The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster unleashed on 11 March 2011 is far from over. In the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games the Japanese Government is keen to give the impression that the Fukushima nuclear disaster is over and that things are returning to normal. It is in fact far from over.
Former Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi: ‘Abe’s Fukushima ‘under control’ pledge to secure Olympics was a lie’:
Mitushei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland: ‘Time has come for an ‘honorable retreat’ from Tokyo 2020 over Fukushima’:
While we would like to see Fukushima prefecture recover, we believe that this will take many more decades – at the very least. We believe that promoting rice grown there after just five years is a grave mistake because the half life of caesium-137 is 30 years.*
More information about the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe: please read our ‘updates’: https://kicknuclear.com/fukushima-updates/
Simply Info is an excellent source of up-to-date information:
Not just cancer: Dr Ian Fairlie discusses the various health effects caused by ionising radiation, including, stroke, cardoivascular and endocrine disorders, in TORCH 2016 (The Other Report on Chernobyl):
Permitted level of radioactivity: the current legally permitted levels of radioactivity in food from Japan sold in the UK and the EU can be found on the EU law website, in ANNEX 1 on page 11 of this pdf document:
Before you eat the rice from Fukushima please consider the following:
It contains radioactivity from Fukushima. It is true that some foods we eat, such as bananas, contain traces of potassium-40. This is a naturally occurring radioactive chemical which is not considered harmful in small amounts because our body strictly regulates all potassium including K-40. The rice from Fukushima however, contains traces of other radioactive chemicals which are more harmful as they are retained in the body for longer These chemicals were released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami triggered explosions at three nuclear reactors. The uranium fuel in the reactor cores also melted (ie ‘meltdowns’) and are still in unstable states inside the reactors as they still have to be cooled 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Many radioactive products were spread far and wide as gases, vapours and micro particles.
Safe to eat? The government and those who are selling the rice claim that it is safe to eat. They say it has been tested and that the levels of radioactivity in it are so low that they are not harmful to human health. But we and many scientists dispute the idea that even a little bit of this radioactivity from a nuclear reactor is safe to eat.
Permitted level of radioactivity: The UK government has set the maximum permitted level of radioactive caesium-137 in rice from Japan at 100 Bq/kg (becquerels per kilogram). This means that they think it is fine to put rice containing 99 Bq/kg of Cs-137 on the market, and into your belly. However we do NOT think it is fine to have such high levels of radioactive Cs-137 in our food. This dangerous fission product should not be in our food at any level, full stop.
All under the ‘safety limit’? We question whether this rice is actually all under the ‘safety limit’. Not all the rice to be sold is tested for all the radioactive materials which it might contain. The rice is mostly tested for caesium-137 while it is in sacks, by measuring the gamma radiation it gives off. But if caesium is present, then smaller quantities of the other 60+ radioactive by-products are also present. These quantities vary because the radioactive particles spread and fell on the soil and in the water unevenly, in ‘hotspots’. So if you are eating rice with the legal 99 Bq/kg or less of caesium, you will also be eating some amount of strontium-90, plutonium-239, cobalt-60, tritium and many other harmful substances.
Impossible to test all the rice: As the tests for these radionuclides are expensive, time-consuming and require a lab, only around 5% of the rice is tested.
Risk to health? Once inside your body the various radionuclides (radioactive chemicals) behave differently. Some have a short ‘half-life’ of a few years, some of thousands of years. Some will pass through your body, some will lodge inside your body and ‘decay’, emitting the radiation which damages your cells and your DNA. Some radionuclides will be used by your body to build your body: for example your body mistakes strontium-90 for calcium, so builds it into your bones and teeth. Your body mistakes caesium-137 for potassium, so uses it to build muscles and other organs.
Not just cancer: Ionising radiation doesn’t just trigger ‘solid’ cancers such as thyroid and breast cancer, and blood cancers such as leukaemia. It can also trigger strokes, heart disease and damage to other organs and blood vessels, brain damage, accelerated ageing and fertility problems. It can also cause heritable genetic damage which could affect your children and/or their children. As the muscle of your heart is the most frequently replaced muscle in your body it is at particular risk. When caesium gets built in to your heart muscle and decays, the radiation damages the surrounding heart-muscle tissues. Those living in areas contaminated with radioactivity, like the areas of Belarus and the Ukraine near Chernobyl, have much greater rates of heart disease and strokes. So for example, a man or woman who would otherwise have lived to 80 may die of heart problems at 60.
Economic recovery risky to health? The rice farmers, rice sellers and the government of Japan would like you to buy and eat this rice, as it would help with the economic recovery of Fukushima prefecture. In the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games the Japanese Government is keen to give the impression that the Fukushima nuclear disaster is over. It is in fact far from over.* While we would like to see Fukushima recover, we believe that this will take many more decades – at the very least. We believe that promoting rice grown there after just five years is a grave mistake, because the half life of Cs-137 is 30 years. If the consumption of this rice causes a ‘slight’ rise in the rates of cancers and other radiogenic illnesses, is this ‘collateral’ damage acceptable? To be overlooked for the ‘greater good’of the prefecture getting back to normal and the other 48 nuclear power plants in Japan being restarted?
Why take the risk? A ‘slight’ rise in the percentage of population getting cancer is an absolute life-changing tragedy to the individuals who actually get it. And their families. Why risk being part of that ‘slight’ rise? Why feed this rice to your kids who are even more vulnerable to the effects of ionising radiation?
A little bit more of radioactivity still means you have a small increased risk of getting cancer or other illnesses. Life is risky enough as it is. Why should you take this added risk?
The Kick Nuclear London Fukushima rice leaflet can be downloaded from these links: