Japan prepares to lift Fukushima evacuation order allowing residents to return eight years after devastating nuclear accident left 18,000 dead

  • Japan is set to lift evacuation order in town where Fukushima nuclear plant is
  • The government plans to lift the order for part of Okuma town on April 10 
  • It will be the first time the order has been lifted in either Okuma and Futaba

Japan will for the first time next month lift an evacuation order in one of two towns where the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is located, officials said Tuesday.

The government plans to lift the order for part of Okuma town on April 10, cabinet office official Yohei Ogino told AFP.

Japan will for the first time next month lift an evacuation order in one of two towns where the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant (pictured) is located

It will be the first time the government has lifted an evacuation order in the towns -Okuma and Futaba – that host the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

A geiger counter attached to a fence near the Daiichi power plant  measures radiation in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture

Okuma mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe described the decision as a ‘very welcome move’, a town official said.

‘We will be able to take the first step forward (towards reconstruction) eight years later,’ the official quoted Watanabe as saying.

In March 2011, a massive tsunami caused by an earthquake slammed into Japan, killing more than 18,000 and setting off the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

Japan’s government has lifted evacuation orders across much of the region affected by the meltdown – allowing residents to return – as Tokyo has pressed an aggressive decontamination programme involving removing radioactive topsoil and cleaning affected areas.

But not everyone has been convinced, with a poll conducted in February by the Asahi Shimbun daily and Fukushima local broadcaster KFB finding 60 percent of Fukushima region residents still felt anxious about radiation.

Workers wearing protective suits and masks at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima, Japan, on February 23, 2017

A closed gate used to prevent people from entering the exclusion zone in Futaba town, Fukushima prefecture (stock image)

No one is officially recorded as having died as a result of radiation from the accident, but last year the government for the first time acknowledged the death from cancer of a man involved in the cleanup.

More than 3,700 people – most of them from Fukushima – have died from illness or suicide linked to the aftermath of the tragedy, according to government data.

As of the end of February, about 52,000 people remain displaced because of evacuation orders or because they are unwilling to return, according to Japan’s Reconstruction Agency.

The passing of five years shows as vegetation and the elements begin to take their toll on homes and businesses inside the deserted exclusion zone (stock image)

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident was the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986

Atomic Balm Part 1: Prime Minister Abe Uses The Tokyo Olympics As Snake Oil Cure For The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Meltdowns

By Arnie Gundersen
Edited by Maggie Gundersen

As we prepare for the eighth remembrance of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, Fairewinds is ever mindful of what is currently happening in Japan.

There has never been a roadmap for Japan to extricate itself from the radioactive multi-headed serpentine Hydra curse that has been created in an underfunded, unsuccessful attempt to clean-up the ongoing spread of migrating radioactivity from Fukushima. Rather than focus its attention on mitigating the radioactive exposure to Japan’s civilians, the government of Japan has sought instead to redirect world attention to the 2020 Olympics scheduled to take place in Tokyo.

Truthfully, a situation as overwhelming as Fukushima can exist in every location in the world that uses nuclear power to produce electricity. The triple meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi are the worst industrial catastrophe that humankind has ever created.

Prior to Fukushima, the atomic power industry never envisioned a disaster of this magnitude anywhere in the world. Worldwide, the proponents and operators of nuclear power plants still are not taking adequate steps to protect against disasters of the magnitude of Fukushima!

Parts of Japan are being permanently destroyed by the migrating radioactivity that has been ignored, not removed, and subsequent ocean and land contamination is expanding and destroying once pristine farmlands and villages. For reference in the US and other countries, Fukushima Prefecture is approximately the size of the State of Connecticut. Think about it, how would an entire State – its woods, rivers, and valleys, eradicate radioactive contamination?

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Let’s begin with the reactors and site itself. There was a triple meltdown in 2011, yet Tokyo Electric banned the use of the word “meltdown” in any of its communications with Japanese civilians. Now we know that in the first week after the tsunami, each molten radioactive core melted through its six-inch-thick steel reactor, burned and chemically reacted with the concrete underneath, and all are now lying in direct contact with groundwater. Aside from a few grainy pictures of those cores showing burn holes in the reactors, nothing has been done to remove the cores and to prevent further contamination of the groundwater. I have witnessed schemes including a mining operation to bore under the reactors and an underground train to collect the molten masses, but those schemes are decades from fruition. The government of Japan claims that the Fukushima site will be entirely cleaned and decommissioned in less than forty years, a date that will definitely slip AFTER the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are held, and one that is scientifically impossible since some radioactive isotopes will be spread across the Fukushima site and surrounding landscape for 300 years and others for 250,000 years.

