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Japan Nuclear Disaster 2011 Worse Than Experts Reported

The Fukushima Japan nuclear disaster in 2011 proved to be far worse than nuclear experts predicted. The costs of the earthquake and tsunami are also greatly exceeding expert predictions at the time, but all were in line with my own. On April 12th, 2011, I wrote the following to my friend Stan:

 

Costs of Japan earthquake at Tohoku and tsunami far above estimates:

The cost of the Japan earthquake and tsunami is rising, as estimates were surely too low before, and I am sure will rise more to something closer to $500 billion by the time everything is accounted for.

[The initial cost estimate by the World Bank was $235 billion over the course of five years, but the actual cost after just one year has already reached $210 billion, and there is still an enormous amount of reconstruction that needs to happen. It is the most expensive natural disaster of all time.]

The only thing that may keep it lower than that is that many people will not choose to rebuild in those areas. Many who had single-family homes will have to settle for apartments or condos that cost less. The final price depends greatly on whether one counts only insured losses, which are easily measurable via the industry or estimated lost value whether insured or not, or only reconstruction costs and whether one includes clean-up costs. If one includes all property losses and clean-up costs, I am sure the total will be in excess of half a trillion dollars. That is without including lost economic opportunity costs.

 

The Fukushima Japan nuclear disaster 2011 exceeds worst predictions of nuclear experts, but matches my assessment:

I indicated to you with near certainty, while all the nuclear experts on television and on the web were saying that the nuclear disaster in Japan would not equal Chernobyl or even come close, that the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster certainly would be found to be as bad as bad as Chernobyl. That, too, hit the news today with Japan significantly upgrading the disaster to match Chernobyl … even without any further bad news.

 

One month to the day after the devastating twin blows of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent 15-meter tall tsunami, Japanese officials have reclassified the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at the highest possible level. The partial meltdown of three reactors and at least two spent fuel pools, along with multiple hydrogen explosions at the site now rate a 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale—a level previously affixed only to the meltdown and explosion at Chernobyl.

Fukushima is now officially a “major accident” per the scale—roughly 100 times worse than the worst civilian nuclear accident in the U.S.: the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island—constituting “a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects.”

The elevated level doesn’t mean that anything further has gone wrong with the stricken nuclear power plant, although efforts are ongoing to cool the nuclear fuel and prevent any further radioactive material from escaping. It simply means that the accident—one of 12 to occur at nuclear power plants since the dawn of the civilian Atomic Age in 1957—is far worse than anyone cared to admit during the past few weeks. (Scientific American)

 

My comments to Stan about the reality of the Fukushima Japan nuclear disaster 2011:

I.E., the disaster has been upgraded to a higher rank just based on improved knowledge of how bad it really has been to this point … and the whole truth as to how bad it already IS is not even close to being known yet:

 

Says Ken Buesseler, a marine geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts: “This is the biggest man-made release ever of radioactive material into the oceans. We haven’t yet seen enough data to assess what’s going on, so anything that can be done in terms of further monitoring would be very welcome.”

 

“The team calculates that about 50 radio isotopes contribute to an overall concentration of roughly 10,000 becquerels per liter in the sea water within 300 meters of Fukushima. Before the accident, caesium-137 concentrations there were about 0.003 becquerels per liter, and iodine-131 was not detectable. On the basis of these figures, the IRSN researchers suggest that sediments in the region could now contain 10,000-10 million becquerels per kilogram; fish could carry 10,000-100,000 becquerels per kilogram; and algae, some of which are particularly susceptible to iodine uptake, could contain up to 100 million becquerels per kilogram.”

 

That’s something Chernobyl did not have — such proximity to the ocean and release of so much radioactive water due to failed cooling systems that keep heavy water separate from fresh water. [Which allows the problem to spread much wider.]

Perhaps the experts were relying on what government told them:

 

Japanese Officials on Defensive as Nuclear Alert Level Rises

 

It seems we live in a time when all experts are routinely not just wrong but wrong on a nearly apocalyptic scale.

–David