Below is a response piece by D. Kosoff on the latest Greenpeace article regarding Fukushima. Kosoff has a good grasp on what to look for when listening to the “Experts” including in this case, our once beloved Greenpeace.
Here is yet another example of Fukushima Public Relations 101. The “experts” confining the perception of the problem mainly to Japan.
The author makes several false assertions. From a media and content analysis perspective, the motive of this article is suspect. The angle of the article is to downplay Fukushima’s scope outside of Japan. Either that is the conscious motive, or the author and I genuinely disagree on the scope and reach of Fukushima and how bad it really is. Maybe a bit of both.
Greenpeace is not the pure objective independent uninfluenced green organization they claim to be. They are indeed influenced directly and indirectly by political and economic forces. To me they can be used as a sophisticated smokescreen for industry. Industry welcomes the likes of Greenpeace and uses them (directly and indirectly) to make people think that watchdogs are active and that if anything is wrong then Greenpeace will be there to expose the problem and communicate the truth. Little do they know that the exposure is middle ground at best, at worst it’s a direct misrepresentation of the truth.
Greenpeace is huge in the “environmental” business and I think this article is appalling because the message it conveys is potentially reaching a lot of people and putting them in their don’t worry be happy comfort zone, like it’s really a Japan problem. That is far from the case.
Title of the article: That depends on how you define apocalypse, Jan. Billions (that’s billions) of people (basically, all life on earth) ultimately affected in the end by this unprecedented event is plenty apocalyptic for me.
“Many people have been exposed to significantly elevated levels of radiation. Thousands of square kilometers have been contaminated and will be for many decades to come by radioactive fallout from the accident.”
Many people? I think we all have, and exposed to internalized radioactive contamination, not just radiation. This implies that somehow, maybe the reader hasn’t been significantly “exposed”. And “elevated levels of radiation” is an industry term to obfuscate the reality of internalized fission byproducts. And thousands of square kilometers? True, but how many square kilometers is the planet, let alone the northern hemisphere?
“Then there are the challenges of dismantling the whole crippled nuclear power plant whose melted reactors still have lethally dangerous nuclear fuel inside them.”
This makes it sound like this can actually be done (it can’t) and will somehow solve a problem.
“However, there are also stories that exaggerate the risks and create news of potential catastrophes that are well beyond reality. Given that people’s trust in public authorities has been shaken (and not without a reason!), one can often find alarming but unconfirmed information on social media.”
This paragraph is rife with opinion and assertions. Stories that exaggerate the risks? What about stories that downplay the risks, such as this one? Create news of potential catastrophes that are well beyond reality? Create news? Potential catastrophes? Beyond reality? Says who? What are you providing in this article to back up that assertion? Measurements of fish? Many people around the world think this is the worst thing to ever happen to life on this planet. These people use basic logic and reasoning combined with knowledge to make that assertion. Their assertions hold no less weight than the one made here.
“Most recent have been the stories of rumours about ongoing nuclear reactions inside the crippled Fukushima reactors and vast radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean and US West Coast.”
Rumors? I’m not inside Fukushima, but my brain tells me, given my fundamental knowledge of the physical complex, the damage, the amount of fuel, etc., that open-air fission has been happening to varying degrees 24/7 for well over 1,000 days now. We’ve already been vastly contaminated.
“We have checked these stories and our conclusion is clear: these are not stories based in fact. For example, while unprecedented amounts of radioactive cesium have ended up in the Pacific Ocean, significantly contaminating sediments and fisheries along the Japanese coastline, there is no plausible mechanism that could transport significant levels of contamination across the Pacific to reach beaches in the US or Australia.”
This one made my blood boil. No plausible mechanism… Sure there is Jan, it’s called air. Everyone is talking about the “radiation leaks” or “water leaks”. First of all, it’s not just radiation. It’s artificial radioactive contamination that emits radiation. Radioactive pollution in the form of particles and gases. Big difference. All the buzz and focus on the water, water, water… when the AIR is the biggest issue, by FAR. Which is why the atmospheric emissions are rarely mentioned in “official” discourse. What’s in the air winds up in the water anyway. Coming up on 3 years of continual dry and wet deposition into the world’s oceans and landscapes. This stuff is EASILY carried around the globe in the air, let alone to the west coast of N. America. This is such basic physical science that has been known for decades and it’s incredible how ignorant people are to the global transport of pollution in this day and age. The power of public relations over time prevails yet again. I think this is what most people unfamiliar with physical geography or meteorology have a hard time grasping or grocking, and it’s what the nuclear industry preys on. Oh, don’t worry, it’s far far away and will be “diluted” to “safe” “levels” by the time it gets here. And here we go again, framing Fukushima into numbers and levels. Never mind the fact you have plutonium, cesium, strontium, iodine, and a plethora of other radionuclides in your body, if it’s at a certain “level” set by the governments and industry, no worries. Somehow there is a magical threshold at which not to worry about fission byproducts in the body. Somehow static numbers don’t account for accumulation over time. And who in the hell can accurately measure “levels” anyway? This is not a linear problem. I could be breathing significant amounts of radionuclides for 2 minutes on any given day, while the rest of the day I’m only breathing smaller amounts. If the air wasn’t tested during those 2 minutes, then all seems ok. Air is highly variable. So is water. So are fish. Numbers in fish paint a small part of the picture, and those numbers likely don’t accurately reflect what’s in the fish anyway.
