"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 23, 2011

Tokyo Water Unsafe for Babies To Drink

Justin (Americana) has a very thoughtful post on the conflicting reports - media and government - describing the nuclear disaster which has compounded the natural one, in Japan.

Describing the disparity of official concern emanating form Tokyo, as compared to Washington, he writes:

"The U.S. government and other assessments of the situation have been far more dire than Japan's. But even there still exists a gap between what we can see and what they are saying,"

...and proceeds to further argue that spokespersons from the US government are probably already downplaying the scope of the nuclear disaster. The whole entry is worth reading, but in illuminating the quoted text above, I hope it serves as credible preface to what follows:

"Tokyo on Wednesday warned that radioactive iodine over twice the safe level for infants had been detected in its tap water due to the disaster at a quake-hit nuclear plant northeast of Japan's capital...

...In one Tokyo ward, a water sample contained 210 becquerels of iodine per kilogramme, a city official said. That is more than double Japan's legal limit. Tokyo's stock market dived 1.6 percent on the news.

The government advised residents throughout the city to avoid using tap water to make infant milk formula until further notice, and said it would distribute 240,000 water bottles to households in need...

...The new inspection zone extends to Saitama and Chiba, part of the greater Tokyo urban sprawl that is home to more than 30 million people.

The health ministry said radioactivity drastically exceeding legal limits had been found in 11 kinds of vegetable grown in Fukushima.

Radioactive caesium at 82,000 becquerels -- 164 times the legal limit -- was detected in one type of leaf vegetable, it said..."

At the point of overstating the grossly obvious, I'm not a nuclear scientist, or trained in environmental protection or inspection. I don't know what this all means, so I'm unwilling to draw conclusions about the impact or scope of the still unfolding nuclear event in Fukushima prefecture.

I would certainly like to believe that the radiation already released from TEPCO's Daiichi plant is minimal - whatever that can mean, given the context of nuclear damned radiation - and that the ongoing mitigation efforts will result in success, with success properly defined as (a) sealed, "entombed" reactors which (b) no longer emit radioactive material and (c) pose no short, middle or long term threat to the health of people who live near to them, and around the world. It's already bad enough that many of the people at greatest risk of exposure to radioactive release are homeless and destitute, following the destruction of their homes and livelihood in an incomprehensibly destructive earthquake and tsunami.

But, in the same way that I cannot bring myself to trust arguments for humanitarian war, when mouthed by capitalist heads of state, I have a difficult time reconciling the media, state and corporate assurances of minimal nuclear impact with reports that Tokyo's water supply is too radioactive for babies to drink.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You’d think this would deal the nuclear power industry a death blow but I won’t assume that it will. It seems like a double wammy, not for the obvious earthquake/reactor combo but for the fact that Japan was the target of the first and last atomic bombs used in war. So to have this happen is like some kind of weird cosmic thing for the Japanese people. The two bombs that were dropped must have an effect on the Japanese pshyche, look at all those Godzilla movies, some say Godzilla is a symbol for the A-bombs that were dropped. Of course, we only dropped them after we firebombed all their other cities.