diagnosed among children, although there’s no evidence of a link with the nuclear disaster. There are no comparative figures on thyroid cancer in other areas of Japan.

The children in the lawsuit and their families are all anonymous, and details about them are not disclosed, to protect them from possible backlash of ostracism and bullying.

“Why is Japan, our Fukushima, about to repeat the mistakes of Chernobyl?” wrote a mother of one of the children in a statement submitted to the court. “Isn’t it up to us adults to protect our children?”

The trial has attracted scant attention in the mainstream Japanese media but it has drawn support from anti-nuclear protesters, who have periodically held massive rallies.

Among the high-profile supporters are musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, manga artist Tetsuya Chiba and American linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky.

“There is no better measure of the moral health of a society than how it treats the most vulnerable people within it, and none or more vulnerable, or more precious, than children who are the victims of unconscionable actions,” Chomsky wrote in a message.

A 12-year-old, among those who filed the lawsuit but have since left the area, said she was worried.

“Even if I am careful, I may get cancer, and the baby I have may be hurt,” she said in a hand-written statement.

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Blog for the evacuation lawsuit: http://fukushima-evacuation-e.blogspot.jp/

 

 

 

 

Chernobyl, not Peristroika, Caused Soviet Union Collapse: Gorbachev


DiaNuke

Editor’s Note: Journalist Alla Yaroshinskaya’s article based on declassified documents, contradicting Mr. Gorbachev’s claims here that there was no cover-up in Chernobyl, can be accessed here.

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail GorbachevMikhail Gorbachev was the last head of state of the Soviet Union, and helped bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Courtesy: Project Syndicate

The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 26 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was an historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed.

The very morning of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear station on April 26, 1986, the Politburo met to discuss the situation, and then organized a government commission to deal with the consequences. The commission was to control the situation, and to ensure that serious measures were taken, particularly in regard to people’s health in the disaster zone. Moreover, the Academy of Science established a group of leading scientists, who were immediately dispatched to the Chernobyl region.

The Politburo did not immediately have appropriate and complete information that would have reflected the situation after the explosion. Nevertheless, it was the general consensus of the Politburo that we should openly deliver the information upon receiving it. This would be in the spirit of the Glasnost policy that was by then already established in the Soviet Union.

Thus, claims that the Politburo engaged in concealment of information about the disaster is far from the truth. One reason I believe that there was no deliberate deception is that, when the governmental commission visited the scene right after the disaster and stayed overnight in Polesie, near Chernobyl, its members all had dinner with regular food and water, and they moved about without respirators, like everybody else who worked there. If the local administration or the scientists knew the real impact of the disaster, they would not have risked doing this.

In fact, nobody knew the truth, and that is why all our attempts to receive full information about the extent of the catastrophe were in vain. We initially believed that the main impact of the explosion would be in Ukraine, but Belarus, to the northwest, was hit even worse, and then Poland and Sweden suffered the consequences.

Of course, the world first learned of the Chernobyl disaster from Swedish scientists, creating the impression that we were hiding something. But in truth we had nothing to hide, as we simply had no information for a day and a half. Only a few days later, we learned that what happened was not a simple accident, but a genuine nuclear catastrophe – an explosion of a Chernobyl’s fourth reactor.

Although the first report on Chernobyl appeared in Pravda on April 28, the situation was far from clear. For example, when the reactor blew up, the fire was immediately put out with water, which only worsened the situation as nuclear particles began spreading through the atmosphere. Meanwhile we were still able to take measures in helping people within the disaster zone; they were evacuated, and more than 200 medical organizations were involved in testing the population for radiation poisoning.

There was a serious danger that the contents of the nuclear reactor would seep into the soil, and then leak into the Dnepr river, thus endangering the population of Kiev and other cities along the riverbanks. Therefore, we started the job of protecting the river banks, initiating a total deactivation of the Chernobyl plant. The resources of a huge country were mobilized to control the devastation, including work to prepare the sarcophagus that would encase the fourth reactor.

The Chernobyl disaster, more than anything else, opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue. It made absolutely clear how important it was to continue the policy of glasnost, and I must say that I started to think about time in terms of pre-Chernobyl and post-Chernobyl.

The price of the Chernobyl catastrophe was overwhelming, not only in human terms, but also economically. Even today, the legacy of Chernobyl affects the economies of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Some even suggest that the economic price for the USSR was so high that it stopped the arms race, as I could not keep building arms while paying to clean up Chernobyl.

This is wrong. My declaration of January 15, 1986, is well known around the world. I addressed arms reduction, including nuclear arms, and I proposed that by the year 2000 no country should have atomic weapons. I personally felt a moral responsibility to end the arms race. But Chernobyl opened my eyes like nothing else: it showed the horrible consequences of nuclear power, even when it is used for non-military purposes. One could now imagine much more clearly what might happen if a nuclear bomb exploded. According to scientific experts, one SS-18 rocket could contain a hundred Chernobyls.

Unfortunately, the problem of nuclear arms is still very serious today. Countries that have them – the members of the so-called “nuclear club” – are in no hurry to get rid of them. On the contrary, they continue to refine their arsenals, while countries without nuclear weapons want them, believing that the nuclear club’s monopoly is a threat to the world peace.The twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe reminds us that we should not forget the horrible lesson taught to the world in 1986. We should do everything in our power to make all nuclear facilities safe and secure. We should also start seriously working on the production of the alternative sources of energy.

The fact that world leaders now increasingly talk about this imperative suggests that the lesson of Chernobyl is finally being understood.

 

Fukushima is not Chernobyl ? Think Again ! #Sundayreading


Safety and Accidents, at dianuke.org
Sarah Phillips

Sarah D. Phillips is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is author of Women’s Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Development and the Politics of Differentiation (2008, Indiana U Press) and Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine (2011, Indiana U Press). Her website is athttp://www.indiana.edu/~medanth/

Article courtesy:Somatosphere

The March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami caused the deaths of approximately 16,000 persons, left more than 6,000 injured and 2,713 missing, destroyed or partially damaged nearly one million buildings, and produced at least $14.5 billion in damages. The earthquake also caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s eastern coast. After reading the first news reports about what the Japanese call “3.11,” I immediately drew associations between the accident in Fukushima and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 in what was then the Soviet Union. This was only natural, since studying the cultural fallout of Chernobyl has been part of my life’s work as an anthropologist for the past 17 years. Knowing rather little about Japan at the time, I relied on some fuzzy stereotypes about Japanese technological expertise and penchant for tight organization and waited expectantly for rectification efforts to unfold as a model of best practices. I positioned the problem-riddled Chernobyl clean-up, evacuation, and reparation efforts as a foil, assuming that Japan would, in contrast, unroll a state-of-the-art nuclear disaster response for the modern age. After all, surely a country like Japan that relies so heavily on nuclear-generated power has developed thorough, well-rehearsed, and tested responses to any potential nuclear emergency? Thus, I expected the inevitable comparisons between the world’s two worst nuclear accidents to yield more contrasts than parallels.

Fukushima City, view from the train station, Nov. 2012.
Bullet train, symbol of Japanese modernity, entering Fukushima station.

But as reporting on the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP unfolded, an unsettling story of stonewalling and sloppiness emerged that was eerily reminiscent of the Chernobyl catastrophe. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), which operates the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, and the plant’s head, Masao Yoshida, proved to be masters of understatement. Yoshida characterized radiation levels nearly 100 times higher than normal as “higher than the ordinary level,” and he used the wholly inadequate phrase “acute danger” to describe two explosions and the meltdown of three of the reactor cores[1] (how about “catastrophic meltdown necessitating immediate evacuation?”). One is reminded of the first official statement acknowledging the Chernobyl accident, which only appeared in a Kyiv newspaper three days after the disaster, and was hidden on the third page in the Weather section: “From the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR. An accident has occurred at the Chernobyl atomic electrostation; one of the atomic reactors was damaged. Measures are being taken to liquidate the consequences of the accident. The victims are receiving assistance.”[2]

Recently-released video footage of the early days and weeks of the Japanese crisis reveals that some of the same mistakes made during the Soviet state’s blighted response to Chernobyl were repeated at Fukushima Daiichi. Military helicopters made futile attempts to douse flames inside the damaged reactors with water, a strategy already proven ineffective, dangerous, and potentially counterproductive during the Windscale fire in Great Britain in 1957, and later at Chernobyl. Local Fukushima firefighters were called to the accident scene but not informed of the extremely high levels of radiation—the TEPCO video reveals an official at headquarters to say, “There’s no use in us telling the fire department. That’s a conversation that needs to happen at higher levels.” Recall the six firemen who lost their lives battling the fires at Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4; along with 25 other plant workers and first responders the firefighters for years were the only Chernobyl casualties officially recognized by the Soviet state. The accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima alike have been traced back to lax safety controls and poor plant design or siting, and the emergency response after both disasters included a muddled chain of command, the intentional withholding of vital radiological data and health directives, and the privileging of economic concerns and saving face over the well-being of human beings and the environment. Did we learn nothing from Three Mile, Selafield, Windscale, and Chernobyl? Will the Fukushima accident finally jar us out of complacency, or will the accident be successfully “socially contained,” enabling humankind to “stagger on toward our next disaster?”[3]

Thanks to colleagues at the Japan College of Social Work in Tokyo, during October and November 2012 I visited Japan to participate in interviews, informal meetings, and conference roundtables with Fukushima evacuees, social workers, medical professionals, and community activists. It was an enlightening though sobering experience: many of the Fukushima stories I heard echoed nearly word-for-word narratives I have read and collected among persons affected by the Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union. Just like people who survived Chernobyl and the Soviet Union’s “rectification efforts,” Fukushima-affected persons and their advocates complain of government secrecy and misinformation, top-down decision making, generalized disorganization, and the social ostracism of nuclear accident “victims.”

