WSJ: “An eerie quietness” in Fukushima says top biologist — Bird population dropped twice as much as after Chernobyl — “Disturbing development”

Published: March 10th, 2012 at 2:06 am ET


Follow-up to:
[catlist tags=birds numberposts=-1 orderby=date order=desc date=yes comments=no catlink=no]

Title: In Japan, Relief at Radiation’s Low Toll
Source: Wall Street Journal
Date: March 9, 2012

[…] Those studying the accident warn, however, that the early, reassuring conclusions may understate the extent of exposure for certain people. They add that scientists still know very little about the effect on the human body of extended exposure to low-level radiation. There also have been some disturbing developments—a reduction in the bird population near the plant, high levels of radiation in local fish—that biologists say they will continue to watch.

“The most important thing is to monitor everyone’s health carefully over the longer term,” said Shunichi Yamashita, vice president at Fukushima Medical University and a longtime researcher on the impact of radiation on human health. […]

Ecologists and biologists who toured Fukushima prefecture earlier this year found that the radiation release appeared to have had a dramatic impact on birds in the region. Biologists led by radio-ecologist Timothy Mousseau at the University of South Carolina studied 300 locations around Fukushima last July and found that local bird populations had dropped by about a third. “The response was about twice as much as after Chernobyl,” said Dr. Mousseau. “We don’t know why yet.”

Their absence was noticeable. “It is an eerie quietness,” he said. “The environment is just quieter.”

Read the report here

Published: March 10th, 2012 at 2:06 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Radiation Biologist: Tree leaves were gigantic after Chernobyl — “Witch’s Broom” effect (VIDEO) January 2, 2012
  2. U.S. University: Low-level radiation appears to have had immediate effects on bird populations in Fukushima Pref. — Areas surveyed are mostly still open to human occupation — Worse than expected — More pronounced than Chernobyl February 8, 2012
  3. MSNBC: Fukushima radiation “much higher than expected” says biologist — Negative effects to happen quicker than at Chernobyl… and be worse April 20, 2012
  4. Chernobyl Expert: Fukushima’s final toll will be worse — Multiple facilities, longer duration, population far more dense (RADIO) March 13, 2012
  5. Mainichi: Abnormalities in offspring of mammals to get particular attention in Fukushima study by gov’t — Shrinking brain capacity, drop in population seen in Chernobyl wildlife January 30, 2012

37 comments to WSJ: “An eerie quietness” in Fukushima says top biologist — Bird population dropped twice as much as after Chernobyl — “Disturbing development”

  • maaa

    "Timothy Mousseau at the University of South Carolina studied 300 locations around Fukushima last July and found that local bird populations had dropped by about a third. "The response was about twice as much as after Chernobyl," said Dr. Mousseau. "We don't know why yet."

  • LOl we dont know why yet….
    because the nuke plants blew sky high!

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      No, I disagree totally.. those birds just went on vacation to the Bahamas. They will be back, when the government says it is ok for them to return. The government is waiting for the Bird Safety Agency to give the all clear.

      No birds were harmed in the creation of this post.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    In a preview of his study which I read a few weeks ago, Mousseau said he believes the bird population studies could have relevance as indicating human trends.

    Dr. Helen Caldicott stated in a recent program that the full effects of certain radionuclides (think she was referring to I & Ce) could take many generations to manifest. I believe she said 40 generations, but it might have been 20. Still a lot. It's too late to search for the reference now. If anyone wants it – speak, and I'll look tomorrow.

    • StillJill StillJill

      You are correct dharmasyd,…it's 40 generations Dr. Caldicott mentions,…I watched the video yesterday. It is posted.

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      She said the damage will go on FOREVER genetically. Why?

      Because once a gene has repaired itself in a faulty way, and then gets duplicated via the next generation, that carries on forever and ever in all future generations.

      Since most of these defective genes are recessive, the damage may not show up for many generations, but it is permanent.

