Japan finally acknowledged the full horrors at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant and raised the “severity rating” to 7, the highest on the accident scale and equivalent to the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine a quarter-century ago. Each step up the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale represents a tenfold increase in danger, with an accident level of 7 indicative of a “major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.”

According to Bloomberg News, the Fukushima catastrophe is now “Japan’s worst civilian nuclear disaster.” They have to put “civilian” in there because the worst nuclear disaster was when the United States government dropped successive atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing a quarter-million people.

(Japan had signaled its intention to surrender before the double atomic bombing, having endured the “traditional” U.S. firebombing of 67 of its cities and towns and the destruction of much of its fleet. But Washington was deliberately vague about the fate of Japan’s emperor, considered the living god of the Japanese, and the Potsdam Declaration demanding “unconditional surrender” and “stern justice … meted out to all war criminals” was not answered. So the whimsically named atomic bombs were detonated over these two cities.)

Anyway, stocks are falling in Asia as everyone begins freaking out all over again. The fallout is already showing up at dangerous levels in milk from Hawaii and Arkansas and Pennsylvania, and Western U.S. produce and drinking water, but the EPA assures us (on its website) that everything’s fine.

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  • undeterredbyreality

    Sure, but how does this affect Sarah Palin?

    • nothing to see here. move along, please…

      got milk?

    • Three words:
      Mutant Sarah Palin.

      • poncho_pilot

        as long the radiation has a realistic effect and not a '50s sci-fi effect. i'm not ready for attack of the 50 foot teabagger.

      • Four words: Department of Redundancy Department.

    • comptoneffect

      No change, she's just as toxic now as she was before.

  • EdFlintstone

    OK nuclear experts who have been saying this isn't that bad and it's contained………polish this turd.

  • OkieDokieDog

    I pretty much have no faith in the assurances of the EPA. Might as well toss in my disbelieve of the CDC, FDA, CIA, FBI, DEA, ICE, DOD, JCS, FAA, TSA, DOT, FCC, IRS, and any other 3 or 4 letter acronyms.

    Damn, I sound like a teatard.

    • I have learned tonight that the FDA's "safe levels" for milk are higher than the EPA's levels, so just tell your kids' thyroid glands to only respond to the FDA levels.

      • OkieDokieDog

        No kids for me and I only drink pseudo cocoa chocolate milk. I'm sure the milk cows ate GMO fed crushed-up by-products from other cows to cancel out any radiation. Plus the added vitamins made by DOW Chemical. Yum.

      • Ken that is no surprise since the FDA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AgraBiz™. Teh EPA is a bunch of commies out to destroy 'Murica.

        • karen

          Well they just had their budget slashed, SO NO MORE MONEY FOR THEM PINKO COMMIES!

      • AJW@[redacted]

        There has been "safe" levels of perchlorates in our milk for decades, I'm sure a little radioactive iodine will make it even more refreshing.

    • OkieDokieDog

      Whoa, I can't believe I left the ATF off my list. I've been mad at them for so long I've forgotten why. And the NRA! Not really a part of the federal government… or are they?

      • emmelemm

        I'm just surprised you remembered ICE, but left off ATF. (I have a friend who works for ICE. She says they're the forgotten/unmentioned/uncredited for anything agency.)

        • Mumbletypeg

          Oh they're very familiar if you have acquaintance with anyone they've been dicking around with, rights-wise, on the tightrope between detention without grounds & deportation without precedent.

          • emmelemm

            Point taken.

            My friend deals mainly with smuggling, i.e., cross-border dope smuggling and smuggling of contraband shit through the port, here in the NW. Not that I think that's a fantastic use of resources either, but she's not really in the "harrass and persecute generally law-abiding persons who don't happen to have American citizenship" division.

    • poncho_pilot

      none of them can be trusted to not tamper with our POE. keep your government out of my precious bodily fluids!

  • PuckStopsHere

    Didn't we de-fund that pesky EPA? What the hell? How come they still get a website? Who's paying for that domain name, hengh? I'll betcha GoDaddy could do it cheaper–and with plenty more hot psuedo-lesbian action–at NO EXTRA CHARGE! (I'm a big fan of the girl on race car-driving girl thing to which we are treated whenever its Super Bowl time.)

    • we defunded the EPA, but left one guy there named Edward Patrick Albatross to send out periodic messages saying everything is fine and the water is safe to guzzle and helpful for starting fires.

    • GOPCrusher

      Makes perfect sense to defund the EPA now, with the Gulf full of oil and our air full of radiation.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Japan finally acknowledged the full horrors at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant and raised the “severity rating” to 7, the highest on the accident scale and equivalent to the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine a quarter-century ago.

    You know what this means? It means the people who created that system were smart to save those extra three numbers, 'cause they're gonna be needing them real soon.

  • Well, this explains why my cauliflower has been coming in so robustly. And blue.

    • how many eyes?

      • I'm proud to tell you that my inreasingly orange cauliflower has 14 roving eyes. Wait, 15. Etc.

        • when do you start shooting the cauliflower? I mean, what's the cut-off? Where's the "line in the sand" as it were? How many googly-eyed cauliflower will you stand? Also, once you start shooting the cauliflower, what's your end-game?

          • By shootng, I asume you mean eating. Ever smashed a pomegranate seed against your palate? Sumpthin like that

  • CrankyLttlCamperette

    Guess it's time to change the Brita filter.

    • emmelemm


      {I always forget to change those things.}

  • DaRooster

    Time for a new "severity rating meter"… this one goes to 11.

    • poncho_pilot

      what's wrong with sexy?

  • If only Mitt were there. He could save us.

    • Ducksworthy

      Mitt. Get your fudge packing gloves on and get to work.

  • You know, it's hard to keep cogently commenting on all the breaking catastrophe-news Ken so stalwartly and unstintingly delivers to us when teh nesesary vodka dose degrdes yr typng skilz and fluurgh. PS just got 1st mosquito bite of the year. Wst Nile is lurvely ths time of yr etc.

  • Hatrabbit

    The manual gives a chilling one-word description of Stage 8 of a nuclear catastrophe: Palin-esque.

  • fartknocker

    Yeah, but what does the Fox resident nuclear physicist Ann Coulter have to say about this? Just 2 weeks ago she and her Adam's Apple the size of a tennis ball told Bill O'Really that a little radiation is good for you. She failed to mention if it was alpha, beta or gamma radiation – those are greek words and who needs fucking science when you watch Fox news?

    I predict a tweet from Wasilla Rose within 12 hours that she can see gamma isotopes from her back porch and they are as pretty as the Northern Lights.

    • emmelemm

      Kinda like when a volcanic eruption somewhere makes the sunsets all pretty.

      Look, pretty!

    • Explains the size of her adams apple.

      • poncho_pilot

        needs more iodized salt.

        • DashboardTrumpet

          When it rains, it pours.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Radiation, yes indeed! You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked, goggle-boxed do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred chest x-rays a year. They should have them, too.

    • AJW@[redacted]

      When does she 'splain which one to swallow, which to pocket, and which to throw away?

  • Wonkette, please just tell us when we should go to our nuke bunkers (i.e., under the bed w/ vodka, which is normally reserved for Wednesdays)

  • Lucidamente1

    Think of the up side: irradiated anus burgers taste much better.

    • don't knock it till you tried it and it gave you cancer but you can never prove it!

    • GOPCrusher

      They cook themselves!

  • nounverb911

    Does Jack Stuef still glow in the dark?

  • Guppy06

    I know I'll get down-fisted, but this is one of my pet peeves.

    "Japan had signaled its intention to surrender before the double atomic bombing"

    There also wasn't a whole heck of a lot of surrender to be seen on Okinawa. The prospect of unavoidable starvation didn't seem to have much effect either, after our submarines did to Japan what the U-boats twice failed to do to the UK.

    "But Washington was deliberately vague about the fate of Japan’s emperor, considered the living god of the Japanese, "

    I'm sure the fact that his signature was the de jure source of Tojo's and the Army's dictatorial powers had absolutely nothing to do with it. Let them backwards Asiatics have their quaint little god-king!

    I'm sure the Vatican's objections to the Magna Carta were purely religious as well.

    • Corrugated Palin

      I'm sorry, were you saying something? I was busy praying before this altar with a portrait of Ronald Reagan and a partial list of the federal buildings named after Him.

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Don't forget the airport!!!

    • zhubajie

      Probably Truman didn't want the Red Army helping invade Japan. Well-informed people, like Macarthur, Nimitz, and Eisenhauer, didn't approve.

    • trumpbly_joe

      Meh, I upfisted, because you have good points. I think there's still the question of how accurate the projections based on Okinawa were, but the military definitely took them seriously (it took us until 2006 to use up all the purple hearts we printed in anticipation of invading Japan), and Japan definitely had plans to exact heavy casualties on any blockades via Kamikaze attacks (which would have probably been the most effective use of their dwindling oil supplies), the universal conscription of their civilian population into a last-ditch combat force notwithstanding.

      That said, at least *part* of the calculation was also that Truman wanted to end the war before the Ruskies got there, and that small bit of polictics really does tarnish the rest of the argument, to the degree that there was a strong utilitarian case for it.

      There were factions in the Japanese leadership (including, by his own account, the Emperor) who wanted to surrender, but many of those same individuals (including the former Emperor) credit the bomb with giving them the leverage they needed to actually do so, whether to save face or because it's actually true.

  • arihaya

    Gojira !! Gojira !!

