April Showers Bring . . . Godzilla?

 

Godzilla 1954What could possibly go wrong here? Japanese scientists, with the approval of government officials, will dispose of radioactive waste water from the decommissioned nuclear power plants at Fukuyama by dumping it in the Pacific Ocean. This is not from the Babylon Bee, nor is it a belated April Fool’s story. It is a tale of our time, playing on our distrust of asserted expertise and asserted public interest. The power of the story also depends on a belief in zero risk options, indeed of magical cake that all may enjoy while continuing to have. Oh, and the story has deep international cultural significance.

I ran across the story through InfoWars, hosting a ZeroHedge column. So, trust but verify. Strait Times? Check. Business Insider? Check. The Sun? Check.

The cooling water that has been accumulating at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan will be released into the Pacific Ocean after it has been treated to remove all harmful radioactive substances, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet decided yesterday.

Strait Times, 13 April 2021

It is part of the nation’s plan to decommission the power station that was destroyed in a 2011 tsunami, causing one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

Japan had previously warned that it was running out of space to contain the more than 1 million tons of treated contaminated water in storage tanks on-site.

— Business Insider, 13 April 2021

Over one million tons of radioactive water has been collected so far, including water to keep the melted reactor cores cool while they rust in the Sun.

The Sun, 8 April 2021

Distrust of asserted expertise and asserted public interest:

We have seen distrust of authority, in the form of institutions and public officials, grow since at least the end of the LBJ administration. This past year’s pandemic public safety theater, with Dr. Fraudci and the Great Scarfini at the head of a group of bobbleheads, is just the latest instance of ideological predetermination of the narrative of expertise and trust. Americans’ popular suspicion of nuclear power goes back to Three Mile Island and the commie approved The China Syndrome. You know, the Hanoi Jane propaganda vehicle.

Japan, on the other hand, has a far deeper source of distrust about all things atomic. It was 1954 when something rose out of the sea because of man’s meddling with nature, Gojira:

It was a matter of national necessity, before cheap and plentiful natural gas, that drove Japan to build a power grid for half the nation based on nuclear power. Then a tsunami, on an earthquake-prone coast, revealed a disastrous design flaw or at least terribly designed emergency procedures. That was ten years ago, a full decade, and the democratic process, influenced by the Chinese Communist Party and Czar Putin’s agents, was paralyzed for all this time.

Finally, some technical, bureaucratic, or political tipping point has been reached. The “experts” now say that disposing of nuclear waste in the ocean can and will be safely done.

Despite the backing of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the plan has met with vehement opposition from local fishermen who fear the damage on the reputation of marine produce.

Strait Times

Releasing the treated wastewater in the ocean would dilute [tritium] well below standards set by the World Health Organization, the cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said.

According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, tritium is fairly harmless in small concentrations, but as the concentration of the particle increases, so does the risk of cancer.

“The Japanese Government’s decision is in line with practice globally, even though the large amount of water at the Fukushima plant makes it a unique and complex case,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

— Business Insider [emphasis added]

Of course, this will all work out just fine:

Belief in zero risk options, magic cake:

Turning back to the Zero Hedge story reveals a universal inclination towards magical thinking. The author sets up a contrast between pipeline safety claims from the left and approval of nuclear waste dumping in the ocean.

We live in a bizarre world: one where the the Keystone XL pipeline must be shut in case of a hypothetical (and extremely unlikely) leak, but where Japan is allowed to dump over one million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. Actually, it’s either bizarre or simply exposing just how profoundly hypocritical, self-serving and corrupt the ESG/Green/Greta Thunberg theater truly is.

Both of these alleged concerns get traction because we do not want to accept any level of risk outside of our self-chosen personal activities. Consider the decades America has been paralyzed over storage or disposal, perhaps through reprocessing, of spent nuclear fuel components. Consider the massive regulatory and lawfare hurdles authorized by Congress in the name of environmental safety. We want magically delivered luxury, redefined as an entitled necessity. This past year worked for the elite because a critical mass of the public in democratic societies wanted safety without any clearly articulated trade-offs.

This is not to discount the fishing communities’ concerns about economic devastation due to the destruction of their reputation. Say “radioactive waste” together with “Pacific Ocean” and you get people striking postures of fear and invoking safety as they refuse to purchase fish from those fishermen associated with the name of the site of the origin of the waste, Fukushima.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, this is Japan. The political and technical elite gave themselves two more years to carry out this course of action that is supposedly forced upon them. We could see a change in government and more muddling through. We could see China use this as a pretext for more regional aggression. Then again, we could seen . . .


The original Japanese version of the 1954 Gojira (Godzilla) is available for free viewing on the Internet Archive.

GODZILLA (1954) by TOHO

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There are 16 comments.

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  1. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    • #1
  2. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    There goes cruising around Japan.

    • #2
  3. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Fun post!  The best place to hide some radioactive water would be the Pacific Ocean (like hiding a tree in a forest).   After the Wuhan Lab Flu, maybe we deserve a Godzilla encounter. 

    The pipeline thing is especially silly considering the oil from Canada is essentially coming from cleaning up a vast natural oil spill.  Oil is natural.  Nature makes it all the time and it is around.

     

    • #3
  4. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Gojira? Uh-oh!

    The solution to pollution is dilution.

    • #4
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    Yes AND. The 1 cubic kilometer will not be evenly mixed in 660 million. HOWEVER. It will be added in very small increments over a number of years such that the local area will supposedly test safe immediately. AND, none of this may matter to the reputation of the local fishing community.

