As workers at Fukushima continue to battle ongoing issues at the nuclear plants, new information about radioactive fallout continues to make its appearance in the news today.
In the Asian News Network leaders are preparing Taiwan for a storm of fallout expected over the next few days.
“People should stay home while the nuclear fallout is here in order to avoid prolonged exposure, a specialist with the Veterans General Hospital said, adding those who must go out should immediately take off their clothes and cleanse nuclear contaminants from their bodies as soon as they are back home.”
“People should wear long-sleeved clothing and masks when they go out on a sunny day and carry an umbrella if it rains, said AEC's Lee Jo-chan, who also recommended cleansing showers, but not iodine tablets and table salt.”
Later, the following day, Taiwan withdrew its expectation of fallout as winds took a different direction.
French authorities have detected radioactive iodine-131 in the rainwater and milk in France. A sample of rainwater tested on March 28 showed radioactivity levels of 8.5 becquerel. According to the CRIIRAD, contamination of the air and rain water will continue for at least the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco rainwater is radiated 181 times above the US drinking standards. The University of Berkley is also said to have tested tap water. A tap water sample contained 0.024 ± 0.014 Becquerels per liter, which is lower than the tested rainwater samples.
Also in the news today, “The U.S. Department of Energy has testified that there is no level of radiation that is so low that it is without health risks,” Jacqueline Cabasso, the Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation stated.
“That means all this talk about what a worker or the public can withstand on a yearly basis is bogus. There is no safe level of radiation exposure. These so-called safe levels are coming from within the nuclear establishment.”
She further comments on the perils of using natural background radiation norms as a rule of a thumb in the current fallout scenario, “But more than 2,000 nuclear tests have enhanced this background radiation level, so we are already living in an artificially radiated environment due to all the nuclear tests.”
This month marks the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl. Last week also marked the 32nd anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in Pennsylvania.
Regarding Chernobyl,“There are still no-go areas there, and the workers town has long since been abandoned, and we are seeing radioactive refugees from there, like we are now seeing generated in Japan,” says Dr. Kathleen Sullivan. “So we don’t understand this mistake because of the timeless invisible nature of the problem that radiation is,” says Sullivan, who has been an education consultant to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.
Meanwhile on the topic of radioactive dispersion globally, Andrea Stahl, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, told Reuters, “It’s only a matter of days before it disperses in the entire northern hemisphere.”
Scientists continue to debate whether nuclear fission is indeed an ongoing concern at the Fukushima plants after detecting neutrons in samples, and multiple sightings of neutron beams at the reactors.
One thing that seems agreed upon in the news today: we can expect to hear more about nuclear fallout dispersing worldwide over the next few weeks, at least - if not months.
Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.-Henri Cartier-Bresson-