There have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident, but over 100,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes to ensure this. Government nervousness delays their return.
Official figures show that there have been well over 1000 deaths from maintaining the evacuation, in contrast to little risk from radiation if early return had been allowed. __ WNA
Nobody died from the radiation.
20,000 Japanese were killed by a massive earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. Although the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered significant damage, no one was killed as a result of radiation injury. Still, fears of Fukushima continue to reverberate in doomer circles, echo choirs, and apocalypse forums.
Evidence of radiation from Fukushima was indeed detected recently for the first time on the North American shoreline. While the samples taken off the west coast of Vancouver Island did contain trace amounts of Celsium-134 and Celsium 137 – two radioactive isotopes – they were at extremely low levels.
“For example, swimming in the Vancouver Island water every day for a year would provide a dose of radiation less than a thousand times smaller than a single dental X-ray,” Japan Times relayed from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution which conducted the research.
… even if residents lived their whole lives in the evacuation zone, the cumulative effects of the radiation even in the worst-affected areas, would amount to around the lifetime radiation exposure of the average American.
… “The Japanese government’s safety limit for radioactive cesium in fish is 100 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg), an amount that’s roughly equal to the natural radioactivity of potassium and carbon isotopes present in all food. The Fukushima fishery easily meets that standard,” reporter Will Boisvert wrote. __ Much More Here
More on the latest predictions of Fukushima doom that failed:
We were told by Arnie Gundersen, Harvey Wasserman, Christina Consolo, Kevin Kamps, and countless others that it would be the end of the world as we know it, if used fuel bundles from Fukushima Reactor #4 were removed from the spent fuel pool. And yet, they were all safely moved to the safe storage facility — without incident.
On November 5th, Tepco announced that all used (spent) fuel bundles had been safely removed from the Fukushima Daiichi unit #4 spent fuel pool. All are now safely nestled in their racks inside the ground-level common facility. Several Japanese Press outlets, including a handful of the more antinuclear newspapers, have covered the milestone. On the other hand, I have been diligently searching the western Press and have seen nothing, although the report has been released through World Nuclear news service. It seems speculations of radiological disaster are more newsworthy than what actually happens. None of the widely-reported prophecies of apocalyptic cataclysm made a year ago came close to fruition. Despite these claims of catastrophe, 1331 used bundles were transferred without incident.
It’s time to review the numerous unrequited prognostications of doom, many of which were guaranteed to be inevitable. What follows are the most extreme of last year’s false Fukushima prophecies.
1 – Arnie Gundersen… On November 15, 2013, Gundersen released his video “Remove TEPCO Before Removing Fuel” in which he virtually guaranteed that disaster would happen unless Tepco was removed from the entire recovery process. Gundersen asserted that the used fuel bundles in the pool were brittle and the racks holding them deformed to the point that many could not be removed without breaking. He said, “I assure you there are not many surfaces that are vertical and horizontal anymore,” and that there must be rack deformities due to the debris that fell on them from the explosion of 3/15/11. He also said, “And we know that after the accident they [the fuel pools] boiled violently,” warping the plates. (emphasis added) Finally, he said small pieces of rubble must have worked their way between the fuel bundles and the rack side-walls, thus the removal would create so much friction that the bundles would “likely snap” and release enough radiation to force the staff to abandon the operation.
Although none of his guaranteed problems occurred, one prophecy stands head and shoulders above the rest… saying that the unit #4 spent fuel pool boiled violently. That never happened. While much of Arnie’s unit #4 fuel transfer sooth-saying held a tiny kernel of truth, the boiling fuel pool statement was a complete fabrication.
