Senior Scientist: Plume of Fukushima nuclear material from initial releases to reach U.S. West Coast before August 2014 — Will continue for years as contamination never stopped flowing into ocean (AUDIO)

Published: August 9th, 2013 at 11:07 am ET


Title: Small risk of major fish contamination from Fukushima leak
Source: ABC Radio Australia
Date: August 9, 2013

Small risk of major fish contamination from Fukushima leak

[…] Dr Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute near Boston in the US state of Massachusetts, and he says there has been sustained release since the 2011 disaster.

Buesseler: […] we’re not talking about a direct causing cancer either in humans or fish in those waters, but a concern to our consumption of this seafood that have low levels that overtime if you kept eating levels above that, you would have concerns with your intake and therefore the health risks from eating the seafood. Now it’s localised to Japan, because the source greater at the coast […] the health concerns I would have are restricted to consumers of seafood products near Japan […] The plume, the materials, the contaminants from 2011 would be reaching the US West Coast sometime within a year, that type of time frame. But at concentrations that are probably say tens-of-thousands of times lower, slightly higher than what was there before from the 1960s fallout […]

See also: [intlink id=”report-nuclear-pollution-from-fukushima-to-hit-u-s-in-2015-impact-strength-of-cesium-137-on-west-coast-is-as-high-as-4-percent-due-to-strong-currents” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Listen to the broadcast here

Published: August 9th, 2013 at 11:07 am ET


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35 comments to Senior Scientist: Plume of Fukushima nuclear material from initial releases to reach U.S. West Coast before August 2014 — Will continue for years as contamination never stopped flowing into ocean (AUDIO)

  • alpha-tracker

    Buesseler is a fish with a brain the size of a marble, IMO.

  • jec jec

    Buesseler is the ONLY scientist who, without much or any funding, has even TRIED to determine what is happening in the Pacific Ocean. Alpha-tracker,I am sure you are not aware of Ken's efforts with 'ships of opportunity' to test sea waters off Fukushima, his willingness to test suspected tsumani debris and radiation detectors from the Pacific and more. I know, because Buesseler has been testing since the disaster started,and personally know what and how much he has tried to do. Anyone try to do this kind of work WITHOUT does not get far. Do you read any other names out there trying to be a careful voice of warning? NOPE!
    So not trying to get into a blog war, but want everyone to realize how difficult it is to get testing done from the USA for events in the Pacific. Ken needs about two million in USD to get a research vessel or test run which would be accepted by the official scientific community..anyone willing to donate to that? The scientific community has no funds from the US government for radiation testing that I am aware of at this time. Ask EPA!

    Some are sending out RadTriage badges, getting reports and physical items from the Pacific for testing, sending reports to NOAA..and to Ken Buesseler (WHOI). Others need to do the same, not make comments unless they are actively doing testing or supporting testing. Dont throw rocks, be part of an active process to ID the full scope of the damage done..and on going.Its the on going that will damage us all.

    • alpha-tracker

      What I find fault with scientists like Buesseler, whose studies I've read, is that although he's a scientist who is interested in monitoring, that's all that sets him apart from the rest. I'm just as excited as the next person to see someone interested in in environmental rad monitoring, but not if their conclusions about health and public safety are the same ones that TEPCO, the DOE or health physicists would offer. A half century ago, Americans fell for this same trick, when scientists and big agencies popped up who started monitoring milk and stuff, which was a big welcomed change, yet their conclusions were the same as the nuclear establishment: no harm, all safe, go home. I'd much rather have a scientist or agency who tells the truth about low dose radiation effects on health and isn't actively doing testing than one who is actively testing but agrees with discredited theories about radiobiology and tells us 'no danger'.

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      Buesseler needs two million for a research vessel, but he could start by going down to the beach and testing a sea lion, requesting that info that never came from NOAA, and instead of saying the radiation wont cause cancer to sea life or human "but a concern to our consumption of this seafood that have low levels that overtime if you kept eating levels above that, you would have concerns with your intake" ….instead he should say the largest release of radionuclides is an unprecedented disaster and of dire consequence to sea life. …I mean really. If you can eat an animal and keep eating large quantities, then everything is hunky dory. Man the egocentric lying omnivore beast dressed in a suit. Sea life isnt just for food, if I have to spell it out

  • alpha-tracker

    Correction: Buesseler is a type of large fish found off the coast of Massachusetts known for its bizarre behavior of constantly opening and closing its mouth in such a way that it creates immense amounts of warm air bubbles (known to land animals as 'hot air'). It has a brain roughly the size of a marble.

