In a December 19th interview with the Japan Times, Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said that the calamity at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is, “beyond people’s assumptions”.
She went on to say,
I think it is better not have nuclear power plants, as it would be catastrophic if we have similar accidents again. I would rather not have nuclear power plants fired up, even if their safety is fully confirmed.”
Then on Saturday, Kyodo News reported that TEPCO, the company who owns the Fukushima plant, has been making plans to start using employees 55 years and older to handle,
decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station”,
starting in April. If the radiation was under control, why would TEPCO be recruiting its oldest employees to work on the plant?
Later that day, Reuters reported that TEPCO had recorded beta-radiation at 1.9million becquerels/kg underneath Reactor #2, the highest single reading since the original disaster.
For perspective, children contaminated by Cesium-137 (the main component of Fukushima’s radiation) at a level of 50 Bq/kg has been shown to cause irreversible heart damage in a child, and,
even relatively small amounts of Cs-137 in children from 10-30 Bq/kg…leads to a doubling in the number of children with electrocardiographic disorders.”
Studies done in Belarus have shown that levels of 200 Bq/kg in a pregnant woman can result in fetal death, and the prescribed safe limit for Cs-137 in vegetables is set at 500 Bq/kg.