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Page added on October 29, 2013

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Fukushima Is Here

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Fukushima is Here.300dpi.jpg

Fukushima is Here.300dpi (2).jpg500 people assembled on October 19th on Ocean Beach in San Francisco and formed the letters with their bodies to demonstrate their growing concern about eventual fallout on the west coast. Credit and More Information: FukushimaResponse.org

An ocean current called the North Pacific Gyre is bringing Japanese radiation to the West Coast of North America:

North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone FDA Refuses to Test Fish for Radioactivity ... Government Pretends Radioactive Fish Is Safe

The leg of the Gyre closest to Japan – the Kuroshio current – begins right next to Fukushima:

Kuroshio Current - Colour show water speed.  Blue slowest; red fastest

While many people assume that the ocean will dilute the Fukushima radiation, a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents, and there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation. Physicians for Social Responsibility notes:

An interesting fact for people living on the US west coast is also included in the UNSCEAR [United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation] report: only about 5% of the directly discharged radiation was deposited within a radius of 80 km from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. The rest was distributed in the Pacific Ocean. 3-D simulations have been carried out for the Pacific basin, showing that within 5–6 years, the emissions would reach the North American coastline, with uncertain consequences for food safety and health of the local population.

The University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center created a graphic showing the projected dispersion of debris from Japan: https://web.archive.org/web/20130117080529/http://iprc.soest.hawaii.edu/users/nikolai/2011/Pacific_Islands/Simulation_of_Debris_from_March_11_2011_Japan_tsunami.gif Last year, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences showed that radiation on the West Coast of North America could end up being 10 times higher than in Japan:

After 10 years the concentrations become nearly homogeneous over the whole Pacific, with higher values in the east, extending along the North American coast with a maximum (~1 × 10?4) off Baja California. *** With caution given to the various idealizations (unknown actual oceanic state during release, unknown release area, no biological effects included, see section 3.4), the following conclusions may be drawn. (i) Dilution due to swift horizontal and vertical dispersion in the vicinity of the energetic Kuroshio regime leads to a rapid decrease of radioactivity levels during the first 2 years, with a decline of near-surface peak concentrations to values around 10 Bq m?3 (based on a total input of 10 PBq). The strong lateral dispersion, related to the vigorous eddy fields in the mid-latitude western Pacific, appears significantly under-estimated in the non-eddying (0.5°) model version. (ii) The subsequent pace of dilution is strongly reduced, owing to the eastward advection of the main tracer cloud towards the much less energetic areas of the central and eastern North Pacific. (iii) The magnitude of additional peak radioactivity should drop to values comparable to the pre-Fukushima levels after 6–9 years (i.e. total peak concentrations would then have declined below twice pre-Fukushima levels). (iv) By then the tracer cloud will span almost the entire North Pacific, with peak concentrations off the North American coast an order-of-magnitude higher than in the western Pacific. ***

(“Order-of-magnitude” is a scientific term which means 10 times higher. The “Western Pacific” means Japan’s East Coast.) In May, a team of scientists from Spain, Australia and France concluded that the radioactive cesium would look more like this: A team of top Chinese scientists has just published a study in the Science China Earth Sciences journal showing that the radioactive plume crosses the ocean in a nearly straight line toward North America, and that it appears to stay together with little dispersion:

On March 30, 2011, the Japan Central News Agency reported the monitored radioactive pollutions that were 4000 times higher than the standard level. Whether or not these nuclear pollutants will be transported to the Pacific-neighboring countries through oceanic circulations becomes a world-wide concern. *** The time scale of the nuclear pollutants reaching the west coast of America is 3.2 years if it is estimated using the surface drifting buoys and 3.9 years if it is estimated using the nuclear pollutant particulate tracers. ***

The half life of cesium-137 is so long that it produces more damage to human. Figure 4 gives the examples of the distribution of the impact strength of Cesium-137 at year 1.5 (panel (a)), year 3.5 (panel (b)), and year 4 (panel (c)). *** It is worth noting that due to the current near the shore cannot be well reconstructed by the global ocean reanalysis, some nuclear pollutant particulate tracers may come to rest in near shore area, which may result in additional uncertainty in the estimation of the impact strength. *** Since the major transport mechanism of nuclear pollutants for the west coast of America is the Kuroshio-extension currents, after four years, the impact strength of Cesium-137 in the west coast area of America is as high as 4%.

