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Vexing Mess: Experts perplexed

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japan-plantFukushima Dai-ichi may still be getting worse, not better.

The birth rate is bound to decline in Northern Japan. Whether by choice or by biological influence, no one will be sure. Sperm counts will drop and spontaneous abortions will rise. Many people will not want to have babies. It happened after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It happened after Chernobyl. It will happen here to. We're only human.

Radiation monitors were blown out when the buildings exploded, or simply stopped working at some point.  Readings at the plant are generally unknown, and whatever is known is seldom presented to the public.

Today, spinach, milk, and water were all reported poisoned with radiation in various places in Japan.  Radiation readings 1,600 times normal were detected TWENTY KILOMETERS from the plant, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Levels were reported to be over 160 microsieverts per hour.

No one should ever believe that a ten-mile evacuation planning zone is good enough anymore.  Or that evacuation zones are the answer.

The truth of what's coming over the U.S. border, here where I live, is hard to know.  I finally ordered my very own radiation detector -- but it's not scheduled to be shipped until the middle of May!

Dr. Conrad Miller recommends people in California start taking KI and says he's prescribed it "more than a thousand times" for other reasons as a doctor, and has never seen a side effect in anyone.  He points out that the accident has already happened, the radioactive isotopes are in the air and falling now, and the side effects of taking KI (if they happen), are typical for any allergic reaction, and will presumably go away when you stop taking the KI.

Dr. Miller additionally say's he'll "probably" take it soon himself (he lives on Long Island, New York).  Dr. Miller's videos are available online here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/conradmillermd

But I should point out that as far as I know, readings are NOT elevated in California... yet...

The following are the four main barriers to radioactive releases in these types of nuclear power plants, from the outermost layer to the innermost:

1) Outer walls of a fairly airtight building.  These have been blown away at three reactors.

2) Primary Containment Vessel (large steel structure with cement base and large posts inside to hold the Reactor Pressure Vessel).  Hopefully these are all intact but it seems unlikely.

3) Reactor Pressure Vessel.  At least one of these may be damaged.  All are still in danger of catastrophic failures, especially if they run out of boron or if seaweed plugs up the reactor's water channels.  "We're not out of the woods yet" is a common pronouncement from the talking heads on television today.

4) The last barrier to prevent fission products and fuel (uranium and plutonium) escaping is the fuel cladding, made of zirconium, in steel rods with hundreds of pellets in each rod.  It's presumably what been burning, when things burn at the site.  When that happens, fission products are released, which gathered between fuel and the inner wall of the cladding.

Keeping fission products from escaping is what the cladding is there for: To keep the Cesium-137, Iodine-131, Strontium-90 and an ugly rainbow of other isotopes isolated from the human environment.  Those deadly elements -- the ones they talk about in science fiction movies -- are being released at Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Everything that breaks off is undoubtedly being washed out to sea, to enter life's many food chains.  What doesn't burn or oxidize and go up in smoke or steam, that is.

Fuel claddings are never perfect, and fuel clad cracking has been a recurrent problem for the nuclear industry.

Plutonium in the fuel is another problem.  The cladding burns at one temperature, the uranium / plutonium burns at another, higher temperature.  MOX fuel has plutonium but of course, so does uranium-based fuel:  It builds up in the reactor at the rate of about 500 pounds per year.  So any fuel that has melted, has probably released plutonium into the environment, whether it was from the MOX reactor or not.

When all is said and done -- and who knows when that will be -- a perfect accounting of what's missing from the reactor site will be impossible.  TEPCO records can't be trusted, and employees who might know the truth are very likely to be too sick to testify, or dead.

The spent fuel pools appeared to be burning again today.  Smoke or -- hopefully -- only steam has been seen rising from two reactors at the site.  Workers were pulled away because of high radiation levels -- again.  Things are still very out of control.

Regarding exposure levels here in America: It's probably still true that if you smoke cigarettes, stopping smoking today will still make more of a difference for your overall health and life expectancy than the radiation plume now descending all around us will make to you as an individual.

Smoking, of course, kills tens of millions of people every year.  Japan has a very high rate of smoking, which will probably increase the effect of the radiation on their bodies, since the smoking already weakens their lungs.  This will be true for anyone experiencing any chemical assault or other biological assault at the same time as this "little" wave of radiation passes by and through us, falls on our food...  This will tip some people over the edge.  The authorities might blame increased deaths on a late flu, on some virus that's might be going around.  And it might be true that such a thing caught hold and DID spread around -- because of weakened immune systems!

And then, later... cancer.  This accident is something no expert who understands the dangers ever wanted to see.  And yet so many activists and experts alike have said to me in the past, "IT WILL TAKE AN ACCIDENT."  Well, here it is, folks.  If we don't use this incident to shut down nuclear power, then there will be another incident.  And another.  And another.


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