Fukushima: Is Anyone or Anything Safe?

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Recent news that thousands of fuel rods are being removed from Fukushima has raised a lot of questions and concerns across the globe.  Is the extraction safe or is this the beginning of Armageddon?  Does TEPCO really have the expertise to do this and are the oversight mechanisms credible.  Add to this our speculation relative to the long term ramifications of Fukushima on our food supply, our health, and the health of future generations and we have cause for worry.

In early 2012, a year after a massive tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, I connected with Joy Thompson who, along with her husband Randall, worked as health physicists during the Three Mile Island clean-up.  With this latest news about the extraction of the fuel rods, I felt it was time to once again reach out to Joy and get her assessment and opinion on the long term affect of Fukushima to the environment and to humanity.

Fukushima Joy Thompson Interview

Joy was gracious in providing some thought-provoking answers. Not the answers I hope for or wanted, but answers none-the-less.

What Does the Defueling of Fukushima Mean to Us?

First, the defueling operation at Daiichi unit 4 is probably among the riskiest industrial operations ever attempted, much less under emergency high-stress conditions.

While reports from concerned parties everywhere (including NRC/DoE, French and Russian and German nuclear officials and IAEA) have varied on how long the pool was essentially empty after the disaster onset, and how much burned – and for how long – there is wide agreement that a significant portion of the spent fuel assemblies in the pool are probably damaged.

Damage comes from just brittleness and corrupted by salt water all the way to broken with spilled crumbled fuel and loose rods. The Japanese government admitted last month that the boron ‘blades’ absorbing stray neutrons between fuel bundles in each of the assemblies have long since corroded away. We do not have reliable figures on how much boron is being maintained in the pool either. This is a nightmare scenario.

Alas, the many other intractable issues present at the reservation make it imperative that what fuel can be removed must be removed – quickly – if for no other reason than to be able to say they tried to do “something” to mitigate what’s going to be an extremely ugly end game. There is a 90% probability for a 7.0+ earthquake in the next three years; it could bring these unstable ruins down.

The most likely bad news events from the defueling operation will be criticalities in the pool caused by broken/dropped rods and/or fuel sludge. If these boil off too much water or include the ‘fresh’ core that was in the pool during shroud work in the containment, we could witness your basic open air meltdown. On open air meltdown would release contamination to atmosphere equivalent to thousands of Hiroshima bombs. If they have to abandon the site the rest of ’em will go. That’s half again as much radioactive gnarl as has been released by all the bombs, all the meltdowns, all the other nuclear opposes added together from the beginning. Not good.

Perhaps this is all for show, they already know it’s a hopeless task, and are just setting us all up for the failure scenario. Guess we’ll see what Plan B entails when it’s called for.

I am not very optimistic on this, but who knows? Do I swear off Pacific seafood for the duration anyway. Contaminates concentrate up the food chain, but even the plankton and krill are contaminated. No tuna. Sardines, anchovies, squid, shellfish, crustaceans, seaweed are all contaminated as well off the northeastern coast of Japan, and soon the west coast of the Americas. None of the isotopes escaping are the same thing as potassium-40 in bananas, so don’t buy that propaganda.

Now, to your other questions . . .

Fukushima Today – An Interview with Joy Thompson

1. Some of the people on the West Coast are trying to point to jellyfish die-offs and such as being harbingers of the whole Pacific dying.  Is that a realistic fear?

No, it’s not that realistic. While radioactive contamination can certainly weaken life forms to the point of making them susceptible to diseases they’d normally be immune or resistant to, the organisms involved have been demonstrating high stress and die-offs all over the world for some years – since well before Fukushima.

Something is certainly unhealthy in the oceans, and we humans are no doubt largely responsible with our filthy habits. It could be increased methane due to global warming, seawater ‘layers’ flipping, oxygen depletion from nitrogen run-offs, open oil gushers and Corexit, etc. Definitely disheartening developments to be paid close attention, most likely harbingers of worse things than Fukushima.

2. What about people (like my friend George) who have thought about moving back to the Pacific Northwest.  Is buying a home on the West Coast a bad idea now?  And if so, just how bad an idea is it?

Well, so long as you aren’t planning on living basically IN or ON the water (like as a commercial fisherman or on a houseboat), I don’t see that being there is any worse than being anywhere else. The most serious danger to humans will come from the atmospheric fallout (still circling and coming down in the rain from 3/11/2011). Which will increase again if there are criticalities during unit-4’s defueling. But the rain falls on us all, it can be as contaminated in Charlotte or Paris as it might be in Seattle.

If you’ve a choice, do try to put some mountains between you and everything west of you. It’ll help some.

3. Do you think housing prices are reflecting the radiation risks to the West Coast?

Sorry, don’t know what housing prices out there are doing right now. Could be correction [deflation] from the whole economic Mega-Scam that brought us down in 2008.

4. Do you still eat shellfish? How do you determine what’s safe to eat and what isn’t?

I never liked shellfish, actually. I do still eat occasional trout (which I love, and is abundant locally in these mountain streams). Admit to being unable to resist smoked salmon on occasion, but eat it so rarely that I truly wouldn’t miss it if it weren’t available. Haven’t eaten tuna in years due to mercury/heavy metals contamination.

I grow quite a bit of our food organically on my acreage – have half an acre in truck vegetables, another half-acre in pumpkins, melons and winter squash, apple, peach, cherry and pear trees, and a small vineyard with concord, muscadine and zinfandel grapes. I grow a large number of herbs, and manage 10 acres of forest-grown medicinals.

I should note here that wild-grown ginseng hit nearly $900 a pound this year. Some of my Mama ‘Sangs are more than 20 years old – one of those roots can go for thousands in China, and there are always Chinese buyers at the autumn exchanges. So far, however, I just keep planting seeds and only harvest what I use in tinctures. I have a healthy stand of elder that is proving lucrative. Elderberry tinctures were proven in side-by-side medical studies during the swine flu epidemic to work better to prevent infection or shorten duration than Tamiflu. Friends who are nurses will buy all I can make.

