Radiation Nation – Two Weeks and Clicking

Perhaps like you, I’ll always remember where I was March 11, 2011 as the first tsunami’s came crashing in to the Japanese coast in live time. I was standing in my home office, aghast, while Denise Anne was on the phone with “Wild Bill” Bowling of the Radiation Rangers, talking about Runkle Canyon.

This massive wall of hellish black sludge surged obscenely across the land. I watched as a tractor trailer rig tried to outrun the sludge monster only to be caught, lifted up, turned around, get trapped in trees and then have an surging island of burning houses engulf it, and the poor soul within.

It broke my heart. And horrified me.

My newlywed wife and I then watched hell march across Japan on a live Internet stream. To witness the deaths of thousands from thousands of miles away seemed so wrong, so disrespectful somehow, but we couldn’t tear ourselves away.

Then it occurred to me – ‘what about their reactors?’

Shortly thereafter the third wave of horrors began. Multiple meltdowns. Residents near the plant being evacuated from ever larger distances. Produce contaminated. Families in Toyko told the radiation levels in tap water were too dangerous for their infant children – then that the levels had magically plummeted and everything was fine. And spewing radiation catching the jet stream across the Pacific and headed towards our shores.

This disaster will dwarf Chernobyl if it already hasn’t since it seems impossible to get the straight story from the Japanese or US governments.

On March 23, the Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, which is advising the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported that releases of radioactive Cesium-137 from Fukushima now are 20-60% those of Chernobyl and that releases of Iodine-131 are at 20% of Chernobyl releases.

The Fukushima disaster was initially classified as a level 4 meltdown on an international scale of 1-7 with 7 being the worst. A few days later, it was upgraded to a 5, the same level as 1970’s Three Mile Island. Chernobyl was a 7.

Today, Greenpeace Germany released a statement that, according to an analysis of radiation releases by consultant Dr. Helmut Hirsch, Fukushima is now a Level 7 accident on the international scale.

Already the media focus has moved on satisfied with the ‘it can’t get here’ government line all the while it is getting here. This came after a brief flurry that saw EnviroReporter on KTLA Channel 5 News, Inside Edition and in a Los Angeles Times article, talking about the problems with radiation detection and sharing it with the public considering that this was the worst nuclear disaster in the history of the human race.

But you’d never know it by listening to officials in California,. The crisis has been portrayed as negligible and any emergency plans for it are being held close to the vest.

Mike Dayton, acting secretary at the California Emergency Management Agency, told the Times that said even in the event of a catastrophic failure at a Japanese nuclear plant, “There is not a reason to get nervous.”

“Worst-case scenario, there is no threat to public health,” Dayton told the newspaper, whose reporter didn’t follow-up with the questions that EnviroReporter.com would have asked:

“Are you kidding? You are saying that there is no threat to public health when you don’t even know if the Plutonium-239 fueled MOX Reactor #3 completely melts down along with Reactors 1, 2 and 4 which are in the throes of meltdown after exploding as a result of being hit by an earthquake and tsunami which destroyed the cooling systems? Are you clairvoyant that you can make such an outrageously irresponsible statement when millions of lives are on the line and the Japanese say that they suspect that a crack has split the MOX core?”

Not only has the government issued repeated assurances based on the ‘it’s just too far away’ premise, it now admits that its radiation detection system across the country is in woeful shape. No where is it worse than the West Coast where the meltdowns’ fallout impacts first.

Bloomberg News reported March 21 that 8 out of 18 radiation air monitors in California, Oregon and Washington were “undergoing quality review,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they didn’t work.

The response of Ronald Fraass, director of the EPA’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery, Alabama was astonishing.

“What we are seeing is not a problem,” Fraass said today in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.

Fraass said this even though this country is downwind of the worst nuclear disaster in history, with multiple meltdowns, burning fuel rod pools, neutron beams over a mile long, reactors on fire, radiation spreading hundreds of kilometers from the crippled nuke power plant and the only way the unknown amounts of massive radiation release will not contaminate our shores is to contaminate the Pacific where it will enter the food chain and end up on our plates.

But that’s not the worst of it. Reactor # 3 is a MOX reactor powered by a uranium and Plutonium-239 fuel. Pu-239, with a half-life of 24,400 years, is widely thought to be one of the most poisonous substances on the planet.

