By William Boardman
he first thing to know about the danger from the radioactive mass remaining in the three reactors that melted down at Fukushima is that nobody knows how much radioactive material there is, nobody knows how much uranium and plutonium it contains, and nobody knows how to make it safe – so no one knows how great the continuing danger is.
In order to prevent nuclear material from being diverted to use in weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency of the U.N. requires each country to report regularly on the volume of nuclear materials in its nuclear power plants. At Fukushima, this is currently impossible.
Diversion of this material to weapons use is not a problem at the moment, since the level of radioactivity is high enough to kill anyone who comes close to it, which is why it hasn’t been moved. On the other hand, it is necessary to move it in order to measure it, and even if it were movable now, the technology to measure it does not yet exist.
Water used to cool nuclear fuel and waste becomes radioactive itself, as does the groundwater that infiltrates the structures. This radioactive water continues to reach the Pacific Ocean in varying quantities, as TEPCO attempts to keep it in check.[…] TEPCO is expanding its storage capacity to about 1.9 billion gallons by clearing forest and other areas around the compound. While this would probably suffice for another three years, the site is running out of storage space. Additionally, some of the storage tanks have begun to leak and contaminated water is leaking into the soil.
In July 2012, as some officials were assuring the public that fish from the Pacific were safe to eat, the Japan Fisheries Agency compiled statistics showing the opposite. As reported by a Canadian web site, Vancouver’s straight.com:
The numbers show that far from dissipating with time, as government officials and scientists in Canada and elsewhere claimed they would, levels of radiation from Fukushima have stayed stubbornly high in fish.
In March 2013, researchers from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station issued a report on Bluefin tuna caught off the California coast and tested for radioactive cesium. The report found that Bluefin tuna were 100 per cent contaminated, that not one was cesium-free. The report did not address such questions as whether cesium would continue to accumulate in tuna or whether it was appearing in other fish species.
The important aspect of this research, according to the Stanford News, was that: “The work supports the idea that the Fukushima radioisotopes can be used to reliably determine the previously unknown trans-oceanic movements of juvenile Pacific bluefin tuna. This information could be used to prevent tuna from being overfished.”
Apparently there is no comprehensive, Fukushima-related radiation testing being carried on by the U.S., Canadian, or other governments whose people are directly affected. Nor is there any international body publicly performing this work.