My land is bordered by state game lands and national forest, where abundant black/raspberries, blueberries, wineberries, persimmons and sloes grow wild. I also harvest acorns to leech and make flour out of it to enrich bread and cornbread. I grow only heirloom Indian corn, dry and store it whole to grind on demand. I frequent area tailgate markets in season and the regional farmer’s market.

I’ve found the trick to getting really great deals on bulk produce is to show up at the end of the day on Saturday. Many vendors bring their harvest just for the weekend, and are willing to practically give it away as they’re packing up so as not to have to throw it out. Get great ripe tomatoes, cukes, eggplant, squash and beans by the peck or bushel that way, but then you’ve got to preserve it right away.

I am able to preserve a great deal of our bounty, grown, traded for or bought. I also dehydrate most everything in my nifty solar dryer. Made it a couple of years ago out of salvaged windows and untreated boards from a neighbor’s sawmill. Can some condiments and pickles, make wines, wine vinegars, balsamic and hard cider with much of the fruit. We have a couple of pet Pekin ducks, get 2-4 very large eggs a day. Plus a neighbor with bees for raw honey. I don’t do bees (though I’d like to) because we’ve too many bears. Out here you learn to share with the wildlife, who do a very good job of cleaning out downed POM fruit that would otherwise draw hornets. Dogs do a good job of keeping them out of the compost and away from the house. Cats are great vermin eradicators – field mice, rats, moles, voles and gophers.

My best advice to those who want to commit to surviving by learning to do for themselves is to move to the country, or a small town surrounded by countryside. You can produce a lot even on two or three acres, and make friends with neighbors who produce much more. Barter is the primary means of trade for home-grown foodstuffs out here, your skills and hobbies may be more valuable than you thought!

There are small farms locally specializing in organic/free range poultry and meat if you eat meat. We could hunt if we needed to. Stay low on the food chain if you do hunt – avoid all carnivores, go lightly on the venison, stick with small animals (rabbit, etc.) and birds (turkey, grouse, etc.). Their metabolism is fast enough for biological half-life of the worst isotopes to be short. Plus, they don’t live long enough to accumulate too much.

Basically, eat locally as much as possible, get to know your farmers. When there’s plumes/fallout, avoid green leafies and berries, or build a greenroom off a south-facing wall. In the end, we’ve all got to eat. Even when we can’t avoid contamination. We’ll all die when our time comes anyway, might as well enjoy the ride. It’s a good way to live.

5. What about salmon and other migratory fish?

See above.

6. And bottom fish like halibut?

I’d avoid halibut, flounder, and of course crabs and shellfish/crustaceans. The bottom habitat of all our coastal shelf waters are contaminated with a gross amount of pollutants chemical, heavy metal, radioactive, and just plain filth. Heck, I even avoid catfish, because a sad number of our lakes and rivers are just as polluted. The heavy stuff always sinks, ends up in whatever’s living there.

7. Would you care to speculate about how many people will die – ultimately – prematurely due to the Fukushima accident? What are you colleagues saying?

Cancer rates will rise, likely to the point where your chances of being diagnosed in your lifetime are sure if you live long enough, but treatments and cures are always possible. We can hope.

DNA-related birth defects – different from developmental issues due to exposures during pregnancy – probably will take another generation to show in significant numbers. General weakness due to constant low level and internal bombardment will probably claim as many as air pollution from burning coal does now. In fact, they’ll likely claim it comes from coal instead of Fuku. Even if we quit burning coal today.

Unless you are vaporized to a greasy shadow on the wall they will never admit radiation killed you. Or shortened your life. It’s all an academic exercise in cost-benefit analysis (premeditated random murder) and damned statistics used to deny culpability. Truth be told, there will be some millions of premature deaths worldwide just from Fukushima so far. They’ve four more Level 7 disasters lined up waiting to happen there, so the numbers could easily go up. Sad but true, take precautions where you can.

8. What’s with the positioning of nuclear power as an answer to global warming? First: Is there global warming, second is nuclear power really the solution or more of a problem? And third, what’s the Big Numbers Game on our heads about?

Yes, there is global warming. It is evident in the melting of the ice caps and glaciers, increasing droughts, floods, and severe storms. Yes, humans are contributing to it by means of our filthy industrial habits. Burning fossil fuels, mostly. We can and absolutely should cut it out – stop fouling our nest.

But the climate will continue to change anyway. We should put our energies into adapting. If it gets too warm to grow apples and cherries, plant peaches and oranges. Consider installing drip-hoses and re-routing your gray water to the crops if there’s a drought. If you’re careful of the soaps/detergents you use for bathing and dishwashing, etc., your crops will thank you.

If things need disinfecting or grease-cutting, don’t use bleach – use vinegar. Baking soda as scouring powder, etc. Investigate making your own soaps with glycerin instead of lye. And don’t forget – sunshine is the best disinfectant and laundry freshener there is!

No, nuclear power is NOT the answer to global warming. We can adjust and adapt to different ways of doing things. All we have to do is do it. The big numbers game on our heads is propaganda and Money-Talking. They aren’t satisfied to have impoverished billions of us with their stupid economic Monopoly game, they want everything else too. Everything. Fuck’em, I say.

Caveat: In their (small) favor, the MoneyMasters are no longer investing in nukes. Truth is, there is not enough money on this planet to build the 4,000 new nukes we’d need within the next 20 years to put a dent in anthropocentric global warming. In fact, they’re locked into a grand ‘austerity’ plan for the next 20 years that is going to seriously diminish the demand for energy everywhere. Building new nukes is a total fool’s errand, absolutely unnecessary. Not gonna happen.

9. As long as we’re talking nuclear power, do you buy Iran’s claim that they are only in it to building a nuclear power infrastructure?