  • Just how 'small' will the RISK be say, 30 to 100 years from now?

    We should also be discussing 'short term' and 'long term' world wide mitigation efforts.

    It has been stated that it will take at least decades for the radioactive contamination releases to slow down and that's a guess.
    (Assuming it doesn't turn really ugly which is highly possible.)

    It seems odd to me that both Buesseler and C. Busby have stated almost the same exact thing about the seafood not being a threat to the USA. The articles came out within days or hours of each other.

    I get the feeling these guys are doing the *'soft shoe' dance. I would not have expected that from them.

    😉 I wonder what's up with that, hmm…?

    1. They both know that ANY amount of radiation over background is not good for you. –> Google BIER VII Report.

    2. What about smaller sea animals? What about the plankton plumes and ecosystems? How will they be affected by this? In turn, how will that affect humans?

    Soft shoe: (idiomatic) A speech, explanation, sales pitch, or other set of remarks delivered in a RESTRAINED or conciliatory manner in order to persuade, DISTRACT, or otherwise influence someone.

    • Cisco Cisco

      Hi CA,

      Thanks for your reporting a good stuff. Where can I find the article regarding Busby's backtracking?

    • scottyji scottyji

      While Busby's arithmetic about the Pacific Ocean's volume is close enough, his conclusion that "Californians can relax…" shows his glaring lack of understanding of a basic oceanographic science principle: water with different temperatures and salinity values generally DO NOT MIX readily but blend into fairly discrete layers for very long periods of time. The Pacific's complex currents are gigantic transport mechanisms, NOT mixing mechanisms!

      The radioactive FRESH water from Fukushima is less dense than the Pacific's salty water, and so it floats ON TOP of the Pacific's saline water and it mixes slowly – and therefore dilutes – with the surface sea water but ONLY in the top 100+ or so!

      So what we'll have is A LAYER of radioactive seawater that WILL REMAIN QUITE DISCRETE even over the thousands of miles from Japan to the West Coast of the United States.

      The dilution scheme and radioactivity concentration figures Busby puts forth in his article do not accurately reflect what is happening or what will occur. The dilution effect will be much less than he speculates and the radioactivity levels therefore will be much, much higher.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Buesseler moved his prediction up..
    Perhaps he would like to backtrack on his opinion as to the effects on the marine life.

    Migration..the word is migration.
    How many migration since March 2011?!
    It's not just sea current.. is the migration of the marine life…and exposure…including diet..water conditions etc.

    • jec jec

      @Heart, thats good reasoning. When one data point do all the others. I just wish SOMEONE could find some of the plume in the ocean to give a better figure. So far, tests in the N. Pacific and some of the Pacific Islands by cruising no increases or at least no fatal or levels at 20 Msv or 40 or 100. But is a few data points..all volunteer. This will change, slowly but dangerouslt steadily. The local people are concerned and nervous, but have no tools to test with, courtesy of nuclear "protection" agencies…Some in the Marshalls have a lot of radiation damage/stories already from previous experiences in the test decades..jellyfish babies, babies dying, illness..

      • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

        jec "I just wish SOMEONE cound find some of the plume.."

        • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

          The plume..I assume the plume will follow the current.
          At the speed and direction..long charted and even traditional seafarers.
          As surely as the tide rolls in and out.

          No fatal levels have been recorded to the Pacific to date.
          I believe that will change.

          I think the animals will be affected sooner than will be evident by water sample .. by migration.
          The diet will consist of lower life forms and plankton with high cesium levels.
          The intake of cesium via ingestion proved to be a major problem for the victims of the Marshall Islands Nuclear Tests.

          • weeman

            The main plume is most likely at depth, I do believe that gravity and the specific weight of each isotope dictates that to a extent, I would like to see readings every 100 ft to great depth.

  • weeman

    The one thing that jumps up to my attention in the article is when, they state that 300 tons of contaminated water now and in the future that is presently being released, is a drop in the bucket compared to the release at the time off the accident?
    This is the million dollar question, we only have estimates and false and incomplete data to base any model, what and how much of each isotope was released?
    I wounder if woods hole believes that the SFP are fully intact?

