Government Reacts to Fukushima Radiation Crisis By Raising Acceptable Radiation Standards … Instead of Fixing Anything | from Washington'sBlog

From Washington's Blog, 
(of such value as is a joy to read, as always, but especially now):

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.

(One of) my comments:

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 lowl level nuclear waste not too long ago....
cheaper in bulk, or, Now How Much Would You Pay?
a faustian original

 Be seeing you.

Fears Worse Than Radiation (A Nuclear Rant Brimming With Videos and Links)

In an unlikely place for me, Slate Magazine, what do I spy in the sidebar but:

 I am so heartily sick of this crap that I involuntarily belted expletives when I unexpectedly came across the latest instantiation

Slate Magazine, to whence you must be going should you require working links.
Perhaps you have seen this sort of thing before?  Do you remember where?  The BBC?  Well, yes....

But the BBC and NRC (see video below) take cues from earlier, from the IAEA.

Perhaps it was Nature magazine?

Mental-health experts were among the first responders, reflecting an ongoing change in Japan’s attitudes towards mental health. For many years, Japan’s modest but modern mental health services were geared to help only the most severely mentally ill. The society has traditionally paid little attention to more routine disorders such as depression. In recent years, however, the Japan Medical Association has started educating doctors about depression and suicide, and the national government has conducted public suicide-prevention campaigns.


In the wake of the accident, most of the prefecture’s resources were devoted to helping those with established mental disorders. Yabe, for example, packed his car with antipsychotic and anticonvulsive medication and made runs to Soma City, where many evacuees had ended up. Mental-health professionals visited the cramped shelters elsewhere, but they tended to treat only the most severe cases of delirium and post-traumatic stress disorder.


As the evacuees struggled to adjust, so too did the doctors and psychologists at Fukushima Medical University. By May, the emergency response was mostly over and the hospital had a new job — to assess the public’s radiation dose. The task has proved tricky, says Shunichi Yamashita, a radiation health expert at Nagasaki University, who was brought in to head the Fukushima Health Management Survey. The radiation monitors around Daiichi were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, and the chaotic nature of the evacuation makes it difficult to assess how long and severely each person was exposed.
The few attempts made so far, however, have generally shown minimal risk. The health survey’s latest assessment suggests that the dose for nearly all the evacuees was very low, with a maximum of only 25 millisieverts (mSv), well below the 100-mSv exposure that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The World Health Organization also issued a reassuring report in May, saying that most evacuees from places like Namie received estimated doses between 10 and 50 mSv. It did note, however, that infants might have received a dose that could increase the risk of cancer in their still-developing thyroids.

Radiation specialists say that it is difficult to predict the health effects from such low doses. “I think it’s likely that there will be increased cancer risks, but they will be very, very small,” says Dale Preston, an independent statistician who has studied atomic-bomb survivors. “If you did a large study, I think your chance of observing a statistically significant radiation-associated risk would be pretty low.”

With that in mind, the health survey decided against following a fixed cohort to study the incidence of disease. Instead, it provides thyroid screening and other health checks to any evacuees who desire them. The hope is that the screenings themselves, along with the data collected, will help to reassure the public that the risks are low, says Yamashita.

Read more.

Ah, there he is, embodying it all, on site at Fukushima, it's Shunichi "Damashita (I fool you)" Yamashita, who has neither retracted his 'No Frown, No Foul" position on the effects of radioactivity, nor been effectively removed from positions of influence.

With A Smile For His Umbrella, with a no-money-back guarantee (to the Japanese government). Damashita knew Japan stood such a huge risk of falling apart that it desperately needed to believe it had hired an expert -- an expert born of parents bombed in Nagasaki, an expert seasoned with success.

They lucked out: this man was at the only other event that could ever be, would ever be, compared to Fukushima --  Chernobyl. He was there when Russia suffered, when Russia fell apart.  He was there, he knew what went wrong, he was known in Russia for being a part of what went "right."

Shunichi Yamashita.  He would know what to do, long before it needed to be done. He had done the research; he would supervise the research. The research was crucial, it could make the all difference.  Shunichi wasn't going to let what happened in Russia happen to his beloved Japan (so kind as it was to not consider him 'affected' by his mothers' Bomb).  Japan could be saved from the nightmare that would surely follow a nuclear accident, if it wasn't handled correctly.

What is the nightmare, exactly? Guess.

Was it Radiation? Cancer? The disappearance or deformation of flora and fauna? The disability, listlessness, learned helplessness, and early death of a youth whose every meal might be poisoned. whose food over time was most certainly, poisoned.

No wait.  Constant fear and doubt?  The guilt of wanting to avoid the food and drink you know had been declared safe? You read the article. Mental anguish? Maybe you are familiar with former instantiations: was it forced evacuation? Continued separation from one's home?


None of these.

The nightmare was litigation.
Yamashita: We might find small cancer, but thyroid cancer can occur at a certain frequency under normal circumstances. We won’t know the conclusive trend until over 10 years later. We cannot get into oppositional relationships with the prefectural residents. I would like to guide them so that Japan as a country will not fall apart. After the Chernobyl accident, many lawsuits happened regarding health effects, with compensatory expenses cut into the national budget. When that happens, the ultimate victims are people of the country.
Read more.
Chris Busby has a theory related to this, at about 3:14 in, but the following video is so excellent, if you haven't seen it you should.

Be seeing you.