06 August 2011

66 Years Ago: When Truman Opened the Nuclear Era With a Hiroshima Lie

Lively discussion on the comments, too - so have a read.  THANK YOU GREG MITCHELL

Greg Mitchell

In a piece earlier this week I mentioned the decades-long U.S. "coverup" of facts and options related to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima 66 years ago today, including the Truman White House censoring the first Hollywood movie about The Bomb. But that shaping of the full impact, and ramifications, of the new weapons -- which would continue for years -- began within hours of the first use.
On Aug. 6, 1945, President Harry S. Truman faced the task of telling the press, and the world, that America's crusade against fascism had culminated in exploding a revolutionary new weapon of extraordinary destructive power over a Japanese city.
It was vital that this event be understood as a reflection of dominant military power and at the same time consistent with American decency and concern for human life. Everyone involved in preparing the presidential statement sensed that the stakes were high, for this marked the unveiling of both the atomic bomb and the official narrative of Hiroshima.
When the astonishing news emerged that morning, exactly 66 years ago, it took the form of a routine press release, a little more than a thousand words long. President Truman was at sea a thousand miles away, returning from the Potsdam conference. Shortly before eleven o'clock, an information officer from the War Department arrived at the White House bearing bundles of press releases. A few minutes later, assistant press secretary Eben Ayers began reading the president's announcement to about a dozen members of the Washington press corps.
The atmosphere was so casual, and the statement so momentous, that the reporters had difficulty grasping it. "The thing didn't penetrate with most of them," Ayers later remarked. Finally, they rushed to call their editors, and at least one reporter found a disbeliever at the other end of the line. The first few sentences of the statement set the tone:
"Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. ...The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. ...It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe."
Although details were modified at the last moment, Truman's four-page statement had been crafted with considerable care over many months. If use of the atomic bomb was inherent in its invention, an announcement of this sort was inevitable. Only the timing was in doubt.
would be suppressed by the U.S. for decades. 
From its very first words, however, the official narrative was built on a lie. Hiroshima was not an "army base" but a city of 350,000. It did contain one important military base, but the bomb had been aimed at the very center of a city (and far from its industrial area). This was a continuation of the American policy of bombing civilian populations in Japan to undermine the morale of the enemy. It was also to take advantage of what those who picked the target called the special "focusing effect" provided by the hills which surrounded the city on three sides. This would allow the blast to bounce back on the city, destroying more of it, and its citizens.
The vast majority of the dead in Hiroshima would not be military personnel and defense workers but women and children. Also: at least a dozen American POWs. When Nagasaki was A-bombed three days later it was officially described as a "naval base." Film footage shot by the Japanese and later the Americans showing the full extent of the human damage would be suppressed by the U.S. for decades.
There was something else missing in Truman's announcement: Because the president in his statement failed to mention radiation effects, which officials knew were horrendous, the imagery of just a bigger bomb would prevail in the press. Truman described the new weapon as "revolutionary" but only in regard to the destruction it could cause, failing to mention its most lethal new feature: radiation.
Many Americans first heard the news from the radio, which broadcast the text of Truman's statement shortly after its release. The afternoon papers quickly arrived with banner headlines: "Atom Bomb, World's Greatest, Hits Japs!" and "Japan City Blasted by Atomic Bomb." The Pentagon had released no pictures, so most of the newspapers relied on maps of Japan with Hiroshima circled.
By that evening, radio commentators were weighing in with observations that often transcended Truman's announcement, suggesting that the public imagination was outrunning the official story. Contrasting emotions of gratification and anxiety had already emerged. H.V. Kaltenhorn warned, "We must assume that with the passage of only a little time, an improved form of the new weapon we use today can be turned against us."
It wasn't until the following morning, Aug. 7, that the government's press offensive appeared, with the first detailed account of the making of the atomic bomb, and the Hiroshima mission. Nearly every U.S. newspaper carried all or parts of 14 separate press releases distributed by the Pentagon several hours after the president's announcement.
Many of them written by one man: W.L. Laurence, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, "embedded" with the atomic project. General Leslie Groves, military director of the Manhattan Project, would later reflect, with satisfaction, that "most newspapers published our releases in their entirety. This is one of the few times since government releases have become so common that this has been done."
The Truman announcement of the atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, and the flood of material from the War Department, firmly established the nuclear narrative (see much more on this in my new bookAtomic Cover-up and e-book).
One of the few early stories that did not come directly from the military was a wire service report filed by a journalist traveling with the president on the Atlantic, returning from Europe. Approved by military censors, it went beyond, but not far beyond, the measured tone of the president's official statement. It depicted Truman, his voice "tense with excitement," personally informing his shipmates about the atomic attack. "The experiment," he announced, "has been an overwhelming success."
The sailors were said to be "uproarious" over the news. "I guess I'll get home sooner now," was a typical response. Nowhere in the story, however, was there a strong sense of Truman's reaction. Missing from this account was his exultant remark when the news of the bombing first reached the ship: "This is the greatest thing in history!"
Greg Mitchell's new book is "Atomic Cover-up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made." Also in e-book editions. His email is epic1934@aol.com.

