Unpacking the Fukushima Disaster

On Fukushima Beach is an hour long brilliantly constructed documentary that uses a montage of mainstream and Internet media clips to unpack the Fukushima disaster. In addition to providing a painless scientific overview of radiation health issues, it outlines the ongoing radiation risks faced by all residents of the northern hemisphere.

There are simple measures people everywhere (except the Japanese – they need to be evacuated asap) could be taking to protect themselves. Yet in their eagerness to promote and support the nuclear power industry, the Obama administration, the Japanese government and the international agencies charged with monitoring and addressing similar health issues (such as the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Health Organization), have remained stubbornly silent on what promises to be the most serious health crisis of the 21st century.

Relying heavily on the technical expertise of highly prominent and credible medical professionals and scientists (including Australian pediatrician Dr Helen Caldicott and Japanese-American theoretical physicist Dr Michio Kaku), the film stresses the following essential points:

  • Despite being “shut down,” all four Fukushima reactors continue to release dangerous radioactive nucleotides, both to the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean. There is a self-perpetuating chain reaction occurring in Reactors 1-3, in which core meltdowns have occurred. Continuing radiation release can only be stopped by encasing them in a concrete shell, as the Soviets did at Chernobyl. Extremely high radiation levels make it too hazardous for workers to begin construction of this shell (even though an organization of several hundred elderly retired engineers have volunteered to sacrifice themselves to undertake the clean up –Retired Fukushima engineers. Tokyo Electric Power Co., aka TEPCO, has rebuffed their offer, fearing negative publicity.)
  • Since meltdowns have already occurred (there was an explosion but no meltdown at Chernobyl), high levels of radiation have entered the subsoil below the containment chamber, as well as the groundwater. Halting radiation leakage into the groundwater would require installation of an impermeable barrier between the reactor and the water table. TEPCO has refused to even consider such a barrier, claiming it would be too expensive and “affect stock prices.”
  • The Japanese government was criminally negligent in refusing to evacuate Tokyo (238 km or 148 miles from Fukushima), owing to their reluctance to create public “panic.” Abundant evidence suggests they were well aware Tokyo’s 30 million residents were at risk. Recent random sampling reveals that Tokyo children are being exposed to five times the acceptable does of radiation. Many are already showing evidence of radiation poisoning (hair loss, lethargy, rashes, joint pains, tiredness and rings under their eyes). While government clinics are diagnosing them with psychiatric conditions, pregnant women are undergoing abortions to prevent their infants from being born with birth defects.
  • Despite claims from the nuclear power industry that no human beings have ever died from industry-related radiation poisoning, careful documentation by Russian scientists indicate that there were approximately one million deaths (mainly from cancer and leukemia) directly related to Chernobyl. The time lag between exposure and death (three to four years for leukemia and lung cancer and fifteen years for solid cancers) make it easier for the nuclear industry to deny the connection. However there are clear statistical links that can’t be explained any other way.
  • Prevailing wind patterns mean that Americans, even those on the East Coast, and Europeans have been exposed to hazardous levels of airborne radiation. Studies of ocean currents reveal that high radiation levels have spread throughout the entire North Pacific. Tuna and other species caught on the West Coast reveal dangerous levels of radioactive cesium. No one, no matter where they live, should be eating Pacific seafood sourced north of the Equator.
  • There are 1,535 spent MOX (combined uranium/plutonium) fuel rods stored in open cooling pools on the roof of Reactor 4. According to TEPCO, they can’t be moved before 2015-2016. Another earthquake could potentially expose them to the air, forcing evacuation of the entire northern hemisphere.

The filmmakers also attempt to explain the conspiracy of silence around the ongoing Fukushima disaster and the extreme threat it poses to literally billions of people in the northern hemisphere. They blame the insane power of the nuclear power industry, which ironically is one of the most spectacularly unprofitable industries in modern times. The companies that build and operate nuclear power plants rely on massive government subsidies in the construction phase, as the revenue they earn from selling electricity can’t possibly cover their costs. Apparently nuclear power – known as “atoms for peace” in the 1950s – was dreamed up as a public relations ploy to de-stigmatize nuclear weapons in the public mind.

The film stresses that nuclear power and weapons production have always been joined at the hip. It also reveals that General Electric (GE), the powerful defense contractor (and owner of NBC network) which manufactures nuclear weapons – is the same company that designed and built the Fukushima reactors. Interesting how the Obama administration, which has approved massive subsidies for new nuclear power plants, has exerted major pressure on Japan to conceal GE’s involvement in Fukushima.

Dr. Bramhall is a retired American psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. She has published a free, downloadable non-fiction ebook 21st Century Revolution. Her first book The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led her to leave the US in 2002. Email her at: stuartbramhall@yahoo.co.nz. Read other articles by Stuart Jeanne, or visit Stuart Jeanne's website.