Category Archives: Japan

Radioactive Europe, Inside Fukushima, US Sells to China, French Nuke Waste

Uploaded by on Nov 12, 2011 – 11/11/2011 Radiation Levels Up in Europe, Depleted Uranium & More: Infowars Nightly News :: To make money, USA to sell nuclear technology to China nuclear weapons company

To counter China, USA to set up another military base in Australia

France grapples with the eternal unsolved problem of nuclear wastes

Radiation standards for children made stricter in Japan

Legal actions against oil companies on effects of global warming?

Scathing criticism of Koch brothers and climate change denialists

Climate Change has cost $14 billion in health toll

Scene inside wrecked nuclear reactor in Japan

Fukushima nuclear disaster: how it was for the workers when it happened

Mystery of radioactive iodine particles in Europe

Fire at Idaho National Nuclear Laboratory

Bob Brown, possibly Australian government’s only sane member, wants scrutiny about USA military bases

While USA sells nuclear technology to China, Australia gets USA military base against China

NY Times reporter detects 300 microsieverts per hour while inside bus

USA to sell nuclear technology to Chinese company involved in nuclear weapons

Maralinga’s hidden legacy of radioactivity AND asbestos

Australia’s Maralinga veterans and Aboriginals paid the price for nuclear bomb testing

Malcolm Turnbull makes a strong case against Climate Change Denialists, and Koch brothers

Climate change events leading to legal action against oil companies

Marathon uranium miner to sue South Australian government

Now Poland and Denmark report “radioactive dust” — IAEA official: “We are a little concerned”

Fallout forensics hike radiation toll: Global data on Fukushima challenge Japanese estimates

Fukushima Lets Media In (VIDEO)

Fukushima Update — Day 247

Fukushima man reports seeing yellow flash when Reactor No. 3 exploded… from over 30 miles away (VIDEO)

Fukushima, Japan update 11/10/11

Former Tepco employee: Plutonium and uranium in Reactor No. 3 has all been blown out — This was no ordinary explosion — Gov’t is concealing truth (VIDEO)

Hydrogen explosion at Idaho nuke facility? INL Engineer: Sodium released hydrogen… the reaction “can range in magnitude from a flash to an explosion”
First glimpse into Fukushima graveyard (VIDEO)

Japanese Government updates radiation maps with data on six new prefectures -8 Months after Nuclear Meltdown – 12th Nov 2011

Japan Times: Official told of extremely bad conditions at Fukushima — Workers often abandoned after exceeding radiation limit

Mysterious radiation levels detected across Europe, says UN nuclear agency – 12th Nov 2011

#Radioactive “Ekiden” Road Race: High Radiation Detected in the Stadium, on the Course

AP: Anonymous IAEA official says iodine-131 release appears to be continuing across Europe

U.S. NRC approves restart of quake-hit North Anna nuclear plant — Smart move?

EDF fined millions and its senior officials sentenced to years in prison for spying on Greenpeace France

UCS questions NRC on status of shield building prior to Davis-Besse restart

Radioactive basketballs

Idaho National Laboratory experiences second on-site emergency this week
Live Headlines:
Audio Credits: is a current and comprehensive nuclear news site.


Golden Dawn Immigrants-Fake NeoNazi’s

All those links were sent to me on Twitter and I am more than glad to post them,I do beleive I will find more on those people due time.No threats allowed according to the WP policy or the HR declaration. So please stay vigilant of what you are going to post :)I checked all blog categories so that the post can get the most views possible. Regards!

“##Spiros Macrozonaris## IMMIGRANT Golden Dawn Deputy leader in Montreal, Canada” :

Facebook profile :


His NON 100% PURE GREEK son’s Facebook :

1. Greek Immigrant who married a “foreigner” >>>>>French-Canadian Doris Morrissette, they bore a son, Nicolas Macrozonaris (World-Class Sprinter – CANADIAN Olympian 🙂 ..who unfortunately is not 100% Pure Greek…

2. Conversations with Nicolas on Twitter, lead to nothing, he is ‘pretending’ that he has NO knowledge of what Golden Dawn supports and believes YET he states that he does not condone his fathers “actions”

Twitter @Macrozonaris TWEETER CONVERSATIONS with Nicolas –>

###### MUST WATCH #####
Video from CBC Montreal, from week of Oct 12th – INTERVIEW with Spiros Macrozonaris – next to him sits LOOSER Ilias Hondronicolas :

#Ilias Hondronicolas ———> on PHOTO second guy from the left :




As Japan’s Tsunami Debris Arrives, Can U.S. West Coast Handle It?


In the coming weeks and months, a weather phenomenon known as the “fall transition” will wash the artifacts of a national tragedy onto West Coast beaches.

The fall transition happens when the Northern Hemisphere storm track that governs prevailing winds sends those gusts in a completely different direction—from south to north and from offshore to inland—along with stuff that gets pushed around in the water. Right now, among the stuff that’s floating offshore is a whirlpool of junk known as the Pacific Gyre, which is estimated to hold 5 million pounds of bashed-in houses, fishing boats, docks, and dead bodies from the March 11, 2011, tsunami in Japan. The more buoyant relics of this disaster have been bobbing along for 18 months, with a few notable exceptions that have left state and federal officials scrambling to respond.

When a massive dock thunked its way onto Oregon’s Agate Beach this summer, pandemonium ensued. Not only was the thing huge—at 66 feet long, 8 feet tall, and 165 tons—it was covered in gnarly invasive species, and had script in Kanji on a small plaque at the bottom. After a little sleuthing by Portland’s Japanese consulate, everyone’s worst fears were confirmed: the first piece of debris from last spring’s disaster had finally hit the continental U.S., much sooner than anyone had expected.

Overnight, the “tsunami dock” became an instant tourist attraction and a headache for state parks officials, who manage the beach. They dispatched rangers in mostly futile attempts to keep rambunctious youngsters from turning the thing into a jungle gym, and they puzzled back in Salem about how to get rid of it, and how to pay for that.

Two months and $85,000 later, the dock was gone. A contractor cut it into pieces using a Rube Goldberg-looking contraption whereby a diamond saw looped around and under it and sliced. This was a huge disappointment to the fans who painted a mural on the side. But it was the only option, insisted those that run the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. You can’t just leave stuff on the beach, they said. It sets a terrible precedent.
Tsunami Debris

Tsunami debris collected along the coast of Washington state June 18, 2012 (Rachel La Corte / AP Photos)

Over the next few months, Oregon and the rest of the West Coast will find that argument bolstered—by a need to keep the landing strip clear. The dock did indeed arrive early, months ahead of schedule, likely shoved faster than the currents would otherwise have carried it thanks to “windage,” an uncannily appropriate term used to describe how much of a thing is sticking out of the water, how much it creates a kind of accidental sail. The dock actually sailed across the Pacific, in other words, as much as it did float.

Which is to say there’s much more tsunami debris—with less windage—still out there. Of the 5 million tons of debris estimated to have washed into the ocean after the March 2011 quake, Japanese officials say 70 percent of it sank. The rest floated. There are two more docks, just like the one the state just spent four years of college tuition to remove. There are plastic bottles, fishing floats, lightbulbs, giant chunks of Styrofoam, small appliances, mannequin parts, buoys, even entire fishing vessels. A few weeks after the dock showed up in Oregon, a 20-foot fiberglass boat covered in pelagic gooseneck barnacles up to 3 feet long washed up at Cape Disappointment State Park, in Washington. The boat was also traced to the tsunami, Curt Hart of the Washington Department of Ecology told The Daily Beast. After determining that the owner “didn’t want it back,” the state checked it for radiation (all clear), blasted it clean and tossed it in a landfill.

Marine debris is not a new phenomenon. Litterbugs and careless ship crewmen and leaking landfills have conspired for decades to clog the world’s oceans with all sorts of junk, creating loosely affiliated “garbage patches” in certain gyres with clockwise, rotating currents that have a way of concentrating marine debris. That problem is the raison d’être for The 5 Gyres Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit whose founders have spent much of the past three years sailing the world’s oceans with a “Manta Trawl” attached to the side of the boat, scooping up samples of trash so as to generate estimates of how much more is out there.

