Posted by WayneWR
Jun 24 2011 - 6:49pm

I suppose our MSN stopped covering the Fukushima event because soon after the earthquake and tsunami TEPCO officials and the Japanese government stated it was not a serious problem.

Then our highly reliable and honest EPA reported the radiation arriving every day from Japan was not a health hazard. The cesium 137 was not all that dangerous and the amounts in ppb were very low. They say we receive more radiation from the sun. I've never inhaled any poisonous radioactive isotopes that came from sunbeams, none I'm aware of anyway.

Then last month TEPCO officials informed the Japanese press that they planned on having everything under control by Janurary of 2012, which made everyone feel lot's better. They said the hundreds of square miles of land in Japan so far which was now steralized for use for the next hundred or thousand maybe years was just part of doing business, so that friggiing disaster was nothing to be upset about.

A few days later TEPCO officials changed that Jan 2012 date to ("they didn't have a clue") of when they will have it under control, but not to worry as the "safe" limits for radiation exposure had been raised to very high limits, so everyone was "safe".

Based upon all of that, there is no (story) for our MSN, there is no problem and no danger to anyone, except perhaps a (few) workers at the nuclear power plant. And the nuclear radiation has killed nobody and never will.

Apparently Mark Abram has been spot on all along. Of course we should keep in mind that Mark Abram is obviously either brain damaged or a fool. The same would apply to the executives of our MSN who make the rules of which news to broadcast... They don't want to frighten anyone, especially the sheep.

Now if I were in charge of the MSN, I'd have the reporter tell it sort of like this...

("Good Morning all you Americans,,, We have brand new information about the amount of radiation which is arriving here (daily) and is accumulating in the US from the Fukushima Japan catastrophic nuclear disaster... The major danger at the present time is billions of microscopic specks of deadly for life cesium 137 is ariborne, it is a very dangerous health hazard to inhale any of those specks of poison... Dingbat Doris of our EPA says,,, "it is not a health problem, just don't inhale any".

It is likely you and your children have already inhaled some, so wthin the next ten to fifteen years, expect cancers to have developed in any of several body organs, including but not limited to, the liver, lungs, brain and bone marrow.

Pregnant mothers should be advised to not be surprised if your newborn is born with very serious medial problems, such as, missing eyes or limbs, no sex organs, brain deformaties and or other serious medical problems.") __ Please stay tuned while we take a 20 minute break from the news for a dozen commercials.. First up is AARP.

Commercial:... AARP is now selling health insurance for cancer treatment at a low rate. Not eligible for the AARP program as yet? No sweat, we tak anyone's money. Just call this toll free number and we'll take your premiums and send you a health insurance policy that you won't believe possible. Call now within the next fifteen minutes and we'll really screw you.

Published on Friday, June 24, 2011 by PR Watch
What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima?
by Anne Landman

While the U.S. media has been occupied with Anthony Weiner, the Republican presidential candidates and Bristol Palin's memoir, coverage of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has practially fallen off the map. 

Poor mainstream media coverage of Japan's now months-long struggle to gain control over the Fukushima disaster has deprived Americans of crucial information about the risks of nuclear power following natural disasters. After a few weeks of covering the early aftermath of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, the U.S. media moved on, leaving behind the crisis at Fukushima which continues to unfold. U.S. politicians, like Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, have made disappointing and misleading statements about the relative safety of nuclear power and have vowed to stick by our nuclear program, while other countries, like Germany and Italy, have taken serious steps to address the obvious risks of nuclear power -- risks that the Fukushima disaster made painfully evident, at least to the rest of the world.

Problems Multiply

News outlets in other countries have been paying attention to Fukushima, though, and a relative few in this country have as well. A June 16, 2011 Al Jazeera English article titled, "Fukushima: It's much worse than you think," quotes a high-level former nuclear industry executive, Arnold Gunderson, who called Fukushima nohting less than "the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind." Twenty nuclear cores have been exposed at Fukushima, Gunderson points out, saying that, along with the site's many spent-fuel pools, gives Fukushima 20 times the release potential of Chernobyl.

Efforts to bring problems at Fukushima under control are not going well, either. Japanese authorities only just recently admitted that nuclear fuel in the three damaged Fukushima reactors has likely burned through the vessels holding it, a scenario called "melt-through", that is even more serious than a core meltdown. Months of spraying seawater on the plant's three melted-down fuel cores -- and the spent fuel stored on site -- to try and cool them has produced 26 million of gallons of radioactive wastewater, and no place to put it.

