All The Best, Scientifically Verified, Information on Fukushima Impacts

Earthquake and Tsunami damage-Dai Ichi Power Plant, JapanWith all the misinformation around the internet here are links to articles that we trust. The following provide credible information about what is actually occurring and/or dispel myths about Fukushima radiation that are prevalent on the internet. I will not link to pseudoscience, misinformation, or outright lies in this post or allow them in the comments below.  These posts and ideas have received far more attention and links than they deserve already. I provide the author, their credentials, a statement of the misinformation if applicable, the take home message, and my favorite quotes.

  1. My favorite magazine growing up, Popular Mechanics, has a very nice write up about understanding radiation counts from radiation safety expert Andrew Karam. Andrew Karam has over 30 years of experience in health physics (radiation safety), beginning with an eight-year stint as a mechanical operator and radiation safety specialist in the Navy. Since then, Karam has worked for the State of Ohio, Ohio State University, the University of Rochester and as a private consultant. Favorite Quote: “In the areas of Japan I visited, radiation dose rates were elevated to about three to four times typical natural radiation dose rates (which are about .1 mrem per hour), but nowhere near as high as natural radiation levels I’ve measured in parts of Iran.”
  2. Is the west coast being fried by Fukushima radiation? Dr. Andrew Thaler, a marine biologist and chief editor of Southern Fried Science, totally dismantles Michael Snyder’s Activist post 28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima.  Take Home: No and the Snyder article distorts the truth and outright lies to advocate for his position.  Favorite Quote: “The article is a paranoid, poorly reasoned attempt to link the tragedy of the Fukushima disaster to just about every environmental issue facing the US west coast in the last few months.”
  3. Are high radiation readings being observed on the west coast of the United States?  No doubt you’ve seen the video of a man in San Francisco, California using a Geiger Counter showing high radiation readings on the beach.  Enter Dan Sythe, the CEO of International Medcom Inc. that develops and produces radiation detection instruments and systems. Dan has a list of impressive credentials on everything Geiger Counter related. At the Geiger Counter Bulletin, he tests the same California sand and compares it to readings from Fukushima. Take Home: The radiation signature in the coastal sands is normal and is not the same as from Fukushima.  Favorite Quote: “The radionuclides are in the NORM class of radioactive substances, not from Fukushima. NORM stands for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material…If the sand were contaminated by radiation from Fukushima it would show Cesium 137 [it does not].”  Super Favorite Bonus Quote: “The radiation level [in the sand] is elevated, but roughly equivalent to some granite counter top material from Brazil.”
  4. Related to the above, Wendy Hopkins an Information Officer of the California Department of Public Health, has made a public statement.  Favorite Quote: “Recent tests show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident. There is no public health risk at California beaches due to radioactivity related to events at Fukushima.” By the way, Dean Peterson, Director for Environmental Health Services for San Mateo County, also stated that the radiation is due to naturally occurring minerals typically found in coastal geology.
  5. Dr. Jay T. Cullen, an Associate Professor of marine chemistry at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, researches the fate of metals that can be toxic and/or essential nutrients for organisms in the marine environment. He has an excellent set of articles at the Daily Kos including this primer and this one. Question: Is radiation, in the form of Cesium, reaching the west coast?  Favorite Quote/Take Home: “Most recent measurements show that Fukushima derived Cs has reached the west coast as of June 2013 by ocean transport but that concentrations of Cs continue to be well below levels thought to pose environmental or public health threats.”  Question: Is cesium being found in fish? Favorite Quote/Take Home: “Like fish sampled thus far in the north Pacific the contribution of Cs to overall exposure of human consumers to radiation by consuming these fish is very small.
  6. Are babies in the U.S. dying as a direct result of Fukushima radiation?  Michael Moyer is a writer and editor at Scientific American and writes about these concerns (Post 1, Post 2).  The first post deals with an unpublished study where “researchers” cherry picked data to fit their agenda.  This group revised their analyses and now have a “published study” that is so fundamentally flawed it’s not worth mentioning. Take Home: Babies in the U.S. are not dying from Fukushima radiation.  Favorite Quotes: “A check [of the data] reveals that the authors’ statistical claims are critically flawed—if not deliberate mistruths…picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics.” But my all time favorite quote is this baby that comes across as a stern gentlemanly slap to the face, “No attempt is made at providing systematic error estimates, or error estimates of any kind. No attempt is made to catalog any biases that may have crept into the analysis, though a cursory look finds biases a-plenty (the authors are anti-nuclear activists unaffiliated with any research institution). The analysis assumes that the plume arrived on U.S. shores, spread everywhere, instantly, and started killing people immediately. It assumes that the “excess” deaths after March 20 are a real signal, not just a statistical aberration, and that every one of them is due to Fukushima radiation.”
  7. Skeptoid is an award winning blog and podcast dedicated to everything anti-science.  The show is produced and hosted by Brian Dunning, a computer scientist who turned toward public engagement.  If you want the unbiased and most critical assessment of any issue tune into them. A writer for Skeptoid, Michael Rothechild, has been providing background on the people making many of the alarmist claims on the impacts of Fukushima.  Favorite Quote 1: “The piece was written by Gary Stamper, who runs “Collapse into Consciousness,” a website devoted to surviving the supposed coming collapse of society.” Michael has a series of posts that tackle the pseudoscientific claims being made about radioactive fish, whether we will all face a cesium soaked death, and a whole list of common claims about Fukushima. Make sure you read the last one especially.  Favorite Quote 2: “Obviously, the situation at Fukushima is distressing, and not at all something that should be shrugged off. But compounding it with scaremongering about our food supply does nothing productive for anyone. But I urge you to make that decision based on sound scientific research and testable claims, not hysterical screeds backed by supposition and fear.”
  8. The list wouldn’t be complete without including Deep-Sea News posts. Dr. Kim Martini, a physical oceanographer, wrote an excellent post about Fukushima radiation that separates fact from fiction. Question: Is everyone on the west coast swathed in Fukushima radiation? Take Home: No. Favorite Quote: “This is not a map of Fukushima Radiation spreading across the Pacific. This is a map of the estimated maximum wave heights of the Japanese Tohuku Tsunami by modelers at NOAA.”
  9. Dr. Miriam Goldstein, a biological oceanographer now working on policy in D.C., wrote about recent studies of Fukushima radiation in fish.  The title states the take home message: radiation levels were detectable but not hazardous. Favorite Quote: “So teeny fish in the waters off Japan just a few months after Fukushima had such low levels of radioactivity that they are considered safe to eat under Japanese law. And of this radioactivity, only 10-30% of the total radioactivity found in marine life was attributable to the Fukushima discharges – the rest was from naturally occurring radionuclides… tuna caught off California contains ten times LESS radiation than even the strictest food limit. What’s the theme? DETECTABLE but not HAZARDOUS”
  10. Dr. Chris Mah is a researcher at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and one of the world’s leading experts on starfish and echinoderms in general.  Chris’s post here at DSN debunks the claim that the starfish dying on the west coast have anything to do with the Fukushima incident. Favorite Quote: “If there were waves of Fukushima radiation pouring onto the coast-and “melting” all the starfish as some folks would suggest, EVERYTHING would be dead. Not just the sea stars. Note also that all the divers involved in these surveys have reported NO ill effects.”
  11. I wrote about whether dead and irradiated animals were littering the Pacific floor. I am a deep-sea biologist and over the last several years my research has focused on the biodiversity of deep-sea communities off the California coast.  Like many others, I am also working toward understanding how deep-sea life will respond to increased anthropogenic impacts, particularly climate change.  This resulted in a high profile publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. My favorite quote of myself: “Nowhere does the paper or the press release mention radiation or Fukushima. Nilch, negatory, nadda, never. But this is not good enough for staff writer Ethan Hunt and other outlets that continue to recycle this story.”
  12. I finish the list by quoting Michael Rothechild again. “I believe the anxiety about the meltdown and its aftermath comes from a mix of negativity toward nuclear power, hostility toward plant operators TEPCO (which is well-deserved in most cases), a lack of knowledge about basic science, distrust of experts (who are seen as dishonest shills) and the common habit of sharing social content that’s driven by strong negative emotions – often without understanding it, and sometimes without even reading it.”

