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They’re Going to Dump the Fukushima Radiation Into the Ocean

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Cross-posted from Washington’s Blog

Tepco is planning on dumping all of the radioactive water stored at Fukushima into the ocean.

The industry-controlled nuclear regulators are pushing for dumping the radiation, as well.

As EneNews reports:

Juan Carlos Lentijo, head of IAEA’s mission to Fukushima Daiichi, Dec. 4, 2013: “Controlled discharge is a regular practice in all the nuclear facilities in the world. And what we are trying to say here is to consider this as one of the options to contribute to a good balance of risks and to stabilize the facility for the long term.”

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, Dec. 4, 2013: “You cannot keep storing the water forever. We have to make choice comparing all risks involved.”

Xinhua, Dec. 4, 2013: Lentijo said that TEPCO should weigh the possible damaging effects of discharging toxic water against the total risks involved in the overall decommissioning work process. [...] Tanaka highlighted the fact that while highly radioactive water could be decontaminated in around seven years, the amount of water containing tritium will keep rising, topping 700,000 tons in two years. [...] nuclear experts have repeatedly pointed out that [tritium] is still a significant radiation hazard when inhaled, ingested via food or water, or absorbed through the skin. [...] fisherman, industries and fisheries bodies in the Fukushima area and beyond in Japan’s northeast, have collectively baulked at the idea of releasing toxic water into the sea [...] TEPCO will be duty-bound to submit assessments of the safety and environmental impact [...]

NHK, Dec. 4, 2013: IAEA team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo [...] said it is necessary and indispensable to assess the impact the tritium discharge might have on human health and the environment, and to get government approval as well as consent from concerned people.

Japan Times, Dec. 4, 2013: “Of course . . . public acceptance for this purpose is necessary,” said Lentijo, adding strict monitoring of the impact of the discharge would also be essential.

AFP, Dec. 4, 2013: [L]ocal fishermen, neighbouring countries and environmental groups all oppose the idea.

See also: Gundersen: They want to dump all Fukushima’s radioactive water in Pacific — Tepco: It will be diluted, then released — Professor suggests pumping it out in deep ocean (VIDEOS)

In the real world, there is no safe level of radiation.

And there are alternatives.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani  – a recognized expert on nuclear power, who has testified  before Congress, served as an expert witness in Nuclear Regulatory Commission proceedings, and been interviewed by many of the largest news organizations – told PBS in March:

We actually sent a proposal to Japan two years ago, some colleagues of mine and I, saying you should park a supertanker or a large tanker offshore, and put the water in it, and send it off someplace else so that the water treatment and the water management is not such a huge, constant issue. But [the Japanese declined].

Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has been insanely irresponsible and has only been pretending to contain Fukushima. And see this.

Unfortunately, Japan has devolved into crony capitalism … and even tyranny.

So instead of doing something to contain the radiation, they’re going to dump it.

Postscript: In related news, the Japanese government has embarked on a massive program of burning radioactive waste throughout Japan … instead of encapsulating it in glass or otherwise containing it.

 

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57 comments

  1. GreenEngineer

    In the real world, there is no safe level of radiation.

    Sorry, but this is just flatly not true. Washington’s article which you link to is wrong, and his interpretations of the expert statements are overblown and taken out of context for maximum fear impact.

    No honest expert will ever tell you that the risk of anything from any source is zero, because it’s never true, strictly speaking. But it is often functionally true, especially where low-level radiation is concerned. Humans have been living with low level radiation from natural sources for our entire evolutionary history, and we have biological mechanisms for dealing with it. It’s true that these mechanisms break down with time and age, and it’s true that a particular bit of low level radiation can cause cancer – but we’re now talking at the level of statistical random chance.

    Life is a 100% fatal disease. The question to be asking is not whether something is 100% safe – the right question is twofold: what is our level of knowledge of the phenomenon, and what evidence do we have that poses a danger above the background levels.
    In the case of radiation, we’re talking about something reasonably well studied. We are not ignorant or radiation the way we are about the impacts of, for example, hormone disrupting chemicals. So we have a reasonable technical basis for the conclusion that small increases in background radiation are not likely to pose a credible threat.