Sure, why not? Israel could turn ’em to glass if they tried to make bombs. But Iran is seismically as unstable as Japan, they need a nuclear power infrastructure like they need bullet holes in all their heads. They have plenty of sunshine and wind. They should develop those.

10. If the Israelis do, indeed, bomb the Iranian installations, how is that likely to be (compared to Fukushima or Chernobyl, for example)?

Meh. Just another bomb. Somebody’s exploding one somewhere every year or so, sometimes more. Even the Israelis aren’t dumb enough to bomb a site stuffed with already-enriched fuel. If they bomb, they’ll bomb before there’s fuel (or bomb facilities outlying that would cripple the project), and they’ll use bunker-busters, not nukes. Israelis talk tough, but they aren’t suicidal.

11. Is nuclear terrorism inside the US a real threat, or is it a sales job on the American people?

Heh. You can answer this one.

Since Fukushima we are told the worst case of radioactive pollution the planet’s ever seen is no big deal, right? So we’re supposed to be terrified of some disgruntled teenager blowing an IUD/pressure cooker with an X-ray source mixed in? I wish they’d make up their damned minds.

This used to be the “Home of the Brave,” strange as that seems these days. Our own government is doing most of the terrorizing lately far as I can see, and no. They are not really serious about anything but keeping people terrified (dead people aren’t afraid). And while they don’t care when or how we die, they won’t kill themselves just to kill us. They don’t have to help us stay alive, so probably won’t.

Caveat: If de ebil terrier-ists blow the hell outta my little town tomorrow, I will stand corrected. Unfortunately for the terror-mongers, if they blew the hell outta my little town, nobody would miss it.

12. As an expert in nuclear affairs, do you ever get the sense that you (and your colleagues) are more subject to government surveillance than regular people? Do/should nuclear scientists be more alarmed about government surveillance than anyone else?

Not any more!!!

I and my colleagues left the nuclear industry decades ago. But yeah, they’ve been tapping our phones since submarine days. You learn not to say things they might take the wrong way. Or say ‘hi’ to them, especially on holidays when you’re waiting for Mom to come to the phone.

The assumption of constant surveillance is given for whole classes of people in this (and other) countries. Welcome to our world!

13. If you were a regular working stiff in Japan, would you still be there?

Most likely not. But then, I’m not Japanese. If I were in the southwest of that country I might stick around. If I were Tokyo-north, I’d have bugged out two and a half years ago.

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About Joy:  Joy Thompson was part of a 3-person investigatory team with her husband Randall and colleague David Bear during the immediate recovery operation at TMI-2 in 1979. As health physics personnel, the team monitored on-site radiation levels, releases of radioactive contamination into the environment and doses to workers. The Thompsons went on to establish a family entertainment business with their children, and took up homesteading in the mountains of North Carolina. Joy maintains a blog about homesteading, self-sufficiency, current issues and organic gardening, Wise Living Journal.

For an informative, fascinating and somewhat shocking account of Joy and Randall’s  experience at TMI, I recommend that you read the article  Investigation: Revelations about Three Mile Island disaster raise doubts over nuclear plant safety.

The Final Word

As good as I am about reaching out to people, I sometimes struggle with just the right questions. For assistance with this article, I asked George Ure (Peoplenomics) to help formulate questions using his investigative nose for news.  He was, after all, the news director at a leading Seattle radio station for years and years.

I would also like to thank Joy for her willingness to publicly share her thoughts with us.  She has endured much as a result of her frankness over the TMI cover-up and is a great friend to Backdoor Survival when it comes to being honest and forthright.

As I said at the onset, the answers to these questions are not what I had hope for and yet they are not unexpected.  May God help us all as we navigate around the fallout from Fukushima in the ensuing years.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Pinterest.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

From the Bargain Bin:  When it comes to protection from radiation, a few things should be on hand.

Home Health Physics:  Health Physics is the applied science of radiation exposure control, radioactive contamination control and environmental monitoring.  This little eBook offers methods of keeping your home safe during those times when radioactive fallout or contamination might be threatening your neighborhood. It written by Joy and and Randall Thompson and David Bear and is a free download.

iOSAT Potassium Iodide Tablets:  These were backordered for weeks and highly inflated price-wise after Fukushima.  Be sure to get a package now for each family member.  The way these tabs work is that they fill the thyroid gland with potassium iodide, thus reducing the chance that harmful radioactive iodine will enter and cause sickness or cancer.

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N100 Respirator Masks: You want the N100 respirator masks and not the less effective N95 masks.  These two were in great demand after Fukushima so if you did not pick up a pack or two then, get them now.  This Moldex 2730 is NIOSH certified to have a filter efficiency of 99.97% or greater against particulate aerosols free of oil.

RADSticker nuclear radiation exposure determining dosimeter15 Ways to Limit Radiation After Nuclear Armageddon Backdoor Survival:  The purpose of these stickers is to provide timely personal radiation exposure information in an event of an accident at a nuclear power plant or a nuclear or dirty bomb explosion. Low in cost, the RADSticker will help you determine whether you will need for medical treatment.

3M Duct Tape15 Ways to Limit Radiation After Nuclear Armageddon Backdoor Survival: Duct tape is an absolute necessity when sealing off a space to shelter in place.  For this purpose you want something better than the cheap stuff you get at the dollar store.

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Comments

Fukushima: Is Anyone or Anything Safe? — 63 Comments

  1. The Tompson’s Are full of CRAP. They are no experts, they just talk to be heard. Just because you have some fancy college piece of paper, that does not make you an EXPERT. The truth: The west coast of the US will be hit with crap from the plant sometime in mid 2014, along with a texas size pile of trash. The removal of rods: if one misstep and the plant blows up, it will cover the world within a few years, depending on wind. IRAN does not have the bomb and does not want it, it appears that Tompson wants a war and her statement appears she is on the side of jewland. If Ms. Thompson is on their side, then pack up your ass and move their. You should get your facts straight before you publish is type of feel good crap.