Fukushima’s radioactive reactor cores have been in direct contact with groundwater for the last eight years, and then that highly toxic radioactive water enters the Pacific Ocean. When the disaster struck TEPCO wanted to build an ice-wall to prevent the spread of the contamination, which I knew would fail. I advocated immediately surrounding the reactors with a trench filled with zeolite, a chemical used to absorb radiation at other atomic facilities.

“The problem with freezing the soil is that as soon as you get an earthquake, you lose power and then your ice turns to mush and you’re stuck.” Gundersen, who has visited the Fukushima power plant in the past, said a better solution would be to dig a two-meter wide trench down to bedrock level and fill it with a material called zeolite: a volcanic material that comes from Mother Nature.

“It’s incredibly good at filtering radioactive isotopes. So whatever is inside the fence will stay inside and whatever is outside the fence would be clean,” said Gundersen, who estimates the price tag for such a project would be around $10 billion.

TEPCO’s ice wall has not eliminated radiation from spreading via groundwater. How will Fukushima’s owner TEPCO and the government of Japan successfully clean and mitigate the damage caused by the three atomic reactors that each lost their fuel to a meltdown? These problems were never anticipated in Japan where these reactors were built and operated or in the United States where the Fukushima nuclear plants were engineered and designed and the parts were manufactured.

Since the meltdowns in 2011, Fairewinds notified the world that the recovery plans for the proposed cleanup would be almost untenable, calling it a ‘long slog’. From the very beginning, I made it clear that “the nuclear disaster is underfunded and lacks transparency, causing the public to remain in the dark.” Sadly, eight years later, nothing has changed.

In February 2012 when I spoke to the press at the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Press Club, the governments recovery from the radiation released by Fukushima has never been about protecting the people of Japan. It was clear in the immediate aftermath of the world’s largest atomic power disaster and still today, the government of Japan is focused on protecting the financial interests of the nuclear power corporations in Japan so they may build new reactors as well as continue to operate the old ones. Clearly, the steps taken by the government of Japan shows that the survival of the electric generating corporations like Hitachi, Toshiba, Tokyo Electric and others are more important to the Abe Government that the survival of 160,000 evacuees and the future of the food supply emanating from Japan’s agriculture and aquaculture.

Evacuees in Japan are being forced to move back to their community and their homes that remain radioactively contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi detonations and meltdowns. The government of Japan and the alleged global regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – which was chartered by the United Nations (UN) to both promote and regulate atomic power generation – have raised the allowable public radiation level more than 20-times what it originally was rather than return to land to the condition it once was.

An exposé released in early February 2019 in The Washington Post said that,

For six years, Namie was deemed unsafe after a multiple-reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In March 2017, the government lifted its evacuation order for the center of Namie. But hardly anyone has ventured back. Its people are scattered and divided. Families are split. The sense of community is coming apart…

As we at Fairewinds Energy Education have repeatedly said since the tragic 2011 meltdowns, understanding why the fate of the 160,000 evacuees from the toxic Fukushima landscape does not matter to the government of Japan, one must simply follow the money trail back to the corporations producing Japan’s electricity. As Fairewinds has noted from its personal experience, and what The Washington Post and the people of Japan clearly understand is that these meltdown refugees are simply pawns in a much bigger issue of money and politics. According to The Washington Post article,

For the people of Namie and other towns near the Fukushima plant, the pain is sharpened by the way the Japanese government is trying to move beyond the tragedy, to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a symbol of hope and recovery, a sign that life can return to normal after a disaster of this magnitude…. Its charm offensive is also tied up with efforts to restart the country’s nuclear-power industry, one of the world’s most extensive networks of atomic power generation. [Emphasis Added].

Six Olympic softball games and a baseball game will be staged in Fukushima, the prefecture’s bustling and radiation-free capital city, and the Olympic torch relay will start from here.

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To determine whether or not Olympic athletes might be affected by fallout emanating from the disaster site, Dr. Marco Kaltofen and I were sponsored by Fairewinds Energy Education to look at Olympic venues during the fall of 2017. We took simple dirt and dust samples along the Olympic torch route as well as inside Fukushima’s Olympic stadium and as far away as Tokyo. When the Olympic torch route and Olympic stadium samples were tested, we found samples of dirt in Fukushima’s Olympic Baseball Stadium that were highly radioactive, registering 6,000 Bq/kg of Cesium, which is 3,000 times more radioactive than dirt in the US. We also found that simple parking lot radiation levels were 50-times higher there than here in the US.