    Now, understand that I’m only talking about on a global scale. If I lived in Japan, I would be worried, in proportion to my proximity to the plant. And I sure wouldn’t eat any seafood.

    But if you live in California, exposure to Fukushima radiation is about the last threat you should worry about (seafood contamination aside).
    Worry instead about the fact that brominated fire retardants – which are both a persistent bioaccumulative toxin AND a hormone disruptor – are required by law in all furniture, even though they do little to increase safety. Those chemicals represent about 10,000 times the health threat of any radiation from Fukushima. And there’s something we can maybe do about them.

    1. Yves Smith

      This comment was designated spam by our spam service. And while I don’t see anything objectively wrong with it, I must note you’ve never commented here before, yet rode in in great haste to get a comment in first on this thread.

      1. YankeeFrank

        I see something wrong with it — the commenter is assuming they know how much radiation will be getting to Cali without really having any idea. But then again, if every comment spewing facts not in evidence was binned, there’d be very few left (including at least some of mine ;).

        1. optimader

          “the commenter is assuming they know how much radiation will be getting to Cali without really having any idea. But then again, if every comment spewing facts not in evidence was binned”
          Seems to me a strong case needs to be made regarding how it will improve the Oceans, arguing that “them Oceans are real big and stuff” doesn’t really make a very credible case for an irrevocable contamination action IMO.

          Isn’t “not knowing” a fertile basis for advocacy of “not irrevocably doing”? Particularly when it’s bllsht unsubstantiated rhetoric from someone that “implies” a wisp of professional insight?

          kinda reminds me of the structural engineer putting up his thumb and sighting the Suspension bridge while advocating removing every third support cable because it looks to be too many of them doo-hickies.

        2. Veri

          The radiation levels deemed safe are only measured against the whole body. This is simply not the case. A radioactive particle inhaled or ingested by a human being that lodges in the body will continously irradiate those cells around it, leaving the rest of the body alone.

          What would happen to a cluster of cells that are continuously being irraduated by a radioactive source? How much radiation will those cells be subjected to, say from a particle of tritium or even plutonium? How hot will those cells surrounding the radioactive particle become?

          The whole fiction of safe radioactive limits for inhaled or ingested radioactive particles and limits that measure radiation against the total human body is just that… a fantasy, a fiction.

    2. optimader

      What a load rambling load of crap
      Parse your “Life is a 100% fatal disease” to “Life is a disease” and it more clearly frames your point of view.

      “In the case of radiation, we’re talking about something reasonably well studied…”

      And so you would be willing to experimentally inhale some modest amount of alpha emitter particles from a “low concentration environment” to demonstrate fidelity to your point of low risk?

      “We are not ignorant (of) radiation…”
      and therefore we know that the “low environmental concentration = low risk” is an ignorant Meme. Once ANY ionizing radiation particle is unfortunately ingested, your distance from a source goes to zero and the “environmental concentration” is really quite irrelevant. What will be more personally relevant is the form of cancer you will likely succumb to.

      “So we have a reasonable technical basis for the conclusion that small increases in background radiation are not likely to pose a credible threat.”

      Bullshit, show me the “reasonable technical basis”

      Bottomline, knowingly releasing manmade ionizing radiation into the environment is a nonreversible decision that increases risk, doesn’t mitigate it, doesn’t lower it.

    3. craazyboy

      Things You Lazy Simpletons Can Do To Protect Your Lazy Couch Potato Butts From Radiation in the Food and Water Supply.

      Certain minerals can block various radionuclides – ie potassium blocks cesium 137 (the one with 100,000 year half life), iodine blocks iodine-131 (the nice one – 8 day half life), etc…may even “chelate” existing particles from sites in the body. Certain vitamins and anti-oxidents may lessen damage as well.

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/11/protect-radiation-one.html

    4. Mmm Cancer

      “Humans have been living with low level radiation from natural sources…”

      Man, that argument died pretty fast.

  2. Ray Phenicie

    We should have all seen this coming; for those of who were there 55 years ago (I was a kid) this is so deja vu all over again. There were dissenters, a tiny minority, who warned about the dangers inherent in nuclear power. They were of course shouted down with ridicule. The power moguls behind the nuclear industry still utter platitudes about the safety of nuclear power. They have behind them so called scientific studies promoted by the United Nations and the World Health Organization; both are in denial about the horrific effects of Chernobyl.

