Saturday, November 18, 2017

Who is Beating the Drums of War and for what Purpose?

Yesterday the Japan Times reported that 54% of 2000 Japanese polled favor pressure tactics over dialogue alone when dealing with North Korea:
54% support pressure tactics over dialogue for North Korea (2017, November 18), Jiji poll,

An opinion poll Friday said 53.9 percent of the public supports Japan and the United States in using pressure to deal with North Korea, versus 39.4 percent who prefer dialogue.

The article does NOT clarify how questions were posed to to the 2000 people polled. Framing research has found that selective "framing" of questions and issues shapes audience responses.

In particular, it is not clear what counts as using "pressure" to deal with North Korea. Perhaps the pollster simply asked whether the respondent favored using pressure or dialogue alone. Pressure can be economic and need not necessarily be military.

However, Yahoo is framing the poll results through their headline as if 54% of respondents want WAR, although if you read past the headline you will see that there is no specific mention of war:
Japan Wants War With North Korea's Kim Jong Un, Not Dialogue, New Poll Shows. Yahoo, Available, accessed November 18, 2018.

Roughly 54 percent of people surveyed in an opinion poll published Friday said they want Japan and the United States to take steps toward reigning in North Korea, compared to 39.4 percent who said dialogue was the best path forward, Japan Times reported Friday. At the same time, 52.8 percent of respondents said they were worried and 15.4 percent said they were very worried about what North Korea would do next. The survey was conducted for four days 
This Yahoo story was originally published by Newsweek. Why is Yahoo replicating biased framing by Newsweek.

Newsweek's version of the story available here includes a video with ominous music playing in the background. Moreover, a key word search at Newsweek's site finds quite a few sabre-rattling types of articles concerning North Korea, especially represented by the article "Americans are Worried about North Korea, Poll Finds which includes a picture of tanks and fiery explosions.

What is Newsweek's agenda here? Is it simply to "Hype" content to make their content more likely to go "viral," or is there a hidden agenda to promote fear and hysteria that would open the door for nuclear or some other form of high-tech war against North Korea?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Radioactive Waste: Everywhere with Nowhere to Go

NHK is reporting that Fukushima's radioactive waste will begin to be transported to a new location in Fukushima Prefecture:
Disposal of radioactive waste begins in Fukushima
The first batch of radioactive waste from the 2011 nuclear accident has arrived at a final disposal site in Fukushima Prefecture.  Containers filled with radioactive ash were delivered by trucks to the facility in Tomioka Town on Friday and placed on the site with cranes. The ash consists of incinerated debris and other waste produced near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
If you are interested in how Japan is planning on handling the mountains of radioactive waste produced by the Fukushima disaster see the following very interesting and detailed analysis by Nagasaki:
Shinya Nagasaki (2015). Radioactive Waste Management After Fukushima Daiichi Accident. Springer Link

It is interesting to read how nuclear waste is designated. The determination of whether something counts as waste is based on cesium134 and cesium 137 readings combined (p. 299). That means that only two radioisotopes among the 1000 produced by the disaster are being directly measured and managed.

It is also interesting to think about the limits of waste surveillance and management. Japan will not be able to decontaminate most of the fallout that occurred in forests and on mountains.

Moreover, fallout outside of Japan is not subject to any de-contamination and only random surveillance by academics whose findings of contamination in places like Hawaii and Alaska are coded as non-significant despite very clear readings of cesium contamination:
McKenzie T1, Dulai H2. Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils. J Environ Radioact. 2017 Dec;180:106-113. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.10.003. 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.10.003

[excerpted from abstract]  This study estimated the magnitude of cesium deposition in soil, collected in 2015-2016, resulting from atmospheric fallout.  Detectable, Fukushima-derived 134Cs inventories ranged from 30 to 630 Bq m-2 and 137Cs inventories ranged from 20 to 2200 Bq m-2....
It also examined the patterns of cesium wet deposition with precipitation observed on O'ahu and the island of Hawai'i following the disaster.  Fukushima-derived cesium inventories in soils were related to precipitation gradients, particularly in areas where rainfall exceeded 200 mm between March 19 and April 4, 2011.
Cesium was not the only contaminant to reach foreign shores.

Research by Armstrong et al., indicates that use of salt water to cool the reactors likely produced spherical, uranium peroxide clusters.[i] These clusters, described as buckyballs, have highly durability and transportability. Another study found evidence of Sulfur-35 (35S) in sulfate aerosol thousands of miles away in southern California from 20-28 March 2011.[ii] The researchers concluded that neutron leakage transformed salt water chlorine (35Cl) into radioactive 35S through a process of multistage decay. Fukushima contamination may have spread more widely across the northern hemisphere because of the composition and durability of the radioactive aerosols produced. A U.S. Geological Survey published in 2012 documents evidence of wet deposition of fission products in the U.S. [iii]

Radioactive waste management is indeed a very selective governance process.

The radioactive waste produced through human engineering is everywhere, including our bones and organs where they bioaccumulate.

My conclusion is that decision-makers have simply written off the future viability of humanity and now operate charade-like to manage only the most visible and extreme forms of environmental contamination that theaten human longevity, transgenerational integrity, and the viability of the eco-system upon which we depend. The Trump Administration has set new precedents in writing off humanity.

Fukushima was looking a bit worse this morning on the TEPCO 1 webcam around unit 2:


[i] C. Armstrong, M. Nyman, T. Shvareva, G. Sigmon, P. Burns, and A. Navrotsky (2012) ‘Uranyl Peroxide Enhanced Nuclear Fuel Corrosion in Seawater’, PNAS, 109.6, 1874-1877.
[ii] A. Priyadarshi, G. Dominguez, M. Thiemens (2011) ‘Evidence of Neutron Leakage at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant from Measurements of Radioactive 35S in California’, PNAS, 108(35), 14422-14425.
[iii] G. Wetherbee, T. Debey, M. Nilles, C. Lehmann, and D. Gay. (2012) ‘Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program-West Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8-April 5, 2011’, U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011, 1277, p. 6.