Enough Of The Fukushima Radiation Scaremongering Already

Shutterstock image nuclear power
Shutterstock image nuclear power
NOT a picture of Fukushima Daiichi

“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.”

Radiation Netowkr
Radiation Network

Inconsistencies Regarding Clean Energy

Watch the video above. It was presented to me as a great David versus Goliath story of “green” energy triumphing over Xcel Energy in Boulder, Colorado.

There are so many problems with the video, I simply cannot address them all.

Starting off, the wildfires in Colorado are presented as if there have never been worse fires. This is a complete falsehood that media outlets are perpetrating due to a lack of historical knowledge. Did you know that wildfires were actually worse before the European settlers? Native Americans intentionally burned large amounts of North America and did it regularly to alter the ecosystem. So much for tabula rasa regarding the indigenous people. Also there is significant evidence for the argument that settlers actually helped reduce forest fires and our movement toward naturalism in our forests have exacerbated the fires.

There are also two primary problems in “clean” energy: what is your definition of clean energy, and is the clean energy proposed a baseload power source. For all that video does to market what Boulder is doing, they ignore that coal plants are only being replaced by natural gas plants due to the reduced cost of natural gas for the power companies. As Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment California said on my show, no coal plant has been shut down in California with all of our clean energy mandates.

I suggest the entire environmental movement has been taken by other big money interests as there are hundreds of billions of dollars per year to be made in solar and wind. The subsidies for those industries are enormous and we still don’t have energy storage addressing when the sun isn’t shining and/or the wind isn’t blowing. Let alone the environmental damage happening in China (out of sight, out of mind anyone?) due to rare earth mineral mining, theft of the entire solar panel industry, and the massive pollution due to transportation of those Chinese-made solar panels all the way across the Pacific Ocean to our shores.

That’s right, are you going to turn off your television, computer, refrigerator, power charger, lights, microwave, and more when the sun goes behind a cloud or the wind dies down? This is the elephant in the room regarding non-baseload power sources. Thus we still need coal, oil, and nuclear power plants.

Everyone seems to ignore geothermal as the only clean, baseload power source that emits no pollution at all. And that is because there isn’t enough money to be made from geothermal, unlike solar and wind. 

Lastly, none of the above address the fundamental problem of a centralized power grid. Why not move to a neighborhood grid model where neighborhoods are in control and can choose what is best for them? For example, this solid oxide fuel cell could power a whole neighborhood. Or your development might choose solar panels on every roof, a windmill near the community pool, and a natural gas generator behind the pond, without ever connecting to the grid.

Think of the possibilities we can accomplish when relegating stale ideas to the trash bin and begin to creatively approach the problems we face. It is possible to reduce our reliance on hydrocarbons, but blind faith to a dogmatic approach should best be left to religion and not energy policy.

EDIT 09/03/2013 – I almost forgot another major problem with the Chinese stealing the solar panel business, a horrible defect rate of up to 22 percent. So now the environmentally damaging Chinese panels will possibly fail in two years instead of the promised 25 year lifespan. Don’t take my word for it, this information is from the New York Times.  Also, those giant solar plants in the desert are not only sucking up preciously scarce water resources, but killing endangered birds. Water birds are turning up dead. Stick with solar and wind for off-grid where buying the battery banks make sense. But grid-interconnect, no.