I understand why people are scared and concerned.  I grew up in the age of imminent nuclear destruction (does anyone else remember doing nuclear attack drills in schools that were very similar to tornado drills?).  My generation and the baby boomers before us were steeped in a pot of nuclear fear and skepticism. As Kim stated in her post, “While there are terrible things that happened around the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan; Alaska, Hawaii and the West Coast aren’t in any danger.  These posts were meant to scare people (and possibly written by terrified authors). They did just that, but there is a severe lack of facts in these posts.”  I caution everyone to thoroughly evaluate all claims and look at the biases and expertise of those making them.

Dr. M (1622 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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89 comments on “All The Best, Scientifically Verified, Information on Fukushima Impacts
  1. Dr M really looks professional, like some drug addict with those sunglasses. This looks like some apologist site for Scientism and the elites. If you scientists, so called, are so freakin smart, then why did Fukushima meltdown in the first place? some scientists and engineers full of hubris, have caused a colossal mess they haven’t a clue about how to fix, just make a lot of denial claims about how minor it all is! Science and Scientism, the belief in Science, science as a sectarian faith like Al Qaeda of Science, are not the same things. Experience will reveal the truth, as it already has with the meltdown and colossal failure to fix the unfolding mess. Your spiel resonates bogus, I don’t believe you. Traders in mathematical concepts without an iota of real perception.