“No one knows what really happened here”

I traveled through northeast Japan with an esteemed group of scholars:  Dr. Yukio Yamaguchi and Dr. Takashi Fujioka, professors at the Japan College of Social Work; Dr. Masumi Shinya, a professor of sociology at East China University of Science and Technology’s School of Social and Public Administration; Dr. Decha Sungkawan, Dean of the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University in Bangkok; and Dr. Charles Figley, professor and Chair of the Tulane University Trauma Institute.

Lt to Rt: Charles Figley, Masumi Shinya, Sarah Phillips, Takashi Fujioka, Decha Sungkawan. At Nihonmatsu Station. Photo by Yukio Yamaguchi.

We traveled by trains and taxis, making research stops in cities like Nihonmatsu and Yamagata City, which received thousands of disaster evacuees, and Otsuchi (Iwate Prefecture), a coastal town devastated by the 3.11 tsunami. Before the disaster Otsuchi had a population of 15,262. At least 800 residents were killed in the tsunami that carried away most of the city’s infrastructure; nearly 500 residents are still missing. Today there are 10,000 people living in Otsuchi, 5,400 of who still live in cramped temporary housing units.

Our guide in Otsuchi was Mr. Ryoichi Usuzawa, a community organizer. Mr. Usuzawa drove us around the city, much of which now consists only of partial concrete foundations where buildings once stood. The entire city administration of Otsuchi (more than 20 persons) drowned in the tsunami—they had been called by the mayor to the town hall at the time of the earthquake. Mr. Usuzawa drove us up a steep hill to an area overlooking the town, just above the now-destroyed Buddhist temple and the adjoining hillside cemetery, which is still intact. On 3.11, hundreds of residents watched from this vantage point as the massive wall of water rolled in and mowed down their town (including their own homes, some with people still inside), the buildings collapsing “like dominos.” The devastation resulted in huge amounts of debris that caused further damage in turn, as tanks of propane gas bobbed along, became entangled in debris, and ignited fires and explosions “bubbling on top with smoke.” Mr. Usuzawa says, “It was like a huge washing machine was spinning the whole town. Everything was moving clockwise.”[4]

Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, October 2012

One of these hilltop spectators captured the scene on video, and we watched the terrifying footage on Mr. Usuzawa’s laptop as we looked down over the now-leveled city.[5] He explained that hundreds of residents, many of them elderly, fled to the Buddhist temple for refuge from the water and drowned inside. As the tsunami was rolling over Otsuchi, some 200 kilometers away a wall of water invaded the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, destroying the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the surrounding towns. Yet the impact on residents’ health is harder to calculate, because it consists not only of physical destruction but radiation contamination.

As cultural geographer Shiloh Krupar notes, “Embodied knowledge…take[s] on a particular significance in the presence of large-scale technological -environmental disasters…, where the variability and duration of harmful waste and its biological effects are uncertain and never closed.”[6]  Measuring radiation exposure and absorbed dose requires specific, often hard-to-access technologies, and laypersons are dependent on experts and their expert knowledge for interpretation of these measurements. Individuals’ ability to know and assess their risks is severely curtailed when expert knowledge—produced by agents usually beholden to states and powerful industrial interests—is the only form of knowledge recognized as valid, even as states and industry intentionally withhold information on hazards and their biological effects. Meanwhile, embodied self-knowledge is discredited.

Fukushima evacuees and their advocates report egregious examples of misinformation, negligence, and cover-up that have exacerbated their health risks. After the earthquake and tsunami the United States Department of Defense and the Department of Energy conducted environmental and radiological monitoring of air, water, and soil on DOD installations in the region.[7] According to Professor Yukio Yamaguchi of the Japan College of Social Work, when this valuable data was shared with Japanese authorities they shelved it for two weeks instead of immediately informing the population about radiation risks. Further, the Japanese government failed to provide the Japanese public with data from the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI)—data predicting the location and extent of radioactive contamination after the nuclear accident—until March 23, nearly two weeks after the disaster. Because the SPEEDI data was not available, some families evacuated themselves to locations that actually were more contaminated than where they were living.[8] Perversely, the Japanese authorities provided the SPEEDI data to the U.S. military on March 14 but waited a full nine days before releasing it to the Japanese people.[9]

As happened in the Soviet Union after the Chernobyl accident, after the Fukushima accident the government quickly raised the “acceptable” level of individual radiation exposure. In Japan, the pre-nuclear accident maximum “safe” exposure was one millisievert (mSv)/year.[10] After the Fukushima disaster, suddenly exposure of 20 mSv/year was deemed safe. Some medical professionals went so far as to suggest that 100 mSv/year was a safe level of exposure.[11] Such inconsistencies made it difficult for those living near the Fukushima Daiichi NPP to make informed choices and take actions to minimize their risk of exposure to damaging radionuclides. In this context of uncertainty, a common phrase among Fukushima accident-affected persons is that, “No one knows what really happened here.”

In an age where sophisticated radiological monitoring is possible and information technology facilitates the rapid evaluation and dissemination of radiological data, the Japanese government’s crude “mapping” of the radiation fallout baffles the innocent and informed alike. Environmental contamination after a nuclear explosion or accident is uneven and patchy. We have known this since the 1950s, when radioactive fallout from bombs detonated in Nevada was carried by rain clouds all the way to New York state. Similarly, radiation maps of the area around Chernobyl (not released until years after the disaster) show an irregular contamination pattern around the NPP with “anomalous” hotspots of contamination hundreds of miles away caused by rains —biochemist and journalist Mary Mycio describes it as a “hand” with a dark palm six miles around the plant and 20-30 mile-long “fingers” caused by radiation carried by the wind.[12] Why, in the immediate wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, did the authorities not apply this knowledge? Why was the contamination not mapped according to the actual radiological data? Instead, in a move strangely reminiscent of the initial Chernobyl “mapping” of a 30-kilometer “zone of alienation,” a 20-kilometer “planned evacuation zone”[13] of compulsory evacuation was drawn around the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. The Japanese Cabinet Public Relations Office announced that the cumulative radiation level in those areas could reach 20 mSv/year. People living outside this artificially-drawn zone have been provided no state support to evacuate from their homes, even if the levels of contamination are actually higher there than in some places inside the planned evacuation zone.

Consider for instance the town of Namie. Namie, which was affected by both the tsunami and the NPP accident, is located inside the exclusion zone, and its roughly 20,000 surviving residents were evacuated to the city of Nihonmatsu.[14] However, levels of contamination in Namie are lower than in some towns outside the zone,[15] whose residents have not had equitable access to evacuation assistance, medical care and social services. Evacuees from Namie face their own set of very difficult circumstances in Nihonmatsu: they are tired of living in hastily-built, cramped temporary housing quarters; unemployment, boredom, and feelings of lack of control over the future fuel anomie. Long-term reliance on social welfare is demoralizing, and evacuation is especially frustrating for elderly persons who just want to go home. According to a community leader at NPO Namie in Nihonmatsu, evacuees are experiencing serious psychological problems; now that they are not in “emergency mode,” he said, they increasingly dwell on their memories of the devastating tsunami. Many suffer from survivor guilt, asking themselves why they lived when others perished. Social workers report high levels of depression and anxiety, alcoholism, gambling, and marital discord among residents of temporary housing units.

Temporary housing site for Namie evacuees in Nihonmatsu. Located in a former athletic field, this site accommodates 240 families (550 persons), including 75 children under 15 years old, and 78 solitary elderly persons. Photo by Charles Figley.

Realizing that returning to Namie is only a distant prospect, and concerned about reports of Namie children being bullied in local schools, in fall 2012 a group of community activists founded Namie Elementary School in Nihonmatsu. The school has enrolled just 30 students so far, but organizers hope it will grow and serve to cohere the community of Namie evacuees in Nihonmatsu, who one community leader described as having been “scattered like sesame seeds.”[16] Indeed, loss of community is one of the consequences of 3.11 and the resulting evacuations and resettlements of paramount concern to social workers and NPO leaders. Social work specialists in Japan point out that loss of communities was a major problem after the Great Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake in 1995, but the lessons of that tragedy have not been applied after 3.11.

Commons area at Namie Elementary School, Nihonmatsu. Photo by Charles Figley.
A map at Namie Elementary School in Nihonmatsu shows where students and teachers used to live in the seaside town of Namie, whose 20,000 surviving residents were evacuated after 3.11.

“Living apart is too difficult”

The experiences of the Nakamura family illustrate the difficulties faced bt many Fukushima accident-affected families. Before 3.11, Miki Nakamura, a nutritionist, lived with her husband and three young daughters in Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture, 58 kilometers from the damaged NPP. The Nakamuras evacuated temporarily immediately after the accident. However, being understandably reluctant to uproot their young family, they returned to Fukushima as the new school year began in April. As in other locations close to the damaged nuclear power plant, the schools in Koriyama stayed open even though neither radiological monitoring nor decontamination efforts were underway.[17] During an informal interview in October 2012, Miki Nakamura recalled that she and other parents were told “very firmly” by their children’s schoolteachers that children should continue to attend school; children were advised to wear masks, windbreakers, and hats to protect them from radiation. Trusting in the judgment of the teachers—and in the reassurances issued by the then Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the Secretary General that “there will not be immediate health impacts”—the children in Koriyama continued going to school.