05 August 2011

Japan’s Fukushima catastrophe brings big radiation spikes to B.C.

Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, says that while radiation coming from Fukushima will lead to higher cancer rates among Canadians, the risk posed to individuals is very small.
By Alex Roslin
After Japan’s Fukushima catastrophe, Canadian government officials reassured jittery Canadians that the radioactive plume billowing from the destroyed nuclear reactors posed zero health risks in this country.
In fact, there was reason to worry. Health Canada detected massive amounts of radioactive material from Fukushima in Canadian air in March and April at monitoring stations across the country.
The level of radioactive iodine spiked above the federal maximum allowed limit in the air at four of the five sites where Health Canada monitors levels of specific radioisotopes.
On March 18, seven days after an earthquake and tsunami triggered eventual nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, the first radioactive material wafted over the Victoria suburb of Sidney on Vancouver Island.
For 22 days, a Health Canada monitoring station in Sidney detected iodine-131 levels in the air that were 61 percent above the government’s allowable limit. In Resolute Bay, Nunavut, the levels were 3.5 times the limit.
Meanwhile, government officials claimed there was nothing to worry about. “The quantities of radioactive materials reaching Canada as a result of the Japanese nuclear incident are very small and do not pose any health risk to Canadians,” Health Canada says on its website. “The very slight increases in radiation across the country have been smaller than the normal day-to-day fluctuations from background radiation.”
In fact, Health Canada’s own data shows this isn’t true. The iodine-131 level in the air in Sidney peaked at 3.6 millibecquerels per cubic metre on March 20. That’s more than 300 times higher than the background level, which is 0.01 or fewer millibecquerels per cubic metre.
“There have been massive radiation spikes in Canada because of Fukushima,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
“The authorities don’t want people to have an understanding of this. The government of Canada tends to pooh-pooh the dangers of nuclear power because it is a promoter of nuclear energy and uranium sales.”
Edwards has advised the federal auditor-general’s office and the Ontario government on nuclear-power issues and is a math professor at Montreal’s Vanier College.
In a phone interview from his Montreal home, he said radiation from Fukushima will lead to higher rates of cancer and other diseases among Canadians. But don’t panic. Edwards cautioned that the risk is very small for any particular individual.
“It’s not the risk to an individual that’s the problem but how much society is at risk. When you are exposing millions of people to an insult, even if the average dose is quite small, we are going to see fatal health effects,” he said.
Some impacts may have already occurred in North America. Infant mortality in eight cities in the U.S. Northwest jumped 35 percent after Fukushima, according to an article by internist and toxicologist Janette Sherman and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano on the Counterpunch website in June. The number of infant deaths rose from 9.25 per week in the four weeks prior to March 19 to 12.5 per week in the following 10 weeks, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data.
“There has been a dismissiveness about the long-term hazards of nuclear power,” said Dr. Curren Warf, adolescent-medicine division head at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Warf was on the board of the Nobel Peace Prize–winning U.S. antinuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility before he moved to B.C. in 2009.
“These were some of the most advanced nuclear power plants in the world. But a natural earthquake and tsunami rendered their safety measures completely meaningless,” he said in a phone interview while on vacation in Tofino on Vancouver Island.
It’s not clear what health impacts British Columbians will face from the fallout from Fukushima, Warf said. But he added, “It should be a warning to Canada, the U.S., and the rest of the world about the vulnerability of nuclear power plants to natural catastrophes. These things have typically been dismissed in much of the planning.”
