Study: Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years — “We were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread” (PHOTO & VIDEO)

Published: July 9th, 2012 at 9:53 am ET


Fukushima radiation could reach US coast in five years
environmentalresearchweb (IOP Publishing)
July 9, 2012

Radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan could reach the US West Coast in the next 5–6 years, doubling the radioactivity of US coastal waters, according to simulations carried out by German oceanographers.


Tentatively assuming a value of 10 petabecquerel (PBq) for the net 137Caesium (Cs) input during the first weeks after the Fukushima incident, the simulation suggests a rapid dilution of peak radioactivity values to about 10 Bq/m³ during the first 2 years, followed by a gradual decline to 1–2 Bq/m³ over the next 4–7 years. The total peak radioactivity levels would then be about twice the pre-Fukushima values.


Study co-author Claus Böning, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel

  • “We were of course not surprised that there is a mixing effect, but we were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread”
  • “Within one year it will have spread over the entire western half of the North Pacific and in five years we predict it will reach the US West Coast”
  • “The levels of radiation that hit the US coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima”
  • “We cannot estimate accurately what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima”
  • “While this may sound alarming, these levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water”

From Video: “After 4 years… the entire Northern Pacific is filled with a certain amount of tracer.”

Published: July 9th, 2012 at 9:53 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Study: North America’s West Coast to be most contaminated by Fukushima cesium of all regions in Pacific in 10 years — “An order-of-magnitude higher” than waters off Japan (MAPS) July 15, 2012
  2. Scientists: “Absolutely every one” of bluefin tunas tested from S. California was contaminated with Fukushima radiation — “We were definitely surprised to see it at all – and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured” May 28, 2012
  3. Former Official: “40+ areas where extremely contaminated water flows directly into ocean” at Fukushima — Bloomberg: “4 years out, Fukushima reactors still spewing… Fishermen alleging for a while that radioactive water spilling into Pacific… astounding nobody at Tepco has gone to jail” (AUDIO) March 13, 2015
  4. MIT: Radiation-contaminated seawater could reach U.S. west coast in as little as 5 years December 22, 2011
  5. BBC: Public health hazard from fish arriving in California waters? May be considerably more contaminated than radioactive tunas (VIDEO) May 29, 2012

60 comments to Study: Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years — “We were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread” (PHOTO & VIDEO)

  • jec jec

    Add in AIR contamination from Fukushima, and then of course the bioaccumulation in sealife–how much is THAT? A Lot…

    The FIRST year has already passed….

  • apostrophes

    ""After 4 years……… homogenized""

    Put simply, after 4 years, it's the same everywhere. Concentrations off the PNW are the same as off Japan.

    • apostrophes

      Of course, with a single tracer as described. In the real case, Japan's concentrations will always be higher because of the CONTINUOUS emissions.

  • "…there IS a mixing effect…"

    Which in turn will affect us all.
    What happens when you add to much 'yeast' to the baking mix?

    "While this may sound alarming, these levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water”

    Notice it says 'permitted', it does not say 'is good for you'. It does not say what your 'accessed risk level' is at the 'current' permitted level.

    It IS alarming!!!
    What's alarming is the constant 'repeat' of how this is somehow acceptable.

    "..still lower"
    At what point, on what day? …will the article read. Your water is contaminated and is HIGHER than what is permitted in drinking water, thanks to Nuclear Power. (probably never)

    One would think that 'the day' it becomes unacceptable could be predicted or estimated at this time.

    Although, when that day comes I am sure the press statement will be something like, "It's only slightly above acceptable levels and there is no need for immediate concern."

    • Horseman of the Apocalypse Horseman of the Apocalypse

      Clearly there exists a threshold level unique to every living organism, which threshold will determine the organism's ability to survive radiation exposure. When the governments declare a certain amount of radiation may be 'safely' tolerated, for example, in drinking water, they are not, at the same time, considering other concomittant radiation exposure. Whilst little Johny may be drinking milk and eating cookies laced with high, but 'safe' levels of radiation, little Johny may also be drinking out of a similarly exposed 'safe' radiated glass while leaning on a 'safe' radiated table and sitting on a 'safe' radiated chair wearing 'safely' radioactive clothes, with 'safely' radioactive footwear touching a 'safely' radioactive floor which, itself, is connected to 'safe' radioactive walls and ceiling as the wind ushers in 'safe' radiated air through the open 'safely' radioactive kitchen window.

      *sigh* No wonder Little Johny's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Icarus, consider the ENE News fans paranoid fearmongers. How could it be otherwise with all that safe radiation around?

      • Maggie123

        Well described!