    • This clearly violates DSN’s commenting policy but it is too good not to let through.

      “drug addict with those sunglasses” and “Al Qaeda of Science”

      Priceless

      • Decent of you to post the comment, because the author, though a bit emotive, gets close to hitting the nail on the head. There needs to be a balance. . .intellectualizing away fear is as bad as too much fear, both of which lead to paralysis. A little fear is a reasonable response to an unknown state of nuclear meltdown. And such fear is a great motivator, one the world community needs to dig in and support the Japanese in what will prove a decades long cleanup. Kudos on allowing a fine post!

        • Exactly. This discussion needs balance, and the author provides it. He cites the works of working scientists who are not nuclear energy specialists. Read the scientific literature for the facts.

      • Here’s something you missed…the quote is for the ATLANTIC ocean. Well gosh it just wasn’t clear to you, eh? Question: Is cesium being found in fish? Favorite Quote/Take Home: “Like fish sampled thus far in the NORTH PACIFIC the contribution of Cs to overall exposure of human consumers to radiation by consuming these fish is very small.“
        He actually says NORTH ATLANTIC you …..

        • Full quote from article

          “A recently published study by Kanisch and Aust of the Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology in Hamburg reports that Fukushima sourced cesium (Cs) has been detected in fish collected in the north Atlantic Ocean. Like fish sampled thus far in the north Pacific the contribution of Cs to overall exposure of human consumers to radiation by consuming these fish is very small. In the Atlantic given that only modest atmospheric deposition of Cs has occurred radiation from Cs isotopes to human fish consumers is 26000-fold lower than the naturally occurring isotope polonium-210. The authors conclude that the typical consumption of 10kg of affected fish per year”

          So umm yeah…I had it right

    • rarr!
      let’s blame all of SCIENCE for fukushima’s failure!

      furthermore, when was the last time Science did anything for humanity?

      The scientists are all just trying to kill us!

    • Did this person actually compare the author to a drug addict because he was wearing sunglasses in the photo?

      How much more ad hominem can you get?

      Furthermore, if this is a “apologist site for Scientism”, you must be the webmaster of the “apologist site for Ignorantism”.

    • “like some drug addict with those sunglasses.” – Do you know what drug addicts ACTUALLY look like? Naw, you probably don’t. I don’t hold that against you. It’s a good thing. However, take your uninformed slander elsewhere.

      “If you scientists, so called, are so freakin smart, then why did Fukushima meltdown in the first place?” – Corporate greed, lack of regulation, lack of emergency preparedness and mitigation strategies on the part of the company for the most part. Very few informed people that took a look at the situation pre meltdown would have said things were in order and safe.
      Your next sentence sorta didn’t make any sense. It was just a long string of words thrown together.
      “I don’t believe you.” – Ok? That’s the funny thing about reality. It doesn’t care weather you believe it or not.

      You got any compelling evidence that Fukishima is having a significant impact on international geographies or peoples, please share. However, I caution you. Don’t share bogus uncited garbage that amounts to ‘YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID BECAUSE RADIATION IS SCARY MKAY SCARED!’. Bring numbers, statistics, biological evidence.. a peer reviewed journal or two maybe? Some actual experts in the field of radioactive elements and their effects perhaps?

      When presented with evidence you can’t just say ‘yeah, well you’re wrong cuz I say so!’. That is an invalid retort. You are just some guy on the internet. If you want to actually have any impact on anyone you are going to need to bring evidence that rivals your debate opponent. Otherwise you just look silly.

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  3. Also Safecast, who have measured radioactivity in Northern Japan and in greater Tokyo area since 3/11, are a non-partisan, scientific volunteer group.

  4. I support sound science regarding Fukushima, but I’m afraid there is a dearth of information to determine what is occurring with Fukushima.

    According to Ken Breussler, Senior Scientist at Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution, there is no effort by the U.S. Government to monitor radiation off our coast. He has called for such an effort, but was told that it was unlikely.

    But, some things we do know. 93 billion becquerels of radioactivity have been estimated by the authorities in Japan to being released daily. Fukushima has over 20 times more fresh and spent fuel than Chernobyl. And, much of this is vulnerable to criticality during this delicate removal phase that TEPCO is now undertaking. TEPCO is a company that has demonstrated to have repeatedly lied to the public, and unfortunately, instead of insisting on greater transparency, the Japanese government is passing a state’s secrets law, that would jail the public and reporters for whistle-blowing (this act was hailed by Washington, by the way).