Dr. Erica Frank agrees. “The main concern I’ve had is we are not paying attention to Fukushima as a warning sign. Given the catastrophic long-term issues and what to do about nuclear waste, I had hoped it would be more of a wake-up [call] than it was,” said Frank, a professor of population and public health in UBC’s faculty of medicine and a past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
She called on Canada to follow Germany’s lead, which, in response to Fukushima, decided in May to phase out all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. “If Germany can do it, we can too,” she said in a phone interview from her Vancouver home.
With 450,000 people homeless, fallout across much of Japan, and a damages bill estimated at $300 billion, Fukushima is the “biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind”, said U.S. nuclear-industry whistle blower Arnold Gundersen in a June 10 Al Jazeera story.
Even the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the Fukushima plant, has acknowledged that the disaster may surpass the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. “The radiation leak has not stopped completely, and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl or exceed it,” a TEPCO official said in an April media release.
In the case of Chernobyl, radiation caused 985,000 deaths worldwide—including almost 170,000 in North America—between 1986 and 2004, according to a Russian study published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009. Fallout contaminated about 100,000 square kilometres of land. And 25 years later, five to seven percent of government spending in Ukraine is still devoted to dealing with the disaster’s health, environmental, and other after-effects.
The impacts of Fukushima are still in the earliest stages of being determined, especially since the nuclear plant is still spewing huge amounts of radiation. On Monday, TEPCO reported detecting record-high radiation levels at the plant—double the previous record set in early June. The new level—at least 10 sieverts (10,000 millisieverts) per hour—could cause death or incapacitation within a few seconds’ exposure.
Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan, said in July that decommissioning the plant would take “several decades”.
Fallout has contaminated food and water across Japan. In July, officials reported that Japanese consumers had eaten meat contaminated with radioactive material. Cattle feed at one farm had levels of radioactive cesium 57 times higher than the government ceiling.
Japanese investigators later determined that almost 3,000 cattle had eaten radioactive feed before being shipped to market. Prices of Japanese beef collapsed after 23 out of 274 beef samples exceeded government radiation limits.
In Tokyo, radioactive iodine in tap water reached double the government ceiling in March. Meanwhile, TEPCO reported in April that a seawater sample near the Fukushima plant contained 7.5 million times what was described as the legal amount of iodine-131.
TEPCO released 11,500 tons of radioactive water from its storage tanks into the Pacific Ocean on April 4.
One aspect of the fallout and seawater contamination that remains unclear is how it might affect fish stocks, especially migratory species like salmon that could pass through poisoned areas of the ocean, eat irradiated prey, or have radioactive water dumped in their home ranges by Pacific currents.
Of the five species of Pacific salmon that are native to western North America, the sockeye is the most commercially prized. It also has the most wide-ranging migration route through the North Pacific, swimming for two to three years—as far as just northeast of the top of Japan—before coming back to its natal streams in Alaska, B.C., and the U.S. Northwest.
This year’s returning sockeye are just starting to be caught off Vancouver Island’s west coast. So far, there is no word as to whether or not these fish will be tested. According to an April 17 story in the Anchorage Daily News, U.S. federal officials have already stated that there is no need to even test Alaskan salmon.
Across the Pacific Ocean, it took only a few days after the disaster for radioactive fallout to start showing up in drinking water and milk across North America. Governments in both Canada and the U.S. monitored the radioactivity, but their data is reported in such a confusing and irregular way that it’s extremely difficult to determine if maximum contamination levels have been exceeded and how public health is being impacted.
“It’s very, very difficult to interpret radiation levels detected from Fukushima and translate them into standards. It’s a nightmare,” said Arjun Makhijani, an electrical and nuclear engineer and president of the Takoma Park, Maryland–based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, in a phone interview.
And that’s not a coincidence, said Vanier College’s Gordon Edwards. “To me, it’s a way of obscuring the impacts. It’s a smoke screen.”
Dale Dewar agrees. “The government always downgrades the results. They want to soft-pedal the extent of the accident because it will threaten our own nuclear industry,” said Dewar, a family physician and the executive director of Canadian antinuclear group Physicians for Global Survival, in a phone interview from her home near Wynyard, Saskatchewan.
One of the highest post-Fukushima radiation readings in North America came on March 27 in rainwater in Boise, Idaho. It contained 14.4 becquerels of iodine-131 per litre—130 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contamination level of 0.11 millibecquerels per litre.
EPA officials said in media reports that the high levels didn’t pose a health threat. For the agency to sound an alarm, it says, a person would have to exceed its maximum level for an entire year, drinking two litres of the contaminated water each day.
But nobody seemed to investigate how long the rainwater in Boise remained radioactive. Inexplicably, the EPA stopped monitoring Boise’s rainwater after the extremely high reading on March 27. The agency’s only other reading for the city was on March 22.
That day, the iodine-131 level hit nine becquerels per litre.
In fact, if the two readings are averaged out and stayed just as elevated over the entire six-day period from March 22 to 27, a person drinking the Boise rainwater during this time would have exceeded the EPA’s annual ceiling by 75 percent.
In B.C.’s Lower Mainland, iodine-131 in the rainwater hit almost the same level as in Boise. It also seems to have exceeded the EPA’s ceiling.
On March 19, the iodine-131 level in rainwater in Burnaby suddenly spiked from zero to nine becquerels per litre. The next day, it rose even further, to 13, according to data collected and released by Krzysztof Starosta, an associate professor of chemistry at SFU, and others.
The iodine-131 levels remained well above the background level (which is close to zero) for 12 days.
The average level of radioactive iodine was seven becquerels per litre over the 12 days. That means a person drinking two litres of the rainwater per day would have consumed 166 becquerels of iodine-131 during that period.
That’s more than double the maximum amount that the EPA says a person can drink in an entire year, which is 81 becquerels.
Starosta did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.
Starosta issued a statement on March 28 saying the levels were safe because they were lower than levels detected after the Chernobyl disaster.
“As of now, the levels we’re seeing are not harmful to humans. We’re basing this on Japanese studies following the Chernobyl incident in 1986 where levels of iodine-131 were four times higher than what we’ve detected in our rainwater so far,” the statement said.
The contaminated rainwater also didn’t spark concern from Canadian public-health officials. That’s in large part because Canadian standards are far more lenient on radioactive contamination than those of the EPA.
Canada allows six becquerels per litre of iodine-131 in drinking water—or 54 times more than the EPA. By the much higher Canadian ceiling, the rainwater in Burnaby was fine to drink.
At the B.C. Ministry of Health Services, spokeswoman Laura Neufeld referred questions about radiation monitoring to Health Canada. A Health Canada spokesperson, St├ęphane Shank, didn’t return the Straight’s call. (Shank is the same Health Canada employee who did not return calls regarding a recent Straight story on nanoparticles.)
“It shows you these standards are not scientifically based,” Edwards said. “They’re arbitrary and really based on political considerations. We have a government strongly committed to the export of uranium and promotion of nuclear energy.”
And even if the radiation level in Burnaby didn’t hit the far higher Canadian ceiling, Edwards said, any amount of radiation can cause cancer and other illness. “To suggest that a certain level of radiation exposure is safe is untrue. It verges on misrepresentation. There is no evidence that there is any safe level of radiation exposure. It means you should operate as far below that level as you can,” he said.
Either way, without adequate monitoring, we may never know the impacts on Canadians.

