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Mutations, DNA damage seen in Fukushima

Mutations, DNA damage seen in Fukushima thumbnail

Conservation group Greenpeace warned on Friday that the environmental impact of the Fukushima nuclear crisis five years ago on nearby forests is just beginning to be seen and will remain a source of contamination for years to come.

The March 11, 2011 magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake off Japan’s northeastern coast sparked a massive tsunami that swamped cooling systems and triggered reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Radiation spread over a wide area and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes — many of whom will likely never return — in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

As the fifth anniversary of the disaster approaches, Greenpeace said signs of mutations in trees and DNA-damaged worms were beginning to appear, while “vast stocks of radiation” mean that forests cannot be decontaminated.

In a report, Greenpeace cited “apparent increases in growth mutations of fir trees… heritable mutations in pale blue grass butterfly populations” as well as “DNA-damaged worms in highly contaminated areas”, it said.

The report came as the government intends to lift many evacuation orders in villages around the Fukushima plant by March 2017, if its massive decontamination effort progresses as it hopes.

For now, only residential areas are being cleaned in the short-term, and the worst-hit parts of the countryside are being omitted, a recommendation made by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But such selective efforts will confine returnees to a relatively small area of their old hometowns, while the strategy could lead to re-contamination as woodlands will act as a radiation reservoir, with pollutants washed out by rains, Greenpeace warned.

The conservation group said its report relies largely on research published in peer-reviewed international journals.

But “most of the findings in it have never been covered outside of the close circles of academia”, report author Kendra Ulrich told AFP.

The Japanese government’s push to resettle contaminated areas and also restart nuclear reactors in Japan that had been shut down in the aftermath of the crisis are a cause for concern, Ulrich said, stressing it and the IAEA are using the opportunity of the anniversary to play down radiation impacts.

“In the interest of human rights — especially for victims of the disaster — it is ever more urgent to ensure accurate and complete information is publicly available and the misleading rhetoric of these entities challenged,” she said.

Scientists, including a researcher who found mutations of Fukushima butterflies, have warned, however, that more data are needed to determine the ultimate impact of the Fukushima accident on animals in general.

Researchers and medical doctors have so far denied that the accident at Fukushima would cause an elevated incidence of cancer or leukaemia, diseases that are often associated with radiation exposure.

But they also noted that long-term medical examination is needed especially due to concerns over thyroid cancer among young people — a particular problem for people following the Chernobyl catastrophe.


23 Comments on "Mutations, DNA damage seen in Fukushima"

  1. Apneaman on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 7:00 pm 

    A hang nail compared to the real pants shitting news.

    Our Hemisphere’s Temperature Just Reached a Terrifying Milestone

    “Update, March 3, 2016: Since this post was originally published, the heat wave has continued. As of Thursday morning, it appears that average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have breached the 2 degrees Celsius above “normal” mark for the first time in recorded history, and likely the first time since human civilization began thousands of years ago. That mark has long been held (somewhat arbitrarily) as the point above which climate change may begin to become “dangerous” to humanity. It’s now arrived—though very briefly—much more quickly than anticipated. This is a milestone moment for our species. Climate change deserves our greatest possible attention.”

    Using 1880 as a baseline is underestimating the severity since the industrial revolution was already 130 years old by then. Goal post moving. TPTB don’t have a fucking clue as to what to do. They are like little lost children. 10 years ago I would have said “not in my lifetime”. No one predicted any of this happening this fast.

  2. shortonoil on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 7:02 pm 

    One can’t help but wonder what will be there in a few generations; if there is anything there at all?

  3. makati1 on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 7:46 pm 

    Cancer or starvation or both? THAT is our future.

  4. makati1 on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:20 pm 

    Does this sound like we are headed for peace?

    “Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander in Europe, offered some details about his plans to push more American troops into Eastern Europe. And he made the case for why his command needs …(It’s ALWAYS about more $$$ – Makati1) … a four-fold budget increase for the “European Reassurance Initiative” that aims to counter the “long-term existential threat to the United States” posed by Russia.

    “We need to be able to rapidly reinforce. That sounds very straightforward. It is not,” Breedlove (or is it Breedhate?) – M) told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    “Russia has created a very dense pattern of ‘A2-AD,’ or anti-access and area denial. We need to be investing in those capabilities and capacities that allow us to enter into an A2-AD environment and to be able to reinforce,” he said…”

    Russia and China can kick the US’s military butt and the Us Brass is finally realizing it.

  5. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:25 pm 

    The wealthy elites leaned their lesson from Chernobyl. From now on, nobody running around complaining with Geiger counters, no scientists in white lab coats, and no pesky reporters.

    From now on, it does not matter if the reactor blew up. Everybody act normal and go about your business.

    Just that nobody told the radiation and the cancer about the new rules.

  6. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:28 pm 

    Why does this article start out with a picture of Donald Trump?

  7. makati1 on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:33 pm 

    “A group of engineers within the U.S. nuclear power regulator is concerned that a design flaw in nearly all U.S. nuclear plants could endanger emergency core cooling systems. The group has urged the regulator to order power station operators to either fix the problem or face mandatory shutdowns.”

    American’s need to stop pointing fingers at others and look in their own backyard with open eyes.

