I miss Chuck DeVore sometimes. I really do. Chuck was OC’s biggest walking, talking billboard for the benefits of nuclear energy, often promoting it as clean energy (with a toxic for millennia waste byproduct). Chuck made some public statements after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Nuclear Facility in Japan saying it was the earthquake and the tsunami that caused all those death and injuries, not the nuclear plant.
But as Japanese authorities still struggle to fix the Fukushima problem, Chuck hasn’t said much about nuclear energy lately. And for good reason.
It seems there’s some scientific debate if the fallout from Fukushima is causing health problems along the West Coast of North America. I mean if 95%of the world’s scientists say climate change is a result of man’s impact on the environment and 5% oppose it, conservatives insist we should debate scientific fact. If that’s the case, then we should debate these reports on Fukushima, right?
But Fukushima’s impact isn’t going away soon. From Truthout.org:
On New Year’s Day 2014 (nearly three years after the initial incident) operators of the Fukushima plant reported that “plumes of most probably radioactive steam” had been seen rising from the reactor 3 building. According to RT.com, “the Reactor 3 fuel storage pond still houses an estimated 89 tons of the plutonium-based MOX nuclear fuel composed of 514 fuel rods.” Unfortunately, high levels of radiation inside the building make it nearly impossible to determine the source of the mystery steam. Although TEPCO, the plant’s operator, claims there’s no increased danger (small comfort from the people who admitted to the world that they have no control over the situation), most agree that the plant is just seconds away from another disaster.
Seafood Industry Threatened
Toward the end of last year, U.S. scientists and wildlife specialists officially became worried about Fukushima’s impact on the fishing industry. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s all one big ocean. If a massive amount of contamination is dumped into the ocean on one side of the world, rest assured it will eventually make it’s way to the other. We saw this with physical rubble from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the same currents are bringing the invisible contaminants as well. Fish, especially salmon, must migrate through the radioactive plumes coming off Fukushima before being harvested on North American coasts. Some believe this represents an eventual health crisis, and that it’s no longer safe to eat fish from the Pacific Ocean
Radiation in U.S. Snow and Beach Sand
If you live in a landlocked state, you might think you’re safe from toxic fish and Fukushima fallout, but that’s not necessarily the case. Just days ago, snow falling in Missouri was found to contain double the normal radiation amount. No snow where you live? You’re not out of the clear yet. Early in the New Year, Infowars reported on a YouTube video that showed background radiation at a Coastside beach reaching over 150 micro-REM per hour. Health officials in San Mateo County confirmed the spike but remain ‘befuddled’ as to its cause.
After the disaster, DeVore told a Conservative blog in 2011, “not to worry.”
From the post, DeVore is quoted: “The important thing, though, is the containment dome itself. And what happens when you have a meltdown, or partial meltdown, is that there’s a fair amount of very hot, as in vaporized, cesium and strontium and iodine that gets released. These are products of nuclear fission, and what’s happening is that these products of nuclear fission are embedded in the concrete of the containment dome. They’re very sticky: They like to seek out and find concrete when they’re at that temperature. And they actually bind with the wall of the containment dome. So even if there’s a partial rupture of the containment dome, which can happen, and there’s a crack in it, the bottom line is these materials are going to coat themselves, in their super-heated state, on the side of the walls of the containment dome. And as long as it functions as it’s supposed to, then the secondary damage–you’ve had the earthquake, and the tsunami–then the likelihood of civilian casualties at these nuclear power plants is actually very limited.
I don’t want to discount it — the bottom line is it’s a serious situation — but let’s look at Chernobyl: according to UN reports in the aftermath, roughly 50 people died at Chernobyl, about half of them being direct responders, people who were putting out the fire, and about half of them being civilians. So this is the worst nuclear power accident in the history of mankind, put that into context of Japan–we may be looking at thousands of people dead from the earthquake and tsunami. So in the greater context of things, this nuclear power plant meltdown is mainly in the minds of Western media as a big deal, when the big deal was the earthquake and tsunami.”
So what got me thinking about Fukushima, dishonest government officials not telling the truth about a nuclear incident, the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada and Chuck DeVore? Simple.
My wife and I attended the world premiere of the new Godzilla movie Thursday night in Hollywood (more on that later) and, for me, it was a lot of fun.
Godzilla made its American debut in 1956 as “Godzilla, King of the Monsters” which was a badly re-cut version of the 1954 Japanese movie “Gojira” which added Raymond Burr as an American reporter named “Steve Martin.” The new reboot aims to take Godzilla back to his roots instead of the awful 1998 Matthew Broderick movie that turned Godzilla into a giant Iguana with long legs and arms (a box office success but a critical failure). It’s entirely possible the 2011 Fukushima disaster and pending fears of a runaway nuclear disaster could have inspired the reboot. Google searches for “Godzilla” spiked in Asia in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Today’s Godzilla, much like the 1954 “Gojira” has the same theme — it’s a dark and cautionary tale about what happens when nuclear power is out of control. And that led me to research what’s going on with Fukushima. Much to my surprise, a recent hit in the OC Register popped up. Nothing to worry about today, according to the Rgeister, but possibly this summer.
From the Register’s story: “Results from kelp samples taken in February and March from 26 sites along the West Coast show no indication of radioactive contamination, according to Kelp Watch 2014, a collaborative of more than 20 universities and science labs led by Cal State Long Beach professor Steven Manley.
Data from the testing was posted at kelpwatch.berkeley.edu Wednesday.
“We’re pretty sure radiation from Fukushima has not come to our shores at this time,” Manley said. “Models predicted that the earliest levels would come in March and others in the summer. This gives us good baseline data.”
Kelp, a complex ecosystem, has long been viewed as a barometer of ocean health. The kelp’s large surface canopy and long, fast-growing stalks act as sponges, as they’re bathed in seawater. Monitoring what the kelp is sucking up will give scientists an idea of the health of the marine ecosystems.
Scientists predicted radioactive seawater could strike California beaches this summer.
“I think the amount will be small, but small doesn’t mean insignificant,” Manley said. “It is imperative that we monitor this coastal forest for any radioactive contaminants that will be arriving this year in the ocean currents from Fukushima disaster.”
Like I said, I miss Chuck DeVore sometimes.
The new Godzilla movie is a fun and enjoyable “popcorn” movie. For Godzilla fans, there’s a lot to like the Godzilla’s look and trademark roar. The film is spectacular in its detail of the destruction of three major cities and the sound editing (we saw it at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood and Dolby had the placed optimized for sound) was truly incredible. I wouldn’t bring a kid younger than 11 to the theater, because the movie will scare them. The story is a little on the weak side, but it works and you have to go with it and be prepared for major characters to not survive to the end credits. When you get to the scene at Yucca Mountain, you can think of Chuck DeVore. Sorry, I’m not offering spoilers.
Non-Godzilla fans will struggle to stay awake for the first hour of the movie. It was a little slow. But the ending is very satisfying. I’ll give it three out of five stars.