        • Horseman of the Apocalypse Horseman of the Apocalypse

          Thank you. However, best not to be misled by my strange attempt at humour. I personally find the human condition to be quite terrifying. Between Fukushima (a small example of nuclear power gone wrong) and events unfolding in the Middle East, things look grim. I have a radiation rash, two radiation burns on each wrist and now, my blood pressure (stable always, as the Rock of Gibralter) has shot up 22% overnight. Stress, perhaps. Additionally, I must battle criminally insane elitists who have insisted upon using me (of all people in the world) as a legal precedent to promote the rape, torture and murder of children.
          Mea culpa. mea culpa, Mea maximus culpa.


        spot on thoughts Horseman…

  • nedlifromvermont

    so slowly the truth is released, one bequerel at a time …

    and we foolish Americans believe in the goodness of our capitalistic leaders who shade the truth, offer up half truths and outright lies … and, mostly, Silence!

    and Tea Party activists trumpet the Constitution …

    so where in the Constitution does it inform that Americans are free to license and coddle an industry that colludes with regulators and government officials, that casts away any responsibility to clean up after itself, and which pollutes the planet with cancer-causing radionuclides, all in the pursuit of imaginary and short term profits, so that people may waste electricity?

    I am aghast at the insensitivity and inhumanity!

    We reap what we sow … now the radioactive harvest begins …

    Keep the faith 'newsers … never before has the fate of biological life hung so in the balance …

    Demand answers from the pro-nuclear hard heads among us …

    Where is the General Electric cavalry to ride to the rescue?

    Fraternizing with big oil, big pharma and Monsanto, no doubt.

    Free market capitalism is debased and debauched by the silence of our corporate oligarchs and plutocrats …

    Soon the Tea Party nitwits will have cause to rejoice over their so very patriotic and necessary cancers and birth defects …

    /rant off

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Nedifromvermont: "Free market capitalism is debased and debauched by the silence of our corporate oligarchs and plutocrats". Nice turn of phrase! 🙂

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Sorry, the rulers of the nuclear industry are fascists. There is nothing capitalistic about nuclear power. Nuclear power is the most expensive energy and cannot exist without huge subsidies from the government and with the government carrying all the insurance against disasters and killing people with the release of tritium, Krypton, etc. We don't have a democracy. We have a kleptocracy run by fascists. Free market capitalism would never have sanctioned nuclear weapons or nuclear energy.

      • nedlifromvermont

        anne … you are right. We do not have free market capitalism, so loudly touted by our Tea Party brethren.

        Nuclear power was about the militarization of the electricity grid. So something that began as an essential public service morphed into something else, as you say, a fascist kleptocracy.

        So sad. So bad. What are we to do?

        • dharmasyd dharmasyd

          Careful about simple definitions of capitalism, fascism, etc. Mussolini famously said that Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because fascism was the merging of government with big business. I think this is what we have seen happen in our government and many "First World" governments. This is certainly true of the USA, of Japan…and on.

          I believe it is UNREGULATED capitalism which we must fear, because greedy motivation turns it to fascism. Regulations act to fence in the greed which destroys.

          • bleep_hits_blades

            Yes, dharmasyd, 'fascism' is really 'corporatism' – the merging of big govt. with big business/big banking/central banks – exactly what we have now in the USA and Europe. This is what socialism/collectivism always becomes, as the record of history proves.

            We in the Western world have a mixed system of corporatism and collectivism/socialism. We have what you might call the worst of both worlds – monopoly capitalism mixed with big-government socialism … which eventually 'evolves' to include govt. bailouts/ subsidies of (so goes the rationalization) 'too big to fail' big business and big banking.

            It is absurd to call the current system 'capitalism' – and then to blame 'capitalism' for all of our problems.

            But the whole object here (on the part of 'our corporate masters') is to get the people so confused that they don't even understand what is going on and whom to blame for their diminishing freedoms and standard of living, and the increasing role of authoritarian government in their private lives.

            It's a kind of semantic shell game. Most people guiltily conclude that they are too stupid to understand it and just opt out of even trying to understand it.

            • richard richard

              "semantic shell game" – hell yeah. I actually like a bit of socialism and capitalism.

              I think it's fair to share some common wealth/health around, but it's also fair to let people who excel recieve some just rewards.

              As you say bleep, we have the worst of both worlds.. it's all just too corrupt to believe anymore. Thanks for your quip.

              • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

                Hi Richard , yes , take the good out of both worlds and bury the rest that didden't work or worse. I think the biggest problem with kapitalisme , socially and psychologically, is there is no limit build in on both sides (bottem and top) . No limit on how poor or rich an individual can live or die.
                I'd say , connect them both to eachother. Meaning ; how poor the bottem line in society is , is the direct limiter how much of the resources the top can monopolise . For example , poorest guy makes 5000 dollar a year , then the top can only make (5000$ x (? times)) . Everything above they make goes back to the system and therefore everybody including the poor. If the top habitants wants more , they will have to raise the whole bottom line limit 😉 . And then again there would have to be built in a limit in the total amount of resources a society is allowed to digest, directly related to the state of health of the planet and the number of heads in the society.
                Something like that i think might be more sustainable and in line with our nature and the reality off our planet without the out of control mutated perversions of the system we see today…

                The exact multyplyer in the formula is yet to be figured out , not by me. But it should be high enough to make it acceptable by the materialists and low enough to make the healing difference compared to current systems.

          • Maggie123

            You raise an important caution dharmasyd, IMO. And that is "definition of terms".

            There is strong inclination to blend "capitalism" (in it's classic sense, as studied by Marx) and "free enterprise", or "enterprise". They are not the same.

            Marx does an astonishingly comprehensive analysis in "Capital" which should, I believe, be studied by all who want economic systems to work well for humanity. His purpose was not to "trash capitalism", but to examine the dynamics. I hasten to say I've *not* read "Capital" but have made a point to follow David Harvey's lectures – and even those I've not finished!

            Even our common use of "communism" is not in line with what early "anti-capitalist" theorists were aiming for. We use the totalitarian regime of the Soviet U. as our model; what they proposed was ultra-democratic and grass roots based.

            A key theme for me is Marx's concern for alienation of individual by the machine of capitalism – he points out that even the "capitalist" (the money guy), while living a wealthier and comfortable life than "the worker", is alienated from self by "the system".

            I'm no expert, but this is what I've gathered by spending some time exploring.

            • Maggie123

              We use the totalitarian regime of the Soviet U. as our model; what early anti-capitalist theorists proposed was ultra-democratic and grass roots based. ("they" was a touch ambiguous!)

        • yogda yogda

          The tea party,

          It's modern form was started in 2007 by Ron Paul and then later co-opted by the the likes of Rick Santorum and Bachmann etc…

          Everything is now a filter folks…

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        I personally do not believe a word Mussolini and Hitler ever said. They are not the arbiters of my intellectual thought. Evil and insane people should not be listened to:

        • dharmasyd dharmasyd

          Anne…Yep "Evil and insane people should not be listened to"
          Only difference is, Anne, I don't see the same people as evil and insane as do you. Oh well, care to agree to disagree? I don't think you can nor will, for whatever reasons….

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            Well for starters, dharmasyd, are you arguing that Mussolini and Hitler are not evil and insane? And are you arguing that all nuclear industry advocates and researchers are not evil and insane?

            • dharmasyd dharmasyd

              No Anne…I think I'm saying that your ego is in your way. Oh, poor Anne. Your posts have been much better lately since you gave up your 7 point denials of alles and everybody else, ending with quotes of chapter & verse. Go back to your research & posts on same. You do a very good job on those. Just— Leave the philosophy to the less dogmatic and more …!(fill in the blank)

          • dharmasyd dharmasyd

            Anne, Ps: I checked your links. So? What?


        thank you anne. Though I can sympathize with the frustration, we must avoid confusing fascism with capitalism. Most living today have never known what a true free-market system is like, to live within. Corporate socialism (fascism) has been running full-throttle for close to a seventy-five years now…

  • apostrophes

    Hi Nedli, always enjoy your posts, and agree with the general thrust of this one.

    Rant away, love every moment.

    Keep it coming. You never know who it will inspire.

    As I am not a usaian, I regard you and your ilk as victims of the system that rules you.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Gushing into oceans, and spewing into air. Nonstop …for decades and decades. And longer.

  • JustmeAlso

    The Great Conveyor Belt will take the s**t further than the Pacific..

  • nedlifromvermont

    Go Enenews!! And thank you Phillipupnorth and apostrophes for the encouragement.

    I seem unable to stop myself.

    This really is a Galileo moment … the NRC playing the part of the Catholic church … refusing truth presented to it, as not part of received "wisdom" from its corporate paymasters …

    The silence from science and corporate leaders is appalling …

    Things must be (and are) quite stunningly bad.

    And still the NRC requires no speeded-up timetable for dry-casking fuel assemblies which have not yet burned and which we can still access with working gantry cranes and fuel pools …

    Really doing their job there those guys. "Toothless toadies of the NRC." There ought to be a calendar, or maybe a Playgirl spread?

    peace …

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    So in summary radiation released from Fukushima will be diluted as it moves with the ocean currents through the ocean. Did they really need to do a study to confirm this? Isn’t it obvious? Did they not hear the saying, “the solution to pollution is dilution” or lookup the paths of how the ocean currents flow and mix?