It’s frustrating for 5 Gyres’ policy coordinator Stiv Wilson to be reminded that people don’t seem to know how rubbish-laden the planet’s waterways actually are. “All these images, such stunning images when the tsunami first happened, the same pictures exist of what a river in Jakarta looks like every day,” he told The Daily Beast.



Secret 1955 Government Report Concluded that Ocean May Not Adequately Dilute Radiation from Nuclear Accidents


Fukushima Likely to Produce “Pockets” and “Streams” of Highly-Concentrated Radiation

The operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has been dumping something like a thousand tons per day of radioactive water into the Pacific ocean.

Remember, the reactors are “riddled with meltdown holes”, building 4 – with more radiation than all nuclear bombs ever dropped or tested – is missing entire walls, and building 3 is a pile of rubble.

The whole complex is leaking like a sieve, and the rivers of water pumped into the reactors every day are just pouring into the ocean (with only a slight delay).

Most people assume that the ocean will dilute the radiation from Fukushima enough that any radiation reaching the West Coast of the U.S. will be low.

For example, the Congressional Research Service wrote in April:

Scientists have stated that radiation in the ocean very quickly becomes diluted and would not be a problem beyond the coast of Japan.


U.S. fisheries are unlikely to be affected because radioactive material that enters the marine environment would be greatly diluted before reaching U.S. fishing grounds.

And a Woods Hole oceanographer said:

“The Kuroshio current is considered like the Gulf Stream of the Pacific, a very large current that can rapidly carry the radioactivity into the interior” of the ocean, Buesseler said.

“But it also dilutes along the way, causing a lot of mixing and decreasing radioactivity as it moves offshore.”

But – just as we noted 2 days after the earthquake hit that the jet stream might carry radiation to the U.S. by wind – we are now warning that ocean currents might carry more radiation to the at least some portions of the West Coast of North America than is assumed.

Specifically, we noted more than a year ago:

The ocean currents head from Japan to the West Coast of the U.S.

As AP notes:

The floating debris will likely be carried by currents off of Japan toward Washington, Oregon and California before turning toward Hawaii and back again toward Asia, circulating in what is known as the North Pacific gyre, said Curt Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking flotsam.


“All this debris will find a way to reach the West coast or stop in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a swirling mass of concentrated marine litter in the Pacific Ocean, said Luca Centurioni, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Here is what the North Pacific Gyre looks like:

North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone Previously Secret 1955 Government Report Concluded that Ocean May Not Adequately Dilute Radiation from Nuclear Accidents

NPR reports:

CNN said that “the Hawaiian islands may get a new and unwelcome addition in coming months — a giant new island of debris floating in from Japan.” It relied in part on work done by the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center, which predicts that:

“In three years, the [debris] plume will reach the U.S. West Coast, dumping debris on Californian beaches and the beaches of British Columbia, Alaska, and Baja California. The debris will then drift into the famous North Pacific Garbage Patch, where it will wander around and break into smaller and smaller pieces. In five years, Hawaii shores can expect to see another barrage of debris that is stronger and longer lastingthan the first one. Much of the debris leaving the North Pacific Garbage Patch ends up on Hawaii’s reefs and beaches.”

Indeed, CNN notes:

The debris mass, which appears as an island from the air, contains cars, trucks, tractors, boats and entire houses floating in the current heading toward the U.S. and Canada, according to ABC News.

The bulk of the debris will likely not be radioactive, as it was presumably washed out to sea during the initial tsunami – before much radioactivity had leaked. But this shows the power of the currents from Japan to the West Coast.

An animated graphic from the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center shows the projected dispersion of debris from Japan:

Simulation of Debris from March 11 2011 Japan tsunami Previously Secret 1955 Government Report Concluded that Ocean May Not Adequately Dilute Radiation from Nuclear Accidents

Indeed, an island of Japanese debris the size of California is hitting the West Coast of North America … and some of it is radioactive.

In addition to radioactive debris, MIT says that seawater which is itself radioactive may begin hitting the West Coast within 5 years. Given that the debris is hitting faster than predicted, it is possible that the radioactive seawater will as well.

And the Congressional Research Service admitted:

However, there remains the slight potential for a relatively narrow corridor of highly contaminated water leading away from Japan …


Transport by ocean currents is much slower, and additional radiation from this source might eventually also be detected in North Pacific waters under U.S. jurisdiction, even months after its release. Regardless of slow ocean transport, the long half-life of radioactive cesium isotopes means that radioactive contaminants could remain a valid concern for

Indeed, nuclear expert Robert Alvarez – senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999 – wrote yesterday:

According to a previously secret 1955 memo from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission regarding concerns of the British government over contaminated tuna, “dissipation of radioactive fall-out in ocean waters is not a gradual spreading out of the activity from the region with the highest concentration to uncontaminated regions, but that in all probability the process results in scattered pockets and streams of higher radioactive materials in the Pacific. We can speculate that tuna which now show radioactivity from ingested materials [this is in 1955, not today] have been living, in or have passed through, such pockets; or have been feeding on plant and animal life which has been exposed in those areas.”

Because of the huge amounts of radioactive water Tepco is dumping into the Pacific Ocean, and the fact that the current pushes water from Japan to the West Coast of North America, at least some of these radioactive “streams” or “hot spots” will likely end up impacting the West Coast.


Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima-The liquidators

On April 12, 2011 the Japanese government officially announced that the severity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster had reached level 7, the highest on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Before Fukushima, the only level 7 case was the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, whose 25th anniversary was marked on April 26. Two and a half months after the 3.11 catastrophe, the first to affect multiple reactors, TEPCO and the Japanese government continue to struggle to bring the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi under control. TEPCO estimates that the problems could be solved in six to nine months now appearing extraordinarily optimistic and plans have been announced to close nuclear power plants deemed of particularly high risk such as the Hamaoka facility.

Fukushima explosion

Following the upgrade to level 7, Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office released a statement comparing Fukushima and Chernobyl. (Source)

The Japanese government argues that apart from children who contracted thyroid cancer from drinking contaminated milk, there have been no health effects among ordinary citizens as a result of Chernobyl radiation. Is this really the case? Given the Japanese government’s precautions against thyroid cancer in children, is there reason to believe that the Fukushima accident will take no lives except those exposed to the highest dangers in the plant clean-up? (Source)

On April 15, Kyodo, Japan’s major news service, ran an English language piece by Russian scientist Alexey V. Yablokov (source). Yablokov’s stern warnings about the threat of even low levels of radiation had been ignored by the major media but was reported in Japanese in the Nishi Nippon Shimbun. (Source)

The English only Kyodo piece, however, ties Yablokov’s extensive Chernobyl research with the unfolding Fukushima crisis. Under the headline “How to minimize consequences of the Fukushima catastrophe,” Yablokov observed that

The analysis of the health impact of radioactive land contamination by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, made by Professor Chris Busby (the European Committee of Radiation Risk) based on official Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology data, has shown that over the next 50 years it would be possible to have around 400,000 additional cancer patients within a 200-kilometer radius of the plant.

This number can be lower and can be even higher, depending on strategies to minimize the consequences. Underestimation is more dangerous for the people and for the country than overestimation.

Based on the Chernobyl experience, he made the following recommendations:

1. Enlarge the exclusion zone [from 20 kilometers] to at least about a 50-km radius of the plant;

2. Distribute detailed instructions on effective ways to protect the health of individuals while avoiding the additional contamination of food. Organize regular measurements of all people by individual dose counters (for overall radionuclides) at least once a week. Distribute radioprotectors and decontaminants (substances which provide the body protection against harmful effects of radiation) of radionuclides. . .

3. Develop recommendations for safe agriculture on the contaminated territories: reprocessing of milk, decontamination of meat, turning agriculture into production of technical cultures (e.g. biofuels etc.). Such ”radionuclide-resistant” agriculture will be costly (it may be up to 30-40 percent compared with conventional agriculture) and needs to be subsidized;

4. It is necessary to urgently improve existing medical centers — and possibly create new ones — to deal with the immediate and long-term consequences of the irradiated peoples (including medical-genetic consultations on the basis of chromosome analysis etc.);

5. The most effective way to help organize post-Fukushima life in the contaminated territories (from Chernobyl lessons) is to create a special powerful interagency state body (ministry or committee) to handle the problems of contaminated territories during the first most complicated years.

