The disaster in Fukushima has been on everybody's mind in Japan.Once a year the news is flooded with reminders of what happened and what is being done about it. Only problem with this is that in America, everyone is more concerned with ratings and what not, so the American News media has not reported much on the subject.
However, Japan has, so have reputable international journalist companies such as Reuters. I have a friend, that use to work for Reuters, and one of the reasons he quit, was because he wanted to report everything he felt was important. But the only problem with this was that main stream news (popular news), seemed to get peoples attention more than groundbreaking stories. In other words, it wasn't that they were not reporting about the situation, it was that people were not reading about it. People drive what news media feeds them and vice versa. As you also know this leads to people focusing on irrelevant news.
Two Extreme Opinions
With so much news flying around, some websites have enjoyed blowing things up to get peoples attention. Which is why if you Google Fukushima radiation , you will find two extremes.
1- We're all going to die and the government in hiding this from everyone.
2- There is absolutely nothing wrong and everyone in Fukushima and Japan are just fine, please come to Japan for the Olympics
Both approaches in my opinion are wrong. Me, as well as other Expats, and local Japanese scientists, have been following this and have found some reputable sources to give us insight in what is really going on.
Personally, I like the Asahi Shinbun (Newspaper). It's a Japanese journalist firm that has nothing to do with the government and has done some whistle blowing in the past .It is translated into English and I feel it does a good job of not sugar coating things.
To address the news about the Robots being destroyed recently here is an article about it from the above source:
It goes into detail about how their is still a lot of work to do when it comes to the clean up itself.
Here is another article that goes over how some high school students measured the area and found hotspots as well inhabitable areas after the fact.
My neighbor went out and bought a radiation reader because he too, did not trust the governments readings. He found that there was sustainable levels of radiation in my area (mind you I live very far away from Fukushima). But the fluctuations in radiation can be explained by global warming.
People forget that there is a lot of radiation coming in from space and the sun. A radiation reader reads radiation period. This explains why my friends radiation reader would spike after it rained. Since the atmosphere absorbs solar radiation, it pours from the sky into the water table.Which is why if you measure the water (anywhere), you can find traces of radiation that are not harmful.
It should also be noted that this has been happening for a long time and some people suggest that this why when people started living longer, we suddenly saw more incidents of cancer. Cancer is a genetic weakness. Some people can smoke all their lives and never get lung cancer. Some people smoke and quit in a year and get lung cancer. The same argument can be made for radiation. Here is an article that explains solar and space radiation.
Scientists revisit Fukushima to investigate
In May of 2016, a group of scientist felt the government was hiding something so they went out on their own, with their own equipment, with their own money, to do something about it.
They found a few hot spots and also some areas that were deemed safe to rein-habit.
They also found three prefectures, that had agriculture, that did not want to let them in, out of fear of losing money for selling contaminated food.
For me the solution to this is easy. I don't eat food from the prefectures, that didn't allow scientists to test their crops from Fukushima. Since I don't live near Fukushima, and the Ocean Current in my area drifted all the contaminated water to the Eastern Pacific Ocean, towards California, I'm safe and believe it or not you are too. Why?
A team of scientists (both American and Japanese) measured the radiation that drifted towards the U.S. and Canada, they found that the half life of the main isotopes was 8 days and it dissolved because of the salinity of the ocean. In other words the U.S. is safe from radiation from Fukushima as well.
Here is the article about the Japanese scientists in Fukushima, click on the above hyper link (under main isotopes) to read about the study done by the international team.
The relationship between radiation and health
The final point, is to try to keep in mind, how radiation effects health in general. Although radiation is harmful it is not as dangerous as people think (there are more dangerous cancerogenous in our environment). This article explains all the different types of radiation and how it effects humans DNA and genetic dispositions.
Nuclear Radiation and Health Effects (Updated July 2016)
Looking towards the future
With all of this in mind as an Expat and as a Scientist, I know about the risks of being exposed to radiation. Even if the conspiracy theorists are correct, there is not much, me as an individual, can do. If it is a worldwide catastrophe, statistically speaking, it would be pretty amazing if we were the last generation of humans on the planet. Think of the chances. Some scientists predict that considering the distance of the Sun to our planet, we are actually premature in our own existence and life would be 1,000 times more likely a millennia or so from now.
So the fact that we made it this far (in my opinion ) is amazing, and I live everyday with this in mind.
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)