  3. Fiver

    The article suggest they’re considering “dumping it” which is not the same thing as “they are dumping it”. I would be stunned if Japan has either a clear legal or political path to proceed with this plan, unless there is a Japanese/US/Chinese scientific consensus that this is the only viable alternative, and even then I would expect serious ojbections from a minority of experts large enough to squash this plan, which would render all previous efforts a total waste of time.

    I do wonder why the modified supertanker idea was deemed dicey, as at most it would involve several of these re-fit tankers at a fraction of the cost of letting ‘er flush out to sea. I would also note that this would’ve been an ideal time to roll-out the latest in robotics – had Japan actually pursued robotics in just this sort of industrial accident, rather than “robots” with “personality” or “cuteness”, and other “human-like” attributes etc., the thinking being that “robots” would take care of an aging workforce rather than substitute for humans in extremely hostile environments.

    As a decision to go ahead with this will seriously damage Japan’s entire science/technology base, I think this boils down to the need for the Japanese Government to cut TEPCO loose, get the best advice and technical people from around the world, and come at this with an eye to success not an enormous failure diluted down to 1 part F per million.

    1. AbyNormal

      ‘not the same as’…SeriouslY
      it has been my long experience that when the boneheads vocalize their hair-brain considerations…THEY HAVE ALREADY DONE IT

      sorry for my shout…im tired of playing the fool

    2. owenfinn

      Thus the urgency of ramming through this Orwellian secrecy bill. They are meeting in the Diet as I type this and apparently quite a large group of protesters forming outside. A lot of people here are really incensed about this.

  4. Joe Buck

    While “there is no safe dose of radiation” can be supported by arguing that even a single gamma ray photon could (with very low probability) produce a cancer-causing mutation, we are all exposed to significant amounts of radiation from natural sources, as well as artificial sources like chest X-rays. If increasing the radiation you are exposed to by only a few percent is unacceptable, then perhaps we should make basements illegal (they trap radon gas) and evacuate Denver and other cities with similar or higher elevation (more cosmic ray exposure).

    I’m afraid the water is going to wind up in the sea eventually no matter what is done. The residue from the meltdown is very hot (in both senses, temperature and radioactivity) and produces its own heat from decay, so they keep having to add more water. Maybe a way can be found to dilute it so much that no place with living things gets a high dose, but in the long term the choice may only be between controlled dumping and uncontrolled dumping (if they keep letting their pools of water grow larger and larger until the dams break).

  5. anon y'mouse

    just being a rather nonsensical talking head on the internet, this naturally makes perfect (read: sick) sense.

    after all, the next how many generations will suffer but they have the experience right in their own backyards that these kinds of things can be lived through/with. it’s the interim suffering that just has to be endured. like the comment above: they probably figure that dilution and time will do the job automatically that risky, problematic and most of all, costly containment would. saves time, money and planning the logistics! isn’t that the story of every environmental polluter/pollutant since time began, and even now (thinking: pesticide usage)?

    note: i’m not an advocate of this, or anything like this. i’m not pro-nuclear. and i’m not pro-environmental devastation, either.

  6. marcello

    “In the real world, there is no safe level of radiation.”

    What absolute idiotic rubbish. Each an every plant and animal in Earth’s history has been awash in radiation since they were conceived. Our bodies have evolved to deal with ionizing radiation, and in fact low level does may even be required to keep our immune systems functioning properly. Look up radiation hormesis when you are finished your mindless fear mongering.

    The ocean is a gigantic volume, the amount of contaminated water utterly negligible. Our rivers pump into the ocean vastly more radiation every day from naturally radioactive sources along their routes.

    The hysteria here is just silly.

    Worry about things that are of vastly greater risk to you and even the people of the Fukushima prefect, like getting hit by a car and second-hand cigarette smoke.

    1. AbyNormal

      the old 2nd hand smoke an car crashes…yawn
      surely this subject deserves stronger trolls

      REALITY, n. The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.

    2. John

      I don’t know but blue fin tuna testing positive for radiation as well as seals and walruses dying from what appears to be radiation sickness and all the star fish dying and the salmon swimming to Japan and back to spawn somehow doesn’t sit well with me.