Yablokov is one of the primary architects of the 2006 Greenpeace report “The Chernobyl Catastrophe: Consequences on Human Health” and an extensive 2010 follow-up study Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment published by the New York Academy of Sciences, which makes the startling claim that 985,000 deaths can be attributed to the 1986 disaster.

This claim is startling because it differs so dramatically from a 600 page 2005 study by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the WHO, and the UN Development Programme, which claimed that fewer than 50 deaths can be attributed directly to Chernobyl and fewer than 4000 likely from Chernobyl-related cancers in the future. Indeed, the two works continue to frame much of the public controversy, with little progress toward resolution. Attempts to assess the consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster remain the subject of fierce debate over widely different estimates in both the scientific and policy communities. In the months since the Fukushima disaster, scores of reports have uncritically passed on the results of the IAEA/WHO or the Yablokov study published by the New York Academy of Sciences without seriously engaging the conflicting conclusions or moving the debate forward. Here we present the major findings of major studies across the divide that may help to clarify the likely outcomes of the Fukushima disaster. (1, 2)

Yablokov and colleagues assessed thousands of studies of the localities and people affected by the Chernobyl disaster in Russian and other Eastern European languages. They argue that these studies have been ignored by the Anglophone scientific community.

Critics, such as the British science journalist George Monbiot, have criticized Yablokov and his colleagues for attributing any increase in cancer occurrence in regions affected by Chernobyl to the radiation released in the disaster. Emphasizing the multiplicity of factors that may affect cancer rates, Monbiot states, for example, that none of the hardest hit areas subjected to Chernobyl radiation,show as dramatic a cancer increase in the 1986-2000 period as does Japan. The impact of Chernobyl radiation in Japan was negligible, yet the cancer rate there has nearly doubled since the disaster. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, at a time when many have moved to reject the nuclear power option, Monbiot announced that he had abandoned his former criticism to embrace nuclear power as a responsible component of a green energy policy.

Japanese government statistics in fact show large increases in screening rates for cancer during this period and this is one possible explanation for the increase in the number of cases reported. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Monty Charles of the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, reviewed Yablokov’s work in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry (Volume 141, Issue 1, 2010, pp. 101-104) and found the statistical conclusions far from clear and even contradictory:

Numerous facts and figures are given with a range of references but with little explanation and little critical evaluation. Apparently related tables, figures and statements, which refer to particular publications often disagree with one another. The section on oncological diseases (cancer) was of most interest to me. A section abstract indicated that on the basis of doses from 131I and137Cs; a comparison of cancer mortality in the heavily and less contaminated territories; and pre- and post-Chernobyl cancer levels, the predicted radiation-related cancer deaths in Europe would be 212 000–245 000 and 19 000 in the remainder of the world. I could not however find any specific discussion within the section to support these numbers. The section ends with an endorsement of the work of Malko who has estimated 10 000–40 000 additional deaths from thyroid cancer, 40 000–120 000 deaths from the other malignant tumours and 5000–14 000 deaths from leukaemia—a total of 55 000–174 000 deaths from 1986 to 2056 in the whole of Europe, including Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. These numbers confusingly, do not agree with a table (6.21) from the same author. The final section on overall mortality contains a table (7.11), which includes an estimate of 212 000 additional deaths in highly contaminated regions of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. This figure is for the period of 1990–2004, and is based on an assumption that 3.8–4.0% of all deaths in the contaminated territories being due to the Chernobyl accident. One is left unsure about the meaning of many of these numbers and which is preferred.

If his work has been subject to trenchant critiques, Yablokov has offered a few of his own concerning the WHO/IAEA study discussed above. Yablokov’s work forms a major part of a document, “Health Effects of Chernobyl: 25 Years after the Reactor Catastrophe”, released by the German Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War on the occasion of an international conference on Chernobyl held in Berlin between April 8 – 10, 2011. (Source)

The report contains a devastating critique of the low WHO and IAEA Chernobyl death toll estimates:

Note on the unreliability of official data published by WHO and IAEA

At the “Chernobyl Forum of the United Nations” organised in September 2005 by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organisation, the presentation of the results of work on the effects of Chernobyl showed serious inconsistencies. For example: the press release of the WHO and IAEA stated that in the future, at most, 4000 surplus fatalities due to cancer and leukaemia amongst the most severely affected groups of people might be expected. In the WHO report on which this was based however, the actual number of deaths is given as 8,930. These deaths were not mentioned in any newspaper articles. When one examines the source quoted in the WHO report, one arrives at a number betwen 10,000 and 25,000 additional fatalities due to cancer and leukaemia.

Given this it can be rationally concluded that the official statements of the IAEA and the WHO have manipulated their own data. Their representation of the effects of Chernobyl has little to do with reality.

The report continues:

S. Pflugbeil pointed out already in 2005 that there were discrepancies between press releases, the WHO report and the source quoted in it (Cardis et al.). Up until now neither the Chernobyl Forum, IAEA nor the WHO have deemed it necessary to let the public know that, on the basis of their own analysis, a two to five-fold higher number of deaths due to cancer and leukaemia are to be expected as the figures they have published.

Even in 2011 – some 5 years on – no official UN organisation has as yet corrected these figures. The latest UNSCEAR publication on the health effects of Chernobyl does not take into account any of the numerous results of research into the effects of Chernobyl from the three countries affected. Only one figure – that of 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer among children and juveniles, and leukaemia and cataracts in liquidators – was included in their recent information to the media. Thus, in 2011 the UNSCEAR committee declared: On the basis of studies carried out during the last 20 years, as well as of previous UNSCEAR reports, UNSCEAR has come to the conclusion that the large majority of the population has no reason to fear that serious health risks will arise from the Chernobyl accident. The only exception applies to those exposed to radioiodine during childhood or youth and to liquidators who were exposed to a high dose of radiation and therefore had to reckon with a higher radiation induced risk.

Even if Yablokov’s estimates for Chernobyl deaths are high, the WHO and IAEA numbers are almost certainly too low.

One area of continuing debate is the fate of the “liquidators” at Chernobyl. A major difference between Fukushima and Chernobyl is government handling of the aftermath. While the Japanese government can be criticized for the speed of evacuation and the limited evacuation radius, the seriousness of the issues was immediately recognized and efforts made to send people away from the stricken plant. In the case of Chernobyl, even as the state suppressed information about the catastrophe, between 600,000 and 1,000,000 people termed “liquidators” were sent to the most heavily irradiated zone to work to contain the effects of the meltdown, many with limited protection and unaware of the risks.

Some research, such as the article “Thyroid Cancer among ‘Liquidators’ of the Chernobyl Accident” published in the British Journal of Radiology (70, 1997, pp. 937-941), suggests relatively limited health effects (fewer than 50 cases of thyroid cancer in a group of over 150,000 liquidators followed in the study). (Source)

The article “Chernobyl Liquidators – The People and the Doses”, published by the International Radiation Protection Association, likewise concludes that across the majority of the liquidator group, “The health consequences from these radiation doses are too small to be identifiable in any epidemiological study, which does not target specific sub-groups with potentially higher exposure.” (Source)

Support groups for liquidators, however, claim that 25,000 have died and over 70,000 are disabled. (Source)

The issue cannot be limited to fatalities. The German Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War “Health Effects of Chernobyl” report presents extensive evidence of widespread crippling disability among liquidators. As in the case of the Chernobyl death toll, the plight of liquidators is a hotly contested topic with radically different figures emerging from different quarters.

Some commentators have presented data that suggests a way out of the deadlock over the health and death consequences of Chernobyl. Peter Karamoskos, a Nuclear Radiologist and public representative on the Radiation Health Committee of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency argues in “Do we know the Chernobyl death toll?” that despite uncertainties about the numbers, “The weight of scientific opinion holds that there is no threshold below which ionising radiation poses no risk and that the risk is proportional to the dose: the “linear no-threshold” (LNT) model.”

Drawing on the 2006 report of the Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation (BEIR) of the US National Academy of Sciences. Karamoskos points out: “The … view that low-level radiation is harmless, is restricted to a small number of scientists whose voice is greatly amplified by the nuclear industry (in much the same way as corporate greenhouse polluters amplify the voices of climate science sceptics).”

