December 29, 2011
As the CBC notes, an island of debris the size of California is expected to hit North America:
See this for background.
Some of the debris could be radioactive. As the Star notes:
[Seattle oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer] says he’s concerned that some of the debris washing ashore on Pacific Northwest beaches could be contaminated by radioactive material, suggesting Tofino should have at least one Geiger counter to measure radioactivity.
Ebbesmeyer told AFP:
We are not prepared for this. Nobody is prepared. Nobody has even thought through the dimensions. This is unprecedented in scientific history. It’s unprecedented in recorded history. There’s never been a devastation on one continent that has moved off to the other continent and actually recorded.
And AFP reports, “Scientists like Ebbesmeyer say the debris could bring toxic or radioactive contamination from Japan all the way here.”
In potentially related news, Reuters reports that Alaskan seals are suffering mysterious lesions and hair loss:
Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska’s Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals’ fur coats.
“We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,” said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“There is concern expressed by some members of the local communities that there may be some relationship to the Fukushima nuclear reactor’s damage,” he said.
Here’s a picture of one of the injured seals:
(Reuters originally ran the picture as well, but has since replaced it with a more generic picture.)
Does that mean that we should be worried about eating West Coast fish? It’s impossible to know, since the FDA refuses to test fish for radioactivity.
As I noted last week:
American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborn radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation. (Indeed, the EPA reacted to Fukushima by raising “acceptable” radiation levels.)
Indeed, the core problem is that all of the world’s nuclear agencies are wholly captured by the nuclear industry … as are virtually all of the supposedly independent health agencies.
So the failure of the American, Canadian and other governments to test for and share results is making it difficult to hold an open scientific debate about what is happening.
No wonder nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen suggests that we contact our representatives and demand measurement.
Note 1: In terms of the debris, people should not worry that all of the debris is radioactive. I am sure that a much smaller percentage is.
However, if even one-half of one percent of the debris is radioactive, that could still bring substantial amounts of radiation to some shore areas on the West Coast of North America. In other words, people should keep their kids away from picking up debris on the beach unless it has first been tested with a geiger counter.
Note 2: In addition to radioactive debris, MIT says that seawater which is itself radioactive may begin hitting the West Coast within 5 years.
This article was posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 2:36 am