Scientist Expect Traces Of Fukushima Radiation On American West Coast Soon
Graphic illustration: David Dees.
With the risk to public health extremely low, the effort is more about perfecting computer models that will better predict chemical and radiation spills in the future than bracing for a threat, researchers say.

Federal agencies are not sampling at the beach. Washington also doesn't test ocean water for radiation, said Washington Department of Health spokesman Donn Moyer. The state of Oregon is sampling, but looking for higher radiation levels closer to federal health standards, said state health physicist Daryl Leon.

The March 2011 tsunami off Japan flooded the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, causing radiation-contaminated water to spill into the Pacific. Airborne radiation was detected in milk and rainwater in the U.S. soon afterward. But things move much more slowly in the ocean.

"We know there's contaminated water coming out of there, even today," Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, said in a video appealing for volunteers and contributions.

In fact, it is the biggest pulse of radioactive liquid dropped in the ocean ever, he said.

"What we don't really know is how fast and how much is being transported across the Pacific," he added. "Yes, the models tell us it will be safe. Yes, the levels we expect off the coast of the U.S. and Canada are expected to be low. But we need measurements, especially now as the plume begins to arrive along the West Coast."

In an email from Japan, Buesseler said he hopes the sampling will go on every two or three months for the next two to three years.

Two different models have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals predicting the spread of radioactive isotopes of cesium and iodine from Fukushima. One, known as Rossi et al, shows the leading edge of the plume hitting the West Coast from southeast Alaska to Southern California by April. The other, known as Behrens et all, shows the plume hitting Southeast Alaska, British Columbia and Washington by March 2016.

The isotopes have been detected at very low levels at a Canadian sampling point far out to sea earlier than the models predicted, but not yet reported at the beach, said Kathryn A. Higley, head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University. The Rossi model predicts levels a little higher than the fallout from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s. The Behrens model predicts lower levels like those seen in the ocean in the 1990s, after the radiation had decayed and dissipated.

The models predict levels of Cesium 137 between 30 and 2 Becquerels per cubic meter of seawater by the time the plume reaches the West Coast, Higley said.

The federal drinking water health standard is 7,400 Becquerels per cubic meter, Leon said.

The crowdsourcing raised $29,945 from 225 people, enough to establish about 30 sampling sites in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and California, according to Woods Hole. The website so far has not reported any radiation.

Sara Gamble of Renton, Washington, the mother of a young child, raised $500 because she thinks it is important to know what is really going on. Woods Hole sent her a bucket, a funnel, a clipboard, a UPS shipping label, instructions and a big red plastic container for her sample. She went to Ocean Shores, Washington, a couple of weeks ago, collected her sample and shipped it off. No results have come back yet. To do another sample, she will have to raise another $500.

"I got lots of strange looks at the beach and the UPS Store, because it's labeled 'Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity,' and it's a big red bin," she said. "But it's funny; nobody would ask me anything out on the beach. I was like, 'Aren't you curious? Don't you want to ask?'"

Taking the sample has allayed her initial fears, but she still thinks it is important to know "because it affects our ecosystems, kids love to play in the water at the beach, and I want to know what's there." - FOX News.

Fairbanks City Council Unanimously Passes Fukushima Monitoring Resolution Indicating That Alaska And North American West Coast Are In GRAVE DANGER AND RISK As There Is "NO SAFE LEVELS OF RADIATION"
Aug. 20, 2013: This photo shows the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant at
Okuma in Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP)

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
, Mar. 10, 2014 (h/t Anonymous tip): Council to ask for more radiation testing [...] [Fairbanks city] council will consider a resolution tonight that calls on the federal government and United Nations to do more radiation testing in Alaska waters. It asserts that health risks related to nuclear meltdown have been vastly understated [...]

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Mar. 12, 2014: [...] By a unanimous vote Monday, the Fairbanks City Council passed a resolution urging the state and federal government, as well as the United Nations, to do more radiation testing in Alaska waters. The resolution was introduced by Fairbanks City Mayor John Eberhart and had the support of the council and several people who came to testify. [...] Larry Hartig, the state commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation [said] People ingest more radiation from eating a banana than from eating a tuna [...] Concern about Fukuskima radiation also was raised at the Tanana Chiefs Conference convention Tuesday in Fairbanks. P.J. Simon, a delegate from Allakaket, said possible radiation in migrating salmon posed a risk to subsistence activities. [...] “We need to be vigilant on this,” [Senator Lisa] Murkowski said.