    • Richard – I am disappointed in your remark. Did you really mean to make an anti-Semitic statement? And BTW, Joy was indeed on the TMI cleanup team – hands on.

      — Gaye

      • Just because I hate jewland does not mean I hate jewish people, I hate some blacks, I do not hate all blacks, I hate a lot of white people, but I do not hate all white people. When I wrote what I wrote, I had a feeling that someone was going to play the anti-semitic card, just like black and wetbacks do. If you do not like my opinions, pull me from your list, YOUR CALL

      • I agree, this article is crap. These people were TECHNICIANS at 3 mile island. We called them radpro techs, rent a techs, nuclear migrants (as they travel from plant to plant like a migrant worker). And although most of what she said is close to correct, she is no way an authority on nuclear disasters OR nuclear weapons. I worked at a nuclear power plant in Michigan for 14 years as the lead Radiochemist and if you asked me most of these questions I would refer you to a real expert. Not try to play Mr Know it all like this woman.

        What a travesty that you put so much faith in the opinions of a layman.

    • The state of Israel are not suicidal- they are psychopathic! (And they probably won’t bomb Iran,( a country that has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty)- they will pay their hirelings in the U.S. government to send YOU to do that. Same as Iraq, Afganistan, Libya, etc.
      ‘Sufficiently advanced stupidity, is indistinguishable from evil.’- Packwood’s Law

  2. “long as you aren’t planning on living basically IN or ON the water (like as a commercial fisherman or on a houseboat).” Gaye, pay attention. This is her way of telling you to get off that island. Pack up all your herbs, essential oils, and all survival equipment and get out of dodge. Hint…My neighbor’s house is for sale.

  3. Just a cautionary note. For those with thyroid issues. PLEASE check and do some searching. The standard treatment doesn’t work for us. It will further damage or compromise your thyroid. Do some checking and not with just your doctor.
    Gaye, I’m with you. I’m not moving but that doesn’t mean I’m not taking precautions so I survive. 🙂

  4. Thank you for this informative article. Some people have personal hate agendas, and just can’t keep it to themselves. Please continue with the information gathering and distributing you do. It is valuable to many of us.

  5. Hello to Backdoor Survival, and thanks so much for letting me speak my mind on the issues. A word to those on the west coast of North America, even islands – the biggest danger to humans from Fukushima comes from airborne releases, not waterborne releases. Because we live on land and breathe open air. Right now the fallout is minimal from the original releases, and iodine is decayed away. Just pay attention for new airborne releases during the defueling op. So long as you either stay inside during sea-fogs/mists and rain or wear appropriate rain gear with several layers of cloth over mouth and nose, your exposures to waterborne isotopes will be minimized. And don’t eat north Pacific seafood, sadly. The waterborne releases will continue and increase for as far into the future as we can see right now.

    • Hey Joy,

      So you worked as an HP tech at 3 mile island? Other than doing area surveys and job coverage, what qualifies you to speak on nuclear disaster cleanups and nuclear weapons? What is your degree in?

      What are the radiation levels are currently being measured on the west coast? How much above background? Do you have that data? What isotopes have been identified and in what concentration? I didn’t know this data was available to the public. Please provide a link to the data set.

      I would hate to imagine you are trying to present yourself as an expert without any data.

      Gino

  6. Joy is wrong on so many things. Three mile island was nothing. To make it sound like it was the China Syndrome is irresponsible. Is there global warming? The right answer is yes it is cyclical and caused by nature not man. To believe that we caused this latest naturally occurring global warming puts her right in the far left socialist camp. The risk from fallout from Fukashima is so minimal that anyone even bringing it up shows their true colors. There is no “fallout”. When and if there is a more serious release of radiation it won’t be in the form of fallout. Then she said she doesn’t think Iran is trying to get the bomb! Really! She would be the only person left on earth naïve enough to believe that Iran doesn’t want the bomb. What, exactly, did she do in the Three Mile Island cleanup? Car wash? Janitor? What?
    For her information and others the U.S. did have a serious nuclear spill in Colorado in the early 70’s. If she really worked in that industry she would know this and that would be the example she would use not three mile island (which resulted in negligible radiation). Her only excuse for not using the Colorado example would be that it was secret (but I don’t believe it is anymore). I think she is a phony.

    • Me being a pilot and having owned many old airplanes and the instruments in them were like your old watches that had a little radioactive numbers that glowed in the dark. Our instruments glowed also in case of electrical failure. For the old instruments that had lost their glow, we would just make a few circles over a nuclear power plant, and would be good to go for a long time…

      Fools or experts, I don’t believe anything I hear of dangers of radiation. Just that I wouldn’t live on an island on the west coast.

      • I live on an island in the Pacific Northwest. We are not going to run. As the saying goes “None of us are getting off this rock alive”.

      • Sheri, you have a good attitude and it should serve you well. As will a sharp sense of humor. For instance, radium is not “re-charged” by exposure to… well, anything that might be in the air above a nuclear plant (or anywhere else). Nor does DHS allow airliners, helicopters or hobby craft to circle the airspace above nuclear plants… §;o)

        Do look into ‘smart’ pocket-size radiation detectors. Fuku has created a regular market boom, and reliable, inexpensive detectors are handy to have around these days. Cheers!

        • To Sheri and Joy. I have been reading this blog for some time now, and I love it. We are all a fun loving group that are here to learn something about survival. I, for one, hate it when, for the first time I can remember, commenters get into a shouting match. This was my feeble attempt to break the name calling. No, I have not flown my old airplanes over a nuke plant, but it made a good story. Hopefully to get away from the name calling and peeing contest. My not living on an island on the Pacific Coast was aimed at a certain red head that we all love. I think she likes it when we poke fun at her. It was all in good humor.
          So to sum it up. Chill out, OK….