      As more and more genes are damaged each generation, the effects become more and more noticeable, as higher and higher percentages of genes are made 'defective'. The body cannot repair overwhelming amounts of genetic damage caused by even low level radiation.

      In Belarus, the medical authorities predicted birth defect rates would drop after 10 years or so. After 30 years the number of defects and health problems in babies and children are still increasing, year after year. Now 80-85% of all children born in contaminated areas are born with health problems or defects.

      This used to be the exception.. Now it is the norm.

      Guess what? My prediction is that this will happen in Japan as well.. No need to 'study' it… if one has eyes to see.

      Low Dose Chernobyl and Fukushima Radiation Dangers To Children; Via A Green Road Blog –

  • dear jones

    TEPCO : Bird population dropped is because of those Birds do not like japan any more, they migrate to other country and not related to radiation.

  • Anthony Anthony

    "We don't know why yet."

    Its because the poisons are worse and more massive.

    It is time to stop beating the melting bush.

  • Mats

    "..who toured Fukushima prefecture earlier this year.."

    And it was not because there was wintertime?

  • Sickputer

    SP: I always vet these traveling radiation "experts":

    April 2011

    "The cesium 137 is water soluble and it will be diluted out of the fish flesh, once the input has stopped," said radiation ecologist Timothy Mousseau at the University of South Carolina, who studied the impact on wildlife of fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Depending on the size of the fish, it could take weeks or months for the radioactivity to subside."

    SP: Or more likely… decades. This is wishful balderdash about how cesium behaves in fish tissue. Cesium concentrates in muscle tissue and even bones of fish, much like in humans. The toxins do not wash out as easy as Mousseau postulates.

    If you eat Pacific fish and prepare it at home… Try this food preparation tip done by scientists post-Chernobyl:
    The removal of radioactive caesium from meat by soaking in brine (NaCl-solution) or water and the effect of injection curing, temperature, size of meat piece and cooking on this removal were studied in this investigation. The availability of the brined meat for the manufacture of cured, smoked and cooked meat, oven-cooked meat and cooked sausages was also investigated. The soaking method was also tested on fish.
    Soaking in brine or water for 2 days reduced the radioactive caesium content of meat (200-g pieces) to less than 50% of the original; two successive brine or water treatments for 2 days reduced the radioactive caesium content to about 20% and three successive treatments to the level of 10% of the original caesium content. Increased brining temperature improved the removal of radioactive caesium from meat. Cooking removed radioactive caesium from meat far less effectively than brining. When pieces of meat weighing 1 kg were brined for 2+2 days the radioactive caesium content on the surface of…

    • Sickputer

      …of the meat."

      SP: please note these scientists did hard research and discovered cesium was highly embedded in fush muscle. Dr. Mousseau…care to comment? I would enjoy some countertalk.

      • Sickputer

        Sorry… On my phone and copy and paste sucks… Here's the end of the abstract:

        "When pieces of meat weighing 1 kg were brined for 2+2 days the radioactive caesium content on the surface of the meats was still 30% and as high as 86% of the original content inside the meat. When the coarsely ground meat was soaked for 17 h in running water the radioactive caesium content was reduced to 10% of the original content."

        SP: So there you have it… To get rid of 90% of the cesium in fish… Grind it like hamburger and run it under water for 17 hours. You may have to work overtime to pay your water bill. >;->

        • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

          I am assuming these experiments involved PURE, radiation free water? And where does all of that radiation go, after it leaves the fish?

          And if they stake these salted down fish down on the sandy river bottoms around FUKU, and let that water run over these whole or ground up fish, my bet is that the radiation levels will go UP, not down.

      • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

        thanks sp!

        This chart shows substitutions for the two most popular brands of kosher (coarse) salt for 1 cup of ordinary table salt (remember without iodine) when brining poultry.