From comments:
Ionizing radiation can break molecules, at a cellular level, causing unpredictable chemical reactions.

Think of vibrations breaking glass, that is what happens at a cellular level, in your body, from ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation is insidious, these large subatomic particles travel until they are stopped.

Your skin can easily stop them.

Once they are ingested, inhaled, or enter your body through a cut, their grotesque potent force cuts through your body like knife through butter, into the cells, blood or other organs, impacting other organs and leaving behind hideous, shocking damage.

A single alpha particle from Plutonium, Uranium, Americium or Radon can deliver a huge blast of radiation inside your body. This radiation energy can destroy your genetic material at a cellular level.

Once radionuclides are released into the environment they circulate and are carried with the winds until they become part of the soil and food chain. They land in our drinking water, are on the pastures that our livestock graze on, are on our vegetables and in our fruit trees.

This is particularly dangerous for humans because we are at the top of the food chain, where the higher concentrations of radionuclides are.

Most Common Diseases From Ionizing Radiation:

* leukemia
* lymphoma
* solid tumors or any organ
* bone & blood disorders
* lung cancer
* breast cancer
* endocrine disruption
* reproductive abnormalities
* accelerated aging process
* birth defects
* congenital malformations
* kidney, liver damage

These diseases and mutations don't stop with us. If ionizing radiation enters our genes, not only does it cause irreversible damage to this generation, but to future generations, as evidenced by children being born years after Chernobyl.

In Washington state, we've been detoxing and taking other precautions for ourselves, our animals and our soils since March 14. 

Because of the 31 radioactive elements spewing for almost 5 months, these precautions will continue for the rest of our lives.

Are you waiting for government permission to protect yourself?

Another comment:

a few things to note. 
1/ To Douglas Gray, the Hanford I know about is in south central Washington State and is the site of a huge nuclear waste and processing facility. It presents a danger to everyone in the area including southern BC. EPA radiation monitoring after Fukishima began at Richland Wa. next to Hanford on March 3 and ended March 31 after the levels went from 81 CPM(counts-per-minute) on the 30th to 277 CPM on the 31st.
2/ Health Canada operates(ed?) The Canadian Radiological Monitoring Network (CRMN) managed by the Radiation Surveillance and Health Assessment Division, Radiation Protection Bureau (RPB). Their online Monitoring Data stopped being posted for the only mainland BC station (Vancouver) three years ago or more. 
3/ There is no safe level of radiation exposure. If the normal background is increased by 20% that will likely cause 20% more radiation induced cancers in the population exposed. The idea of safe limits comes from the kind of thinking that brought us pesticide regulation. Pesticides are tested for toxicity on a given animal and the mortality is expressed as an LD50 number. This disregards the long term effects, mutagenic and more subtle nervous system damage. So with radiation dose they look at deaths from radiation poisoning: an extreme effect caused by massive exposure. Ionizing radiation can cause cell damage at any level, it just becomes more likely the higher the exposure.
I have been monitoring background radiation in the BC interior since Fukishima (with a couple of breaks) and you can see my data at http://lumbywatch.ca

Fukushima Illustrates Need for Nuclear Policy

JURIST Special Guest Columnist Tamar Cerafici of the Cerafici Law Firm says that the nuclear crisis in Japan highlights the need for an international response with clear, measured leadership from the United States. That leadership is hollow unless the United States adopts a coherent energy policy paying more than a begrudging acceptance of nuclear power....

