Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fukushima vs. Chernobyl - Do We Want 5,000 or More Alaskan Kids to Look Like This in 25 Years?

Award-winning photographer, Paul Fusco's 2001 images from a visit to the Chernobyl area in Ukraina and Belarus, is a profound record of the enduring legacy of the largest nuclear reactor disaster before the ongoing spew of deadly toxin into the ground, sea and atmosphere in northeastern Japan. Among the million or more people adversely impacted by the Chernobyl radiation, have been - so far - about 500,000 kids.

Although we don't yet have much of an idea about how profoundly Fukushima will mutate those yet unborn in Alaska, I have no doubt there will be mutations. Will we be able to measure or track them as they develop? Probably not.

Just today, regarding the push at the North Pacific Management Council to finally put a stringent cap on Bering Sea trawler Chinook by-catch (not because it adversely effects the Yukon or Kuskokwim Native fisheries, but because of worries about its impact of predominantly White fisheries in Southcentral Alaska rivers), I read this:

How many kings is 51,000? That's more than three-quarters of the total number of kings that made it past sonar counters in the big Kenai River run last year.

However, biologists aren't sure where the kings caught by Gulf of Alaska pollock fishermen are headed, though genetic sampling will be ramped up this season in an effort to answer that question. It may, however, take as long as five years to reach a conclusion.

We've known for decades that these stocks are diminishing. There are scores of scientists engaged in Alaska fishery research. If we can't figure out the genetics of salmon being caught in nets over decades, how good are we going to be at tracking mutations among Alaskans from Fukushima's radiation?

I can tell you this much: If the preliminary findings are that the effects are falling mostly on Alaska Natives, it will take a long time to get any action from politicians, in Alaska or in the nation.

Here's a link to Paul Fusco's heart-rending photo essay on Chernobyl's young victims. Thanks to mzchief.


Anonymous said...

This is heartbreaking. Please continue to link to the site that shows how much fallout from Japan continues to reach our state. Where is the outrage?

Jean said...

Thank you for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Want to to know the real Fukushima situation: