Dear John (James H.)

James Hansen

by Michael Mariotte of NIRS

November 13, 2015

Dear John,

Thanks for the e-mail yesterday from your PR firm, notifying me of the press conference you’re planning on December 3 in Paris, in conjunction with the COP 21 climate negotiations.

Though I have to admit I was a little surprised to receive it, seeing as how you never responded to my last letter to you. Remember? It was the one where I asked to debate you about nuclear power and whether it could be a solution to the climate crisis you have so ably articulated over the years? I even offered a very nice potential debate location here in Washington, where we could make sure there would be an audience and some media to chronicle the event.

I, along with my colleagues from the Civil Society Institute (oh, and more than 300 other groups as I recall) asked for that debate after you and three of your colleagues published an open letter to us–all of us critics of nuclear power–in November 2013 where you essentially told us to either support new nuclear power or shut up and go away.

But I guess the idea of an open letter wasn’t the same as wanting an open debate, because from you (and your three colleagues) I got bupkus. Nothing. Nada. Frankly, I–and all those 300+ organizations–took your silence as an admission that you were afraid to debate us, because, again frankly, when it comes to nuclear power you don’t know what you’re talking about. And your lack of knowledge on the subject is getting to be an embarrassment for those of us on the frontlines of the battle to build an effective response to the climate crisis. You see, it’s not only that nuclear power isn’t going to help with climate, for all the reasons we detailed in our letter to you, it’s that trying to go the nuclear route would be counterproductive–it would actually make things worse.

So, when I first noticed your PR firm’s e-mail sent to me, I thought perhaps you had reconsidered your blind support for nuclear power. After all, why send it to me at all otherwise? And I have to admit, the first couple of sentences were pretty promising. It says the same four of you are issuing a “stark challenge to world leaders and environmental campaigners” warning of “the increasing urgency of fully decarbonizing the world economy.” I couldn’t agree more.

But then you lost me, because the rest of the e-mail doesn’t talk much at all about the climate; rather, it sounds the same message as your November 2013 open letter: that environmentalists must accept nuclear power, that we need a lot of nuclear power, that renewables can’t do the job, and so on.

But John, let’s look at what’s changed in the energy world since November 2013. It’s pretty easy to do, just flip through the pages of GreenWorld and you’ll get a pretty good sense of it. On the nuclear front, let’s face it: the news hasn’t been good for the industry. More reactors have announced permanent shutdown. As for new reactors, all of those being built in the West at least have experienced more schedule delays and more cost overruns. All of them: Vogtle, Summer, Olkiluoto, Flamanville. China’s nuclear construction has slowed, partly because of the problems with Areva’s EPR reactor design. Despite a lot of sound and fury (or is that smoke and mirrors?) there hasn’t been much solid from the Russian nuclear industry either, though they did finally manage to finish the Koodankulam reactors in India after more than 20 years. Kind of like TVA almost finishing its second Watts Bar reactor after more than 40 years.

Building nuclear reactors takes a long time, and that time isn’t getting any shorter. And that’s why it’s puzzling that you, of all people–after all, you’ve been warning about the urgency of dealing with climate change since 1988 now–would even look twice at nuclear. The idea of betting our collective future on power plants that take 10, 15, 20 years and more to build doesn’t sound like someone who thinks climate is an urgent problem. It makes one wonder if your allegiance to the nuclear power industry now outweighs your commitment to dealing with the climate crisis.

On the other side of the coin, what’s changed in clean energy since November 2013 is huge. The biggest change can be summed up in one word: storage. Cheap, effective electricity storage just wasn’t around two years ago. Now, thanks to Elon Musk and Tesla–and Musk’s growing number of competitors in the storage field, it is. And it’s only going to get cheaper and better; it’s on the same kind of curve that dropped solar costs over the past ten years to the point where solar is now cheaper than nuclear just about everywhere in the U.S. That’s true for most of the world too. And wind is even cheaper. And both solar and wind continue to become more efficient.

So the old canard about solar and wind not being able to hack it because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, well, that’s what it is: an old canard. With storage, every generating technology is reliable “baseload” power.

And if we’re talking about the urgency of addressing the climate crisis–and we are–then consider where our new generation is already coming from: earlier this week the International Energy Agency reported that half of all new generation in 2014 was renewables, and that renewables are now the second largest generating source globally. Putting up renewables is fast: onshore wind farms take a year or two to erect, offshore wind longer–but tend to be much larger; utility-scale solar power plants also take only a year or two, rooftop solar takes a team of 4 people about a day. Multiply that by thousands of such teams and that’s why a dozen or so new solar rooftops have been installed in the U.S. alone since I started writing this letter to you a couple hours ago (I took a break for lunch, you see).

The other big change, which we’ve also chronicled in these pages, is where the smart money is going. It’s really not me and other clean energy advocates you have to convince to support nuclear power; we may have the best arguments, but we don’t have the decision-making power. No, you have to convince the folks at Citibank, and Goldman Sachs, and UBS, and all the other investment houses and financial analysts who have decided to put their money on clean energy–not nuclear power.

Earlier this week, Citibank put out a report pointing out that moving to clean energy will actually save the world money–a trillion dollars or more.  Goldman Sachs is putting up hundreds of its own dollars in clean energy investment. If you’ll scroll down through GreenWorld, you’ll find many more reports and analyses from these kinds of institutions. Stories like this one from March, headlined: Deutsche Bank: Solar has already won.

Meanwhile, John, despite your increasingly shrill support for nuclear power and against clean energy advocates (and yes, I’m not going to forget when you told climate funders not to fund us), your message is not resonating in another key sector: the world’s governments. Instead, Germany, with its increasingly successful Energiewende energy transition is leading the way. They’re showing the world how to move away from both nuclear power and fossil fuels, and building a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system. Not that it’s easy, or immediate, but when you compare it to how long some nuclear reactors have taken to build, it’s not all that slow either. And, in fact, it’s so successful that even France–yes, France, the world’s most nuclear country–adopted a law this Spring to begin moving away from nuclear and toward more renewables and energy efficiency. As a climate change measure. We’ve been covering that here in GreenWorld too; here’s one of the most popular stories, titled The accelerating decline of French nuclear power.

I’m actually kind of honored that you would focus your ire on us clean energy advocates, that you think we have such power that we can turn around those governments, and all those Wall Street investment types, and the technologies themselves, and get them all to support nuclear power and somehow build new reactors quickly and cheaply enough to make a difference for the climate. Well, I’ll let you know when I get that kind of magic wand; though when I do I doubt I’ll use it to promote nuclear power. But I might put up a Tesla PowerWall in my house.

I was so impressed with your performance in those 1988 Congressional hearings, when you first came to national prominence by warning our elected officials about the need to take urgent action on climate. Your credentials and the science behind your statements were impeccable. I was paying attention then because, when you were testifying, I was working on my first article about nuclear power and climate, where I pointed out that the nuclear industry would certainly be attempting to use climate as a rationale for more nuclear. I also pointed out then that since it was the same utilities and companies that built and operated both nuclear and fossil fuel plants that it would be hard to take their nuclear-is-the-answer position too seriously–they were the guilty parties in the first place.

But it was easy to predict what would happen. Already back then, Colorado Senator Timothy Wirth was promoting an “advanced” reactor–his choice was the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) being touted then by General Atomics. It didn’t take a genius to figure out where the nuclear industry would be going. Nor did it take a genius to predict the failure of the whole concept of 4th generation reactors. Now, 27 years later, none of those 4th generation reactors are any closer to commercial deployment than they were back then. That’s because they’re either too expensive, or don’t work at all, or the whole notion of trying to make an inherently dangerous technology “inherently safe” is inherently absurd. These designs, whether they be thorium or integral fast reactors, or the PBMRs, or whatever (and some of these designs are more than 50 years old now) exist only on paper for a reason. Yet you continue to tout them as if they are real. I have to say, that kind of draws into question your expertise in this area.

And clearly energy economics isn’t your area of expertise either. Otherwise you’d know what the Wall Street types know: nuclear is simply too expensive to be viable in the clean energy world of the 21st century. To be honest, John, I wish you’d stick to what you do know: climate science, and leave the energy part of the issue–the how we’re going to solve the climate crisis part–to the energy experts. You’ve been the beacon, the warning sign, a modern-day Paul Revere warning our entire planet, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Really, we all owe you a very large debt of gratitude.

But now you’re calling a press conference at the most important climate negotiations ever, and you plan to tell environmentalists that we need to support nuclear power? That’s the sum total of your message now? That we should embrace the only low-carbon technology that releases toxic radiation into the air and water every day? That has a nasty habit of experiencing a major disaster once a decade or so that kills thousands and leaves parts of our planet permanently uninhabitable? That generates lethal and essentially eternal waste that our planet does not know how to store or isolate from our only environment for its hazardous life? That, for all the reasons stated above, is too slow to be useful in reducing carbon emissions and is so expensive that investing in it would crowd out the investments we could (and should and will) make in clean energy that will reduce those emissions faster and cheaper?

I’m sorry, John, but the only thing that has changed since your November 2013 letter is that renewables are even more viable and nuclear is even less so. Yet you keep repeating your tired old refrain as if repetition will change reality. It won’t.

So even if I make it to Paris next month (and for health reasons I’m afraid I probably won’t), I’m going to pass on your press conference. You’ve clearly got nothing new to say, and what you do have to say only exposes how little you know about the subjects you’re talking about. I really wish you’d stick to those that you do know. I wish you’d really bring home to the COP 21 delegates the sense of urgency needed. I wish, with the kind of clarity and force you’re capable of, you would get them to adopt really meaningful, stringent climate goals; goals that give our planet a chance. Then, please step aside. We already know the “how” part–that is a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system. We can meet the goals if the world’s governments will only give us the opportunity. The technology is here; we need you to help provide the political will–not to come in bearing false solutions from a failed industry.

It’s too bad. This should be your time, and instead you’re wasting it. The problem isn’t me, John. Nor the rest of us working for a clean energy future. The problem is you.

Sincerely,

Michael Mariotte
President
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Fukushima, Miso Soup and Me

By Sheila Parks
We can never be too careful when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families. There are no safe foods any longer. Only safer foods. One of hardest things I did right after Fukushima was to give up my beloved miso soup. I had been eating miso soup daily for many decades. And I thought to myself, I am probably never going to be able to eat it again. And for me, now, three plus years later, that remains true.

Sheila Parks at People's Climate March 2014


BACKSTORY

We can never be too careful when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families. There are no safe foods any longer. Only safer foods.

One of the personal, hardest things I did right after the Fukushima Diachii nuclear power plant tragedy and disaster, on March 11, 2011, was to give up my beloved miso soup. I had been eating miso soup daily for many decades. And I thought to myself, I am probably never going to be to eat it again. And for me, now, threeplus years later, that remains true.

More recently because of my getting very involved in Fukushima and the issue of radiation from it, because of my interest in eating healthy food the last 40 years and because I believe I am what I eat, I began researching the food that I had been eating and was eating. Was it radioactive? Where did it come from? I knew that I did not knowingly want to eat any food from Japan. And I knew that I wanted to tell others about food that could be radioactive due to Fukushima, just as I had been telling them for decades about vegetarianism, veganism, the importance of eating only organic, not eating GMO’s, that we are what we eat, and on and on.

Because miso soup is included in almost all, if not all, of the lists of what is good to eat to combat and detox from radiation, I decided to start own miso soup investigation.

Miso soup is often eaten by health-conscious people, and I am a very health-conscious person. I have been an organic vegetarian for 40 years so no fish, fowl, meat and in and out of veganism. I made this change in my life for health, spiritual, ethical, and sustainability reasons. Forty years ago, it was neither fashionable nor trendy, but rather, on the fringes. It was a very easy move for me and I never wanted to go back. I still find being a vegan hard because I like cheese, yogurt, kefir and eggs a lot, but when Fukushima happened, so many of the health food people to go vegan that I did again. Now, since Fukushima, and all the “to eat” lists that miso soup is on, it appears that many more people are thinking about eating miso, talking about eating miso or are already eating it anew.

Because miso is known for its healing properties in general, as well as its healing of radiation sickness, as a detox for radiation, and perhaps even healing and/or preventing cancer, it is often if not always listed as something to eat now to heal from the radiation from Fukushima that we might have been or are currently exposed to. A scholarly article and experiment about miso by Hiromitsu Watanabe in 2013 on the healing aspects of miso is often quoted. Given all this current emphasis on eating miso, I felt compelled to do further research to confirm my understanding that miso does indeed come from Japan, before I began to suggest to others that they reconsider eating miso after Fukushima.

I do not write this paper to denounce miso nor to decry its efficacy. I ate miso soup consciously and intentionally for decades and I miss it a lot. write this paper to question how safe it is to eat it today, after Fukushima, how safe it is to eat anything that comes from Japan now no matter how small the amount and no matter how safe it supposedly is. How do we know whether or not to trust those who do the measurements and us it is all right to eat foods from Japan?

I also write this paper because I think it is crucial that we all stay as healthy as we possibly can, given all the radiation and contamination from Fukushima, Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the state of Washington, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), in New Mexico, and all the other nuclear power plants in the world. In 2011, AP reported from an investigation they did that “Radioactive leaks [were] found at 75% of US nuclear sites.” think it is crucial that we mitigate what is happening to our planet and to us because of Fukushima. We need all the information we can not an “either/or,” but rather a “both/and” woman. That means, to borrow from Dorothy Day, I like to do both: not only stop the speeding train, i.e., act to shut down all nuclear power plants now, to advocate for change to solar, wind, geothermals and to work to get an international team charge of Fukushima; but also and simultaneously to strive to help the survivors of that speeding train, and that means all of us, and especially, course, all the children of the world. And part of this mitigation means we have to take care of ourselves. Like in an airplane when the oxygen masks come down, the adult has to put theirs on first, before putting the child’s on or both adult and child can die. To mitigate the situation right now, for every human being and animal on the planet as best we can, leads me to miso soup.

JAPANESE FARMERS SPEAK OUT ABOUT CONTAMINATED FOOD IN JAPAN

My instinct not to eat food that comes from Japan was very strongly confirmed when I watched a June 6, 2013 video and read the accompanying text under it: “Fukushima Farmers vs Japanese Government: ‘Our Farmland Has Been Seriously Contaminated!‘” in which farmers talk about food they are growing and selling after Fukushima. It gives one of the most honest and forthright assessments of the situation that I have seen. And firsthand experience from the farmers. It is the “38th National Action Day of Environmental Pollution Victims: Negotiations with TEPCO/Japanese Government.” One of the farmers says, “I know there is contamination in what we grow. I feel guilty about growing and selling them to consumers”.We are not removing the contamination.” I don’t see how the situation can have gotten any better. Only worse.

HOW MUCH RADIATION IS IT LEGAL TO EAT, IN JAPAN AND THE USA?

John LaForge, codirector of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, tells us, “Japan has decided that fish contaminated with fewer than 100 Becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) of cesium137 is good enough to eat. Some local officials have set a stricter of 50 Bq/kg.”

LaForge continues, “In the U.S. the permissible level of cesium in food is 1,200 Bq/kg. Canada allows 1,000 Bq/kg. The difference is startling. huge discrepancy allows importation by the U.S. and Canada of what Japan considers highly contaminated fish, vegetables and meat. Rice, fish, beef and other Japanese exports poisoned by nuclear power’s single worst nightmare is doubtless being consumed in the United States.” unconscionable that the USA and Canada have set their bars for the permissible level of Cesium or other radionuclides in food to be so much higher than Japan’s limits. For me, there is never any permissible level for any country to allow radionuclides in our food. Some noted nuclear scientists quoted by Beyond Nuclear say that “There is No Safe Dose of Ionizing Radiation.” I agree. My article about the Pacific Ocean and my suggestion about food from the ocean may also be useful in this regard.

NAGASAKI, JAPAN BOMBING BY USA AND MISO SOUP

Much attention is also being paid now to Dr. Shinichiro Akizuki and his treatment of patients at or very near the epicenter of the Nagasaki bombing by the USA during WWII. Akizuki was the director of the Saint Francis Hospital in Nagasaki at the time. He treated patients at the hospital not with miso soup, but also with a very strict macrobiotic diet both before and after the bombing. Akizuki thought that it was the miso soup and diet that saved both him and his patients from dying, while others died and/or suffered horribly from burns and radiation sickness.

I have been ruminating on this for some time now. How could eating miso soup and seaweed that came from Ground Zero possibly have protected anyone from anything? Maybe I should/could/would go back to eating miso soup after all? But no matter what anyone said, I knew that path was not for me. We all draw our lines in the sand in different places.

This quote from a report on Akizuki and his work helped my thinking on this a lot. “Since the hospital was luckily used as a storage center for miso, soy sauce, and seaweed, as well as brown rice of that communal area, the hospital staff could supply their patients with traditional food. As a result, he was able to help many people survive from the direct injury, while other survivors perished or suffered from severe radiation sickness.” So they were eating food from before the bombing of Nagasaki, not after. That confirmed my thoughts about not eating food from Japan after Fukushima. My questions, though, about where their storage center was and how it was protected from the bombing of Nagasaki, linger.

CHERNOBYL AND MISO SOUP

The nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl occurred on April 26, 1986. No matter how much I search, I cannot find a citation for what I have read in number of articles about there being truckloads of miso going to Ukraine/Belarus after Chernobyl. Perhaps the story is apocryphal. But in any case, since Chernobyl was before Fukushima, miso from Japan could have been used without the fear of its being irradiated and contaminated. Incidentally, I ran off to my local health food store right after Fukushima and bought some kelp that I was sure was on their shelves before Fukushima happened.

WHAT IS MISO?

Before going any further, an explanation of what miso is, and what it is made of, is necessary. Miso is a thick paste, most often made from soybeans (but also from rice, barley, rye, buckwheat, millet, azuki beans, chickpeas and other grains), salt and koji culture. Miso is always fermented. Miso 101 from Hikari Miso Co., located in Nagano, Japan, is an easy, understandable read about miso. A History of Miso and Soybean Chiang is a very detailed and interesting account.

HOW IS MISO FERMENTED?

Miso is always fermented with a mold culture, a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae, or koji. This mold culture, koji, always comes from Japan.

Another explanation says it this way, “The starter culture for miso is called koji. Koji is prepared by inoculating steamed rice with the fungus Aspergillus oryzae (in some cases barley replaces rice). The rice koji is then added to steamed soyabeans and allowed to ferment. Miso is naturally fermented and can be left unpasteurized, aging in wooden casks.”

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF MISO?

William Shurtleff is an expert on miso, perhaps the expert on miso in today’s world. In 2007, he and Akiko Aoyagi, in a “History of Miso and Soybean Chiang,” end with this statement: “Today, the northeastern provinces are known as the ‘miso heartland’ of Japan; the percapita consumption there is the highest in the nation and the ancient homemade miso tradition is still very much alive. These facts, combined with the archaeological evidence indicating early mastery of saltpickling and fermentation, move some scholars to go so far as to trace the origins of miso and shoyu) to this part of Japan rather than to China or Korea.”

WHAT IS KOJI?

Shurtleff and Aoyagi give a very detailed, with dates included, “History of Koji Grains and/or Soybeans Enrobed with a Mold Culture (300BCE 2012).” They provide the following description: “Koji is a culture prepared by growing either Aspergillus oryzae or Monascus purpureus mold on cooked grains and/or soybeans in a warm, humid place. Koji serves as a source of enzymes that break down (or hydrolyze / digest / split) natural plant constituents into simpler compounds when making miso, soy sauce, sake, amazake, and other fermented foods. Its fragrant white (or red) mycelium, which looks somewhat like the surface of a tennis ball, has a delightful aroma resembling that of mushrooms.”

WHERE DOES KOJI MOLD/CULTURE COME FROM?

After much research, the main thing I can say about Aspergillus orzyae is that it can be found in air, water and soil. I do not understand at all it comes only from Japan. I cannot help but wonder if we can get Aspergillus orzyae elsewhere. Perhaps, China? Because whether or not it originated in Japan or not, it certainly was used there a very long time ago.

However, wherever miso originated, China, Korea or Japan, every article I read said that today koji comes only from Japan: “Koji Mold is only and exists in Japan and is considered to be a valuable asset and more like cultural heritage that has been managed and nurtured by our ancestors in the past. In 2006 The Brewing Society of Japan has officially recognized Koji Mold as a national mold. Koji Mold is classified as Aspergillus genus, filamentous (stringlike) mold with a spore whose size is 510 μm. Its weight is so light that 1g of Koji mold contains 10 billion spores. Different from plants, Koji Mold is nonphotosynthetic and asexual (no distinction between male and female).”

In their aforementioned “History of Koji….,” Shurtleff and Aoyagi discuss its early origins: “725 CE The Harima no Kuni Fudoki [Geography Culture of Harima province], from Japan, is the first document that mentions koji outside of China. It states that by the early 8th century in Japan, koji was being made using airborne koji molds.” [I called and spoke briefly on the telephone with Shurtleff on January 31, 2014, and he said it fine to quote him.]