      Maybe that’s just me.

    3. Dugless

      I strongly urge anyone with even a small modicum of intelligence to look up radiation hormesis (start with wikipedia) on the internet. It will reveal what a hack marcello truly is.

    4. damian

      who are you shilling for?

      why don’t you go to Fuka – and drink a few glasses and show us how its done

      give me the evidence you have – specifically – that it doesn’t matter to wildlife in what doses over what period of time – make my day

      1. LucyLulu

        He didn’t say the doses of radiation don’t matter. He said that everybody is being continually exposed to radiation. Sources include not only manmade sources, such as used in medical procedures, but also natural sources such as the sun and earth (radon is #1 terrestrial source). In addition our bodies contain radiation internally in the form of carbon-14 and potassium-40. This is material often learned in 9th grade science, and has never AFAIK been disputed. I’m confident Arnie would provide confirmation.

        Thus, if one accepts that no levels of radiation are safe, one must accept its logical implication that we are all exposed to unsafe levels, and have been since the dawn of time (or dawn of man).

        Apparently there is a belief that only those who are paid to mislead and trolls would dare to point out errors and express different points of view. One can easily justify opposing nuclear energy without having to make up one’s own facts.

        I agree with Aby that this is probably a done deal. It’s an idea that has been thrown around quite a while and the one that outspoken Dale Klein, in charge of overseeing the Fukushima clean-up effort, and former NRC chief, is advocating. Klein received press last summer when he got angry and told CEO of Tepco they didn’t know what they were doing. Another NRC director at Three Mile Island who assisted in the cleanup there, and now serving in an advisory role at Fukushima, also is pushing for releasing the water into the sea. The problem of the disposal of the massive amounts of water (recall its been less than 3 years, the tanks cover 27 football fields, and at least a decade of this water issue remains) is a very difficult one. The water would be filtered to remove most of the contaminants except tritium (H-3), a more benign isotope. Believe or not, Tepco has been balking at taking the advice. They requested suggestions from the international community last summer and received ~800 responses.

        I don’t claim to know what the best solution is but I doubt there are any good ones.

    5. marcello

      gee, that was fun.

      Not that it matters or anyone would care, but I have a PhD in nuclear physics (accelerators, not reactors) and do a lot of work with the public. Lately there has been a lot of hysteria over Fukushima and the fear mongering is starting to get ridiculous. Normally we just ignore it, but with this audience I thought maybe someone who actually _knows_ what radioactivity is and what is does ought to pipe up.

      Look people, radiation is everywhere, it has always been everywhere, and always will be everywhere. There is, literally, no place on, or in, the Earth or anywhere else in the universe to hide from it. There is absolutely no reason to freak out about it over its mere mention any more than the mere mention of the word ‘chemical’.

      You and everything you have ever touched, tasted (including blue fish tuna and yes, bananas) or spit on has _measurable_ levels of radioactivity. any statement about ‘no level of radiation’ is safe is abjectly absurd – flora and fauna have lived with natural radiation throughout existence. And the amount natural background varies enormously around the globe, from 1mSv/y here in Vancouver (low end) to 250 mSv/y in Ramsala, Iran. For perspective, the people of Ramsala are living normal lives in a background well over thrice that of the zone immediately near Fukushima (downwind <30km), and 5X the regulatory limit for people who work at nuclear reactors. (However, your mileage may vary.) In short, our bodies know how to deal with natural levels of radiation. always did.

      just because you can *detect* radiation doesn't mean it is harmful. Just because the risk of something isn't zero (nothing is) doesn't mean it still isn't negligible. Just because something has increased 10,100, 1000X doesn't mean is still isn't too small to worry about.

      Simply put, outside the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima Dai-chi NPP, there is absolutely nothing to worry about for anyone.

      Yes, their water is radioactive, but compared to the ocean, which incidentally already has measurable radioactivity, its nothing. Think about it, even a stadium filled with that water is minuscule compared to the Pacific ! Its much better to dump it in that huge volume rather than the massively smaller water table should another earthquake occur.