  • many moons

    These scientists make these claims but never show the data that supports their statements..their arguments, their hypothesis,
    Meanwhile the data from the many sea creature kills is NEVER published, there is rarely a word about the huge animal kills…yet this scientist is sure that it's only low levels of radiation and at present this isn't a threat to the general population, just the population in Japan ..shhhh

    I'd like to see the numbers he's working with, where he collected the data, how it was collected…something…a perhaps some information on the larger sea creatures that are dying in mass.

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      scientists dont think the public can read science papers. In truth, sometimes its very difficult to understand them if its not your field. But there have been ocean wide tests and the U.S. coast may have around 1 Bq/m^3 indeed a very small amount. Thing is, it will build up to larger amounts as the simulations show. The seaweed, the plankton, everything will be more contaminated and LESS HEALTHY (why everyone thinks if you dont die from cancer, no harm is done?) Then the mammals will have 300 times from bio-accumulation. All life will be dumbed down with smaller brains and defects. But Beusseler and the others say dont worry, and after all, theyre the experts

  • American Phoenix57

    "I feel that at least several hundred scientists trained in the biomedical aspect of atomic energy –myself included– are candidates for Nuremberg-type trials for crimes against humanity for our gross negligence and irresponsibility. Now that we know the hazard of low-dose radiation, the crime is not experimentation– it’s murder."
    – Dr. John Gofman, former Manhattan Project scientist from Berkeley, CA. 1979.

    Even when they confess nothing happens. . .

  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    anyway, why be more concerned about the U.S. coast? Arent their people and highly sentient sea life along the Asian coast? The fish are highly contaminated. This will be worse with whale, seal and dolphin. The tragedy is already huge. Why say this is so diluted it wont cause any cancer to fish or human? How could that possibly be the right message to give the world?

    Pour some poison in a punch bowl; in some places it is deadly toxic, in other places it is not, its not all mixed. Keep a drip of poison going. Now our top scientists will tell you if you drink out of the right side of the bowl, there is no harm to your health, so dont worry. For a couple million bucks they will look into it further. Its just so discouraging; the largest radionuclide poisoning of the ocean and scientists tell you it wont do any harm….unless you possibly were to eat too much of the animals. I ask you is that (A) intelligent or (B) stupid?

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      speaking of stupid, sorry about all typos including "their" instead there. I get all riled up then dont check for errors

  • FixItStupid FixItStupid


  • FixItStupid FixItStupid

    You cant get the truth

  • razzz razzz

    There two different main plumes, airborne and waterborne. The US West Coast and Pacific Ocean got dusted with Daiichi fallout and water runoff concentrated radioactive fallout on the shoreline esp. in kelp and seaweed.

    This besides a dusting on the very top surface of the ocean from airborne fallout which acts different than a plume from the leaking nuke plants traveling underwater.

    Alaska seems to have received higher amounts of fallout in certain areas but we never get the reports of on-ground fallout or even the results of sea life deaths as the daughter products keep decaying away.

    There are SPEEDI type maps available but they don't tell where the main washouts occurred during storms and hot spots can be very spotty except for general accumulations that concentrate i.e. at the shorelines from water runoff. In Japan, seems like any ground or wind barrier will trap and collect the fallout in certain areas.

    Of course it wouldn't matter much except the amounts of fallout from Daiichi were/are enough to immediately reset and raise the background radiation levels to account for it. It only increases the risks or chances of getting cancers 5-70 years from 3/11 except for the locals who took the main brunt of the fallout i.e. Japanese kids and young women, probably includes the Tokyo area.

    I suppose there are enough hot particles and hot areas in random parts of the world to be avoided if they were actually mapped and announced to the public.

    • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

      You're right about the mapping, it is very much needed and would help in many situations. Just need to remember that the maps will need to be revised over and over (weekly, monthly, yearly) because the nuclides will continue to move.

      It would be possible to supply the public with a generic map that is frequently updated that shows at least gamma radiation, but I'm not sure how it would be possible to show the locations of alpha or beta, let alone what exact nuclides are present.

      Every turn in this nuclear maze leads to a dead end with a sign that says…( )

      Abolish the use of this technology immediately, so we can actually have a chance at life, and begin the work that must be done to ensure that the next generation can actually experience the feeling of hope.

  • W8R W8R

    Once it reaches the plankton blooms
    in the south pacific, and the oxygen
    levels start dropping, we will all be
    to stupid to care anyhow….