2.5 Years After Fukushima Nuke disaster Still Deadly in the U.S.!
Scientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation
Tracy Loew, USA TODAY
12 hours ago
SALEM, Ore. -- Very low levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster likely will reach ocean waters along the U.S. West Coast next month, scientists are reporting.
Current models predict that the radiation will be at extremely low levels that won't harm humans or the environment, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who presented research on the issue last week.
But Buesseler and other scientists are calling for more monitoring. No federal agency currently samples Pacific Coast seawater for radiation, he said.
"I'm not trying to be alarmist," Buesseler said. "We can make predictions, we can do models. But unless you have results, how will we know it's safe?"
The news comes three years after the devastating Japan tsunami and resulting nuclear accident.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami with waves as high as 133 feet. More than 15,000 people died and about 6,000 were injured.
The earthquake and tsunami knocked out power to cooling pumps at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex, causing meltdowns at three reactors.
Last July, Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, acknowledged for the first time that the reactor was leaking contaminated underground water into the ocean.
Since then, the news has gotten worse, and there is widespread suspicion that the problem is underreported.
There are three competing models of the Fukushima radiation plume, differing in amount and timing. But all predict that the plume will reach the West Coast this summer, and the most commonly cited one estimates an April arrival, Buesseler said.
A report presented last week at a conference of the American Geophysical Union's Ocean Sciences Section showed that some Cesium 134 has already has arrived in Canada, in the Gulf of Alaska area.
Cesium 134 serves as a fingerprint for Fukushima, Buesseler said.
"The models show it will reach north of Seattle first, then move down the coast," Buesseler said.
By the time it gets here, the material will be so diluted as to be almost negligible, the models predict. Radiation also decays. Cesium 134, for example, has a half-life of two years, meaning it will have half its original intensity after that period.
In Oregon, state park rangers take quarterly samples of surf water and sand at three locations along the coast. The water is analyzed for Cesium 137 and iodine 131. Both of those already exist in the ocean at low levels from nuclear testing decades ago.
The monitoring began in April 2012, when tsunami debris began arriving along the Oregon coast. So far, all of the tests have shown less than "minimum detectable activity," or the least amount that can be measured.
Results of the most recent samples, taken in mid-February, won't be available until mid-March, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said.
Washington does not test ocean water for radiation.
"We have none happening now and we have none planned," said Tim Church, communications director for the Washington State Department of Health. "Typically that would be something that would happen on the federal level."
California regularly samples seawater around the state's nuclear power plants to determine whether the plants are impacting the environment. Those results all are below minimum detectable activity.
Some citizens and scientists are taking sampling into their own hands.
Cal State Long Beach marine biologist Steven Manley has launched "Kelp Watch 2014," which will partner with other organizations to monitor kelp all along the West Coast for Fukushima radiation.
And Buesseler recently offered the services of his lab at Woods Hole in Massachusetts.
His project — titled "How Radioactive Is Our Ocean?" — will use crowd-sourced money and volunteers to collect water samples along the Pacific Coast, then ship them across the country to be analyzed.
So far, results are in for two locations in Washington and three in California. They show that the plume has not yet reached the coast.
Meanwhile, West Coast states are winding down their tsunami debris response efforts.
Oregon's coastline is seeing less debris from the tsunami this winter than in the past two years, Oregon State Parks spokesman Chris Havel said.
If that doesn't change, officials likely will disband a task force that was mobilized to deal with the debris.
Last year, Washington suspended its marine debris reporting hotline.
Loew also reports for the (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal
***Aug 13, 2013 UPDATE*** http://inventorspot.com/articles/radiation_levels_said_rise_california_find_out_about_your_town
Radiation Levels Said to Rise In California: Find Out About Your Town- See more at: http://inventorspot.com/articles/radiation_levels_said_rise_california_find_out_about_your_town#sthash.QNAKQPKq.dpuf
Environmental Innovations Blogger
Radioactive Water Leaks from Fukushima: What We Know
|The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.|
***OCT. 29, 2012 UPDATE*** ( READ MORE HERE): http://michaeldtobin.blogspot.com/2011/08/week-of-hurricane-irene-and-east-coast.html ... Here's a link from the USGS explaining how long distant earthquakes effect ground water thousands of miles away: Clik link to read more: http://gallery.usgs.gov/audios/396 And here is the cut/paste of the article in case it disapears from the website: Waves Rippling Through Groundwater
I spoke with Evelyn Roeloffs, a USGS research geophysicist who has studied the effects of earthquakes on groundwater.
