Government Reacts to Fukushima Radiation Crisis By Raising Acceptable Radiation Standards … Instead of Fixing Anything

Just Like the Financial Crisis, the Gulf Oil Spill, and All Other Crises, Government Covers Up Instead of Addressing the Real Problems

2 weeks after the Fukushima accident, we reported that the government responded to the nuclear accident by trying to raise acceptable radiation levels and pretending that radiation is good for us.

Since then, massive radiation has been released on a daily basis from Fukushima… for years.

And there are so many new leaks that even the mainstream press is starting to admit that Fukushima was never fixed.

Radiation from Fukushima is slamming Tokyo, as well as the West Coast of North America.

Fukushima radiation is showing up in fish on the West Coast of the United States.  Scientists are starting to sound the alarm as to additional human deaths and health problems on the U.S. West Coast due to Fukushima radiation, and an epidemic of injuries to sealife.

And it’s not just Fukushima …

An investigation by Associated Press found that 75 percent of all U.S. nuclear sites have leaked radioactive tritium.

In fact, whistleblowers at the Nuclear Regulator Commission say that the risk of a major meltdown at U.S. nuclear reactors is much higher than it was at Fukushima.

And an accident in the U.S. could be a lot larger than in Japan … partly because our nuclear plants hold a lot more radioactive material. Radiation could cause illness in huge numbers of Americans, and a major nuclear accident could literally bankrupt America.

So what has the American government done to protect us?

It has pressured the Japanese government to re-start its nuclear program, and is allowing Fukushima seafood to be sold in the U.S.

And U.S. nuclear regulators actually weakened safety standards for U.S. nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster.

And as we noted 6 months after Fukushima melted down:

American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborne radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation. (Indeed, the EPA reacted to Fukushima by raising “acceptable” radiation levels.)

***

The failure of the American, Canadian and other governments to test for and share results is making it difficult to hold an open scientific debate about what is happening.

And it’s happening again …

Forbes reported last week:

The acting EPA director on Friday signed a revised version of the EPA’s Protective Action Guide for radiological incidents, which critics say radically relaxes the safety guidelines agencies follow in the wake of a nuclear-reactor meltdown, dirty-bomb attack, or other unexpected release of radiation.

***

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) [a government whistleblower support group], that means agencies responding to radiation emergencies may permit many more civilian fatalities.

“In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems,” PEER advocacy director Kirsten Stade said in a press release. “This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period.”

Medical doctor Helen Caldicott notes:

The radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

  • In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;
  • In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
  • Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
  • Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.

This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”

No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”

Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear.

Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency.

As we noted right after Fukushima happened, this is standard operating procedure for government these days:

When the economy imploded in 2008, how did the government respond?

Did it crack down on fraud? Force bankrupt companies to admit that their speculative gambling with our money had failed? Rein in the funny business?

Of course not!

The government just helped cover up how bad things were, used claims of national security to keep everything in the dark, and changed basic rules and definitions to allow the game to continue. See this, this, this and this.

When BP – through criminal negligence – blew out the Deepwater Horizon oil well, the government helped cover it up (the cover up is ongoing).

The government also changed the testing standards for seafood to pretend that higher levels of toxic PAHs in our food was business-as-usual.

So now that Japan is suffering the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl – if not of all time – is the government riding to the rescue to help fix the problem, or at least to provide accurate information to its citizens so they can make informed decisions?

Of course not!

The EPA is closing ranks with the nuclear power industry ….

Indeed, some government scientists and media shills are now “reexamining” old studies that show that radioactive substances like plutonium cause cancer to argue that they help prevent cancer.

It is not just bubbleheads like Ann Coulter saying this. Government scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and pro-nuclear hacks like Lawrence Solomon are saying this. [Update.]

In other words, this is a concerted propaganda campaign to cover up the severity of a major nuclear accident by raising acceptable levels of radiation and saying that a little radiation is good for us.

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  • HS

    Sadly, the only surprising part of this post is that Forbes printed it.

    • BESTEST GUESTEST

      Jeff McMahon of Forbes has actually been excellent in writing about Japan’s crisis.
      He was the only journalist in the beginning writing about radiation from Japan found in U.S. air, water and milk.

  • nveric

    Without proper amounts of representation in the federal government, you and the rest of America’s citizens will have no say in that government.

    Article after article points to the same source – the federal government. Even-though it’s an illegal government, it still calls the shots, no pun intended. As the years continue rolling by, our voice is smaller and smaller.

    But, it seems that I talk to no one or one’s who don’t reason and conclude as I do. There’s never any discussion on this topic, but I’ll continue on.

    To think that no one wants to control their government directly points to the mass insanity of the country’s population. Bitch, whine and moan, but hell no, let no one work to cause greater effectiveness of citizenship.

