By Eiichiro Ochiai
But these data accounted for only the release into the atmosphere. Radioactive materials were also released into the water systems surrounding the facilities, as well as directly into the ocean. When the amounts released into the water and the ocean were estimated 3, the total amounts released were re-calculated 4. They are shown in Table 1 along with the official data. The ratio of the amount released from Fukushima to that from Chernobyl ranges from 1.2 to 3.1 for the major nuclides, suggesting that the extent of radiation release from Fukushima was very likely more than that from Chernobyl; perhaps more than twice if all were taken account of.
Reality of Internal Exposure
The effects of radioactive fallout from an accident of a nuclear power reactor as well as a nuclear bomb explosion are caused mostly by “internal exposure”, yet no adequate attention has been given to this aspect by the authorities and the associated scientists. The sources of the internal exposure are minute radioactive particles floating in the air, which can be inhaled, and contaminated food and drinks consumed. Radioactivity of foods and drinks produced in the contaminated area is monitored, and those with activity higher than the regulation values cannot legally be marketed.
One cannot well safeguard against ingesting radioactive material, unless one measures the radioactivity of everything one takes in, which is not possible. The issue of “internal exposure” is complicated, and would require another detailed article. For now, three photographs are shown below to illustrate the reality of internal exposure.
Figs. 3 and 4 are the trace of a-particles in the preserved tissues of victims of the atomic bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not easy technically to take this kind of photo, and scientists succeeded in doing so only recently (11, 12). The source of the first trace is plutonium from the Nagasaki bomb, and that of the second is uranium from the Hiroshima bomb. The plutonium and uranium embedded in the tissues of atomic bomb victims are still emitting a-radiation after 70 years. This says that the fallout of the atomic bomb explosions, which included uranium in the Hiroshima bomb and plutonium in the Nagasaki bomb, somehow got into the body of the victims and stuck in those tissues, and emitted and destroyed the surrounding tissues for 70 years. Both plutonium and uranium have a long half-life, millions of years or more.
Thyroid Cancers among Children in Fukushima
Yet, the authorities and the committee in charge of this investigation have denied causality to radiation from Fk-1 accidents. They argued against causality thus:
(a) Screening effects, that is, they used sophisticated techniques to show that cancers that are ordinarily non-detectable were detected. However, officials admitted recently that screening effects would not be able to explain such a high rate 15.
(b) In the case of Chernobyl thyroid cancers in children appeared only 4 years after the accident. It is too early for Fukushima children to get thyroid cancers. This argument has been rebutted by an article published in the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 16.
(c) They checked a few other places in Japan, and say that the thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is similar to that found in Aomori, Nagasaki and Yamanashi 17. They imply that Fukushima is not abnormal. This study is based on a very small sample in which only one cancer was found; hence the result is not statistically meaningful.
(d) It is too soon for thyroid cancers to appear. It usually takes four to five years. This is in addition to the argument of comparison with Chernobyl (b) above. Hence the cancers found here should have started before the accidents.
(e) The amount of radioactive material released was far lower than that of Chernobyl, and hence would not have such effects as those found in Chernobyl.
A recent report 18 indicates that the latent period for thyroid cancer can be as short as one year in children. The amount of radioactive material released (e) has been discussed earlier, and has been shown to be at least as high as, or even higher than, that of Chernobyl. All of these arguments by the authorities are based on weak or incorrect information.
Other Diseases are also Increasing in Fukushima since the Accident
The Problem is Not Confined to Fukushima; Diseases are Increasing All over Japan