        Table Salt (without iodine) – use 1 cup
        Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt – use 2 cups
        Morton Kosher Salt – use 1 1/2 cups


        • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

          just occurred to me after reading the other thread.. I bet that's why it spreads through the ocean quickly. if salty water takes it out of the meat it goes in the water – the pacific is a large brine bucket 🙁

          • Sickputer

            I doubt stored cesium in fish muscle dissipates easily while the fish is alive in the ocean. The brine technique for food preparations involves flushing dead tissue of an eviscerated fish.

            I would like to see results of live experiments on fish contaminated with cesium to see if they do shed most of the muscle and bone-embedded cesium after they migrate (or removed for a study) to cleaner waters.

            Maybe that has been done already… I will research later. Please share any links you may run across. I like concrete research instead of vague pronouncements based on some WAG.

            • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

              Studies show that radiation bio accumulates at each step up the food ladder.

              Dr. Helen Caldicott MD says; "As radiation from ocean contamination bio-accumulates up the food chain, radioactive fish will be caught thousands of miles from Japanese shores. As they are consumed, they will continue the cycle of contamination, proving that no matter where you are, all major nuclear accidents become local.

              In 1986, a single meltdown and explosion at Chernobyl covered 40% of the European land mass with radioactive elements. Already, according to a 2010 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences, almost one million people have perished as a direct result of this catastrophe, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg."


              Of course, no one tests their food or water, and the US refuses to test for radiation in ANYTHING coming from Japan, so what does that tell you? More sushi, anyone?

              • aigeezer aigeezer

                Hi AGR. I'm not sure how you mean: "Of course, no one tests their food or water, and the US refuses to test for radiation in ANYTHING coming from Japan, so what does that tell you? More sushi, anyone?"

                I eat a lot of sushi and sashimi and wild pacific salmon, so of course I care about the issue. My approach lately has been to test it all with the geiger counter before eating it. It's a nuisance but it lets me get on with life. I can ignore all government pronouncements, and I can ignore shrill voices that say "don't eat anything from the Pacific." For the moment, it seems to be an optimal approach – works for me, at least.

                • hbjon hbjon

                  Shrill voices? lol. I sorta thought you were a shill a while ago but that clinches it. With all due respect, you've been a regular here for as long as I can remember and after all the things we have collectively learned you run out and buy some pacific salmon? What about the Curium? Neptunium? Plutonium? Einsteinium? Californium? Berkeleyium? Must I go on? For the love of God man, spit it out.

                • aigeezer aigeezer

                  Hi hbjon. I can't reply to your post, but perhaps you'll see this. As I said, I test it first with a geiger counter. Otherwise I wouldn't take a chance.

                  Put another way, I have a method of finding out what is true regardless of all the noise around me – noise from all quarters.

                • Sickputer

                  SP: Some of the plutonium particles are pretty small. It just takes one speck traveling to your lungs to give you a bad time:


                  Most geiger counters under 10 thousand dollars probably can't detect a hot particle, but hey, it doesn't hurt to try.I am still staying away from ocean wildlife except for South African rock lobster perhaps. *;-)

                  Gundersen addressed those of those issues of how hard it is to detect very small particles:


                • hbjon hbjon

                  I never bought a geiger counter because they fail to be effective for detecting the really bad stuff in food. I have researched but have found nothing on the possibility of detecting helium emmisions from food. Does the Alpha particle turn into a He atom that readily leaves a mass of food? Or does the Alpha particle transmute an atom into a beta emitter? Anything that comes out of the Pacific ocean from here on out has the potential to have man-made elements attached to the molecule. That is fact. These man-made elements are millions of times more energetic than your Iodine and Ceasium that we so often hear about.

  • I mentioned in here on another thread that I had been finding between one and four dead doves a day since a snow last December. Almost all were on the ground looking as if they were asleep.

    Since I reported it here, no dove, a few quail, no sparrows, one black bird.

    I saw one baby cottontail rabbit and have been watching for those. Only a few adults now.I am in SE New Mexico.