    The crisis will likely continue for decades; estimates of 40-60 years of continual leaking of radionuclides into the environment seem certain, potentially at higher levels than we have seen thus far.

    So, to review: We really do not know the extent of the crisis – due to distortions, lying, cover-up, or lack of efforts to monitor its effects. This is fertile ground for
    both alarmist speculation, and in response, assertions that “everything is OK.” Neither of these positions are useful, or intellectually defensible.

    Scientists should be insisting on 1. An international oversight body to advise an observe the operations to contain the crisis, and 2. An international team of scientists from a broad background to determine the
    human and ecological effects, and 3. Transparency to the fullest extent so that the most current information may be reviewed and understood by the public and the press.

    • Yeah, this is the real problem–we need unbiased experts at the table and transparency. If Dave is wrong, please debunk what he says.

      • Easy response.

        While Dave is correct concerning TEPCO and their betrayal of accurate reporting (which is an issue of public distrust in corporations and government and was addressed above), this does not change the evidence as it stands.

        1. These credible articles listed are written by oceanographic researchers, most of whom have no political interest in the topic aside from sustainability, habitat conservation, and species preservation in our oceans.

        2. Perpetuating this misinformation about Fukushima radiation detracts from more pressing human-caused problems in the ocean i.e. garbage pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, climate change, etc.

        3. Many of these ‘pseudoscience’ articles are written with political interest by anti-nuclear activists and writers. Other articles seem to be written by websites that engage in fear-mongering tactics to accumulate viewership.

        Needless to say, there are also a few well-intentioned (but misinformed) holistic doctors writing on the topic.

        4. It is naive at best to believe that third parties aren’t investigating the effects on their own and providing unbiased, educated responses about the scenario.

        5. Nuclear power has a bad rap from misinformation and bad regulation of currently built power plants. Nuclear technology, however, may have an critical role in the clean, sustainable energy of the future. It is important to remain unbiased and really do research about these things. If you look at the radiation from coal-plants, you’ll be surprised how much is released. Also, researching Thorium and Molten-Salt Reactors is eye-opening when thinking potential solutions to sustainable energy for societies around the world.

        TLDR lets not downplay Fukushima, but in-turn, lets pay attention to the other, more pertinent issues regarding the health of our oceans. (if we care about the ocean)

    • Hi Dave, I’m curious as to where you got that number of 93 billion Bq of radiation per day. Estimates by Jota Kanda are a bit less at 10 billion Bq per day.

      http://www.nature.com/news/ocean-still-suffering-from-fukushima-fallout-1.11823

      Regardless, while this seems like a big number, even at the higher rate you state this means at most an additional 0.1 PBq has been released into the ocean from Fukushima. When you compare to the initial release 30 PBq per month, this number is incredibly small so the additional input is negligible compared to the first plume. The radiation that has been detected off the west coast is from this initial plume and is at harmless levels (20000 times less than the maximum safe levels for drinking water), which means the smaller amount of radiation from the additional leakage will also not be harmful.

      You also need to take into account that there are different types of radiation that are decaying and therefore the total radiation is going down with time. And how harmful it is depends on the type of radiation. Here’s a good post that deals with the worst case scenario. http://blogs.fas.org/sciencewonk/2014/01/foolish-consistency/

      I understand that your skepticism because TEPCO really hasn’t been forthcoming. But the reason we know that there is still radiation leaking is because scientists have gone out, tested the water and found too much radiation, which eventually forced TEPCO to come clean about the leak. In the end, I definitely think we should monitor, but I do believe that the west coast and the greater pacific outside of japan is at harm from fukushima radiation.

      • Hi Kim, I really appreciate your efforts and ongoing discussion.

        “The radiation that has been detected off the west coast is from this initial plume and is at harmless levels (20000 times less than the maximum safe levels for drinking water), which means the smaller amount of radiation from the additional leakage will also not be harmful.”

        I would like to ask you what determines “safe levels” of radiation? The reason I ask is that it seems like the Japanese government and EPA (possibly other organizations as well) have increased the amounts deemed safe after Fukushima.

        This is quite a concern and makes their systems look like nothing more than a way to get potentially false terms like “safe levels” and “under the limit” out there to the public.

        I also have a concern that sometimes dosage is not an accurate way to assess risk. I imagine there is a difference to merely being superficially exposed a radioactive particle and breathing/ingesting it. This is a topic that seems to be regularly overlooked.

        Thank you for your time and attention.

    • Dave, you can easily calculate how many grams of waste that would likely be using a simple specific radioactivity equation posted all over the net..

    • Thanks! A voice of reason finally in these comments. As for the author of this story … Hmm. So you’re saying everything is just roses, huh? That’s pretty ridiculous. What’s more, it’s impossible.