A 2008 paper in Oxford Journals’ DNA Research about Aspergillus orzyae sheds some light on the production and distribution of the mold in Japan. Further research would need to be done to see whether or not these figures are still true in 2014. “Figure 1 [depicts] A historical signboard of a producer of A. oryzae conidiospores. Aspergillus oryzae conidiospores are industrially produced and are distributed to fermentation companies. suppliers were established 600 years ago (Muromachi period). No other suppliers were established before A.D. 1718th. The figure shows a photograph of an original signboard, Kuroban (black stamp), prepared under the license of Kojiza, the association of A. oryzae conidiospores suppliers during the Muromachi period. Currently there are five major distributors in Japan supplying A. oryzae conidiospores to 4500 sake (Japanese alcoholic beverage, ca. 1900 brewers), miso (soybean paste, ca. 1200 brewers) and shoyu (soy sauce, ca. 1500 brewers) brewers in Japan, excluding several of the biggest soy sauce companies.”

EMAIL CONVERSATIONS WITH THREE COMPANIES ABOUT THEIR MISO

To probe further about the sources of koji, I initiated email conversations with three companies about their miso: one in Japan, one in the USA one in the UK. I asked where their koji came from, and if it was tested for radiation and if so, where and by whom. Each company stated that use koji from Japan to make their miso. Their answers varied about where in Japan the koji came from and if tested and how, but suffice to say that the answers from all three companies did nothing to allay my fears about eating miso. These email exchanges are in the APPENDIX at the of this paper.

NOTABLE VOICES ON FUKUSHIMA, FOOD AND HOT PARTICLES

As I was writing this article, several well known no nukes experts/activists, a radiation expert and a Tokyo doctor who moved to western Japan, away from Tokyo, confirmed my worst fears about eating post Fukushima foods from Japan.

This, of course, includes my beloved miso soup, with koji culture always sourced from Japan. In an interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott by Oliver McElligott for Community radio BayFM broadcasting out of Byron Bay, Australia and published February 26, 2014, Dr. Caldicott says at 11:10 into the recording “”huge areas of Japan are contaminated. The food is contaminated and the fish”.” At 15:12, McElligott tells her he remembers her saying, “Don’t eat sushi.” At 15:18 she says “”don’t eat any Japanese food. None. No rice. No meat. No seaweed. Nothing.”

At a presentation in Kyoto, Japan (mostly in Japanese), published March 24, 2014, Caldicott points to a map of Japan called “LOCAL FALLOUT” says “As you can see, the whole land mass is contaminated to a greater or lesser extent.”

In an April 3, 2014, Fairewinds transcript from a video by Marco Kaltofen, with an introduction by Arnie Gundersen, we learn that the hot particle sample they examined “”came from the Nagoya in Japan. It’s 460 kilometers from the accident site. That’s about 300 miles away.” (Meltdowns involving nuclear fuel can create “hot particles.”

The fuel first vaporizes and then cools into microscopic particles that have a tendency to aggregate together. They are often carried by the winds. Some are in a size range easy to inhale and capable of lodging in our lungs.) “Even a single hot particle consumed or inhaled into the body can cause a cancer,” says Dr. Andy Kanter, MD, MPH, at a May 4, 2012 NYC Press Conference about Fukushima.

Kaltofen also defines Becquerel for us: “In Japan, we measure radiation in Becquerels. A Becquerel is obviously named after someone. It’s named after Henri Becquerel. And a Becquerel means one radioactive disintegration per second. Now in Japan, if your food has more than 100 Becquerels in a kilogram, about 45 Becquerels in a pound, then it’s not considered safe to eat. The number is a bit higher in the United States, but if we use 100 Becquerels per kilogram as a guide it’s something too radioactive to eat”” So, the number of Becquerels is one measure of how radioactive something is and is what a Geiger counter measures. If a Geiger count clicks five times every second, that is five Becquerels. If it clicks five times over a ten second period, that is half a Becquerel. The Becquerels measure how fast the counter is clicking. In other words, the Becquerel is like speedometer (which measures miles per hour) not an odometer (which measures total number of miles).

On June 27, 2014, Radiation expert Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear was interviewed about Fukushima on NEXT NEWS NETWORK. At 12:37 the interviewer asks Kamps, “” what about the food industry, are they doing any testing?” Kamps responds, “they’re doing woefully inadequate testing … in fact United States regulations are much weaker than Japan’s … so Japan has a standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in food … that’s 100 radioactive disintegrations per second per second, per second, per second, ongoing in 2.2 lbs of food. Here in the United States, our standard is 1,200 becquerels of cesium per kilogram of food … our standards are twelve times weaker … it means we could be importing food unfit for human consumption in Japan, and it’s perfectly legal to serve it to children on the dinner table here in the United States.”

In an interview published on February 13, 2014, Tokyo physician Dr. Shigeru Mita talks about his concerns with people, especially children, living Tokyo. He responds to a question by interviewer Nelson Groom about the food from Tokyo: “What are your thoughts on food contamination? Do you think there are any dietary precautions that people should be taking? Dr. Mita: “In Japan, commercial distribution is prosperous, so some the contaminated food is definitely coming to Tokyo. A lot of people claim that we have to eat all of the local products to sustain the economy, think that we should be testing everything thoroughly, and that at least children should be spared from eating food with any risk of contamination.”

In July 2014, the World Network For Saving Children From Radiation posted an interview with Dr. Shigeru Mita, who stated, “It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation. Contamination of the soil can be shown by measuring Bq/kg. Within the districts of Metropolitan Tokyo, contamination in the east part is 10004000Bq/kg and the west part is 3001000 Bq/kg. The contamination of the capital city of Ukraine, is 500 Bq/kg (Ce137 only). West Germany after the Chernobyl accident has 90 Bq/kg, Italy has 100 and France has Bq/kg on average. Many cases of health problems have been reported in Germany and Italy. Shinjuku, the location of the Tokyo municipal government, was measured at 0.51.5 Bq/kg before 2011.”

Given these extremely dangerous levels of radiation in Tokyo, I urge you to sign and then share widely this petition by Dr. Carol Wolman, MD, the USA, asking “radioactive Tokyo” to resign as the host of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, the government of Japan continues to push aggressively on with exporting their food. On June 14, Iori Mochizuki tells us in his Fukushima Diary that the “Japanese government aims to double the food export by 2020. They are investing to promote food from and made Japan collaborating with ‘Cool Japan'”The budget includes the exhibition cost of 1.1 billion yen for EXPO Milan. From the research of Fukushima Diary, this budget to increase Japanese food export has been skyrocketing since 2012″In order to ‘restore’ the credibility and ‘brand’ of Japanese food damaged by Fukushima accident, the government of Japan budgeted 1.5 billion yen in 2012. It jumped up to 11 billion yen in 2013. By 2014,
it’s already increased by 14 times since 2012.”

IN SUMMARY

My don’t knows, and still trying to find outs, as I write this: Where exactly in Japan does koji come from today and does that even matter? places where it comes from near Fukushima and does that really matter? On our grocery shelves, is koji clearly and specifically stated as an ingredient in miso? N.B. It appears to be the law in the USA that miso could be called a product of the USA on its label, so you would not even know where koji comes from, even if it is listed as an ingredient in miso. The previous sentence needs another whole article about labeling of foods. Labeling is a much wider problem than only the horrific one of not labeling GMO’s. Is miso tested for radiation, and if so, by whom and how often? Are the results made public?

The wonderful and valuable Eat and Beat Cancer blog by Harriet Sugar Miller also talks about the great benefits of miso soup. And, unlike all the many other lists I have read, Miller give us this crucial caveat: “And of course, you’ll want to purchase clean sources of both seaweed miso. You can find some on the net or at your local health food store. (If the products are from Japan, make sure they were shipped prior to the disaster.)” The last sentence, weirdly in parenthesis, says it all.

MY SOLUTIONS TO DATE

I still do not eat miso soup. Although some insist otherwise, for me, there is no safe exposure to radiation, no matter how small the amount. I not knowingly want to eat any food from Japan. These days, instead of my beloved miso soup, some of the foods I eat, hopefully to take a similar healthy place, include: 1) organic, raw shelled hemp seeds by Manitoba Harvest, sourced from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada; organic chia seeds from two companies: organic and fair trade black chia seeds by Himalania, labeled “Product of Peru and Paraguay” (that kind label can be very deceptive and requires another whole paper), and also organic chia seeds by 365 Everyday Value by Whole Foods, labeled “PRODUCT OF PERU” (same comment as above); 3) organic flax seeds by Barlean’s, sourced from North Dakota, USA and Saskatchewan, Canada.

I have spoken with each company to find out the specific place each of these is sourced from, country of origin, and, if applicable, the state(s) USA or province(s) in Canada. I check these often and sometimes change products, as companies are often changing their vendors and sources origin. I am still urgently looking for organic hemp hearts that do not come from Alberta, Canada. The city of Calgary, one of the fracking centers Canada is in Alberta and that is where hemp hearts seem to come from, no matter where I search.

To reiterate, we can never be too careful when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families. There are no safe foods any longer. Only safer foods.

NOTE: This article and its appendix are licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialNoderivs
Unported License(US/v.30) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncnd/
3.0/

APPENDIX: EMAIL EXCHANGES WITH THREE MISO COMPANIES

All email sequences are in reverse chronological order. I have deleted the names, direct phone numbers and email addresses of the people in the companies that I corresponded with.

1) EMAIL EXCHANGES WITH A JAPANESE COMPANY, Hikari Miso International
From: “Hikari Miso International, Inc.”
To: “‘Sheila Parks'”
Subject: RE: Hikari Miso Thank you for your inquiry!
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 13:50:08 0800

Hi Sheila,
I am XXXXB and I will reply on behalf of XXXXA. We only test our domestic ingredients(made in Japan), and we do not test our final products.
We do not use domestic ingredients for our Shio Koji. Only koji culture is made in Kyushu(Southern) Japan. The area is not affected radiation.

Best Regards,
XXXXB

****************************
HIKARI MISO INTERNATIONAL, INC.
email: customer@hikarimiso.com
URL: www.hikarimiso.com
TEL (310) 988xxxb
****************************
From: Sheila Parks []
Sent: Monday, February 17, 2014 12:05 PM
To: XXXXA
Cc: Email address
Subject: Re: Hikari Miso Thank you for your inquiry!

Hello again, dear XXXXA,
I am wondering if you test the koji for radiation and if so, where? And also, if radiation is found in the koji, how many becquerels?

Thank you again,
Sheila
At 06:15 PM 2/7/2014, you wrote:

Hi Sheila,
The koji culture is made Nagano Prefecture.

