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.

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