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Fukushima Special

Date: 11-09-13
Host: John B. Wells
Guests: Arnie Gundersen, David Blume, Dr. John Apsley, Steven Starr

John B. Wells was joined by four experts, Arnie Gundersen, David Blume, Dr. John Apsley and Steven Starr, for a discussion on the seriousness and scope of the Fukushima situation. "There's an enormous amount of radiation getting into the ocean and it's not going to go away for years," Gundersen said, noting that the crippled nuclear power plant continues to leak cesium and strontium into the sea. A radioactive plume containing Cesium-137 and Cesium-134 is moving across the Pacific and will likely hit the U.S. West Coast within six to twelve months, he warned. Fish at the top of the food chain are getting contaminated, Gundersen continued, pointing to the bluefin tuna caught near California five months after accident that tested positive for cesium. He also talked about Japan's plan to construct an underground ice wall to prevent additional contaminated water from flowing into the ocean.

David Blume expounded on how radiation from Fukushima will affect biological systems, citing the Chelyabinsk incident in the former Soviet Union involving the explosion of buried radioactive waste. Over 300 square miles of land were initially contaminated but the radiation continued to spread over the next decade via the food chain, he reported. According to Blume, Fukushima may be much worse off because the hundreds of steel storage tanks holding contaminated water are so radioactive that no one can get near them now. "It's the same kind of scenario as Chelyabinsk where the more we handle this stuff the more problems we have and the farther it spreads," he said. Blume recommended putting an end to the risk by replacing nuclear power with an alternative that is safe for the environment. Electric turbines can be run on alcohol produced from crops with no pollution as they are doing in Brazil, he noted.

Dr. John Apsley spoke about the effects of radioactive iodine exposure on thyroid function. Once radioactive iodine hits the thyroid its function is permanently impaired which in turn suppresses the immune system, he explained. CDC data shows a significant increase in death rates attributable to radioactive iodine given off by the Fukushima disaster, he added. Apsley is concerned that moving unit 4 may cause another criticality event involving radioactive iodine. Should this happen the West Coast will be hit in six days followed by the East Coast within nine days, he cautioned, noting that increase deaths in infants and the elderly will follow wherever rain dumps the radioactive iodine. Apsley also revealed how a relatively inexpensive assortment of dietary supplements can quench the effects of radioactive particles.

Steven Starr spoke about the poor design of the Fukushima nuclear facility, with reactors placed too closely together. "A serious accident at one [reactor] could make the rest of the site unapproachable," he said, presenting a worst case scenario based on the proximity of the reactors to one another. According to Starr, if the fuel pool in unit 4 collapses, it will release enough gamma radiation to kill anyone within 500 feet and effectively prevent anyone from accessing another pool where older spent fuel rods are stored. That pool could then boil off causing another radioactive release of Cesium-137, he said. There is a potential that at some point you would not be able to get to any of the Fukushima reactors and you'd eventually have to evacuate all of Tokyo, Starr warned.

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