  5. I suspect all of the above is valuable, and have been dismayed by the prevalence of unscientific, fear-mongering nonsense I’ve been reading. As an ideological skeptic, I appreciate what I’m reading here.

    That said, it’s ridiculous to say that Skeptoid is “unbiased”. There’s probably no such thing as being “unbiased”, certainly not when talking about a podcast devoted to skepticism. If someone said that -I- were unbiased about anything important, I’d have to demur.

      • Hi Kim, and thanks for all of your info. Can you tell me, will the radiation from events at Chernobyl, Fukishima, etc. decrease due to degradation and not just dilution? If so, how long would this take? Also, if we see no major destruction to marine life, is it safe to assume that the water is not that contaminated? Wouldn’t coral, starfish, other animals die from constant exposure if the water was THAT contaminated? Thanks.

      • A translated snippit from enenews.com, a March 15, 2013 NHK article regarding the rate of contamination stated:
        “[...] According to the calculation, 44% of seawater inside the harbor is replaced by the current and the tides in one day. In order for the cesium-137 density to be what is published, 8 to 93 billion becquerels per day must be flowing into the harbor. [...]”
        I was not able to verify this quote at the NHK website myself, but the quote is a RANGE of 8 to 93 billion.

        • So obviously a good journalist is forced to just use 93 billion when reporting on this. [/sarcasm]

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    • Yes, Dave wins the category for best answer.

      Except for the part where he quoted numbers and time estimates without listing any sources where he got that info. The only person he referenced was someone who said there is no effort by the US government to monitor radiation off of our coast, which is misdirection because plenty of private entities monitor that and make their methods and results public, making government oversight unnecessary.

      So…he really didn’t give a good answer at all. Just some numbers that he may or may not have pulled out of thin air. Whereas the author of the article as well as the best person to respond to him provided links to their sources.

      • Thank you Dr. M.

        Many will link to your article so I believe you should better define its scope – revise the headline or it *is* misleading.

        I wish I could find a non-advocacy source of info. Someone needs to speak for the marine life because of potential cascading effects of the ongoing release of contamination which we just learned about this summer (tho TEPCO was releasing info about its “ice wall” design last March). It seems Deep Sea News has gained crediblity and you guys could do it.

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  8. I don’t want to feed the troll, but, what I fear the most in all this is that we close more nuclear power plant and replace them not with solar power or wind turbines, but with power plants using fossil-fuel. I don’t know what the leakage will do locally, nor globally, but I think it is pretty well established that corals and marine ecosystems are not that fond of global ocean acidification and heating.

  9. Crabe, I agree with you. Unfortunately, since we can’t predict every human error, accident or environmental catastrophe, we need clean, renewable, non-polluting and safe energy sources, and we need them NOW.

  10. Thanks for your research, it seems to say that things aren’t as bad as some people fear; but your article DOESN’T say there is no danger at all. For me, the jury is still out until there is more consensus.

    • We are currently saying there is no danger for those in the U.S. I want to be clear we are not saying that there is not a disaster occurring now Fukushima or that the effects locally in Japan are not severe. We plan to have some posts in the next week or so that discuss some of these things closer to the reactor.

  11. Thank you for the information. Last week I had requested some real scientific information because of the article I read on facebook(which I never considered a source of good stuff). This is exactly what I was hoping for.

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  13. Thank you. I hope this will help the mislead. Job well done.
    I not saying that any of this is ok, just don’t like the fear they are generating. We have plenty to fear about this with out the lies.

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  15. This headline should read, “All The Best, Scientifically Verified, Information on the Impacts on the US West Coast from the Fukushima Incident of March 2011″.

    Note how often the sources cited mention “the incident”, “were released”, etc. And most of them date before TEPCOs July 2013 “revelation” (love that word) of continuous groundwater seepage. So any study design – modeling or monitoring – that doesn’t take that in to account must be called out.

    Deep Sea’s selection of scarmongering articles to debunk is like shooting fish in a barrel [heh] – I agree, most of them are hooey. But they only address that one issue.

    But as a water quality specialist with experience in both surface runoff and groundwater, and persistent toxics, I have sought reliable information on impacts on the food web (not confined to Californians’ sushi concerns). And I’m not findining it. We can’t count on journalists to analyze this.

    The melted reactors are so dangerous they can’t get humans, or even robots, near enough to assess them, but there’s no danger to the marine environment?

    The groundwater flowing through the melted reactors and to the sea – along with freshwater seeps on the sea floor – can’t be measured, aren’t being controlled, are invisible – and yet they could go on for decades and dilution will take care of it? Heard anything about the ice wall planned to surround the plant and route the groundwater around it recently? Me neither. Maybe it’s because disrupting that hydrological regime would cause the entire site to sink?

