January 20, 2014
If you’ve heard about Fukushima radiation spreading to the Pacific Coast of North America but were “corrected” by sources both official and expert that this was based more on rumor than reality, then consider the information presented at the October 2013 North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) annual meeting.
Researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed that the radioactive plume from Fukushima is indeed reaching the shores of Canada and the United States – and was detected at least six months ago – carried both in the ocean surface water and the atmosphere on similar but slightly different courses.
In a presentation titled “Communicating the forecasts, uncertainty and consequences of ecosystem change,” (read here: http://www.pices.int) the Canadian researchers gave evidence that the bulk of radioactivity from Fukushima is shifting almost entirely from the western portion of the North Pacific (Japan) to the eastern portion (North America) over the course of the next five years. As of 2012, it had already reached the central region of the Pacific Ocean, and a previously unpublished map shows that, as of 2013, it had reached the shores of Alaska and British Columbia, with the most intense area of the plume yet to arrive.
The Fall 2013 discussion centered around competing calculations of the severity of effects from cesium-137, based around two differing models of the radiation’s trajectory. The first, published by German researcher Erik Behrens and his colleagues at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in 2012, drastically understates the potential dangers, predicting only modest levels of 2 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m^3) by 2015 for the 49th parallel near British Columbia and Washington state – scarcely above the background levels from the continued fallout of Chernobyl.
Meanwhile, the second, published by Vincent Rossi and other colleagues from the Climate Change Research Centre in 2013, presents a much more consequential picture. It predicts alarming maximum levels reaching 25 Bq/m^3 at their monitoring station in British Columbia by 2015 and peaks above 30 Bq/m^3. Cesium levels at the 30th parallel – reaching Baja California in Mexico – wouldn’t peak until about 2019, though projected maximum levels would reach only about 15-20 Bq/m^3.
The amount of atmospheric cesium being transported across the ocean via winds remains the unknown yet potentially greater factor. It partially explains the drastic difference in projections, as there are no monitoring stations for airborne radiation in the Pacific and no reliable methods of predicting the scale of its effects. Further, it has only recently been publicly admitted that 300-400 tons of contaminated water have been pouring into the Pacific per day since the meltdown began in March 2011.
The fact is that the initial findings of radioactivity from Fukushima on the shores of Alaska, British Columbia, California and Mexico – confirmed privately within the scientific community months ago – are just the beginning. They are consistent with previous predictions of cesium-137 hitting the West Coast of the continental United States in late 2013 and early 2014. Scientists have acknowledged that it will continue to spread into the Arctic Ocean, reaching eastern Russia and eventually pouring into the Atlantic Ocean.
All models point to increased radiation from here on out. Just how bad it will get remains to be seen, but red flags were raised last week when health officials dismissed concerns about readings taken in San Francisco and posted on the Internet that showed levels as high as 150 counts-per-minute – about five times higher than normal background radiation levels.
Though public authorities continue to ignore warning signs – and refuse to inform the public about the scientific findings in order to quell panic – these radioactive nucleotides bioaccumulate in the food web, and in the human body, and should not be so handily dismissed.
Above normal levels were already detected in milk from the West Coast two years ago, tipping off the scientific community to the fact that rainwater, dairy, produce and meat supplies were already being hit with cesium-137, iodine-131 and possibly strontium-90. Bioaccumulation can greatly concentrate the amounts of radiation present in the environment, such that exposure to cesium through milk or meat – which aggregates the total amounts of radiation present in the water, grass, hay etc. consumed by the cow – could reach dangerous levels in humans.
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This article was posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:18 am