Early today, Japanese officials disclosed that there has been a containment breach of the MOX with intense levels of radiation spreading through the reactor’s system towards the sea.

If this reactor fully melts down, and it appears to be heading in that direction with nary a thing the small contingent of brave workers can do about it, then this fuel could burn its way down through to the water table where a huge explosion would result.

A radioactive geyser could erupt from the earth shooting high into the sky. A plutonium and uranium fountain of death. Old Unfaithful.

There is so much deadly radioactive fuel, depending on the vagaries of the wind, the MOX pox could spread across northern Japan, threaten Tokyo, poison the Pacific and ride the jet stream to impact North America and Europe.

There are 32 MOX fuel assemblies in Reactor 3, according to New York Times reports. Each has about 400 pounds of a uranium/plutonium fuel mixture with a 7% concentration of plutonium. That comes to 900 pounds of plutonium in an uncontrolled state at the Japanese site where desperate crews are waging a pitched battle.

In total, Fukushima’s Reactor #3 holds 170 tons of radioactive fuel. The plutonium in the melted fuels is millions of times more poisonous than the uranium according to an expert who appeared on NHK television streaming last night.

Tonight in Japan, the prime minister prepared his country for the worst.

“We are trying to prevent a deterioration of the situation and we are still not in a position where we can be optimistic,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said through an interpreter.

“I would like to encourage the Japanese public to strengthen our unity and to work with our hearts as one to overcome this disaster.”

This week in the United States, Americans were told that it was impossible for the goo to get us. It didn’t matter if the detectors didn’t work, there was nothing to worry about even as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission just renewed the license of a Vermont nuclear reactor with the exact same design as those in Fukushima.

Old G.E.-designed reactors that were designed to store the spent radioactive fuel rods, which are far more contaminated than the rods reacting in the core, on top of the reactor instead of at a location farther away.

Unlike these Japanese reactors suffering meltdowns, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating station south of Los Angeles separates its spent fuel rods and has them ‘cooling’ outside the reactor complex.

I first reported on the problems at the San Onofre plant for the LA Weekly in 2001, two months after 9-11 in an article entitled “Radiating Fear – In dire need of a plan to protect nuclear power plants.”

Little has changed since that time except that the company that owns San Onofre, Southern California Edison, just volunteered that the nuclear reactor could withstand a huge 7.0 earthquake. That was little reassurance. Japan’s 9.0 earthquake was 100 times stronger. In other words, San Onofre claims to be able to withstand an earthquake only up to 1% of the power of the quake that destroyed Fukushima.

Now detectible amounts of Cesium-137 and Iodine-131 have been detected in Anaheim and Riverside but at miniscule levels. Trying to get data from the EPA has been hard for the general public because the agency’s website has scant understandable data with many radiation monitoring sites not having any results because they are ‘under review.’

The website frequently issues error messages and will not display its content and maps online in Firefox but will in Internet Explorer. In an online age in a disaster of this possible magnitude, it is inconceivable that the Environmental Protection Agency is utterly failing in its duty to inform Americans of the radiation readings in this country.

Americans have been left with little official information except for the previously noted proclamations that beg credulity. There has never been this much radiation bled uncontrollably into the environment and there will be much more to come even if the Japanese succeed in even what its prime minister hints is a lost cause.

Radioactive fallout has already impacted wide areas of our country according to the spotty EPA readings and the numerous readings sent in to Radiation Station, this reporter’s live-time stream of radiation readings in the western Los Angeles basin begun March 15.

The hunger for information has been overwhelming. Nearly 700,000 people have visited Radiation Station with hundreds keeping an eye on our Inspector Nuclear Radiation Monitor as it gathers radiation data from inside and outside our Santa Monica office. We also have scanned the water from recent storms for alpha and beta radiation contamination. Also competed were external inspections of different surfaces in multiple locations. Our quality control is helped by the experience I’ve had using the Inspector for the last decade.

So far, thankfully, we have detected nothing above normal, which is interesting considering places elsewhere in the state and country have seen radiation levels rise. But getting reliable information in California is as frustrating as trying to pick pennies out of a jar of molasses.