Thank you!
XXXXA

On Thu, 06 Feb 2014 21:50:440500,
Sheila Parks wrote:

Dear XXXXA,
Thank you so much and for your fast response. Can you tell me what prefecture(s) in Japan? Thank you again and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Sheila

At 08:46 PM 2/6/2014, you wrote:
Dear Ms. Parks, Thank you for reaching out to us at Hikari Miso! It’s always wonderful to hear from our customers. To answer your question, yes, all of our miso contains a koji culture. It is this wonderful element that initiates the fermentation process to create our high quality miso. Our koji made in Japan. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Best, XXXXA

XXXXA
Sales Representative
********************************************
HIKARI MISO INTERNATIONAL, INC.
www.hikarimiso.com
********************************************
Are you an Individual
Title: Ms. First Name Sheila
Last Name Parks
Company Name
Country USA
What will this Email be about? Products
Comments or Questions

Thank you so much for your very informative web site. I am wondering if all miso has koji culture in it. And if so, where yours comes from. Thank you very much. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

XXXXA
Sales Representative
********************************************
HIKARI MISO INTERNATIONAL, INC.
2281 W. 205th St. #106
Torrance, CA 90501
www.hikarimiso.com
XXXXA
TEL 310903xxxa
FAX (310) 8780356
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The distance between Fukushima to Nagano is 147 miles.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The distance from Fukushima to Kyushu is 606 miles.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Report of cesium found in mushroom made in Kyushu, September 30, 2012.
2) EMAIL EXCHANGES WITH A USA COMPANY IN WESTERN MA, South River Miso Company
AUTHOR’S NOTE This last email, from me, was never answered, to date of this writing.
XMailer:
QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 7.1.0.9
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2014 15:01:07 0500
To: YYYYY
From: Sheila Parks sheilaxxxx|AT|comcast.netEmail address>
Subject: Re: South River Miso Co., Inc. Email Response
Cc: sheilaxxxx|AT|comcast.netEmail address

Hello again, dear YYYYY,
Can you tell me what a “researched and ‘clean’ facility” means? Also, if radiation is found in the koji, how many becquerels?

Thank you again,
Sheila

From: “YYYYY@southrivermiso.com
Date: Wed, 05 Feb 2014 11:26:22 0500
To: YYYYY
From: Sheila Parks
Subject: Re: South River Miso Co., Inc. Email Response
Cc:
Thank you so much
Sheila
At 11:13 AM 2/5/2014, you wrote:

Sheila The spores come from Akita.

YYYYY
10/6/2014 Printer Friendly Page | OpEdNews
http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php 8/9
On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 2:44 PM, sheilaxxxx|AT|comcast.net sheilaxxxx|AT|comcast.netEmail address wrote:

Hi YYYYY,
Thank you for your fast response.
Can you tell me which prefecture(s) in Japan the koji comes from?

Thank you again,
Sheila
To: Sheila Parks
Sent: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 2:10:41 PM
Subject: Re: South River Miso Co., Inc. Email Response

Sheila The Aspergillus oryzae spores used to make koji come from Japan from a thoroughly researched and “clean” facility.

YYYYY

On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 1:33 PM, Sheila Parks wrote:

comments:

Dear South River Miso, Thank you for your very informative website. I am wondering if you could please tell me where your koji culture comes from that is, the country of origin and where within that country?  And do you have it tested for radiation and other toxics, no matter where  it comes from?hank you, I am looking forward to hearing from you.

YYYYY
4133694057
ext yyy
southrivermiso.com
facebook.com/southrivermiso
youtube.com/southrivermiso
AUTHOR’S NOTE : The distance between Fukushima to Akita is 136.83 miles
AUTHOR’S NOTE: “About 3 tablespoons of spore powder are used for 350 pounds of grain.” Ratio koji culture and grain from South
River Miso website.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: For full disclosure, South River Miso was the miso I used for a long time. It came in glass jars, it was made locally
(I did not know about the Japanese connection at that time) and it tasted great.
3) EMAIL EXCHANGES WITH A COMPANY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, Clearspring
From: quality quality|AT|clearspring.co.ukEmail address>
To: “Sheila Parks”
Subject: RE: A question for you
ThreadTopic:
A question for you
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2014 13:30:58 +0000

Dear Sheila,

The Koji culture is always manufacturer specific. If location of the manufacturer is situated in the affected area than the end product comes with radiation certificate conducted by an authorized laboratory. If location of the manufacturer is situated elsewhere then we get a statement from manufacturer that the radiation certificate is not needed because of the location. None of the products from Japan can come to the European Union without this statement. We do all necessary steps in order to provide product safety. For further details please read the Food and Safety section Safety on Japanese imports.
Should you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,
ZZZZZ

10/6/2014 Printer Friendly Page | OpEdNews
http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php 9/9
Quality Assurance Administrator | Clearspring Ltd.
www.clearspring.co.uk | +44 (0) 20 8735 zzzz (direct line) |+44 (0)20 8746 2259 (fax)
19A Acton Park Estate, London, W3 7QE, UK

Original
MessageFrom:
Sheila Parks
Sent: 02 February 2014 03:12
To: Info
Cc: Email address
Subject: A question for you
Importance: High

Dear Clearspring,
Thank you for your informative web site I just sent this off to you on the form on your web site, but thought to send it this way also.
In your FAQ you speak to where your sea vegetables come from. I am writing to ask where your koji culture comes from? And if you have it tested for radiation? And if so, by who?

Thank you so much, I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Sheila Parks
********************************************************
NOTE: This article and its appendix are licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialNoderivs
Unported License(US/v.30)

Submitters Website: http://www.handcountedpaperballots.org
Submitters Bio:
Sheila Parks, Ed.D.,is now working to stop Fukushima and to shut down all nuclear power plants, all of which are crimes against humanity. She spent many years in the struggle against nuclear weapons with the Catholic Left. Many of those years involved lots of nonviolent civil disobedience against nuclear weapons and other evils of the USA society. She spent a year in prison for a Plowshares action against first strike nuclear weapons, Trident II. Defending the abortion clinics with her body for many years was a part of her feminist activities. Parks spent 13 years working for voting rights, against all electronic voting machines and for the solution of handcounting.
She is the author of a book, published September 6, 2012: “WHILE WE STILL HAVE TIME: The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracy’s Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure HandCounted Paper Ballots (HCPB)Elections” and the Founder of the Center for HandCounted Paper Ballots. She is a researcher and writer who lives in Watertown, and is an ardent feminist, internationalist and peace & justice activist/organizer.

Gorgeous global march shows how to win the climate fight

Huge environmental action in New York teaches us that the answer to change lies with the grass roots.

By Harvey Wasserman | The Rag Blog | September 22, 2014

NEW YORK — The massive People’s Climate March, the most hopeful, diverse, photogenic, energizing, and often hilarious march I’ve joined in 52 years of activism — and one of the biggest, at 400,000 strong — has delivered a simple messag​e: we can and will rid the planet of fossil fuels and nuclear power, we will do it at the grassroots, it will be demanding and difficult to say the least, but it will also have its moments of great fun.

With our lives and planet on the line, our species has responded.

Ostensibly, this march was in part meant to influence policy makers. That just goes with the territory.

But in fact what it showed was an amazingly broad-based, diverse, savvy, imaginative, and very often off-beat movement with a deep devotion to persistence and cause, and a great flair for fun.

The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance and
relentless charm.

The magic of today’s New York minute was its upbeat diversity, sheer brilliance, and relentless charm. A cross between a political rally and a month at Mardi Gras. There were floats, synchronized dances, outrageous slogans, chants, songs, costumes, marching bands, hugs, parents with their kids, and one very sweaty guy in a gorilla suit.

Above all, there was joy…which means optimism…which means we believe we can win…which is the best indicator we will.

This was a march of the regular citizenry, many come a very long way, at great discomfort and expense, deep into the process of being community organizers, intervenors, plaintiffs, civil disobedients, fundraisers, impromptu speakers, letter writers, and whatever else we might need to us get through this awful corporate disease.

For when push comes to shove — and it has — our Solartopian future will be won one victory at a time.

Oh yes, we will try to influence the policy-makers. The UN, the Obama Administration, the bought-and-rented Congress, the usual suspects.

But we won’t be begging. It needs to be the other way around.

Because what must happen most of all is organizing from the grassroots against each and every polluting power plant, unwanted permit, errant funding scheme, stomach-turning bribe, planet-killing frack well, soon-to-melt reactor, and much much more.

Winning this fight for global survival will be done not with one great triumph over corporate hypocrisy and greed. Instead it’ll require death by a million cuts, with countless small victories won day-to-day at the unseen grassroots. As the man said, this revolution will not be televised.

Manhattan’s flagship march was joined by sibling demonstrations throughout the world.

Manhattan’s flagship march was joined by sibling demonstrations throughout the world. By all counts millions of concerned citizens came out to say, loud and clear, that the debate is over:

Climate chaos is a clear and present danger.

It’s caused by “King CONG” — Coal, Oil, Nukes, and Gas.

KingCongPoster_websized_PeoplesClimateMarchSept2104

Poster by Gail Payne

The corporations that threaten us all must be reorganized and held accountable. Corporate greed is no way to power an economy. Corporate personhood is an unsustainable myth. The corporate profit motive is at war with our survival.

But renewable energy, community-owned and operated, can and will green-power our Earth cleanly and cheaply, bringing jobs, prosperity, ecological balance and, in concert, peace and social justice, without which no green transition is sustainable.

And it will come to us on the wings of focused local campaigns against each and every polluting project, one at a time, through the grueling, endless hard work of an aroused and focused citizenry.

The people I saw, interviewed, and rode in on the bus with (from central Ohio; I got the last seat) are working locally while thinking globally. They are our species’ planetary immune system.

This march said we are now a mature movement with a great sense of mission, diversity and self. We know what the problem is. We know who the perpetrators are. We know what the solutions are, and that they work.

Will it be enough?

Time will tell. We must, as always, fight like hell. It will be hard, to say the least.

But please, along the way, let’s have many more marches like this one.

[Harvey Wasserman, a pioneer of the environmental movement, wrote Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth and edits NukeFree.org. Read more of Harvey Wasserman’s writing on The Rag Blog.]

We Made History, Now the Real Work Starts

Visit the NIRS photo gallery of the Nuclear Free, Carbon Free Contingent at the 9.21.14 Climate March

 Nuclear Hotseat #170: Climate Change March Special w/Michael Mariotte, Gail Payne, Dr. Sheila Parks

 

Helen Caldicott Symposium held on Mar. 11 & 12, 2013 in NYC

http://www.radiationtruth.org/2013/03/a-summary-of-the-helen-caldicott-symposium-held-on-mar-11-12-2013-in-nyc/

Hattie Nestel’s summary of the Helen Caldicott Symposium on the Medical & Ecological Consequences of Fukushima:

The Medical And Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident
March 11 & 12 2013,(The 2nd anniversary of the start of the triple meltdown) The New York Academy of Medicine New York City
sponsored by The Helen Caldicott Foundation and Physicians for Social Responsibility

My battery is totally recharged! It was more than stimulating to be in a like-minded crowd that was totally on-board with the mission: end nuclear power and create a renewable energy future. I am so glad I went. Thank you all who encouraged and supported my going. So, here is my report.

