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Fukushima Commentary (blog)
Is the Fukushima accident ongoing? Does Fukushima have the potential for world-wide apocalyptic disaster? Are the Fukushima radiation levels health-threatening? What Press reports border on the irrational?
"Fukushima : The First Five Days"...a book taken from the records kept by the operating staff at Fukushima Daiichi during the first crucial days of the crisis. It is now available at all E-book outlets. For the PDF and bundle... (click here)
"Kimin: Japan's Forgotten People" - A book about the untold story of Japan's 300,000 tsunami refugees, ignored by the world's news media. For availability... (click here)
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January 3. 2015
294th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by John Dobken, Meredith Angwin, Dan Yurman, Rod Adams, Will Davis, Dr. Jim Conca, and Dr. Gail Marcus.
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… not this time…sorry. However…
Happy New Year to Everyone!!
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… An antinuclear petition against Columbia nuke station is rejected, a NY economic development group lobbies to save Fitzpatrick station, Westinghouse talks with India about six reactors, nuke energy and the fourth Industrial Revolution, Richard Lester’s roadmap for nuclear innovation, and much more.
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From Northwest Clean Energy by John Dobken –
Heart of America Northwest, PSR Petition Rejected by the NRC
From Yes Vermont Yankee by Meredith Angwin –
Save Fitzpatrick: An Opportunity to Help
From Neutron Bytes by Dan Yurman (2) –
Westinghouse in talks with India for six reactors
Why the nuclear industry must respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
From Atomic Insights by Rod Adams –
Richard Lester’s “A Roadmap for U.S. Nuclear Energy Innovation”
From Atomic Power Review by Will Davis –
Russian Nuclear Cargo Ship Returns; Tech Equates to New Uses
From Forbes’ Dr. Jim Conca –
The 2016 Energy Quiz
From Nuke Power Talk by Dr. Gail Marcus –
Post COP 21: The Name-Calling Begins
November 29, 2015
286th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dan Yurman, Meredith Angwin, Professor Gilbert Brown, Dr. Gail Marcus, and Dr. Jim Conca.
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein had his theory of General Relativity published, which included the prediction of black holes.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links.
Blog topics for this edition include… the issue of civility at NRC meetings, the nuclear summit in Washington D.C., the potential negative impacts of closing Pilgrim nuclear plant, a series of posts of “first” in the history of nuclear energy, and the paradox with the closure of the Fitzpatrick nuke plant.
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In a guest post for ANS Nuclear Café, Dan Yurman tells us about…
Civility & Safety at NRC Public Meetings
From Dan Yurman’s Neutron Bytes…
The long and the short of Obama's nuclear energy summit
From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee…
Why You Can't Trust the State of Vermont to Oversee the Decommissioning Fund
A guest post by Professor Gilbert Brown…
Closing Pilgrim will Zap the Environment and the Grid
Two articles from Northwest Clean Energy Blog…
One by John Dobken…
Continuing Their Service Through Public Power
And another by Meredith Angwin…
Talking Nuclear Energy from Washington State to Washington D.C
From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk…
Nuclear Anniversaries (4)
From Dr. Jim Conca at Forbes.com…
White House Summit Opens Annual Nuclear Meeting
If No One Wants The Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant To Close, Why Is It Closing?
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction.
The prediction of black holes was made by Karl Schwarzschild in December of 1915, using Einstein’s freshly published equations. On 25 November 1915, Einstein published the gravitational field equations of general relativity, the so-called Einstein equations. It was actually the last of four papers Einstein published in the month, each describing different aspects of his paradigm-changing conception. His notion had included the idea that massive gravitational fields would actually bend light. Schwarzschild died in 1916, while the overlapping ideas were embroiled in a heated controversy among other scientists. In September, 1919, H.A. Lorentz telegraphed Einstein to let him know that astronomers had recently verified the deflection of light by our sun. After that, Schwarzschild’s prediction of black holes was believed possible. http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/scientists_schwarzschild.html -- http://news.yahoo.com/einsteins-biggest-triumph-century-general-relativity-op-ed-161709438.html;_ylt=AwrBT7cRDU9WiuUAFipXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyYjUwMmQzBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjExNzlfMQRzZWMDc2M-
November 4, 2015
Lack of Press coverage on antinuclear death threats is intolerable
On Sunday, Nov. 1, Canada’s Globe and Mail reported on a Vancouver researcher receiving death threats for publishing his findings on Fukushima contamination along the British Columbia coastline. (1) The following Wednesday, Nov. 4, Japan’s Atomic Industrial Forum reported that a Japanese non-profit group had been threatened because of allowing teens to take part in a Fukushima highway cleanup event. (2) No other Press outlets have reported on these reprehensible antinuclear actions.