      Yes, some radioactivity is building up in fish, etc but it was utterly negligible before and has risen to simply negligible now. Yes, you can trace the 'plume' across the Pacific, but that's because our detectors are very very sensitive. ( It's been a source of great data to study ocean currents.)

      Now, if they do something really stupid with the fuel rods, the story changes, but for now, if you must worry, worry about other things. Like, yes, traffic accidents and lung cancer, which are vastly more likely to kill you.

      Some of you should wander over to the cancer clinic at your local hospital and ask them why their hacks give patients a low dose of radiation the day before the main cancer treatment dose.

      And for those who want reference: really ? you're not going to read them, nor believe them if you do (Shills ! hacks !). But, if you are so inclined, check out e.g. http://www.icrp.org/page.asp?id=184
      for a whole pile of presentations on biological effects of radiation. There are a couple of good ones on Fukushima updates, but be warned, these are technical presentations and not public friendly.

      For the rest, keep calm, and ca… oh, never mind.

      1. optimader

        “Yes, their water is radioactive, but compared to the ocean, which incidentally already has measurable radioactivity, its nothing…but I have a PhD in nuclear physics ”
        HAHAHAHAHHA IT’S NOTHING.. now that there’s yer high faloot’in fancy science talk there!

        So, a PhD or did you stay just stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night?

        I vote for keeping all the contaminated water in Fukushima prefecture and building the Fuku-radiation Hormesis Spa for idiots like you.
        Come on people it’s for your own good we dump this crap in the Oceans. nAnd look its passing through a valve so it’s a “controlled release”!

      2. Benjamin

        Neither side of this debate is being completely honest. A big part of the problem is widespread ignorance about what radiation actually is. Yes, you could go back in time 100,000 years and sit deep in a cave and still be awash in radiation. What matters is type and amount. We’ve evolved to handle most of the stuff we’re likely to run into in the wild, but some of the things coming out of those reactor sites are completely alien to us.

        As for the dumping of radioactive water, the dilution argument is complete crap. The radioactivity isn’t being magically and instantaneously filtered through all the trillions of gallons in the pacific. It’s likely being swept up into underwater currents and remaining largely intact. And if it gets into the food chain, which it likely already has, it will be even more concentrated, unless you’re going to make some argument about ‘dilution via sealife’.

        This is largely academic at this point though, because the oceans ae screwed no matter how you slice it. If it isn’t radiation it’ll be the acidification or the effects of general ocean warming. The starfish are melting, the exact cause doesn’t really matter, because clearly something, somewhere has gone very, very wrong.

        I’m more worried about them messing up one of the fuel rod transfers or another earthquake hitting the site. Now try and tell me THAT wouldn’t be a big deal.

      3. mk

        what you call hysteria, i call concern, concern that we’re not testing regularly, that we didn’t set baselines for testing right after 3-11-11, that the EPA changed the numbers for what determining what is safe, that our political leaders are not addressing the issues in public, that japan is changing the law to criminalize those who want to report on the issue, etc., etc., etc…..

        these are legitimate concerns, i reject your descriptor “hysteria”.

    6. optimader

      radiation hormesis = bullshit argument unless you are proposing what a “safe” dosage is. How much addition of manmade ionizing radiation in the environment is salubrious?

      How about a link to an epidemiological study that defines that rather than bullshit rhetoric about hormesis.

      1. marcello

        My PhD was obtained from a reputable email-order organization. Just one click, it was so easy, like the Holiday Inn Express.

        epi-de, uh, epidemi, darn, that word just has too many syllables. Sorry.

        My apologies for upsetting your not-so-quiet desperation. I will choose not to worry and be happy, if that’s OK with you.

      1. John

        I thought the new treaties were to keep the rich from getting poorer too, you know if they think that might happen in the future.

        And they are going to be a lot poorer on the West Coast from all that radiaton.

        Let the suing begin.

  7. Chris

    Anyone else’s breath taken away by the degree to which supposedly liberal democratic governments throw the environment under the bus these days?

    Up in Canada they’re apparently going to turn half of Alberta into toxic lakes full of tar sands waste byproducts.

    Compared to Abe and Harper, Reagan and Thatcher were card carrying members of the Earth Liberation Front.