2 – Harvey Wasserman… On September 20th, 2013, Wasserman posted on his Global Research website concerning the impending movement of unit #4’s used fuel, saying, “We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.” He asserted that the building holding the bundles was “…tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.” However, there were numerous earthquakes and post-3/11/11 aftershocks during the year of the fuel removal, and the building didn’t move one bit. Wasserman also said it was all right to be afraid because the pool’s bundles contained 15,000 Hiroshima bombs-worth of fallout. Using this gross exaggeration as proof, he asserted, “Spent fuel rods are the most lethal items our species has ever created.” He also evoked Gundersen’s confabulated prophecies (above) as further “proof” of his doomsday claim. Wasserman also cited Australian antinuclear fanatic Helen Caldicott, who said, “The cooling water would dissipate, the fuel rods would spontaneously ignite releasing 10 times more cesium than that released at Chernobyl contaminating much of the Northern Hemisphere and more than 50 million Japanese people would need evacuating.” Evoking the openly nuclear-bigoted Caldicott was a desperate move. Regardless, I predicted that neither Wasserman nor Caldicott would say anything after the fuel bundles were smoothly transferred, and it seems I hit the nail on the head.
3 – Christina Consolo… Consolo is a self-proclaimed nuclear expert with no nuclear credentials. She is a former research supervisor with NIH “credentialing”, a former Member-at-Large for the Board of Directors of the Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society, and a peer reviewer for the Journal of Ophthalmic Photography. She has an internet show called “Nuked Radio”. Because of her utter lack of relevant “credentialing”, I am loathe to mention her. But, Russia’s major news outlet, RT, posted a lengthy Q&A session with her on August 17, 2013. In it, she says, “What could potentially happen is the contents of the pool could burn and/or explode, and the entire structure sustain further damage or collapse. This chain reaction process could be self-sustaining and go on for a long time. This is the apocalyptic scenario in a nutshell.” How fuel bundles that have been decaying for several years, producing so little heat they might not even boil the water in their storage pool, could burn or explode is not explained. It shows she hasn’t a clue concerning radioactive decay and the perpetually-falling nature of heat generated by used fuel bundles. Further, she is unaware that possibility of a chain reaction was nearly zero, even with the worst-case structural collapse. Even if it did happen, the amount of additional heat produced would not be detectible. Lastly, her confabulated and confused notion of a self-sustaining chain reaction and a possible explosion, literally in the same breath, clearly appealed to Hiroshima Syndrome sufferers around the world who hold the false fear of reactor fuel exploding like a nuclear weapon.
4 – Kevin Kamps – In another RT report, we have Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, an obsessive antinuclear group originally founded by Helen Caldicott. Kamps says, “…they have to get them [the fuel bundles] out before a bigger earthquake takes the building down, the cooling water would drain away, and the waste with them will catch on fire. There is no radiological containment around the pool and if this waste would catch fire it could be 10 times worse than Chernobyl.” Exaggerations compounded by speculation without reputable evidence, designed to keep the Beyond Nuclear membership full of apocalyptic angst.
5 – Lastly, we come to an anonymous “foreign nuclear expert” cited by Britain’s The Telegraph on November 6, 2013. “Did you ever play pick up sticks? You had 50 sticks, you heaved them into the air and then had to take one off the pile at a time. If the pile collapsed when you were picking up a stick, you lost. There are 1,534 pick-up sticks in a jumble in top of an unsteady reactor 4. What do you think can happen?” The utter vacuity of his analogy defies adequate refutation. He obviously had no idea what he was talking about. All fuel bundles were in their racks and not jumbled in a pile. Undaunted, he went on, “At the very least, if there was a catastrophic collapse, I assume there will be a major airborne release of radiation. Because of the radiation at the site, the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.” Huh? He had suddenly shifted from unit #4 pool to the ground-level common facility in an attempt to make the situation sound too dire to face! Regardless, this was probably the most overt prophecy of apocalypse of the bunch.
Have any of the above said they were wrong? Absolutely not! The ministers of antinuclear propaganda never admit their mistakes. I speculated that at least one would say, “Whew! That was a close one”? But, even that sort of comment is lacking. They are predators of the nuclear naïve, the radiophobic, and those mortally afraid of all things nuclear. They are little more than common street-corner prophets spouting “The End is Near!” Perpetrators of propaganda never admit to being wrong. _Apocalypse Averted
You might think that doomers are stupid. But people are actually paying them for their ideas! Who are the stupid ones?
The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March of 2011 was a disaster of epic proportions – over 20,000 people died, over 300,000 left homeless, a blow to the country’s economic and infrastructure unlike anything in the last 40 years.