While most bullying of this nature is classified as “idle threats”, intentional disregard by the mainstream western and Japanese Press is shocking. Why would they let something so obviously newsworthy go unreported?
The Globe is Canada’s largest national newspaper, and must be commended for bringing the inexcusable threats aimed at Dr. Jay Cullen to light. Dr. Cullen has been falsely accused of being a “shill for the nuclear industry” and a “sham scientist”. One blogger even said antinukes were in combat with scientists like Cullen, calling it “a cold war, against the highest, and most powerful of the elites in this world.” Another message said Cullen and other researchers deserved to be executed for reporting that Fukushima contamination in the sea wasn’t dangerous. I can find no mention of this in any other Western Press outlet.
Over the past two years, most western news media has been regularly reporting about the slowly approaching “plume” of Fukushima contamination. It’s been good for business. However, research results posted by highly reputable scientists showing there is really nothing to worry about, get summarily ignored. Why aren’t western Press outlets telling their audiences that an innocent, dedicated scientist is getting death threats for doing his job? I believe it is because it would harm the marketability of “Fukushima radiation is COMING” headlines. Reporting on the death threats would spur the Press’ audience to go to Dr. Cullen’s Fukushima InFORM site and find out the truth. That would be bad for business.
It is even worse in Japan. The besieged NPO has been getting about 30 hate messages a day since they held the Route 6 cleanup in Fukushima Prefecture on October 10th. There were 1400 volunteers, which included 200 teen-age students. The teens picked up trash at schools along the highway using tongs. The NPO monitored their exposures, which turned out to be undetectable. None of this mattered. Messages began pouring in, which included “This is child abuse in the name of a good deed” and “We will kill you”. Not one popular Japanese Press outlet has mentioned the threatening mail sent to the Japanese NPO.
In Japan, the reason for the news media’s silence is insidious. Since the nuke accident, the Japanese Press has routinely emphasized the no-safe-level of radiation exposure notion, and in every case stressed that children are supposedly at greater risk than adults. Hardly a Fukushima report goes by without the child-risk assumption being mentioned. In my opinion, Japan’s Press is responsible for the disgusting death threats inflicted on the NPO. Reporting on these threats could make th Japanese press seem responsible, and they don’t want to go there.
Intentionally ignoring good news about Fukushima, and only posting the negative stuff, is bad enough. But, disregarding outlandish death threats inflicted on innocents in the interest of making some advertising money is intolerable.
October 25, 2015
284th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Meredith Angwin, Dr. Jim Conca, Dr. Gail Marcus, and Leslie Corrice
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The Michelson-Morley experimental failure in 1887 was critical to the eventual acceptance of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… NY Governor Mario Cuomo’s disturbing attitude towards Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, nuclear science week celebrated in the state of Washington, China moves to the forefront in nuclear plant construction, whether fusion is really right around the corner, and the Western Press gets it wrong (again) about Fukushima radiation and cancer.
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From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee –
Governor Cuomo, Fitzpatrick, and Money: James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant
At Northwest Clean Energy –
Energy Northwest celebrates nuclear science week
From Dr. Jim Conca of Forbes Magazine
China Shows How to Build Nuclear Reactors Fast and Cheap
From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk –
Is Fusion Getting Closer? And What if it Is?
From Leslie Corrice’s Fukushima Commentary -
The Western Press spins Japan’s workman’s comp into a medical diagnosis
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact.
On July 12, 1887 Albert A. Michelson and Edward W Morley made the final measurements in an experiment that inadvertently changed the way scientists viewed the workings of the universe. They hoped to prove the existence of ether—the invisible substance Isaac Newton theorized as the medium through which light waves travel. Michelson modified the interfërometer—a device that split a single beam of light into two and then recombined them into one so that their wave patterns can be examined. The beams traveled perpendicular to each other. The two scientists hoped to see signs that one beam had slowed due to the ether. But, there was absolutely no difference. Their findings eventually led to the realization that the speed of light is constant, unchangeable, and the same everywhere in the universe. This experimental failure was critical in paving the way for Einstein’s theories. http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/8805/title/Michelson-Morley--The-Great-Failure/
PS – While an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, my first date with my future wife was a party at the house where Michelson and Morley lived when they worked together. Many years later, I was honored to be a trustee at the 1987 international fête at CWRU celebrating the 100th anniversary of what was perhaps the most important scientific failure of all time...the Michelson-Morley experiment. L.
