CNN: We know contamination from Fukushima reactors is still seeping into ocean -Researcher

Published: October 26th, 2012 at 5:27 am ET


Title: Radioactive levels staying high off Fukushima Daiichi in Japan
Source: CNN
By: Matt Smith
Date: October 25, 2012
Emphasis Added

Radiation levels in fish caught near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remain high long after the 2011 meltdowns there, suggesting contamination from the site might still be seeping into Pacific waters, [said Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and author of this week’s edition of the journal Science]. […]

The sources are likely to be from radioactive particles released by the plant that settled into sediment on the sea floor or from groundwater seeping into the ocean from the plant, as operators continue to pour tons of water a day into the reactors to keep them cool. Researchers can’t say definitely which is the more likely source, “but we know both are happening,” Buesseler told CNN.

“We can’t say whether it’s today’s cooling water or from last April, but we continue to see cesium in the ocean, directly at the plant, is elevated,” he said. But he added that those levels are “not dangerously high — I don’t think we need to be alarmist about this.”

[…] Tokyo Electric Power Company, has set up a system to absorb cesium from reactor coolant water. But not all that water is being recovered, Buesseler said. […]

More ‘insights’ from Buesseler:

“You hear people saying ‘any caesium is bad’. Well, you can’t really say that when we’re eating fish that have natural levels of potassium-40 in them that are 10 times higher and not considered a health risk […] he worries [‘strict regulations’ in Japan] had the opposite effect, making them too wary”

Also from today: [intlink id=”tepco-spokesman-admits-fukushima-reactors-may-be-continuously-leaking-into-ocean” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: October 26th, 2012 at 5:27 am ET


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28 comments to CNN: We know contamination from Fukushima reactors is still seeping into ocean -Researcher

  • Max1 Max1

    The "more insights" is telling…
    … I'll just swig my hemlock, instead.

    • Arizonan Arizonan

      Utter B.S. about the potassium-40. Even if it is present in seawater and elsewhere as a naturally occurring radioactive element, it is not concentrated to the degree manmade ionizing radiation like caesium and strontium can be, and just because it is natural doesn't mean it is safe. People who live at high elevations, people who breathe in a lot of natural radon, airline pilots who get more than theire fair share of gamma – all these people also suffer higher can cancer rates (Gofman, Radiation and Human Health.) It is a statistical fact that small increases in radiation from manmade sources that are barely above background can have disruptive effects: it increases mortality and morbidity for all, especially for the very old, the very young, and for women (Gould, Deadly Deceipt). Anyone born between 1950-1963 (above ground testing fallout years) may very very have a compromised immune system already and be more vulnerable to disease anyway as a result of this. I am so tired of hearing all the pronuker crap about comparing manmade radionuclides to naturally occurring sources we have evolved with. Its all dangerous to human and all other life, okay? Can we all just get that now? The day will come when all nuclear apologists are tried for genocide.

  • The cesium level is all that is mentioned .
    Never the other evil radionuclotides .
    Our tiny blue sphere .
    Sadness for our mother planet .
    She will shrug her shoulders and turn away from us.
    Her wrath will be swift .

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "…groundwater seeping into the ocean from the plant". Ken Buesseler is full of excuses for TEPCO, isn't he? In the few words you have pulled from his study, Admin., his use of words like "seeping", "not dangerously high", "alarmist", "natural levels", "too wary" say high levels of radiation in fish is nothing to worry about. Excuses, excuses. He has it about right, though, the Fukushima Disaster is ongoing, and has not gotten better. In fact, we have watched Radiation Network stations throughout the US just about double their counts per minute from Fukushima in 2012, so we know the ground water load at Fukushima must be higher, too. The public will eventually get the word, however, and will stop eating Pacific Seafood. This "alarmist" says that radiation is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from TEPCO's activities and from ground water that is flowing around the underground corium. Sealife throughout the entire Pacific Ocean is being negatively affected.

  • dosdos dosdos

    Look out for those bananas!

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Oh yeah, Potassium 40, the banana argument again. Sigh.

    • It really makes me wonder when the so called 'experts' pull 'the banana argument'. These are the people we are relying on for our data…? Why should we have to read between the lines?

      Ingesting a single particle of cesium, strontium, plutonium or many of the others from the long list of "iumns" seeks out it's favorite organ and starts cell destruction.

