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Paws for Japan

Good morning. You're listening to the Cathy Keisha Show only on listener-sponsored WCAT in New Jersey. Today we have a special show to collect money to aid World Vets in the rescue of the four-legged victims of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear CATastropre in Japan. They are the silent victims that you NEVER hear mentioned on the TV news or read about online. If you like the music you're hearing (you can listen to the songs by clicking on song titles)—or even if you don't, MOL—please consider donating, using the ChipIn widget on the right of the page.

This show will center on the nuclear aspect of this disaster. At air time, there have been explosions at 4 of the 6 reactors, complete with partial meltdowns of the fuel rods. They say they were hydrogen explosions, but they looked a lot like mushroom clouds to these stunning eyes. Temperatures in No. 5 & 6 are rising in the spent fuel rod pools. My peeps have been part of the Anti-Nuclear movement since the late 70s and they say their worst fears are being realized. The news out of Japan just keeps getting worse.

♫ For openers, let's give a listen to the Clash, London Calling, a song about "a nuclear error." ♫

Hospital patients who might have been exposed to
radiation being carried into a radiation treatment center.
Photo by Daisuke Tomita/Yomiuri Shimbun, via AP.
The media and Japanese authorities have been downplaying the amount of radiation that has actually leaked into our environment, you can be sure. After all, it's in their best interests. They don't want to hurt tourism or their standing in the World Economy. Reports now say, they don't know how long radiation from the crippled plants will be leaking. How can there be partial meltdowns without leakage? Once the rods are exposed—and they were—common sense will tell you that radioactive material will escape through the air and water. We can't count on our authorities to tell us how much. Our government lied to us that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe after 9/11, why should I believe the sugar-coated reports I hear coming from Japan.

The New York Times is reporting that experts are now telling us that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months. We are also learning that reactor No. 3 uses a special cocktail of nuclear fuel know as MOX, which is considered contentious because it is made with preprocessed plutonium and uranium oxides. That makes any radioactive plume much more dangerous than ordinary nuclear fuel. We are also hearing the air around the plant may be up to three hundred times the "safe limit" of radiation.

 Gil Scott Heron is one of my favorite artists. He helped form  The Last Poets and here he is with a song about a partial meltdown at a nuclear power plant near Detroit in 1966, "We Almost Lost Detroit." ♫ 

This was a popular poster when TW was young.
CNN is reporting that Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), the owners of the power plant have had many past violations for not being truthful about compromises in the plants. These plants were designed to withstand earthquakes of up to 7.2, not the 9.0 quake they just had. They've also reported that the containment walls of two of the reactors are compromised and they've evacuated most of the workers. The reactors house pools of spent fuel rods, which pose an even greater threat to the humans and animals in Japan. The pools, which sit on the top level of the reactor buildings and keep spent fuel surmerged in water, have lost their cooling systems and the Japanese have no idea how to combat this. Plain and simple, they don't know what they're doing. This would be much worse than a meltdown because while the reactor is inside thick walls, the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.

A plan to drop water from helicopters to cool the rods was scrapped because of the high levels of radiation coming from the reactors. There are fires burning in at least 2 of the reactors. Yet, TEPCO is still saying that the leaks are minimal. Also on Wednesday, workers had to be pulled from #3, which is the most critical, which means there is no water being pumped in.

♫ Here's a song that delivers the story of the accident at Three Mile Island with a dose of sarcastic humor. Tom Paxton singing "All Clear in Harrisburg." ♫

I find myself updating this every few hours, as news gets more dire. Tuesday morning, a fire in one of the storage ponds, produced an explosion that blew a 26-foot-wide hole in the side of reactor No. 4. There were also concerns about the storage ponds at reactors 5 and 6. Through all this, the government of Japan keeps telling us that radiation levels are dropping. Say what? How could it be that levels are dropping as more and more radiation is being released and the wind is blowing it over land, as I write this?

♫ One of the most harrowing songs ever written is "I Come and Stand At Every Door." This version of the Natzim Hikmet poem, adapted by Pete Seeger, is done by This Mortal Coil. ♫

Posing w/TW's old No Nukes T-shirt,
which is way too small now.
We also learned on Tuesday that some of the containment walls have cracks in them and that the explosion at Unit 4 has released cesium, which has a half-life of about 30 years, into the atmosphere. The land around Chernobyl is still unusable today because of cesium contamination during that meltdown in 1986. This station is also hearing that radiation may be contaminating the food supply. Folks, this is Chernobyl times six!

The Japanese government is telling people living within 18 miles of the plant to stay indoors, but how long will these people have to stay indoors? Weeks? Months? How will they get food, supplies, medicine? And, I wonder, how much radiation is on Americans and other people getting on planes and trying to escape this disaster? Will they be screened and decontaminated before leaving the airports or will they spread the radiation?

Shortly before this show aired, Reuters tweeted "IAEA head says core damage at units 1-3 of Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant confirmed, situation very serious" and "EU Energy commissioner warns of further catastrophe at Japan's nuclear site in the coming hours." Very assuring news, to say the least.

Our good friends at WikiLeaks obtained evidence that Japan received warnings over the stability of its power plants from an international watchdog more than two years ago. An official from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in December 2008 that safety rules were outdated, and strong earthquakes would pose a "serious problem" for the power stations. Among other shocking disclosures, a high-profile member of Japan's lower house, told U.S. diplomats in October 2008 that the government was "covering up" nuclear accidents and ignoring alternative forms of energy.

TW's shirt from 9/23/79 rally in
NYC's Central Park
How does all this affect the animals? According to the website, 35 percent of Japanese own pets. Of these, 46 percent are dogs and 31 percent are cats. Birds and rabbits are also popular pets in Japan. At airtime, the death toll from the earthquake stands at 9,199, with more than 12,000 missing and this figure is expected to rise to more than 20,000 deaths. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, have fled or are missing, leaving their beloved animals behind. That's a lot of animals who have lost staff. If you figure 35% of 20,000, that's almost 7000 pets without staff. Right now there are about 450,000 living in shelters and many shelters won't take animals, making the problem worse. Not to mention, they are in the dead of winter, with temperatures around 30 degrees F, so any animals out in the elements will have to be rescued quickly or risk hypothermia. World Vets are doing what they can, but conditions are changing rapidly and they are monitoring the news related to the nuclear threats.

Some groups that are helping to Rescue these animals are Society for the Protection of Animals, World Vets, Animal Refuge Keisai (ARK), National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue, Animal Miracle Foundation & Network and the American Humane Association. I've done some research to assure that these aren't scam operations. For more info, most of these organizations have excellent Facebook pages.

♫ You know her from the song "Little Boxes" used on Showtime's Weeds, give a listen to Malvina Reynolds with "What have They Done to the Rain." This seemingly innocent little song is about nuclear-contaminated rain that "keeps falling like helpless tears." ♫

WNYC's Transmitter posted this photo of a cat
struggling to stay above the tsunami waters
in Japan.
What damage is the nuclear fallout doing to any pet who survived initially? We know this fallout will come down as contaminated rain and snow and we know that animals lick their feet after walking outside. I'm not going to subject you to the symptoms of radiation sickness but I'm sure they're the same in animals as in babies. Long-term exposure, at doses less than that which produces serious radiation sickness, leads to cancer as cell cycle genes are mutated.

Millions of people have been without food, water or heat since the Earthquake struck on Friday, which means, so have their pets.

♫ Joy Ryder and Avis Davis toured the NYC club scene in the 80s. Here's their most famous song "No More Nukes." ♫

Let's purray for the humans and animals in Japan. Over 450,000 thousand are homeless, leaving their pets to fend for themselves. Again, you can use the ChipIn to send money to help rescue the animals left homeless and/or injured. They must be so afraid.

I'll conclude by saying that our government has proposed to cut funding for monitoring and warning systems for Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the U.S. and research funds for alternative energy. Please write your Senator and Congressmen and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to big corporations and the richest 1% of Americans and keep funding the Science and Research that is going to keep us safe.