There were some 200 in the audience in rapt silence as many videographers recorded more than twenty-five presentations about the March, 2011 meltdowns of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear reactors. The catastrophe was examined by leading world experts in radiation biology, epidemiology, oceanography, nuclear engineering, and nuclear policy. The talks were insightful, well-researched, poignant, and based on solid science and medical practice. And quite understandable for some in the audience, like me, who have none of these backgrounds.

Both days started promptly at 9 AM and ended promptly at 6:30 PM. During each morning and afternoon coffee break, there was a great buzz as we met people from all over the world, including Ukraine, Australia, Japan, Canada, and all over the US.

The conference opened with a video sent by and featuring former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan who was in office when the catastrophe of the Fukushima meltdowns occurred. Mr. Kan stressed that design flaws and human error caused the meltdowns. Mr. Kan stated emphatically that nuclear power cannot coexist with human life and must be abolished worldwide. Mr. Kan said releases of cancer-inducing Cesium-137 amounted to 400 to 500 times the releases of the Hiroshima bomb and that radioactive releases continue from the site. Despite TEPCO’s wish to the contrary, Mr. Kan said he made the difficult decision to require workers to remain on site in order to contain the catastrophe.

Mr. Kan emphasized that Fukushima is a man-made catastrophe which was engineered by GE and sold to Japan by the US

Dr. Alexey Yablokov of the Russian Academy of Sciences drew a standing ovation as he explained his unique methodology for assessing cancer incidence from the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown and his book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.

Dr. Yabloko has concluded that official estimates including the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and Soviet and Russian governments underestimate both mortality and cancers caused by radiation from Chernobyl.

Before Monday’s lunch, we heard testimony from two US Navy veterans, Jaime Plym and Maurice Enis, who are among 5,000 sailors caught in Fukushima’s radiation fallout aboard the USS Ronald Reagan just off shore of the meltdowns for 80 days. The veterans were given no protective gear, no potassium iodine pills, and no information that they were being exposed to high levels of radiation. Before disembarking the ship, they were ordered to sign papers saying they were in good health and agreed they would not sue the US for any heath problems they might experience in the future. They say they now suffer serious health problems and no health insurance to cover their medical bills. With other Navy personnel who accuse TEPCO of providing “false and misleading information” about Fukushima while being “aware that the potential health risk was greater than its agents were reporting.” (See CBS News report: Navy Vets Say Fukushima Meltdown Made Them Sick 3/11/13).

During Tuesday’s lunch break, we heard from several Japanese women about societal and medical effects of Fukushima on Japanese family and culture. The women cite the Japanese government’s failure to inform citizens of the real dangers and further note the Japanese government’s failure adequately to compensate citizens for loss of property. Further, the Japanese media failed to investigate and report on the Fukushima disaster in timely fashion. The women are worried about their health and the health of their children since the meltdowns.

Many speakers pointed out that there was little planning for the possibility a disaster of the magnitude of the Fukushima meltdowns. There will undoubtedly be long-lasting and serious health effects incurring DNA damage going forward for many, many generations.

The consensus of speakers acknowledges no possible remediation of widespread high levels of contamination. Any genuine cleanup would be impossibly expensive and time consuming. It is clear that there is nowhere to put enormous amounts of contaminated soil, water, and debris. In addition, the 80% of radiation that leaked into the Pacific is irretrievable: even if we COULD clean things up, it is too late. The horse is out of the barn.

The physicians stressed their oath, “Above all, do no harm.” Prevention is the most important thing. Nuclear energy’s capacity to do damage is beyond human control, and the only way to prevent harm is to abolish nuclear power.

Others spoke of the failure of US engineers when they sited the Fukushima reactors in a high-level earthquake area with a long history of tsunamis, some of them measurable at considerable height. To provide easier road access to the reactors, Fukushima developers blasted a natural cliff sea wall down from 30 feet to 10 feet with a 14-foot man-made sea wall. The 2011 tsunami crested to 46 feet and flooded basement diesels so that they could no longer provide auxiliary power, thus leading to the meltdowns.

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen spoke of economic pressures to curb costs, thus undermining the stringency of inspections, oversight, and maintenance. As in the United States, Japanese oversight agencies often draw from the nuclear industry. Oversight agencies are, therefore, corrupted by close ties. Mr. Gundersen also mentioned that spent fuel rods stored at Fukushima in dry casks on site were unharmed by the effects of the earthquake and tsunami. Spent fuel stored in pools high above the ground portend much more danger, but as at United States nuclear plants,TEPCO resisted putting rods in casks because of the cost: about $1.2 million each.

Mr. Gundersen further reported that Fukushima radiation monitors recorded 30,000 times the usual background radiation yearly dose in 10 minutes on March 12, although those readings were not made public at that time. Mr. Gundersen visited Tokyo in November, 2012, and took soil samples. He found the soil he measured contained radioactive hot spots.

Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum called Fukushima a foreseeable disaster in large measure because of its flawed design. Because of the flawed design, including basement back-up generators flooded by the tsunami, Fukushima’s reactors were without necessary auxiliary power for 9 days. Therefore, fuel rods heated up to meltdown without pumps to circulate cooling water.

In the immediate wake of the meltdowns, there was a muddled chain of command and climate of profound cover-up.

Many speakers noted the acknowledged flawed design of Fukushima’s GE Mark 1 boiling water reactors. GE itself described the design’s deficiencies in the early 70s, but reactors modeled on the prototype were nevertheless installed in many places, including Fukushima and more than 30 US sites, many of them still operating. Akin to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Japan’s oversight agency is corrupted by the industry it purports to regulate, according to many of the symposium’s speakers.

It is notable that if the Japanese government acknowledged the true extent of radiation contamination, compensating the millions of affected people and businesses would bankrupt Japan.

Presenters observed that the US has 63 military installations throughout the Japanese islands with some 60,000 military dependents including men, women, and children. These people, too, are potentially eligible for compensation and evacuation if the extent of contamination were to be honestly acknowledged.

Maps of radiation from Fukushima demonstrate a variable path because of prevailing winds, uneven concentrations, and fickle meteorological conditions. One thing is clear: more radiation will leak from Fukushima and, if Reactor 4 is not contained, future leakage will occur.

Some speakers shared studies of radiation exposure demonstrating that women, children, and especially fetuses are much more vulnerable than young men to damage and possible cancers from radiation exposure, although the standard for measuring harm from radiation is young men. Other studies show high infant mortality rates in both Japan and the US west coast at almost precisely nine months after the disaster, a phenomenon also observed within nine months of the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986.

Presenters also charged that International Atomic Energy Agency and World Health Organization statistics from the Fukushima tragedy understate its extent.

“The Fukushima crisis is actually an issue of global public health,” said Dr. Caldicott in her concluding remarks. “We are already observing a demonstrable, increased incidence of thyroid abnormalities in children in the Fukushima Prefecture. This may be an early indicator of an eventual increased incidence of thyroid cancers.

“Further, plumes of radioactivity from Fukushima are currently migrating in the Pacific Ocean towards the West Coast,” Dr. Caldicott added. “The crisis is far from over . . . and worst of all, Fukushima Daichi’s Building #4, which holds 100 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel, was seriously damaged in the earthquake and could collapse in another quake. This would cause the fuel pool to burn, releasing even more massive amounts of radiation. All of these have profound medical and public health implications.”

Dr. Caldicott implored her audience to work for a renewable energy future well within our ability to achieve. “Within nine months of Pearl Harbor,” she observed, “the United States completely retooled its industry to make war. It would be entirely possible within nine months, for the US to completely retool its industry to make and install solar panels and wind turbines to replace fossil-fuel and nuclear energy sources.”

Dr. Caldicott also encouraged conservation and urged people to examine their life styles, turning off their dryers, hang clothes on clotheslines, and develop mindfulness of energy-hogging lifestyles.

Nuclear Whistleblowers Conference – March 9, 2013 – San Francisco

Sailors on USS Ronald Reagan cleaning decks with soap during first days of Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster.

Sailors on USS Ronald Reagan cleaning decks with soap during first days of Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster.

March 9th SF Forum On The 2nd Anniversary Of The Fukushima Meltdown

Nuclear Whistleblowers, Health And Safety, Workers and Our Communities

Saturday March 9, 2013
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
San Francisco Community College Mission Campus, Rm 201
1125 Valencia St. between 22nd St. and 23rd St.
San Francisco, California

Donation Requested

The growing dangers and systemic health and safety problems at nuclear plants in the US, Japan and around the world are a threat to the workers and communities. On March 9, 2012 there will be a national conference in San Francisco to focus on the issue of health and safety at nuclear plants and the systemic retaliation against nuclear plant whistleblowers. If the 1% stops whistleblowers from reporting on the dangers of nuclear plants, it’s only a matter of time till we’ll be having Fukushima in California.

It will also look at the failure of government agencies to do proper oversight of the retaliation of whistleblowers at these nuclear plants and how this failure to protect these health and safety whistleblowers needs to be addressed. It will also look at how the communities have been affected including Fukushima and California where San Onofre and Diablo Canyon nuclear plants continue to threaten the environment and nuclear plant workers.

Speakers will include nuclear plant whistleblowers, health and safety experts and advocates and others who are seeking justice, transparency and accountability. The lawyer for the

Speakers:

  • Dale Bridenbaugh, nuclear whistleblower who visited Fukushima
  • Paul Garner, Lawyer for injured service people from Japan who were involved in Tomadachi
  • USS Reagan Sailors
  • Dr. Larry Rose, Former Medical Officer in Charge of Medical Unit Ca-Osha
  • Video From Fukushima Mothers

Sponsors:

Nuclear Power Whistleblowers Charge Federal Regulators With Favoring Secrecy Over Safety

Author of article is Tom Zeller Jr.

Richard H. Perkins and Larry Criscione are precise and formal men with more than 20 years of combined government and military service. Perkins held posts at the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration before joining the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Division of Risk Analysis in 2008. Criscione landed at the agency a year later, after five years aboard the USS Georgia as a submarine warfare officer.

Now both men are also reluctant whistleblowers, stepping out publicly to accuse the NRC of being both disconcertingly sluggish and inappropriately secretive about severe — and in one case, potentially catastrophic — flood risks at nuclear plants that sit downstream from large dams.

A number of nuclear safety advocates who have looked into the matter in recent weeks have echoed their complaints, and a collection of documents obtained by The Huffington Post — including a 4-year old internal communication plan for NRC officials seeking to head-off criticism of its handling of the dam threat, as well as detailed correspondence between Criscione and NRC leadership on the issue — appears to lend credence to the engineers’ concerns.