He continues:

There is general agreement that about 50 people died in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl accident. Beyond that, studies generally don’t indicate a significant increase in cancer incidence in populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout. Nor would anyone expect them to because of the data gaps and methodological problems mentioned above, and because the main part of the problem concerns the exposure of millions of people to very low doses of radiation from Chernobyl fallout.
For a few marginal scientists and nuclear industry spruikers, that’s the end of the matter – the statistical evidence is lacking and thus the death toll from Chernobyl was just 50. Full stop. But for those of us who prefer mainstream science, we can still arrive at a scientifically defensible estimate of the Chernobyl death toll by using estimates of the total radiation exposure, and multiplying by a standard risk estimate.
The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates a total collective dose of 600,000 Sieverts over 50 years from Chernobyl fallout. A standard risk estimate from the International Commission on Radiological Protection is 0.05 fatal cancers per Sievert. Multiply those figures and we get an estimated 30,000 fatal cancers.
A number of studies apply that basic method – based on collective radiation doses and risk estimates – and come up with estimates of the death toll varying from 9000 (in the most contaminated parts of the former Soviet Union) to 93,000 deaths (across Europe).
Those are the credible estimates of the likely eventual death toll from Chernobyl. Claims that the death toll was just 50 should be rejected as dishonest spin from the nuclear industry and some of its most strident and scientifically-illiterate supporters.

Karamaskos then turns to Fukushima, observing that

Nuclear industry spruikers will insist that no-one is at risk from low-level radiation exposure from Fukushima. The rest of us will need to wait some months or years before we have a plausible estimate of total human radiation exposure upon which to base an estimate of the death toll. To date, radiation releases from Fukushima are estimated by the Japanese government to be 10 per cent of the total Chernobyl release.
Needless to say, the view that low-level radiation is harmless is completely at odds with the current situation in Japan – the 20 km evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant, restrictions on food and water consumption in Japan and restrictions on the importation of food from Japan. (Source)

A joint survey conducted by the Japanese and U.S. governments has produced a detailed map of ground surface radioactive contamination within an 80-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Yablokov’s Chernobyl research and the dire prediction of as many as 400,000 radiation-related cancers in the Fukushima region if wider evacuation is not considered, deserves consideration, scrutiny, and debate as the Japanese government deals with radiation releases from Fukushima Daiichi. The same is true of alternative methodologies, particularly as the “linear no-threshold model” described by Peter Karamoskos. Despite recent efforts to evacuate people from high radiation areas outside of the 20 km evacuation zone, however, Japanese newspapers reported on April 20 that at the same time, the Japanese government had increased the permissible hourly radiation dose at schools in Fukushima Prefecture to 3.8 microsieverts. The Mainichi describes this as “a level that would see students absorb the internationally recognized maximum of 20 millisieverts per year.” See “Save the Children: Radiation Exposure of Fukushima Students,” link.

What are the risks of such doses? Thomas L. Slovis of the Society for Pediatric Radiology writes in Pediatr Radiol (2002:32:225-227)

… the risk of cancer from radiation is 5% per sievert… That’s an average number; but an average is almost meaningless. If you are a mature, late middle-aged individual, it is maybe 1% per sievert. But if you are a child, it is maybe 15% per sievert, with a clear gender difference too at these early ages. So children are very, very sensitive compared to adults.” For an adult the acceptable risk for any activity for emergency workers is 50 mSv. For a child the equivalent risk is (50 mSv /250 mSv)*66 mSv=13 mSv. The standard suggested by Japan for children is twice this value. The change in standard to 20 mSv corresponds to a change to 0.3% risk in cancer later on in life.

Uncertainty about the long-term health effects of even low levels of radiation was further highlighted by David J. Brenner in the April 5 issue of Nature. (Source)

In recent weeks, the issue of radiation and the 300,000 children of Fukushima has moved to the center of debate in assessing Japanese government handling of the Fukushima meltdown, even as the seriousness of radiation issues has grown with the belated disclosure by TEPCO of the multiple disasters experienced at the outset, and still far from under control, in Fukushima Daiichi.

On April 28, Kosako Toshiso, a radiation specialist at Tokyo University, resigned his position as Special Advisor to the Cabinet. Kosako had earlier gained notoriety for his role in helping to deny the extension of benefits to some radiation victims of the atomic bombs in a 2003 court case. After Fukushima, however, Kosako made an impassioned and courageous stand against what he saw as a government taking the potential health effects of long-term radiation exposure too lightly. In a press conference, Kosako castigated the Kan cabinet for its decision to increase permissible radiation exposure for Fukushima children:

At times of emergency, we cannot do without exceptions to standard rules and we are indeed capable of setting them up, but in any case, international common sense ought to be respected. It is wrong to forcibly push through conclusions that happen to be convenient only for the administrative authorities but which are utterly unacceptable by international standards. Such conclusions are bound to draw criticism from the international community.

This time, upon discussing the acceptable level of radiation exposure for playgrounds in primary schools in Fukushima, they have calculated, guided and determined a level of “3.8μSv per hour” on the basis of “20mSv per year”. It is completely wrong to use such a standard for schools that are going to run a normal school curriculum, in which case a standard similar to usual radiation protection measurement (1mSv per year, or even in exceptional cases, 5mSv) ought to be applied, and not the one used in cases of exceptional or urgent circumstances (for two to three days, or at the most, one to two weeks). It is not impossible to use a standard, perhaps for a few months, of 10mSv per year at the maximum, if the public is rightly notified of the necessity of taking caution, and also if special measures are to be taken. But normally it is better to avoid such a thing. We have to note that it is very rare even among occupationally exposed persons (84,000 in total) to be exposed to radiation of 20mSv per year. I cannot possibly accept such a level to be applied to babies, infants and primary school students, not only from my scholarly viewpoint but also from my humanistic beliefs.

You rarely come across a level of 10mSv per year on the covering soil if you measure the leftover soil at a disposal site in any uranium mine (it would be about a few mSv per year at the most), so one needs to have utmost caution when using such a level. Therefore, I strongly protest the decision to use the standard of 20mSv per year for school playgrounds, and ask for revision.
On April 29, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War appealed to the Japanese government to recognize the risk that students of Fukushima would be exposed to, citing widely accepted scientific principles for radiation effects:

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report estimates that each 1 mSv of radiation is associated with an increased risk of solid cancer (cancers other than leukemia) of about 1 in 10,000; an increased risk of leukemia of about 1 in 100,000; and a 1 in 17,500 increased risk of dying from cancer. But a critical factor is that not everyone faces the same level of risk. For infants (under 1 year of age) the radiation-related cancer risk is 3 to 4 times higher than for adults; and female infants are twice as susceptible as male infants.

Text available online.

On May 12, the Japan Medical Association, in the wake of the Kosako resignation, criticized government indifference to the exposure of Fukushima children to radiation. (Source)

The Mainichi also reports protests from various corners.

Indeed, coverage has spread to corners of the mass media hardly known for political critique. Journalist Hirokawa Ryuichi, known for his coverage of the plight of Palestinian children, Unit 731, and Chernobyl, takes on the 20mSv issue in the May 26 issue of Josei Seven (Women’s Seven), a weekly known mostly for paparazzi-style star stalking, but now including more political criticism as mothers nationwide consider the implications of the government’s 20mSv for children decision. (Source)

Hirokawa argues that while the Soviet government may have been irresponsible in its initial approach to the Chernobyl radiation release, it undertook a massive effort to evacuate children from Kiev, 120 kilometers away from the crisis zone, between May and September 1986. Fukushima City is just over 50 kilometers away from Fukushima Daiichi. At the currently approved 20mSv, Hirokawa points out, Japanese children could be exposed to four times the radiation of children in Ukraine in 1986. He writes, “… an hourly rate of 3.8 microsieverts is a number not all that different from readings at the dead ruins of Pripyat. I don’t want to imagine Japanese children running and playing in this ruined shell of a city.” Pripyat, built originally to house Chernobyl workers, is the abandoned city at the heart of Ukraine’s “Zone of Alienation”.

