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Fukushima is here: Californians to spell it out for the world to see

If you’re concerned about radiation from the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, reaching the United States, you’re not alone.

That concern has prompted California-based FukushimaResponse to declare Saturday a “global Day of Recognition” to help people all over the world realize “that radioactive contamination from Fukushima threatens life everywhere,” as stated at fukushimaishere.info.

People will form a human mural spelling out the words “Fukushima is here” at 11 a.m. Saturday morning on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Their message will be photographed from the air.

The group hopes to begin a “public discussion of the grave threat we face in the massive amounts of radioactive contamination released into the air and leaking into the sea every day since three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded in March 2011.”

"We need to start demanding that our elected officials and agencies do what is necessary to test the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat," the group's website states.

FukushimaResponse describes itself in a press release as “a group of concerned Sonoma County residents who have been meeting regularly for two years, working together to understand, inform others and lobby elected officials for action in response to the ongoing threat of Fukushima contamination.”

Indeed, as the group’s press release and website states, the situation at Fukushima has been getting worse, not better. “Uncontrolled releases of steam, an inundation of radioactive groundwater, more contaminated water to keep three melted cores cool, and massive leaks of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean that have apparently been going since the beginning of the disaster” continue to plague cleanup efforts.

In spite of these grim realities, Jina Brooks, coordinator of the human mural event, doesn’t want to come across as alarmist. She just wants people to know what is happening. “Organizing people to spell our message is not meant to spread fear and panic,” she said. "It’s more like Paul Revere’s ride, citizens trying to alert other citizens to a real danger on the horizon. My heart breaks when I think of what mothers must be experiencing in Japan.”

Japan is in the midst of dealing with another deadly storm this week.

Typhoon Wipha, which the Telegraph described as the most powerful typhoon to hit Japan in 10 years, killed at least 14 people Thursday.

Even as Japan deals with damage from the typhoon, Toyko Electric Power Co. is entering an extremely critical phase of the cleanup from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant and killed some 18.500 people. For more than two years, TEPCO has struggled to minimize the danger from the damaged nuclear facility and has been widely criticized for its ineffectual response.

With more than 1,500 fuel rods sitting in a damaged storage pool inside the shell of the reactor 4 building, TEPCO is about to begin the delicate task of removing the rods and relocating them to another storage pool, Voice of America reported. VOA said the fuel rods have to remain submerged and must not touch each other or break – nuclear experts say an accident could cause an explosion many times worse than in March 2011.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that radiation levels in Tokyo and surrounding areas are safe and that it expects that to be the case as well during the 2020 Summer Olympics scheduled in Tokyo, Japan Daily Press reported.

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