Thirty of the dirt and fine dust samples that I took on my last two trips to Japan in February and March 2016 and September 2017 were analyzed at WPI (Worchester Polytechnic Institute. The WPI laboratory analysis are detailed in the report entitled: Measuring Radioactivity in Soil and Dust Samples from Japan, T. Pham, S. Franca and S. Nguyen, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, which found that:

With the upcoming XXXII Olympiad in 2020 hosted by Japan, it is necessary to look into the radioactivity of Olympic venues as well as tourist attractions in the host cities… Since thousands of athletes and millions of visitors are travelling to Japan for the Olympics, there has been widespread concern from the international community about radiation exposure. Therefore, it is important to investigate the extent of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident…

The measured results showed a much higher activity of Cesium-137 in the proposed torch route compared to other areas. Overall, the further away from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, the lower the radioactivity. The activity of Cesium-137 in Tokyo, the furthest site from the plant, was the lowest when compared to the other sites. Therefore, the activity of Cesium-137 in Tokyo sample was used as the baseline to qualitatively estimate the human exposure to radiation.

.… At the Azuma Sports Park, the soil and dust samples yielded a range of 78.1 Bq/kg to 6176.0 Bq/kg. This particular Olympic venue is around 90 km from the Nuclear Power Plant. The other sites that are closer to the Nuclear Power Plant like the tourist route, proposed torch route, and non-Olympic samples have higher amounts due to the close proximity to ground zero of the disaster.

… the proposed torch route samples had the highest mean radioactivity due to their close proximity to the plant. Based on the measurement, we estimated qualitatively that the radiation exposure of people living near the Azuma Sports Park area was 20.7 times higher than that of people living in Tokyo. The main tourist and proposed torch routes had radiation exposure of 24.6 and 60.6 times higher, respectively, than in Tokyo…. Olympic officials should consider using the results of this project to decide whether the radioactivity level at the proposed torch route and the Olympic venues are within acceptable level.

On a more personal note, I witnessed first-hand the ongoing radioactive devastation in and around the Namie area like that detailed in The Washington Post’s revealing and factual essay. During the two weeks I spent in and around Namie in September 2017 I took six short videos showing what the devastation looks and feels like up close. These short iPhone videos total less than 5-minutes of run time. I was on my own, without a videographer, so these short films probably lack the professional quality viewers may usually associate with Fairewinds, however, they do convey the very palpable feeling of gloom and emptiness pervading the ghost towns I visited. I am sharing the first three short videos in today’s blog. We will be releasing a Part 2 of this Fukushima update, which will feature another three short films.

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Longtime Friends of Fairewinds may remember that back in 2011, Prime Minister Noda (he was between the ousted Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was PM when the Fukushima Meltdowns occurred and today’s Prime Minister Abe), claimed that the three melted down Fukushima reactors were in ‘cold shutdown’, which they were not, in order to lay the groundwork for Japan’s Olympic bid. Noda claimed “… we can consider the accident contained”. Fairewinds compared Noda’s “cold shutdown” hypocrisy to former President George Bush crowing about “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. Sadly, what we said in 2011 still rings true today:

Is the Japanese government and the IAEA protecting the nuclear industry and not the people of Japan by claiming that Fukushima is stable when it is not? Fairewinds’ chief engineer Arnie Gundersen outlines major inconsistencies and double-speak by the IAEA, Japanese Government, and TEPCO claiming that the Fukushima accident is over. Dynamic versus static equilibrium, escalated dose exposures to the Japanese children and nuclear workers, and the blending of radioactive materials with non-contaminated material and spreading this contaminated ash throughout Japan are only a small part of this ongoing nuclear tragedy.

Later in 2013, Japan pressed the International Olympic Committee and bribed some of its members to accept the Olympics in 2020 according to an Associated Press article February 18, 2019 by Journalist Haruka Nuga.

Members of the JOC executive board are up for re-election this summer. There is speculation Takeda…[ Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is being investigated for his part in an alleged bribery scandal] will not run, or could be replaced. French investigators believe he may have helped Tokyo win the 2020 Olympics in a vote by the International Olympic Committee.

