Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Nuclear Radiation Danger After All!

The Japanese government today admitted that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were actually rumors.

"Unfortunately, some people were quick to report some bombings that could not be later independently verified," a government spokesman said. "There might have been some local fireworks displays in celebration of the New Year and these were blown out of proportion.

The statement further said that "If witnesses to a bombing exist, they should come forward. Meanwhile, anyone responsible for spreading rumors and creating a hindrance to the public peace of mind will be arrested."


This is about as ridiculous as some of what we are hearing from nuclear radiation supporters who are able to get in front of a microphone. Conservative "pundit" Ann Coulter has even said that nuclear radiation is good for you, backing her claim up by lifting a paragraph out of a study that actually said just the opposite.

Because the technician who recorded radiation levels near the damaged Japanese reactors of 10 million times normal immediately fled the area and was unable to take a second reading for verification, authorities in Japan are saying that the readings are not credible.

Headlines have been translating this into, "Relax, nothing to worry about."

It is not unreasonable to assume that major news outlets are being asked by the government to minimize the risks. This kind of thing has happened on many occasions. The governments of Japan and the US, both nuclear radiation supporters, have duel purposes in downplaying the potential dangers. One, they don't want to cause panic. Not that it, at this stage of human history, it is likely that anything close to panic could be induced in a docile, apathetic, jaded US populace that suffers from chronic sensory overload, thanks to television, advertising, the non stop ranting of Fox News, an out of control loony right wing Republican Party, and the 24 hour a day right wing Republican Christianity doomsday religious nuts who own their own TV and radio networks.

The other reason governments lie to us about nuclear radiation is that they have an interest in perpetuating it.

But as Alexander Cockburn points out on the web site Counterpunch, it is way too early to know what might be the consequences of the disaster in Japan, because any increases in cancer rates won't be known for years, when they show up on epidemiological studies, as was the case after the Chernobyl disaster.

By that time many of those who are reassuring us, telling us that the system worked in Japan, will likely be dead. I hope their deaths will have been peaceful and not protracted, painful, and gruesome.

An interesting side note to consider in all this is a question being raised on the web site What Really Happened? You may have seen news articles here and there over this past year about a computer virus called Stuxnet. It's one of those highly classified things that governments leak a little information about just so people, like our perceived enemies, know. Stuxnet was supposedly developed by the US and Israeli governments and was designed to get into Iranian computers and cause havoc with their nuclear program. Iran has acknowledged that they had some problems owing to the virus, or at least they wanted us to believe that.

So it is being suggested now that the failures in the cooling systems at Japan's nuclear plants are hard to explain, and may have been the result of Stuxnet or something like it getting into Japan's computers, too. Perhaps the virus, once it was unleashed into the worldwide web, could not be controlled.

Note: Trace amounts of radiation are already being reported in the media from nearby China to as far away as Massachusetts.

A web site called Radiation Network records readings by volunteers. It is not a comprehensive coverage of the US, but it does have the advantage of being independent of the government.

These are screen shots I took from the web site on March 22 and March 27, today. The black icons are known nuclear sites and the yellow circles are volunteer readings. A 100 reading is a danger level.

The levels do fluctuate. The page refreshes automatically when a new reading comes in.

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