  • ShaveTheWhales

    Hm. The cesium in Hawaii is sneaking up on worrying. That implies that the Cs-134 and 137 in Japan is much worse, and that shit is serious nastiness.

    • GOPCrusher

      I'm wondering at what point will they consider Japan no longer safe to inhabit and order it abandoned.

  • Oh damnit. Can someone who knows tell us which is safer, powderized melamine or radiation?

    • tcaalaw

      Sprinkle powdered melamine on your irradiated milk to neutralize the radiation.*

      * I'm not a doctor, but I play one on Wonkette.

  • Serious question: When the bombs went off in 1945 (in Nevada as well as Japan), did the fallout show up at dangerous levels in milk from Hawaii and Arkansas and Pennsylvania, and Western U.S. produce and drinking water? Were US Americans seriously harmed by this and we just didn't know enough to be freaked out?

    • randcoolcatdaddy

      I don't know about Hiroshima and Nagisaki, but I do recall reading some long term studies that looked at above-ground nuclear testing done in the 50s here in the US. The scientists traced the weather patterns and fall out and did detect higher incidents of cancer and other issues throughout the country in ways that could be correlated from fallout from the tests.

      Yay for nuclear power!

      • Also there were no "RadNet" monitors all over the country (and much of the world) as there are today.

        But as mentioned, the Southwest is packed with "cancer clusters" from the fallout. And regular patriotic americans were kept so ignorant of the suspected grave health threats that they would drive out from LA to watch the pretty mushroom clouds north of Las Vegas.

        Utah got hit the worst, thanks to the wind. The writer Terry Tempest Williams is from there and has written a lot about the crazy amounts of cancer in her family. This is worth reading:

    • Gopherit

      The likelihood that we were affected by the radiation from Hiroshima and Nagasaki is minimal. That fallout occurred from the 928 "tests" at the Nevada Test range has never been disputed. It's just part of our patriotic duty as Americans to occasionally take one for the team or something.

      Then of course, there were incidents like the Castle Bravo test at Bikini Atoll that got away from us a bit, and sickened and killed a few Japanese fishermen, some Marshall Islanders, and gave cancer to a few American sailors. I guess you can't make an omelette without radioactively contaminating some people or something.

    • emmelemm

      I know that there are definitely some noteworthy correlations (yeah, yeah, correlation does not equal causation, yak yak) between high rates of cancer and people who grew up near the Hanford nuclear reservation in the 50s/60s.

  • Ducksworthy

    What an odd scale. 1 to 7. I don't think so. I think it goes on up after 7. Is it logarithmic like the earthquake thingie? What happens at 8? At 9 is all life on earth destroyed (except cockroaches) and at 10 are even the roaches and republicans gone?

    • ChessieNefercat

      And at 11 even La Palin's screeching is at last silenced. Worth it? You decide.

  • Toxic Sludge Is Good For You!

  • hagajim

    I'll take two Strontium-90s to go please!

    • AJW@[redacted]

      Don't tell that to the toothless hillbillies that were affected by the TVA's use of it as a herbicide. Oh, wait–they're all dead now…

  • SwattieSwat

    Ugh, I generally love your writing, Mr. Layne, and I don't deny that there should be more acknowledgment of raised levels of radiation in the states. But your chosen method, which is neither factual or humorous, is just fearmongering of GWB levels. Also really, you're just going to stick in that random specious parenthetical about WWII? Man, in this blog I expect at a minimum humor or truth. When it lacks either it just comes off as shrill paranoid BS.

    • Oh I'm sorry I didn't make enough slapstick jokes in a post about a nuclear catastrophe. I'll try to work on that, maybe wear clown makeup next time I type anything about thyroid cancer.

      • Thanks for the reassurance Ken. Surveys have shown that, given the choice, Americans would rather be murdered by John Wayne Gacy in full clown togs than Jean-Paul Sartre in a beret. Show biz for the whole family=much more preferable than 'Being and Nothingness'.

  • Gopherit

    "Nonetheless, the EPA does not consider the milk dangerous because the MCL is set for long-term exposure, and the iodine-131 from Japan’s Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident is expected to be temporary and deteriorate rapidly."

    That would be true if all of the reactors were stable and fission were minimized, but they keep having criticality events that result exacerbating the already fucked up state of the cores and fuel pond. At this point there have been several partial meltdowns, and there really is no way to either control or adequately cool the reactor cores or the ponds in the damaged reactors. They've been lucky with 3 of them. They are stable…..for now. But Reactor one is still having incidents of criticality. Don't believe me? If it was under control they'd be seeing a decrease in the release of I-131……but it's steadily become higher since the tsunami. The problem there is far from over.

  • MiniMencken

    Wait a gosh-darned minute there, Mr. Smarty Pants! Ann Coulter was on the O'Reilly show and explained that radiation is good for you. It's just them damn liberal crybabies that have given it a bad name. Don't believe me? Check it out at:

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