October 23, 2015
The Western Press spins Japan’s workman’s comp into a medical diagnosis
On October 20th, a news report out of Japan concerned a former Fukushima Daiichi welder who had been diagnosed with cancer. There was a considerable disparity between Japanese and western Press coverage. In Japan, the situation was reported as a “Fukushima Worker to get cancer compensation”. (NHK World headline) Outside Japan, the Press treated it as the first possible casualty of Fukushima’s low level radiation. Perhaps the most provocative of the numerous international headlines was “Man who worked at Fukushima nuclear plant after 2011 disaster is first to develop cancer from radiation exposure”. (NY Daily News) The world’s news outlets decided to put the Japanese news report on “spin cycle” and confabulate to the extreme.
The western reports were unabashed in the attempt to prove that low level radiation exposure caused the welder’s cancer. The prestigious Wall Street Journal was perhaps the least provocative in the headline “Construction worker’s leukemia could have been caused by radiation exposure.” However, other western news sources were more incendiary. The Washington Post headline read, “For the first time, Fukushima recovery worker diagnosed with cancer.” CNN reported it was the “first case of cancer linked to Fukushima cleanup work diagnosed.” The New York Times said, “[This amounts]to the first official acknowledgment that exposure to radiation at the disaster site may have caused cancer.” The BBC reported, “Japan's government has acknowledged that a worker involved in clean-up work at the Fukushima nuclear plant may have developed cancer as a result.” And, the list goes on…
The problem is that they were all wrong!
The Japanese welder received a workman’s comp benefit package because he satisfied the statutory criteria stipulated in the 1976 Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act. The Act was a revision to the original worker’s accident insurance law of 1968, which seems to have been patterned after prior government unemployment and disability laws developed by other Asian countries. Regardless, the Act provides that workers who are injured, or become ill due to their job or commuting to and from work, can receive government financial aid and medical coverage.
To be certified as an “industrial accident” associated with radiation, a claimant must have been exposed to at least 5 millisieverts per year, times the number of years of such exposure, and have developed the illness more than a year after first being exposed. No requirement for a medical diagnosis relating the exposure to the contracted disease is needed! This important point - which all foreign news outlets failed to uncover – was stressed by a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry official, who said, "Based on the spirit of workers’ compensation insurance, we gave consideration to his case from a standpoint that he should not miss compensation (he might be eligible for). We also took into account that the maximum permissible radiation dose for ordinary people was 5 millisieverts annually when it was introduced in 1976.” (Asahi Shimbun) During the news conference on Oct. 20th, the Health Ministry stressed that the granting of compensation did not mean there is a link between radiation exposure and effects on the claimant’s health had been proved. In other words, there was no “acknowledgement” of a causative link.
Here’s how the welder qualified. He had spent 14 months at F. Daiichi from October 2012 until December 2013. During that time, he received 15.7 mSv of exposure. The worker explained that he felt too ill to work in late December of 2013, so he went to a doctor. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia in January of 2014. During his stint at F. Daiichi he had more than 5 mSv of exposure over a period of little more than a year, and had been diagnosed with cancer more than a year after the exposure period began. He was awarded workman’s comp because he met the statutory criteria. Period! There was no doctor’s diagnostic link made between his occupational exposure and his cancer.
As it turned out, the worker tried to clear things up the next day, but it seems the international Press missed this, too. It should first be noted that the only Japanese press outlet referenced by the Western Press as a source of the radiation-caused cancer claim, albeit incorrectly, was the Asahi Shimbun. The worker’s personal interview was also posted by the Asahi on October 21st, but has been inappropriately ignored.
In the interview, the welder said, “I decided to go to Fukushima hoping that I could make some contribution to the recovery of the disaster-stricken communities, and I have no regret over my decision.” He then added, “Initially, I did not think the illness was caused by radiation exposure.” He was very ill and his immune system had been deteriorated by the cancer drugs he was taking in 2014. He worried about his family’s finances. When he heard that another nuke welder had applied for the compensation, he decided to file for it, too. He had nothing to lose. On October 20th, he was told his application had been accepted. The welder said, “I was relieved to hear the decision.”