The young families who at the time of the Chernobyl accident were living in Pripyat—the workers’ city built 2 km from the NPP—would find this tragedy familiar. Although news of the accident began to circulate informally hours after the Chernobyl explosion, the authorities did not warn the 49,000 residents of Pripyat to take precautions until a full 36 hours after the accident. Children enjoyed playing outside on the warm April day, unaware that their young bodies, especially their young thyroid glands, were soaking up radioactive particles. The thyroid gland is the organ most sensitive to radiation exposure; this is particularly true for children and for those with iodine deficiencies. Local health workers were instructed not to distribute prophylactic potassium iodine pills, for fear of “causing panic.” (Subsequently, around 6,000 cases of thyroid cancers—and many more cases of thyroid anomalies—have been documented among children who at the time of the Chernobyl accident were living in contaminated areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.[18]) Incredibly, a similar scenario unfolded after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Although health workers themselves took prophylactic potassium iodine, it was not given to children.[19]

On March 15, it snowed in Fukushima, and the snow contained radioactive materials. Radioactive particles landed on the surface of the soil. In April, the air dose rate exceeded 3.8 microsieverts (μSv)/hour at “hot-spots” in Koriyama, and 8 microsieverts/hour at some points along the school route.[20]Meanwhile, during the days following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the Nakamuras’ dosimeter registered radiation levels of 1.5 microsieverts /hour right outside their home. It was not long before the eldest Nakamura daughter (age nine at the time) started having uncontrollable nosebleeds that her mother says “persisted even after going through a box of tissues.” The child’s nosebleeds were the first key factor in the family’s decision to leave Koriyama.

The second factor was the resignation of Professor Toshiso Kosako, an expert on radiation safety at the University of Tokyo and a nuclear advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister. In late April 2011 Kosako resigned in protest of the Japanese government’s decision after the Fukushima Daiichi accident to raise the official acceptable level of radiation exposure in schools from 1 to 20 mSv/year, a decision that allowed “children living near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to receive doses of radiation equal to the international standard for nuclear power plant workers…a level [that is] is far higher than international standards set for the public.”[21] Professor Kosako said he could not endorse this policy change from the point of view of science, or from the point of view of human rights.

The Nakamura family made a difficult decision: Miki and the children would move to Yamagata City, about an hour’s drive across the mountains from Koriyama. Mr. Nakamura would remain behind for his job, and the family would get together on weekends. Thus, Miki Nakamura and her three girls joined approximately 4,200 evacuees from Fukushima prefecture who moved to Yamagata. Like the Nakamuras, around 2,500 of these evacuees are from Fukushima City and the surrounding Nakadori area that were not under mandatory evacuation.[22] As “voluntary” evacuees, these citizens are hardly entitled to the same state entitlements that mandatory evacuees receive. Some voluntary evacuees did receive two-part reparation payments from TEPCO, the first for the months up until December 2012, and the second for the months from January to August 2013.

The financial stress on voluntary evacuees—many of which find themselves running two households (one back home, one in Yamagata)—is enormous. Rent is free for evacuation housing, but families spend approximately 100,000 Yen ($1,110) per month on moving costs, utilities for two residences, and children’s kindergarten and school fees outside their place of official residence. (The latter obstacle compels some voluntary evacuee families to transfer their official place of residence, a decision that produces its own set of complications.) Costs of transportation are also high for these split families, who travel frequently to spend time together; also, unlike mandatory evacuees, voluntary evacuees must cover the costs of their own medical check-ups. Reparations from TEPCO do not even begin to offset these expenditures: the Nakamura family received the first compensation payment of just 400,000 yen for one child, 80,000 yen for each parent “for their unnecessary radiation exposure that could have been avoided,” and another 200,000 yen “for minor and additional costs.” The second payment consisted of only 80,000 yen for a child, 40,000 yen for an adult, and 40,000 yen for additional costs.

Miki Nakamura notes that, lacking appropriate entitlements and compensation, among voluntary evacuees “there are so many children and mothers across the country that live each day by digging into their savings set aside for children’s education and their own retirement.”[23] Over time, despite their continuing concerns about radioactive contamination, the financial and emotional burdens of voluntary evacuation have compelled a number of these families to return home against their better judgment. Miki Nakamura predicts that a number of families will return to Fukushima Prefecture from Yamagata in spring 2013, “not because Fukushima will be safe, but because living apart is too difficult.”

“I am not a doctor but I know my children are sick”

In Yamagata City, the Nakamura girls continue to have health problems such as sore throat, canker sores, swollen lymph nodes, and dark circles under their eyes, which their mother believes to be related to the nuclear accident. The 10-year-old’s nosebleeds continue, but doctors—state employees who likely do not have the freedom to admit a Fukushima accident-related diagnosis—continue to discount radiation effects. One doctor who examined the eldest Nakamura child suggested that the girl’s nosebleeds were “caused by the stress of the mother.”

This readiness to attribute bodily complaints of disaster-affected persons to psychological and emotional stress is all too reminiscent of the diagnoses of “radiophobia” doled out by medical professionals and experts in the Soviet Union after the Chernobyl disaster.[24] Not surprisingly, many people in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia who believed that Chernobyl fallout had compromised their health balked at the suggestion that their ailments were caused by “fear of radiation,” not radiation itself. They had good reason to be skeptical. Anthropologist Adriana Petryna’s ethnographic study of the Chernobyl medical assessment and compensation system has revealed it that system to be anything but objective.[25] Petryna documents how the invention and application of radiation-related diagnoses in Soviet medicine were as political and social as they were scientific. Further, only half-hearted attempts were made to systematically collect health data from Chernobyl-affected persons (plant workers, clean-up workers, evacuees), making any firm conclusions about biological effects of radiation exposure versus psychological effects of “radiophobia” impossible.

During 1997 I shadowed medical professionals working at the clinic in Kyiv that houses the “Chernobyl registry.” Persons with a “Chernobyl tie” from across the country (those deemed partially or fully disabled due to Chernobyl’s effects on their health) were offered regular examinations at the clinic—some were required to undergo these checks to retain their benefits—and personnel were supposed to enter patients’ data into the clinic’s computer database. The doctors and nurses I shadowed were harried and underpaid, and saw the data entry task as a nuisance. Often data was never entered, or it was entered helter-skelter. It is well known that after Chernobyl some data concerning individual exposure to radiation (particularly among clean-up workers) was actively destroyed or changed.[26]

I also in 1997 assisted with a WHO-funded study of children’s thyroid health in Chernobyl-contaminated areas whose planned evacuation was scuttled due to lack of funds. The research team exerted a yeoman’s effort, but the desperate conditions of local infrastructure made our tasks extremely difficult. We worked in hospitals without running water or electricity, and thus our ability to do blood draws and perform ultrasounds on children’s thyroids was limited. Local medical personnel were skeptical of our team and the study’s motives and we suspected they actively discouraged sick villagers from participating. Qualitative questionnaires were not tailored to local ways of life. For instance, youngsters who spent hours each day working in the fields and walking long distances to school were never sure how to answer the ill-phrased question, “Do you exercise or do sports regularly?”

Observing these problematic data-collection procedures makes me question research conclusions that purport to definitively assess Chernobyl’s health impacts, and especially those that downplay the medical effects of radiation exposure (e.g. the 2003-2005 Report of the Chernobyl Forum).[27] The same critical eye should be applied to Fukushima accident health studies, since reports from Japan indicate that health monitoring of persons exposed to radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident has been far from systematic or problem-free. The affected population is skeptical that doctors in the state system of medicine can offer objective diagnoses. This distrust means they may be compelled to pay out-of-pocket for private health care, in which case their medical data may not make it into official databases. In the future, these persons will not be eligible for public compensation for their Fukushima accident-related health problems.

Skepticism of official health pronouncements is reflected in people’s desire to have their personal levels of radiation exposure checked. Whole body counters (a device used to identify and measure the radioactive material in the body) are in deficit in Fukushima City, and the waiting list to be checked is some six months long.[28] Even though Yamagata hosts the largest group of Fukushima evacuees in Japan, there is not a single whole body counter in the city.[29] And as with Chernobyl, the chaotic evacuation of residents after the Fukushima accident complicates exposure assessment and health monitoring. Additionally, in early Feburary 2013 at a private meeting of the research and survey committee on residents’ health, it was suggested that the Fukushima Prefectural Medical College, the institution entirely responsible for examining radiation and its health effects, has attempted to delay the thyroid check-up for evacuees outside the prefecture.[30]

Not surprisingly, “radiophobia” has made its way into the Fukushima accident lexicon.[31] It becomes convenient and somehow perversely comforting to focus on the psychological impacts of nuclear disasters, with their many “unknowns.” The victim-blaming Miki Nakamura encounters (“the child’s health complaints are caused by the stress of the mother”) would be familiar to many Chernobyl-affected persons I have interviewed in Ukraine. Of course, this is not to discount the real psychosocial stresses associated with evacuation and the multiple forms of Fukushima’s fallout (radioactive, economic, social, psychological), many of which are being tracked by the Fukushima Health Management Survey.[32]

Miki Nakamura has met with other forms of stonewalling in her efforts to monitor her children’s health. Like all children living near the disaster site, the Nakamura girls are entitled to thyroid screenings. After her daughters’ thyroid checks at the Fukushima Prefectural Medical College, Miki received a brief notice in the mail that lacked any details or explanation of the test results. When she phoned the Medical College to ask for an explanation of the test results, personnel told her, “We are so very busy…” and discouraged her from getting a second opinion, which in the words of the doctors, “just causes confusion.” Despite the deficit of whole body counters, Miki  managed to arrange whole body counts for her daughters. However, without regular follow-ups to track the dynamic—whether their counts are going up or down—the information is of limited utility.