    We know little about radiological health and epidemiology of the entire marine food chain (see: Sellafield). Dr. Buessler says, well, maybe in the future you won’t want to eat sardines because the Strontium 90 accumulates in their bones. What about what the sardines eat, and what eats the sardines? What morbidity, mortality, and mutagenic effects can be expected on all these species?

    They have to continue to flood the cores with cooling water. There is a water storage crunch at the (shoddily constructed and operated) tank farm. They can’t get the ALPS (advanced liquid processing system) to work. The plan was to discharge treated water (of all but tritium) in to the sea. As of now, the pumped cooling water plus as much additional leaking groundwater as they can get is going in to the tanks. But they are running out of space.

    The entire site is contaminated of course (see personal protection equipment worn by workers), so every time it rains – a little or a lot – that surface runoff flows into the sea.

    I don’t believe the melting starfish stories, poor old Dr. Caldicott (sorry), Russia Today, or Dr. Y from FAS. The potential criticality at Reactor 4 is above my pay grade. But I do know there is plutonium at Reactor 3. This needs the attention of skilled and unbiased scientists and engineers. Adults only, please. The nuclear engineers can go home; your job is done. We need hydroglogists and marine biologists – and Kim, I tried to correspond with you, and your and Dr. M’s subsequent work is not reflecting these issues. (Stop citing from 2011 reports! They didn’t have the full scope of the situation.)

    I’m starting to believe in the international nuke media suppression. Someone, please, provide me wrong by referring me to a good resource who is addressing these issues!

    • Kimberly,

      “This headline should read, “All The Best, Scientifically Verified, Information on the Impacts on the US West Coast from the Fukushima Incident of March 2011″.” You are right and it was not my intention to mislead. As I mentioned above in the comments, I (and we at DSN) are not down playing the disaster at Fukushima, especially what local Japanese impacts may be, rather just trying to separate fact from fiction.

      • Thank you Dr. M.

        Many will link to your article so I believe you should better define its scope – revise the headline or it *is* misleading.

        I wish I could find a non-advocacy source of info. Someone needs to speak for the marine life because of potential cascading effects of the ongoing release of contamination which we just learned about this summer (tho TEPCO was releasing info about its “ice wall” design last March). It seems Deep Sea News has gained crediblity and you guys could do it.

        • I am not going to revise the headline. Because this is all the best information I know of. However, you are free to include links to other credible information here in the links. I have included all that I know of after extensive searching. I will address others issues as I and we have the time. Keep in mind this is pro bono work and we all have full time positions.

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  17. Hi Kim,

    There is a wealth of information at the open-access journal Biogeosciences. You can access that information here: http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/special_issue100.html

    W/r/t Pu a very good source is this study published in Nature in October 2013 by Schneider et al. The take home from their work is that it appears that there has been limited release of Pu from Reactors 1-3. Estimates suggest ~0.002% of the >5.6 kg in the reactors was lost to the environment. They have found that most Pu in the environment they sampled is the result of weapons test fallout but that very localized deposition of Pu from Fukushima has occurred as evidenced by the detection of one plant sample with a diagnostic reactor isotope signature. Given the potential harm Pu can cause clearly more monitoring with an effort to determine the spatial extent of deposition is required. http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/131018/srep02988/full/srep02988.html

  18. I posted some of the information on this site regarding Fukushima in the chat box on a site called Fukushima-diary.com. I included links to everything. I was blatantly cursed and mocked by people there and then the owner of the site, Mochizuki, removed my posts!! It was interesting to read the comments though as it made me realize they were parroting rather than seeking to learn anything. ignorance is a dangerous thing in many ways. Those people are easily lead by fear, they are not capable of directing their own lives.

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  20. This article projects a dangerously false sense of security by only finding nonsense to debunk. It totally fails to present the continuing disaster based on the scientifically known information.

    For instance, see this from Physics Today: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/article/66/11/10.1063/PT.3.2173 . As the most recent publication on Fukushima from the flagship journal of The American Institute of Physics, I would consider this article to be one the -first- place to find “The Best, Scientifically Verified, Information on Fukushima Impacts.” And, surprise, surprise, the Physics Today article generally agrees with the comments of the other dubious posters above regarding the need for more and better oversight and the danger of the situation.

    • Denise,
      Please note my comments above. This is just the first of many posts we plan on Fukushima. The list above was the things most often showed up in my email and Facebook. These were the largest stories so these are the ones I tackled. I also regret the unfortunate use of the word “All” to imply anything more than this was a simple link round of up all that I familiar with.

      I do not disagree with the need for more science and more oversight and I don’t believe I stated otherwise above.

      Thank you for the link.