Takeda has been JOC president since 2001. He is also a powerful IOC member and the head of its marketing commission. He has not stepped aside from either position while the IOC’s ethics committee investigates.

…French authorities suspect that about $2 million paid by the Tokyo bid committee — headed by Takeda — to a Singapore consulting company, Black Tidings, found its way to some IOC members in 2013 when Tokyo won the vote over bids from Istanbul and Madrid… Takeda last month acknowledged he signed off on the payments but denied corruption allegations. An internal report in 2016 by the Japanese Olympic Committee essentially cleared Takeda of wrongdoing.

Tokyo is spending at least $20 billion to organize the Olympics. Games costs are difficult to track, but the city of Tokyo appears to be picking up at least half the bill.

Much of Japan’s focus has been to show that the Fukushima area is safe and has recovered from a 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and the meltdowns at three nuclear reactors. [Emphasis Added]

Here is what I said in a video on Fairewinds website in 2013, when the original Tokyo Olympic announcement was made.

I think hosting the Olympics in 2020 is an attempt by the Japanese to change the topic. I don’t think people around the world are going to care until 2020 approaches. There is a seven-year window for the Japanese government to work to make Tokyo a showcase for the entire world to view. I think the Japanese government wanted to host the Olympics to improve the morale of the people of Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Unfortunately, it’s taking people’s attention off of the true cost of the accident, in terms of both money and public health.

Placing the Olympics in Tokyo was and still is a ploy to minimize the consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns and to take the public’s attention away from a pressing emergency that still needs resolution for the health and safety of the people of Japan. (Click to Source)

Fairewinds Energy Education will keep you informed with Part 2, at fairewinds.org.

Inside Fukushima’s red zone: Eerie photos show abandoned SEGA arcade ‘covered in radioactive dust’ in off-limits area near nuclear power plant

  • Youtuber and urban explorer, Bob Thissen, from The Netherlands, visited Fukushima and found the arcade
  • He had to hike through bushes to avoid police patrols before he could enter into the abandoned games hall
  • A thin layer of radioactive dust covers all the games and has deterred looters from stealing and selling them
  • The nuclear disaster happened in 2011 when a magnitude nine earthquake disturbed a nearby power plant

An urban explorer has documented the forbidden Fukushima red zone where an abandoned video games hall remains perfectly preserved.

Bob Thissen from Heerlen, The Netherlands, had to hike through bushes and streets, avoiding Japanese police patrols to reach the eerie games arcade – located deep inside off-limits sections.

In contrast to a traditional SEGA Hall, spewing with loud sounds and colourful lights to entice gamers, Fukushima’s lie silent and sombre yet surprisingly intact.

The once vibrant and enchanting SEGA games hall now lies abandoned and with a distinct chill of abandon. Mr Thissen had to hike through bushes to avoid police patrols before he could enter the games hall. The Japanese government has put exclusion zones around the area to protect people from potential radiation

The once vibrant and enchanting SEGA games hall now lies abandoned and with a distinct chill of abandon. Mr Thissen had to hike through bushes to avoid police patrols before he could enter the games hall. The Japanese government has put exclusion zones around the area to protect people from potential radiation

Untouched: The site looks as though it has been undisturbed since the nuclear disaster in 2011 apart from the odd looted vending or cash machine. Mr Thissen noted how eerie it was that a once vibrant arcade hall was now deserted. He said: 'It was strange to find a normally vibrant place totally silent and sombre, no lights, visuals or sound'

Untouched: The site looks as though it has been undisturbed since the nuclear disaster in 2011 apart from the odd looted vending or cash machine. Mr Thissen noted how eerie it was that a once vibrant arcade hall was now deserted. He said: ‘It was strange to find a normally vibrant place totally silent and sombre, no lights, visuals or sound’

Apart from looted vending and cash machines, the spot still had stacks of tokens, winnable cuddly toys and games galore – all surfaces covered in a thin layer of radioactive dust.

Mr Thissen believes the site appears to have remained untouched since the Fukushima nuclear disaster – which saw more than 160,000 people flee, leaving homes, belongings and their old lives behind.

He said: ‘The noise inside a SEGA hall is overwhelming, different loud sounds come from each arcade and they also contain a lot of visuals and flashing lights to attract people. Players are totally absorbed in the games.

‘So it was strange to find a normally vibrant place totally silent and sombre, no lights, visuals or sound.

