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Photo Of The Day: Fish hitches a ride from tsunami debris to Washington coast

That is a striped beakfish swimming aboard a 20-foot-long Japanese boat that washed ashore last month at Long Beach, Washington. Five of the fish, plus other Japanese species of sea creatures, arrived alive, apparently hitching a ride across the Pacific Ocean on debris that came from the devastating tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th 2011. (The fish are found off the shores of Japan and China, not Washington, for the record.) Read more about the boat from the Department Of Ecology HERE and check their flickr account for more photos


Hitching a ride across the Pacific

OLYMPIA — By now, most people have heard or read about the striped fish that came across the Pacific in a boat after the tsunami in Japan.

But the boat that washed ashore near Long Beach was actually full of critters that made the trip. The state Department of Ecology has posted photos of some hitch-hikers on its flick page, which can be seen by clicking here.

Tuesday Video: What a radioactive Japan looks like

Check out this beautiful short film, called “Blind,” which imagines what would happen if the gas masks that many Japanese bought after Fukushima had ended up being necessary in Tokyo. It's a terrifying experience.


Japanese Reporter Survives Tsunami

Toya Chiba, a reporter with the Iwate Tokai newspaper, is swept by a surging tsunami at the port city of Kamaishi, northeastern Japan, as the region was struck by a massive earthquake that spawned the tsunami. Chiba, who was shooting photos at the mouth of the Owatari River when the tsunami struck him, survived and found himself only suffering scratches and bruises after being swept away for about 30 meters (98 feet). (AP Photo/Kamaishi Port Office via Kyodo News)

How Fukushima is the Deepwater Horizon of nuclear accidents

Last week I came across a well-written piece in Slog, The Stranger's blog, by Goldy about the Fukushima reactors. The writer admitted they succumbed in the early stages to peer pressure and a basic understanding of the science to reassure readers that Fukushima was not Chernobyl. I could relate. I spent time espousing that theory myself. Today, with our technology, it would be impossible to produce a similar explosion. (It certainly doesn't mean the environmental damage could be worse.)

"No, the better metaphor for Fukushima is turning out to be last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a disaster that dragged on for months, steadily spilling millions of gallons of toxic crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico," Goldy writes. "Like last year's Gulf spill, corporate and government incompetency/misinformation has made the severity of the Fukushima leak impossible for the public to measure. Likewise, Japanese government officials are now admitting that the release of radioactive materials may too continue for months."

Now comes the news of the evacuation area expanding.

Japan releases radioactive water several million times the legal limit into the Pacific Ocean

Democracy Now reports
radiation at the shoreline of the Fukushima nuclear power facility has measured several million times the legal limit, just four weeks after the earthquake and tsunami and days after workers discovered a crack where highly contaminated water was spilling directly into the Pacific Ocean.

On yesterday's program, host Amy Goodman was joined by Phillip White, an international liasion officer at the Citizens Nuclear Information Center in Japan.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the millions—the radiation is millions of times the acceptable limit. What does this mean in the water, in the ocean?

PHILIP WHITE: Well, it depends how it spreads out, whether it goes off into the Pacific or whether it accumulates in pockets along the coastline. It will certainly have an effect on fishing. The fishing industry is already seriously damaged by this. But I think you’ve got to look at it as—it’s an ongoing thing. It’s not as if this one release solves the problem. Tokyo Electric Power Company says that this will have a very small—be a very small dose, represent a very small dose to people who continue to eat fish. But whether or not that is an accurate analysis, it’s not as if this is the end of the story. So, it’s a very serious situation, and it’s a long way before this is going to be brought under control.

Flyover of Fukushima shows damage

This scary flyover video in HD of the Fukushima plant shows the extent of the damage with rubble still smoking. Now the utility responsible for the reactors, did not until very recently have enough dosimeters for all of the employees who are working to stop an even worse catastrophe at the plant.

Normally, dosimeters would be worn at all times in order to measure cumulative exposure to radiation. Because of that error, worker exposure can only be estimated. A mother of one of the workers said her son and his colleagues are "have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term."

More depressing news: Radiation has seeped into the groundwater and there are more reports of food becoming tainted.

Chernobyl cleanup survivor to Japan: “Run away as quicky as possible”

This is the amazing story of Natalia Manzurova. She was a 35-year-old engineer at a nuclear plant in Ozersk, Russia, in April 1986 when she and 13 other scientists were told to report to Chernobyl only four days after a reactor caught fire. Manzurova and her colleagues were among the cleaners tasked with leading the removal and burial of all the contamination in what's still known as the dead zone.

She spent 4 1/2 years in an abandoned town called Pripyat , which was less than two miles from the Chernobyl reactors, helping clean. Manzurova says she is the only member of her team still alive. Now 59 and an advocate for radiation victims worldwide, she has the "Chernobyl necklace, " a scar on her throat from the removal of her thyroid. (Something Hanford "downwinders" have experienced.)

Yesterday morning, AOL news spoke to her about Japan before she began a tour organized by Beyond Nuclear. Please take the time to read this interview:

AOL News: What was your first reaction when you heard about Fukushima?
It felt like déjà vu. I felt so worried for the people of Japan and the children especially. I know the experience that awaits them.