      • Dr. M:

        I’m glad to read that, in the future, you plan to present a balanced perspective. I urge you to wait no longer than today. It will take mere moments to clarify the position and intent of this post by revising the title and introductory paragraph. I agree that the “All” is particularly galling. Why is it necessary to continue feeding the trolls who assert that scientists are paid shills who are hiding the truth? This post is dangerous, at best.

        Regards,
        Denise Burchsted, PE, PhD

        • Denise,
          The above is a balanced perspective. I am sorry with a full time position, DSN occurs in my “free time” as pro bono work, I cannot write everything about Fukushima today. I don’t think the use of all is particularly troublesome…it was at the time all of the information I knew of that was scientifically credible. You are free to supply other credible sources here.

          I do not see how this post is dangerous. What is dangerous is creating panic and alarm for no reason. I believe the intent of the post is stated clearly in the first paragraph.

    • Denise,
      There has been a lot of goalpost-shifting on the Fukushima radiation alarmism — when you point out to people there’s no evidence of any health threat on the West Coast from the existing Fukushima radiation, they’ll start talking about how TEPCO has been incompetent and deceitful — which may be true, but has nothing directly to do with epidemiology. People jump from “Fukushima is a disaster zone” to “the West Coast should be evacuated.”

      You can debunk the one issue — as Deep Sea News has been going — without dismissing the severity of the other.

      • I do agree that the moving target is problematic. I focused above on that which as been prominent in the news, especially on those issues focused on the oceans (we are a ocean blog). Thanks for commenting.

  21. I have been emailing people who are broadcasting about California beach radiation to notify them of a much more likely source for it.

    http://1.usa.gov/196fryj

    That is an EPA report from 1976 on the nukes dump that is approximately thirty miles due west of that beach.

    Nobody is answering me! Nobody is showing any evidence of having heard me.

  22. Aside from any hype that may or may not have been based on the science of the 1980s, it looks like there’s actually a fairly extensive national monitoring and mitigation program in place to address acid rain: http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/

  23. Can you deny the posting of radon at 32,000 ft and is coming down in the form of snow or rain as far as Indiana, Michigan, New York, Atlanta. Both the snow and rain is showing an increase for January.

    • LOL!
      Really?
      Do you have any clue at all about what you are talking about?

      Radon is naturally occurring. It is everywhere. It comes from the decay of all the uranium and thorium present in rocks and soil all over the planet.

      In fact radon does not come from nuclear plants and actually causes them some small irritation, because the normal simple sampling of the air for the release of radioactive material can’t tell the difference between stuff from the reactor and the natural radon. So more expensive tests have to be run to determine whether radon is present or not.

      Levels of radon vary based on a number of factors. Even changes in the weather affect the levels of natural radon. So my guess would be that any increase for January is a result of the slightly unusual weather pattern that North America has been seeing lately.

      And if you are really worried about radon then I hope you don’t have any granite counter tops or marble in your house. As both of them release radon every minute of every day.

  24. No sir Mr Palmer, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Thats why I’m on these websites trying to learn something and figure out what is truth and what is bull.
    Yes I did know that radon is all around us. And a certain amount in some devices used every day, blah, blah, blah,. But you say that radon is not found anywhere in a nuclear power plant, nor can particles be found in the air after a melt down such as Fukushima? Except on my kitchen counter top? LOL….. FYI my house does not have any marble in it. I have seen supposed charts from Fukushima and from California. But for people that are ignorant about what is really happening (most likely the majority) we know we can’t believe the government and we can’t believe the conspiracy theorist. So I have to just try and learn a little hear and a little there.

    Thanks everyones patience!

    • “Can you deny the posting of radon at 32,000 ft…”

      Nope sorry, that isn’t the statement of someone ‘…on these websites trying to learn something…’, it is the statement of someone trying to spread FUD.

      “But you say that radon is not found anywhere in a nuclear power plant” No I didn’t, I said radon does not come from nuclear plants. In fact I explained why the naturally occurring radon that is everywhere (which would include nuclear plants) is a problem.

      “nor can particles be found in the air after a melt down such as Fukushima” I never said that either. Since I said radon is everywhere it is obviously in the air after a melt down, it just didn’t come from the melt down.

  25. The knocking down of straw-men exposes the intention of this author to deceive. ” fried by Fukushima radiation”. Well I guess that if we are not getting fried by Fukushima radiation, then we are all completely safe. No, NIKOLAS posted the best comment.