‘While I was walking around, I suddenly heard stuffed animals say “I love you”.’

Some of the winnable toys and games had batteries which were still in working order and Mr Thissen even heard stuffed animals saying 'I love you' 

Some of the winnable toys and games had batteries which were still in working order and Mr Thissen even heard stuffed animals saying ‘I love you’

Mr Thissen believes that without the radioactive dust covering the entire place, looters would have stolen the arcade games themselves and sold them on for more money. Pictured is a SEGA games hall that, by comparison, has not closed down

Mr Thissen believes that without the radioactive dust covering the entire place, looters would have stolen the arcade games themselves and sold them on for more money. Pictured is a SEGA games hall that, by comparison, has not closed down

A thin layer of radioactive dust covers all of the old games and has served to deter any potential looters from disturbing the pristine site. Mr Thissen said: 'People fled during the Fukushima disaster and it appears to be in almost the exact same state as it was left'

A thin layer of radioactive dust covers all of the old games and has served to deter any potential looters from disturbing the pristine site. Mr Thissen said: ‘People fled during the Fukushima disaster and it appears to be in almost the exact same state as it was left’

‘It was crazy to see the batteries still worked. I also saw a lot of Disney figures which you could win.

‘We barely touched anything, because there is radioactive dust.

‘It’s a unique location, because you normally don’t get to see a SEGA or arcade hall which is fully intact.

‘I only noticed vending and cash machines were pried open by looters.

‘Normally they would take out the prices and sell the arcades. But because of the nuclear disaster everything is left behind.

‘People fled during the Fukushima disaster and it appears to be in almost the exact same state as it was left.

The earthquake triggered a subsequent tsunami which destabilised a nearby nuclear power plant that would change the future of Fukushima forever 

The earthquake triggered a subsequent tsunami which destabilised a nearby nuclear power plant that would change the future of Fukushima forever

Following the disaster the government put up exclusion zones to try and minimise radiation contamination as much as possible. Mr Thissen says that government clean up projects usually happen fairly quickly so this preserved arcade hall wont stay like this for much longer   

Following the disaster the government put up exclusion zones to try and minimise radiation contamination as much as possible. Mr Thissen says that government clean up projects usually happen fairly quickly so this preserved arcade hall wont stay like this for much longer

‘Soon the whole area will be history. The clean-up and rehabilitation happens really quick and former red zones are coming back to life.

‘That’s why I think it’s important to show the real aftermath of the disaster before all traces are gone.’

A magnitude nine earthquake – the strongest ever experienced in Japan – hit the region in March 2011, and a subsequent tsunami destabilised the nuclear power plant that would forever change Fukushima.

The spot has remained near-lifeless and hidden from the outside world behind government exclusion zones – put in place for fear of radiation contamination.

Some of the games included Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, House of the Dead, and many more, including toys of Disney characters, talking bears and more.

Mr Thissen who visited the site for his YouTube channel, Exploring the Unbeaten Path, wasn’t surprised by the extremely-pristine condition of the games hall.

Some of the games included in the abandoned site are Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong and House of the Dead (pictured). Mr Thissen had tried to get into the abandoned arcade hall in 2017 but because there was a lot of renovations and radioactive clean-up he was unable to get in

Some of the games included in the abandoned site are Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong and House of the Dead (pictured). Mr Thissen had tried to get into the abandoned arcade hall in 2017 but because there was a lot of renovations and radioactive clean-up he was unable to get in

Mr Thissen believes that part of the reason the site is so untouched is because people living in Japan respect the boundaries put in place by authority  

Mr Thissen believes that part of the reason the site is so untouched is because people living in Japan respect the boundaries put in place by authority

Having visited multiple spots within Fukushima, he believes the people of Japan respect the boundaries put in place, which has helped to preserve it as a near eight-year-old time piece.

Mr Thissen said said: ‘I wasn’t surprised, because almost everything is left untouched in the forbidden zone.

‘Everywhere else in the world these buildings would be totally looted after a few weeks.

‘The Japanese people really respect the rules and never trespass, even if doors are wide open.

He initially spotted the locations during his trip in 2017, but was unable to reach it.

Now having gone back to document the dying remains of Fukushima, he hopes others will respect and appreciate the hall too.

Mr Thissen added: ‘We drove by this location in 2017 on route six – at that time the only open road which goes through the red zone – and I really wanted to see it.

‘But because there was a lot of activity in the red zone – demolition, renovation, radioactive clean-up – we didn’t manage to get there.

