Filed Under:  National, News

Fukushima plant meltdown affects USA

9th September 2013   ·   0 Comments

By J. Kojo Livingston
Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: J. Kojo Livingston, a long-time contributor to The Louisi­ana Weekly, died suddenly on Wednesday, September 4. This piece was one of the last articles he submitted before his untimely death.

The entire West Coast is being impacted by more than 300 tons per day of radioactive water pouring into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan according to scientists from around the world. The radioactive water is the pour-off from water being used to cool the damaged reactors to prevent further meltdown or worse. As one scientist said, “It has to go somewhere.”

That somewhere is into the Pacific Ocean and into the currents that bring water to the West Coast of North America and ultimately the rest of the world. The water is only one concern, as the airborne currents travel across the planet without the constraints of bodies of water.

The level of impact of the radioactive water ranges from “harmless” to a call for evacuation of the entire western seaboard, depending on whom you choose to believe.

The International Journal of Health Sciences says that 14,000 “excess deaths” in the United States occurred in the first 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdown. Many of these deaths were infants under age one. While some scientists dispute that number they do not deny the presence of Fukushima radiation in the air, water and fish in that area.

Scientists do agree on two things: 1) Fukushima radiation, via air and water, has reached and affected the West Coast of the United States, parts of Canada and British Columbia; 2) infants and children are more susceptible to diseases caused by radiation than adults are.

A study by medical doctor Janett Sherman and epidemiologist, Joseph Mangango cites a 28 percent increase in Thyroid problems in babies born after Fukushima in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Sherman has spent most of her career working for the various branches of the U.S. government, including the EPA and the Army.

When scientists tested bluefin tuna in California they declared that “Absolutely every one” was contaminated with Fukushima radiation. Government scientists have not denies this fact but insist that the levels of radiation are safe. Tuna that have been tagged by scientists have been tracked swimming back and forth from Japan to California multiple times in a single year. Nearly all of these fish are believed to have passed through contaminated water.

Cover Up?

Japan has been accused by the international community of covering up the true extent of the damage and danger from the Fukushima accident. Monitoring and reporting of radiation levels and radiation-related illnesses has been cut back tremendously. Both the U.S. and Canada have reportedly reduced the monitoring of airborne radiation. After the meltdown, the EPA actually raised the levels of radiation that it considered “acceptable.” Officials are reportedly closed mouthed about the matter.

No End in Sight

Tokyo Electric is constructing a 2,400-foot containment wall that will take until the end of next year to complete. Meanwhile they are trying to reduce the spill to 60 tons of water per day by December.

Because the Fukishima plant was built by General Electric and is similar to 23 reactors in the United States, there is concern about the possibility of a Fukushima here.

Lost in the discussion are the ethical considerations that weigh the financial benefits of nuclear power plants to a small group of investors against the risk of endangering life across the globe.

This article originally published in the September 9, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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