  8. GreenEngineer

    this is a test to see if I can post comments at all. I submitted an extensive comment this morning, but have yet to see it appear.

  9. GreenEngineer

    OK, so apparently short comments will appear, but my longer comment still does not. Is there a comment length limit on this blog?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Keep trying! I sometimes type my comments into a text or word file, save them, and then cut and paste them into the comments window. I suspect that comments do get lost in the aether on occasion and more than once when I wondered where my comment went, I had a very strong hunch that I’d mis-keyed my pseudonym, or my email address, or its website. There does seem to be a program checking that your Name; Mail; and Website match what you registered with.

      Also, as a rule of thumb you might want to keep your comments somewhat limited in length (let your conscience be your guide) – I find that I read a little of some of the longer comments and immediately skip past them just because my time for that day is limited.

      Hope that helps — I’m not part of running this site — just sharing my WAGs and observations.

  10. Jackrabbit

    Public Service Announcement

    Beware the kleptocrat, an isotope of crony-um that radiates all three types of Lie-onizing radiation: hopium, duplicity, and spin. Although it is mostly absorbed by media, Lie-onizing radiation is a prime cause of social cancers that result in ‘half-life’ for many citizens.

    Take extreme precautions. Social solidarity may alleviate some symptoms.

  11. nowhereman

    The most interesting thing about all these comments, is the common belief among humans, that somehow, what we end up doing to ourselves mattersin the overall scheme of things.
    The earth was uninhabitable in the past, it will be uninhabitable in the future.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still extremely pissed off that short sighted greedy people have been allowed to mess with my very small window on lifes prospects.

    1. AbyNormal

      i’d rather go out from a large kaboom
      not the slow torture i’m living & witnessing
      from the hands of a few _________.

      Hey mighty brontosaurus
      Don’t you have a message for us
      You thought your rule would always last
      There were no lessons in your past
      You were built three storeys high
      They say you would not hurt a fly
      If we explode the atom bomb
      Would they say that we were dumb?
      walking in your footsteps/sting

  12. Hugo Stiglitz

    As of a few months ago, no more ocean fish in my household. I think many people here (Taiwan, certainly many expats, are well aware of the Fukashima situation and are likewise cutting back or eliminating fish from their diet, especially for kids. This will destroy the sushi market, which is substantial.

    1. Trisectangle

      Health wise I’d be leery of eating too much fish, and top predator fish in general, simply due to heavy metal accumulation. There are already plenty of health guidelines recommending pregant women for severely limiting their intake of canned tuna for example.

      It is really annoying how little monitoring is being done of the radiation stuff around Fukushima though since it’s difficult to make any proper assessment of the general risk.

      The other thing is that if there is a general release any radioactive heavy elements will also start to bioaccumulate towards the top of the food chain…

    2. F. Beard

      I worry more about the mercury washed into the ocean from gold-mining. It appears the human race does not yet realize what money is. And no, money need not be debt either.

  13. Trisectangle

    It’s really annoying to see the “there is no safe level of radiation” canard being trotted out again. It’s one of these statements which is both technically correct but also totally misleading.

    As plenty of people have pointed out there is plenty of ionising radiation about in our daily environment. The sources range from naturally occuring radon gas to MRIs and xray scans. Some places have got very high levels of background radiation and people seem to live there with little ill-effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsar,_Mazandaran for example).

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about Fukushima since that is a fuckup of epic proportions but you shouldn’t panic about the fact that your annual radiation dose is non-zero. If I have a complex fracture I would not balk at doctors taking an xray or stop them from taking an MRI should I have a brain tumour.

  14. Andrew Foland

    Title nitpick: you cannot dump radiation into an ocean. You dump radioactive materials into an ocean.

    Most important point: if nobody can find a criminal law that TEPCO has broken, the laws need to be fixed. It has been criminally irresponsible throughout the whole episode. TEPCO should not be allowed to make any decisions or carry them out.

    Radiation point: I suggest someone calculate the “banana-equivalent dose” of drinking radioactive Pacific Ocean water their entire lives. (A “banana-equivalent dose” is the amount of radiation you expose yourself to from eating one banana, which contains the radioactive isotope potassium-40.) I suspect the answer is enlightening as to the amount of worry that should go into the radiation side.