          • I have a Geiger Muller (of ancient design) that also contains an ion chamber for high-level readings. Which aren’t necessary for what we’re dealing with now. Also a low-level desktop plug-in, I can exchange the pancake probe (alpha/beta) with the regular geiger-tube slide probe. I dug them out of a box in a corner of the shed when Fuku did its ugly-dance, dusted ’em off and calibrated against thorium lantern mantles (readily available sources). Wish I had a handy-dandy pocket-sized meter, maybe someday I’ll have the extra to spend. Always a challenge, of course.

            If you collect and dry or compost seaweed for the garden (well-rinsed to remove salt of course), you also have a very excellent source of elemental iodine your crops will readily uptake. Especially the dark green leafies, and those like cool weather best anyway. Can always grow under hoops and plastic, through the worst of winter. Keep these in your diet steadily, any I-131 from Fuku won’t be a big issue for you.

            To ensure best safety, grab a sample (about a cup) of compost after it’s well-mixed and before adding to the beds, dry it good in a slow oven for a few hours. Then spread it out flat on a sheet of paper, and slowly run the meter over it at close range to get a feel for what it’s reading. You don’t have to worry about beta or alpha specifically, since if you’re getting any significant above-background gamma you can safely assume that beta and/or alpha are present. Anything over ~10-20 Bq/kg gamma above background is enough to raise eyebrows, your choice on whether or not to use it anyway. You can also use a meter on food (close range, slow) to get a feel for whether it’s above background. Again, your choice to eat or not. At least you’ll know. And it’s also good to test the air daily, difference between rain and shine levels, levels on surfaces in the home. Keep those clean, consume the heck out of some paper towels. Think of contamination as invisible dust – it behaves in the same way. You don’t want it settling on your foods or food prep surfaces.

            Sounds like you have a lovely life situation, so definitely enjoy it!

          • [These responses don’t seem to be threading right… argh!]

            Addendum to http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/fukushima-is-anyone-or-anything-safe/comment-page-1/#comment-66411 this post to Sheri, a note on the lack of accuracy measuring gamma in an internal contamination situation…

            All we’re getting there is an indication that contamination is present. No clues as to what that involves, per isotopes, types of radiation, or even really accurate levels. That’s why I say it’s just a warning, but that’s all you honestly need. 10 Bq/kg of radiation (absolute) isn’t enough to worry about. Deal is, if you’re measuring that in far left field of the ballpark, you can bet your bippy the real numbers (and dangers) are higher. Behave accordingly.

        • Thank you Joy for the information on getting a radiation detector. I’m an avid organic gardener and have spent years collecting seaweed to compost into my garden. My season was just now to start with the winter storm activity. God’s Blessings!

        • Not to worry, John. I got your joke from the first and quite enjoyed it. You have made me smile, and so I’ll apologize for the degeneration I contributed to by responding to the trolls. Yes, it’s all in good fun. Don’t get too chill! §;o)

          • Had a couple of ‘smart’ meters show up as ads on my re-loads today, both under a hundred. That’s honestly a deal, they may go lower as Fuku drags on. I was part of Safecast from Day-1, earliest efforts were to somehow get hold of (or invent) small, affordable meters for the public, and at least four body-scanners for immediate deployment in Fukushima area. The body-scanners were ridiculous (more than $30,000, and that’s for small non-human samples). The ‘smart’ meter invented is in your range and above, which is too much for most people.

            Deal is, for the necessary purpose at present and into the immediate future, the meter need not be particularly specialized. As I told Sheri, all you really need to know about anything in your home environment is if it’s emitting gamma above background to a >10 Bq/near-contact level. Specificity not necessary for taking reasonable precautions on a ‘Home Health Physics’ level. So it’s an alert when the authorities probably won’t issue one. A warning, that’s all.

          • Oh… Mega-YIKES!!! Glad you never had to do it, John. I guess we’re all glad for that. Now we’re just trying to survive the leftover gnarl, and Fukushima is most definitely gnarly. It can be done, though. So those of us who wish to survive should learn how.

            Good on you.

          • I live near Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. I’m not on Whidbey Island, a bit further out in the island chain, but close enough that if it every gets hit I’ll see the big flash aka “NukAlert”. (Just practicing on my sharp sense of humor!)

          • §;o)

            I grew up Navy. We were always “#1 Targets,” which I recall from way back in the Cuban Missile Crisis days. Obviously – half a century later and the end of the Good Old cold war – we weren’t. [grin]

          • Cuban Missile Crisis days !!!! The good ole days. I was at a radar scope 20 hours a day sitting beside the man with his finger on our nuke tipped missiles, waiting on a little target practice.

          • John, per http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/fukushima-is-anyone-or-anything-safe/comment-page-1/#comment-66428

            Heh. Would you really have launched? Reeeeeaallly? I’ve done target practice. Quite Star Trek-ian with the cool whole-wall big-pixel display back in the day. But… but… launch the damned thing and it’s got 17 MIRV’d warheads. Takes out 17 targets with way more than Nagasaki. There’s more than a few of those on board…

            That ‘silent service’ was end-time cold war “just because we can” stuff. Any one sub that nobody knew where the heck it was at any given time, was capable of annihilating “The Enemy” by wiping out its civilian population as well as military capability. The ‘combatants’ were never co-equal in that. Mutual Assured Destruction wasn’t really all that mutual. Once you got past the kewl video-game sci-fi excitement, it wasn’t all that… um… kewl at all.

            “The Enemy” finally had to admit it. Had no more money to invest. Voila! Good Old cold war over. BTW, t’was Chernobyl that defeated ’em. Really.

          • Aw Joy. This was 1962. I was 19 years old and the meanest soldier alive. Invincible. We had 8 nukes, and we would have fired all of them. I will never forget the one time we almost did. When we run drills, we have all our commands sent to a test mast. This one day, we were still sending to the missiles, while running drills. When the battery commander raised the little red cover for the fire switch, my platoon sergeant (who lost a leg in Vietnam) knocked his hand away, and reminded him we were still transmitting to the missile. Needless to say, our drill was over for the day..

