Ready for another game of "Where's the Fukushima Radiation?"
Four months after what Japan has admitted has been the largest release of radiation from a nuclear plant in history, the global radiation monitoring efforts continue to be ad hoc, uncoordinated, and spotty.
Thanks to Mo Hong'e , editor of XinHuanet English Language News, reports Pacific waters off Japan's Fukushima clearly affected by nuclear crisis: China's oceanic administration, we are hearing about these tests done by the Chinese. But, we now have to wonder why we have not heard continuous similar reports from the Japanese, and the International Atomic Energy Agency?
BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Waters in the Western Pacific region east and southeast of Japan's Fukushima are "clearly affected" by the radioactive materials leaked from the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, according to a statement from China's State Oceanic Administration on Sunday.
Initial tests of samples collected from these areas show that radioactive cesium-137 and -134, as well as strontium-90 can be found in all water samples, the statement said.
The statement said that under normal conditions, cesium-134 cannot be detected in sea waters, and that the maximum amounts of cesium-137 and strontium-90 detected in the samples are 300 times and 10 times, respectively, of the amounts of natural background radiation in China's territorial waters, the statement said.
Fortunately, radioactive materials in air samples were measured at normal levels, presumably due to faster rates of dispersion.
After a brief period of conspicuous announcements of a new dedication of transparency, after criminally negligent levels of initial cover-ups of the radiation being released after the March 11, 2012 triple meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, it looks as if Tepco's, and Japan's public relations departments are back in charge of radiation reports.
By that, I mean lets look more carefully at this report more carefully.
First, it comes from a Chinese newspaper, not a Japanese newspaper.
Second, this is an ad-hoc, investigation that sounds more like a pilot proposal for a modern day remake of Gilligan's Island Television comedy, rather than a coordinated systematic global radiation monitoring effort, of the sort Japan, and the IAEA would want to stake their international credibility, and trust to their names.
Please note, I mean no criticism of this much appreciated, and valuable research study, and report by the Chinese, but rather, I am making a sharp criticism of Japan, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, who we should have heard similar reports from already -- whose rotating director, is now a member of the Japanese nuclear community, who has been accused of a conflict of interest, in the front pages of the Wall Street Journal.
The 18-day voyage, which ended on July 4, monitored waters of 25.2 square kilometers, and the monitoring team collected air, water and biological samples from the spot areas, the statement said.
In this last month, we've also read reports of a Fukushima teacher resigning after being pressured by the school principle not to talk to the school children about radiation.
We've also seen several straight weeks of reports of cows fed contaminated beef, shipped to market, and only being detected by independent testing in the downstream consumer chain.
And, independent testing by citizens finding hotspots in Fukushima City, 10 to 30 times what is being reported by the government censors, as well as controversy in the international community, as well as from parents as to whether the entire city should have, or should be evacuated.
This tragic accident was unfortunate and unprecedented, and has raised questions about the integrity and competence of Japan's government, and nuclear industry, as well as the IAEA, and whether of not they can, and should be allowed to continue to operate such dangerous technology.
Rather than dealing with these questions in a way that restores international confidence, Japan, Tepco, and the IAEA, are now compounding their initial errors, in the way they handing, and reporting the monitoring of radiation in the aftermath.
Sadly, it appears as if big and important lesson have not yet been learned from this accident.
This is an enormous loss of face, and trust, for all of us, throughout the world, Japan, and the nuclear industry.
And, it is not yet clear, how, where, when and by whom, these lessons will be learned.