“The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation” “The Pacific Ocean is Destroyed”
You’ve seen this posted across social media sites and emails. False. Untrue. Balderdash.
The radiation headlines are the most off-base. If you take a minute to check either the EPA Rad-Net or the community based Radiation Network, you will see that radiation levels are actually quite low on the West Coast and have been this whole time since the massive earthquake, resulting tsunami, and major damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility suffered catastrophic damage and failure from the massive Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 resulting in meltdown beginning the next day as cooling equipment failed and poor human response made the meltdown worse. Massive explosions occurred sending radioactive material into the air which did circle the world in minute amounts. Since the facility was located on the coast, with a high water table underneath. thousands of tons of water containing cesium 137 and cesium 134 have been and continue to be released into the Pacific Ocean.
To the issue of the Pacific Ocean and cesium 134 and cesium 137 contamination, a kernel of truth exists there. Radioactive cesium-137 is produced when uranium and plutonium absorb neutrons and undergo fission and has a half-life of 30 years, while cesium 134 has a half life of two years. Scientists monitoring around the Pacific Ocean have detected NO increase in these cesium isotopes. But tuna, a migrating fish species, have measured a very small uptick in cesium.
The reason why there isn’t a problem on the West Coast is because the Pacific Ocean contains 70 million cubic miles of water or 187,189,915,062,857,142,857 gallons, (187 quintillion gallons or 187,189,915,062 billion gallons). Even a million gallons of contaminated water is an immeasurably small amount. And remember that the radioactive materials are already diluted in the water spilling. Please remember the concepts of diffusion (watch this animation) and dispersion where material is distributed.
Really this is the kicker, regarding the bluefin tuna from Professor Nicholas Fisher a distinguished professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University: “In estimating human doses of the Fukushima-derived radioactive cesium in Bluefin tuna, we found that heavy seafood consumers – those who ingest 124 kg/year, or 273 lbs., which is five times the US national average – even if they ate nothing but the Cs-contaminated bluefin tuna off California, would receive radiation doses approximately equivalent to that from one dental x-ray and about half that received by the average person over the course of a normal day from a variety of natural and human sources. The resulting increased incidence of cancers would be expected to be essentially undetectable.”
Would I eat fish caught off the East coast of Japan? No. Would I eat fish caught off Hawaii, Alaska, or California? Yes. Why? Because the data shows I don’t have to be afraid of eating these delicious fish, and because of mercury and heavy metal pollution (unrelated to Fukushima) I already limit my fish intake to approximately once per week.
Why the scaremongering? Money. There is money to be collected in donations for environmental groups, there is economic war between the traditional power source providers like coal, oil, and nuclear versus the new solar and wind companies.
So let’s stay focused on finding a clean, renewable, base load power source like geothermal energy, instead of constantly scaring people.
EDIT October 30, 2013 0326 PDT – The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a health risk assessment on the disaster, and unless you live in Fukushima prefecture, there is basically no risk.
From the report: “Outside of the geographical areas most affected by radiation, even in locations within Fukushima prefecture, the predicted risks remain low and no observable increases in cancer above natural variation in baseline rates are anticipated.”