    • She was a rent a tech ‘swingin’ a meter’ at 3 mile island making $12/hour + per diem, big deal. She is no expert. Lets see if she bothers to answer my questions above or just ignores them. I spent 14 years as lead radiochemist at a nuke plant with a degree in chemistry. I would never try to answer these types of questions posed in this “article” as I am not an expert in most. This is a joke.

      Since there have been only a few nuke plant disasters (see if you can name them), and none recently other than this one, there really are no experts around. Joy is certainly NOT one.

  7. Gino Schafer

    You may of course dismiss everything I or anyone else has to say about the dangers presented by Fukushima on a radiological level. That is your absolute right, I wouldn’t dream of denying you that. I have simply answered Gaye’s questions as honestly as I can. Because she asked.

    If I’m “close to correct” it’s a mystery to me why you don’t find that helpful to people worried about radiation from Fuku. If you wish to add your own expertise, go for it. Make Gaye an offer, maybe an “Ask The Nuke” column to the subject. I certainly can’t boast 14 years in the industry, you’ve got me beat by a decade there. It didn’t take me long at all to figure out that civilian nukes are dangerous, completely unjustified and inherently evil criminal enterprises on all levels.

    Given your long association with the industry, what would you say to these questions that is different from what I have said? Do you feel that it’s more dangerous than I have portrayed, or less? Please, I am curious as to what an ‘expert’ of your ranking thinks about it.

    • First of all, I did not say I was an expert, I merely stated my experience. And if asked these questions, I would say to most of them, “Please speak to an expert. I have limited experience in nuclear weapons, global warming, the housing market, fish, etc etc. ”

      I see you haven’t posted links to the data you have to base your opinions on. Don’t tell me you made all these statements without any data to back then up. Did you?

    • LOL!!! My goodness, Gino. What on earth would make you think anyone living in the modern industrialized world should not have opinions on nuclear weapons, global warming, national and international politics, fish, or even the housing market? I readily admit I never launched a nuke (except once on a Polaris submarine, but that was just for fun) or been to either Iran or Israel. You don’t have to agree and I certainly never claimed to be an ‘expert’ on the subject of Iranian-Israeli Kabuki. If I were, I certainly couldn’t be telling you about it in public, because then I’d have to kill you. [That’s a joke, which also needs no links to back it up].

      The situation at Fukushima since the beginning has been receiving worldwide coverage, there is lots of data out there. Thousands of pages of internal and external communications have been made available via FOIA from the NRC and DoE, I published a series of 10 installments of analysis on the Op-Center documents (covering March – May, 2011) for Enformable. Other good sources are SimplyInfo, ENEnews and Safecast. You could access these too if you want to keep up with Fukushima. But beware of data – it may lead to opinions, and you don’t seem very comfortable with those.

      I am a little taken aback by your obvious animosity, but there’s no pleasing everyone. To each his or her own, I always say.

      Have a nice life.

      • The problem is that the owner of this site is touting you as an expert, which we both know you are not, she did not present you as her neighbor who has an opinion. Scientists use data to support their arguments. You offer nothing and are therefore a simple layman who had a crummy job at a nuke plant. Isn’t funny how the job you probably hated now makes you an “expert” to some people?

        My animosity is based on you being presented as someone who can preset a knowledgeable opinion about nuclear accidents. You have neither the education nor the experience to act as such. That you accepted that false narrative and spoke as if you were an expert makes it all worse and speaks to your character.

        By the way, my life is good without being told to have one by some fraud.

        • Gino,

          I am the owner of this website and have chosen not to censor your comments just because they happen to disagree with my views.

          That said, I kindly ask that you remove the boxing gloves and address my readers and commenters with the same respect I have extended to you.

          — Gaye

      • Oh, for Pete’s sake, Gino. Let’s get real here – I know a whole lot more about nuclear accidents than you do, am indeed as much of an ‘expert’ as regular people are ever likely to meet. I was part of the on-site TMI team, drafted the initial reports including release monitoring data and sample spectrum analysis for the range of isotopes present and calculating percentages core inventory release from RCS sample analysis, and traced the several avenues of release to atmosphere. The ones that didn’t rely upon some fictional containment breach, because the truth is the crap was never contained in the first place .

        I analyzed the Kemeny TATF reports, drafted and completed our CII reports – including physically tracing the multiple and single-point failures that caused the accident, as well as documenting pre-accident conditions of steadily increasing fuel failure (and falsified release rate records Met-Ed was later convicted for in criminal court). I submitted those reports to the chair of the Joint Congressional Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, provided documentary evidence to Congressional investigators, and testified before both Congress and the NRC.

        We were hired under provision of 10CFR.21. Our job was to document the conditions, gather the evidence, and report to the lawful ‘authorities’. To enable that task, we were placed in specific positions where we were the first to get the data – before it got doctored or just plain ‘lost’ by utility management/NRC. I didn’t “swing a meter” at TMI. I was in charge of processing and recording all on-site doses, readings from all stationary monitors off-site, and mapping the plumes of contamination from data gathered by regular helicopter surveys in the first weeks.

        I have followed the disaster at Daiichi closely since March 11, 2011, and provided reams of detailed analysis of available data from authorities in Japan and around the world to several outlets, even called the hydrogen issue the moment pressure venting was reported inoperable the evening of the earthquake. When all the nuke apologists were still huffily insisting hydrogen was “impossible” and power plants simply do not – cannot – explode.

        So. Other than your self-important whining and cheap slander, what have you contributed to this forum and its readership that might help them understand what’s happening at Fukushima, and how they can protect themselves from it?

        By the way, TEPCO began their defueling of unit-4’s SFP [spent fuel pool] last night. My coverage of that can be found here –
        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/18/1256469/-Defueling-Begins-at-Fukushima
        …along with plenty of informative links. Meanwhile, ~600 metric tons of corium-contaminated water is still flowing right on out to the Pacific Ocean from Daiichi every damned day and bioaccumulating up the food chain.