‘We went back to document more of the forbidden zone of Fukushima, like this SEGA hall.’ (Click to Source)

 
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Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine

The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.

  • by Emerging Technology from the arXiv
  • July 19, 2018

Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball.

Atmospheric tests ended in 1980, when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet. One of the most obvious signatures is cesium-137, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium-235.

After release into the atmosphere, cesium-137 was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities. Such an addition is rarely welcomed. But in 2001, the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.

The technique immediately became a useful weapon in the fight against wine fraud—labeling young wines as older vintages to inflate their price. Such fraud can be spotted by various types of chemical and isotope analysis—but only after the wine has been opened, which destroys its value.

Cesium-137, on the other hand, allows noninvasive testing because it is radioactive. It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present. Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud. Indeed, if there is no cesium-137, the wine must date from after 1980.

There is one blip in this record, though. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 bathed much of Europe, and other parts of the world, in a radioactive cloud that increased atmospheric levels of cesium-137 again. Hubert and colleagues can see this blip in their data from wines.

And that raises an interesting question about the Fukushima disaster of 2011, an accident of Chernobyl proportions caused by a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following a huge earthquake and tsunami. It released a radioactive cloud that bathed North America in fissile by-products.

Is it possible to see the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in California wines produced at the time?

Today we get an answer, thanks to a study carried out by Hubert and a couple of colleagues. “In January 2017, we came across a series of Californian wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) from vintage 2009 to 2012,” say Hubert and company.

This set of wines provides the perfect test. The Fukushima disaster occurred on March 11, 2011. Any wine made before that date should be free of the effects, while any dating from afterward could show them.

The team began their study with the conventional measurement of cesium-137 levels in the unopened bottles. That showed levels to be indistinguishable from background noise.

But the team was able to carry out more-sensitive tests by opening the wine and reducing it to ash by evaporation. This involves heating the wine to 100 degrees Celsius for one hour and then increasing the temperature to 500 degrees Celsius for eight hours. In this way, a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine produces around four grams of ashes. The ashes were then placed in a gamma ray detector to look for signs of cesium-137.

Using this method, Hubert and his colleagues found measurable amounts of cesium-137 above background levels in the wine produced after 2011. “It seems there is an increase in activity in 2011 by a factor of two,” conclude the team.

That probably won’t be very useful for fraud detection in California wine—the levels of cesium-137 are barely detectable, and even then, only if the wine is destroyed.

But the result does show how nuclear disasters can have unexpected consequences long after the fact. (Click to Source)

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1807.04340 : Dating of Wines with Cesium-137: Fukushima’s Imprint

 

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Nuclear Worker: “Imminent flood coming” near nuke plant from Hurricane Harvey… “Potentially catastrophic”… Running out of food… Working tirelessly to manage problems… Area turned “upside down” — Nearby river forecast to rise 50 ft and overtop levees, “Major Flood Stage”

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Toronto Star, Aug 27, 2017 (emphasis added): Canadian engineer Raihan Khondker said his family safely left their home in southeastern Texas, but he was forced to return to the Bay City area as part of a support team at a nuclear power plant. For three days, Khondker, who is from Toronto, has been working tirelessly to manage “one thing after another,” driving through water-choked streets to bring supplies to engineers at the plant who are running out of food. Khondker said houses in his neighbourhood have been turned “upside down,” and rising waters in a nearby river threatens to send a potentially catastrophic flood into the area. “Every single creek in the neighbourhood is full,” he said. “There is an imminent flood coming to Bay City, we just don’t know how much water we are going to see.”

Wikipedia: The South Texas Nuclear Project Electric Generating Station… is a nuclear power station southwest of Bay City, Texas, United States. The STNP occupies a 12,200-acre (4,900 ha) site on the Colorado River… Location: Matagorda County

Bay City Tribune, Aug 27, 2017: National Weather Service: Rainfall predictions for Matagorda County… Total county precipitation estimated through Friday, Sept. 1 will be 15 to 25 inches. Possible “unprecedented” rainfall through Friday. Catastrophic flooding is ongoing with flash flood emergencies remaining in effect. The threat for continued additional catastrophic, unprecedented, and life threatening flooding continues today and into next week… Harvey is drifting southeast towards Matagorda Bay… Tornado threat continues with rain bands coming onshore and moving inland. Have had multiple tornadoes reported with damage… (Click to Site)