Taken together, the documents and charges shed new light on an agency that has been repeatedly criticized for allowing plant owners to delay crucial safety improvements for years, and for diligently withholding information not as a way of protecting the public interest, but as a way of protecting itself.

“When you’re working with sensitive information, you just don’t talk about it, so what I’m doing I find to be both perverse and uncomfortable,” Perkins said. “But I had to do it.”

The NRC argues that it has worked swiftly and diligently to address the safety issue that prompted the engineers to speak out, which concerns the risk that certain nuclear power plants would experience severe and potentially catastrophic flooding should nearby dams succumb to mechanical or engineering failures — or even to the increasingly unpredictable whims of Mother Nature.

Further investigation of the issue is underway, the NRC says, as part of an industry-wide review of U.S. plants sparked by the earthquake and tsunami that caused multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns at a facility in Fukushima, Japan last year. Details relating to the flood threat have been appropriately withheld, sometimes over many years, the agency says, in order to prevent terrorists or other nefarious actors from somehow exploiting it.

Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the NRC, calls the matter one of incomplete context.

“It’s fair to say that when you draw a Venn diagram of safety issues and security issues, you will find areas of overlap where the line might not be as bright as one might think when looking at the situation from the outside,” Burnell said. “If you don’t have the full context it can be very difficult to draw that bright line.”

whistleblowers

Richard H. Perkins, top, and Lawrence Criscione, are risk analysts within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They are also whistleblowers who say the agency is not leveling with the public.

But Perkins and Criscione, who raised alarms on the issue independently of one another, say they believe that defense is bogus, and that the agency is invoking security concerns in order to hide its failure to address a persistent and well-understood safety threat.

“It is hypocritical for the NRC — or any government agency — under the guise of security, to withhold information from the American public concerning a potentially significant public safety vulnerability, yet take no real action to study and correct the supposed security vulnerability,” Criscione said. “If we believe there is a security vulnerability, we need to take measures to address it and not merely withhold it from public discussion.”

REDACTIONS AND INACTION

Perkins was tasked in 2010 with spearheading what he says was always supposed to become a publicly available review of the dam-flood threat at U.S. nuclear power plants. Instead, he says, NRC management pushed back almost immediately to exclude certain information from the analysis.

As a career government employee accustomed to the careful handling of nuclear-related information, Perkins says the static came as a surprise. In his estimation, none of the information he and his team had compiled would normally be withheld from the public, though he added that he could not discuss specifics without jeopardizing his job.

When the report was completed and shared internally at the NRC in July 2011, Perkins said he felt he had ultimately prevailed in keeping most of the information he considered pertinent in the report. But he was chagrined when a public version was released last March with substantial portions of the document blacked out.

The NRC has argued that the redactions were appropriate, and made in consultation with other government agencies, but Perkins is skeptical.

“Our mandate is to promote safety, and sometimes that involves withholding information for security’s sake,” Perkins said. “To keep bad people from knowing how best to attack us, say, or to prevent our adversaries from knowing how we might come after them, or to buy time while a serious vulnerability is corrected. These are all reasons that you might redact information,” he continued. “But the redactions by the NRC did not promote safety in any of these ways. The actions have, in fact, allowed a very dangerous scenario to continue unaddressed for years.”

An unredacted version of Perkins’s report, obtained by The Huffington Post in October, revealed that much of the blacked-out information was publicly available in other documents and websites already published online, including simple maps of where nuclear plants stood in relation to upstream dams or the height of flood walls designed to protect safety equipment. Threats of varying significance were identified in Perkins’s analysis at the Ft. Calhoun station in Nebraska, the Prairie Island facility in Minnesota and the Watts Bar plant in Tennessee, among more than two-dozen others.

The document also cited analyses by Duke Energy, owner of the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina, that were performed as far back as the early 1990s, suggesting that the NRC had known for some time about the flood threats. Those analyses showed that the 5-foot flood wall protecting crucial safety equipment at Oconee would prove inadequate in the event of a catastrophic failure of the Jocassee Dam, located 11 miles upstream on Lake Keowee. If that dam failed completely, the report suggested, floodwaters as high as 16.8 feet would inundate the Oconee facility, and a meltdown would be a virtual certainty.

A timeline released by the NRC on Thursday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request suggests that the agency was aware of the dam flood threat at Oconee as far back as 1994, but over the following two decades, Duke repeatedly said it regarded the odds of the Jocassee Dam failing as exceedingly slim.

NRC staff continued to raise concerns with Duke over that long time period, but at no time did the agency threaten to shut the facility down, or otherwise force the company to fully assess and correct what appeared to be a risk of unusually high magnitude. By 2008, NRC had even prepared an internal communications plan to deal with potential questions relating to the vulnerability, which was still unaddressed.

The plan, a heavily redacted version of which was released this week by the NRC in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, suggests that by at least 2005, NRC staff had “discovered that the licensee had erroneously computed a random rupture frequency for the Jocassee Dam, a frequency significantly lower than what could be justified based on actual data.” The communications plan also revealed that virtually all plants facing similar threats from upstream dams — nearly three dozen — had used Duke’s faulty arithmetic as a guide in predicting their own vulnerabilities.

By NRC’s own calculus — which was blacked out in the public release of Perkins’s report — the odds of failure in any given year of a large rock-fill dam like the one at Jocassee were about 1 in 3,600. For the Oconee plant, that amounted to a 1 in 163 chance of a catastrophic flood in any one of the 22 years remaining on its operating license — a risk the agency itself described as being “an order of magnitude larger” than Duke’s estimate.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and safety advocate with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge, Mass.-based advocacy group, calculated that the 34 reactors highlighted in Perkins’s analysis are downstream from a total of more than 50 dams — half of them roughly the size of the Jocassee Dam. “Assuming the NRC’s failure rate applies to all of those dams,” Lochbaum noted in an analysis posted to the group’s web site, “the probability that one will fail in the next 40 years is roughly 25 percent — a 1 in 4 chance.”

The NRC told The Huffington Post that ongoing re-analysis of flooding hazards from all sources — required by the NRC as part of its post-Fukushima safety analysis — “will determine whether any additional mitigation measures or plant modifications are required for every U.S. nuclear power plant.” And both Duke Energy and the NRC have repeatedly insisted in interviews that steps have been taken to ensure the safety of the Oconee facility. “Not every solution to an issue is visible to the general public,” said Burnell, the NRC spokesman, who added that the agency cannot discuss information that was officially redacted from Perkins’s report.

“Duke’s actions to date, both at Oconee and Jocassee,” Burnell said, “continue to show the plant can keep the public safe if something occurs at Jocassee.”

Sandra J. Magee, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, said the company is continuing to look at flood protection enhancements with the NRC through the industry-wide response to recommendations made by the NRC’s post-Fukushima Near-Term Task Force. “Oconee is in compliance with the station’s licensing basis for external flood events,” Magee said. “We have anticipated the maximum flooding scenario and the plant has the means to safely shutdown and cool the reactor units.”

But nuclear safety advocates have questioned these assertions — particularly given that the NRC continues to redact and withhold key information related to the threat. “You can’t have it both ways,” said Lochbaum, who reviewed the un-censored version of Perkins report and concluded that the redactions were spurious. “If it was a true security threat, the NRC and the operator would be obliged to quickly remove the threat. If they had done that at any point over the last 15 years, there would be no need for redactions.

“Google searches will turn up plenty of pictures of Jocassee from the air and ground,” Lochbaum added. “I did a YouTube search and even came across a 10-minute documentary about building the dam.”

Jim Riccio, a nuclear analyst with the environmental group Greenpeace, which first obtained the unredacted version of Perkins’ report, said the emerging paper trail has eroded the NRC’s credibility on the issue. “The Commission has failed its most basic mission to adequately protect public health and safety,” Riccio said, “and it cannot be trusted to speak honestly about the risks that nuclear power poses.”

“Google searches will turn up plenty of pictures of Jocassee from the air and ground,” said nuclear safety advocate David Lochbaum.

The internal dissonance was not lost on Perkins, and he says he began to suspect that his agency’s circumspection on the dam risk issue had more to do with protecting the commercial operators it oversees — and perhaps its own regulatory reputation, given the many years the threat has existed.

By September, Perkins says he felt it was his duty to speak out. He submitted a letter to the NRC’s Office of the Inspector General, the agency’s internal watchdog, charging that that the NRC was essentially involved in a cover-up.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff may be motivated to prevent the disclosure of this safety information to the public because it will embarrass the agency,” Perkins wrote. “The redacted information includes discussion of, and excerpts from, NRC official agency records that show the NRC has been in possession of relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it. Concurrently, the NRC concealed the information from the public.”

In an interview last week, Perkins said he has no knowledge of the status of any probe that might have been launched by the IG. Officials at the IG’s office say they cannot discuss ongoing investigations.

Perkins did share a copy of his letter with his congresswoman, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), whose spokesman, Dan Weber, said it was forwarded by Edwards’s office to the NRC’s chairwoman. “Rep. Edwards requested responses to the concerns raised in the letter and to be kept informed regarding any action taken,” Weber said. “The NRC confirmed receipt of Rep. Edwards’ request and we’re awaiting their response.”

When asked whether any part of him believes there could be a legitimate reason for NRC to keep parts of his report from the public, Perkins became animated. “I could so easily answer this question — I’m dying to answer that question,” he said. “But I cannot answer that question without going into the area that I am not allowed to talk about.

“I will say that, when you’re a regulator, and you’re dealing with these safety issues, the public not only should be able to watch what you’re doing, they actually must, in accordance with the law, be able to see what you’re doing,” Perkins added. “We don’t work for nuclear operators, after all. We work for the American people.”

BUREAUCRATIC WHEELS TURN SLOWLY

Criscione was not directly involved in Perkins’s review of the dam risk issue, but when that review was first floated in early 2010 within NRC’s risk analysis division, where Criscione works, he began following its progress keenly. In explaining his interest in the topic, he points to decades spent working and camping at — and later taking his family to — the Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in the Missouri Ozarks, one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the Midwest.

In December 2005, the Taum Sauk hydroelectric reservoir above that campsite broke through its impoundment and sent roughly 1 billion gallons of water and a 20-foot tidal wave roaring down from Proffit Mountain. The 12-minute deluge completely destroyed the camping area, shaved a gargantuan swath of thick forest to bare rock and dirt, destroyed the home of the park superintendent and dragged him and his family for a quarter mile.

“The destruction at the site was incredible,” federal investigators noted at the time. “All of the trees in the path of the flowing water were stripped off the earth’s surface. What remained were large rocks and exposed bedrock surfaces. The flowing water removed soil from the valley floor, and created large scour holes.”

