No. 2 Titanic Sails from Fukushima

By Edward Johnson
My last blog on this disaster I attempted to focus on what would possibly happen to the sea-life in the ocean surrounding Fukushima and beyond. Finally, we have a little peak at what is happening though the details neglect to include any specific mention of impact on living things. Further that the plant operator, TEPCO,  has been responsible for collecting and submitting this data. At this point it seems that an international organization should be involved as at least a second party to verify collection procedures and data collected. I for one have very little confidence in anything submitted by either this company or the Japanese government. It is unclear as to the total times bottom samples have been taken since March 11, but this is the first time radioactive samples have been detected in bottom samples. These findings have been consistent at both the 9 mile and 12 mile distance into the ocean from the nuclear reactors. Previously I was unsure of the actual sea depth but noting that in all cases it was less then 100 feet is most alarming. The sea-floor at these shallow depths is that countries ocean food basket. At this time of year biological activity should be at a maximum as it is here off the coast of Oregon. Again I will include my new favorite living thing, Prochlorcoccus, part bacteria part plant, that provides up to 50% of all ocean produced oxygen. Why is it mentioned, it is the driving force for element uptake from bottom sediments and the transmission to higher forms which include phytoplankton, brown algae, as well as krill and up the food chain. Although no mention has been made of whales, baleen whales are almost totally dependent on krill while all other whales are at-least partially dependent as intermediate food for various fish types.   Oh, as of last Friday when these samples were collected based what has been released to the public these levels are only 600 times what had previously been considered within safe limits.

Recently two secretaries of state met, one from our country and one from Japan. They both pledge to support the continued sales and consumption of fish and products originating from Japanese waters. Based on this new information, is it not time to reconsider this hand shake?

Nuclear Power vs. Marine Mammal Sustainability

By Edward Johnson
A nuclear power plant damaged during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The authorities in Japan say that the damage done at the plants may include a partial meltdown on the reactors.
Today’s news proclaims that thankfully favorable winds are safely taking all airborne nuclear plant bye products away from land and out to sea. In my previous blog we asked for a time of healing, on that score nothing has changed. However since Champions for Cetaceans originated out of our passionate concern over marine mammals, we now rise on their behalf.  What remains in harm’s way, which includes our aircraft carriers, spending their nuclear power to evade deadly radioactive fallout, is the ocean itself. The wealth of this planet would be little without the ocean, its creatures, our source of food and most of the oxygen we breathe.  Our own origins can be traced to the sea and as I long ago learned, “Ontology recapitulates phylogeny,” or the history a given species(ontology) repeats the species which it  preceded(phylogeny}. Fifty million years ago, what we today recognize as marine mammals were terrestrial, living on land.  Slowing but surely they realized the benefits of water and the enormous bounty it could provide. In this they have developed capacities which are superior to humans their mammalian brethren.

I have a long history of opposing nuclear power and the events of the past few days have only reconfirmed that position.  My beliefs are based on the following considerations: 1) Small is Beautiful and they are not. In that matter we as a society are way too unarmored by instant gratification. Basically these nuclear driven plants split atoms with the release of a huge amount of energy which boils water and the steam turns turbines resulting in electricity. These large plants employ relatively few people and are owned by wealthy corporations that control the market place. On this day would venture a guess that these industrial giants have flooded the floors of Congress with money and resources to keep their programs alive. If you believe that bigger, faster, sooner is desirable then nuclear we go…but not me. 2)  When these plants malfunction based on some form of demise whether it is human operational error, inferior design, terrorists instigation, aging equipment, or natural disaster, we the people are responsible and will incur all recovery costs relative to damages and destruction. Lloyds of London the ultimate insurer of questionable undertakings, no longer will write policies and cover liability. In this country a growing portion of these nuclear facilities our owned by multi-national corporations, and they will walk the plank leaving our government responsible when disaster strikes. 3)  How much of our precious water can we allow to be wasted while these mega corporations continue to consume this commodity in ever increasing amounts? They use water from aquifers, streams, or oceans as if they were theirs and have little regard for the consequences to creatures that inhabit this planet. You can argue that certain restrictions are in place but only in degree. 4) Radiation and contamination of all places but particularly the sea and our mammalian brethren are at risk. The issue of radiation can be well documented by looking at what happened to the people of Japan following World War II. We are talking long terms, as mutations develop based on exposure to varying amounts of radioactively produced alpha & beta particles and gamma rays.  These extremely short and energy laden particles and waves pass right through living tissue be it diatom, embryo, human check cell, or marine mammal. The genetic code within cells is the recipient, and helter skelter can describe the resulting outcome. Mutations have made a significant contribution to the evolvement of living things, but intense radiation being evoked by today’s Japanese nuclear meltdown  will have tragic cellular outcomes and must be avoided.

At this moment our own Nuclear Energy Regulating Commission is considering the issuance of licenses to continue the operation of plants that were destined to retire. The most affected Japanese nuclear facility was/is scheduled for retirement within this calendar year, you are witness to the outcome. Please join me in opposing all re-licensing attempts. Encourage President Obama to better regulation, and the eventual closure of all nuclear power facilities in the United States.