New International Report Shreds Japan’s Carefully Constructed Fukushima Scenario
Japan’s six reactor Fukushima Daichi nuclear complex has inadvertently become the world’s bell-weather poster child for the inherent risks of nuclear power ever since the 11 March Tohoku offshore earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, triggered a devastating tsunami that effectively destroyed the complex.
Ever since, specialists have wrangled about how damaging the consequences of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami actually were, not only for the facility but the rest of the world.
The Fukushima Daichi complex was one of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world and the Fukushima I reactor was the first GE designed nuclear plant to be constructed and run entirely by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO.
Needless to say, in the aftermath of the disaster, both TEPCO and the Japanese government were at pains to minimize the disaster’s consequences, hardly surprising given the country’s densely populated regions.
But now, an independent study has effectively demolished TEPCO and the Japanese government’s carefully constructed minimalist scenario. Mainichi news agency reported that France’s l’Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire (Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, or IRSN) has issued a recent report stating that the amount of radioactive cesium-137 that entered the Pacific after 11 March was probably nearly 30 times the amount stated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. in May.
According to IRSN, the amount of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 that flowed into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant between March 21 and mid-July reached an estimated 27.1 quadrillion becquerels.
Why should this matter? Aren’t the Japanese authorities on top of the issue?
Cesium-137 can cause burns, acute radiation sickness and even death at sufficient doses. It can contaminate food and water and, if ingested, gets distributed around the body, where it builds up in soft tissues, such as muscles. Over time, it is expelled from the body in urine.
And where might tingested cesium-137 come from?