While sustaining numerous injuries, the superintendent and his family survived, and the campsite, given the chilly time of year, was otherwise deserted. But the incident stuck with Criscione, a mathematical man who says he recognized a could-have-been-me moment in the disaster. It was eventually attributed to improperly placed and malfunctioning sensors that allowed the reservoir to fill beyond safe levels. When he learned of the dam issue facing the nation’s nuclear power plants, Criscione says he felt compelled to make certain the threat was clearly understood by the American people, even if it meant risking his job.

“One of the most unfortunate aspects about safety is that when an engineer does stand his ground and sacrifices his career over a safety concern — and by doing so, prevents a disaster — no one ever knows,” Criscione said. “We cannot know of something that did not occur. We cannot know of something that was prevented. Had a technician or engineer gone to the press in November 2005 and got the sensors at Taum Sauk fixed, he would have never known the ordeal from which he spared the superintendent and his family. All he would know is that he pointlessly sabotaged his career due to a tinge of conscience.”

After learning of the heavy redactions in Perkins’ report, Criscione’s own twinge of conscience, he says, prompted him to independently investigate the dam flood risk issue. Four days Perkins after filed his complaint with the Inspector General’s office, Criscione dispatched a lengthy letter to the NRC’s chairwoman, Allison MacFarlane. The letter included dozens of attachments of unearthed internal correspondence between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Duke Energy regarding the flood threat at Oconee.

Both the letter and the documents were obtained independently by The Huffington Post, and while Criscione and NRC officials said they could not comment on their contents, they independently confirmed that the materials were genuine and were being addressed internally. The Huffington Post has made Criscione’s letter and the attached documents available here.

By itself, Criscione’s 19-page letter to NRC leadership provides an exceptionally detailed summary of the flood issue facing Oconee — and what amounts to more than two decades of dithering by both the licensee and federal regulators. Criscione prefaced his letter by quoting a former Navy admiral, who shepherded the development of the nation’s nuclear submarine force:

A major flaw in our system of government, and even in industry, is the latitude to do less than is necessary. Too often officials are willing to accept and adapt to situations they know to be wrong. The tendency is to downplay problems instead of actively trying to correct them.

The archive of attached letters suggests that NRC began nudging the Oconee operators to clarify and address the issue with increasing urgency at least 6 years ago, but that Duke Energy repeatedly pushed back. In a letter sent in September 2008, the company insisted that “there is no evidence to suggest that a Jocassee Dam failure is credible.” NRC officials made clear that they did not agree with that assessment, and in a 2009 response to Duke’s letter, the agency again laid out its concerns. Among them:

  • That the plant’s critical safety equipment is protected from floods only to a height of 5 feet.
  • That Duke’s own analysis from 1992 showed flood heights from a failure of the Jocassee Dam ranging between 12 and 17 feet.
  • That Duke’s calculations of the odds of a Jocassee Dam failure were low “by an order of magnitude.”

But the agency did not take a hard stance and force Duke to rectify the situation immediately — a timidity that, according to Criscione’s letter, sparked internal objections beyond his own and those of Perkins. In one instance in 2009, a protestation was filed by a deputy director within the Division of Risk Assessment, who was quoted as saying, “I remain concerned that this approach is not in the best interest of public health and safety and security, regulatory stability, and our role as a strong regulator.”

The deputy director’s official objection, called a “non-concurrence” in NRC parlance, further argues:

No other potential initiating event at Oconee is as risk significant. The probability of core damage from a Jocassee Dam failure is three times higher than the sum total probability of core damage from all initiating events. Duke has acknowledged that, given a Jocassee Dam failure with subsequent site inundation, all three Oconee units will go to core damage; that is given a dam failure, the conditional core damage probability is 1.0. … For a Jocassee Dam failure, using potentially optimistic assumptions, Duke estimates that containment will fail approximately 59 to 68 hours after dam failure without mitigating actions. Under the dam break conditions, resultant flood waters and infrastructure damage would affect public evacuation and potentially affect emergency operations facility response capability. Duke has not demonstrated that its radiological emergency plan actions can be adequately implemented under these conditions.

In his letter to NRC leadership, Criscione underscored the deputy’s assertion that “conditional core damage probability,” or CCDP, is 1.0.

“Like all probabilities, CCDP must be a number between 0 and 1,” Criscione wrote. “A value of 0 means that given only that specific event, there is no chance that core damage will occur. A value of 1 means that given that specific event (e.g. a failure of the Jocassee Dam) then core damage will certainly occur. For most initiating events (e.g. tornadoes, loss of offsite power, fires) the CCDP is typically a very small fraction on the order of one ten-thousandth to one-tenth.

“1.0 might not sound big,” he wrote. “But it’s enormous.”

Asked directly whether, as of today, the Oconee plant could withstand flooding that arises specifically from the wholesale failure of the Jocassee Dam, Scott Burnell, the NRC spokesman, was equivocal. “NRC continues to conclude appropriate actions have been taken at Oconee to address potential flooding issues and that the plant is currently able to safely mitigate flooding events,” he said. “Ongoing re-analysis of flooding hazards from all sources, required by the NRC as part of the post-Fukushima lessons learned effort, will determine whether any additional mitigation measures or plant modifications are required for every U.S. nuclear power plant.”

Asked in a follow-up whether the “flooding events” the Oconee plant was able to mitigate included the failure of the Jocassee Dam, Burnell would only invoke the same language: “The NRC, with all the information available today, continues to conclude Duke has taken appropriate actions to ensure Oconee can safely mitigate flooding events,” Burnell said — though he added: “That statement in no way precludes additional flood mitigation actions on Duke’s part, and the NRC will ensure any further work, whether based on existing information or the upcoming flooding re-analysis, meets applicable standards to further enhance Oconee’s ability to operate safely.”

Both Perkins and Criscione remain unconvinced of that — and both continue to take issue with the NRC’s longstanding policy of keeping information relating to the dam threat from the public.

Criscione says he received a minor reprimand from his superiors for releasing his letter to NRC leadership to members of Congress without properly stamping it, as nearly all documentation relating to the dam threat has been, as “Official Use Only.” Beyond that, however, he says he has no idea whether his complaints will result in any swifter action.

“If the safety vulnerabilities which the Jocassee Dam poses to the Oconee reactors were being swiftly and adequately addressed, then I would accept the argument that there is no need to publicly broadcast a potential security vulnerability,” Criscione said in an interview last week. “But no action, to my knowledge, has been done to address the supposed security vulnerability and the actions taken to address the safety vulnerability have thus far been disjointed and inadequate.

“I believe the reason for this disjointed approach,” he added, “is because the withholding of all this information from the public has resulted in there being no public pressure to countermand the pressure exerted on the NRC by Duke Energy.”

In his letter to NRC leadership, Criscione notes that the odds of a Jocassee Dam failure, based on NRC calculations, appear to be similar to those of being dealt a straight in a hand of poker — somewhat rare, but not unthinkable. And Criscione adds that, as a young teenager attending summer camp at that ill-fated campground in Missouri, he drew an even less likely hand — a flush — in the first poker hand he was ever dealt.

“My poker career has gone downhill ever since,” he wrote, “but I know from personal experience that being dealt a hand that beats a straight is credible.”

If that’s the case, he reasons, then the potential failure of the Jocassee Dam must be a credible threat as well.

HARD LESSONS

Among the myriad lawmakers to whom Criscione copied his letter to NRC management and its various attachments was Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a long-time crusader for nuclear safety. A Markey spokeswoman confirmed that the congressman’s staff has requested and received multiple briefings and background materials from the NRC on the topic in response to Criscione’s questions and the documents Markey’s office has received over the past several months. Markey also has a long-standing and pending request with Congress’s investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, related to the resilience of the nation’s nuclear reactors to extreme weather events such as large floods.

“The key question for all five NRC commissioners is whether they will support making all the safety recommendations of the Near-Term Fukushima Task Force,” Markey said in an emailed statement, “including those that will address nuclear reactor resiliency to severe earthquakes, floods and other extreme weather, mandatory.”

20121115oconee02

A cross-section of Jocassee Dam on display at Oconee’s “World of Energy” exhibit.

In a wide-ranging hearing on post-Fukushima lessons held this past March before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, lawmakers asked NRC commissioners about a report prepared by David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which said in part that unless the NRC strengthens measures to prevent and mitigate threats that the nation’s plants were not designed to withstand, “it may be only a matter of time before a similar disaster happens here.”

Several of the commissioners insisted that the UCS was wrong. “I think that our infrastructure, our regulatory approach, our practices at plants, our equipment, our configuration, our design bases would prevent Fukushima from occurring under similar circumstances at a U.S. plant,” said commissioner William D. Magwood. “I just don’t think it would happen.”

Another commissioner, George Apostolakis, concurred. “I disagree with the statements from UCS,” he said. “I don’t think that what happened in Fukushima can happen here.”

 

 

Given that the agency has known for years that a tidal wave could be conceivably unleashed from Lake Jocassee should the dam holding it back fail, causing a meltdown nearly identical to what happened in Fukushima, Greenpeace’s Jim Riccio suggests that the NRC has essentially been lying to Congress.

“Rather than address the threat, NRC commissioners have misled Congress and delayed action to reduce these risks,” Riccio said. “The American people deserve better from the Obama administration’s nuclear regulators.”

For his part, Criscione says that, while he can’t be sure, he suspects that there are engineers not unlike him inside Duke Energy, who may sense a duty to speak out, but are restrained by fear of reprisal.

“They are pushing to get Duke Energy to do the right thing — but for the sake of their careers, they need to be careful on how hard they push,” he said. “I, however, have the luxury of being a union-represented federal employee. Although I, too, need to be careful and diplomatic in my actions, I am in a much better-protected situation than them. It takes a lot of courage for them to come forward, whereas for me it merely requires a little bit of disgust.”

Perkins, meanwhile, remains similarly resolute in his convictions that speaking out was the right thing to do, though he’s uncertain about whether it will really make a difference.

“It’s the two of us against the entire federal government. We’re going to try our best — it’s almost an even fight,” he joked. “We realize what an incredibly uphill battle we have in front of us. These things never really work out for the whistleblower.”

Nuclear Nomads, Glow Boys, Atomic Gypsies, Gamma Sponges, Liquidators, Jumpers, and Bio-Robots: The Disposable Migrant Workers of the Nuclear Energy Industry

By Eve Andrée Laramée

A whole class of basically undocumented workers who travel the US, from plant to plant. When they exceed their RAD limit at one, they move on to another plant. A practice tacitly accepted by the industry. This has been going on as long as the nuclear industry. Warnings have been issued, suggestions have been made, but the industry couldn’t function without them. So, nothing has been done. Laws exist, but they are not enforced. Records could be kept, but they are not. In a tragic version of “don’t ask, don’t tell”- few questions are raised & the workers, in dire need of money, have no incentive to come forward.