Miki Nakamura sums up her frustrations: “I am not a doctor but I know that my children are sick. And I saw that other children from Fukushima and in the greater Kanto region had the same health problems as my daughters, though I do not hear about it anymore…” Recent health studies show that Miki’s concern about her daughters’ thyroid health is far from unfounded. According to the April 2012 Sixth Report of Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey, which included examinations of 38,114 children, 35.3% of those examined were found to have cysts or nodules of up to 5 mm (0.197 inches) on their thyroids. A further 0.5% had nodules larger than 5.1 mm (0.2 inches).[33] Contradicting earlier reports, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences admitted in July 2012 that children from Fukushima had likely received lifetime thyroid doses of radiation.[34] The Health Risk Assessment from the Nuclear Accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2013 states that in the most affected regions of Fukushima Prefecture the preliminary estimated radiation effective doses[35] for the first year after the disaster ranged from 12 to 25 mSv. According to the report, in the most contaminated location the estimated increased risks over what would normally be expected are as follows:

  • all solid cancers – around 4% in females exposed as infants;
  • breast cancer – around 6% in females exposed as infants;
  • leukemia – around 7% in males exposed as infants;
  • thyroid cancer – up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%).[36]

“The future is what we are looking at right now”

Miki Nakamura spends time with other evacuee families every day as founder and director the Yamagata Association of Mothers in Evacuation (YAME). The association is a resource base and support system for families like the Nakamuras who are voluntary evacuees often split between two households. YAME has a liaison council to help mothers get necessary information, provides babysitting services and a “mothers’ morning out,” offers free legal consultations, and sponsors a regular “children’s plaza” where mothers can socialize and exchange advice while their children play. Miki Nakamura and her association worked with a local politician to draft the Fukushima Child Victims’ Law, which was passed by the Diet. But this is just a resolution without enforceability, and specific measures to protect victims’ rights (e.g. the right not to return to Fukushima) have not been determined.

As a nutritionist, in a context of radiological uncertainty Miki Nakamura draws on her knowledge of food properties and the complexities of the food supply to regulate her children’s diet. She shares and publishes recipes that contain “radioprotective” ingredients. Foods that contain beta carotene and vitamin C, for example, can help rid the body of radionuclides.[37] One food that people in the Fukushima-affected areas have not enjoyed since 3.11 is persimmons (a crop for which the region is famous), which actively absorb radionuclides and thus are highly contaminated. The Yamagata countryside is adorned with scores of persimmon trees laden with ripe, juicy, entirely inedible fruit. Just as apples have become the key symbol of the Chernobyl accident (the forbidden fruit, original sin, humankind’s folly in seeking to control nature through science)[38], perhaps the quintessential symbol of the Fukushima Daiichi accident will be the persimmon, which in Buddhist thought symbolizes the transformation of humans’ ignorance (the acrid green persimmon) into wisdom (the sweet, ripened fruit).

Loaded persimmon tree in Yamagata City.

Miki Nakamura has lost all trust in the authorities. Before the disaster she always believed the government and she never thought twice about living near a nuclear power plant. Today she demands justice. She said: “The Fukushima disaster is not just an economic problem, but a problem of our children’s future. The future is what we are looking at right now. Our kids have the right to safety and to a good and long, peaceful life. These are not ‘poor kids.’ They have a future. The most important part of reconstruction after the accident is the restoration of people’s trust and sense of security.”

Was nuclear technological failure—the Chernobyl disaster—the “straw that broke the camel’s back” of the Soviet Union?[39] The botched handling of the accident and its aftermath—and especially the central government’s overt failure and disinterest to protect the safety of citizens—confirmed what many citizens strongly believed: their government did not care for them and the system had become thoroughly corrupt and untrustworthy. While widespread protest against nuclear energy and its environmental and health risks was not possible in the authoritarian Soviet state, even in those conditions of a muzzled press and lack of freedom of speech a green movement emerged in response to Chernobyl. Chernobyl’s political fallout was one factor contributing to Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (openness), and in a limited way anti-nuclear sentiment also fueled the Ukrainian independence movement.

Similarly, Japanese citizens have lost trust in the government and in engineers and physicians who previously commanded such respect and authority. Community leaders strongly feel that Japan lags behind other industrialized nations in democratic governance; they are particularly concerned about lack of press freedom. Indeed, in December 2012 the World Audit on corruption, democracy, and freedom of press gave Japan a democracy ranking of 29 (1 is most democratic, 150 least democratic). This puts Japan in the Audit’s “Division 2” list, along with Ghana, Panama, and Israel. Of the 26 OECD countries, Japan ranks 19th in democratic governance.[40]

The sound defeat of the Democratic Party by the Liberal Democratic Party in the national parliamentary elections in December 2012 reflected dissatisfaction with the status quo. But the elections were a referendum on the DP, not nuclear power; the LDP is pro-nuclear and does not plan to scale back nuclear energy production. Indeed, traveling through Japan I was struck by the relative lack of anti-nuclear discourse, even in Fukushima Prefecture. Few politicians criticize nuclear power. A notable exception is Tetsunari Iida, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies who lost a bid for governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture in elections in July 2012. The anti-nuclear Tomorrow of Japan Party—formed less a month before the national parliamentary elections in December 2012—garnered scant voter support and disappeared. Reportedly the party’s calls for nuclear power drawdown failed to gain traction “amid concerns that electrical shortages could hurt the already shrinking economy.”[41]

Indeed, one gets the impression that response to the disaster has centered primarily on short-term economic, not human, concerns. Before the accident at the Fukushima NPP, Japan relied on nuclear power for 30% of its energy needs and was planning to increase that to over 50% within two decades. According to Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, scrapping nuclear power would result in losses of $55.9 billion for power companies, at least four of which would likely face insolvency.[42] With these economic stakes, it is not surprising that TEPCO and the Japanese government have been stingy with information about the disaster, the radioactive fallout, and the potential health consequences. My acquaintances who hoped Japan would abandon nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster fear that the chance to “change the country’s direction” has already passed by.

Haruhiko Fukase, a resident of Yamagata City who worked as a shelter volunteer and coordinator during the evacuation effort, said that the nuclear accident-affected people have been forgotten not just by the international community, but by many of their fellow Japanese citizens. “For people in Tokyo and other big cities,” he said, “the evacuees don’t even register anymore. Their problems have been forgotten.” But for thousands of families, the Fukushima nuclear disaster will never end. Community leaders repeat this refrain: “The reactor is still hot; the situation is still unstable.” Miki Nakamura and like-minded community leaders are not giving up on the democratic process. They continue to speak justice to power. As Nakamura said during the December 2012 Japanese elections, “To give up on Japanese politics is, to me, to give up on Fukushima.”[43]

Fukushima is Chernobyl. Independent of the system (Japanese, Soviet), nuclear technology requires disregard for the public, misleading statements, and obfuscation in multiple domains (medicine, science and technology, governance). As anthropologist Hugh Gusterson notes, “The disaster at Fukushima has generated cracks in what we might call the ‘social containment vessels’ around nuclear energy—the heavily scientized discourses and assumptions that assure us nuclear reactors are safe neighbors.”[44] Comparing the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima shows that “peaceful” nuclear technology is anything but.

I am grateful to Miki Nakamura, Satoko Hirano, Yukio Yamaguchi, Paul Josephson, Marvin Sterling, and Charles Figley for their contributions to this article.

.

 

Ten Urgent Reasons to Reject Nuclear Power Now #mustread #mustshare


Sunday, 17 February 2013 07:54 By Jim McCluskeyTruthout | Op-Ed

Bags of radiation-contaminated materials, to be stored in a mountain, in Kawauchi, Japan, Nov. 16, 2012. With the slow pace of cleanup efforts, residents of Okuma, a town evacuated in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, have become pessimistic about ever living there again. (Photo: Ko Sasaki / The New York Times) Bags of radiation-contaminated materials, to be stored in a mountain, in Kawauchi, Japan, Nov. 16, 2012. With the slow pace of cleanup efforts, residents of Okuma, a town evacuated in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, have become pessimistic about ever living there again. (Photo: Ko Sasaki / The New York Times)Many citizens do not want nuclear power. They know it is both far too dangerous and far too expensive. UK governments have largely supported nuclear power as well as nuclear weapons. Many citizens do not want nuclear weapons because they know they are insanely dangerous, and they want to live without the constant threat of sudden and complete annihilation hanging over them and their children. The close relationship between the weapons and power in every sense of the word may explain differences in politicians’ and citizens’ agendas on these issues.

The remedy is for us to wise up, get organized and then instruct the politicians to either do what we want – or join the job market. Here are 10 reasons we should reject nuclear power now.

1. Nuclear Power Stations are Prohibitively Dangerous.

There have now been four grave nuclear reactor accidents: Windscale in Britain in 1957 (the one that is never mentioned), Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979, Chernobyl in the Soviet Union in 1986 and now Fukushima. Each accident was unique, and each was supposed to have been impossible.

A recent book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, concludes that, based on records now available, some 985,000 people died between 1986 and 2004, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident.

Alice Slater, New York representative of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, comments: “The tragic news uncovered by comprehensive new research that almost one million people died in the toxic aftermath of Chernobyl should be a wake-up call to people all over the world to petition their governments to put a halt to the current industry-driven ‘nuclear renaissance.’ Aided by a corrupt IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the world has been subjected to a massive coverup and deception about the true damages caused by Chernobyl.”

At Fukushima we have the worst industrial disaster ever. Three simultaneous ongoing complete meltdowns have proven impossible to stop or contain since they started almost two years ago. These meltdowns are still pouring radiation pollution across the Japanese landscape.

International experts (e.g. Charles Perrow in Normal Accidents) agree that there will continue to be disastrous failures at nuclear power stations, and that this cannot be avoided.

As Edward Teller, the great nuclear physicist, said, “If you [try to] construct something foolproof, there will always be a fool greater than the proof.”

2. Nuclear Power Stations are Prohibitively Expensive.

Nuclear power stations are so expensive that they are never built without substantial contribution to their costs from citizens in the form of subsidies.

The UK government has said it will not subsidize new nuclear power stations. However this seems to refer to the most overt form of subsidies and not to “hidden” subsidies.

Nuclear power stations are so dangerous that no insurance company will undertake to pay the total costs of a disaster or a terrorist attack. So to get them built, the government has to limit liability. This is a subsidy.

The cost of decommissioning also is an enormous sum. Any limitation to liability for decommissioning costs will be a subsidy. If the industry does not pay the total costs of disposing of nuclear waste and ensuring it is safe for thousand of years, then this is a subsidy. The industry does not pay the total costs of all research into nuclear energy. This is a subsidy.

3. The Same Technology is Used for Power and Weapons.

Any country that purifies uranium for use in nuclear power stations can also use its purification plant to manufacture weapons-grade fissile material. Nuclear power stations use the same technology as that required to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Already, nuclear power development has been used repeatedly as a cover for creating nuclear weapons. Of the 10 nations that have developed nuclear weapons, Jim Green, of Friends of the Earth, Australia, tells us, “six did so with political cover and/or technical support from their supposedly peaceful nuclear program – India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa, North Korea and France.”

4. Nuclear Waste is Dangerous for Thousands of Years.

Since nuclear waste will be dangerous for thousands of years, we are dumping our energy problems on future generations instead of using the benign methods of creating energy that are available to us.

The currently favored “solution” of burying the waste in bedrock and sealing off access forever is desperate and irresponsible.

5. Plants and Waste Storage are Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack.

Because of their potential of mass destruction, nuclear power stations are a major target for terrorists. The 9/11 atrocity would be tiny by comparison. If a large plane were flown into a nuclear power station, the disaster would be immeasurably worse than Chernobyl.

John Large, an international independent expert on nuclear power, has said that if a plane was flown into the nuclear waste storage tanks at Sellafield, the whole of the English Midlands could be catastrophically contaminated.

Safety studies of Sellafield carried out for local authorities tell us that a direct hit by a passenger jet on the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant would contaminate Britain with two and a half times more radioactivity than the amount that escaped during the Chernobyl disaster.

The studies also inform us that up to 2,646 pounds of the highly radioactive and long-lasting isotope caesium-137 would be released into the atmosphere, contaminating Britain, Ireland, continental Europe and beyond, making huge swathes of the country uninhabitable and causing more than two million cancers.

In the light of the twin towers atrocity, this is a completely unacceptable risk.

6. They Epitomize the Centralization of Power.

There is a burgeoning awareness among citizens that they are more free and more in control of their lives if facilities and decision-making occur at the local level, that national government should only control those matters that cannot be dealt with locally. Nuclear power is the ultimate way of centralizing power, putting it in the hands of experts, multinational corporations and national – often distant – government. In complete contrast to this, benign methods of supplying power, such as wind and water turbines, solar energy and heat pumps can be in the control of local communities and even, for some provisions, households.

7. Poor countries are made dependent on rich ones.

Poor countries do not have the knowledge and facilities to design, build, maintain and run their own nuclear power stations. This puts them at the mercy of the rich and more technically advanced states if they go down the nuclear power route.

Technically less advanced countries with nuclear power stations increase the safety risks. As Professor Peter Bradford of Vermont Law School, a former member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, writes, “A world more reliant on nuclear power would involve many plants in countries that have little experience with nuclear energy, no regulatory background in the field and some questionable records on quality control, safety and corruption.” By adopting benign forms of power supply, the UK could help to promote the people-friendly way forward.

8. These plants draw funds away from the development of sustainable energy.

The spending of funds on research and other nuclear power development is highly detrimental to the development of sustainable energy supplies.

Each nuclear power plant costs around 5 billion pounds (7.9 billion in US dollars) to build. With such sums available, we could quickly realize our sustainable energy potential. As Friends of the Earth tell us, “With some of the windiest weather in Europe and almost 8,000 miles of coastline, the UK is a powerhouse waiting to be switched on.”

9. Uranium will become increasingly scarce.

The quantity of available uranium is limited and will decline. The price will go up. If the world adopts nuclear power as a major source of energy, there will be uranium wars just as there are now oil wars. There are unlikely to be wars fought over sustainable locally generated solar, wind or wave power.

Thomas Neff, a research affiliate at MIT’s Center for International Studies writes, “. . . shortage of uranium and of processing facilities worldwide leaves a gap between the potential increase in demand for nuclear energy and the ability to supply fuel for it.”

10. Government supports nuclear power against the will of the people.

The adoption of nuclear power is favored by the government, but in a referendum, it would be rejected by citizens as being too dangerous and too expensive. A major reason that government favors this form seems to be due to vast amounts of money and effort being put into lobbying by the power companies. Their profits are huge, so they have the funds for lobbying, whereas the NGOs and citizens-at-large, who are against nuclear power and have overwhelming arguments, do not make the same impact because they lack the funds for effective lobbying.

This is one tendency we are trying to help counter by this article.T

 

The Imminent Death of Civil Nuclear Energy


Anamika Badal, dianuke.org

Some may consider that civilian nuclear energy programs are going great guns and will grow in future. They will not. In fact, its slow death is already on and will only accelerate in future. Let’s understand why.

 ————————————————–

The nuclear energy industry has had a charmed half century of existence.

What essentially started as military research for the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was subtly packaged into a benign energy source. At heart, the roots of nuclear energy are firmly linked to military use.

The cold war was an occasion which offered the nuclear energy industry the use of massive funds, research facilities, government grants (subsidies) and huge freedom to conduct more and more research into making more and more weapons.

Nuclear Energy was simply a byproduct of this military work.

Companies and governments worked overtime to create a veil of secrecy around atomic energy so that the common person would not be able to link the two. And to their credit, they succeeded for a large part. In the days before the advent of the internet, information was scarce and expensive to procure. People – by and large – tended to believe what the ‘scientists’ and the governments told them.

Essentially, they were sold two stories -

1) Nuclear industry means ‘national security’ and ‘national pride.’ Any opposition to nuclear automatically makes you an anti-national.

2) Nuclear Energy has no alternative because of its “cleanliness” and ability to deliver large amounts of power at cheap cost.

It is said that if a lie is told a thousand times, people start to believe that it is the truth.

Yet, it is also said that ‘You can fool some people all the time, you can fool all the people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’

The tipping point for the nuclear industry came after the end of the cold war. Contrary to what most people believe, Chernobyl had no effect on the growth of the nuclear energy business. After a tiny blip, the industry was back to it’s own self.

Anyway, concealment, fabrications, misrepresentation of facts, propaganda, censorship of news, strong arm tactics were all part of the overall cold war game.

The world knew that a huge nuclear accident had happened in Russia.

But beyond that, they had little more knowledge. The Russians painted a picture of “all-is-well“, while the West tried to malign Russian technology and safety. Neither really questioned nuclear energy as a whole.

Sure, there were enough independent researchers who risked life and limb to bring out the truth. But it was easy for the governments of those days to tackle these civilian groups – after all, government agencies were trained to play the big spy games – a bunch of civilians was a cakewalk for the masters.

The disguise continued unabated until the unexpected end of the cold war. The cold war meant that there was little need for military deterrence (?) The future wars would be fought on economic fronts and smart wars would take centre stage.

Tactical weapons, quick surgical strikes on specific small strategic targets did not require the kind of arsenal needed during the cold war days. It was no longer fashionable to parade the missiles and war heads on National days and gloat about technological prowess.

The new kind of weapons did not require as much of plutonium but needed a material that was far easier to procure – depleted uranium (DU).

DU is easily and openly available from nuclear reactors without the need for complex and expensive re processing technologies. The guided missiles tipped with DU are hundreds of times more powerful compared to ordinary bombs and can cause massive damage to over and underground structures. Because of the fact that they do not leave a huge visible impact (like that of an Atomic Bomb), people do not realize that effectively, a nuclear weapon has been used.

These missiles have been extensively used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While they have sometimes ensured that the targets are taken out, they are as deadly as a nuclear attack and leave behind vast amounts of radiation in the environment. People affected by DU develop the same conditions as those in Hiroshima or Nagasaki – the only difference being that of immediate visibility and localization.

The US and NATO troops have got away by using these weapons of tactical attack for many years now and the effects are showing up in the local population there – increased cancer, deformities, mutations and all the other radiation induced diseases are seen here. The soil and ground water is polluted with uranium and will continue to do so for many decades to come. The radiation has spread wider and entered the food chain and will continue to irradiate for a long time to come.

The West had found the ideal nuclear weapon which can be used easily – without any concern of accountability or justification needed  for a full blown nuclear attack.

The need to use nuclear energy and the spent fuel had diminished and the military had a far lesser interest in these reactors.

Almost at the same time, another and more significant revolution was taking place.

The information revolution.

Almost out of nowhere, the computers, satellite television, instant messengers and the internet were all over the world.

Nothing was hidden. Information previously restricted to libraries or locked away in forgotten cupboards was suddenly openly available.

Information flow meant that there were no longer any holy cows. Discussions happened over emails and internet, ideas exchanged and previous paradigms challenged.

When Data gets analyzed, it turns into Information.

The massive amount of data which was scattered all over the globe earlier was put together and analyzed. Cheaper but more powerful computers allowed this massive data to be analyzed on desktop computers without the need for super computers.

What emerged was the naked truth.

Atomic and nuclear science is no more (or less) mysterious or complex than any other science. The sheer eliteness of being part of a select “nuclear club” was shown to be hollow. The cost of nuclear energy in purely financial terms was proven to be the highest, the enormous social damage, the horrible medical conditions and the silent environmental destruction were proven – with irrefutable data.

Troubles, they say, come in multiples.

More was to follow.

