‘Pitiful’: Fukushima plume hitting West Coast and Alaska ‘any day now’ — No gov’t agency is monitoring ocean, “public has right to know” — We have to watch seafood and food web over the future (VIDEO)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

January 15th, 2014

Cape Cod Online, Jan. 1, 2013: The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has launched a new citizen website to pay the cost of testing Pacific Ocean water for levels of radioactivity. The idea is to help the public keep a close eye on a plume of water containing radionuclides […] WHOI senior scientist Ken Buesseler said during a teleconference Tuesday. The [Fukushima Daiichi] power plant was badly damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and has been leaking radioactive water into the ocean ever since. Water containing radioactive cesium-134 should be hitting the U.S. West Coast including Alaska any day now, but it’s hard to know for sure since no U.S. government agency is responsible for monitoring radioactivity in the ocean, Buesseler said. He believes the radiation will be too diluted after traveling 5,000 miles across the Pacific to have an impact on American fishing and recreational activities. But Buesseler said the American public has the right to know what the radiation levels actually are.

Boston Globe, Jan. 14, 2014: Ever since the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant three years ago, public fears about nuclear fallout have been high, both in Japan and increasingly in the United States. […] Buesseler is quick to point out that the levels of radiation exposure predicted by a number of models is well below the federal regulations for acceptable radiation exposure in drinking water. The expected radiation exposure in waters off the West Coast range from 1 to 30 Becquerels per liter—far below the federal drinking water limit of 7,500* Becquerels per liter. He does not expect to find unsafe levels of radiation […] He is specifically interested in parts of the northern United States and Alaska, because the radioactive isotopes are projected to arrive there first. […] He is hesitant to use the word “safe,” but said that when people learn the levels of radiation are similar to exposures people willingly expose themselves to—such as taking a transcontinental flight, living at high altitude, or getting a dental X-ray—they may be less susceptible to alarmist hype.

*Perhaps you noticed the Boston Globe was unable to correctly state the proper units for drinking water limits. They used a number 1,000 times higher than the actual limit, which is ~7.5 Bq/liter, not 7,500 Bq/liter as claimed.

Buesseler: “Without data, it’s easy to speculate and alarm people […] I’m concerned about radioactivity being dangerous, but I want to know what those levels are, and my concern scales with those numbers. […] I think we owe it to the public to make those measurements and I think it’s a pity our government hasn’t taken this on directly.

WHOI video, Jan. 13, 2014: On the ocean itself we can travel, we can swim we can take ships, we just have to keep monitoring and studying the food web and the uptake of the isotopes in the seafood. Consuming too much of a contaminated fish is not a good thing, so we do have to watch that over the future.

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