Posted 3/1/12: New hour long film featuring footage on Fukushima “Glow Boys” workers who would go into the reactor for just a few minutes before reaching critical dosage to try to stabilize the reactors during meltdown and melt-through.

INSIDE JAPAN’S NUCLEAR MELTDOWN – PBS Frontline

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/japans-nuclear-meltdown/

NUCLEAR GINZA (1995) DOCUMENTARY FILM, Directed by Nicholas Rohl

Part 1

Part 2

JAPAN’S NUCLEAR GYPSIES FACE RADIOACTIVE PERIL AT POWER PLANTS, Los Angeles Time, Dec. 4, 2011

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-japan-nuclear-gypsies-20111204,0,347252.story?page=1

JAPAN OUTSOURCES NUCLEAR CLEANUP RISKS TO SUBCONTRACTORS, Engineering News Record, Dec. 4, 2011

http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article.aspx?story_id=166602281&mid=546

JAPAN’S NUCLEAR GYPSIES, Al Jazeera, English

WHO COUNTS THE NUMBER OF DEAD WORKERS AT FUKUSHIMA? Not TEPCO or the Government, IWJ Independent Web Journal

NUCLEAR NOMADS IN GERMAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: TEMPORARY WORKERS ARE EXPOSED TO HIGHER RADIATION, Economics Newspaper, Daniel Karmann

http://economicsnewspaper.com/policy/german/nuclear-nomads-in-german-nuclear-power-plants-temporary-workers-are-exposed-to-higher-radiation-apparently-31309.html

ACE HOFFMAN’S NUCLEAR FAILURES: GAMMA SPONGES, GLOW BOYS, SUICIDE SQUADS, JUMPERS, BIO-ROBOTS., Ace Hoffman’s Nuclear Failures Blog

http://acehoffman.blogspot.com/2011/04/gamma-sponges-glow-boys-suicide-squads.html

NUCLEAR JANITORS RISK HEALTH AND SAFETY, Nuclear Free Planet

http://www.nuclearfreeplanet.org/articles/nuclear-janitors-risk-health-and-safety.html

NUCLEAR JANITORS RISK HEALTH AND SAFETY, Multinational Monitor, by Veta Christie, Feb. 1984, Vol 5 No 3

http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1984/02/christy.html

THE GLOW BOYS: HOW DESPERATE WORKERS ARE MOPPING UP AMERICA’S NUCLEAR MESS, Mother Jones Magazine, article by Paul Bagne, Nov. 1982

http://books.google.com/books?id=eeYDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PT26&ots=veRpCe-Dif&dq=glow%20boys%20mother%20jones&pg=PT23#v=onepage&q=glow%20boys%20mother%20jones&f=false

GLOW BOYS AND GAMMA SPONGES: FUKUSHIMA SUICIDE SQUADS, Counter Punch, by Russell D. Hoffman, April 4, 2011

http://www.counterpunch.org/hoffman04042011.html

AMAZING CHERNOBYL BIO-ROBOTS IN NUCLEAR FALL OUT: Newly uncovered footage from the Russian State Media Archive, RTR Worldwide

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeamRWOgqdI

INTO THE BOWELS OF A NUCLEAR REACTOR: They’re called Jumpers and they go where no one else will., New Times San Luis Obispo, by Shawna Galassi, Jan 21, 2004

http://archive.newtimesslo.com/archive/2004-01-21/archives/cov_stories_2003/cov_07242003.html

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR JAPAN’S EMBATTLED NUCLEAR WORKERS?, Time, by Krista Mahr, March 31, 2011

http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/03/31/whats-in-store-for-japan’s-embattled-nuclear-workers/

WANTED: U.S. WORKERS FOR CRIPPLED JAPAN NUKE PLANT, Investment Watch, April 1, 2011

http://investmentwatchblog.com/wanted-u-s-workers-for-crippled-japan-nuke-plant/

FILM REVIEW – GLOW BOYS, By Mark Aerial Waller, 1999, 14 min, video, Lux Online, MUTE, Issue 11, by Pauline van Mourik Broekmann (This link has clips, stills, and info on the filmmaker)

http://www.luxonline.org.uk/artists/mark_aerial_waller/glow_boys.html

NUCLEAR GYPSY FROM HAMAOKA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT RELATES EXPERIENCES, Enformable/Enformed/Enforming Nuclear News Blog

http://enformable.com/2011/08/nuclear-gypsy-from-hamaoka-nuclear-power-plant-relates-experiences/

HEALTH EFFECTS OF CHERNOBYL: 25 YEARS AFTER THE REACTOR CATASTROPHE, by German Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Section on the Chernobyl “Liquidators” begins on page 17)

http://www.chernobylcongress.org/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/chernob_report_2011_en_web.pdf

GENPATSU GYPSIES: HIDDEN TRAGEDY OF JAPAN’S NUCLEAR LABOR FORCE by Nagamitsu Miura

https://www.facebook.com/?sk=inbox&action=read&tid=71a6ad25e05a4d90914ea1f2c467b42e

SYSTEM OF DISPOSABLE LABORERS, by Sonni Efron, Los Angeles Times, Column One, December 30, 1999

http://articles.latimes.com/1999/dec/30/news/mn-49042

THE TRUTH ABOUT FUKUSHIMA ‘NUCLEAR SAMURAI’ by Suzanne Goldenberg March 21, 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/21/nuclear-samurai-fukushima-japan-reactor?CMP=twt_gu

INTERVIEW WITH ADI ROCHE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF IRELAND-BASED “CHERNOBYL CHILDREN’S PROJECT” by John Lekay, Part three mentions the Chernobyl “liquidators”, and includes photographs by Paul Fusco, Elena Filatova, Igor Kostin, Adi Roche, Defend The Blackhills and others. Heyoka Magazine

http://heyokamagazine.com/HEYOKA.9.AdiRoche.1.htm

Contracted Worker San Onofre Fell Into Reactor Spent Fuel Pool

http://enformable.com/2012/02/san-onofre-contract-worker-fell-inside-reactor-pool/

U.S. Acknowledges Radiation Killed Weapons Workers, New York TImes, 1/29/2000

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/29/us/us-acknowledges-radiation-killed-weapons-workers.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation, Harvey Wasserman & Norman Solomon

http://www.nucleardemolition.com/Killing_Our_Own.pdf

Faces of and statements by the workers at Fukushima

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqwCrARb0Do&feature=youtu.be

Chernobyl Bio-Robots

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsG8m4hH5Ck&feature=plcp

Swimming on the Hot Side

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-03/swimming-hot-side?page=all

Nuclear Divers

Nuclear Lies, Cover-Ups and Secrecy

by JANETTE D. SHERMAN, MD

DoMad Science - The Nuclear Power Experiment Governments and Corporations lie, cover-up and maintain secrecy as they harm our planet and us?  Joe Mangano’s new book Mad Science – The Nuclear Power Experiment clearly lays it out that they have done so for more than half a century.This book is a page-turner, filled with useful information that many of us don’t know or have forgot.   His chapter “Tiny Atoms, Big Risks” explains the various forms of nuclear energy in terms that anyone can understand, and details the harm that has come to all life on our planet as a result of nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants.

Among the many nuclear catastrophes that Mangano chronicles  – from Three Mile Island, the Nevada and Marshall Island nuclear bomb tests to Chernobyl and Fukushima- is the nuclear accident at the Santa Susana site in Ventura County, close to Los Angeles, CA. Santa Susana is one of the best-kept secrets in the history of nuclear power. The Santa Susana site had 10 sodium-cooled reactors the 1959 accident spewed radioactivity, tetralin – toxic naphthalene, and other chemicals into Simi Valley, the Pacific Ocean and eastward that are still detected over a half-century later.

A near meltdown of the Fermi-1 nuclear reactor nearly destroyed Detroit in 1968.  It was a sodium-cooled reactor, as were the ones at Santa Susana.  Located at the western end of Lake Erie, a Fermi meltdown would have crippled or destroyed much of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River as well.  As has occurred since the Chernobyl meltdown, in the southern lake areas of Belarus, fish and boats travel upstream as well as down-stream.

As many as 16,000 workers were employed at Santa Susana by corporations that included, North
American Aviation (a spin-of of General Motors), Rocketdyne, Atomics international and finally Boeing.  Santa Susana was closed by 1980, but never fully decontaminated.

Everyone in the Los Angeles area who has had a family member with cancer, a low birth-weight child, death of an infant, or thyroid disease should read the book.  So should those who live down-
wind of a nuclear test area or a nuclear power plant – which includes practically everyone in the United States and Canada.

It was Lewis Strauss, the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission who in 1954 touted nuclear power as “too cheap to meter.”   Today we learn it is too costly to bury waste, clean up contaminated land and buildings, and too costly to build and maintain aging nuclear power and bomb plants.

Mangano observes: “Nuclear war, like any war, is not an inevitable force of nature, bit a conscious choice of leaders.”  (p. 66) So too is any decision to build of maintain a nuclear site.

Since the Fukushima releases began, Japanese citizens are marching and protesting the continuation of nuclear power as they observe the obvious reality of contamination.  How long will it take for U. S. citizens to demand a stop to nuclear power and its’ twin nuclear war weapons?

The book ($20 paperback, $10 ebook) is available at:  www.orbooks.com.

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease, and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009.  Her primary interest is the prevention of illness through public education.  She can be reached at:  toxdoc.js@verizon.net and www.janettesherman.com

The Trouble with Mainstream Media

It is not surprising that the mainstream media does not cover the nuclear issue fairly. In countries where the nuclear industry is owned by the government, then media coverage is carefully managed by the government – e.g China, France, Russia, USA

In countries where the nuclear industry is owned by private corporations, then we find that those same corporations either own, or have close links with, the mainstream media. Once again, the corporate ownership carefully manages coverage of nuclear issues.’ – e.g USA, Japan, Australia.

Clare Booth Luce observed, may decades ago, that “one doesn’t need to put chains on people, if one can put chains on their minds”. So, many journalists just know how their employers want the story to be covered, or more often, not covered at all. A pervasive attitude develop – that it is somehow “radical”, or “unpatriotic” to raise objections to a big industry. So, print, TV, radio journalists find it all too easy to toe the corporate line. After all, it’s much more fun to cover issues like the sexploits of a sports celebrity, anyway, – than to cover the nuclear issue and its meaning for the children and grand-children of the future.
http://nuclear-news.net/2012/09/09/nuclear-power-and-media-theme-for-september-2012-2/

Historic Decision – License Denied

For only the second time in history a license has been denied for construction of a new reactor!

“A three judge Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) today denied a license for the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear reactor on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.”

Full article:

http://ecowatch.org/2012/nuclear-reactor-license-denied/