This time nobody will be blamed for not carrying the decimal comma. While a few weeks back TEPCO scrambled to lie to the public that a reading 10 million times higher than normal was really just 100,000 times above threshold, today TEPCO, whose stock hit an all time low in overnight trading, finally admitted the truth that radioactive Iodine 131 readings taken from seawater near the water intake of the Fukushima No. 1
nuclear plant's No. 2 reactor reached 7.5 million times the legal limit. This means Godzilla is most likely very close to hatching. But it gets worse: "The sample that yielded the high reading was taken Saturday, before
Tepco announced Monday it would start releasing radioactive water into
the sea, and experts fear the contamination may spread well beyond
Japan's shores to affect seafood overseas." In other words, as TEPCO was dumping 11,500 tons of radioactive water in the sea, it already knew, but kept away from the public, the radiation was nearly ten million times higher than legal limits. At this point we truly marvel at the stoic ability of Japanese people, and most certainly its east-coast fishermen, whose jobs are finished as nobody will want to buy any fish in the foreseeable future for fear of radioactive toxicity, to accept such lies, very often with an intent to hurt, day after day, without anger spilling over in some form of violence.
More from Japan Times on this disgusting precedent set by a country which once was believed to care about its people and the environment:
The unstoppable radioactive discharge into the Pacific has prompted experts to sound the alarm, as cesium, which has a much longer half-life than iodine, is expected to concentrate in the upper food chain.
According to Tepco, some 300,000 becquerels per sq. centimeter of radioactive iodine-131 was detected Saturday, while the amount of cesium-134 was 2 million times the maximum amount permitted and cesium-137 was 1.3 million times the amount allowable.
The amount of iodine-131 dropped to 79,000 becquerels per sq. centimeter Sunday but shot up again Monday to 200,000 becquerels, 5 million times the permissible amount.
The level of radioactive iodine in the polluted water inside reactor 2's cracked storage pit had an even higher concentration. A water sample Saturday had 5.2 million becquerels of iodine per sq. centimeter, or 130 million times the maximum amount allowable, and water leaking from the crack had a reading of 5.4 million becquerels, Tepco said.
"It is a considerably high amount," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Masayoshi Yamamoto, a professor of radiology at Kanazawa University, said the high level of cesium is the more worrisome find.
"By the time radioactive iodine is taken in by plankton, which is eaten by smaller fish and then by bigger fish, it will be diluted by the sea and the amount will decrease because of its eight-day half-life," Yamamoto said. "But cesium is a bigger problem."
The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years, while that for cesium-134 is two years. The longer half-life means it will probably concentrate in the upper food chain.
Yamamoto said such radioactive materials are likely to be detected in fish and other marine products in Japan and other nations in the short and long run, posing a serious threat to the seafood industry in other nations as well.
"All of Japan's sea products will probably be labeled unsafe and other nations will blame Japan if radiation is detected in their marine products," Yamamoto said.
Tepco on Monday began the release into the sea of 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water to make room to store high-level radiation-polluted water in the No. 2 turbine building. The discharge continued Tuesday.
Alas, initial fisherman jobless claims are about to join true radioactivity levels in surging above legal thresholds:
On Monday, 4,080 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive iodine was
detected in lance fish caught off Ibaraki Prefecture. Fishermen
voluntarily suspended its shipment. The health ministry plans to compile
radiation criteria for banning marine products.
And the bottom line is that after almost a month, Japan is nowhere near closer to fixing this whole goddamned mess:
Tepco initially believed the leak was somewhere in the cable trench that
connects the No. 2 turbine building and the pit. But after using milky
white bath salt to trace the flow, which appeared to prove that was not
the case, the utility began to think it may be seeping through a layer
of small stones below the cable trench.
When all is said and done, the lies are removed, and the truth is finally revealed, this will end up being far, far worse than Chernobyl.
The chart below from the NYT shows what is currently known about the intentional water release and unintentional leak from Fukushima: