Moments ago a powerful 6.5 quake struck the Izu Islands, 400 miles south of Tokyo, strong enough to be felt among the taller buildings of the Japanese capital. Luckily, there was no tsunami or any destructive aftermath, at least none publicly announced. None was needed, because the great earthquake of March 2011 and subsequent tsunami and nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima continue to do enough damage. Sadly, it is the gift that keeps on giving... gamma rays. Not to mention constant news of the deterioration from the disaster zone, now that the world's attention has once again refocused on the fallout zone which for over two years both the Japanese government and TEPCO lied was under control. It wasn't. And now that the lies are catching up with reality, the "shocking" facts are hitting fast and furious.
To wit: it was only this past Saturday when we reported that the radiation levels at Fukushima had hit a post-explosion record of 1,800 millisieverts/hour. Today, three short days later we get an update, and a stunning deterioration of over 20%. Reuters reports, citing the Nuclear Regulation Authority, that readings just above the ground near a set of tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant showed the radiation had risen as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv). Both levels would be enough to kill an unprotected person within hours.
What the real reading is at this point, how many leaks exist, how much irradiated water is seeping into the groundwater and the ocean: nobody knows. One thing that is certain: everyone in Japan is (and has been) lying because the reality is rapidly approaching a panic level, as the realization that not only did Japan and Tepco lose all control, but they never had it in the first place.
Radiation readings around tanks holding contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have spiked more than 20 percent to their highest level, Japan's nuclear regulator said, again raising questions about the clean-up of the worst atomic disaster in 27 years.
No need to panic though. As reported yesterday, Japan "vowed quick action" to fix these "suddenly emerging" problems. It also will allocate a whopping $400 million to freeze "the soil around the reactors to prevent groundwater from mixing with contaminated water inside the reactor." But where Japan will get the power to convert the soil into one giant radioactive popsicle - maybe it should just restart Fukushima?
However, what is most surprising, is that neither Japan nor TEPCO has figured out how to make the situation so much more palatable. Instead of reporting the radiation level in millisieverts/hour, it should just just convert everything in megasieverts or, better yet, gigasieverts. Because even in a country of hypnotized, irradiated Nikkei225 daytrading sheep 2,200 mSv/h looks far more disturbing that 0.0000022 GSv/h.
Incidentally, the US mainspin media may also take a hint: once the shooting starts in Syria, presenting casualties in the "gigapeople" order of magnitude will make the coming bloodshed seem hardly notable. In fact it won't even be a "statistics" - it will be a decimal comma.