    Let me try. I’m going to flush some dye down my toilet or how about some toxic toilet unclogging chemical like Drano (I have a septic system not a public utility), by the time it reaches my local creek it will be less concentrated. Even more so as it reaches the nearest river then the Mississippi River and eventually you won’t even notice it, drink up.

    • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

      This study rather irritated me it is as if a study was done just so they could say that the levels will be low enough that no one should worry about them. This is what the pro-nuke side will take away and quote from this study. The real issue here for North America is that radiation is in the ocean and it will be in people more and more as it continues to be released from Fukushima and concentrates in the fish and rains out on crops. Why is it an issue even at low levels? Ask yourself what was the “natural” radiation level of the ocean, the fish, the food and humans in the year 1900 (pre-atomic age?). Answer: Lower than the “acceptable” or “permitted” levels are today. Every exposure to radiation can cause a cancer and some people are more in danger from radiation exposure than others. A little here and a little there adds up to a significant amount and results in more and more illness overall. Personally my acceptable and permitted levels of radiation are the same as those that would have existed in the year 1900 anything more than that should only come from me requiring an x-ray for medical reasons.

      • richard richard

        @enoughalready45 – that's it exactly.

        "acceptable and permitted levels of radiation are the same as those that would have existed in the year 1900"

        why should anything else be acceptable. The nukers are the destroyers of this world. Never tolerate them or their poison to any degree.

  • Lee Binder

    FYI, the video don't play, not even on the original site .. wanted to let'em know but they require to sign up for commenting – didn't feel like that ..

  • sweet pea sweet pea

    last week Paul Gunther was on saying, it's hitting Hawaii now and will be hitting the west coast in another year or two. The fog along the coast comes in like a blanket over very populated cities like San Francisco, won't it be laden with what ever is in the sea at the time?
    I am Very worried about being in fog that's full of radiation!
    That's gonna carry it from the water into My Lungs!

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      It was here in the water a long time ago. Due to bio-accumulation it's only going to get stronger. We're all screwed. Join the club.

      You might go to South America or lower Africa, but if you're from the West Coast of the US/Canada, it's a little late.

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    “While this may sound alarming, these levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water”

    After you, Deutsche Komrade. After you.

    Research sponsored by GE – "Life, too cheap to meter".

  • CaptD CaptD

    And don't forget the Radioactive Bucky Balls which are wind blown:

    Hint: If you can smell the salty air, guess what it can contain?

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      I'd like to know more about the research into these new 'radionuclide bucky balls', but I do know that uranium particles can be statically charged and remain airborne for great lengths of time.

      Something else hanging in the air, traveling by jetstream.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    It most definitely is already here as early as April 12. Just like they had said that it would take 5 years before the debris reached us …yup aha ..& we know that was a bald faced LIE.

    Nuclear professor “surprised” by radioactive seaweed south of Seattle — “I guess I was assuming it wouldn’t reach this far, but it did”

    ~Dilution?!? who says???

    An example of a radioactive element that does NOT dilute even after having been set off in a bomb, hit the atmosphere & being reabsorbed into the ocean.

    Radioactive tritium became a perfect marker for tracking ocean water §. Scientists sampling North Atlantic water found that tritium released into the atmosphere before the 1962 nuclear test ban treaty, mixed downward by 1973. By 1980, the same tritium had moved into deep areas off Florida. The water had taken about 20 years to travel 3000 miles (4800 km) through the sea at an average speed of less than half a mile a day, about half the speed of a snail §.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Question…did this travel via the currents or from the air?

    Study Finds Radioactive Fallout in California Kelp Beds

    “Radioactivity is taken up by the kelp and anything that feeds on the kelp will be exposed to this also,” [California State University, Long Beach marine biology professors Steven L. Manley] continued. “Even though we detected low levels, it still got into the environment and we don’t know anything about the other radioisotopes like cesium 137, which stays around much longer than iodine. In fact, the values that we reported for iodine probably underestimate what was probably in there. It could be two to three times more because we were just sampling the surface tissue; the biomass estimates were based on canopy tissue and a lot of kelp biomass is underneath. So, probably two or three times more was in the tissue at its height. Then it enters the coastal food web and gets dispersed over a variety of organisms. I would assume it’s there. It’s not a good thing, but whether it actually has a measureable [sic] detrimental effect is beyond my expertise.” […]

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Great thread and bleep_hit_blades, I always enjoy your perspective on our current realities.

    If only more individuals in our world could wake up and see the same bright lights.