Bluefin tuna on the California shore tested positive for radiation from Fukushima, and there are reports of highly radioactive fish in Canada. The CBS show The Doctors warned that we should be moderate with our fish intake, and children and pregnant women should be especially careful:

 

Washington’s Blog



14 Comments on "Fukushima Is Here"

  1. BillT on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 11:22 am 

    A good gift for your loved ones this Shopping Season is a Geiger-counter that detects radioactivity in foods. Something like a cell phone sized version that you can pocket and pull out when buying seafood, fresh or canned, or even veggies and fruits from the West Coast, Hawaii or Japan. Too bad there isn’t something similar for testing the shrimp for those shrimp cocktails at New Years!

  2. Arthur on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 1:13 pm 

    http://salutary-shop.com/images/TERRA-P/terraboxUkrmod.jpg

    Ukrainian model.

  3. diemos on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 2:44 pm 

    The researchers detected 2 Bq/kg of CS-137 in bluefin tuna. If you ate one kilogram per day you would ingest 700 Bq per year which would give you an additional 700 Bq * 1.8 microSv/Bq = 13 microSV on top of the 3500 microSv of natural background you already get.

    If you have a source of Cs-137 you will detect 1e-7 microSv per hour per Bq at 1 meter distance or 1e-5 microSv/hour/Bq at 10 cm distance. Normal backgrounds are about 0.120 microSv/hour so you have no chance whatsoever of detecting these contamination levels with a hand held geiger counter.

    10 Bq/m3 (0.01 Bq/L) is the predicted concentration in seawater off the west coast. This is barely detectable even with the best professional equipment.

    The kuroshio current flows east to west so the fukushima coast is being rinsed off by the uncontaminated water flowing in from the east. The concentration on the us coast is ten times higher than off fukushima after a few years because of the uncontaminated water flowing in from the east.

    It’s amazing how a bunch of studies that prove that the effects of the fukushima accident will be unnoticeable can be spun as proof of imminent nuclear doom. All you need is a complete lack of mathematics and critical thinking.

  4. BillT on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 4:19 pm 

    All you need is to ignore that there will be millions die from unnecessary cancers over the next 20 or so years, diemos. As all of this will become visible in Japan as thousands die annually from this ‘minor’ exposure.

    As for measurements. If it is not a problem, why did the US stop reporting the radiation on the West Coast after the Fukushima accisdent? Why did they raise the allowable limits of radiation by at least a factor of 10 soon after Fukushima? And what will happen when a few more of these death traps have ‘accidents’? After all, most nuclear reactors are past their ‘expiration date’. Some by decades. Are you a stockholder of a nuclear plant or maybe an employee?

  5. diemos on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 4:45 pm 

    “All you need is to ignore that there will be millions die from unnecessary cancers over the next 20 or so years, diemos.”

    Given that about 600 million people will die of cancer over the next 20 years it should be easy to miss an extra million. Even if that million is real.

    “As all of this will become visible in Japan as thousands die annually from this ‘minor’ exposure.”

    Again there’s that lack of critical thinking. People who were living in the path of the plume when the accident happened did not receive a “minor” dose. You will see a statistically significant amount of thyroid and other cancers in that cohort. That’s a different scenario than people living on the west coast of the us and eating pacific fish.

    “If it is not a problem, why did the US stop reporting the radiation on the West Coast after the Fukushima accisdent?”

    Here is an excellent resource for measurements of fallout that reached the San Francisco bay area. They eventually stopped testing because they stopped detecting anything.
    http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/UCBAirSampling

    “Are you a stockholder of a nuclear plant or maybe an employee?”

    I’m a physicist who continues to hope, in vain, that public policy will be shaped by facts and rigorous analysis rather than hysteria. Hopeless, I know. But I still feel the need to try.

  6. chilyb on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 6:06 pm 

    I would be more on-board with nuclear if they had a long term storage solution or some other use for the spent fuel and, in the event of a meltdown, there were real solutions to clean it up. Solutions that are in place before the impossible scenario happens.

    So that being said, how are they going to clean up this mess at Fukushima?

    And what if there is another major radiological release and the site becomes too radioactive for anyone to go there – what then?

  7. Arthur on Tue, 29th Oct 2013 6:59 pm 

    diemos, so why did the German government announce the closure of most of their nuclear power plants shortly after the accident in Japan? They surely can afford consultants like you.

  8. BillT on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 1:24 am 

    diemos, do you actually believe anything from a government funded university? I don’t and anyone with intelligence knows that it is who signs the paycheck (funds the research) that creates the results.

    Having a degree in something does not indicate intelligence and it certainly does not indicate honesty.

    ‘Physicist’ is just a word until you do something noteworthy with it. You could have a degree and be flipping burgers at McDonald’s or unemployed, living in your Mom’s basement.