It must be acknowledged that the Asahi interview was posted on October 21st, the day after the initial Western Press onslaught; however there has been no attempt to correct the matter since! How appropriate! We have posted previously that the Western Press has a prolonged and pronounced penchant for posting negative reports about nuclear energy and/or radiation exposure in the low level region; but when something emerges that might disprove the negative, it is summarily disregarded!
However, the Western Press didn’t stop with merely confabulating the news out of Japan. Adding insult to injury, they went to the most biased sources on nuclear energy they could find for some juicy quotes. The Telegraph UK cites Greenpeace (which is routinely predisposed to substantial elaboration with respect to anything even loosely connected to nuclear energy), "This is a massive blow to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], which stated in September this year that no discernible health effects are to be expected due to the exposure of radiation released by the accident." The Guardian US subsidiary of Guardian UK) cites Jan Vande Putte of Greenpeace Belgium, who said, “The statement from the IAEA that there would be no discernible health effects from the Fukushima disaster was clearly premature… Greenpeace calls on the IAEA and the Japanese authorities to retract their unsubstantiated and unscientific statement.” The Guardian also dredged up a quote from Japan’s Shinzo Kimura of Dokko University, who said, “This is a landmark decision from the viewpoint of workers’ rights, and it’s probably just the tip of the iceberg.” It is probably right; we can expect numerous phony Western News reports concerning this sort of concurrence in the future
In each of the above cases, the antinuclear quotes entirely miss the fact that we are dealing with a non-medical, entirely-statutory awarding of a workman’s comp claim. But, then again, groups like Greenpeace always take full agenda-fulfilling advantage of every chance they get to make radioactive mountains out of whatever molehills chance to occur. Despite the Western Press claims, the fact remains; no discernible negative health effects have occurred due to Fukushima Daiichi radiation exposures, and it is highly unlikely that any ever will.
It should be mentioned that the welder says he hopes other Fukushima workers might qualify for workmen’s comp in the future. I agree. Japan’s 1976 Act provides funds and medical expenses for those who meet the statutory criteria. There have been more than 25,000 people who have worked at F. Daiichi since the accident began on March 11, 2011. There will surely be many who, unfortunately, will be subsequently diagnosed with cancer. How many? Japan’s cancer rate is the largest in Asia, with nearly 40% of all deaths due to the disease. Thus, there will surely be a huge number of former Fukushima workers who will get cancer and be granted the same sort of compensation as the welder. We can fully expect that every time this happens, the Western Press will report that the cancer was caused by Fukushima radiation…it’s good for business.
Ironically, we might assume that the workman’s comp blue law is an unforeseen benefit to those who work at F. Daiichi; i.e. a benefit for those unfortunate enough to subsequently contract cancer. But to reiterate; we can be very sure that these future cancers will not have been caused by occupational radiation exposure a tenth of that experienced by the healthy populations of the black sand beach communities in Brazil and India, where annual exposures are in the 50mSv/yr range.
The Western Press is calling the enforcement of a Japanese blue law an acknowledgement of cancer caused by an extremely low level of radiation exposure. In reality, no such admission has been issued by Japan’s government, and correctly so. It is a monetary award granted through a forty-year-old statute. No medical connection has been made between the cancer and the individual’s exposure. The Western Press reports to the contrary are nothing more than deliberate deception.
Update 10/26/15 - A colleague sent me an Email and suggested I look into the latency period between radiation exposure and the onset of leukemia. I did. It is 5-7 years between exposure and onset of the disease. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225426/ ) Both the Western and Japanese Press failed to report this one! It takes the entire issue out of the ridiculous category, and into the absurd.
October 10, 2015
The News Media’s penchant for only reporting the nuclear negative
In 1987, I was near the end of my stint as News Media representative for the Perry nuclear plant in Ohio. I was frustrated because it seemed like the major news outlets bent over backwards to broadcast negative nuke reports while seemingly ignoring anything positive. A former Press manager with a major news outlet in Cleveland, Ohio, took me aside and gave me the facts of life, if you will.
He said he appreciated my frustration, but I needed to understand why nuclear reporting had become so one-sided. He first explained that the Press is a money-making venture. The ratings determine advertising income; the lifeblood of the business. There were (and still are) a handful of topics that are sure-fire money-makers, including war, presidential elections, natural disasters, and airline crashes.
Then, he turned to Three Mile Island, which happened in 1979. He said the ratings literally sky-rocketed, and stayed that way for the better part of two weeks. In the years that followed, the news media found that negative nuclear reports continually caused a positive up-turn in ratings, and positive stuff didn’t. This trend dwindled away by the time of the Chernobyl accident in 1986 (which was, back then, the year before). Chernobyl not only re-ignited the ratings impact of nuclear accident reporting, but demonstrated that broadcasting the negative was better for business, without balancing the commentary, rather than with some sort of opposing viewpoint. The Press had found a new topic to add to the sure-fire money-maker; negative nuclear reporting.
My friend said the Press would continue to make the appearance of a balanced effort, but the negative side would always get the emphasis. He added that it might someday come to the point where the news media would entirely ignore the positive and only report the negative when it came to nuclear energy. He speculated that all it would take was one more accident.
Unfortunately, he was right.
Fukushima has pushed the world’s Press into the journalistic dark side. My Fukushima Updates blog has lashed the Japanese Press, and the world’s news media outside Japan, severely for only reporting the negative. OK…not only the negative. There is the rare case that something positive works its way in, but it is usually found deeply buried at the end of a negative story. But, the exception is never the rule. The Press’ penchant for accentuation of the nuclear negative, and elimination of the nuclear positive, is too obvious to ignore.
The most recent case in point concerns the child thyroid study that has been taking place in Fukushima Prefecture for the past four years. On October 5,2015, a team of four PhDs in Japan published a report alleging that the Fukushima accident had spawned a thyroid cancer epidemic among the prefecture’s children. (1) (Here-in, the Tsuda Report) The conclusion contradicted the Fukushima University Medical School, Japanese Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, and National Cancer Center, which all found that the detected child thyroid pre-cancerous anomalies in Fukushima Prefecture cannot be realistically linked to the accident. Regardless, the Tsuda Report’s claim made major headlines in Japan. At the time of this writing, it has spread to numerous mainstream news media outlets outside Japan, including UPI and AP.
Here’s the problem. In December of 2013, a scientific report was published on a comparison of the rate of child thyroid, pre-cancerous anomalies in Fukushima Prefecture with the rates in three prefecture hundreds of kilometers distant: Aomori, Yamanashi and Nagasaki. (2) For background…theFukushima University medical team studying the issue had discovered that there was no prior data on child thyroid cancer rates in Japan. There was nothing to compare the 2012 results to. Was it typical or not? Because of the initial furor caused by the original release of their findings in 2012, the team decided to take matters into their own hands and offer free testing to volunteer families in the three (above) prefectures. Nearly 5,000 parents took advantage of the opportunity and had their children screened.
What was found was completely unexpected. The thyroid abnormality rates in Aomori, Yamanashi and Nagasaki Prefectures were actually higher than that discovered in Fukushima Prefecture! This conclusively indicated that the radioactive releases from the Fukushima accident had absolutely no negative impact on the health of the thyroid glands in Fukushima’s children. One Japanese Press outlet – just one – mentioned the 2013 discovery at the very end of an article about a few more children being found to have the anomalies in Fukushima. No other Japanese Press gave it a cursory glance. To date, I have found but one news outlet outside Japan that covered the positive news. (3)
On the other hand, when one maverick team of four Japanese with PhDs publish a highly questionable report - full of so many holes that it should be tossed into the trash – alleging a severe cancer problem caused by the Fukushima accident, it gets major coverage inside Japan and significant coverage by the world’s mainstream Press! At this point, it is important to emphasize that the Tsuda Report fails to acknowledge the fact that Prefectures unaffected by the Fukushima accident had the higher anomaly rates. (Which is why I say the Tsuda Report is worthy of the trash heap)
I’m so mad about this that I can’t find the words suitable for a mixed audience! The news media might not make money off sharing the good news about Fukushima, but they are committing a moral crime against humanity by not doing it.
To be sure, the omission of the truth about Fukushima’s child thyroid condition isn’t the only instance of this ethically repugnant practice by the Press inside and outside Japan. Other good news that has not seen the news media’s light of day includes: the completion of the ice wall around the four damaged units at Fukushima Daiichi, finishing the impermeable sea wall along the shoreline of the four damaged units, all 700,000 tons of stored Fukushima wastewaters having been purified, and the fact that no Fukushima Cesium has been found in Pacific Ocean Salmon or Steelhead Trout off the North American Coast. There’s more, but this should be enough to get the point across.
It’s past-time for the Press around the world to perform a public service – if the negative (albeit often questionable) reportage must continue in the interest of promoting profits, then the positive stuff should be also reported as a matter of human ethics. Anything less is a crime against humanity!