The stretch between San Francisco and Los Angeles has nary a government radiation monitor, according to an article today in the Los Angeles Times:

“Six of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 12 California sensors — including the three closest to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near San Luis Obispo — are sending data with ‘anomalies’ to the agency’s laboratory in Montgomery, Ala., said Mike Bandrowski, manager of the EPA’s radiation program.”

Yet even with colossal failure on the part of the government to protect its citizens, government official issue forth utterances that seem downright bizarre and apathetic.

“I believe the utilities monitor the sensors,” David McIntyre, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the Times. “They’re good about reporting things.”

That kind of slothful government-speak has been terrifying to hundreds of people who have visited EnviroReporter.com and the associated chat at Ustream. They come from all over Southern California, the nation, Europe and Japan.

But they’ve found a new nuclear family at the station, whether they liked it or not. They want to take action to save themselves and the country. They want to save the planet and they know, if the worst happens, it will be the greatest battle of their lives.

“It’s truly disturbing the way main stream media has completely buried the nuclear crisis in Japan,” says ‘Spaghette’ on the LA Weekly blog by Dennis Romero called The Informer which did a blog post about Radiation Station. “The work of Mr. Collins and Ms. Duffield (aka Mr. Manhands and Ms. Hands as they are affectionately known) has truly been a Godsend for me. It would be a nightmare if all I had to inform me were mainstream media and government outlets for information. I am so grateful, truly, thank you so much for your diligent work.”

I’m not sure if we deserve that but we are happy to provide a place where concerned individuals can connect with each other and share information.

We are safe so far. All readings are normal at Radiation Station.

But the Radiation Nation is restless, scared, compassionate, desperate and mad as hell.


  1. Sorry, we don’t have earthquakes. we have tornados

  2. Fine, is MN alright? I live there, and am a bit of a worrywart. There is a recently Inspected (And repaired) Nuclear power plant there, but we don’t have tornados. to the point though: would i be alright in case of a meltdown at Fukushima?

  3. icitizenoftheplanet

    Continued evergrateful thanks for all the supportive information and ” go-to’s “

  4. I will be receiving this surface contamination meter that does work on food. After I learn to use it properly I will document and post anything that is of concern related to foodstuffs in southern california. This is the cheapest available surface contamination meter. The next price jump is about 9K for a contamination detector that identifies the actual isotopes. Eventually our community will need this. It would be nice if we could donate one of those to enviroreporter, so that finally we could all see not just levels but levels of WHAT exactly are in our foods.

  5. For people looking for suggestions of practical things they can do to protect themselves from radiation, I just wanted to point out this webpage from a local integrative medicine clinic.


    They do a lot of credible research on these things and have posted various foods, teas, etc. that are radioprotective as well as strategies to protect against radioactive iodine damage other than taking KI pills.

  6. IT Came From Japan !
    California Coastline A FRIED SUSHI SANDWICH !
    WITH FISH SAUCE! And Ham !
    Anna NUCLEAR Radiated Radio Man!
    To Lie TO Us! Cause a Ruckus!
    And Spew All He Can !!
    Their Must Be some How! Some way !
    To get Them Out Of Japan!
    Or They May Be Fried And Scorched From Inside Their Glands !
    I heard Its All Over The Land !
    You can Ask Uncle Sam!
    But He Thought It Was Spam!
    Fried In A skillet !
    That Came From Japan !
    Thinking It Was SUICIDE !
    OF A Few Nuclear Radio Men…
    Only Today !
    He Is Ready !
    For His JET !
    To Get In !
    And Fly Far Away !
    Where No One Knows Him !
    Except For Those !
    That Have Interest In Him.

    Peace ALL!

  7. The reason it “seems impossible to get the straight story from the Japanese or US governments” is that they do not know. I realize that it is distressing when no one in the various governments or power companies has a clue, but that’s just the way life is sometimes.

  8. Hope I am doing the links correctly, it is not my intention to infringe on any copyrights.

    the following is an FYI regarding to limited liabilities the nuclear industries have. Sounds like the drug entities and a get out of jail free card.

    I would be concerned with the contaminated milk, foods, etc. The children of Cherbonyl had thyroid issues for years as did other countries. I don’t have an answer, just something to be mindful of.