    TEPCO should not be allowed to do the dumping, because they will surely find a way to do something dangerous by hiding some other dumping inside it.

  15. Jackrabbit

    Some readers say we should not panic. The risk is low.

    Mostly their reasoning is this: the radiation material will be dispersed widely and diluted by the huge amount of water in the ocean.

    I am no expert, but my layman’s understanding is different. Yes much of the radiation will be dispersed/diluted but a significant amount will accumulate and concentrate, either via physical action like currents or by living creatures that consume it and/or are in turn consumed. We already have reports of fish with high radiation readings.

    So what’s the risk? Maybe as low as a few thousand cancers? Contrast that KNOWN risk with the (tens of?) billions of dollars spent on security against terr0r and the loss of our democracy/freedoms to boot.

    Will YOU, or a loved one, be one of the unlucky one’s to succumb to cancer of unknown origin? Consider:

    - TEPCO was warned years in advance of the accident about the danger of Fukushima’s location.

    - Trillions of dollars were wasted in the sub-prime mess so that a few hundred could walk away with billions while YOUR life (or a loved one) and the lives of thousands like you did not merit the cost of proper cleanup.

    - By not complaining NOW, you allow TEPCO to set a precedent for how waste from future accidents worldwide is disposed of, dooming thousands more to die.

    PS I haven’t heard of ANYONE considering radiation testing of fish. I think it unlikely that the do so. People might find out that the danger is all too real, and TEPCO /Japan might have to pay billions.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      I would say it’s too early to panic.

      Not all radioactive materials are the same. CS-137 for example is horrible, horrible stuff. Tritium is not.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritiated_water

      Tritium has a half-life of ~ 12 years, and can be “shielded” with 6mm of air. Even if it gets ingested by fish, the biological half-life is 7-14 days. It’ll be out of the fish’s system before it gets to your table. (It would give the fish an increased chance of cancer…. not you.)

      If they have to dump radioactive crap into the ocean, I’d like it to be tritium.

      What I’m concerned about is the sliding window of acceptable discharge. Do they really have to dump radioactive crap into the ocean? If tritiated water is ok… what about X. Where does it stop. Also, was all the other radioactive crap from the water removed?

      Panic? No. Very Concerned? Yes.

  16. RonHall

    Yes! As a consumer of fish and other products from the lakes, oceans and fish farms, I am concerned about radioactive waste being disposed of in any body of water. We frequently dine on all forms of seafood, and as citizens of the world, we should demand honesty and honor from a nation who has placed so much belief in it. Japan once had a code of honor and I would like to believe it still exists despite the history of the 1940′s. If there is doubt in the minds of our nation of consumers, then the government owes us a full investigation of the matter, at our own expense as taxpayers. Please give an honest report so that
    if it is necessary to terminate fish from our diets, then we deserve honesty and all the facts. No cover-ups, for the lives of many are at stake. Much of our world is going to be effected by the outcome of Fukushima now, and in other locales somewhere, someplace is the future. Send a group of trustworthy scientists over there and bring forth a public document, after their studies, to put us either on an alert, or ease our mind. Place profits to one side and tell the people what they should know and make sure that commission has people from reputable scientific oceanographers, who are familiar with all ocean currents, especially those in the Pacific and the areas of Japanese waters. Will this administration yield to that question or not remains to be seen. Keep in mind that most of us are seafood eaters. Let the research and reports give forth the truth, good or bad. I would hate to include lugging a Geiger counter to Wal Mart Supercenters. Caveat emptor!

  17. Stan Musical

    Never mind the deluded or disingenuous, whatever their qualifications, real or imagined. They may not be trolls but engaging them in debate is equally fruitless. BTDT too many times.

  18. david taylor

    Green Engineer must be smoking just a little too much green weed. You see, there’s a reason nuke waste storage is such a sensitive issue. It is deadly. Radiation from nuke watse isnt natural radiation, dummie. Green Engineer will pretend all those scientists worrying about storage are wasting their time. After Chernobyl, the max permissible level of radiation was set at 1mSv/yr. After Fukushima, 20mSv/yr. Radiation will increase and increase until life expectancies fall and cancer is the number one cause of death.

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