While comparisons between Chernobyl and Fukushima abound, there are many who point to the contrasts. In the latest issue of the Journal of Radiological Protection, radiation, Professor Richard Wakeford of the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute points out flaws in the International Nuclear Event Scale, “Since Level 7 is the highest rating on INES there can be no distinction between the Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents, leading many to proclaim the Fukushima accident as ‘another Chernobyl’, which it is not….” He asserts that as of early April, Fukushima had released but one tenth of the amount of radiation expelled in the Chernobyl disaster and praises Japan’s official response,

“Given the difficult background circumstances pertaining in Fukushima Prefecture as problems mounted at the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS, the organisational abilities of the Japanese authorities in dealing with the evacuation, monitoring and protection of the public has to be admired. In particular, the heroic efforts of the emergency workers, battling under conditions that were often atrocious, should not pass without respect and praise. I for one bow to their courage.” (Source)

We have, likewise, noted important differences in the handling of the disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Yet it is important to note that Wakeford’s praise ignores the most important revelations of TEPCO’s and the Japanese governments cover-ups and recklessness, as in its decisions to expose Fukushima children to 20 mSv of radiation on a long-term basis.

As the nature of the Fukushima crisis relative to Chernobyl continues to be contested, the important issue of radiation exposure of Fukushima school children remains at the center of public debate. To date, the Japanese government has failed to respond effectively to critics of policies that pose long-term risks to the nation’s children.

Matthew Penney is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University in Montreal and a Japan Focus associate. He is currently conducting research on popular representations of war in Japan. He can be contacted at

Mark Selden is a coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Journal and Senior Research Associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell University. His recent books include Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance; China, East Asia and the Global Economy: Regional and historical perspectives, The Resurgence of East Asia: 500, 150 and 50 Year Perspectives, and War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century. His homepage is

The liquidators

Eight hundred thousand men were conscripted into the Chernobyl area to “liquidate” or “blot out” the released radiation. The selfless efforts of these “liquidators”—miners, soldiers and firemen—are unparalleled in history. Sacrificing themselves, they prevented a potential nuclear explosion that could have killed hundreds of thousands.
Twenty-five thousand died, and a further 70,000 are now disabled. Hailed as heroes in 1986, they are now discarded and forgotten, their ill health dismissed by the authorities as being unrelated to their exposure to extraordinary levels of radiation and the lack of adequate safety precautions.

Ivan, a fire-fighter and liquidator who survived the experience, remembers:

“After about 40, 50 minutes of fighting there were two more explosions. There was a big black cloud, followed by an intense blue light. Then a ball of fire covered the moon. I felt sick and fell unconscious. I woke up in the hospital in Moscow with 40 other fire fighters. At first we joked about radiation. Then we heard that a comrade had begun to bleed from his nose and mouth and his body turned black and he died. That was the end of the laughter.”

Igor, who was conscripted to help evacuate families and strip radioactive topsoil, recalls:

‘We were told not to have children for five years because of our work. How do you explain that to your wife or girlfriend? Most of us didn’t and hoped we’d be all right. We had to remove the top layers of soil and load it up on trucks. I thought the burial dumps would be complicated engineering places but they were like open pits, not even lined with anything! We lifted out the topsoil in one big roll like a carpet with all the worms and bugs and spider inside! But you can’t skin the whole country; you can’t take everything that lives in the earth. We stripped thousands of kilometres not just of earth but of orchards, houses, schools – everything. At night we drank so hard. Otherwise we couldn’t do it. We slept in tents in beds of straw, taken from farms near the reactor!’

The bravery and courage of the liquidators saved Europe from a very serious nuclear catastrophe. This April 26, 2011, we ask you to take a moment to remember their sacrifice.

Fukushima Reactor radiation reached Europe and the MSM never said a word


Cover up of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Fallout Forecasts Exposed!


I previously reported on the steady concentrated stream of Nuclear radioactive fallout heading toward the US and Canada. In that post I pointed out that several censored radiation forecasts have been found but were never released to the public.

We now have for the first time a side by side comparison of two radiation fallout forecasts. On the left is the censored version released to the public downplaying the levels of radiation spreading around the world. On the right is the same uncensored forecast.

Left: Censored Fallout Forecast Released To Public — Right: Uncensored Forecast Hidden From Public

If you have doubt that the censored version is the real forecast then consider this: Notice the censored version doesn’t show radiation hitting Europe.

Now checkout this article from the Independent reporting that the nuclear fallout has hit Europe.

Reactor radiation reaches Europe

AP Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A plume from the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex carrying trace amounts of radioactive iodine has been detected in Iceland, the country’s Radiation Safety Authority said.

However, it added, the concentration was “less than a millionth” of what was found in European countries in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that spewed radiation over a large distance.

Recollections of the accident’s aftermath continue to haunt many in European, putting them on edge as they watch the Japanese nuclear crisis unfold.

“We thus conclude that there is no reason to worry about radioactivity levels in Iceland, nor anywhere in Europe, resulting from the nuclear accident in Japan,” said Sigurdur Emil Palsson, head of emergency planning.

Elsewhere, French authorities said very weakly contaminated air is expected to reach France today while Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection said if and when radiation arrived it would be in marginal amounts that would pose neither a risk to humans or the environment.

“The measurements will also be much lower that those after the Chernobyl disaster,” it said.


Source: The Independent

here are the “public” forecasts… which show “low” levels of Cesium-137 …


This site was sent to me, and it clearly shows the hidden (not shown to public) forecasts! In these shots, we see VERY high levels of Cesium-137 making its way across the pacific to the USA and Canada.;O=D

—————- (click on radiation update)

dutch radiation monitoring:

swiss radiation monitoring:

Finland radiation monitoring:

French radiation monitoring: (thanks to youtube user: RehKurts ! )

jet stream forecasting:

FAIR USE NOTICE: These Videos may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:


New Evidence Of A Nuclear Coverup On San Francisco’s Treasure Island 8/2012


Read more:

“That amount of radium found to date cannot be explained by gauges, deck markers, and decontamination activities,” wrote Stephen Woods, an environmental cleanup manager at the California Department of Public Health.

Meet Treasure Island, the rectilinear speck of land in the San Francisco Bay two-and-a-half miles of white caps from our kitchen window.

Woods words summed up decades of U.S. Government efforts to bury nuclear sins under layers of ignorance.

The U.S. Government created Treasure Island from fill in 1937 and connected it to Yerba Buena Island, the overgrown rock in the middle of the Bay Bridge. After the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939/1940, it became a naval base.

In 1993, the Navy started the process of cleaning up the island so that the City of San Francisco, which had agreed to buy it for $105 million, would accept it—pending approval by state health officials.

Meanwhile, 2,800 people, oblivious to what was buried on the island, moved into the housing units they rented from the Navy. Developers are scheduled to break ground on a high-rise complex next year. The population could eventually swell to 20,000. Alas, in an excellent piece of reporting, The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit news organization, reveals a homegrown nuclear debacle kept out of public view by decades of deception.

After World War II, Treasure Island became a training center for nuclear decontamination. In a 2006 report on the cleanup, the Navy concluded that the locations of the USS Pandemonium, the mockup of a ship used for decontamination training, were free from radiation, and that a 170-acre area was ready to be transferred to San Francisco.

But contractors hired by the Navy kept running into radioactivity of such magnitude that one worker was exposed to the maximum radiation dosage allowed under Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines and was sent off the job.

In 2007, the Navy tried to mollify residents with a newsletter that stated that lingering radiation from the discarded glow-in-the-dark buttons handed out during the Golden Gate International Exposition was no worse than that of a smoke detector.

But on December 17, 2010, state public health official Peter Sapunor wrote in an email that “Navy contractors had dug up and hauled off 16,000 cubic yards of contaminated dirt, some with radiation levels 400 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s human exposure limits for topsoil.” And worse, radioactive material in the soil around those excavations exposed children at a Boys & Girls Club and a child development center to contaminated dust.

The Navy’s report wasn’t forthcoming on other issues, according to The Bay Citizen:

For one, the Navy had failed to fully detail what had happened to the remains of the USS Pandemonium, used to train sailors in “Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare,” according to a July 2011 health department review. The Navy contractor recently dumped debris from the two training sites into an undisclosed landfill, the report alleged, then declared the training site clean without testing for radiation. “The Navy has not responded to requests for the location of the landfill,” the review added.

In early 2011, Stephen Woods lambasted the Navy for still using the 2006 report to support its claims that parts of the island had been cleaned: “The large volume of radiological contaminated material, high number of radioactive commodities (individual items or sources), and high levels of radioactive contamination … have raised concerns with CDPH regarding the nature and extent of the radiological contamination present at Treasure Island.”

