Countering the Endless Distortions about Nuclear Power

George Erickson

Every March, biased, uninformed, anti-nuclear zealots like John LaForge jump at the chance to spread half-truths about Fukushima and quote other science-ignorant “journalists” who profit from peddling distortions about the meltdown that occurred in Japan in 2011.  Here are the facts:

1. In 1967, Tepco, the corporate owners of the Fukushima Daiichi facility, cut 25 meters off of the site’s 35-meter natural seawall to make it easy to ferry equipment ashore, a move that placed the reactors 5 meters below the crest of the 2011 tsunami. 

2. Tepco only replaced part of the seawall. 

3. The Japanese government told Tepco to raise it, but Tepco declined. 

4. The government did nothing. 

5. Tepco also placed the emergency generators in the basements, where they were easily flooded.

6. Fukushima’s six reactors ran without issue for 40 years – generating thousands of gigawatts of electricity without adding any CO2 to our atmosphere. 

7. All of Japan’s 40+ reactors survived the earthquake and shut down properly, including those at Fukushima, but a record-setting earthquake cut off Fukushima’s power from the grid. 

8. Emergency generators in the basements supplied power to cool the reactors until the tsunami subsequently destroyed them. 

9. Emergency batteries supplied instrumentation power for about 8 hours. but with no coolant reaching the reactors, units 1-3 experienced meltdown.    

10. Reactors 1-4 are useless. Reactors 5 and 6 are capable of producing power, but are not due to anti-nuclear hysteria. 

11. Japan’s Onagawa nuclear plant, which was closer to the epicenter of the quake, had a 45-foot seawall that easily blocked the tsunami. The tsunami took 20,000 lives, but the Fukushima failure took the lives of just two workers who DROWNED. 
   Nuclear power has been tarred by the Fukushima disaster, but the failure was not the fault of nuclear power.  It was the caused by corporate penny-pinching, by the lack of government enforcement of seawall height and by installing backup generators in basements.  Blaming nuclear power for Fukushima is like blaming a train that derails when its engineer takes a curve at 70 mph that is posted for 30. Should we shut down all of our trains?

   Japan responded by closing its nuclear plants – a foolish move that has required the country to spend $40 billion per year on liquefied natural gas plus billions more for coal, which has worsened climate change by creating huge amounts of CO2 - and they have spent another $11 billion per year just to maintain their perfectly functional-but-idled reactors.

   In 2016, Mr. LaForge, who profits from biased reporting, began to worry the public about the effects of Cesium 134 on fish while ignoring reports from NOAA (our U S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration),  and the Japanese government that stated, “Radioactive Cesium in fish caught near F. Daiichi continues to dwindle. Of the more than 70 specimens taken in October, only five showed any Cesium 134, the ‘fingerprint’ for Fukushima Daiichi contamination… Half of the sampled fish had detectible levels of Cs-137, but all were well below Japan’s limit of 100 Bq/kg….”  These amounts are tiny, and the particles emitted from Potassium-40, which we all contain, are more potent than the Cesium emissions that many self-proclaimed greens fear.

   Imagine the anxiety created by clueless officials and “reporters” who spread useless information, as when a school official warned parents that the radiation intensity was 0.14 micro sieverts per hour, which was meaningless because the normal radiation level in many Japanese cities can be five times that high.

   In 2012, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the internationally recognized expert on radiation affairs, stated, “…no clinically observable effects have been reported and there is no evidence of acute radiation injury in any of the 20,115 workers who participated in Tepco’s efforts to mitigate the accident at the plant.”  

   A year later, UNSCEAR added:  “Radiation exposure following the accident at Fukushima did not cause any immediate health effects. It is unlikely [that there will be] any health effects among the general public and the vast majority of workers.”  www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2013/unisinf475.html and http://www.aiva.ca/Dobrzynski_L_etal_Dose-esponse_2015.pdf

   And in an April, 2014 follow-up, UNSCEAR reported that, “Overall, people in Fukushima are expected on average to receive less than 10 mSv due to the accident over their whole lifetime, compared with the 170 mSv lifetime dose from natural background radiation that most people in Japan typically receive.”

   Finally, in late 2015, UNSCEAR confirmed that none of the information subsequently accumulated “materially affected the main findings in, or challenged the major assumptions of, the 2013 report.”  And as of 2018, their assessment continues to improve. 
Instead of providing balanced information, organizations like Eco Watch trumpet “… ocean waters off the West Coast are testing positive for radioactive elements… Cesium has been detected in seawater having a radio-intensity of 4 Becquerels per cubic meter.”
   Why don’t they know or want to admit, that the normal radioactivity of seawater is 12,000 Bq per cubic meter? These alarmists are either fear-mongering or are being willfully ignorant, the latter applying to the head of a Minnesota foundation whose goals I share, but not his passion for inefficient, environment-damaging, carbon-dependent windmills and solar arrays. When I tried to get this “environmentalist” to rethink his support of renewables by providing evidence of their faults with polite emails, his response was “stop hassling me.” 

   Unfortunately, positive, factual reports rarely appear in our American press, which frustrates professionals like Leslie Corrice, an environmental monitoring technician, health physics design engineer, public education coordinator and emergency planner who writes the highly respected blog, The Hiroshima Syndrome.

As Corrice has plainly stated “The media might not make money off sharing the facts about Fukushima, but they are committing a moral crime against humanity by not doing it.”
   Corrice’s dismay over the results of radiophobia are echoed by many professionals, one being Dr. Antone Brooks, who grew up in “fallout-drenched” St. George, Utah, which led him to study radiation at Cornell University. For an excellent, short video of the conclusions he reached, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0_gMpsVB-k.

   The closure of Japan’s nuclear plants and its increased use of imported liquefied natural gas put an end to Japan’s long-standing trade surplus. But in 2015, bowing to financial realities and because of diminishing fear, Japan wisely restarted the second of its reactors, and is currently adding more. 

   The staggering amount of CO2-free electricity that a nuclear power plant delivers 24/7 dwarfs the intermittent dribble provided by short-lived, resource-gobbling, environment-damaging  renewables. Instead of peddling distortions about Fukushima, Mr. LaForge would serve the environment better by supporting the expansion of highly efficient, environment-friendly nuclear power which has by far the best safety record of any means of generating electricity. And the new, PROVEN reactors (that we should be installing at every existing power plant), cannot melt down, and can consume most of our stored nuclear waste as fuel!

   People who really care about the environment and want to learn the facts about nuclear power and alternative energy sources can find them in Unintended Consequences: the Lie That Killed Millions and Accelerated Climate Change, which I will supply FREE to anyone who emails tundracub@mediacombb.net. The book can also be downloaded at http://www.unintended-consequences.org. 

For a free presentation on these critical issues, contact George Erickson, a member of the National Center for Science Education and the Thorium Energy Alliance, at 218-744-2003 or tundracub@mediacombb.net. His website is www.tundracub.com.