    UC Berkeley reported that we were breathing 5 particles per hour from Fukushima. Any single one of those particles that gets comfy at a single position in your body for a long time could begin a cancer at that location. That is how most cancers from radioactive particles occur. They are caused by a single particle and can never be proven to be caused by radioactive releases. While no single case can be proven, this HAS been proven by Dr John Goffman’s exhaustive study on the effects of Chernobyl. All of Fukushima’s releases increase YOUR risk of getting cancer. Bioaccumulation, global shipping, ignorance, hubris, and deception all increase your risk of getting cancer, and even more so, your children’s risk of getting cancer. Dr Goffman’s exhaustive study DOES prove that children in the US will die from Fukushima particles, even though the study is about Chernobyl, and predates Fukushima.

    Remember also that unit #3 was using MOX fuel, and those spent MOX rods may be in multiple pools.

    Tell the people with cancer from Fukishima,( if you could find them,) that it’s “Safe”. It’s the inability to pin the cancer on the particle that keeps these liars afloat.

    It doesn’t take a scientist to smell deception.

    • I think it’s good to knock down some faulty information that is being spread around. So I have hope that these guys aren’t trying to deceive.

      However, answering my post as well as this one will go a long way to revealing the truth. I hope that our concerns are in error so that I can sleep a lot better. As it is, it’s disconcerting to have no replies to my post and no replies to Rocco’s post (although I realize this one is still new).

    • By the way Rocco, do you have a source for that UC Berkeley report you mentioned? I can’t seem to dig it up.

  26. Very good article. I have a question: the downplaying of Cs137 as an environmental threat relies heavily on comparison between Cs 137 and other naturally occurring radioactive isotopes, particular Po210, which are apparently both more dangerous and present in background natural levels at higher concentrations than Cs even in inland coastal waters of Japan.

    Is it valid to make this comparison? What is the residence time within the human body of Po compared to Cs? Sure, Po isotopes may do more atomic trauma with those alpha particles, but does the weighting system in converting Grays to Sieverts take account of how long various isotopes remain resident in human tissue once bio-incorporated?

    • The Annual Limit on Intake (ALI) for a given isotope takes into account it’s residence time, it’s mode of decay, it’s energy of decay and the location in the body where it accumulates.

      It also varies for the same isotope in different chemical forms because the body will absorb and handle the same element differently when it is in different chemical combinations. An example (although not radioactive) is how methyl mercury is much more dangerous if ingested than inorganic mercury compounds as the body will absorb more of the methyl mercury.

  27. Hi Craig .. I would love to hear and “good news” coming out of this fubar event seeing as my son is stationed on Okinawa but it is what it is.. In light of the fact that greed and selfishness caused this in the first place the anti nuke power folk will have their day in the sun.. Wouldn’t this be a good time instead of saying its not that bad to tell folk about thorium liquid salt reactors a cheap safe alternative to these hot nukes that cant be contained??

  28. You pro nuke idiots are using this as a pacifier for the sheeple beginning to wake up to nuclear insanity. Andrew Karam’s Popular Mechanics article is WEAK WEAK WEAK. He did nothing to convince me, nor anyone who reads his article criticially. He didn’t even try to use statistics. His overall point is, don’t worry its safe, it will dilute. That’s not science. But it is spoken like a true radiation safety specialist.

    • “You pro nuke idiots are using this as a pacifier for the sheeple beginning to wake up to nuclear insanity.” This is violation of our commenting policy. This is will be your only warning.

  29. OK, so I’ve followed a pretty solid research trail that tells me that Cesium is not a great problem in the marine environment for 4 basic reasons:

    1. Cs is readily adsorbed onto silt particles in turbid environments, and becomes non-bioavailable through this mechanism. Aqueous Cs is also absorbed out of solution by phytoplankton, forming another pathway for sequestration.
    2. Cs has relatively low bioaccumulation factors (BCFs)- about 100 for fish.
    3. Cs has a comparable whole body biological half life to Po210 and K40 (approximately 50-100 days), making them directly comparable in terms of the danger that ingesting these isotopes represents. This is the basis for many of the studies done suggesting that ingestion of fish with elevated levels of Cs is safe because the radioactive dose from Cs is an order of magnitude lower than from naturally occuring Po210 in seawater.

    OK. So far, so good. Now what about Strontium. Not so good.

    1. Sr does not adsorb on to silt particles. Instead remains hydroscopic and forms a weak ionic bond with silt particles, meaning it remains bioavailable over time.
    2. Sr has very high BCR (50,000 for fish).
    3. Sr has an estimated whole body biological half life of 50 years.

    Sr remains resident in the human body for over 400 times longer than Po210 and 200 times longer than Cs37.

    Longer biological half life is NOT included as a weighted factor when converting Grays to Sieverts, thus meaning that any measurement of Sr one sees Sieverts is potentially misleading, to the extent of 3 or more orders of magnitude.

    Food for thought…

    Has anyone noticed how TEPCO have refused to release Sr monitoring results? And how Sr is strangely missing from most of the studies that have been put out claiming that effects of Fukushima will be localised only?

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