With no place to hide, the nuclear industry was hit by developments in renewable energies which took off at a massive scale resulting in prices crashing beyond imagination. A new, safe and cost effective option arose for which the nuclear industry was totally unprepared – literally caught with its pants down!

With no business model to survive, shrinking patronage from the defence and government ministries, Fukushima was the final nail in the coffin. In plain, open view, the incident shamed the industry  badly and showed the world that the civilian nuclear operators were leagues ahead of Big Oil and Tobacco when it came to blatant lies and endangering lives for maximizing own profits. Safety and ethics be damned.

In the end, the nuclear industry has only itself to be blamed for its decimation. Nobody – except probably its own nuclear village fraternity – will shed any tears on its death.

It is one death which does not merit a RIP.

 

Why Koodankulam reactors are Killers of Indians and Fisheries


From- dianuke.org

Just  as a highly irritated snake  kills a man, nuclear plants silently  kill  mankind and nature for providing illegal money to the greedy contractors, officials and politicians ?

Nuclear Plants are just silent killers of man and Nature. In nature the Uranium ore contains 99.3% of  Uranium-238 and the remaining 0.7% is Uranium-235 and they are almost harmless in nature.  But greedy business people dig the Uranium ore and convert  the least harmful Uranium-235  into the fuel form of Uranium-235  by purifying it to make it a fuel by enriching it from 0.7% to about 4%.   It is packed into pellets  which are put into Fuel rods and inserted into the core of the nuclear reactor for producing both electricity and  Radioactive material for making the killer nuclear  bombs.   In the reactor  when the nuclear atom is given a blow  by a neutron, enormous intense heat and other poisonous Radio-active atoms like Xenon, Barium, Cesium, Strontium and  Plutonium and a few neutrons  are produced.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission

These radioactive substances are discharged into the air and water by several ways and   they enter into the environment consisting of air, water and soil and foods like vegetables, fishes, prawns and they ultimately get into human beings and produce cancers and birth defects in generations of people for many decades to come.

http://library.thinkquest.org/17940/texts/fission/fission.htmlhttp://sites.google.com/site/shivajirao32/nuclearsafety-2

These poisonous radioactive substances  destroy natural and human life and culture and convert lands upto hundreds of kilometers into permanent nuclear burial grounds for ever.

1) AS A THREATENED COBRA KILLS A MAN, PURIFIED URANIUM IN REACTORS POISON MANKIND AND NATURE:

How the harmless Uranium ore materials in nature are converted by man  into destructive and killer materials can be understood by the following simple example. For instance king cobras live in nature in anthills in forests and lead their normal life peacefully by catching their prey for food during nights.   But greedy who want to extract their venom people go and poke their iron rods into their abodes and disturb the Cobras when they become angry and bite the trespassers to inflict death over them by their poisons.   Similarly, the selfish business people are mining the harmless Uranium and converting it into harmful  Enriched Uranium and then using it to produce electricity by means of the Nuclear plants and in the process they are producing Radioactive pollutants that poison man and nature as radioactivity gets into the environment.  In course of time if an accident occurs in the Nuclear plant due to several reasons like in Fukushima or Chernobyl, the poisonous pollutants are thrown into the atmosphere and they kill thousands of people slowly and inflict cancer to millions of people living downstream upto hundreds of Kilometers as in case of Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents.

2) NUCLEAR EXPERTS MISLEAD ON ABSOLUTE SAFETY OF NUCLEAR PLANTS:

The Nuclear plant operators are misleading the public by stating that Nuclear power is safe and cheap just like the medical representatives of various pharmaceutical companies praise before the doctors about the virtues of their medical tablets and tonics as part of their sale promotion activity the nuclear authorities are praising the nuclear plants as safe and cheap energy producers which is a social crime.  This misinformation is dangerous to public health and welfare because in European states almost all people agree that safety of Nuclear power is a Myth as accepted by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. She had consulted the genuine experts on nuclear plants and realized that nuclear safety is a myth and ordered for gradual closure of all the nuclear plants in Germany.  If Indian Prime Minister and Union Cabinet Ministers including the Chief Ministers of the states want to know the truth about the safety of the nuclear power plants they must go and visit advanced countries like Germany and Japan and discuss the issue with foreign experts so that they can refrain from promoting nuclear plants as is done by the peoples leader like Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal.   For more scientific details see the above web sites on this topic prepared by independent experts.

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20110530/coalition-agrees-nuclear-free-germany-by-2022-110530/

 

i)  Center and State Government Nuclear experts are recklessly propagating that  nuclear reactors are absolutely safe because firstly they are not at all experts as per Section 45 and 51 of Indian Evidence Act and they cannot understand nuclear safety  as envisaged by the standards specified by International Atomic Energy Agency.

Websites: http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=krishnaareti

                  http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1273_web.pdf

ii)  The Government appointed experts have never studied how Fukushima reactors exploded only due to a series of human failures as had happened even in the case of Bhopal disaster.  The experts never studied  the case of Bhopal disaster to realize that human errors cause disasters for several reasons.   The experts never studied even the 1985 reports on Environmental Impact Assessment  report published by the British Government for 1100MW nuclear power plant at Sizewell including the risk analysis, disaster scenario depicting the travel of radioactive pollutants upto 160km from the reactor, the emergency evacuation procedures, rehabilitation of the victims  and the cost benefit analysis.  They have never studied even the causes and effects of nuclear reactor explosions in Three Mile Island in USA in 1979,  the Chernobyl disaster in Russia in 1986 and  Fukushima explosion in Japan in March 2011 and the damaging effects on public health and ecological systems and the enormous costs of compensation amounting to 4 lakh crores of rupees leading those countries to virtual economic bankruptcy.

http://www.whatisnuclear.com/articles/nucreactor.html

3) SAFE LIGNITE COAL TO BE USED FOR ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION IS DIVERTED FROM TAMILNADU TO UTTARA PRADESH AND THRUST IMPORTED AND RISKY REACTORS OVER THE HEADS OF TAMILIANS:

  While it was the duty of the  experts to identify several alternate methods of producing the same amount of electricity in place of the proposed hazardous reactors they have omitted describing such alternatives by utilizing the cheaper, safe and socially acceptable solar power, wind power, natural gas and lignite coal which are available in plenty in India itself.  The experts failed to point out to the state and central Governments that their plan to divert lignite coal from Neyveli of Tamilnadu to a far-off sate like  Uttara Pradesh in North India to generate same electrical power amounts to denying the supply of electricity by using their own local resource instead of dumping on the heads of the people the most costliest and deadliest large reactors to be imported all the way of from the far off country like Russia.  Such an action amounts to denying the right to life, right to health and right to livelihood of lakhs of people of Tamilnadu.

i) Since the Tamilnadu expert committee consists of 2 mechanical engineers, one commerce Post Graduate and one Physicist,  they do not have the necessary  academic background to grasp the fundamentals of the different kinds of radioactive substances in the natural background and their damaging impacts on the mode of braking the single strand and double strands of the helix in the DNA located in the Chromosomes present in the nucleus of the different kinds of cells present in different organs of humanbeings, animal population, marine fishery organisms and the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  They may not be in a position to grasp the food chains and food webs in nature through which the different kinds of radiation may enter the fisheries and other food.   The biological magnification of some of these  radioactive particles with both short and long half life spans are bound to cause  prolonged damaging effects on normal cells and sperm cells which may  result in the birth of mutilated and unnatural offspring.

ii) Consequently the state nuclear experts are disabled to grasp that any increase in radiation above natural background radiation is bound to  damage  the life systems by causing sickness including cancer and loss of immunity that are conducive for promotion of the incidence of several  exotic diseases and new forms of  ill-health in the organisms.   Some of these experts blindly believe that as compared with the background level of radiation, their nuclear plants at Kudankulam containing one or more large sized reactors are going to contribute radioactive pollution to the Environment which will be negligible as compared with the background levels.  These experts are blind to the real facts that a nuclear reactor discharges enormous amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere and into the natural water courses like lakes and oceans on a very large scale as can be seen by the data published by several honest nuclear plant operators in other countries.  See Website:

http://www.dianuke.org/nuclear-safety-experts-shivaji-rao/  

http://bhujangam.blogspot.in/2011/08/probable-nuclear-reactor-1100-mw.html     

iii) The Indian experts also bluff the public by designating the nuclear accidents as excursions and nuclear plant locations which will be nuclear burial grounds as nuclear parks.  They also do not know that nuclear reactors are responsible for several small scale, medium scale and large scale accidents running into hundreds of accidents per year as can be seen from the following website:http://www.ib.cnea.gov.ar/~protrad/biblioteca/3Accidentes.pdf (Item No.812, Page-115)

http://www.tshivajirao.blogspot.in/2011/10/why-nuclear-accidents-are-difficult-to.html

During all these accidents high levels of radioactivity will be discharged into the Environment but  the plant owners never present the true facts to the public and hence the people only know these facts by the increased levels of cancer and birth defects among the population living in the vicinity of the nuclear plants in Rajasthan, Uttara Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu as assessed by the independent medical practitioners located  in their respective areas.  Thus nuclear plants are just silent killers of mankind and nature.

4) SAFETY OF REACTORS:  In order to avoid the core melt-down, experts have provided a series of safety devices.  One major line of defence is emergency core cooling system (ECCS) which provides an instantaneous water supply that keeps the core from melting.  Another lineof defence is the concrete containment that surrounds the core and the pressure vessel so that even during a loss of coolant accident, no radioactivity will escape into the outside environment.  Such engineering safety measures also fail sometimes.  If the main pipe in the primary cooling breaks, immediately the control rods eliminate the nuclear fission process, halting the activity.  But the radioactivity  in the  already disintegrating fission products cannot be arrested.  In a 650MW plant, the heat formation by the radioactive disintegration process amounts to roughly 200MW three seconds after the reactor is switched off, 100 MW after one minute, 30MW after one hour and 12MW after 24 hours.

