It's been 5 years since an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0-- the greatest in the country's documented history and among the five most powerful recorded ever around the globe-- and subsequent tsunami ruined parts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, eventually killing more than 20,000 men, women and children; displaced over 200,000; and brought untold fear and suffering to many survivors.
The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe on March 11, 2011, led to huge radioactive contamination of the Japanese mainland, along with it brought to the forefront the threats of around the world of nuclear radiation. Five years later on, after-effects of the disastrous event continue to plague the world, making it the biggest environmental disaster in recorded history.
Here are 10 terrible truths about the ongoing Fukushima nuclear holocaust that will terrify you...
# 1 300 tons (272,152 liters) of radioactive water, enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every 8 days goes into the Pacific Ocean. Harvey Wasserman, journalist and supporter for sustainable energy, told RT:
“This is an apocalyptic event. This is something that could contaminate the entire Pacific Ocean. It is extremely serious. The reality is that Tokyo Electric does not know what is happening and does not know how to control what is going on. Our entire planet is at risk here.”
# 2 The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant holds 11,400 fuel rods. Fukushima reactor No. 4 alone has 1300 fuel rods kept in a leaking pool. These fuel rods have to be by removed manually, in addition to 6,300 fuel rods stored nearby. Given that the fuel rods, which radiation levels are comparable to 14,000 times the quantity released when the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, need to be drawn out manually to prevent an even worse disaster than the March 2011 crisis, even the smallest error could cause a chain reaction.
# 3 In 2013, TEPCO, the Japanese power company accountable for the Fukushima reactor, confessed that radiation levels in its groundwater observation hole on the east side of the turbine buildings had reached 310 Becquerels per liter for cesium-134 and 650 Becquerels per liter for cesium-137. According to the World Health Organization, drinking water at 300 Becquerels per liter is comparable to one year direct exposure to natural background radiation, or 10 to 15 chest X-rays.
# 4 In the immediate after-effects of the catastrophe, the plant was spewing an approximated 5,000 to 15,000 terabecquerels (trillion Becquerels) of cesium-137 a month. According to Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Innovation, the plant continues to leak 10 billion Becquerels of cesium-137 per day into the Pacific Ocean.
# 5 Within 2 years of the disaster, TEPCO confessed that they had actually spotted the extremely toxic strontium-90, a byproduct of nuclear fission that can cause bone cancer if consumed, at levels 30 times the permitted rate. It also openly admitted that an advancing 20 trillion to 40 trillion Becquerels of radioactive tritium had actually leaked into the sea given that the disaster.
# 6 Apart from Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, the plant continues to leak huge amounts of Iodine-131 into the air. Because the thyroid rapidly soaks up Iodine-131 in a radioactive event, the resultant internal contamination damages the thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism, cancer and death. Harvey Wasserman states:
Iodine-131 can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40% of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer.”
# 7 Experts call it the greatest release of radiation to a body of water in the history of the world, much worse than Chernobyl. They forecast that the entire Pacific Ocean will have Cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher than what they were at the peak of atomic bomb testing decades ago.
# 8 Radiation from the Fukushima disaster has currently spread out across the world. Last December, researchers found a spike of cesium-134 off the coast of California-- about 11 Becquerels per cubic meter of water. They also found about 10 Becquerels per cubic meter of water 1,500 miles north of Hawaii-- a level around twice as high as levels they found on previous missions.
# 9 According to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Market (METI), more than 1,100 square kilometers of villages, mountains and forests remain uninhabitable; totally cleaning up the site will require half a century.
# 10 We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our life times, but our children's lifetimes, concludes scientist Christina Consolo. She tells RT:
“…The worst case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse… A weather event, power outage, earthquake, tsunami, cooling system failure, or explosion and fire in any way, shape, or form, at any location on the Fukushima site, could cascade into an event of that magnitude as well.”
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