For the oceans to be in big trouble from air emissions alone is not nuclear science. It’s all one big closed-loop system. I’m sure the accelerated stark and dramatic biological events happening around the world right now are simply a coincidence or can be chalked up to other causes, right? Jan seems pretty confident that it’s a fact that Fukushima is not causing animal die offs or affecting people outside of Japan. That assertion is not backed up in this article. I think the burden of proof should be on the skeptics. Prove why Fukushima is NOT responsible for what is happening. Because basic logic and decades of existing research, study, knowledge tells me Fukushima is doing exactly what it should be doing—causing major health problems worldwide with flora and fauna.
All this focus on measurable numbers and “levels”. “Measuring” fish for cesium is not going to paint the real picture. And what about the other isotopes? You “measuring” all those too?
After Fukushima blew, I didn’t need a Geiger counter or Radnet or experts to tell me we were in big trouble, but I bought one anyway, learned how to use it well, and confirmed what I already knew. Big-time spikes every time it rains. Every time! That means it’s in the air. People with Geiger counters well before Fukushima have plenty of pre-Fukushima background info to discern that Fukushima is indeed in the air now. And as we all know, Geiger counters, like fish measurements, fail to paint the true picture anyway. But it paints part of it.
“Yes, there are detectable traces of those radioactive isotopes in US waters, but they are at very low levels, and their contribution to radiation doses is far below the natural background radiation level.”
Again, framing Fukushima into traces and low and levels and doses and far below and natural and background and radiation and level. Wow, nice job Jan. You are a real pro. What I’ve already said applies to this doozy of a paragraph as well.
“This does not necessarily mean they are completely safe (no radiation dose is low enough to be 100% safe), but the additional risks they present to living organisms, including humans, are negligible. Certainly, these levels are not causing radiation sickness, deformities or mass deaths of ocean life.”
Additional risk are negligible? This is your assertion, with really nothing to back it up. Most experts I have heard would disagree. Certainly not causing radiation sickness, deformities or mass deaths of ocean life? You well versed in the symptoms of chronic radiation sickness Jan? I am, and I’m experiencing most of the stage 1 symptoms, as I should be. Many people probably are to varying degrees, but many people are so out of tune with their bodies that they don’t even realize it anyway. It’s not like people are going to be dropping like poisoned flies, even though it can be argued that tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands to millions, have already died largely because of Fukushima, many from cardiac arrest or fast-developing cancers. But the Fukushima effect will be slow and insidious. And have you taken a real, honest look at ALL the reported mass animal incidents the past couple years? I’m sure it’s all just a coincidence Jan. You failed to provide any other possibility of a major contributing factor, so the readers will just take your word for it.
“That is why we continue to focus on the big post-Fukushima problems in Japan itself. This is where you can occasionally still catch a fish whose contamination exceeds the official standards. While the frequency of such catches has indeed fallen since 2011, they still occur and send a reminder of the ongoing risks and need for precautionary measures when it comes to seafood from Japan’s northeastern coastline.”
Nice to know Jan, that allegedly most fish one would catch would not exceed official standards for “radiation”. You go by official standards for what radioisotopes and how much internalized is acceptable again? Oh but it’s specifically the NE coastline of Japan, so I won’t worry about eating anything from the Pacific as long as it’s not from that tiny little region.
“But to repeat: the idea that contamination from Fukushima presents a risk to the coastal waters and their ecosystems of the US or Australia is seriously over-stretched.”
I wish true independents could all have a forum as wide-reaching as Greenpeace to make these kinds of assertions. I’m sure this will leave your readers with the intended sigh of relief and they can go back to their regular daily programming and their comfort zone, assured that all is safe and well from Fukushima outside of Japan.
I get that some people want desperately to believe (resort to believing rather than understanding) that the scope and reach and effects of Fukushima are not as bad as the worst-case scenarios some have laid out.
I believe and understand though that it is likely WORSE than the worst of scenarios laid out.