In June 2011, CDPH issued a notice of violation against the Navy’s chief cleanup contractor “for repeatedly digging, piling, spreading and transporting dirt from sites contaminated with toxic chemicals” without testing them for radioactivity, “potentially spreading radiation beyond its original location.”

Finally, these and many other actions and pressures induced the Navy to hire civilian researchers and do a new historical analysis. The Bay Citizen “obtained” a draft report, dated August 6, 2012. Turns out, Treasure Island was “ground zero for repairing, scrapping, recycling and incinerating material from ships that might have absorbed radiation from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific.”

After many decades of suppressing this information, it is now finally seeping to the surface, thanks to the Navy’s reluctant glasnost, worried state health officials, and investigative reporters at the The Bay Citizen. A bit late for the families who’ve lived on the island for years, and for some of the clean-up workers who weren’t always aware of what exactly they were dealing with.

Read more:


Bayou Corne Sinkhole Radiation Survey: Total gamma count “slightly elevated” [pdf report 8/2012]

Title: 1:30 p.m. EPA Aerial Survey Report
Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury
Date: Sept 4, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) returned its report of the aerial survey performed in Bayou Corne on Saturday, August 25, 2012. The survey showed no detectable emissions from the area in concentrations great enough to represent a public hazard.

Aerial Chemical Survey, Bayou Corne Sinkhole
United State Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Emergency Management
Survey Date: August 25, 2012


Results indicated that total gamma count showed slightly elevated but normal levels along state highway 70 and in farmland on the eastern portion of the survey area.


Figure 8: Total Gamma Count Corne Bayou

Examination of total gamma count plot shows that the total gamma count environment is slightly higher over the developed area along state highway 70 and near the intersection of highway 70 and 69.


Results of the total count analysis showed slightly elevated levels on the north and east side of the survey area but well within normal sedimentary rock levels.


Nuclear Power Plants and Earthquakes


Japanese, and most other, nuclear plants are designed to withstand earthquakes, and in the event of major earth movement, to shut down safely.
In 1995, the closest nuclear power plants, some 110 km north of Kobe, were unaffected by the severe Kobe-Osaka earthquake, but in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 Japanese reactors shut down automatically due to ground acceleration exceeding their trip settings.
In 1999, three nuclear reactors shut down automatically during the devastating Taiwan earthquake, and were restarted two days later.
In March 2011 eleven operating nuclear power plants shut down automatically during the major earthquake. Three of these subsequently caused an INES Level 7 Accident due to loss of power leading to loss of cooling and subsequent radioactive releases.

Design criteria

Nuclear facilities are designed so that earthquakes and other external events will not jeopardise the safety of the plant. In France for instance, nuclear plants are designed to withstand an earthquake twice as strong as the 1000-year event calculated for each site. It is estimated that, worldwide, 20% of nuclear reactors are operating in areas of significant seismic activity. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a Safety Guide on Seismic Risks for Nuclear Power Plants. Various systems are used in planning, including Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment (PSHA), which is recommended by IAEA and widely accepted.

Because of the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes in Japan, particular attention is paid to seismic issues in the siting, design and construction of nuclear power plants. The seismic design of such plants is based on criteria far more stringent than those applying to non-nuclear facilities. Power reactors are also built on hard rock foundations (not sediments) to minimise seismic shaking.

Japanese nuclear power plants are designed to withstand specified earthquake intensities evident in ground motion. These used to be specified as S1 and S2, but now simply Ss, in Gal units. The plants are fitted with seismic detectors. If these register ground motions of a set level (formerly 90% of S1, but at Fukushima only 135 Gal), systems will be activated to automatically bring the plant to an immediate safe shutdown. The logarithmic Richter magnitude scale (or more precisely the Moment Magnitude Scale more generally used today*) measures the overall energy released in an earthquake, and there is not always a good correlation between that and intensity (ground motion) in a particular place. Japan has a seismic intensity scale in shindo units 0 to 7, with weak/strong divisions at levels 5 & 6, hence ten levels. This describes the surface intensity at particular places, rather than the magnitude of the earthquake itself.

* Originally, seismologists measured the magnitude of short-period seismic waves to indicate earthquake magnitude, and in the 1960s it became possible to measure longer-period seismic waves, which more accurately indicate the size of large earthquakes. They then started quantifying earthquakes according to seismic moment, using these longer-period wave measurements. To connect this scale to the old magnitude one a moment-magnitude scale was proposed. Up to magnitude 8 this gives the same result as the old scale, but for larger quakes such as Sumatra in 2004 and Tohoku 2011 it reflects the true size. Instead of 9.3 and 9.0 respectively these would have registered 8.6 and 8.2 respectively on the old scale.

Japan’s revised Regulatory Guide for Reviewing Seismic Design of Nuclear Power Reactor Facilities in September 2006 increased the Ss figure to be equivalent to an earthquake of 6.7 on the Richter or Moment Magnitude scale directly under the reactor – a factor of 1.5 (up from magnitude 6.5). PGA or Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion is measured in Galileo units – Gal (cm/sec2) or g – the force of gravity, one g being 980 Gal.

The former design basis earthquake ground motion or peak ground acceleration (PGA) level S1 was defined as the largest earthquake which can reasonably be expected to occur at the site of a nuclear power plant, based on the known seismicity of the area and local active faults. A power reactor could continue to operate safely during an S1 level earthquake, though in practice they are set to trip at lower levels. If it did shut down, a reactor would be expected to restart soon after an S1 event. The revised seismic regulations released in May 2007 increased the S1 figure to be equivalent to 6.7 on the logarithmic Richter scale – a factor of 1.5 (up from 6.5). PGA is measured in Galileo units – Gal (cm/sec2) or g – the force of gravity, one g being 980 Gal. The non-SI unit is used here.

Larger earthquake ground motions in the region, considering the tectonic structures and other factors, must also be taken into account, although their probability is very low. The largest conceivable such ground motion was the upper limit design basis extreme earthquake ground motion (PGA) S2, generally assuming a magnitude 6.5 earhtquake directly under the reactor. The plant’s safety systems would be effective during an S2 level earthquake to ensure safe shutdown without release of radioactivity, though extensive inspection would be required before restart. In particular, reactor pressure vessel, control rods and drive system and reactor containment should suffer no damage at all.

After the magnitude 7.2 Kobe earthquake in 1995 the safety of nuclear facilities in Japan was reviewed along with the design guidelines for their construction. The Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) then approved new standards. Building and road construction standards were also thoroughly reviewed at this time. After recalculating the seismic design criteria required for a nuclear power plant to survive near the epicentre of a large earthquake the NSC concluded that under current guidelines such a plant could survive a quake of magnitude 7.75. The Kobe earthquake was 7.2.

PGA has long been considered an unsatisfactory indicator of damage to structures, and some seismologists are proposing to replace it with Cumulative Average Velocity (CAV) as a more useful measure since it brings in displacement and duration.

Japan’s Rokkasho reprocessing plant and associated facilities are built on stable rock and are designed to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.25 there.

Following a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 2000 in an area where no geological fault was known, Japan’s NSC ordered a full review of the country’s seismic guidelines (which had been adopted by the NSC in 1981 and partially revised in 2001) in the light of newly accumulated knowledge on seismology and earthquake engineering and advanced technologies of seismic design. The new Regulatory Guide for Reviewing Seismic Design of Nuclear Power Reactor Facilities was published in September 2006 and resulted in NSC and the Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) calling for reactor owners with NISA to undertake plant-specific reviews of seismic safety, to be completed in 2008.

The main result of this review was that the S1 – S2 system was formally replaced by NSC in September 2006 with a single Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion (DBGM Ss), still measured in Gal. The Guide states that the main reactor facilities “shall maintain their safety functions under the seismic force caused by DBGM Ss.” They and ancillary facilities should also withstand the “seismic force loading of those caused by Elastically Dynamic Design Earthquake Ground Motion Sd (EDGM Sd)” calculated from stress analysis and being at least half the Ss figure.

In March 2008 Tepco upgraded its estimates of likely Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion Ss for Fukushima to 600 Gal, and other operators have adopted the same figure. (The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki earthquake in March 2011 did not exceed this at Fukushima.) In October 2008 Tepco accepted 1000 Gal (1.02g) DBGM as the new Ss design basis for Kashiwazaki Kariwa, following the July 2007 earthquake there, and Chubu accepted the same for Hamaoka.