Under normal operating conditions, the reactor has an external fuel casing temperature of about 350oC, while the interior fuel rods remain at 2220oC.  If the cooling liquid is lost, the outer surface  of the rods heats up rapidly within 10 to 15 seconds, the fuel casing will begin to break down and within a minute, the casing will melt.

http://tshivajirao.blogspot.in/2011/09/why-indian-nuclear-plants-are-bound-to.html  

Unless the emergency cooling system comes into operation within a minute, the fuel (approximately 100 tonnes) and the supporting structure will all begin to melt, leading to a major accident.  At this stage even if the emergency cooling system works, it will make the situation worse.  The molten metals react with the cooling water to produce steam and hydrogen and heat from the fission products adds to this, thus  sinking the melten core to the ground.  In a 200MW nuclear reactor radio-fission products accumulated after one year would be equivalent to the amount released by approximately 1000 atom bombs of the Hiroshima variety.  Since the reactor pressure vessel contains the core, any loss in the pressure vessel in excess of the supply from ECCS leads to the escape of the coolant, thereby exposing the core that gets overheated within seconds.   The failure of the vessel can inflict serious damage to the core and also break the containment.

5)  EMERGENCY COOLANT FAILS: According to the advocates of nuclear power when the primary coolant comes out of the major pipe break in the coolant water loop, the control rods are immediately driven into the core to stop the fission reaction and the ECC system releases the cool water from the accumulators intended to cope with such emergencies.  But the environmental experts and opponents of nuclear power emphasise that by the time the emergency coolant water gets in the core, the temperature in the core would become so high that the water turns into high pressure steam, either obstructing the entry of more coolant or forcing it to exit through the breakage in the pipes  so that the reactor core gets overheated to cause a major disaster.  When the Aerojet Nuclear Company conducted tests of ECC system at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho, USA, mechanical failure occurred.  Subsequent tests at Oakridge National Laboratories indicated that the Zircalloyclad fuel rods may swell, rupture and obstruct the cooling channel thereby preventing the emergency cooling water from reaching the reactor core.  Fuel rod swelling commenced about 1400oF and at 1880oF the coolant channels were blocked by 50 to 100 percent and such a blockage could be catastrophic.  The combined effect of the rapid cooling during an emergency core cooling with the rapidly rising pressure in a reactor vessel could lead to its rupture, an accident that no nuclear plant is designed to cope with.  Failure of the vessel could occur due to inherent weakness in the construction of  the vessel itself or due to factors such as molten fuel coolant explosion or the gross failure of the vessel support system.  Steam generators also cause problems due to deformation of tubes  because of corrosion of support of plate materials, fatigue failures and tube pitting problems.  The feed water system piping is exposed to water-hammer, leading to the damage of valves.  These valves on their own face problems from packing, gasket leakage and erosion. http://armypubs.army.mil/eng/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/tm5_698_4.pdf

i) Places to be evacuated during accident at Kudankulam: When an accident at a nuclear plant releases enormous quantities of radioactivity into the air, water and soil environment, there will be immediate fatalities and long-term genetic damage among the exposed populations.  All the people within the zone of influence from the reactors must be evacuated.  Evacuation must be completed within 6 hours for 2 to 5km, 12 hours for 5 to 25km, 24 hours for 25 to 75km and 40 hours for over 75kms downwind from Kudankulam as per the British Accident scenario for the 1100MW, Sizewell reactor, based on a wind speed of 5m/sec rainfall of 1mm/hour and natural stability conditions of the atmosphere.  After thorough scrubbing and decontamination of lands, equipment and residences due to radioactive pollution from an accident, people may be permitted  to return to their original residence along with their cattle and other properties after three weeks upto 170kms, one year upto 140km, from 5 years upto 115km, 10 years upto 98km and 20 years upto 77kms distance from the nuclear plant.  Depending upon the weather conditions during the accident, certain places will be more affected than others.  Many villages of Ramanathapuram, Tirnelveli and Kanyakumari of Tamilnadu and Trivandrum and Quilon districts of Kerala will be affected seriously.  Killakkarai, Sattirakudi, Abiramam, Virudhnagar and Watrap of Tamilnadu and Gudalur, Thekkadi, Vengamala, Pantalam and Karunagapalli of Kerala lie within 170kms.  Sayalkudi, Nattakkadu, Sivakasi and Sattur of Tamilnadu, Edathora, Aruppokottair, Srivilliputtur and Rajapaliyam lie in between 140km and 170kms.  Karilgatti, Kalugumala and Puliyangudiof Tamilnadu, Tenmala, Kadakkal, Attingal and Kadiamkulam of Kerala lie within 115km.  Taruvaikulam, Kadambur, Tirumalapuram and Tenkasi of Tamilnadu and Palad and Attipara lie within 98kms.  Tuticorin, Kayattar and Trivandrum lie in between 98kms and 77kms, Sayarpuram Pudukkottai, tirunelveli, Ambassamudram, Mannar, Balaramapuram, Neyyattinkara, Nanguneri, Panakudi, Kolachel, Nagercoil and Cape Comorin lie within 77kms from the nuclear plant site.

http://tshivajirao.blogspot.in/2011/10/kudankulam-nuclear-plant-explosion.html

http://tshivajirao.blogspot.in/2012/02/kudankulam-nuclear-bomb-over-tamilnadu.html

http://www.dianuke.org/lessons-of-chernobyl-and-fukushima-nuclear-safety-is-an-oxymoron/#comment-2782

 

6)  WHY TAMILANDU NUCLEAR EXPERTS MISUNDERSTAND NUCLEAR SAFETY?:                    When radioactive atomic nuclei breaks up due to instability  or impinged by neutrons radiation is released as particulates or high energy wave radiation.  When such radiation hits on living cells the atoms in the cell get ionized.   The atomic nucleus contains in its electronic sheath negatively charged electrons equal to positively charged protons in the atomic nucleus and so an atom is electrically neutral in its outward effects.  If a negatively charged electron of Beta particle radiation bombards a neutral atom one or more electrons will be thrown out of the electoral sheath of the atom which becomes an ion that is a positively recharged atomic residue the newly formed ions have considerable electrical attractive power and so have capacity for strong chemical reaction.  If such reactions occur in air or dead matter nobody bothers but if ionization of atoms occurs in living tissue  it often causes damage resulting in cancer cells it causes severe damage like deformities, still births, enzyme defects and metabolic disorders.  It has to be assumed that even the smallest quantity of radioactivity can cause a corresponding damage in living cells.  If the radioactive particles or rays bombard a DNA molecule it causes ionization of atoms and the subsequent chemical reactions cause variations in basic arrangement of base sequels and break either a single strand or double strand of the double helix in DNA and so changes occur in the heritable information and the consequential damages on living organisms.  The strand of the helix sequences of phosphoric acid residual and Deoxyribose residues while the bases contain ,Adenine,Thymine, Guanine, and cytosinev residues.

 http://www.dianuke.org/nuclear-safety-experts-shivaji-rao/

 

 7) RADIATIONS DAMAGE THE HUMAN AND ANIMAL CELLS ALSO:                       Inside the nucleus of human cells there will be 23 pairs of chromosomes each of which is packed with DNA the genetic material to receive from the parents.  The DNA is always exposed to damaging agents like ultraviolet light, chemicals and reactive oxygen species generated by ionizing radiation.  Direct radiation like alpha or Beta (electrons) particles or X-rays which create ions that physically break one or both of the sugar phosphate backbones or break the base pairs of the DNA.  The base pairs of ATGC are held together by weak hydrogen bonds.  The bonding of these base pairs can also be damaged by ionizing radiation.  The base pairs of the DNA form sequences called nucleotides which inturn form the genes.  The genes direct the cell to make proteins which determine the cell type and regulate its working when such breaks occur the DNA repairs itself by a process called excision which occurs in 3 steps.

  1. Endonucleases cut out the damaged DNA
  2. Resysnthesis of the original DNA by DNA polymerase
  3. Ligation by which the sugar phosphate backbone is repaired

Since evaluation of species occurred in sea of radiation the DNA repair processes constantly occur.

8) WHY INDUSTRY HIDES FACTS ON RADIOACTIVE ROUTINE  RELEASES ALSO:

