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Nuclear Nightmare: Japanese Reactor Meltdown Could Propel 'Death Cloud' to US West CoastTerrence Aym Salem-News.com
This deadly, life-threatening substance can move throughout an environment with little or no difficulty.
(CHICAGO) - Some Japanese officials have admitted that Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic reactor No. 1 may experience a total meltdown. That disaster would be followed by the release of a deadly radioactive death cloud that would drift over the Pacific and poison the people of the U.S. West Coast.
A worried Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency spokesman Yuji Kakizaki warned:“If the fuel rods are melting and this continues, a reactor meltdown is possible,” Kakizaki said.
A core meltdown of the nuclear pile occurs from an intense build-up of heat—sometimes approaching the internal temperature of the sun—that melts through containment, the floor, and runs into the earth releasing huge plumes of intense, invisible, killing radiation into the atmosphere.
Such an event may dwarf the nightmare at Chernobyl, the Russian reactor that experienced a nuclear core runaway ending with a terrible explosion, fire, and the release of an irradiated death cloud that drifted over much of northern Europe.
That death cloud precipitated an increase in cancer deaths—specifically leukemia—and caused an uptick of birth defects throughout the region.
Unlike Chernobyl, the Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactor is sealed within a reinforced containment vessel. But now the containment vessel has been breached by a powerful explosion of accumulated hydrogen gas and a core meltdown may be occurring from indications of increased radioactive cesium-137, a nuclear element that's produced when a nuclear pile melts from uncontrolled chain reaction fission.
The dangers of Cesium-137
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radioactive cesium-137 is produced when uranium and plutonium absorb neutrons and undergo fission. The element is normally found in nuclear weapons and some types of reactors.
The EPA states that the half-life of cesium-137 is three decades.
This deadly, life-threatening substance can move throughout an environment with little or no difficulty. Disposing of it is next to impossible, and contamination by the element leads to lingering death.
The federal agency warns that simply Walking on soil contaminated by cesium-137 exposes people to deadly gamma rays. If the substance pollutes the air, water and soil, people may unknowingly ingest it by eating contaminated food, drinking irradiated water, or simply by breathing radioactive dust particulates in the air.
It kills by increasing mutation in the cells and affecting DNA. Normal replication processes at the cellular level are disrupted and lead to cancerous tumors, lesions and cells. Higher, chronic exposure has been found to create radiation burns and rapid death.
The EPA has set maximum annual exposure limits for cesium-137 at 100 millirem.
A radioactive death cloud from one or more of the Japanese reactors experience core meltdown and catastrophic release of radiation could result in levels spiking far above the EPA maximum safety scale from as far north as Alaska to as far south as Los Angeles.
Global jet stream and prevailing winds
The prevailing jet stream winds blow from Japan across the Pacific to the west Coast. Airborne radiation will follow the path of the jet stream. The radiation would reach the coast in less than two days.
At this time of the year the jet stream crosses the Japan Islands, roars across the Pacific diagonally and then bends south as it approaches of the vicinity of the northwestern quadrant of the North American continent. The average velocity of the wind is between 110 to 150mph. Mathematically that means that the distance between Japan and the West Coast—about 4,500 miles—can be covered in less than a day to, at best, less than 40 hours.
Nuclear core meltdown chain of events
Here are the progression of events that can lead to a total core meltdown, loss of containment and release of a death cloud:
As this article is written, the first four events have occurred. The current debate about the integrity of the housing is centered around event number five.
Lingering death threat
Toxic rain generated by a billowing death cloud is a serious threat...
For the conclusion of this article, visit: helium.com.
Terrence Aym is a Salem-News.com Contributor based in Chicago, who is well known nationally for his stirring reports on the top ranked site, helium.com. Born in Minnesota, Terrence Aym grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs. Having traveled to 40 of the 50 states and lived in 7 of them, Aym is no stranger to travel. He's also spent time in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Western Africa. An executive for many years with Wall Street broker-dealer firms, Aym has also had a life-long interest in science, technology, the arts, philosophy and history. If it's still possible to be a 'Renaissance man' in the 21st Century, Aym is working hard to be one.
Aym has several book projects in the works. Media sites that have recently featured Aym, and/or discussed his articles, include ABC News, TIME Magazine, Business Insider, Crunchgear.com, Discover, Dvice, Benzinga and more recently, his work has been showing up in South Africa and Russia.
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