16 February, 2014

Fukushima: A miso soup solution


Fukushima is leaking deadly levels of cesium. According to this RT news report, 93,000 becquerels of cesium-137 were detected per liter of groundwater sampled from a monitoring well earlier on February 13th. There are fears new leaks have appeared.

It occurred to me last night that miso soup and brown rice were life savers after the atomic bombs were dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Research says that those who consumed these products and stayed away from white sugar and white rice lived through the aftermath.

"Some, especially proponents of healthful eating, suggest that miso can help treat radiation sickness, citing cases in Japan and Ukraine where people have been fed miso after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Notably, Japanese doctor Shinichiro Akizuki, director of Saint Francis Hospital in Nagasaki during World War II, theorized that miso helps protect against radiation sickness.[7]"

“Beneficial biological effects of miso with reference to radiation injury, cancer and hypertension”
by Dr Hiromitsu Watanabe in the J Toxicol Pathol. 2013 June; 26(2): 91–103.
Published online 2013 July 10.)

Well, if miso can clear the body of radiation effects, could it possibly also have neutralizing effects on cesium in the atmosphere? Because it is clear that what needs to happen is that something that neutralizes the cesium has to be dropped/sprayed/coated on the entire site. Of course, for a non-scientist like me who spends a great deal of time mixing things in the kitchen, the solution appears in a culinary form: mainly, drop a few tons of miso soup and brown rice on TEPCO’s deadliest sites, then allow mushrooms to consume this  mixture. 

Check out this article “How Mushrooms Can Save the World: Crusading mycologist Paul Stamets says fungi can clean up everything from oil spills to nuclear meltdowns” from the July/August 2013 edition of Discover Magazine. 

Incidentally, I would think this might be a good way to get rid of the stock of harmful nuclear warheads that are now stocked up in special underground sites in Utah (earthquake prone—no underground storage site is guaranteed safe from earthquake damage) and which give nightmares to US scientists and environmentalists.  

Jokes about miso aside (yes, I really didn’t think my miso-soup neutralizer formula would help  the cleanup all that much—but who knows? Until you try it out you never know), don’t you think somebody needs to start thinking about how to deal with this extraordinary accident on an international level, immediately? Where are the international bodies working on controlling nuclear energy—are they all drunk on good wine in Vienna?

It is clear this accident is one of international magnitude and whose effects go far beyond national boundaries. Oddly, the international community has responded with lethargy as Japan struggles to contain the consequences of this accident. Japan’s strategy is to hush up the real state of affairs and hope that the leakage will right itself—but of course, this ostrich with the head in the sand approach is only making the situation gravely worse.  The people affected include not just the Japanese, many of whom are elderly and cannot move out of their homes, but also the international community that lives close to the coastline near Japan.

It is clear the international community needs to respond immediately with real scientific solutions. Just as China helped rescue the polar expedition ship this winter, it is now time for the Chinese government to offer help to Japan in this crucial hour—and make it an occasion to bury old historical grievances caused by Japan’s brutalities against the Chinese during World War II. 

 China has a long and thoughtful record of helping other countries out during times of natural disasters—now is  the time to showcase both its scientific as well as logistical strengths in tackling an environmental disaster of this nature. Not only would this turn an historical enemy into a friend—but it would also cement China’s role as global leader.


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