Everyday DNA gets 10,000 injuries due to routine chemicals.  A radioactive substance contains 1 curie when 37 billion radioactive disintegrations occur in it per cell.  Natural radioactivity of earth per gram is 1 pico curie equivalent to 1 trillionth of a cancer.  In dry air one Roentgen or Rad or Rem produces 2 billion ions per cm3.  One Rad is the radiation dosage given out by 100 ergs of energy for gram of any substance.  But since different radiations have different energy dosages their biological effectiveness is given a quality factor to identify Relative Biological effectiveness.  The RB factor is one for Beta, Gamma and X-Ray radiations.  While alpha and proton radiations have 10 times higher while neutron radiation has 4 units for slow neutron that gradually rise to 20 for fast neutron radiations.  Proton at one 10-millionth part of a gram can cause cancer as it emits alpha rays of very high radiation doses with a high factor of 3 lakh units.  If a lorry containing 25kg were to overturn in road accident the plutonium thus released could cause 250 billion cases of lung cancer.  25kg of Plutonium can be used for an atomic bomb.  Tritium with its weak Beta rays comes into waste water at 100 curies to 1000 curies per annum for a nuclear plant of 1000MW capacity.  During decay tritium atom emits an electron and is converted into stable Helium.  Tritium occurs in natural waters at 40 pico curies per liter and in public water supplies its concentration is limited to 3 million pico curies per liter.    If one strand of DNA breaks the second strand of helix as a duplicate repairs like replacing one spoiled bulb by a new one and holds the chromosome together.  Even when double strand breakages for a radiation of 100 to 500 rads exposure the repair is done in 2 to 8 hours.  But when dosage of 0.08 rads per year for a decade caused extra chromosomal damage among people of Alaska.  There will be 600 millions cells in one CC .  In Humans one percent of single strand lesions (breaks) are converted to about 50 double strand breaks in DNA for cell cycle.  Similar to the double produced by 1.52 to 2 Grays of sparsely ionizing radiation.  Although DSBs are repaired on a reliable basis, the errors in repair mechanism often cause high rate of cancer in human beings.  100 rads Gamma rays cause 300 tracks cross every nucleus of the cell based on 630KeV Gamma rays  from Ce 137 and one track for nucleus is due to 0.33 rads of Ce 137.  Background radiation causes a fraction of one track per year.  An X-ray produces 6 to 10 tracks per cell nuclei.  A Gamma ray produces one MeV( soft Gamma ray gives 100 KeV) Beta particle produces 2 MeV and Alpha particle produces 6 MeV.  1 Sv or 100 rems give one Joule per kg of energy in human tissue.  Radiation causes DNA damage in Million molecule lesions per cell per day. Human exposure to background radiation is about 2.4 mSv per year and the nuclear plants add to the public about 1 mSv  and 20 mSv for workers per year  and  this limit is based on the assumption that there is no threshold dose below which there would be no effect which means that any additional dose will cause proportional increase in damage to public health and it is based on the precautionary principle which is universally accepted. While one kg of granite or coffee produces 1000Bq, one kg of coal ash 2000  Bq, one kg 7000 Bq and 1 kg of low level radioactive waste produces one million Bq. Since the Indian Nuclear Power Corporation hides facts about routine releases of radioactivity from nuclear power plants  it becomes inevitable for Indians and others to know the  true facts from published literature in other countries dealing with nuclear power plants.  The following website present the detailed data http://www.ieer.org/sdafiles/16-1/tritium_releases.html

Consequently the common people cannot trust the experts of the Government organization about radiation exposure due to nuclear power plants and hence must anticipate that under different kinds of nuclear accidents there will be large scale radioactivity discharged into the environment at all the existing plants which are causing serious health impacts  as reported by independent scientists.  Since the nuclear plants cannot be prevented by the Indian experts to discharge radioactive pollution from the reactors the people have to make their own estimates in the matter and visualize what kinds of illnesses including cancer are waiting in the wings to harm lakhs of people in the near and distant places from Kudankulam reactors upto hundreds of kilometers downwind.

Description and Effects of Different Doses and Dose Rates

 Dose

Description / Effects

0.3 to 0.6 mSv/a

This is the typical range of dose rates from artificial sources of radiation, mostly medical.

0.2 to 0.8 mSv/a

This is the range of worldwide average annual radiation dose from ingestion of foodstuff and water.  Variations about the mean values by factors 5 to 10 are not unusual for many components of exposure from natural sources.

2.4 mSv/a (approximately)

The normal average background radiation from natural sources.  Approximately half of this exposure is from radon in air.

13 mSv/a

This is the highest known average annual dose from background radiation that occurs in the Kerala and Madras states in India where a population of over 100 000 people is exposed to this level.

20 mSv/a

This dose averaged over 5 years is the limit for regulated practices and working activities such as the nuclear industry employees and mining and mineral processing workers, who are closely monitored.

50 mSv/a

This dose is conservatively the lowest dose rate where there is any evidence of cancer being caused.  It is also the dose rate that arises from natural background levels in several places. Above this, the probability of cancer occurrence (rather than the severity) increases with dose.

1000 mSv

This dose accumulated over some time, would probably cause a fatal cancer many years later in 5 of every 100 persons exposed to it (i.e. if the normal incidence of fatal cancer were 25%, this dose would increase it to 30%).

1 000 mSv

This dose received as a short-term dose would probably cause (temporary) illness such as nausea and decreased white blood cell count, but not death.  Above this dose the severity of illness increases with dose.

Between 2 000 and 10 000 mSv

This dose over a short-term dose would cause severe radiation sickness with increasing likelihood that this would be fatal.

10 000 mSv

 This dose in a short-term dose would cause immediate illness and subsequent death within a few weeks.

 

9) DAMAGE TO LIFE FORMS IS OFTEN IRREVERSIBLE AND INEVITABLE MAKING NUCLEAR SAFETY A PIE IN THE SKY AND HENCE PEOPLE MUST OPPOSE THEM:

When  an electron passes through a biological cell the electron releases its energy along its path (called a track) by interacting with the electrons of nearby molecules.  The energy thus released is absorbed by atoms near the track causing excitation ( a push in the orbit of an electron to a higher energy level) or ionization (release of an electron from the atom) and the residue unstable atoms are known as radicalsand are chemically highly active.  X-ray and gamma rays unlike Beta particles release high speed electrons from atoms first.  Positively charged particles transfer energy to molecules in the cells electrically uncharged neutrons impact of the nuclei of hydrogen atoms namely protons.  Since the masses of the proton and neutron are similar the impact results in an elastic scattering process  as occurs in Billiards game.  The ejected protons work like charged protons.  Ionizations due to   radiation act directly on cell molecules or indirectly on water molecules causing water derived radicals which react with nearby molecules causing breakage of chemical bonds or addition of oxygen atoms by oxidation of the affected molecules.  The major effect in biological cells is at DNA breaks either in single strand or double strands and the later is important biologically.  Single strand breaks can be repaired normally because of the double stranded nature of the DNA(the two strands complement each other so that an intact strand serves as a template for repair of its damaged opposite strand) In case of double strand breaks  the repair is  more difficult and the erroneous rejoining of broken ends may occur and such misrepairs  cause mutations, chromosome abrasions or cell death.

Radiations  differ not only by their components like electrons, protons and neutrons but also by their energy.  Radiations by neutrons and alpha particles cause dense ionization along their track and are called High Linear Energy Transfer ,High LET  radiation that is energy released per unit length of the track.  Low LET radiations by X-Rays and Gamma rays produce ionizations sparsely along their track and homogeneously within the cell.  High LET radiations release energy in a small region of the cell and the localized DNA damage caused by High LET radiations is more difficult to repair than the diffuse DNA damage caused by the sparse ionizations from Low LET radiations.  The same radiation dosage produce the same total number of ionizations with the difference that Low LET radiation causes sparse ionizations whose damaging effects can be normally repaired while the High LET radiation causes dense ionization along their track causing double strand breaks which are more difficult for repair and hence are bound to cause cell deaths or mutations resulting in cancer and other forms of illness.http://www.rerf.jp/radefx/basickno_e/radcell.htm

10) CRUCIAL ROLE OF THE PUBLIC TO SAVE THEIR RIGHT TO LIFE, RIGHT TO HEALTH AND RIGHT TO LIVELIHOOD AT ANY COST:

When India became  independent Mahatma Gandhi addressed a public meeting on the occasion.  He said “by making Pandit.Jawahar Lal Nehru as the Prime Minister of India I call him an uncrowned King of India.  Like anyone of us he is a humanbeing and all of you know that to err is human.  In course of his work to uplift the nation he will plan and execute  several developmental projects during the course of administration he may commit some errors who will correct such errors.  His Minister or his administrative officers will not dare to point out his mistakes and rectify them and then who will take the responsibility to put the nations destiny on the right track”.  Since none of them people presented the meeting opened their mouths he told them point blank “ it is you, the people of this great social welfare state in the democracy who have to correct even the mistakes of a Prime Minister.  If you do not come forward to rectify such defects you are unfit as responsible citizen of the great social welfare state.  Similarly Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi also wanted all the responsible citizens to protect public interest and for the purpose amended article 51A and introduced sub clause “g”  by which she proclaimed that it is the first duty o the responsible citizen to protect the water, the air, the forests, the wild life and to develop compassion for all living creatures. “That is why it has been always said that eternal vigilance is a price that the Indian people have to pay to sustain their democracy.  Thus it is the people of India who have to fight against the anti peoples actions perpetrated by the Government at the state and Central levels to safeguard the health and welfare of the present and future generations of the people in India. Coming to the case of Kudankulam nuclear reactors the people must play an active role to stop them as they are just silent killers.

In case of Kudankulam reactors it is better that the local people and school children must collect funds by begging in Tamilnadu villages and towns and present the money to the Chief Minister and Prime Minister for abandoning the present reactors on the plea that in case these reactors experience explosions on the pattern of Fukushima rectors, the people have to pay a heavy penalty of Rs.4 lakh crores which will make the state and the country fall into the trap of economic bankruptcy.  Infact in one of the villages of Cuddapah the school children who found that their family members addicted to liquor are not only dying but also ruining their families because the state Government  has considered liquor business as their main economic source of survival.  The children wanted to pay that amount realized through liquor sales to the state Government to ban liquor sales so that the families will save their own heads of families who are  the bread winners.  In Tamilnadu the experiment can be copied and implemented to stop the reactors and thereby stop the state Government do indirectly declare a nuclear war on millions of people of South Tamilnadu.

Even in history there are many instances when a Kingdom was invaded a treacherous foreign ruler the local people used to fight against the invasion or alternatively purchase peace by paying compensation money to the invader.  Veera Pandya Kattabhraman refused to yield to the dictators of the treacherous British rulers so he was hanged in public.  Today the people of this historical Pandyan Empire have to save their lives and of their progeny against the invasion by the people in the North of Pandya Kingdom in Tamilnadu and those from the North India.  The Pandyans if they want the survival of their future generations they must resort to this  alternative course of action as followed by the children of the Cuddapah village of Andhra Pradesh.