    “Hell no, we bitch and moan,
    Run us over with a Rolls Royce,
    We don’t want a stinking voice,
    Government is for elites,
    We want to die in the streets.”

    • femalefaust

      no one? what?

      with the corruption at the paperless digital voting booth, how can those with the desire to do so (and the mettle to back that up) ever hope to prove you wrong ?

      in other words,you are mistaken in your assessment of the character of more than just a few Americans.

      we were never undecided, we wanted to be in control. we are not hypocrites;. we are doing whatever we can — we will do what we must. — hopefully we will have done what was needed.

      such confidence in your opinion! how have YOU made good your words? how is it that you
      are successful: how is your “work to cause greater effectiveness of
      citizenship” productive enough to exempt you from the charge?

      do share.

      because such expertise is crucial.

      picture: “The topic under discussion was a proposal to call a city-wide general
      strike in one week’s time (Wed. Nov. 2). It was pointed out that there
      has not been a general strike in this country since 1946, and that was
      in, you guessed it, Oakland. The facilitators took great care to explain
      the organization’s procedural rules, all carefully crafted to invite
      consensus and never exclude disagreement or individual action.” from “Occupy Oakland,” in Coilhouse, by Myles Boisen, an Oakland-based musician and photographer.

      • nveric

        I write to the general population of the USA, who continue voting for dictatorship and war and nuclear reactors.

        What have I done? I’m doing it, filling in the missing parts here and there. It varies from place to place and over time.

        I see few, very few discussing rationally their futures – extremely few. I call for greater representation in Congress, but no one bothers with it. And I mean no one. When people complain, I point to their lack of a voice in government. They then say nothing, not a word about their stolen representation.

        I joined several occupy groups in Nevada, there’s what? 3 or 4. Been to 3 of them. They were too focused and paid little attention to the broader scope of what they were trying to do.

        So, now what? Each person has strengths and weaknesses, of course.

        Communication via Online is an imperfect tool, but something which reaches across the country is needed to convey this beginning step – start forming groupthink goals of a better way to govern the country. By knowing what people want, they then find the way to achieve it. It’s a simple yet complex step – the start.

        I aim not to destroy the country, but rather have people become more responsible in maintain the system they want.

        Voting for people of party is why there are these articles here. The two-party system is an archaic thing destructive in its nature, for many reasons, one of which is to reduce thinking to the lowest thought level. Having at most 2 options or 2 ways is nonsense. Plus the fact of their intentional freezing of representation in the House by way of Public Law 62-5 in 1929. Today there are 3 times the population but the same old 435 to represent us.

        On the local front, I’m not in a city. But, I do attend local boards, and they all look up for handouts from the State and US governments. Budgets are downsized, the unemployed grow, services are reduced – all from a lack of money – not will or effort or desire – but from money. All seems controlled by Uncle Sam and the Federal Reserve. I suggested creating local money for local use – there are people willing to work and work to be done – but there’s no money and there’s no volunteer system either. Little stuff goes on if you know enough people, but all seem to be stuck with a same and set script seen nationwide.

        • femalefaust

          excellent. right on. and you are an inspiration — much more effective than your first angle, i daresay.

          there will always be a need for some sort of government. as well as for decisions to be made in times of stress or emergency. people are in sore need of practice in both. if we want to make changes, we have to practice, and i think that was one of the best things about occupy. hands on practice — that and seeing that there are other like minded individuals….

          the picture is of the banner authored by Corporanon for Occupy Oakland’s first official gathering.

          of course, in oakland, i may have a skewed view of things, no volunteer system — and not the makings of one? here there is the makings — and much is already put together– reading your post makes me want to get offa my ass right now and do more…..

          pleasure conversing with you. be seeing you.

          • nveric

            I also went to an occupyoakland GA in Feb. of 2012. I had a plate of food.
            Someone took my picture with a cell phone. I rode BART for the first time that day.

            That was long ago in terms of my evolve-ment. Complexities of humans carries much to consider. For those who know programming languages and have done some programming may have a better insight into these complexities.

            Life is a series of sub-routines, my dry humor aside.

  • femalefaust

    to further illustrate your point: the evacuation zones mandated for a nuclear disaster in official emergency plans were *reduced* in a twisted ‘lessons learned’ from Fukushima.

    ‘its the fear that is worse than the radiation,’ an opinion ever so fashoinable of late (the scientificall journal Nature, the BBC, the IAEA, and more recently, Slate magazine). indeed, the fear is the government’s — of litigation.

    meanwhile, food considered safe in Japan today would have been treated as low level nuclear waste not too long ago….

  • BeaveVillage

    So what has been happening with Hawaii during all of this? Millions of people frequent the islands every year since Fukushima’s first leakage, are these people coming home with tumors or cancer in their bodies?

 

 

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