Evelyn Roeloffs: Generally, the main way they affect groundwater is that they cause the ground to expand and contract. And the seismic wave that these earthquakes generate actually cause the ground to expand and contract as they pass by. They can travel around the globe a couple of times actually and be recorded on sensitive seismic instruments. So, when those seismic waves pass through, you can see changes in groundwater levels.
Kara Capelli: Scientists and others have been noticing the effects of earthquakes on groundwater for a long time.
Evelyn Roeloffs: I think one of the neatest examples is from back in about 1952, when it was noticed that in a well in a shoe factory in Milwaukee, the water would slosh up and down every so often. And when they put a float recorder on there, and actually made a continuous record of the water level, they recorded things that actually looked like seismograms. And they saw that those variations were actually caused by seismic waves passing the well.
Kara Capelli: The most common effect on groundwater from earthquakes is an instantaneous water level increase or decrease. Recovery to the pre-earthquake level can be so rapid that no change is even detected. I also asked Evelyn about the effects of earthquakes on groundwater quality and quantity.
Evelyn Roeloffs: The spikes themselves, if you actually measure them quickly enough for actual oscillations, where they're making water move in and out of the aquifer and into the well, that can cause the water to become turbid or taste a little bit funny, which doesn't usually last more than a few days, at the most. Occasionally, it will happen that the groundwater level will go down and stay down or go up and stay up but usually not more than a foot or so.
And so, in the short run it might affect the amount of water you can get, depending on exactly where your pump is. But usually, those changes are small compared to the normal changes during the year associated with rainfall and temperature and stuff like that.
Kara Capelli: Though in general, these spikes have very little noticeable effects, sometimes groundwater very near to the epicenter of an earthquake can be permanently affected.
Evelyn Roeloffs: Closer to the earthquake, the effects can be much more severe. And one thing that has happened a couple of times in the U.S. is that the earthquake shaking shakes the hill up and fractures things a little bit and makes it more permeable, so that if people have domestic wells drilled near the top of the hill, they'll find that the water level in those wells may slowly drop. And then, at the same time, the flows in the streams that are draining the hill will increase.
And those kinds of changes really don't recover. They can result in changes of several feet or tens of feet of water. And so, it may cause a well to need to be deepened or even just abandoned. And this happened after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in California near Santa Cruz. And there is also a case of this happening in Pennsylvania a number of years back.
Kara Capelli: The USGS Groundwater Resources Program monitors groundwater across the U.S. through real-time groundwater monitoring. This data can be found at waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/gw. And don't forget to follow the USGS on Twitter at twitter.com/usgs. I'm Kara Capelli for USGS CoreCast, a product of the US Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. Read more of article here: http://michaeldtobin.blogspot.com/2011/08/week-of-hurricane-irene-and-east-coast.html
December 21, 2011
14,000 U.S. Dead in 14 Weeks After Fukushima Meltdown (copied, before article disapears)
A peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Health Services estimates 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear reactors. The article by Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman is the first published in a medical journal.
“This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studiescontinue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world. Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation,” writes Joseph Mangano, who is an epidemiologist.
The authors write that that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks following the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. Most of the deaths occurred among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks, the authors note.
The arrival of a radioactive plume over the United States following the March 11 disaster was downplayed by the establishment media despite the presence of levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal.
The highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation in the U.S. were as follows (normal is about 2 picocuries I-131 per liter of water): Boise, ID (390); Kansas City (200); Salt Lake City (190); Jacksonville, FL (150); Olympia, WA (125); and Boston, MA (92), according to a press release posted on December 19 by Joseph Mangano, Janette Sherman and the International Journal of Health Services.
“Based on our continuing research, the actual death count here may be as high as 18,000, with influenza and pneumonia, which were up five-fold in the period in question as a cause of death. Deaths are seen across all ages, but we continue to find that infants are hardest hit because their tissues are rapidly multiplying, they have undeveloped immune systems, and the doses of radioisotopes are proportionally greater than for adults,” said Janette Sherman, an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University, and contributing editor of “Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” published by the NY Academy of Sciences in 2009.
The health impact of the radiation released from Fukushima was downplayed by the Japanese and U.S. governments. “The United States came up with a decision to downplay Fukushima,” said Arnie Gundersen, a energy advisor veteran with 39 years of experience as a nuclear power engineer. “The US government has come up with a decision at the highest levels of the State Department, as well as other departments who made a decision to downplay Fukushima,” he said. “Hillary Clinton signed a pact with Japan that she agreed there is no problem with Japanese food supply and we will continue to buy them so we are not sampling food coming in from Japan.”