♫ I'll leave you with an uplifting song from John Hall—Power. ♪ "Just give me the warm power of the sun / Give me the steady flow of a waterfall / Give me the spirit of living things as they return to clay. / Just give me the restless power of the wind / Give me the comforting glow of a wood fire / But won't you take all your atomic poison power away."♬♩

I hope you enjoyed the show and that I didn't scare you too much. Again, I ax that you donate to World Vets, using the ChipIn on the right. Some of the information for the show came from the New York Times, CNN and the Huffington Post. Thanks for listening.

WCAT BREAKING NEWS: Wednesday p.m. NPR reports that experts are worried about the plutonium in some of Japan's nuclear reactor fuel rods. I've previously mentioned the MOX fuel in No. 3, which contains plutonium as well as uranium. Plutonium melts at a slightly lower temperature and as the song goes Plutonium lasts FOREVER. The half-life is 24,000 years. If it escaped in smoke from a burning reactor and contaminated soil downwind, it would remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years. The White House is preparing for a situation in Japan that could be "deadly for decades." . . . The NY Times quotes the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as saying the damage at one crippled reactor was much more serious that Japanese officials had acknowledgd and advised Americans to evacuate a wider area around the plant.

 Get ready for some entertainment from Uncle Tupelo. Are you ready for that great atomic power? Atomic Power live for the listeners of WCAT. 

MORE BREAKING NEWS: Thursday 3/17. While Americans revel in St. Patrick's Day parades and festivities, those in Japan are looking at a worsening nuclear crisis. After efforts to drop water in No. 3 by helicopter failed, military fire trucks are now spraying cooling water on spent fuel rods. Worries are that No. 3, which has the MOX fuel, may have malfunctioning gauges or a rupture has occurred causing the pressure to plunge. There is no confirmation whether the water reached the storage pool housing the spent fuel rods thought it reached the inside of the building that houses it. Reports are saying that the water was blown away by high winds before reaching the target. . . Gregory Jaczko from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has said there is little or now water in the pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed and bleeding radiation. . . . Meanwhile white smoke has been seen coming from No. 2. . . . High levels of radiation have been detected 18 miles from the plants. . . . We now know that 11,195 spent fuel rod assemblies were stored at the Fukushima Daiichi station, of which 32 contain the MOX fuel. . . . The kitteh doesn't see why the U.S. is making such a big deal over the Japanese covering up their accidents and not being truthful about the severity. It happens right here in the good old U.S. of A.  . . . After a week, the Japanese are finally hooking electric power back up to the plant. Why did it take a week and what happens if the pumps are damaged or the tanks have leaks? . . . Stayed tuned to this station for more information as it happens.

BREAKING NEWS: Friday, March 18. Japan's government has raised the nuclear alert level to 5 out of 7, which puts it on par with the Three Mile Island disaster. The International Nuclear Event Scale defines a Level 4 incident as having local consequences and a Level 5 as having wider consequences. . . . Meanwhile outbreaks of influenza have broken out in three of the makeshift shelters. About 343,000 Japanese households still don't have electricity and about 1 million have no water. We all know how much our animal friends need water. This is extremely important: Pet owners should NOT give their animals Iodide pills. "While potassium iodide might help protect dogs, cats and other pets, from the risks of radiation exposure in the unlikely event that radioctive iodine reaches the west coast of the U.S., giving it ahead of time carries risks and would be ill advised. Side effects for pets taking these pills—especially if they consume too much— include severe allergic reactions; gastrointestinal upsets including vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia; decreased normal thyroid function; and damage to the heart. At high enough levels, potassium iodide can even cause death. . . . In answer to my question about airport screenings, this reporter has heard reports of airport personnel with radiation wands who have no idea how to use them or what they're scanning for. Most people aren't being screened. However, trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been detected in Chicago, Seattle/Tacoma and Dallas/Fort Worth. Travelers coming in from Japan triggered radiation detectors at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport while passing through customs. In one instance, the radiation was detected in the plane's air filtration system and also found in luggage and on passengers. . . . Radiation exceeding government safety limits has been found in spinach and milk near the plant and in water as far away as Tokyo. The food was taken from farms as far as 65 miles from the plant. Even though they pulled the food, officials still claim that they pose no health risks. Huh? . . . I'll leave you with some uplifting news for those of us who are fans of alternative energy. Despite assertions by the detractor that wind energy wouldn't survive an earthquake or tsunami, the Japanese wind farms are still functioning and helping to keep the lights on during the Fukushima crisis. I hope I don't have to break in to air anymore of these unsettling update. This is Cathy Keisha. Have a nice weekend.


