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Fukushima: Still Getting Worse After Six Years of Meltdowns via Reader Supported News

By William Boardman

fter a week of limited coverage of “unimaginable levels” of radiation inside the remains of collapsed Unit 2 at Fukushima (see below), reported February 11 that radiation levels are actually significantly higher than “unimaginable.”

Continuous, intense radiation, at 530 sieverts an hour (4 sieverts is a lethal level), was widely reported in early February 2017 – as if this were a new phenomenon. It’s not. Three reactors at Fukushima melted down during the earthquake-tsunami disaster on March 3, 2011, and the meltdowns never stopped. Radiation levels have been out of control ever since. As Fairewinds Energy Education noted in an email February 10:

Although this robotic measurement just occurred, this high radiation reading was anticipated and has existed inside the damaged Unit 2 atomic reactor since the disaster began nearly 6 years ago…. As Fairewinds has said for 6 years, there are no easy solutions because groundwater is in direct contact with the nuclear corium (melted fuel) at Fukushima Daiichi.

What’s new (and not very new, at that) is the official acknowledgement of the highest radiation levels yet measured there, by a factor of seven (the previously measured high was 73 sieverts an hour in 2012). The highest radiation level measured at Chernobyl was 300 sieverts an hour. What this all means, as anyone paying attention well knows, is that the triple-meltdown Fukushima disaster is still out of control.


The ground water flowing into, through, and out of the reactor is contaminated by its passage and is having some impact on the Pacific Ocean. The US, like other governments, is ignoring whatever is happening, allowing it to happen as if it doesn’t matter and never will. In Carmel, California, local residents are finding that tide pools, once vibrant with life, are now dead. They blame Fukushima.

Whatever is actually going on at Fukushima is not good, and has horrifying possibilities. It is little comfort to have the perpetrator of the catastrophe, TEPCO, in charge of fixing it, especially when the Japanese government is more an enabler of cover-up and denial than any kind of seeker of truth or protector of its people. It took private researchers five years to figure out that Fukushima’s fallout of Cesium-137 on Tokyo took a more dangerous, glassy form that wasn’t cleaned up effectively.

The US and most of the rest of the world have chosen not to take Fukushima more seriously than a multi-car Interstate pile-up. The policy is one more roll of the dice, saving money now and gambling the future. But now we have Rick Perry heading up the US Department of Energy and Scott Pruitt slated to take over the Environmental Protection Agency – so we can expect big changes, right?

Actually there has been one big change already at the Energy Dept., which uses more contractors than any other US agency. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Energy Dept. failed to protect whistleblowers who raised legitimate nuclear safety and other concerns. In response, the Energy Dept. prepared a new rule protecting whistleblowers from contractor retaliation. That rule was blocked from going into effect by President Trump’s regulatory freeze on January 20.




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