By Stephen Lendman
Visual evidence now confirms what earlier was known: namely, that Tokyo Electric’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station experienced at least one core nuclear meltdown, perhaps much worse than now admitted. An earlier article on April 8th discussed the first reports of a possible meltdown.
Nuclear expert Karl Grossman calls it the ultimate nuclear nightmare, a real time China Syndrome, portrayed fictionally in the 1979 film by the same name.
OnMay 12, Hiroshima Peace Institute Professor Robert Jacobs told Russia Today TV that plant conditions “are much more serious than we were told earlier.”
In fact, confirming a coverup, he explained:
“We were not told that for a long time….I have a rule of thumb, which is that anything that is publicly stated is probably around 10 to 20% of what’s true. It will take us years to know the extent of the contamination and the extent of the fuel melting. The best case scenario in this situation is that it will take months to begin to stop leaking radiation from the reactors.”
As a result, plant conditions are extremely serious, perhaps out of control, but don’t expect government or media reports to admit it. Short of that, on May 12, TEPCO said low water levels fully exposed Fukushima’s Unit No. 1, grudgingly confirming a meltdown of nuclear fuel rods.
According to Junichi Matsumoto, TEPCO’s general manager:
“The water level is one meter below the base of the fuel assembly….Melted fuel has dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is still being cooled…(Entombment) plans need to be revised. We can’t deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak.”
Moreover, other fuel rods are also affected, AP saying:
“other fuel (melted) to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is thought (but not confirmed) to be covered in water….The findings also indicate a greater-than-expected leak in that vessel.”
At issue is one or more core nuclear meltdowns, a worse case scenario. On May 12, London Telegraph writer Julian Ryall headlined, “Nuclear meltdown at Fukushima plant,” saying:
Visual evidence confirms that “(one Fukushima reactor) did suffer a nuclear meltdown. (TEPCO admitted that) the top five feet or so of (Unit No. 1’s) core 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down. Now (it appears likely) that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment, causing” large amounts of contaminated water to leak, posing an extremely serious health hazard to many countries besides Japan.
Moreover, conditions appear to be worsening, not improving. According to Friends of the Earth spokesman Tom Clements:
“TEPCO seems to be going backwards in getting the situation under control and things may well be slowly eroding with all (six) units having problems. At this point, TEPCO still finds itself in unchartered waters and is not able to carry out any plan to get the situation under control.”
US nuclear expert Gene Corley said:
If fuel, in fact, melted through the reactor, “then the most likely solution is to encapsulate the entire unit. This may include constructing a concrete wall around the unit and building a protective cover over it. Because of the high radiation that would be present if this has happened, the construction will take many months and may stretch into years.”
Major Media Coverage
Throughout the crisis, they’ve regurgitated official lies, suppressing what’s vital to know about history’s worst ever environmental disaster. Despite the significance of TEPCO’s May 12 announcement, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune ignored it, while New York Times writers Hiroko Tabuchi and Matthew Wald downplayed it, headlining, “Japanese Reactor Damage Is Worse Than Expected,” saying:
New developments will likely “delay efforts to bring” Fukushima’s crippled reactor “under control, the plant’s operator said Thursday, (admitting) much more damage than originally thought….”
Avoiding the word “meltdown,” Tabuchi and Wald said “exposed fuel has probably melted and slumped to the bottom of the vessel in little pellets….Still the worst fears did not materialize….a nuclear chain reaction (causing) a full meltdown and a catastrophic release of radioactive material.”
In fact, that’s precisely what likely happened, but coverup and denial won’t confirm it, exacerbating an already catastrophic situation, affecting residents as far away as California, Boston, Iceland, Sweden and numerous other countries in the form of contaminated air, water, soil, food, and nuclear rain.
On May 3, New York Times writer William Broad wrote a disgraceful article headlined, “Drumbeat of Nuclear Fallout Feat Doesn’t Resound With Experts,” saying:
“The fear is unwarranted, experts say,” quoting paid to lie ones, suppressing shocking truths too important to conceal, especially in feature Times reports.
Nonetheless, Broad said outside proximity to Fukushima, the risk of illness “is tiny, compared with numerous other sources of radiation, past and present.”
He lied, ignoring what reputable experts affirm, especially about something this grave.
Though Wall Street Journal writers Mitsuru Obe, Phred Dvorak, and Rebecca Smith used the forbidden word “meltdown,” it hardly mattered in their article headlined, “At Reactor, Damage Worse Than Feared,” saying:
Fukushima’s Unit No. 1 “likely suffered a substantial meltdown of its core….offering a fresh assessment,” suggesting conditions are much worse than earlier reported short of “a catastrophic meltdown.”
“The findings raise a host of questions,” including perhaps “that radioactive water leaked into the reactor’s basement in greater than believed quantities, likely dealing additional delays to the stricken plant’s cleanup.”
The best America’s industry-controlled Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) could add was that conditions are “not exactly stable,” according staff official R. William Borchardt, a contemptible comment about a global disaster showing no signs of abating.
New Problems Reported
On May 12, AFP headlined, “New water leaks at Japan’s nuclear plant,” saying:
TEPCO also reported a new water leak “and another spill of contaminated water into the ocean.” Dousing operations “created massive amounts of highly contaminated runoff water.”
As a result, seawater samples “taken near the plant contained cesium-134 at a concentration 18,000 times the permitted level….” Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano called the situation “deplorable.
On May 12, Greenpeace reported radiation levels in seaweed samples far above legal limits, based on tests conducted up to 40 miles out to sea.
Beginning later in May, fishermen will begin harvesting seaweed for public consumption, posing significant risks to those eating it, according to Greenpeace expert Ike Teuling, warning:
“(R)adioactive contamination is accumulating in the marine ecosystem that provides Japan with a quarter of its seafood, yet the authorities are still doing very little to protect public health.”
Greenpeace is also evaluating seawater, fish and shellfish, and is expected to release full results next week. However, according to executive director Junichi Sato:
“(A)s the government has limited our research to the area outside of territorial waters, we could not achieve what we originally set out to do.”
Since the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, TEPCO and government officials deliberately suppressed full disclosure of an out-of-control crisis.
In her April 25 article titled, “Fukushima and Chernobyl – the Diabolical Nuclear Duo and the Alternative,” environmental expert Dr. Ilya Perlingieri explained the connection between them, including:
— “the unmitigated and heart-wrenching scale of these catastrophes,” Helen Caldicott saying in March.
Twenty-five years later, “(f)orty per cent of Europe is still radioactive. (For) farms in Britain, their lambs are so full of cesium they can’t sell them. Don’t eat European food. But that’s nothing compared to what’s happening now,” a disaster multiple times worse than Chernobyl.
— “the devastation to all living creatures;
— the poisoning of our entire food chain;
— the continued cover-up by corrupt governments” and industry officials, still withholding what’s likely the worst of what’s now known; and
— “the reality of how extremely dangerous nuclear energy continues to be,” so much so, it should be banned, all functioning reactors decommissioned, and for sure no new ones built.
For now, however, “Fukushima’s epic calamity continues to pose a major threat to the Japanese population (and) the rest of our planet.”
Massive amounts of radiation keep leaking. “The magnitude of Fukushima’s radiation is now off the scale,” but its amount is deliberately suppressed – from up to six, not one, reactors.
On May 6, nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen called Fukushima’s groundwater contamination the “worst in nuclear history” because thousands of tons of irradiated water are being dumped into the sea, a daily process because of so far uncontained reactor leaks.
As a result, Gundersen expects long-term trouble, exacerbated by groundwater moving inland. One town, he said, reported radioactive sewage sludge from groundwater and/or rain.
Worse still, potentially all six Fukushima reactors are at risk, though information about them is being carefully controlled to assure the worst of what’s known is suppressed.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.