  8. makati1 on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:34 pm 

    Go Speed, that is Hilary without her mask.

  9. GregT on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:37 pm 

    “Why does this article start out with a picture of Donald Trump?”

    I thought it was Gary Busey?

  10. Pennsyguy on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 10:51 pm 

    Our species has large brains with a neocortex, so we can communicate, plan ahead and use tools. WHY THE xxxx CAN’T WE LEARN????

  11. GregT on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 11:12 pm 

    “WHY THE xxxx CAN’T WE LEARN????”

    Because we believe that having large brains, communicating, planning ahead, and using tools, means that we are somehow above nature. We are not. We are bound to the same natural laws as any other living being. Something that we are going to learn, the hard way.

  12. onlooker on Fri, 4th Mar 2016 11:51 pm 

    Well said Greg well said.

  13. Apneaman on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 12:30 am 

    Large brained killer apes. We are unconsciously controlled by the much older reward seeking limbic system. Present day dopamine drips will always trump any precautionary principle. The more recent neocortex is great for tool making and planning how to get the rewards, but plays second fiddle. No matter how much power and material rewards societies or the individuals in them acquire it’s never enough at any price. We don’t stop or change. Lot’s of talking about it, but that’s all it is – a bullshit story we tell ourselves and eachother. The idea that apes are in control is the ultimate bullshit story. We operate under the MPP like everything else.

  14. dooma on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 12:58 am 

    Japan is “lucky” in the sense that they import most of their food-except for the wholesale raping of the oceans.

    Consider for a moment if this meltdown had happened near a large agricultural area…

    They would be up a certain creek in a barbed wire canoe. Because A: they could not eat or drink the contaminated produce and B: They would be in equal first place with “made in China” on my grocery blacklist.

  15. theedrich on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 4:17 am 

    From at least the period of the Mexican-American war (1846-47), the rulers of the U.S. have been megalomaniacs determined to subjugate the rest of the world to its own idea of Christian “democracy.”  In pursuit of this unicorn it has overthrown not only the Confederate States of America, but also multiple Latin-American governments;  it has perverted Europe and blocked Japanese efforts at survival, bipolarly helped Communism, devastated the Middle East and caused a population explosion in Africa, and many other “helpful” things.

    The Fukushima disaster is a spinoff of the American fantasy about “too-cheap-to-meter” energy.  The general Washington nonchalance toward “externalities” and the global commons has spread to other governments enthralled with American power.  They do not see the slow deterioration of our infrastructure (e.g., the Flint, Michigan water poisoning, the countless decaying bridges and highways, among other creeping problems) due to political negligence and coverups.  Our masters have taught the rest of the world how to expand their economies at the expense of their own lifespans.

    It is no wonder that North Korea, as savage as it is, is now designing international ballistic missiles to protect itself from the United States.  It saw what happened to Libya and Qaddafi after the latter shut down his nuclear armaments program.  It has no intention of letting that scenario be repeated on the Korean peninsula.  If the U.S. decides to nuke Pyongyang the way it did Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we can expect a lot more radiation-caused cancer coming from east Asia.

  16. arkieguide on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 8:47 am 

    These shoot from the hip power house builds are very stupid. 1st.- we must have a place to store nuke waste for the next few 1000 years. 2nd. – we must learn to do better work in design, construction, and especially safety. All people involved must be dedicated to doing a good job with out taking any short cuts. Nuke power itself is not the problem it is the human error we must change.How do we control the nuke plants on ships ? can we not learn from them ?

  17. Kenz300 on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 9:02 am 

    Wind and solar power are the future……safe…clean…..

  18. Kenz300 on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 9:10 am 

    Profits for the Nuclear Industry and their well connected politicians………………..come first………….

    Profits before people and the environment………very sad state of affairs……

    I find it hard to believe that Japan has learned nothing from the Fukishima disaster………….the corruption of money and politics……

    There are too many selfish and self centered people in the world and too few people that care about the common good of society and the planet. Make a mess and leave it for future generations……….what ever happened to the idea of making the people that make the mess clean it up……….

    The disaster at Fukishima continues to poison the air, land and water…….. and no one in 5 years has been able to stop it.

    The disaster at Chernobyl continues…… with another billion dollars and a new cover installed that will last for how long before it too goes bad…………….

    Nuclear energy is a bad experiment being played on the environment and people……..

  19. Dredd on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 9:56 am 

    Geo-engineering and Techno-evolution eh? (Choose Your Trances Carefully – 6).

  20. karin wastdyk on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 12:06 pm 

    Thank you Sara Shannon for your research and book – Radiation Protective Foods.

  21. makati1 on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 7:46 pm 

    Humans have literally cooked their own goose.

    Humans have concentrated natural radioactive materials into deadly forms and then scattered over a million tons of them all over the world.

    Humans have burned 100+ million years of stored sun’s heat in a century, starting a chain reaction that promises to make the earth unlivable for them and the rest of the ecosystem in the near future.

    Western humans adopted a financial system designed to destroy, not build and the end of that ‘idea’ is fast approaching.

    Yep. “Intelligent Ape” is a misnomer.

  22. real7777 on Sat, 5th Mar 2016 11:14 pm 

    GMO is nothing more than radiation mutation with selecting what work best for the company and does not have serious studies on long term impact.

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