      Potassium 40 harmlessly passes through your body.
      REPEAT: It's NOT a comparison.

      Maybe somebody who knows Mr. Buesseler could pass this information along to him.

      • arclight arclight

        @cha sha

        the flesh penetration of a cesium 137 particle in the body is about 6 mm

        pottasium is not so destructive and we have evolved over millions of years to deal with it.. the body will excrete quickly any excess pottasium

        it sends a portion of cesium to some long lived places in the body

        bueller bashing 🙂 luv it

        why cant he publish the truth through as a secret whistlblower

        i bet admin would publish the findings anonymously

        come to think of it any of his staff, the cleaner, the coffee boy, sandwich lady, homeland security surveillance person etc etc

        drop admin a line 🙂

        use the "submit your news tips on the right if you dont want to be traced.. 😉

        you know you want to

        for the children of fukushima and their families

        tepguv are MAD!!

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    Hello, Ken Buesseler, please explain how you can compare Caesium with potassium?

    Trying to perpetrate this misnomer on "less educated" folk, renders you completely worthless as a credible source.

    Did you learn that in school? If so which one? Inquiring minds want to know..and avoid.

    Please have an extra helping of Alaskan Halibut, King Salmon and Pacific Tuna at all of your next meals, and do report back to us on your health next year.

  • GlowInTheDark GlowInTheDark

    We need to hammer pro-nukes' claim evertime they bring out the banana subject!

    1. Not every radionuclides have the same power of energy.
    2. Potassium 40 is not accumulated in any part of the organs and 100% is flashed out of the body whereas if you ingest cesium, for example, not all are flashed out hence those that didn't get flashed out are stored in the muscles and in other organs such as heart. So does strontium which is accumulated in the bones etc.

    Pity there is a really good 5 mins(!) video lecture by a uni professor explaining the difference between fission byproducts vs natural radiation but it's in Japanese. I'm sure there must be one in English.

  • razzz razzz

    Glad you guys can spot the nuclear apologists then dissect them. Others just blindly follow along.

    Typical talking points, the earthquake didn't cause the meltdowns the big wave did it. After the initial deadly release of fallout the level are still high but safe…Huh? Bio-accumulation is not in the vocabulary. Scientists were at Chernobyl but don't see resemblance at Fukushima. Have a hard time explaining the localized ocean contamination and its movement as a water cloud and not immediately dispersing into a vast body of water. Keep quoting the raised levels of acceptable nuclear poisoned foodstuffs versus the set levels before Fukushima. I'm from Woods Hole and need more money for research to save the fishing and nuclear industries.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Buesseler seems to chronically downplay the severity of the crisis, but his views always seem to get on msm. CNN had a related short TV item in my broadcast area today, focus was that the ocean is contaminated "near Fukushima" and that the crisis "may not be over".

    Here's a previous Buesseler scenario from the Enenews vaults (back in February, 2012):

    The song remains the same, I think.

  • strAtum5

    <cite>"You hear people saying 'any caesium is bad'. Well, you can't really say that when we're eating fish that have natural levels of potassium-40 in them that are 10 times higher and not considered a health risk," says Buesseler.</cite>

    Unbelivable ! What a muppet ! Does this guy think before he speaks ? So if Potassium-40 is safe to eat, then any other element is safe to eat too ? How about Polonium-210 ? Should be OK according to his logic. Or potassium cyanide – that's also potassium and not even radioactive – therefore should be even safer, right ?

    Oh boy – what an idiot !!

    • arclight arclight

      double plus plus!
      maybe buelller could read this article and then fess up

      its always about the money though

      Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act – a whopper government subsidy

      Under the Price Anderson language currently in force, a power plant
      operator’s liability for damages caused by an accident at a single
      power plant is limited to about $375 million, with damages above that
      amount paid out of a pooled fund into which plant operators would
      contribute $119 million per reactor if an accident occurs. With 104
      reactors in the U.S., that fund would come to a bit under $13 billion.
      Any shortfall or damage overage would be covered by the federal

      If the Fukushima reactors had been covered by the Price Anderson Act,
      federal liability for damages from the 2011 accidents would have run
      into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Which makes $12.2 billion
      for a year’s worth of wind energy look like lunch money.

    • guezilla

      This is the old "Banana equivalent dose" argument, by the way. He's far from the first or the last person to bring that up.
      The easiest counter-argument to this is that the body keeps the amount of potassium at equilibrium, if there is an intake of (natural) potassium, the same amount of natural potassium will be removed from the body. The natural potassium has about 0.0117% Potassium-40, so the amount of radiation stays the same, though Potassium-40 IS a significant contributor to background count.
      If you were to eat pure Potassium-40 you'd still amass significant extra dose. If all the Potassium in the body were to suddenly be turned into radioactive Potassium-40, you'd receive about 230 sieverts of radiation, nearly the same as gazing at the burning heart of Chernobyl reactor for a hour. (Don't try that at home!).
      Aside, 10 times higher than what? If we assume the new Japanese limit of 100Bq/kg, this would mean he refers to fish with 1000Bq/kg of Potassium-40. This would require about 32g in a kg of natural potassium. According to the highest fish has about 5g of natural potassium per kg, but apparently he's got fish that have six times that!
      But yes, the point that many nuclear isotopes are also chemically incredibly poisonous is a good ones as well.

      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        "…Aside, 10 times higher than what?…"

        He means the natural amount of P-40 in fish is ten times higher than cesium levels.

        Eating or not eating those fish will make no difference to anybody's internal exposure from P-40 because those levels are already fixed. We will have 50-80 Bq/Kg our whole life.

        Since the body is not at equilibrium for Cs-134 or Cs-137 (no amount is 'natural'), then any amount of those fish will add to your body burden and increase your internal levels. There is no known body equilibrium level until you get well into the lethal ranges. Any amount of Cesium that you eat will be absorbed and stay in your system. Any cesium that gets in your system has a biological half-life of something like 40 days.

  • arclight arclight

    and this video explains nicely how depleted uranium is poisoning our planet and how ploughshares kicks arse

    great interviews by a banned tv station

    US use of nuclear weapons, crying shame: Analyst (Video) -Ploughshares

    Obuszewksi: Absolutely. The Obama administration has asked for USD 585 billion to upgrade the nuclear arsenal. It is a crying shame. The dangers are evident. The radiation is poisoning.

    • arclight arclight

      bet CNN didnt cover this!! 😉

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      TY Arclight. I posted the link on the class I'm taking on Sustainability.

      • arclight arclight

        hi anne
        it is a very sustaining course you are on? 🙂
        always a pleasure
        though my last post was not a pleasure

        More than a Dozen Nuclear Plants Near Hurricane Sandy’s Path Brace for Impact
        Page added on October 27, 2012

        “We will station inspectors at the sites if we know they could be directly impacted.”

        NRC – people you can trust!/sarc

        list of reactors in danger here

        as we can trust the NRC as much as we trust TEPGUV as much as we trust the IAEA…

        take a leaf out of the japanese citizenry, better get yer giegers going!

        peace to all those on the eastern seaboard and those downwind,, northern europe in fact..
        unless the wind is circulating inland

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          I just tuned into this class to see what was going on and found some nuclear proponents posting remarks, so I have been answering their remarks. They say, for instance, that there is enough uranium to fuel for 2,000 years. They also say that Germany now has substituted coal for nuclear. Etc., etc. When I answer them, then they start new threads, so I just put links to all the threads. Because we can choose to be anonymous, one person calls me Kurt or Karl in an attempt to get me to reveal my identity. We get emails whenever anyone makes a comment in a thread to which we have subscribed. There are only at most 4 persons making comments that are pro-nuclear. They have to be polite, so their derogatory remarks to me are extremely toned down.

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          arclight, this class is about how to make life sustainable on the planet. Even the instructor has a video on using nuclear energy to sustain life on the planet. He teaches at the Univ. of Illinois, home to Exelon. Of course, even the CEO of Exelon has said that nuclear energy is no longer economically viable.

        • arclight arclight

          make that three puke bags

          "…CSIS commemorated the 50th anniversary of nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and U.K. with a volume of selected essays and oral histories…."

          the things i do for the cause

  • razzz razzz

    The US military dictates to whatever current administration is in place. Because nuclear fuels are always decaying, nuclear bombs eventually have to be disassembled and the fuels replaced/replenished to keep the bombs viable.

    One US Trident submarine has more nuclear firepower than all of India's nuclear arsenal combined.

    Anne: If you haven't already, you should watch this video with Dr. Helen Caldicott speaking. In it, she covers a lot of ground and has some suggested reading sources including recently translated Russian reports that are hair-raising.