    • DebbyS

      I'm in New Mexico, too, the only state in the 48 that has had winter this year, I understand! 🙂 I'm in downtown Albuquerque, which is a fair-sized city somewhat north of center New Mexico, to the west of some mountains, and I enjoy watching birds. We've had our normal number of winter birds as far as I can tell, though I do put out food for them: sparrows, house finches, lesser goldfinch, white wing doves, pigeons (saw a dead one a few days ago, but I suspect it was a normal casualty of living in the city), black birds, robins. Oddly, a lot of crows, a few woodpeckers (ladderback and downy), and lots of Canada Geese heading north. I haven't been out much to watch for others because it's been cold and windy. I have no doubt bird populations are affected by radiation (and, also continuing, BP's gift to earth in the Gulf…), just not right in this area at this time. Spring migrants (those who stay for the season and those who are just passing through) should start showing up in a few weeks (kingbirds, hummingbirds, etc.), so their presence or lack thereof may indicate what's happening. We'll see.

  • arclight arclight

    "The most important thing is to monitor everyone's health carefully over the longer term," said Shunichi Yamashita, vice president at Fukushima Medical University and a longtime researcher on the impact of radiation on human health."


    Health uncertainties torment residents in Fukushima

    The government spokesman keeps saying there are no IMMEDIATE health effects," the 48-year-old nursery school worker says. "He's not talking about 10 years or 20 years later. He must think the people of Fukushima are fools.

    "It's not really OK to live here," she says. "But we live here."

    and this

    "What's clear is Fukushima will serve as a test case that the world is watching for long-term exposure to low-dose radiation.

    More than 280,000 people live in Fukushima city alone, though some have left, and many more live in surrounding towns, including many of the 100,000 who have been evacuated from the no-go zone.

    "People are scared to death," says Wolfgang Weiss, chairman of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, which is studying Fukushima. "They are thinking, 'Tell me. Is it good or bad?' We can't tell them. Life is risky."

    • Bobby1

      The government keeps saying there are no immediate health effects, as if getting cancer or heart disease later is of no importance… but even saying there are no immediate health effects is a lie.

      Fukushima radioactive contamination symptoms research: (Japanese)

      Just a sample of the most recent medical records:

      thyroid problems, ear infections, nosebleeds, moles, mycoplasma pneumonia, tightness, dermatitis, dry cough, chest pain, diarrhea, gallstones, conjunctivitis, numbness, headaches, stuffiness, low back pain, memory impairment, loss of strength, cysts, brain tumors, stiffness, stomatitis, angular cheilitis, glossitis, skin rashes, tonsillitis, bladder inflammation, nail discoloration, joint pain, asthma, arm pain, bronchitis, anemia, menstrual problems, sudden death

  • What about insects? Microbes? Bacterias? If birds are affected then it only goes to reason that these other life forms will be hit even harder.

    The chain of life has been broken… an ever increasing snowball effect will continue far past our lifetimes. You don't have to be a biologist or expert scientist to figure that one out.

    Scary and unimaginable, but for some reason people just don't get it or can't allow themselves to think about it? 🙁

  • Most of this article is pure propaganda.

    I am trying to log on to the WSJ site so that I can rebut the claim of no effects.

    I am not able to log on for some reason.

    I hope that someone else can log on and rebut both the article and the asinine comment urging that Japan's reactors be re-started asap.

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Yea, good idea… let's restart ALL of the Fukushima Daichi reactors… Just stop pouring water on them. DO NOT refill the spent fuel pools and just let them all FISSION, or whatever they want to do.

    Why bother with trying to clean up radiation, or prevent more from coming out of FUKU, when Fox News, Ann Colter says more radiation is GOOD for health, the more the better?

    Why bother getting ready for the Carrington Effect? When all 400 nuke plants melt down and blow up, we will all just be so glowing healthy, no one will ever get sick anymore.

    More nuclear radiation for everyone…everywhere on Earth.

    Super Solar Storm Predicted To Hit 2013; Carrington Effect, Year Long Power Blackouts; via A Green Road Blog