Fukushima, Two Years Later
Two years have passed since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which followed the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. One of the world’s foremost experts on the consequences of Fukushima as well as 1986’s Chernobyl disaster is biologist Tim Mousseau of the University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences. Mousseau studies the effects of radiation on wildlife in their natural surroundings. […]
“The most important thing we’ve learned so far is just how little we understand about the role played by low-level, low-dose radiation in natural environments,” Mousseau said. “What we’ve learned over the last seven or eight years – in Chernobyl in particular – is that the impacts of radiation under natural conditions, in the field, are much greater than what people had seen in the laboratory setting, and they’re much greater than people had seen for the so-called ‘pure’ external-dose radiation, such as much of the work that has been done with atomic bomb survivors.
“It’s very clear, based on recent studies by other folks in addition to us, that the effects of radiation on natural populations – those that experience the full range of natural stress, in addition to the radiation – are much larger than the effects in the other settings.”
Mousseau’s work also challenges the widely held notion that low-level radiation, below a certain threshold, is in fact harmless. “We see no threshold,” Mousseau said. “We see consequences – such as in terms of mutation rates, or lowered fertilities and other population consequences – all the way down to very low levels, levels that are much lower than what people previously had thought could be measurable in the wild. […]
In contrast to Chernobyl, the situation in Fukushima remains difficult to assess because it’s still very early since the radioactivity release. “It’s been two years, and we’re just starting to get a handle on what’s going on there,” Mousseau said. […]
“There was a really wonderful study done by a group of Japanese scientists at Okinawa University,” Mousseau added. “They demonstrated that the butterflies living in Fukushima were experiencing dramatically elevated rates of genetic mutations, and this was being reflected in all sorts of developmental abnormalities – deformities in the wing structure and in their legs and antennae that were clearly impacting their ability to survive and reproduce.”
Research support remains a significant problem, though. “The truth is that there is minimal funding available for independent scientists to conduct research in either place,” Mousseau said. “Among the scientific community that is not associated with the nuclear industry or the nuclear agencies, there is virtually no funding for this kind of work.” […]
More information concerning Mousseau’s research in Chernobyl, Fukushima and other “hot” places can be found on his website: http://cricket.biol.sc.edu/chernobyl/
Could everybody stop falling into the hoax that the Fukushima power plant has contaminated all of the pacific ocean?
Most of the radiation being leaked into the Pacific Ocean is cesium-134, which has a half-life of only two years. Cesium goes in and out of the body like salt, and has had effect on marine populations near Japanese fisheries, however most of the banned sea food is slowly being made acceptable for public consumption.
The real issue now is that some leaks of strontium-90 have been discovered, which is a radioactive substance that stays in the bones of fish and human beings, however much of what has been leaked is cesium.
Now, I am not saying that Fukushima is not an emergency. It is. In fact, that is what is has been classified as by officials. However, we’re not all going to drop dead in five years from eating a pacific fish yet. The Japanese government is spending lots of money to prevent further leakage of radioactive substance.
But the posts you’ve surely seen going around tumblr telling everybody that we’re going to drop dead from consuming milk, fish, vegetables, etc, are totally false! They are taking what is an existing issue and turning it into a crisis.
Whether most of us want to admit it or not, Tumblr is just as bad a source of information as Facebook can be! Don’t trust everything you read, and don’t trust second party news sites! There are people out there who just want to scare you, or make a sensation.
no one seems to realize the Fukushima reactors are still leaking and causing irreversible damage.