Fukushima Fabrications: Paul Gunter on RT
(Paul Gunter's Fukushima presentation is full of fabrication. He is clearly bigoted with respect to nuclear energy, elaborates for effect, embellishes for impact, and fabricates as-needed to promote his unabashed antinuclear agenda.)
Abby Martin of RT America interviewed Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear, concerning Fukushima Daiichi. The video is entitled Fukushima: No End in Sight for Nuclear Meltdown. (1) Martin and Gunter agree that the truth about F. Daiichi has been covered up by Tepco and the Japanese government. They offer that the “real” truths include that Tepco has lost control of the accident, the clean-up is no more than a failed experiment, and that widespread thyroid cancers exist with Japanese children. The interview is liberally seasoned with exaggeration, vacuous innuendo, and allegations of intentional misinformation which renders the entire video to be nothing more than FUD...the promotion of fear, uncertainty and doubt in the face of existing evidence to the contrary.
Paul Gunter is a career antinuke who became an antinuclear activist when he co-founded the Clamshell Alliance more than three decades ago. He subsequently held the impressive-sounding title of Director of the Reactor Watchdog Project with the antinuclear group “Nuclear Information Resource Service” for about 20 years. He has no formal nuclear education and absolutely no nuclear operating or engineering experience. His penchant for elaborate embellishment and outright fabrication is legendary. Abby Martin, cut her journalistic eye-teeth on her belief that the World Trade Center disaster of 9/11/01 was an inside job perpetrated by the Bush administration. After recanting on the 9/11 conspiracy theory, her intimacy with the Occupy Wall Street movement and opposition to America’s military involvement in Iraq were central to her journalistic life until RT America hired her in 2010. She openly advertises that her show, Breaking the Set, “…tries to tell you what to think and what to care about.” (2)
After Martin’s biased Tepco-bashing opening, Gunter alleges that Tepco has completely lost control of the wastewater situation at F. Daiichi, calling the company’s efforts a “nightmare version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. He says that water comes into the plant, gets contaminated by the melted fuel cores, and flows out of the facility and into the Pacific Ocean. Gunter adds that what little Tepco captures is stored in some 1500 tanks with “water saturated in Strontium and Cesium.” However, there is no evidence that any of the contaminated water is flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Constant sampling of the harbor at F. Daiichi and the open sea out to more than 100 kilometers from the plant have shown no detectible radioactive Cesium or Strontium since testing intensified in 2012. Further, the captured wastewaters are run through a highly efficient Cesium removal system before being placed in the tanks, so they are no-where near what any actual scientist would call “saturated”. To add to the verbal charade, Gunter says “the system to filter it out has failed…leaked…it’s broken.” To the contrary, the Cesium-stripping process has run almost flawlessly for more than two years with a removal factor of more than 10,000! Yes, the Strontium and some 60 other isotopes remain, but Gunter’s statement makes it seem the Cesium is untreated as well.
At this point, Abby Martin adds the completely fabricated “and a thousand tanks are leaking”. Over the past 30 months, a handful of tanks have leaked and all the leaks have been sealed. Her statement that a thousand tanks are leaking, and implying that they continue to leak, is a gross exaggeration. Martin’s embellishment is so extreme we can only judge it to be an intentional falsehood.
Gunter follows by saying that Tepco may have lost control of the contaminated water problem at F. Daiichi, but the company is in total control of the flow of information, which strongly implies a cover-up. This is an absolute fabrication designed to appeal to conspiracy theorists. He completely ignores the fact that the Asahi Shimbun, one of the most blatant antinuclear Press outlets in Japan, surveyed its news media peers in 2012 and found that 47 of the fifty major Japanese news outlets are admittedly antinuclear. Further, Japan’s English Press sources routinely post rumor-predicated reports of happenings at F. Daiichi, many of which supposedly come from anonymous whistle-blowers. In other words, there is no evidence to support Gunter’s claim of Tepco being in control of the information flow concerning F. Daiichi. The truth contradicts Gunter’s claim. Tepco has taken at least a degree of control with the wastewater situation at the nuke station, but has essentially no control over the information pandered by Japan’s antinuclear Press.
