Fukushima Update, November 2023

Peril-Sensitive Summary: Denial is probably your best personal option. Just roll your eyes about Fukushima causing any significant changes to the ocean and thus the Earth, because, hey, the planet is simply “too big to be damaged.” Okay, you’re done. You can stop reading. Those who want to understand the worse case scenario, continue:

As of November 21, 2023, Japan provided the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with a report on the discharge record and seawater monitoring at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station[1]. The report contains information on discharges from the subdrain and groundwater drain systems, as well as groundwater bypassing conducted during the month of October[1]. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) analyzes the quality of the groundwater to be discharged and announces the results[1]. These results confirm that the radiation level of sampled water is substantially below the operational targets set by TEPCO[2].

In addition to the discharge record and seawater monitoring, TEPCO started releasing more treated radioactive water from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on October 5, 2023[3]. The treated water is released into the Pacific Ocean after being diluted to meet pre-determined standards for tritium levels[3]. Although the initial release caused tension with neighboring China, which imposed a ban on Japanese seafood products, the IAEA and other nuclear authorities have stated that the plan will have a negligible impact on humans and the environment[3].

The ALPS process is used to treat the water used to cool the overheated fuel rods, which has been stored for years[4]. However, the treated water still contains tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is difficult to filter[3]. Some experts argue that the treated water is not as pure as tritiated water, and its release could have potential environmental impacts[5].

Fukushima Summary

The Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011, when a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The catastrophe led to the release of radioactive materials, including tritium, into the environment. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and although its release was relatively small compared to other radioactive substances, it is a cause for concern due to its long half-life, potential health effects, and the challenges associated with its disposal. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has been storing the contaminated water in tanks on-site, and in April 2021, it announced its plans to release the water containing tritium into the Pacific Ocean after the necessary treatment, sparking various debates about the potential environmental impacts and safety measures. In August, 2023, TEPCO began the release over 30 to 40 years of about 1.3m tonnes of treated water containing tritium, enough to fill over 500 Olympic swimming pools, held in more than 1,000 steel tanks on the site. The water will be released at a reate of no more than 500,000 litres a day. The approximate volume of the Pacific Ocean is about 710 trillion liters, which is 1,420,000 times more than the total amount to be released, but still, the half-life of tritium is approximately 12.3 years. This means that it takes 12.3 years for half of a given sample of tritium to decay into stable helium3 and an electron. The rate of decay is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics and is determined solely by the isotope’s nuclear structure and stability. Unfortunately, it can not be accelerated or otherwise changed with our current technology.

As I Write…

It is a windy rainy night. The power has flicked a few times. I am in great health and good spirits, and yet, I have a headache, swollen glands, inflamed eyes, recurring episodes of partial blindness, pains, numbness, strange vibrations, and a few dozen other symptoms. No doctors or specialist’s tests has been able to determine a cause for my symptoms in over two years. It is the year 2023. The month is November, Thanksgiving is approaching and I am stationed as, let’s say a lonely lighthouse keeper, on the coast of Northern California, near the giant tritium pool formerly known as the Pacific Ocean. My Geiger counter shows over 5 times lower than normal background radiation, 0.07μSv/hr or 0.007mR/hr. Normal is supposedly in the range from 1 to 10μSv/hr.

Tritium Radiation Not Counted

Radiation has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean for nearly 12 years as of February 2023. Most recently, accumulated radioactive waste water stored on the site in over 1,000 tanks, is now being purposefully dumped into the Pacific ocean through a long pipe in a controlled manner. This is planned to continue for decades, approximately the next 30 to 40 years. Worse, the type of radiation, tritium, is very difficult to detect.

One interesting thing about tritium is that most Geiger counters won’t detect it. To measure tritium levels accurately, specialized equipment and expertise are required. These instruments, known as liquid scintillation counters, have intricate components that can detect and quantify tritium accurately in liquids, gases, or solids. Additionally, they are expensive devices which require regular calibration and maintenance.

What we can recommend is this: get an O2 meter. If tritium starts killing the phytoplankton’s ability to make O2 for the planet, levels will fall notably at times. Without the meter, if it happens, you will feel sick, but you will not know why.

No Seeming Effects

Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the world human population surpassed 8 billion people and it is still growing.

The End of Seafood (and O2?)

There are some dire projections that all seafood will be gone in 24 years, by 2047. While the complete loss of seafood would have significant negative consequences, it is unlikely to directly cause a crash in human population. However, killing off phytoplankton which make most of the planet’s oxygen we need to breathe could do it, according to Sergei Petrovskii, Professor in Applied Mathematics from the University of Leicester:

“About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton — and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale. This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.” {SciDaily}

Is the equivalent of over 6 Hiroshima bombs worth of radiation are being dumped into the sea per day, as we saw on (BeforeItsNews.com)?

A possible shutdown of phytoplankton in 2100 when sea temperatures are expected to be 6 degrees C hotter may occur sooner due to the radiation being added. If we are very lucky, however, the radiation will increase mutation rates and new heat tolerant phytoplankton will be invented by natural selection and aerobic life on earth will still have enough oxygen.

Fukushima Facts Review

  • The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant occurred on March 11, 2011.
  • Fukushima is a Level 7 event, one of only two in history, the other was Chernobyl disaster, 26 April 1986
  • Fukushima is the worst man-made nuclear disaster in the history based on 4 reactors and 854 tons of fuel involved compared to Chernobyl’s 1 reactor with 210 tons of fuel.
  • The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami killed over 15,000 people from effects unrelated to destruction of the reactors at Fukushima, but only one (lung cancer) death has been attributed to radiation.
  • The Plant comprised six boiling water reactors designed by General Electric (GE), maintained by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
  • The total radiation in the plant including units 5-6 reactors and spent fuel pools was 23,952.2 Pbq.
  • The 3 melted-through cores of the destroyed reactors, now melted together into a single “corium” totaling over 600 tons.
  • A radiation plume from the March, 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan took about 2.1 years to travel via Pacific Ocean currents and reach the shores of North America, according to a study published on December 29, 2014 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • On 26 August 2021, the Japanese Cabinet passed a bill to discharge the treated water into the Pacific Ocean to alleviate the problem of nuclear wastewater storage. Large amounts of radionuclides can affect marine biological chains and adversely influence marine fisheries and human health. The global effects of Fukushima discharge, which will last 30 to 40 years, remain unknown. [physOrg]

Fukushima or Tritium Effects Review

  • 1989 Study with mice. The relative biological effectiveness (RBE) and the genetic effect of tritium internal exposure compared with those of Co-60 gamma rays external exposure are studied in mice. The experimental results show that the RBE values of tritium would be 2.24 to 2.99 in the dose range of 0.02-0.06 Gy/day.
  • 1999 Study with rats. Lower Ca2+ currents, higher number of apoptosis of brain cells and abnormal expression of P53 protein were the substance basis of the damage of central nerve system caused by tritium.
  • US Cancer death rate dropped the most ever up to the year 2017.

Citations:

[1] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/fukushima/status-update
[2] https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/japans-reports-on-conditions-at-tepcos-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-station-12-october-2023
[3] https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/tepco-starts-releasing-second-batch-treated-radioactive-water-fukushima-nuclear-2023-10-05/
[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/24/timeline-cleaning-up-the-fukushima-disaster
[5] https://thebulletin.org/2023/09/why-japan-should-stop-its-fukushima-nuclear-wastewater-ocean-release/

Hiram Abiffis

Hiram Abiffis is a retired MD and researcher who started writing for Newsi8 in 2023.

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