  • WHEREAS, the March 2011 meltdowns of three nuclear power plants on the northeast coast of Japan constitute a danger to Japan, the North Pacific basin, Alaska and the west coast of North America; and [...]
  • WHEREAS, available information from scientific sources, the government of Japan, and the corporate operator of the facility, reveal unprecedented large and ongoing releases of extremely dangerous radioisotopes to the atmosphere and the ocean; and
  • WHEREAS, there are no safe levels of radiation emitted from manmade isotopes, and human and animal ingestion and/or contact with them constitutes grave risk for many forms of cancer and multiple dysfunctions in biological systems [...]
  • NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the City Council of the City of Fairbanks, Alaska, urges the federal government, State of Alaska, and the United Nations to begin a thorough and ongoing monitoring program of Alaska’s coastal water resources, its major fresh water streams and lakes, particularly surface waters that supply potable water to citizens. The monitoring program should be adequately funded to accomplish scientific analysis at the University of Alaska, wherein it will identify and quantify levels of radioisotopes in commercial seafood and subsistence foods. Data should be published on a web site dedicated to that purpose.
  • Section 2. PASSED and APPROVED this 10th day of March 2014.
KUAC broadcast available here

- ENE News.

Suicides Rising In Disaster-Struck Fukushima 
Photo: EPA

It is three years to the day since Japan was hit by that huge earthquake then the Tsunami which caused the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster that clean up crews are still working on. Troubling tales of depression and suicide started to trickle in. The numbers show an alarming number of nuclear evacuees are dying because of suicide and illnesses related to anxiety and depression.

In fact the number who have died since the disaster now exceeds the number of Fukushima residents killed in the initial earthquake and Tsunami, according to a media report. The government's figures show that in the last three years more than 1,600 Fukushima evacuees have died from causes that are "related to the disaster," such as severe depression leading to a sense of hopelessness and then suicide.

Thirty-seven suicides — linked either to the power plant’s meltdown or the Tsunami that proceeded it — occurred last year in areas near the plant. That figure represents a dramatic increase from last year when there were only 13 disaster-related suicides, according to the Japan Times.

Suicide is a deeply-ingrained aspect of Japanese culture, and according to academic research, the influx in Fukushima-related suicides reflect broader societal currents.

One woman, 56-year-old Hideko Takeda said her father was a farmer and, "At 80 still robust. Each day he still milked the cows and tended his fields. "

But then the disaster hit and he was forced to flee, leaving his cows to starve to death in their shed. It broke him, Mrs Takeda says; his health collapsed and within two years he was dead.

Officials linked the deaths to Fukushima through suicide notes and interviews with neighbors. Deteriorating health contributed to 22 suicides, money problems to nine more, and family issues drove five people to take their own life.

Roughly 30,000 suicides have occurred inside Japan in each of the last three years, and government research shows that suicides generally surge around this time of year, as winter gives way to spring. - VOR.

Up To 70 Endangered "Whales" Wash Up On California Coast,  Once-In-Several Decades Event
Corona Del Mar Today, Mar. 13, 2014: False killer whales are members of the dolphin family and are listed as endangered [...] “According to the news, these are so rare that they haven’t been seen in Southern California for well over a decade,” [Sgt. John Hollenbeck] said. “They were traveling in a pod of perhaps 50 or so, spread out over about a quarter of a mile. They were very noisy. I could hear them whistling and singing to each other through the hull of my boat as they passed around me. I’ve heard that many times before before with common dolphins, but these were much louder. Initially, I didn’t even realize it was their song – I thought there was something wrong with the engine on my boat.”

Pete Thomas Outdoors, Mar. 13, 2014: [There were] between 50 and 70. [...] [Capt. Dave Anderson] managed not only to capture close-ups of the false killer whales, but vocalizations [...] including one that seemed to be speaking to the camera. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Anderson said. “I was sitting there for about five minutes and the whales came over and surrounded me. Their whistles were so loud I could hear them above the surface.”

KPCC, Mar. 12, 2014: Ultra-rare ‘false killer whales’ sighted off California – [NOAA's Jay Barlow] says he last saw this species in Southern California in the early 1980s [...] Normally they live in tropical waters, and Barlow says even there they are rarely seen. One reason false killer whales are seen so rarely is that they typically live in the open ocean [...]

CBS, Mar. 12, 2014: “I have been cruising in this area for many years, and I have never seen this species of cetacean off of our coast.” -Capt. Mike Bursk, Ocean Institute’s RV Sea Explorer

GrindTV, Mar. 13, 2014: On Monday morning, a pod of similar size was spotted off Ensenada, Mexico [...] during each sighting, one animal stood out because of the peculiar shape of its spine. [Bursk] said the false killer whales came to him and were riding in his wake. When he stopped, some of the mammals rubbed their heads against the vessel. [...] [Capt. Larry Hartmann] spent about 45 minutes alone with a small pod, and said they were breaching, as if “performing for me.”

South China Morning Post, Mar. 13, 2014: Hong Kong’s unusually chilly waters didn’t put off one unusual group of visitors. A pod of about 100 false killer whales has been in local waters [...] the first mass sighting of the marine mammal in Hong Kong. [...] researchers found the sight of the pod deeply impressive. “If you looked around, they were everywhere. It was spectacular view” [Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said] “I can’t really think why (they were here).” - ENE News.