After a struggle, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), finally managed to put in place a system to filter radioactive particles out of the wastewater, but it broke down soon after it started operating. A filter that was supposed to last a month plugged up with radioactive material after just five hours, indicating there is more radioactive material in the water than previously believed. Meanwhile, TEPCO is running out of space to store the radioactive water, and may be forced to again dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO already dumped some water into the ocean weeks ago, amid protests from fisherman, other countries and environmental organizations. And even if TEPCO does successfully filter the contaminated water and manage to bring its radioactivity down to acceptable levels, the utility will still have to deal with the pile of radioactive sludge the process will produce. The plan they've come up with to deal with the sludge is to seal it in drums and discard it into the ocean, which may cause even more problems. Greenpeace has already found levels of radiation exceeding legal limits in seaweed and shellfish samples gathered more than 12 miles away from the plant. The high levels of radiation in the samples indicate that leaks from the plant are bigger than TEPCO has revealed so far.

The cascade of other problems caused by the Fukushima disaster include the costs of relocating residents from the affected area around the plant, compensating people for the loss of their homes and belongings, and a drop-off in global sales of goods and products exported from Japan due to fear of radioactive contamination. 

Domestic Nuclear Worries

For Americans who think "out of sight, out of mind" or "it can't happen here" when it comes to Fukishima and its ramifications, think again. Janette Sherman, M.D., an internal medicine specialist, and Joseph Magano, an epidemiologist with the Radiation and Public Health Project research group, noticed a 35% jump in infant mortality in eight northwestern U.S. cities located within 500 miles of the Pacific coast since the Fukushima meltdown. They wrote an essay, published by CounterPunch, suggesting there may be a link between the statistic and the Fukushima disaster. They cited similar problems with infant mortality among people who were exposed to nuclear fallout from Chernobyl. Sherman and Magano urge that steps be taken to measure the levels of radioactive isotopes in the environment of the Pacific northwest, and in the bodies of people in these areas, to determine if nuclear fallout from Fukushima could, in fact, be related to the spike in infant mortality.

Tensions are also rising over two U.S. nuclear reactors in Nebraska located on the banks of the Missouri River, which is now at flood stage. On June 20, the Omaha, Nebraska World Herald reported that flood waters from the Missouri River came within 18 inches of forcing the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, Nebraska, to shut down. Officials are poised to shut down the Cooper plant when river reaches a level of 902 feet above sea level. The plant is 903 feet above sea level. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant, 20 miles north of Omaha, issued a "Notification of Unusual Event" to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on June 6 due to local flooding. That plant is currently shut down for refueling, but will not restart because of the flooding. Compounding worries over these two plants is a shortage of sand needed to fill massive numbers of sandbags to hold off Missouri River floodwaters. One ton of sand makes just 60 sandbags, and hundreds of thousands of sandbags are needed to help save towns along the river from flooding. Sand is obtained from dredging the riverbed -- and the companies that sell sand can't dredge the river while it is flooding. These plants are already in a risky situation, and the flooding in Nebraska could easily be worsened just by a summer afternoon cloudburst.

Global Support for Nuclear Power Drops; Some U.S. Reactors on Borrowed Time

Polls reveal that global support for nuclear power has nosedived in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. A survey of over 19,000 people in 24 countries showed that three quarters of people now think nuclear power will soon be obsolete. Three countries still show support for nuclear power: the U.S., India and Poland.

The relative safety of nuclear power in the U.S. is tenuous, despite what some politicians have claimed. A big problem is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been working with the nuclear power industry to keep our country's reactors operating within safety standards, but they've been doing it by either weakening those standards, or not enforcing them at all. A year-long investigation by the Associated Press (AP) revealed that the NRC has acted appallingly, extending licenses for dozens of aging U.S. nuclear plants despite their having multiple problems, like rusted pipes, broken seals, failed cables and leaking valves. When such problems are found, the NRC will weaken the standards to help the plants meet them instead of ordering them to be repaired to meet current standards. The nuclear industry argues that the standards they are violating are "unnecessarily conservative," and in response, the NRC simply loosens the standards. Just last year, for example, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to nuclear reactor vessels -- for the second time. Through public record requests to the NRC, the AP obtained photographs of badly rusted valves, holes eaten into the tops of reactor vessels, severe rust in pipes carrying essential water supplies, peeling walls, actively leaking water pipes and other problems found among the nation's fleet of aging nuclear reactors.

The Take Away

Fukushima has been a wake up call about the dangers of nuclear power, and some countries are heeding the information. But it seems the U.S. is still sleeping when it comes to this issue. Light-to-absent coverage of TEPCO's struggles to bring Fukushima under control, legislators who insist on acting favorably towards the nuclear power industry despite the deteriorated state of our current reactor fleet and an ineffective Nuclear Regulatory Commission have all contributed to a bad combination of a dangerous situation and a complacent American public on this issue. 

Maybe now that the latest scandal in Washington has subsided, public and media attention will return to this crucial issue, and the U.S. will turn its attention to tackling some of the truly serious problems posed by a continuing reliance on nuclear power.

© 2011 Center for Media & Democracy
Anne Landman

Anne Landman is the Managing Editor of the Center for Media and Democracy. She previously served as the editor of our TobaccoWiki project on our website. She has degrees in Environmental Restoration/Waste Management Technology and Communications.

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