    I was a carpenter by trade and an architect by career. No degree, yet I designed and built over 20 custom homes in value from $250K to $2M, plus estimated/project managed multi-million dollar commercial projects. You can live in my life’s work. What have YOU personalty done to aid mankind?

  9. FireJack on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 1:40 am 

    Keep posting here Diemos because it’s such a breath of fresh air to see an education opinion over the anti-nuclear cult trash I keep seeing here. It’s no different that dealing with the religious right when you challenge their precious beliefs.

    It becomes really obvious when you see death threats for not agreeing with them.

  10. diemos on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 2:16 am 

    “diemos, do you actually believe anything from a government funded university? I don’t and anyone with intelligence knows that it is who signs the paycheck (funds the research) that creates the results.”

    Science, like all human endeavors is subject to human foibles. However most scientists are trying to accurately understand the world we live in. Cynicism, like most things, should be used in moderation. Especially when you’re using it as an excuse to dismiss results you don’t want to accept.

    “Having a degree in something does not indicate intelligence and it certainly does not indicate honesty.”

    That is very true, as is the opposite. That’s why I show my work, so you can understand and check it for yourself. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of time and effort that people put into following this topic without ever taking an afternoon to crack a book and learn how this stuff works. Once you understand it for yourself you won’t need to take anyones word for anything.

    “‘Physicist’ is just a word until you do something noteworthy with it. You could have a degree and be flipping burgers at McDonald’s or unemployed, living in your Mom’s basement.”

    On the internet, no one knows that you’re a dog. That’s why I show my work. So that you can understand and check it for yourself. Credentials are for sheep that can’t think for themselves..

    “I was a carpenter by trade and an architect by career. No degree, yet I designed and built over 20 custom homes in value from $250K to $2M, plus estimated/project managed multi-million dollar commercial projects. You can live in my life’s work. What have YOU personalty done to aid mankind?”

    Pushed back the frontiers of human knowledge at the sub atomic level. Built detectors for sub atomic particles. Tried to educate people on the internet to evaluate the actual dangers associated with nuclear power, so that they could freak out just the right amount.

    Excessive freaking out deprives the world of a workable power source. Insufficient freaking out leads to complacency and accidents that could poison our world.

    And I know that it’s not going to be a popular opinion but my reaction to watching the aftermath of three reactors melting down is, “There now, that wasn’t so bad was it.” The majority of the human race would never even know that anything had happened if they weren’t told about it on TV.

  11. SilentRunning on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 4:22 am 

    diemos wrote:

    “The researchers detected 2 Bq/kg of CS-137 in bluefin tuna. If you ate one kilogram per day you would ingest 700 Bq per year which would give you an additional 700 Bq * 1.8 microSv/Bq = 13 microSV on top of the 3500 microSv of natural background you already get.”

    Yeah, but what if you ate… like… 100kg per day?? Then you would be getting 1300uSv of radiation – 1/3rd of the natural background radiation!!!! 😀

    As I said in a previous post – you’d die of ultra-extreme obesity looooong before the radiation would get you.

    “10 Bq/m3 (0.01 Bq/L) is the predicted concentration in seawater off the west coast. This is barely detectable even with the best professional equipment.”

    What I never see from any of this hysteria is the slightest evidence that the horrendously high radiation levels they claim are coming are materializing. They’ll post that radiation has been “detected” at some spot or other, but any time an actual reading is mentioned, it’s low to very low.

    “It’s amazing how a bunch of studies that prove that the effects of the fukushima accident will be unnoticeable can be spun as proof of imminent nuclear doom. All you need is a complete lack of mathematics and critical thinking.”

    Don’t forget to throw in a graphic or two claiming that radiation levels all over the west half of the USA will be *750 rads* any day now. I have to wonder – where is this enormous seething blob of radiation hiding?

  12. BillT on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 10:38 am 

    diemos, tech is killing the planet … and you are part of that murder. Any way you try to get out off it, you are still the problem, not the answer.

  13. diemos on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 2:55 pm 

    Sadly I can do nothing about human nature.

    If people were willing to voluntarily limit their numbers then we could get the population down to 300 Million. At that point a mixture of hydro, solar and biofuels would give every one on earth a north american standard of living indefinitely.

    Instead humans will inevitably breed until we are drowning in our own filth. Until the world is frying under a blanket of CO2, the land and sea are poisoned with chemicals and waste, and nuclides are everywhere. I’m still more than willing to bet CO2 will get us before the radiation.

    As for being part of the answer, I am. No kids. How many kids do you have?

  14. luap on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 6:35 pm 

    Got to say it Billt i,m with diemos on all points..I have no kids(we ain’t exactly leaving them much)

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