Japanese nuclear plants such as Hamaoka near Tokai are in regions where earthquakes of up to magnitude 8.5 may be expected. In fact the Tokai region has been racked by very major earthquakes about every 150 years, and it is 155 years since the last big one. Chubu’s Hamaoka reactors were designed to withstand such anticipated Tokai earthquake and had design basis S1 of 450 Gal and S2 of 600 Gal. Units 3 & 4 were originally designed for 600 Gal, but the Ss standard established in September 2007 required 800 Gal. Since then units 3-5 have been upgraded to the new Ss standard of 1000 Gal. In August 2009 a magnitude 6.5 earthquake nearby automatically shut down Hamaoka 4 & 5, with ground motion of 426 Gal being recorded at unit 5. Some ancillary equipment was damaged and reactors 3 and 4 were restarted after checking. Restart of unit 5 was repeatedly deferred as the company analysed why such high seismic acceleration was recorded on it, coupled with some planned maintenance being undertaken during the shutdown. It restarted in January 2011.

Hamaoka units 1 & 2 had been shut down since 2001 and 2004 respectively, pending seismic upgrading – they were originally designed to withstand only 450 Gal. In December 2008 the company decided to write them off and build a new reactor to replace them. Modifying the two 1970s units to new seismic standards would have cost about US$ 3.3 billion and been uneconomic, so Chubu opted for a US$ 1.7 billion write-down instead.

Early in 2010 Japan’s METI confirmed that the seismic safety of the Monju fast reactor was adequate under new standards requiring Ss of 760 Gal PGA. Assessments were carried out in conjunction with Kansai’s Mihama plant and JAPC’s Tsuruga plant, both nearby.

South Korea’s new APR-1400 reactor is designed to withstand 300 Gal seismic acceleration. The older OPR is designed for 200 Gal but is being upgraded to at least 300 Gal so as to be offered to Turkey and Jordan.

In the USA the Diablo Canyon plant is designed for a 735 Gal peak ground acceleration and the San Onofre plant is designed for a 657 Gal peak ground acceleration. On the east coast, North Anna shut down in August 2011 during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake with epicenter 20 km away when the ground acceleration reached 255 Gal, against design basis of 176 Gal. No functional damage occurred. Subsequent inspections of the plant were based on NRC’s Regulatory Guide: Restart Of A Nuclear Power Plant Shut Down By A Seismic Event, adopted in March 1997. It was the first US nuclear plant ever to be shut down by an earthquake. The NRC approved restarting it in November, having “completed its safety evaluation review.”

Japan 1995 – Kobe

Newspaper coverage of the magnitide 7.2 Kobe earthquake which devastated Kobe and the surrounding region on 17 January 1995 raised concerns about the safety of nuclear power plants in the affected area. Horizontal ground acceleration was measures at 817 Gal – more intense than expected – and vertical acceleration was 332 Gal.

In fact none of the power reactors within 200 km of the earthquake epicentre sustained any damage and those running at the time continued to operate at capacity. Takahama and Ohi are located approximately 130 km from the epicentre of the earthquake, on the Pacific Ocean side of the Island of Honshu. Mihama is approximately 180 km away. The research reactors in the region, in Osaka and Kyoto, were also reported to be unaffected by the earthquake.

Taiwan 1999 – Chichi

The shallow magnitude 7.6 earthquake in central Taiwan on 21 September 1999 killed thousands of people. It caused three reactors at Chinshan and Kuosheng in the north of the island to shut down automatically. They were cleared to restart two days later. A fourth reactor there was being refuelled. The two reactors at Maanshan in the south continued operating, but reduced power later due to damage to distribution facilities. A major concern following the earthquake was how quickly power could be restored to industry.

Japan 2005 – Miyagi

On 16 August 2005 Tohuku’s three Onagawa reactors shut down automatically when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit northeast Honshu. They were set to trip at 200 Gal, against S1 design basis of 250 Gal (which was reached) and S2 PGA of 350-400 Gal. No damage occurred in any major part of the plant.

Onagawa-2 restarted in January 2006 after comprehensive checks and confirming that an S2 figure of 580 Gal would be safe for that unit (equivalent to magnitude 8.2). Geotechnical analysis and safety evaluation proceeded under NISA, which approved a report from the company. Unit 3 restarted in March 2006, and the smaller unit 1 restarted in May 2007.

Japan 2007 – Niigataken Chuetsu-Oki

On 16 July 2007 the magnitude 6.8 Niigata Chuetsu-Oki earthquake occurred with epicentre only 16 km from Tepco’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa 7965 MWe nuclear power plant. Local geological factors contributed to a magnification of the seismic intensity at the plant. The plant’s seismometers measured PGA of 332 to 680 Gal, the S1 design bases for different units being 170 to 270 Gal and the S2 figure on actual bedrock was 450 Gal. The peak ground acceleration thus exceeded the S1 design values in all units – hence the need to shut down, and the S2 values in units 1, 2 and 4. Four reactors shut down automatically at the pre-set level of 120 Gal, another three were not operating at the time. All the functions of shutdown and cooling worked as designed.

While there were many incidents on site due to the earthquake, none threatened safety and the main reactor and turbine units were structurally unaffected, despite ground accelerations being up to three times the design basis. Analysis of primary cooling water confirmed that there was no damage to the fuel in reactor cores. However, the plant remained closed until full investigation was complete and safety confirmed, about mid 2008. It appears that the four older units may have been more vulnerable than units 5-7 which are located 1.5 km further away.

The Ministry of Economy Trade & Industry (METI) then set up a 20-member Chuetsu Investigation and Countermeasures Committee to investigate the specific impact of this earthquake on the power station, and in the light of this to identify what government and utilities must address to ensure nuclear plant safety. It acknowledged that the government was responsible for approving construction of the first Kashiwazaki Kariwa units in the 1970s very close to what is now perceived to be a geological fault line. NISA invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to join it, the Nuclear Safety Commission and Tepco in reviewing the situation. A report was presented to the IAEA Senior Regulators’ Meeting in September 2007, and a further IAEA visit was made early in 2008.

NISA released its assessment of the safety significance of earthquake damage in November. The worst of the damage rated zero on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), having no safety significance. Other damage was deemed not relevant to nuclear safety. The seven main reactor units themselves were still being checked, but appeared undamaged. In May 2008 Tepco adopted a new standard of 2280 Gal (2.33g) maximum design basis seismic motion for Kashiwazaki Kariwa units 1-4, over five times the previous S2 figure, and 1156 Gal (1.18g) for units 5-7, in the light of local geological factors. This standard will be reviewed by NISA and NSC. Meanwhile construction works will be undertaken to bring all units up to be able to withstand a quake producing PGA of 1000 Gal.

Tepco posted a loss of JPY 150 billion (US$ 1.68 billion) for FY2007 (to 31/3/08) due to the prolonged closure of the plant, followed by JPY 109 billion loss in the first half of FY2008. While no damage to the actual reactors has been found, detailed checks continue, and upgrading of earthquake resistance is required. Major civil engineering works are also required before the reactors resume operation. Overall, the FY2007 impact of the earthquake was projected to be JPY 603.5 billion ($5.62 billion), three quarters of that being increased fuel costs to replace the 8000 MWe of lost capacity. NISA approved the utility’s new seismic estimates in November 2008, and conducted final safety reviews of the units as they were upgraded. Unit 7 restarted in May, unit 6 in August 2009, unit 1 in May 2010, and unit 5 in November 2010. Units 2, 3, & 4 remain shut down.

Japan March 2011 – Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki, or Gerat East Japan Earthquake

The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki earthquake at 2.46 pm on 11 March did considerable damage, and the tsunami it created, with run-up height of 40 metres, caused even more. It appears to have been a double quake giving a severe duration of about 3 minutes, and was centred 130 km offshore of the city of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture on the eastern cost of Honshu Island. It moved Honshu 4 metres east and apparently subsided the nearby coastline by half a metre. Eleven reactors at four nuclear power plants in the region were operating at the time and all shut down automatically when the quake hit. Power was available to run the cooling pumps at most of the units, and they achieved cold shutdown in a few days. However, at Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, a major accident sequence commenced. The three reactors were shut down by the earthquake and the emergency diesel generators started as expected, but then they shut down an hour later when submerged by the tsunami, about 15 metres high at that point. Other systems proved inadequate and led the authorities to order, and subsequently extend, an evacuation while engineers worked to restore power and cooling.

The operating units which shut down were Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi 1, 2, 3, Fukushima Daini 1, 2, 3, 4, Tohoku’s Onagawa 1, 2, 3, and Japco’s Tokai. Onogawa 1 briefly suffered a fire in the non-nuclear turbine building, but the main problem centred on Fukushima Daiichi units 1-3. First, pressure inside the containment structures increased steadily and led to this being vented to the atmosphere on an ongoing basis. Vented gases and vapour included hydrogen, produced by the exothermic interaction of the fuel’s very hot zirconium cladding with water. Later on 12th, there was a hydrogen explosion in the building above unit 1 reactor containment, and another one two days later in unit 3, from the venting as hydrogen mixed with air. Then on 15th, unit 2 apparently ruptured its pressure suppression chamber under the actual reactor, releasing significant radioactivity. Inside, water levels had dropped, exposing fuel, and this was addressed by pumping seawater into the reactor pressure vessels.

Then a separate set of problems arose as the spent fuel ponds in the upper part of the reactor structures were found to be depleted in water. Unit 4 was undergoing maintenance, and all its 548 fuel assemblies were in that pond, along with other used fuel, total 1535 assemblies, giving it a heat load of about 3 MW thermal, according to France’s ISRN. Unit 3’s pool contained 566 fuel assemblies.

Japan’s Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agency initially declared the Fukushima accident as Level 5 on INES scale – an accident with wider consequences, the same level as Three Mile Island in 1979, but after new estimates of radioactive releases in the first few days of the accident NISA reclassified it as level 7, while making it clear that radioactive releases were about one tenth of Chernobyl’s. The design basis acceleration for both Fukushima plants had been upgraded in 2008, and is now quoted at horizontal 441-489 Gal for Daiichi and 415-434 Gal for Daini. The interim recorded data for both plants shows that 550 Gal was the maximum for Daiichi, in the foundation of unit 2 (other figures 281-548 Gal), and 254 Gal was maximum for Daini. Units 2, 3 and 5 exceeded their maximum response acceleration design basis in E-W direction by about 20%. Recording was over 130-150 seconds. (Ground acceleration was around 2000 Gal a few kilometres north, on sediments.)

Other experience

Earthquakes have previously occurred in the vicinity of a number of Japanese and other power reactors without adverse effect.

An earthquake registering 6.2 on Richter scale occurred offshore Fukushima in northern Japan on 13 June 2010. At the nearest costal cities it registered 5 on the Japanese shindo scale. The nearest nuclear power plants (13 reactors): Fukushima I & II and Onagawa were unaffected. The horizontal ground acceleration reached 60 Gal at reactor building base mats at Fukushima-I.

In two decades to 2004, no Japanese reactor had been tripped by the seismic detectors. In those cases where the plant automatically shutdown (“tripped”) as a safety precaution, it was because of the impact of the earthquake on the operating characteristics of the plant.

In November 1993, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in northeast Honshu produced a ground acceleration of 121 Gal at Tohuku’s Onagawa-1 power reactor (497 MWe, BWR), located 30 km from the epicentre. The design conditions for the S1 and S2 events at the site were 250 and 375 Gal respectively and the reactor was set to trip at a measured peak ground acceleration (PGA) of 200 Gal. In fact it tripped at a lower level due to variations in the neutron flux outside the set parameters.

In May 2003 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake further from the same Onagawa plant produced ground acceleration of 225 Gal which tripped unit 3 (units 1 & 2 were not operating).

In October 2004 a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Niigata Prefecture 250 km north of Tokyo had no effect on the nearby Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant, but a magnitude 5.2 quake there two weeks later caused one of the reactors – unit 7 -to trip.

In March 2005 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in northern Kyushu did not affect the nearby Genkai and Sendai nuclear plants, nor Shimane and Ikata.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake off the coast of Hokkaido in July 1993, had no effect on nuclear facilities. Tomari 1 and 2 reactors (550 MWe, PWRs), located 95 km from the epicentre, continued normal operation.

In December 1994, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck northern Japan but caused no damage to the 11 boiling water reactors or the nuclear fuel facilities in the vicinity. All operated normally.

Reactors of both western and Soviet design have been subjected to major seismic activity in North America and Europe without damage. California’s power reactors, San Onofre 2 and 3 (1,070 and 1,080 MWe, PWRs) and Diablo Canyon 1 and 2 (1,073 MWe and 1,087 MWe, PWRs) continued to operate normally during the 6.6 magnitude earthquake in January 1994. San Onofre, the closer station, was about 112 km from the epicentre.

In December 1988, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, resulting in the deaths of at least 25,000 people, occurred in northwestern Armenia. It was felt at the two-unit Armenian nuclear power station located approximately 75 km south of the epicentre, but both Soviet-designed PWRs operated normally and no damage was reported. This was the first Russian nuclear power plant specifically adapted for seismic areas, and it started operating in 1976.

In May 2008 a magnitude 7.9 earthquake affected southwestern Sichuan province in central China. The main nuclear facilities affected were military ones, apparently without any radioactive releases. About 250 km from the epicentre the Yibin fuel fabrication plant which produces both power reactor and research reactor fuel assemblies was undamaged. China’s power reactors were all at least 900 km from the epicentre.


Large undersea earthquakes often cause tsunamis – pressure waves which travel very rapidly across oceans and become massive waves over ten metres high when they reach shallow water, then washing well inland. The December 2004 tsunamis following a magnitude 9 earthquake in Indonesia reached the west coast of India and affected the Kalpakkam nuclear power plant near Madras/Chennai. When very abnormal water levels were detected in the cooling water intake, the plant shut down automatically. It was restarted six days later.

Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants were affected by a major tsunami in March 2011. The design basis tsunami height was 5.7 m for Daiichi and 5.2 m for Daini, though the Daiichi plant was built about 10 metres above sea level and Daini 13 metres above. Tsunami heights coming ashore were more than 14 metres for both plants, and the Daiichi turbine halls were under some 5 metres of seawater until levels subsided. The maximum amplitude of this tsunami was 23 metres at point of origin, about 160 km from Fukushima. In the last century there have been eight tsunamis in the region with maximum amplitudes at origin above 10 metres (some much more), these having arisen from earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 to 8.4, on average one every 12 years. Those in 1983 and in 1993 were the most recent affecting Japan, with maximum heights at origin of 14.5 metres and 31 metres respectively, both induced by magnitude 7.7 earthquakes.

Even for a nuclear plant situated very close to sea level, the robust sealed containment structure around the reactor itself can prevent any damage to the nuclear part from a tsunami, though other parts of the plant might be damaged. At Fukushima, the turbine halls contained both the backup diesel generators and much of the electrical switchgear, which proved fatal for the Daiichi 1-3 reactors.


Fukushima Caused Cracks in the Ocean Floor

Scientists who are studying the Fukushima earthquake have uncovered data that predicts a “big one” in the Pacific Northwest, along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

The Fukushima quake was precipitated by what is called the “Tohoku area” of underwater plates. On the Weatherbug site, Sandi Doughton quotes earthquake expert John Anderson as saying, “The Cascadia subduction zone can be seen as a mirror image of the Tohoku area.” When Anderson compiled ground-motion data from the Japan quake and overlaid it on a map of the Pacific Northwest, which has a similar fault lying offshore, the two faults dovetailed almost exactly.

The Northwest’s only nuclear-power plant is the 28-year-old Columbia Generating Station, which has a license to operate through 2023. Geologists have discovered several new faults running through the area, capable of generating earthquakes as big as magnitude 7.5.

Submarine images have revealed that the Fukushima quake opened up cracks in the ocean floor as big as 6 feet wide. What effect this may have on future quakes in the area is unknown.

Coincidentally, shortly before the quake, researchers had taken photos of the same area of the seafloor where the crust would later rupture, leading to a tsunami that killed about 20,000 people. This meant that the seabed changes could be documented.

On the MSNBC website, Stephanie Pappas quotes seismologist Takeshi Tsuji as saying that his team of researchers saw open fissures in “many places,” but how these cracks may effect future earthquakes along the same fault lines is unknown.

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