        For you, I would suggest the nori, Fuku rice and bluefin sushi. For the rest of you, avoid it like the plague.

  8. GoneWithTheWind

    You are correct that TMI2 was far, far less than Fukushima is. Didn’t even melt through the vessel once, much less three times. I thought everybody pretty much knew that (if they cared to know anything), and have nowhere claimed any different.

    So… I gave the “right” answer to is there global warming? Then what the heck is your problem? I don’t care about the hype on whether human contributions to atmospheric CO2 overload are responsible. I think they do contribute, but you can believe not so. Our beliefs won’t change anything either way. Deal is, global warming is happening. We should adjust and adapt. And clean up our act because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t care how they sell that.

    The subject here is Fukushima – real time, not history. It is not Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Chelyabinsk, Hanford, or even Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Why can’t you just deal with Fukushima? I did.

  9. Just to add to the discussion. I admit to being skeptic. However when people stand up and speak out knowing their professional lives are at stake, then what they are saying needs to be considered over “professionals” who may be trying to delude themselves as well as the the public. When it comes to radiation. I listen. I am not a professional in the field but someone who has survived low dosage emission leaks from then-called Camp Hanford, now called Hanford Atomic Works. I have lost a mother, 2 brothers and a sister to cancer. Was it due to those low emission releases back in the late 40s and early 50s? The government has said, no. Thing is, check into how many people who lived off the land via farming have that lived down current from Hanford. The little red dots begin to stack up and group together. So while there may be an argument about credentials, I listen not only to those who are suppose to know but also other scientists and individuals who have knowledge of the effects.
    To this end I wanted to share : http://www.vice.com/read/these-nuclear-physicists-think-david-suzuki-is-exaggerating-about-fukushima This is not a man who speaks unless he knows what he’s talking about.

  10. Wow. So sorry to hear your family has paid so high a price, dee. We’ve far too many “downwinders” of our own to dismiss what is happening in Japan. ‘Authorities’ never admit responsibility, but the numbers don’t lie like people – and corporations – are known to do.

    I am a big believer in the old Boy Scout motto – “Be Prepared.” If you know or have good reason to suspect you’re being dumped on, then you have the opportunity to protect yourself and the people you love. ‘Authorities’ don’t love any of us. We’re just the losers in their cost-benefit games. They weren’t aiming specifically at your family, they just didn’t care that your family was in the way.

    Don’t be fooled by ‘experts’ who make it their business to fool you. Only 0.0117% of natural potassium is radioactive, but ALL of the cesium from Fukushima is radioactive. Your body can’t tell the difference. No amount of bananas will change your ‘normal’ internal dose of K40. A banana contaminated with cesium delivers excess dose. So does seafood (or anything else) contaminated with cesium. Suzuki has reason for concern, as do we all.

    Best of luck to you and yours.

    • Good on you for trying to stay aware, Sheri. My take on the issue (in nifty should-be-a-poster style) is here –

      http://www.besthealthdegrees.com/survive-nuclear/

      If you aren’t working at the scene of a disaster – but trying to survive one they’re predictably lying about – there are really just a few basic concepts you need to know. And those boil down to keeping the crap away from your family’s lungs and food supply. Clean, clean, clean is the motto, and don’t sleep on the derned floor. Don’t sent it airborne again, wet it down and soak it up (hence the paper towels). Keep a ‘mud room’ for outdoor gear. Don’t leave home without it, don’t wear it into the living area.

      They won’t tell you what “shelter in place” means if they issue that order. Keep your windows closed is about the extent of their info. There’s way more to it than that, you can and should know what else is advisable. Ultimately they may end up getting you in the end. Just don’t make it easy for ’em.

      • Yes, a ‘mud’ or changing room to change from outdoor clothing into home clothing works whether there’s radiation or not. It may sound trite but having a large roll of plastic will come in handy for so many uses. I have a big one plus several sizes of tarps.

  11. @ Dee, I’m so sorry to hear about your family loses. Your not alone in this. I too have heard and followed the news on the Hanford reactor and your “spot on”. I met one of the Nuclear scientist involved with the clean-up one day (Early 1990’s) and all he could do was roll his eyes to my questions, what a nightmare. The name “Dixie Lee Ray” is still spoken with hatred in this state. Apparently some years ago it was discovered that the waste was leaking into the Columbia Gorge Basin.

    @Joy: Thank you for your wonderful information. I had started a folder on Fuku some time ago and will value this information for resourcing. I’m a “right-side-of-the-brain person and I forget numbers. You said in your post “Behave accordingly”. I’m not sure what is going through your mind, I’m not as informed and educated in this area, but I have been trying to compile some information in the event of escalation. My chances of survival in a nuclear event, I hope are good here because of the home I live in. My lower level is partial under ground with the required protective room and my preparedness for an event, not at 100%, but sustainable if everything goes down. I do need to get better educated on what could happen short and long term. I came across this the other day. I’m posting this if any one is interested: WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT!
    This guide is for families preparing for imminent terrorist or strategic nuclear attacks with expected blast destruction followed by widespread radioactive fallout downwind.
    http://www.ki4u.com/guide.htm

    • Hi again, dee. I wouldn’t worry too much about those Tridents, they’re mostly troop transports these days rather than Big MAD Deterrents. Most of the Polaris subs are razor blades by now, and the new subs are all little disposable fast-attacks – designed to last only so long, thrown away rather than refueled. Reactors don’t open… Besides, our sub accidents don’t tend to be fires/meltdowns that would really crap up a large area of nearby land. They tend to be “lost at sea” type stuff, and as long as they’re on the bottom, the junior-size reactors aren’t melting.