    Slamming those who share information; If you don’t agree with whatever is said, that is fine, do share your knowledge and respectively allow others to share theirs. Our government has web site that suggest what to have for various emergencies, it is your choice as to what you should do.



  9. Dear JMD,

    These concerned citizens are not inciting fear or anger. They are providing information that has been very difficult to obtain in this Orwellian doublespeak mass media.


    Thank you for providing outside readings along with water sample readings which I had requested last week. You and your lovely bride are very much appreciated!


  10. Au contraire, JMD.

    There is one nuclear radiation monitor constantly producing data for everyone to see between Anaheim and San Francisco, 450 miles of land populated by millions of Californians. It’s here at the Radiation Station and it has, happily, been showing that the interior and exterior readings in Santa Monica/West LA, which is upwind of the greater LA Basin, have been normal background.

    We have numerous people tell us of the comfort that this precise and accurate accounting, available 24/7, gives them. Does that sound like inciting fear or anger? No it does not. What incites fear and anger is the fact that we’re even in this situation.

    You are also incorrect that the mainstream media is fear-mongering. The most valid criticism of MSM would be its not taking this situation seriously enough and what multiple meltdowns could mean for the Pacific, North America and the rest of the world, not to mention Japan. Part of the blame is because it takes scientific acumen to understand the subject and then properly relate it to the public. We don’t have that problem here.

    Check out an article that came out before Radiation Nation. It’s called Melt Down Wind and it spells out our immediate concerns. It is by no means all we would advice as guidance for safeguarding ourselves, but it looks at what must be addressed immediately.

    Rule of thumb for Denise and I is this: prepare as you should in Southern California for “The Big One” earthquake. Then add the kind of things you’d need in case of strong fallout: KI pills, plastic sheeting/duct tape for windows, doors, etc. and hepa filter air cleaners so that the enclosed space (apartment or part of a home) you’re in can have really particulate-free air which lowers any potential for radiation exposure inside.

    Doing these basic things, while expensive and a bit scary, is crucial here in So Cal. Japan leads the world in earthquake preparedness and it showed in this disaster: many more people would have been immediately killed if they weren’t so prepared. Los Angeles may not be so lucky. Add to that a nuclear reactor 50 miles south of LA that can handle a 7.0 earthquake — the Japanese quake was 100 times stronger.

    And we won’t be so lucky if we get a good exposure to fallout that may or may not be coming our way because of the Japanese nuclear crisis. Fallout that could be the result of multiple meltdowns.

    Do you think you’re prepared for what could be a very bad situation or are you more concerned about the discussion of such a situation, JMD?

    No matter. Be prepared. It’s right for you and your family and it’s right for the country.

    And we’ll continue to provide crucial live time information woefully missing in America, information that has, so far, calmed and assured many people.

  11. OK-Let’s say your “worst-case scenario” comes to fruition. What do you propose we all do? While your article may be “informative” it fails to provide instruction or guidance for safeguarding ourselves. Instead the article incites fear or anger in your readers, Without identifying resources we can use to mitigate damage from exposure, you have aligned yourself with the rest of mainstream fear-mongering media. You aren’t any more “responsible” than the rest of them.

  12. We appreciate all the comments we have been receiving but must address one type of them: cutting and pasting articles into comments and submitting them to us.

    Note in our Comments Policy page this passage: “Copyright
    Some comments are copied media articles which violates the copyright of the media source that generated that material. We will endeavor not to reprint copyrighted material submitted in our readers’ comments. Readers who continue to submit copyrighted material to our comments will be banned without notice.”

    Submitting other media outlets’ work, while informative, is not commenting. If a commenter wishes to refer to a link to such work, they are welcome to. However, if the link is to a site that was not the original creator of the article(s) that the commenter is pointing out, we will remove that link or not post the comment.

    In any event, as the terms of usage of this site already says, readers and commenters hold EnviroReporter.com harmless.

  13. I’m so very grateful to have come across your site and for the live streaming to monitor our air to keep us informed! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  14. i thought it was bad , but you just floored me . tku lud.

  15. Thank you for a very rare, and trustworthy report on current Japan/global nuclear horrors. Anyone trying to convince themselves that this catastrophe doesn’t affect each and every one of us GLOBALLY, is mistaken. Enviroreporter.com is an important resource for those of us seeking ***TRUTH***, for anyone seeking ***REAL*** news regarding the radiation reaching the United States, and the global impact of the nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Thank you Enviroreporter (Mr. Manhands and Lady Fingers!)

