Higher Levels of Radiation Found in U.S. post-Fukushima
(APN) ATLANTA — Higher levels of radiation have been found in several locations across the U.S., as a number of incidents have occurred involving what appear to be mutated animals washing up on U.S. shores, raising concerns about our environment, especially the Pacific Ocean; and the potential role of the recent nuclear disaster at the Daiichi site in Fukushima, Japan.
In August 2013, Shunichi Tanaka, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, admitted to reporters that at least 300 tons of radioactive water have probably been leaking into the Pacific Ocean every day since at least July 2013, in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.
The initial breakdown has caused the largest single contribution of radionuclides to the marine environment ever observed.
Radiation levels in the sea around Japan have been holding steady and not falling as expected, further demonstrating that radiation leakage is not under control. Strontium-90 has been released into the ocean and is linked to bone cancer and leukemia. It has a half life of approximately thirty years.
The fisheries around Fukushima are closed and considered unsafe for consumption.
The full impact of the Fukushima radiation released into the Pacific Ocean and its effect on marine life and on people will not be known for years, if ever. One cannot see, touch, or smell radiation. It knows no borders. It travels around the world in the water, air, soil, and food chain for–no one knows how many–years.
Higher levels of radioactive cesium-137 has been found in bluefin tuna caught off the California coast.
There is clear evidence that bluefin tuna transported elevated levels of cesium-137 from Japan to California, and that the cause is the Fukushima disaster, according to one report, “Pacific Bluefin Tuna Transport Fukushima-revised radionucleides from Japan to California.” The report is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and was written by Stanford University professor Daniel Madigan and others.
A video posted on YouTube, shows the meter of a Geiger counter–a particle detector that measures ionizing radiation–detecting radiation up to 150 counts per minute, or roughly five times the typical amount found in the environment, at Pacifica State Beach in Pacifica, California, on December 23, 2013.
APN has reposted the video on APN’s Video Section:
However, local officials denied any connection with Fukushima.
“Recent tests show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident,” said spokeswoman Wendy Hopkins of the California Department of Public Health, in a widely reported statement.
Radiation in Alaskan waters could reach Cold War levels, said Douglas Dasher, a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, although John Kelley, a professor emeritus at the same university, doesn’t seem as certain that it will reach dangerous levels for humans, reports Huffington Post B.C.
A rooftop water monitoring program managed by UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering detected substantial spikes in rain-borne iodine-131 during torrential downpours. The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as maximum contaminant levels (MCL) by 181 times, reported in 2011 by several news sources.
Unusually high levels of radiation from Japan has been detected in air and water in at least thirteen U.S. states.
Traces of radiation have also been found in milk in the U.S., including in Spokane, Washington, and in Montpelier, Vermont.
In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency reported elevated levels of Iodine-131 in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts that exceed what is permitted in drinking water. But EPA continues to assure the public there is no need for alarm.
Meanwhile, a number of recent incidents of dead sea animals washing ashore has led to further concern.
The waters off of Canada, and some places in Washington, are littered with dead starfish.
A two-headed whale recently washed up on the beach in Mexico.
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.
Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor reported by Global Research.
Over 1,600 starving sea lion pups have washed up along beaches from Santa Barbara to San Diego in early 2013. It is theorized that the decline in the sardine population over 72% since 2006 is the cause.
The sardine industry has collapsed before and if nature is responsible for the decline, they will bounce back. But without a full understanding of the caused, the decline is raising alarm.
Hundreds of herring in Canada, meanwhile, have been found hemorrhaging blood.
It is unclear if any of these phenomena are connected with the increased radiation in the Pacific Ocean associated with the Fukushima disaster.
The very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life, according to the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews.
Reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past forty years, researchers Dr. Timothy Mousseau from the University of South Carolina and Dr. Anders Pape Moler from the University of Paris-Sud found that variation in low-level, natural background radiation has small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA, as well as several measures of health.
This study concluded even low levels of radioactivity are damaging to human and animal health, with significant negative effects in a variety of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation, and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.
Dr. Mousseau is considered one of the leading world authorities on the impacts of low dose radiation on natural ecosystems. His research is supported by the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust.
“With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level,” Dr. Mousseau told MSN News.
“But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine.” The study shows emphatically that they are not.
In August 2013, Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds chief nuclear engineer, told Energy News that for people on the West Coast there is a wedge of radioactivity working its way across the Pacific Ocean, called a plume, of cesium-137, strontium-90, and other isotopes. The plume is now only months away from hitting the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Some reports expect it sooner.
“That plume is ten times more radioactive than the ocean was before [cesium in the ocean from bomb testing was the only source of radioactivity] and likely to grow because the Daiichi site is going to continue to leak into the environment for years to come,” Gundersen wrote.
“The other thing people on the West Coast should demand is transparent analysis of fish. There’s no state organization that’s sampling the fish, no government is sampling the fish and telling people what the numbers are. If the government’s sampling it, they’re not telling anybody,” Gundersen wrote.
“The truth is that there is minimal funding available for independent scientists to conduct research. Among the scientific community that is not associated with the nuclear industry or the nuclear agencies, there is virtually no funding for this kind of work,” Dr. Mousseau explained on a University of South Carolina website.