Study: Fukushima contamination may be spreading south of Tokyo — NOT blocked by Kuroshio Current as widely reported — “A potential pathway for contaminated water”

Published: April 3rd, 2012 at 2:02 pm ET
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Title: Cesium up to 100 times levels before disaster found in plankton far off nuke plant
Source: The Mainichi Daily News
Date: April 3, 2012

[...] according to a survey conducted by Japanese and U.S. researchers [...] radioactive cesium was hardly found in samples south of the black current, which flows south of Fukushima and meanders eastward off the Boso Peninsula, leading researchers to believe that the current blocked the spread of radioactive substances south. [...]

Actually, the survey said something much different:

Magenta line running south along coast

It is evident that the Kuroshio Current forms a southern boundary for the transport of these Fukushima-derived radionuclides (at least in the western North Pacific), because samples at this boundary or to the south had 134Cs activities <3 Bq·m−3 (our detection limit for 134Cs was 1.5 Bq·m−3). This finding is supported by the tracks of our surface drifters, most of which traveled east along the Kuroshio or northeast (Fig. 2A, blue and red lines). However, several drifters moved westward toward the coast, with one drifter transiting along the coast to the south of our study area (Fig. 2B, magenta lines), suggesting a potential pathway for contaminated water.

Via EXSKF last December (Emphasis Added):

[...] In the latest result published on December 21 for the items reported since October, radioactive cesium has been found in dried “nori” [seaweed] in:

  • Kanagawa Prefecture – 1 sample, at 11 becquerels/kg
  • Chiba Prefecture – 6 samples, 11, 27, 25, 16.5, 5.6, 17.7 becquerels/kg respectively

Nori grown and harvested in Tokyo Bay, called “Edomae nori”, commands super premium. One sheet of Edomae nori usually fetches over 10 yen a sheet at wholesale (US 13 cents), and used mostly in gourmet sushi restaurants. [...]

I’ve never seen the news of radioactive cesium detection in nori in the mainstream media at all. Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have known about it. I’m curious to know how radioactive cesium traveled from Fukushima to Tokyo Bay. The government has claimed that the Kuroshio Current would prevent the spread of radioactive materials south of Ibaraki.

Judging by the reaction to my Japanese tweet, there are many others like me who didn’t know about the detection.

UPDATE: Within minutes of publishing this report, Jiji/Yomiuri ran the following headline: Kuroshio curbs spread of cesium, which distorts the findings of the study and removed the most important part of paragraph from which they quoted: “It is evident that the Kuroshio Current forms a southern boundary for the transport of these Fukushima-derived radionuclides [...] several drifters moved westward toward the coast, with one drifter transiting along the coast to the south of our study area, suggesting a potential pathway for contaminated water.”

Published: April 3rd, 2012 at 2:02 pm ET
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