Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fallout from Japan's Disasters

I received an email this morning from a gentleman concerned about the fallout from Japan's triple earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant disasters. He sent this article:

The Death Of The Pacific Ocean, Fukushima Debris Soon To Hit American Shores

That pile of debris, made up of cars, trucks, boats, refrigerators, television sets, furniture, all laced with toxic chemicals is due to begin hitting Hawaii this winter (according to NOAA) and the US West Coast several months after that:

Japan Tsunami Debris Floating Toward Hawaii, Huffington Post, October 25, 2011

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, under the Department of Commerce, an agency that Texas Governor and Republican Presidential aspirant Rick Perry would eliminate) offered this map of movement of debris from the tsunami. (Year 1 = red; Year 2 = orange; Year 3 = yellow; Year 4 = light blue; Year 5 = violet.) Looks like it's moving a little faster than this.


The following are recent events related to Fukushima's radiation leakage:

400,000 cans of baby formula recalled:
Japanese Tests Find Radiation In Infant Food, New York Times, December 6, 2011
"Traces of radioactive cesium thought to be from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were detected in Japanese baby formula on Tuesday as concerns about food safety continue almost nine months after the accident.
Since the Fukushima Daiichi plant was heavily damaged by the tsunami that followed the March 11 earthquake, radioactive particles have made their way into vegetables, beef, fish and the nation’s staple, rice."
New leakage of radioactive gas, indicating that nuclear fission has resumed - on its own - in a reactor close to shutdown:
Japan Nuclear Crisis: Xenon Detected At Fukushima Plant, BBC, November 2, 2011

Revised estimates of radiation release:
Fukushima Nuclear Plant Released Far More Radiation Than Government Said, Scientific American, October 25, 2011

Banned beef shipments:
Japan Bans Fukushima Beef Shipments, BBC, July 19, 2011
"The initial discovery of contaminated beef was traced back to farms near the Fukushima power plant, but more recent discoveries are from farms as far as 100km (70 miles) away."
Maybe the world is better off with fewer regulations? Presidential aspirant Rick Perry is also advocating for the abolishment of the Department of Energy, which houses the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The photo, from the US Navy, shows the debris off Japan's coast shortly after the tsunami.

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