… Except for a relatively small region around the reactors, the risk of evacuees moving back to their homes are the same as driving a car (UNSCEAR). Yes, driving can be dangerous, but it is not a reason to live as a refugee for the rest of one’s life. On the other hand, the forced relocations of people in the evacuation zone is what caused all of the deaths and hardship that these people suffered in the aftermath of the reactor accident. But even with the fear and gross misrepresentations, about a third of the people from Fukushima want to return to their homes. About a third don’t want to and about a third are undecided (MINPO News). __ Forbes
All of this is reminiscent of the KGB-subsidised eco-madness of the 1960s and 1970s, saturated by fearsome predictions of utter doom and devastation. From Earth Day in 1970:
“Air pollution… is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” Sen. Gaylord Nelson
“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.” Kenneth Watt
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” George Wald, Harvard Biologist
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” Paul Ehrlich
“By…  some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” Paul Ehrlich
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions… By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University
“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support… the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” Life magazine, January 1970
“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” Kenneth Watt
“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say,`Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say,`I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” Kenneth Watt
_“Doomer” Means Never Having to Admit You Were Wrong
Remember, all of those predictions were made in 1970. So that must mean that we are all dead now, and simply do not know it. Doomers never grow up. Their disciples would stone them if they tried.
A long list of other dooms that failed
The fearful dupes who are taken in by these low-life prophets of doom never seem to learn from the inevitable failures. They themselves, for the most part, are already pushing up daisies — done in by heart disease, stroke, cancer, COPD, pneumonia, accidental death, and suicide (from all the strain of knowing the world is going to end any day now).
Climate Apocalypse has risen to the position of “Top Doom,” in the affluent west. Germany is in the throes of self-destruction caused by fears of climate apocalypse. Spain barely escaped its own green suffocation. But across Europe and the Anglosphere, deadly memes of Climate Apocalypse and Green Energy Suicide threaten to push national and trans-national economies into death spirals of suicidal energy starvation.
At the US state level of government, legislators are beginning to rethink the lemming-like rush toward widescale government support of renewables. In the US, oil is cheap and will probably stay cheap for years at least.
Nuclear energy is likewise not dead. It has an excellent energy return on investment:
Finally, nuclear energy is the safest form of energy production — in terms of # deaths per TWh generated.
So nuclear power is the safest, has the best energy return on investment, and uses fuel with the highest energy density. Given all that, nuclear power should be providing electricity and industrial process heat to human societies for tens of thousands of years — as long as human governments do not wimp out in the face of the doomers’ false claims — as Germany’s government did.
Oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear, are reliable forms of energy-on-demand. Electric power grids must have energy-on-demand, due to the constant fluctuation in electrical load that must be met on a moment-to-moment basis.
Big wind and big solar are unpredictably intermittent sources of variable energy. They are the worst possible form of electrical generation for large interconnected power grids. Quality and reliability of electricity is literally a life and death question to modern societies and modern economies. The quickest way to kill your society and economy is to do what the Germans are doing: close reliable nuclear plants, force utilities to give priority to high-priced, unpredictable energy sources such as big wind and big solar, and shape the energy landscape so that more reliable fossil fuel plants cannot afford to stay in business.
The result? Unreliable and intermittent electricity from wind and solar sources has caused service failures to increase by 31 per cent since 2009. At certain times, when Germany’s renewables are not producing, high energy-use businesses have been asked to stop production. And who’s on the hook for compensating businesses that lose profits? Your everyday, average electricity customer. __ Unreliable Intermittent Renewables Bring Pain and Unpredictability to Energy Markets and Power Grids
Excellent description and timeline of the damaging of the Fukushima reactors by a massive tsunami. (The reactors were not damaged by the earthquake itself.)
Keep in mind that doomers have no reputation to protect, so that they can make as many irrational and deceitful claims and predictions as they wish. They never seem to be called to account.
Correction: The discussion on nuclear energy return on investment above (EROI) was initially mis-stated as energy return on energy investment (EROEI), a somewhat different (but parallel) concept. The text and caption above have been corrected. In real terms, nuclear EROEI is also superior to the EROEI of renewables and other forms of energy for many reasons. But the bar graph image above referred specifically to EROI.