JOURNAL OF THE 24TH YEAR
Japan's Fukushima Disaster
The Shura Case
Death Row Inmates Exonerated
NUGGETS FROM THE NUT HOUSE
From Netanyahu to Mladic
Edward S. Herman
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Veterans Support Manning
Double Dip Recession
Iara Lee's Culture of Resistance
Len Weinglass (1933-2011)
Michael Steven Smith
Checkmate In The Great Game
Nicolas J.S. Davies
The Colonial Predator Legacy
Against Corporatocracy Rule
Bruce E. Levine
The Mideast & South Central Asia
Bin Laden and the Arab "Awakening"
From Poppies to Fentanyl Lollipops
The Lacandon Jungle and the Carbon Market
Displacing People for Profit
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Japan's Fukushima Disaster, Echoes of Chernobyl and War
It’s an old saw in anti-nuclear campaigns that the worst thing that can happen is to be proven right. There is nothing but desperation in knowing that
On April 4, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) began dumping 11,500 tons of contaminated reactor cooling water—out of a total of at least 60,000 tons in need of “disposal”—directly into the sea. The deliberate contamination of the Pacific, whose currents move directly toward the Alaskan fishery, came after three weeks of uncontrolled gushing of radioactive water from an unknown number of broken pipes and cracked tanks, as well as from three potentially ruptured reactor vessels and waste fuel pools.
At least three large explosions of tritium gas, the radioactive form of what was universally referred to in the media only as “hydrogen,” were followed by major releases of radioactive steam and water from reactor structures. Forbes reported on April 11 that cesium from Fukushima had been found in milk in Vermont and that iodine-131—near the EPA’s recommended maximum level —was in drinking water in dozens of U.S. cities. The EPA found cesium and tellurium in
Even prior to the massive dumping of contaminated waste water, seawater samples taken April 2 found cesium-137 at a level 1.1 million times the legal limit. Iodine-131 concentrations were 5 million times the limit. On April 5, the iodine contamination rose to 7.5 million times the permitted level. Cesium is especially dangerous because it persists in the environment for 300 years, moves quickly up the food chain, and concentrates in muscle tissue and the liver.
On April 11, the disaster was declared a Level 7 on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s scale of radiation releases—the worst possible. However, the designation is badly outdated because it was established after
The Institute for Energy & Environmental Research estimated that in the first several days about 2.4 million curies of iodine-131 and half-a-million curies of cesium isotopes had been released by the wreckage. On April 12, Japanese officials said 10 million curies had been released, but on June 7 it doubled this estimate to 20 million curies in the first week after March 11.
Beginning in April, some news groups stopped referring to “harmless,” “insignificant,” or “safe” levels of radiation and began saying that the cesium posed no “immediate” danger. Nicholas Fisher, a marine scientist at the State University of New York, was asked about eating cesium-contaminated fish: “You’re not going to die from eating it right away, but we’re getting to levels where I would think twice about eating it.” This is a reference to the incubation or “latency” period for cancer, which can appear 20 to 40 years after contamination.
Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility explains, “The press is reporting that 100 millisieverts (mSv) is the lowest dose that increases cancer risks. But, according to NAS, if you are exposed to a dose of 100 mSv, you have a one in 100 chance of getting cancer, but a dose of 10 mSv still gives you a one in 1,000 chance of getting cancer, and a dose of 1 mSv gives you a one in 10,000 risk. Those odds sound fairly low for one individual, but if you expose 10,000 people to a one in 10,000 risk, one of them will get cancer. If you expose 10 million people to that dose, 1,000 will get cancer.” Cesium-137 continues “to emit particles for centuries” the Times acknowledged March 22, three centuries to be exact. As it cycles through the food chain cesium concentrates in muscle and the liver.
A Forbes report misstated the EPA’s position on radiation risk. Noting that a
On April 14, the Japanese health ministry disclosed that cesium 25 times the legal limit, as well as radioactive iodine, had been found in young sand lance—a popular edible fish. “One sample of the tiny fish, whose sale has been halted, had a cesium level of 12,500 becquerels per kilogram, far exceeding the 500 becquerel/kilo limit,” the Kyodo News reported.
Fueling new allegations of government information control, the NRC announced May 16 that its 24-hour operations center had stopped monitoring the reactors at
But the Obama administration, the EPA, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and the FDA will be dismantling their emergency radiation monitoring. Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste specialist at the group Beyond Nuclear, warns: “Now once every three months the government will look at the milk supply to report on contamination and once a month it will look at rainwater. The government doesn’t want to know what’s in the air, water, and food supply, and doesn’t want us to know.”
John LaForge is on the staff of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog group in
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.