A Mr. Nicholas Wright left a pointed argument to my ‘Fukushima doomsdaying’:
OK, here are a few facts that need to be considered by Fukushima doomsayers, and which I haven’t seen front and centre in the debate as yet….(here).
Majia here: I decided to post my response here for everyone to read:
I wish I had the time to engage with you fully because I adore a lively debate and I think I can win this one.
Unfortunately, I can only make a quick rebuttal and reference you to my book, Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk. Chapter Four examines the history of radiation research, focusing on the 1956 BEAR report in the context of contemporary knowledge about epigenetic processes.
I concluded from my research on the ‘history of radiation’ that commonly used radiological and chemical dose models are invalid. Specifically, I found they lacked ecological validity because they were politicized from the start, failed to address bio-accumulation, failed to address bio-magnification, and failed to address transmission of genetic and epigenetic damage across generations.
So, we simply cannot predict effects using these dose models. Furthermore, we cannot predict the synergistic effects of Fukushima radiation on stressed eco-systems and animal genomes.
I have published extensively in the social sciences on autism and genomic science. I’m certain the study of environmental genomics is going to explain how our chemically and radiologically engineered world is destroying our health.
For example, neurological disorders are increasing in incidence in children and adults. Most scientists believe the environment is to blame. The main culprit in some disorders, such as autism, appears to be micro-deletions and other base mutations in the genome, rather than heritable alleles. Micro-deletions in DNA coding for glutathione, for example, can allow elements such as lead and mercury to build up in the brain, impairing neuronal development. Autism could also derive from damaged mitochondrial DNA, which is especially likely to mutate when exposed to increased levels of radiation, even among people conditioned to it (please see chapter four of my book).
Our rate of mutation may have increased beyond our capacities for repair, especially to germ-line (i.e., reproductive) cells. It is our progeny who will suffer most from increased rates of germ-line cell damage.
Scientists predicted this would occur in the 1956 BEAR report. We’ve produced quite a lot of genotoxic elements and chemicals since then. Now we are going to get an extra-big dose.
We live a long time compared to most animals. We have no idea yet what our arrogance and disregard have done to our genome, but it is pretty obvious what it is doing to the rest of the earth's eco-systems.
The ocean eco-systems were highly stressed before Fukushima. They are going to be further stressed. We’ve already seen adverse mortality events along the entire North American west coast, indicating tipping points reached in susceptible populations. Radiation need not be the direct culprit. Taxed immune systems become more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.
I do grant that the ocean will be far more contaminated than land, for many reasons I’ve explored on this blog.
But can the genome of our children survive an ocean eco-system collapse?
Let us look at the big picture and recognize that there is no certainty that Fukushima will not be a tipping point.
I am not a doomsday person. I’m a realist. Let us get real about what we are doing to our eco-system before we engineer our own self-destruction.
Let me end with the last paragraph of my book:
Mikhail Gorbachev noted in his Memoirs that prior to the Chernobyl disaster there had been 151 significant radiation leaks at nuclear power plants around the world.[i] He warned that one or two more accidents would produce contamination far worse than after a nuclear war.[ii] Russia and parts of Europe remain contaminated from that disaster, with parts of the Bryansk Region of Russia with median radiation levels of Cesium-137 two orders of magnitude higher than current levels of deposition from nuclear weapons fallout.[iii] Chernobyl, Gorbachev wrote, ‘was a bell calling mankind to understand what kind of age we live in. It made people recognize the danger of careless or even criminal negligent attitudes toward the environment.’[iv] Fukushima illustrates that bell call was not heard. How many more bells will ring before humanity has destroyed its eco-system and genome beyond repair?
[i] M. Gorbachev (1995) Memoirs. (London: Doubleday), p. 191.
[ii] C. Neef (24 March 2011) ‘This Reactor Model Is No Good' Documents Show Politburo Skepticism of Chernobyl’, Spiegel, http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/this-reactor-model-is-no-good-documents-show-politburo-skepticism-of-chernobyl-a-752696.html
[iii] V. Ramzaev, H. Yonehara, R. Hille, A. Barkovsky, A. Mishine, S. Sahoo, K. Kurotaki, and M. Uchiyama (2006) ‘Gamma-Dose Rates from Terrestrial and Chernobyl Inside and Outside Settlements in the Bryansk Region, Russia in 1996-2003.’ Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 85, 205-227, 217.
[iv] Gorbachev Memoirs p. 193.