The last four weeks' events at the Fuskushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant have distilled into two streams of necessary information: the first, technological and engineering response, are not reviewed in this note. Commentary and news feeds have addressed the issues admirably. The second, international legal and policy response, became important with French President Sarkozy's visit to Japan just over a week ago.
President Sarkozy, currently the Group of 20 (G20) chairman, called for "international safety norms," and requested a meeting in May to fix new norms in the wake of the crisis. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed. Their comments illustrate a sort of disconnect in the way nuclear safety is managed globally. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) makes safety recommendations and manages international nuclear diplomacy, but it has no enforcement power. Each country has sovereign regulations, and separate enforcement powers. In Japan, Sarkozy asserted that such parochialism cannot support the continued global need for nuclear energy. In calling for an international review of the causes, response, and long term effects of the Fukushima crisis, Sarkozy is acknowledging that nuclear energy policy has global reach.
In contrast, Gregory B. Jaczko, Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) and the State Department, did no favors to anyone during the first week of the crisis when they overreacted anddeclared a 50-mile exclusion, or "no-go," zone for Americans near the Dai-ichi facility. Chairman Jaczko illustrated the parochialism inherent in global energy policy, particularly in the face of Japan's exclusion zone of 12 miles. He also told Congress that there were "serious problems" cooling the reactors and that he believed workers would be exposed to potentially lethal doses of radiation. His statements, and a good dose of hyperbole from media outlets, helped trigger a run on potassium iodine tablets on the west coast. It doesn't help for the Chairman of this nation's nuclear regulatory body to yell "fire" while the President and the Secretary of Energy are urging calm.
We have yet to see a coordinated administration reaction to the events playing out at the Fukushima plant. The United States must produce a measured, careful response to the international issues emerging from Japan's handling of the Dai-ichi accident and subsequent cleanup. Long term, this response must include a coherent national energy policy. Currently, the United States does not have one. Instead we rely on a market-based mix of fossil fuels (69%), renewable energy (11%), and nuclear energy (20%). This mix is the result of long term industrial reliance on cheap fossil fuel and the difficulty of financing nuclear plants with passive designs that can function under the same conditions that destroyed the Dai-ichi plant. However, as the energy needs of the country increase, a more consistent mix is necessary.
To highlight this critical policy need, James Conca and Judith Wright, in a report funded by the Progressive Policy Institute, suggest a starting point for this national energy plan: one-third fossil, one-third nuclear, and one-third renewable energy. Conca and Wright suggest we follow French, Japanese, and Korean models and make new and significant government and private investments in nuclear energy. The United States is already the largest global consumer of nuclear energy. With 104 operating plants, use of nuclear power produces 73 percent of non-carbon electricity in the country. Lack of resources and political will have hampered any effort to scale up the use of nuclear. Even if policy makers wanted to dedicate more resources to nuclear energy development, public misconceptions about nuclear energy and the viability of renewable energy have limited the country's move to a post-carbon economy.
The events at the Dai-ichi plant have been a public policy nightmare here because the United States lacks a consistent energy policy that includes something more than a begrudging reliance on nuclear power. This means the United States needs to overhaul a regulatory procedure that is rife with expensive uncertainties, develop a coherently communicated energy policy, and educate generations of users about the differences between nuclear bombs and nuclear energy. The administration should actively support President Sarkozy's call for an international analysis of nuclear safety protocols. The nuclear industry can also play a part by actively participating in the nuclear debate. Science doesn't always win an emotional debate, and the industry has for the most part kept its mouth shut and tried to let science evangelize for it. A coherent, open discussion of the situation at Dai-ichi and the status of nuclear plants in the United States would go a long way to limit the visceral reaction from much of the general public.
(Author's note: Readers seeking more technical information may review Murray E. Miles's excellent summary of the Fukushima accident, reported by the equally excellent Rod Adams here. It's highly readable and devoid of any pro or con rhetoric.)
Tamar Cerafici is a former affiliate professor of environmental law who currently focuses her legal practice on exploring the environmental and policy implications of developing new nuclear plants. She is the owner of The Cerafici Law Firm.
Suggested Citation: Tamar J. Cerafici, The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Illustrates the Need for an Energy Policy in the United States, JURIST - Forum, April 10, 2011, ttp://jurist.org/forum/2011/04/Fukushima-illustrates-need-for-policy.php.

April 10, 2011

Japan lawmakers approve Fukushima victim compensation plan

Julia Zebley at 12:36 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The National Diet of Japan [official database], the nation's bicameral legislature,voted [bill materials, in Japanese] on Wednesday to compensate those adversely affected by the recent Fukushima [IAEA backgrounder] nuclear power plant meltdown. The law will create a fund that could start dispensing money to victims as early as August 10. Although the government has initially agreed to contribute two trillion yen (USD $25.9 billion), damages are expected to run much higher than that. The bill will also financially support the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) [corporate website], maker of the defective reactors, to prevent the utility from dissolving. However, TEPCO must first submit a comprehensive restructuring plan as well as a proposal for allocation of the funds to victims. There is also a bill under consideration that would obligate the government to clear radioactive debris [Japan Times report]. On Friday, the Japanese government officially shifted its energy policy [Japan Times 
report] away from nuclear energy.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011 is considered one of the biggest man-made environmental disasters of all time and the largest nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. Following the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, three Fukushima reactors experienced full meltdowns, while the other three malfunctioned in various other ways. Due to the tsunami, flood waters swept in and out of the building, becoming irradiated and affecting the surrounding area. Japan has been criticized for its handling of the crisis, and international reception to nuclear energy has fallen sharply since the incident. In a Forum op-ed, Fukushima Illustrates Need for Nuclear Policy [JURIST op-ed], Tamar Cerafici of the Cerafici Law Firm discussed how the Fukushima disaster should guide US policy.

02 August 2011

The Great Hiroshima Cover-up: How the U.S. Hid Shocking Historic Footage for Decades

Greg Mitchell