But experts say Fukushima is not as bad as Chernobyl.
Every nuclear accident is different, and the impact cannot be truly measured for years. The government does not always tell the truth. Many will never return to their homes. Their lives will be divided into two parts: before and after Fukushima. They'll worry about their health and their children's health. The government will probably say there was not that much radiation and that it didn't harm them. And the government will probably not compensate them for all that they've lost. What they lost can't be calculated.


Japan’s N-Crisis Spikes Pill Demand

Humboldt County resident Steve Timmons got the last bottle of kelp at Eureka Natural Foods in Eureka, Calif., about 90 miles south of the tsunami-stricken Crescent City, Ca. harbor, after a run on iodine cleaned out the store's supply and ran up more than 100 names on a rain-check list on Tuesday. Japan's nuclear crisis is spiking demand in the U.S. and a few other places for potassium iodide, a cheap drug that can protect against one type of radiation damage — even though the risk is only in Japan. (AP Photo/The Times-Standard, Josh Jackson)

Question: Are you concerned at all that fallout from Japan's nuclear crisis may expose the Inland Northwest to high doses of radiation? Are you taking potassium iodide as a precaution?

Why Fukushima is not Chernobyl

Yesterday's Tuesday Video looked back at Chernobyl
 with a rare glimpse into the dangers of radiation- but now we're finding more factors which will fortunately prevent Fukushima from reaching those levels. According to the Guardian:

A concern for the people not just of Japan but the Pan Pacific area is whether Fukushima will turn into the next Chernobyl with radiation spread over a big area. The answer is that this scenario is highly unlikely, because of the wildly different design of the two reactors.

The reason why radiation was disseminated so widely from Chernobyl with such devastating effects was a carbon fire. Some 1,200 tonnes of carbon were in the reactor at Chernobyl and this caused the fire which projected radioactive material up into the upper atmosphere causing it to be carried across most of Europe. There is no carbon in the reactors at Fukushima, and this means that even if a large amount of radioactive material were to leak from the plant, it would only affect the local area.

Wikileaks reveals Japan warned about nuclear plant safety

Thanks to the forces that be for protecting us from this information.

A document obtained via a U.S. embassy cable
by Wikileaks quoted an unnamed expert who expressed concern that guidance on how to protect nuclear power stations from earthquakes had only been updated three times in the past 35 years.

Tuesday Video: This is what a meltdown looks like

The explosion at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was elevated to a  "serious accident" on a level just below Chernobyl. The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale — or INES — goes from Level 1, which indicates very little danger to the general population. "It's clear we are at Level 6, that's to say we're at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl," Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of France's nuclear safety authority, said today.


Due to higher safety standards, advance warning, and evacuation notices, it's not likely that things will get as bad as in Chernobyl. Below is a rare silent film was taken on location just days after the Chernobyl meltdown- even the filmmaker was killed in the process. 

His name was Vladimir Shevchenko and he worked for Central TV in Ukraine in 1986. He was given unprecedented access to the Chernobyl zone right after the meltdown and explosion destroyed reactor number four at the nuclear power plant. Radiation levels weren't entirely understood at the time- most of the people you see received lethal doses while working close to the reactor. Shevchenko himself climbed on the roof of the plant to get footage of the destroyed reactor core wearing just a cotton facemask for protection. He died of cancer a few weeks later.

At the plant in Daichi, about 200,000 people in a 12.4 mile radius were previously evacuated. Still, according to David Lochbaum,  director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, "The contamination levels aren't linear, so the farther away you get doesn't necessarily mean you get a lower dose rate. Chernobyl, in some cases, had areas 100 miles away from the facility having significantly higher radiation levels than areas only 10 or 15 miles away."

Spending the night in a parking lot

On vacation in Hawaii, we were under an evacuation order two nights ago, when the tsunami threatened the islands. We have a family group here and so we loaded in baby and toddler and adults in two vans and headed for higher ground, which turned out to be a parking lot of a shopping mall, and then a few hours later, when it was feared the waves might be even higher than predicted, we moved to a huge grassy field, an event parking lot though it never became clear what kind of event might happen there.

We listened to the radio all night in one van while babies slept in another. Because it was later in Spokane, and even later on the East Coast, where we have relatives, there was much texting going on. We have a relative from Japan and prayed and worried about her family. And it was reassuring in the dark night to know we had so many folks with us in spirit and in texting, as we were with the family we know in Japan.

The parking lot security guide showed much kindness to all parked there, opening the bathrooms. And then at the event field, where hundreds of cars gathered, people were kind to one another, sharing information.

At about 6 in the morning, we all returned to condos near the beach. The waves didn't amount to what had been feared. No damage where we were staying, but we turned on TV to see the horror in Japan.

In times when extraordinary events interrupt routine — or vacation — the same things matter and transcend all. The hope you aren't alone. And how much kindness matters.

Gregoire: Stay off beaches with tsunami advisory

OLYMPIA — Washington coastal beaches are under a tsunami advisory as a result of the earthquake in Chile, which means folks should stay away from them, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Saturday.

Here’s her full statement:

“Our hearts are with the people of Chile following last night’s earthquake.

“As a result of the earthquake a tsunami wave was generated and is now spreading across the Pacific Ocean. A tsunami advisory is in effect for the entire Washington coast. However, there is no tsunami watch or warning currently in effect for the Washington coast.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. It is strongly recommended that people stay away from beaches and coastal waters this afternoon and should be alert to strong currents in coastal harbors. Coastline communities will be notified should conditions change and should follow the advice of their local emergency management agencies.”