Monday, April 18, 2011

Japan, Radiation & Destiny 1

What is the strange destiny Japan seems to have with nuclear power and radiation?  Twice devastated by the horrors of nuclear power, Japan faces an even greater crisis than it did in 1945 with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"This scenario is not contained in any nuclear engineering textbook on the planet..."
Michio Kaku
This is a post we wish we would have never written.  Japan has known nuclear power in all of its facets, in its benevolent nature for peaceful uses, sent to them as a destructive force by another nation, and triggered to its destructive potential by nature.  The events that are affecting the brave, industrious and marvelous people of Japan are ominous for them and for the world.  Nine years after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan budgeted 230 million yen for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  Nevertheless it took it until 1961 to complete its first nuclear reactor named Tokai I.  This plant was closed in 1998.  In 1973 the Tokai II plant was built, which is still in operation.  In total, there are a shocking 55 nuclear reactors in Japan with more under construction!


Here is a video of all the atomic explosions of any kind from 1945-1998 worldwide.  If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link: http://bit.ly/foS5Yf.

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Japan's Great Dependence on Nuclear Power
There are two kinds of energy sources, primary and secondary.  Primary sources are those which has not undergone any transformation or conversion process.  Examples of primary sources are solar energy, tidal energy wave energy, hydro power, geothermal, fossil fuels, nuclear fuels and biomass.  Japan gets 30% of it electricity  from nuclear energy.  Before this disaster, Japan planned on getting at least 40% of its electrical power from nuclear reactors.   Compare this figure to the United States, which gets 8.4% of its electricity from nuclear reactors.

What are the dangers of nuclear power?  Most people have heard of one or two accidents but do not have a complete picture.  Here is a series of videos called Nuclear Nightmares produced in 2006.  THe conclusion of this series is very surprising.  It concludes that the dangers to human health of radiation are nowhere near as dangerous as publicized in the general media.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link: http://bit.ly/g2dFWc.


The view espoused in this series above, has been questioned.  Radiation is a blanket term for several types of isotopes.  This movie was mostly speaking about   What is happening in Japan is very serious.  Not just for Japan, but for the world.  The only previous experience we have to understand what has happened in Japan, is from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986.  We have had 20 years to study the impact on biological and ecosystems.  The results have been far from conclusive, with contradictory scientific studies being produced, and massive political and economic forces at work to determine the outcomes of these scientific studies.  As recently as April 14, Wired Magazine, produced as article entitled, Is Chernobyl A Wild Kingdom Or A Radioactive Den Of Decay?  It states,
...one of the few certainties to emerge from research into low-level radiation since 1986 is that different species react to chronic exposure in different ways. Pine trees cope less well than birch. Migrant barn swallows are apparently very radio-sensitive, resident birds less so. Winter wheat seeds taken from the Exclusion Zone in the days after the disaster and since germinated in uncontaminated soil have produced thousands of different mutant strains, and every new generation remains genetically unstable, even 25 years after the accident. Yet a 2009 study of soybeans grown near the reactor seemed to show that the plants change at a molecular level to protect themselves against radiation. No one can be certain where human beings might fall on this continuum of DNA damage and long-term adaptation. “That’s what we want to know,” Møller says. “Are we more like barn swallows or soybeans in terms of radiation-induced mutation?”
As the wired article goes on to point out,
While iodine-131 decayed long ago and the strontium and cesium are slowly becoming less potentially lethal, the hot particles of plutonium-241 scattered across the landscape are actually decaying into an even more toxic isotope, americium-241. A more powerful emitter of alpha radiation than plutonium, americium is also more soluble and can easily find its way into the food chain. Americium-241, in turn, decays into neptunium-237, another energetic alpha emitter that has a half-life of more than 2 million years. As of yet, the long-term effect of americium-241 on animals remains largely unknown.
In a Democracy Now news cast, Amy Goodman interviewed Michio Kaku, physics professor and writer at City University of New York.  As usual Kaku has the wonderful ability to accurately summarize a scientific point in a way that people can understand.  We post this video to explain his position on the disaster in Japan.  If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link: http://bit.ly/f7G8vJ.


Most of us do not really understand what radiation does or how it affects the human body and other biological systems.  So we will cover some basics on radiation.
via: Our World 2.0
http://bit.ly/fDv3IB


Entropy
Entropy or what is also known as the second law of  thermodynamics, is the natural state of the universe. This law states that all things suffer and decay with time. The landscapes change, the rocks are molded by the rain and wind, the green grass undergoes desertification and living beings die. Elements also undergo their natural recession. All radioactive elements undergo decay on a time clock, each to its own drumbeat.  This process is not just happening on Earth, but inside your cells and in the universe outside the Earth.  Here is a short video explaining this from ABC news.  If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link: http://bit.ly/hD3Ud0.


In Part 2 of this series we will continue to discuss what radiation does to biological system and how this might impact us all in this small blue planet we inhabit.

Co-Written by PlusUltraTech and Parvez Dara, MD FACP

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