Gunter’s next fabrication concerns the currently-under-construction “Ice Wall” which will surround the four contaminated interconnected basements and effectively stop the in-seepage of groundwater. He says the procedure has “already broken down in the initial testing phase and they’re not able to get the refrigerant down to that level of freezing.” To the contrary, Tepco posted a report on June 18, 2014, (3) saying that the ice wall project is progressing without a hitch. The company’s attempt to freeze standing water in a few equipment and cabling trenches had failed, but “this has nothing to do with the ‘ice wall (land-side impermeable wall with frozen soil)’ which is constructed by freezing the soil surrounding pipes that carry circulating refrigerant.” In fact, there was an ice wall test held in early May which, a spokesperson for Kajioma Corp. (which is actually building the ice wall) declared a success, according to Asahi Shimbun on May 17. Gunter isn’t merely confusing apples with oranges…he’s deliberately confusing apples with onions.
Gunter’s next fabrication concerns the twisting of Fukushima Prefecture’s child thyroid analysis program. He says that “what we’re seeing is, without question, a spike in the incidence of child thyroid cancer” which is the “early onset” of an epidemic that “can go on for decades”. As we have made known with our Fukushima Child thyroid Issue page (4), claims of a child thyroid cancer epidemic are completely vacuous. The current survey of some 350,000 Fukushima children is unprecedented in Japan. Further, the rate of thyroid anomalies in Fukushima is actually lower than what has been found in three distant prefectures that have run the same testing program. What’s more, the frequency of Fukushima child thyroid cancer in Fukushima is routinely compared by irresponsible fear-mongers to the frequency of adult thyroid cancers in Nagasaki run in 2006. This seems to be what Gunter uses for his claim that the Fukushima rate is “40 times normal”. Actually, the Fukushima study is the first child thyroid investigation of its type ever run in Japan. Comparing Fukushima’s child thyroid results to adult data makes no sense. Thus, we find that Gunter confounds the truth with out-of-context references designed to misinform the audience in conformance with his blatantly bigoted agenda.
This segues into an attack on America’s nuclear community. Because there are 23 Boiling Water Reactors in the US with Mark I containments similar to F. Daiichi, Gunter claims they are each “potential accidents worse than Fukushima.” What he fails to report is that all American plants have been protected against flooding like that which that caused the Fukushima accident, and this protection has existed for more than a decade. If F. Daiichi had the same level of emergency power supply waterproofing as is the case in America, the accident would never have happened.
Gunter continually posits allegations of cover-up with the nuclear community, in general, and Tepco, in specific, throughout the video. He says that when “the powers-that-be lose control of their reactors; they look to control the [flow of] information. This has been true of every nuclear accident to date.” He shows his true colors when he says, “[Tepco] time and time again [has been] revealed to basically show it has no control or knowledge of the radiation levels that are releasing from this wreckage. It’s our [Beyond Nuclear] concern that it’s actually deliberate. They are misconstruing it as incompetence when, in fact, it’s deliberate.” Abbe Martin follows with a response of “no doubt”. However, nothing of the sort is happening in Japan nor has it ever happened relative to any of history’s nuke accidents. Gunter and Martin are professing the schema of predictable, garden-variety conspiracy theory routinely perpetrated by prophets of nuclear energy FUD. They argue that information released by official sources is inadequate, dishonest and/or unconscionably opaque. No evidence is given to support their conspiratorial claims. In the world of conspiracy theory, such allegations are understood to be indisputable.
Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear is clearly bigoted with respect to nuclear energy, elaborates for effect, embellishes for impact, and fabricates as-needed to promote his unabashed conspiracy-theory agenda. He should be grilled mightily by a respectable, responsible news media analyst to expose his prejudicial underpinnings and verbally punish him for his dishonest use of data by taking it out of its actual context and carefully substituting it into his FUD-gorged conspiratorial conception.