March 26, 2011
On Saturday, Yukiya Amano, the director of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, said the Japanese nuclear crisis could go on for weeks, if not for months.
Test conducted Friday showed iodine 131 levels in seawater 30 km (19 miles) from the coastal Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had spiked 1,250 times higher than normal. Japanese officialdom insisted this unusual level does not pose a threat to marine life or food safety, according to Reuters.
“Ocean currents will disperse radiation particles and so it will be very diluted by the time it gets consumed by fish and seaweed,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior agency official.
A number of countries have banned milk and produce from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, while others have been monitoring Japanese seafood.
Amano told the media the Japanese have no idea if the reactor cores and spent fuel were covered with the water needed to cool them and prevent the release of radiation. “More efforts should be done to put an end to the accident,” he said and was carefully not to criticize Japan’s lackadaisical response.
An official from plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) told a Sunday news conference experts still are not certain where to put the contaminated water.
Scientists quoted by the corporate media continue to insist that radioactive particles crossing the Pacific are far too diluted to cause any harm.
In fact, scientists are complaining that the Japanese have not fowarded sufficient information on the nuclear meltdown. They say the quality and quantity of information coming out of Japan has left gaping holes in their understanding of the disaster nearly two weeks after it began.
Independent researchers, however, dispute claims that the radiation now lofting over the northern hemisphere is not dangerous. The Weather Online website has posted a number animated models showing dangerous concentrations of iodine 131 and caesium 137 entering the United States with prevailing weather and the jet stream.
The site notes that since the continuous release rate is very uncertain, the calculations have to be interpreted qualitatively.
Here is a video posted earlier today showing the animations:
“An international advisory body has recommended the Japanese government temporarily raise the annual limit of radiation exposure for the general public in light of the ongoing crisis at the quake- and tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture,” reports The Mainichi Daily News.
“The government stipulates that regular citizens in Japan should be exposed to no more than 1 millisievert of radiation per year, but the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) on March 21 recommended the limit be tentatively raised to 20 to 100 millisieverts per year, with the nuclear crisis showing no signs of abating.”
The NGO said the level of permissible radiation should be increased “in order to prevent residents of Fukushima Prefecture from abandoning their hometowns.”