Fukushima (11 March 2011)

Fukushima Tsunami An earthquake and a subsequent tsunami hit the area around Fukushima on Japan’s east coast.
The tsunami claimed close to 20,000 deaths.
But even if the three deaths on the nuclear power plant were not caused by ionizing radiation, it came soon to dominate much of debate in the public media.

Obviously there were distributed iodine tablets and implemented large evacuations.
For “purely political reasons” these evacuations were maintained long after it was not longer justified.
Not for objective reasons but to meet the widespread fear of a nonexistent danger.

Here, it should be understood that self-styled environmentalists quickly got whipped up an atmosphere of almost unlimited fear and that politicians will risk their political future if they do not show vigor or if they can be accused of exposing people to danger.
To be safe, the limit for radiation was set to one millisievert / year.
Less than half of what we all receive from natural sources.

Støvmasker BørnHowever something good did come out of the fear:
To prevent radioactive dust, there was widespread use of dust masks.
This saved many from damages from the asbestos dust that had been stirred up from collapsed buildings.

It is easy to be wise after the event and talk about that you should have built a completely different strong wall to protect the reactors.
Or built them higher up on shore and a little further away from the sea and thus have had somewhat higher costs for the cooling water.
You could also have had a safe cooling system or listened to recommendations about making a filter as known from the reactors at Barsebäck in Sweden.
Finally, it was irresponsible to wait too long before using seawater for cooling.
Fukushima Fier in the OILHOWEVER
When the purpose is to create fear and sensation, the aim will apparently justify the means.
The Danish Radio and others could not find something sufficient horrific to show from the power plant.
Instead was shown a plume from a burning oil refinery.
Thus, everybody can understand the message about the terrible danger from the almost nonexistent radioactive contamination.

Yet it is difficult to see how this passionate propaganda and the obvious failure of the power plant should justify the ongoing, almost panicky, discussion on nuclear power in Europe, where there is no risk of a tsunami.


  • The main, and almost overlooked, damage came from the panicky closure of over 40 functioning reactors.
    This resulted in greatly increased pollution – both locally and globally.

From a slightly messy and perhaps unreliable source Deaths from Nuclear Energy Compared with Other Causes. February 26, 2013 I quote as follows:
(Short excerpts.)

  • According to the World Data Bank, Japan increased use of fossil fuels, generating 125 TWh more from coal, natural gas and oil.
    In all, this resulting in over 3,000 more deaths and 31,000 serious injuries. (Yearly ?)
    These injuries will continue until the fear is conjured away and the reactors can be restarted.
    A few more details can be found at another record.

Additionally, I refer to the following:
And, a little better: The Lancet in 2007
(The Lancet is normally regarded as very reliable and graphs page 983 are very illustrative.)

The Ocean

The release of radioactive material has been estimated to be between
500 PBq and 1000 PBq
The Pacific Ocean covers 165 million km^2 and contains 66 million km^3 of water.
Assuming all of these 1000 PBq (10^18 Bq) to be equally distributed over 1 % of the ocean to a depth of 50 m, and without considering the ‘sinking down’ of heavy material, you will get 12 Bq/kg.
If you thereafter consider that some 90 % of the radioactive release was Iodine131 (see page 116 in UNSCEAR 2013 Report) only 2 Bq/kg will be active at the time of the horror-stories.
Further, it may be worth mentioning that the US National Academy of Science has referred to measurements showing 7 Bq/m^3 Fukushima-derived fallout of 137Cs near the Canadian continental shelf.
All this may have been rather difficult to measure, considering that the natural level of radiation in the ocean is 11.000 Bq/m^3

In order to relate to something familiar, it can be mentioned that all of us carry with us about 65 Bq/kg (65,000 Bq/m^3) as part of our human body, or that a radon level of 100,000 Bq/m^3 was found in the basement of an occupied house. (Watras Incident, as discussed on another blog.)
100,000 Bq/m^3 is ‘just’ 1000 times the usual limits.
Correct me if I am wrong.
Fukushima Greenpeace
Considering this, it is difficult to understand how well established “green organizations” show maps and indicate the “extreme danger” related to the radioactive pollution the whole way to the American west coast.
1 RAD = 10 mSv However, this unit is (deliberately?) confusing and will not have any meaning.

If you have trust in World Nuclear or Atomic Insights, the following may be interesting:

  • A silt fence has long been in place to prevent contamination reaching the open sea.
    And: The diluting effects of ocean currents mean that radioactivity cannot be detected in seawater beyond the plant harbour.

Later announcements of huge pollution of the ocean from leaking tanks are wild exagerations.
Probably directly forgery.

Mass deaths of whales, far away from Fukushima, has been used as evidence of radioactive contamination of the ocean.
However, it is bypassed that back in ancient times Aristotle reported on this phenomenon.

If you are a fan of YouTube and have seen “The Ocean of Death”, you may wonder how the many fish can be so sensitive that the increase in radiation from 11,000 to 11,007 Bq/m^3 has caused the disaster shown on the film.
Contrary to radiation; fish are rather sensitive to change in the concentration of salt in the water.
So, if not directly falsified, the dead fish may be found outside a plant for desalinating seawater.
Anyhow, it is worth looking at the last table in a paper from UNSCEAR.
Here it is seen that the radiologic tolerance  for fish is some ten times that for mammals and birds.
You may also be relieved to see how plants and animals are thriving in the highly radioactive and forbidden zone at Chernobyl.

As far as I am aware of, Tepco’s limits for groundwater contamination is that groundwater should contain less than 5 Bq/L of beta ray-emitting radioactive material and 1 Bq/L of caesium-134 and caesium-137.
Again, this should be seen in relation to the natural load of the human body: 65 Bq/L and of the ocean: 11 Bq/L
Natural Radiation EU
To be on the safe side, the limit for public radiation exposure was (arbitrary) set to one millisievert/year.
This is only one tenth of what some Europeans have been exposed to throughout their lives.

My conclusion is clear.
Something is rotten – somewhere –
But where?

If you are not tired, you can find some of the answer here:

If you are looking for the extreme conspiracy theory, then look here.
If, on the other hand, you want to get piece for your mind, you better look here.