Would you like to comment?

  1. Great article CK, you are one super-intelligent cat! It's also nice that you are so caring. Let's hope everyone takes your advice. Luv you!

  2. this was superbly and creatively handled. We will be posting too but far more generically. You are to be commended for all of the time and heart that you put into this post.

  3. OUTSTANDING job CK! Simply outstanding. I'll be doing my blog post and referring readers to your blog as you have up-to-date facts. I'm not on AWawards anymore, but I'm recommending you for outstanding Blogger of the year on Twitter.

  4. Great blog, CK. Not alone are you stunning, but also intelligent and caring. Pop

  5. thanks you CK, this iz a rilly grate artickle an I lerned alot. It's horribuls wat iz happening in Japan an those anipals need owr halp so much. I agrees wiv Mario, this iz an owtstanding blog.

  6. I thinks everbody should read yoo bloggie cuz it tells da twooth unlike some peoples on teevee. Thanks yoo Cathy for giving us dis information. It so vewy impawtant. I sending poodle pwayers too all peoples and anipals in Japan and der famblies and furriends all round.

  7. This is a great post! My human doesn't have knowledge about the nuclear things, she didn't knew they were that dangerous. We keep praying so the people and animals in Japan will be better :)

    PS: I tweeted about this post, I hope EVERYONE will read it!

  8. Thanks for this article.
    I will tweet this post as well

  9. This is a GREAT post, CK! I find it really disturbing that there is a proposal to cut monitoring and warning systems for earthquakes and tsunamis here. We should be increasing it.

  10. deer cathy

    dis is eggslent bloggy entry

    fanks ewe for putting all dis together

    my papa has werk furends in japan and one of them did say some of them did leaf der pets behind but some of them did stay wif der animals -- very hard indeed -- like katrina

    heer is also a link to page ewer mom might find useful. mom also anti-nuke for long time.

  11. Well done my dear, I've added the widget to my blog too.I'd do anything for my bootiful CK!

  12. Great post Cathy. Mom used to protest Nuclear Power when she was young and she has her No Nukes pin from the '70s somewhere around here. She was arrested at a nuclear test site protest in Nevada the 1980's. She's hates those nukes.


  13. Well done for certain. Me and mom read efurry word.

  14. OMC! Dat is da best news report we has seen in a long time my furriend. It is so bad over dere, what were dey finking. We hopes all da animals will gets da help dey need, da hoomans too. Thanks you for keeping us updated. *nosetap* and Happy St. Patty's Day!

  15. I love seeing the power of the paw in action!

  16. I'm just hoping we've raised awareness of the plight of the animals affected by this terrible tragedy. Your post about the nuclear time-line is very concise and informative. I'll be checking back for more updates!

  17. Our hearts are breaking for all of the people and animals that have been stricken by this disaster. Mom said it best, "But for the grace of God..."

  18. Wonderful post. Thank you so much for supporting Paws for Japan!!

  19. Such a sad state of affairs. Impossible to take it all in. Thank God for committed organizations who risk safety and bring hope to both people and animals. Etsy for Animals will be supporting an animal rescue...probably ARK, next month in hopes of raising much needed funds. May God have mercy and send help.
    (thank you for the treats...they arrived safely and two kitties are very grateful!)

  20. Hi..her Lab results are not back yet or at least the Vet has not called. I am still hoping for today. No, she's not finicky..there is something badly wrong I'm afraid. AShe has only eaten because of the pill every 3 days since last of December. Until this past weekend. But we will see what's wrong. She has lots 2 pounds in 6 weeks.

  21. Frightening and heartbreaking. I'm so glad that disaster groups are doing something to help the animals of Japan.
    We've hopped over to visit and signed on as your newest follower. Would love it if you could do the same over at Critter Alley!



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