    • #5
  6. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Nowhere in the OP or the links do I see any alternative suggestions regarding what to do with this water.

    • #6
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Nowhere in the OP or the links do I see any alternative suggestions regarding what to do with this water.

    Yes. There is likely little else to do, although the proposed solution will itself take a decade, reportedly. 

    • #7
  8. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Nowhere in the OP or the links do I see any alternative suggestions regarding what to do with this water.

    Put it in open ponds and let it evaporate.  The volume of dilution will then be that of the entire atmosphere, and eventually everyone on Earth will be equally affected.

    Beyond the fact of the word “radioactive”, one wonders, what are the actual carcinogenic and mutagenic potentials of water containing tritium rather than hydrogen-1?  Any Ricochetti physicists out there?

    • #8
  9. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    Yes AND. The 1 cubic kilometer will not be evenly mixed in 660 million. HOWEVER. It will be added in very small increments over a number of years such that the local area will supposedly test safe immediately. AND, none of this may matter to the reputation of the local fishing community.

    The tritium is going to diffuse so rapidly it will be immeasurable in no time.

    • #9
  10. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    But I believe it concentrates its way up the food chain.  A few years ago there were reports of tuna and other fish off the Alaskan and Canadian coasts, contaminated, it was argued at the time, by Fukushima.

    • #10
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    But I believe it concentrates its way up the food chain. A few years ago there were reports of tuna and other fish off the Alaskan and Canadian coasts, contaminated, it was argued at the time, by Fukushima.

    It is just this sort of claim, whatever the truth, that is causing reasonable fear for reputational damage in the local fishing community. Will consumers prefer other markets because of the linkage between Fukushima fish market and Fukushima radiation dumped in water where fish or the food of fish swim?

    This may well be entirely  baseless fear on the part of consumers, but I say let the PM, the Diet, and the “experts” all eat only fish from that market to show their trust and solidarity with the people. Like getting inoculated on camera, eat sushi and sashimi in Fukushima street stalls, then walk the market and order up fish to be shipped to the capital. Walk long enough so that it is clear they did not duck out of sight and throw up the food that might have radiation.

    • #11
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    Yes AND. The 1 cubic kilometer will not be evenly mixed in 660 million. HOWEVER. It will be added in very small increments over a number of years such that the local area will supposedly test safe immediately. AND, none of this may matter to the reputation of the local fishing community.

    ~sells giant underwater solar windmills to Japan so they can mix the water~ 

    • #12
  13. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    But I believe it concentrates its way up the food chain. A few years ago there were reports of tuna and other fish off the Alaskan and Canadian coasts, contaminated, it was argued at the time, by Fukushima.

    It is just this sort of claim, whatever the truth, that is causing reasonable fear for reputational damage in the local fishing community. Will consumers prefer other markets because of the linkage between Fukushima fish market and Fukushima radiation dumped in water where fish or the food of fish swim?

    This may well be entirely baseless fear on the part of consumers, but I say let the PM, the Diet, and the “experts” all eat only fish from that market to show their trust and solidarity with the people. Like getting inoculated on camera, eat sushi and sashimi in Fukushima street stalls, then walk the market and order up fish to be shipped to the capital. Walk long enough so that it is clear they did not duck out of sight and throw up the food that might have radiation.

    Not just local fishing markets.  I have wondered about seafood’s safety when looking at Alaskan and Washington State wild-caught salmon and other fish.  The northbound Kuroshio current runs past Japan, then turns eastward toward North America as it turns into the the North Pacific Drift, then turns south as the California current.

    • #13
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    TBA (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    Yes AND. The 1 cubic kilometer will not be evenly mixed in 660 million. HOWEVER. It will be added in very small increments over a number of years such that the local area will supposedly test safe immediately. AND, none of this may matter to the reputation of the local fishing community.

    ~sells giant underwater solar windmills to Japan so they can mix the water~

    Run an underwater pipeline to the Mariana’s Trench and dump it at the bottom….

    • #14
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Kozak (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    Yes AND. The 1 cubic kilometer will not be evenly mixed in 660 million. HOWEVER. It will be added in very small increments over a number of years such that the local area will supposedly test safe immediately. AND, none of this may matter to the reputation of the local fishing community.

    ~sells giant underwater solar windmills to Japan so they can mix the water~

    Run an underwater pipeline to the Mariana’s Trench and dump it at the bottom….

    Now you’re really asking for trouble!

    • #15
  16. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Ugh. 1 million tons of radioactive water.

    A cubic kilometer of the ocean weighs 1 billion tons.

    There are 660 million cubic kilometers in the Pacific Ocean.

    I get 1 part in 660,000,000,000.

    Almost all of the radioactivity is from Tritium, which has very low level activity and has not been shown to be a health hazard.

    It’s half life is 12.3 years so it’s not going to contaminate the ocean for “thousands of years”.

    Yes AND. The 1 cubic kilometer will not be evenly mixed in 660 million. HOWEVER. It will be added in very small increments over a number of years such that the local area will supposedly test safe immediately. AND, none of this may matter to the reputation of the local fishing community.

    ~sells giant underwater solar windmills to Japan so they can mix the water~

    Run an underwater pipeline to the Mariana’s Trench and dump it at the bottom….

    Now you’re really asking for trouble!

    There’s bad ju-ju, and then there’s bad kaiju-ju. 

    • #16