  16. BakersfieldSkyWatch

    Mr. Man Hands and Lady fingers,

    Great article!! Thanks for all your hard work!! We are mad as hell!!

  17. Thank you both for being our answer “blowin’ in the wind”. God bless you,

  18. citizenoftheplanet

    Another OUTSTANDING journalistic-get-to-the-heart-of-the-matter offering from Michael Collins !!!
    Endless thanks for you and yours tireless efforts to research and keep all informed.

  19. Thank you for the excellent work,article, and having your site with the detector…we know that the government surely won’t clue us in until we glow in the dark. Many thanks!!!

  20. Fabulous Write-Up

  21. Thank you for sharing your time, your words, your works your efforts, and your humanity for humankind.
    Deeply appreciated.

  22. BRAVO, Michael and Denise Anne—you have captured so well the fear and concern of these last 2 weeks as those of us who are(thankfully) informed by your site and others like PSR or NIRS, wonder what is really going on, in the face of the willful failure of the Japanese and U.S. Governments to reveal the true scope of this nightmare.

    Because I’ve been in close contact with the Enrivro-Reporter site and other reliable sources (linked to your site), I remain confident for the time being that radiation levels are within “safe” limits.

    But one of the abysmal failures of the EPA and State/County officials is their complete silence on the NATURE of what, exactly we are explosed to.

    The fact is (well-cited in reliable and careful research as opposed to “wing-nut” outcry) is that Plutonium, even in infinitessimally small doses can be very dangerous, can travel long distances and has an extraordinarily long half-life (tens of thousands of years).

    Thus, the EPA (and State/County officials) are not giving us the entire picture. And, as you remind us, a large percentage of the EPA’s monitors were suddenly discovered to be not functioning properly. This, despite the fact that those monitors are supposed to be the primary line of defense to protect us from terrorist attacks, or from chemical and nuclear accidents within our area.

    At this juncture, reassured by your reliable, ethical and well-tested measurements, I’m not so worried (yet) about the potential harm to us (for the moment).

    I am horrified, as we all are, by what the people of Japan must be suffering, especially under the contradictory and clearly limited information that TEPCO and the Japanese government release on a daily basis.

    Beyond this terrible (and, unfortunately, likely long-lived crisis), you characterize the new “community” at Enviro-Reporter so very well: We have come together in concern, sorrow, fear and a desire to learn and do more, and we have thus found an uneasy but increasingly caring fellowship as we face this nightmare together.

    Bless you and Denise Anne for the work you do.

  23. Mr. Enviro,
    This was definitely worth the wait. Thanks for not only providing the Radiation Station but for being our advocate and guardian angel. I certainly don’t have the resources or the knowledge to monitor this nuclear nightmare. Your UStream and the chat have provided me with much needed information, peace of mind (for now) and the tools to be prepared. Thank you for your perseverance and hard work. I respect you so much. You can count on me to be an avid supporter anytime.

  24. The devastation this has caused will be with us for a very long time & eventually the truth will come out. I’ve been following on Mr.Michael Collins site since it all started & its been very informative and educational. There have been concerned citizens on this site from all ages, backgrounds and all over the world. The work he has done has given us the much needed information to prepare & change for the best. Time will tell, as it always does, how bad this really is, how much it will affect us & how much it has been kept from us. A nuclear disaster like this should not be downplayed. We have the right to be informed. With information comes knowledge & with knowledge comes power. This disaster will force us to change the way we live in order to survive in this world & not leave so much disaster, devastation, hunger, poverty to the generations to come.
    Thank you Mr& Mrs. Michael Collins for all your work & keeping us informed.

  25. Very well written!! much respect.


  26. Keep on keeping them honest Sir Manhands. (My apologies to Ms. Lady Fingers for referring to her as “Ms. Hands”.) Yes sir we are “mad as hell.” Our government owes us better than this. I have emailed the EPA twice regarding their lack of data and was lucky enough to fill out a not-so-glowing survey of my EPA website experience. I hope others do the same.

  27. Wow, What can one say to that? It speaks volumes. Thank you.

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