      Governments stockpile prussian blue in capsules to be given in case of serious cesium contamination, but I doubt they’ll ever turn loose of ’em for civilians. Needs a prescription, works by binding cesium (or thallium, which is also highly toxic) in the lower intestine so it’ll go out with the trash instead of being absorbed. Really the best protection against the Big Three radioactive contaminates – iodine, cesium and strontium, several isotopes each – is to ensure your diet includes an ample supply of non-radioactive iodine, potassium, and calcium. Then if there’s a fallout plume coming your way (or contaminated foods), you can supplement. Far less of the radioactive isotopes are absorbed if there’s already plenty of non-radioactive versions available to absorb. Also maintain high levels of anti-oxidants in your diet and supplement regimen.

      If you know it’s there (or coming your way), you can be proactive. I hate to say it, but one of these days they’re just going to stop telling us about it. That’s what all this “stress is more harmful than the radiation” stuff is all about. Stress from knowing radioactive iodine is in your air, food and water does not cause thyroid cancer. Radioactive iodine in your air, food and water does.

      • Joy – Last week I watched the Australian version of the movie “On the Beach”. Folks were handed little suicide kits so that they could inject themselves, their children, and their pets. They then died peacefully. Do you know if those kits really exist? Or suspect?

        I have written in the past about “drinking the Kool-Aid” in an end-of-the-world scenario (a global nuclear holocaust and a painful death to humanity). Not everyone liked what I had to say but it did get people to think.

        • Gaye – Well, that’s certainly a philosophically loaded question. I know nothing of suicide kits, and most probably wouldn’t buy one.

          If ever a time comes when that choice should (to my mind) be made for myself, I wouldn’t need a kit. There are certain plants traditionally used by native inhabitants to induce a painless, peaceful death (and no, it’s not Death Angels, an excruciating way to go). While the plants grow almost everywhere, the knowledge of that use is best kept to one’s self for the most part. Like the strict laws regulating lethal substances in medical and veterinary practice, I don’t think having a “suicide kit” handy is a wise choice for people who are prone to depression and/or suicidal ideation, or who have family members who are or may be.

          Besides, my adventure has (so far) been …um, adventuresome enough that I’ve learned to cherish even the most painful and frightening of experiences. And hope that when it comes time for me to go, I am still able to remember them lucidly in all their sorrow, joy, pain, pleasure, compassion and grief. When my death comes to claim me, I think (hope?) I will want to meet it eye to eye. That’s just me. Others will of course make their own choices, for themselves.

  12. Anyone heard about what they *the scientists* are discovering which can help with radiation exposure? I will have to find it but according to study(ies), turmeric appears to help the body rid or protect the body from radiation. As I have posted, my family lived near Hanford. Now how was it that I have survived when the siblings I grew up with did not? I didn’t have any answers to this but when read about this study, I had to check. If you choose to check, do “turmeric and radiation protection. I’ve been doing turmeric for almost a decade now so perhaps it HAS helped me to survive. BUT if I developed cancer, I’d have to stop if I were going to have radiation treatment because I do used it regularly.
    Whatever is happening, I am sure I will have a supply of turmeric and will be working at growing it next year. It’s like ginger, in that it’s a root, so here’s why my inexperience will shine *sarcasm*. One thing I Know, no matter what the challenge, there is much we can live and learn from.
    I don’t share the hate others might for anyone, let alone Dixie. I don’t have time for that, too much looking forward and discovering to do. 😉 I do however understand the right side of the brain thing….being left handed I’ve always done things a bit out of the box. lol BTW: I did live on Whidbey, that’s not the concern, it’s Hood Canal where the Trident Subs are homeported which make the islands a target. You say you have a protective room…are you aware that it will be a target not a protection in event of social upheaval. Consider where you would look if you were hungry or trying to feed your family. Sorry, it’s just my criminal justice training and discussions with the lower side of life people. Find a few places outside your home you can reach temporarily, bury some supplies and make sure only those you trust with your life, know where those caches are and how to find them. Each one could even be used to barter so your main supplies are not touched. If you’re prepping, then you have to prepare for the seedy side of life to rise to the surface. imho

  13. Last year we did subsistent fishing and caught our limit of salmon (Alaska). We have most of it in the freezer or in pint jars from smoking and canning. We are not quite sure what to do about last years catch.

    Joy do you feel we should keep it, have it checked or should we throw it away?
    If we keep it should we have an analysis done and what are the steps for this process.

    I am confident, that we are not the only ones who need to know. I want to thank both you and Gaye
    having taken your time to give us the truth.

    We will not be harvesting salmon or any other fish this year from the pacific. Will it be safe to go into the Interior and harvest trout or other fish from the lakes?

  14. Joy, could you give a few good reasons to have the NukAlert. Gaye has one sitting on her desk and I have thought about it for many months. Tom Horn says it is a status symbol in Washington, D.C.
    It is not about the symbol but about the importance of having it on your keychain.

    For me . . . it is about the need to know. 🙂

  15. Hi, Brinda. First, I would think last year’s salmon isn’t too bad. You went to all the trouble to catch and preserve it, and I expect ate quite a bit before and after. Radiation dose (and contamination) is cumulative. Maintain augmented levels of potassium and calcium – don’t overdose, you just want an ample supply. This will help a lot to prevent incorporation into your tissues, cesium/strontium should go on through for the most part. We’re all going to ‘get used to’ chronic low-level doses, so look around for various foods, herbs and housekeeping hints that will keep it to a minimum and/or boost healing abilities.

    On the NukAlert you’re right. It’s not so much the need to know, as the courage to know and the confidence to act properly on what you know. Radiation is not something that falls under the heading of “what you can’t see/don’t know can’t hurt you.” You’d be warned when the plume is overhead and fallout falling (circles the planet every 40 days or so), warned that the rain or snow are hotter than usual, warned that the dog tracked in some hot stuff and you need to mop and wipe the kitchen floor good, etc., etc. There’s a hundred things to know. That knowing won’t diminish the quality of your life at all. But may save you time in life that is precious. Enjoy it!

  16. Thank you so much for a quick response. I think there will be a NukAlert under the Christmas tree
    this year. Gaye, your link is cheaper than the one I was going to purchase. Saving money is always
    good!

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