Thursday, January 30, 2014

Testing The Pacific For Radioactivity To Cost Over $500.00 Per Sample

A Los Angeles Times Story from yesterday discusses radioactivity in the Pacific Ocean and the Fukushima Nuclear Reactors that are melting down. Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution even goes so far as to say quote "No radiation from Fukushima has reached the United States yet". This would seem to be a lie except I think it was poor reporting. It is my belief that the reporter mistook "no radiation from Fukushima in the waters of the U.S." for no radiation at all. See this graph from Live Science for a map of radiation traces picked up all over the U.S. as proof that radiation has hit the U.S.

What pisses me off about this kind of reporting is that even though Ken Buesseler him self admits that "“If nobody is making measurements, people can say anything,” the LA Times reporter, Russ Parsons just glosses over the fact that at one point Buesseler makes the claim and then admits that there is no current testing. He also fails to differentiate between air and water testing. This by itself is as misleading as most of the blog posts that the story is blaming for all of the misleading information out there.

I expect more from the LA Times but as far as I am concerned they aren't much better at reporting on this than any other news outlet and that would now include many of the blogs that also have this wrong. Fact is no one really knows what's going on in the water and that's why Ken Buesseler is setting up this program.
Photo from

The good part of this story is that private money from private people will now spend their money to try to find out what is really going on in the Pacific Ocean. These tests will cost between $550.00 adn $600.00 each.

This should have been going on since the accident and this should be paid by our own government. The fact that the the U.S. doesn't consider radiation from 3 melting down nuclear reactors anything that needs to be studied, measured and reported on should speak volumes to everyone in this country.

So in conclusion, I spent much time criticizing the story but I do feel positive about the part that individuals will be able to anti up and put their money where their mouth is. That someone, somewhere is actually going to quantify and measure what is actually going on in the Pacific Ocean. This is a positive step in the right direction.

I think for educational purposes I should point out that hourly air measurements done by the EPA are done differently than those walking around with Geiger counters like the guy on the beach that gets so much reporting. The EPA's official measurements are of filters that air is pushed through and not just random air samples. This gives a more accurate measurement since radiation seems to be in pockets or plumes and is not a constant. Make no mistake, radiation from Fukushima is and has been here since a few days after the Daiichi Nuclear Plants blew up. That is being measured and is a fact. What all the speculation is all about is the Pacific Ocean and how that is reacting to tons of radioactive water being dumped into it every day since March of 2011. Perhaps Ken Buesseler and other will shed some light on this now that there is a program being set up to do that, no thanks to our government though.

Read the misleading LA Times story here.
Here is a better story from EcoWatch
Also see this from  Counterpunch

Here are some quotes and links from
BBC News, Feb. 2012 — Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (at 1:30 in): “It still surprises me how much variability even on our one cruise, between one location and another, that we can’t necessarily explain as scientists, why one organism or one location has particularly more of  the cesium in the organisms that we measured than another location. That’s still a bit of a mystery and an open question.”


  1. Thank you Thomas. There has been no meaningful testing of Pacific Ocean water for Fukushima radioactive contamination. So it becomes obvious that the "experts" who have popped up in the media to reassure the public that there is "no risk" to coastal California are merely spouting their opinions, based on their personal beliefs rather than actual data.

    Meanwhile, there is actual data telling us that in 2013, 98% of the ocean floor off of N America is covered with carcasses of sea animals. Over the last 24 years of this study, the typical coverage is around 2%. The layer of dead animals at the sea floor was started growing in 2011, and has been piling up faster since 2012. 2013 its at 98% of the ocean floor is covered. According to National Geographic if you care to google it.

  2. Sad to say, but our local surfers are our human dipsticks...if they start to get wonky in X number of years, it'll be one really screwed up "I told you so", then to guess what the air quality has done to us landlubbers.

  3. "See this graph from Live Science for a map of radiation traces picked up all over the U.S. as proof that radiation has hit the U.S."

    Okay. Dated March 28, 2011. It says:

    "US EPA air monitors have found very low levels of radioactive material consistent with estimates ... the amount of radioactive material detected poses no health concern."

    Hmm wow okay lets all lose are fucking shit over absolutely nothing shall we? What pisses me off about this kind of blogging is that it distorts the truth to whip up fear and paranoia:

    “It is still boggling to me that there is this large part of the public that is so scared they’re thinking about moving from the West Coast, that they’re afraid to go swimming in the water and eating the fish,” Buesseler says.

    “But it’s also a teachable moment, as we like to say. People need to understand that we live in a world where radiation is everywhere naturally. Radiation can be dangerous -- and I am very concerned about the situation in Japan -- but at the levels we’re expecting here, there’s no reason to be concerned. To stop swimming in the Pacific seems completely unbalanced with the level of danger you might be expecting.”

    1. You're totally right, dood. It's like what can't everybody understand about the fact that an ongoing nuclear disaster worse than three mile island and chernobyl is totally keen. I just feel like standing on top of a building and screaming at the top of my lungs "It's a triple meltdown with no consequences, people!"

    2. That would be a lot closer to the truth than what Tom is screaming... what is the death count from radiation poisoning due to this event so far again? Oh yeah, that's right I almost forgot: it's zero.

    3. We're talking beta readings right now but the word Plutonium comes into the mix eventually since that's what reactor 3 was using. And I wasn't screaming. THIS IS SCREAMING!

  4. "Dated March 28, 2011". Your information is outdated. A tremendous amount of radioactive discharge to the ocean and atmosphere has been ongoing for over 3 years now. As reflected in Eureka airborne radioactivity monitors often running 10-20 times higher than 2011 levels. The situation in Japan and for the rest of us has deteriorated significantly since 2011. For example, Jan 30 2014 Tepco announced that measurements of Tritium and Strontium 90 now "exceed the range of measurement" at groundwater test wells near their nuke plant, and gross beta was measured at 1.7 million Bq/L at at well that had previously been "non-detect".
    Better pay attention, and stop counting on reassuring info from 2011.
    Any expert who is currently voicing reassuring/condescending advice is talking shit. Even Ken Buesseler says there has been little or no actual sampling and testing of ocean waters, so there is no data and no scientific basis in their proclamations of "safety".

  5. I didn't chose that "outdated" information: it's what Tom presented himself "as proof that radiation has hit the U.S."

    *little or no actual sampling and testing of ocean waters on the Pacific Coast of the US. The situation is being monitored in Japan (as you pointed out yourself!) and based on that information there is no reason to believe there would be radiation levels over here that would be cause for concern. Ken Buesseler encouraging you crackpots to take some measurements to verify the obvious.

  6. I don't remember presenting information about when the water plume would get here other than to say the Weather Channel said it would arrive in early 2014.

    If you are referring to the airborne radiation that got here within days then that is a fact and has nothing to do with the water plume which is only possibly just now showing up and in a diluted form. Once again look at the maps of the ocean from NOAA.

    As for the testing in Japan means everything is fine here, you need to look at the ocean currents and the way they flow to and from Japan. I think you, what ever your name is, will start to see why that is not necessarily reassuring.

    The water moves in from the north and the south and heads out to sea roughly around northern Japan. It then heads toward us on the west coast of the U.S. It will swirl around and get diluted but that will start to concentrate as the years and decades go by with the plants still leaking and spewing. How much plutonium do you think is a safe level? Now consider that plutonium has a half life of 100-thousand years and things start to look out of control.


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