The three meltdowns have spewed trillions of becquerels of highly radioactive iodine-131, cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239 into the atmosphere and Pacific since day one of the disaster. This has resulted in fallout around the globe and especially impacting parts of America and Canada, two countries downwind of Japan on the jet stream. British Columbia, Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Ontario have been hit especially hard by rain, sleet and snow, in some cases with dizzying amounts of high radiation.
Radioactive fallout in St. Louis rainfall, which has been monitored at Potrblog.com since the crisis began, has been repeatedly so hot that levels have been reached that make it unsafe for children and pregnant women.
An October 17, 2011 rain storm was measured on video at 2.76 millirem per hour or over 270 times background.
The U.S. EPA considers anything 3 times background to be significantly above background. The California Highway Patrol deems any material over 3 times background as a potential hazardous materials situation.
Compounding the airborne fallout from the destroyed reactors, the Japanese government has embarked on a program of incinerating 5 million tons of radioactive debris trucked into Tokyo from the devastated prefectures.
“Burning does not eliminate radioactive waste, but it reduces its volume by ashing the original materiel” according to the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. “Incineration does not destroy metals or reduce radioactivity of wastes. Radioactive waste incinerators, when equipped with well-maintained, high efficiency filters, can capture all but a small fraction of the radioactive isotopes and metals fed into them. The fraction that does escape, however, tends to be in the form of small particles that are more readily absorbed by living organisms than larger particles.”
The incinerating, begun last October, will last until March 2014 with radioactive burning conducted all over the capital city of Tokyo which is home to over 13 million people. This will re-suspend some of the radiation that has already fallen out.
North America is directly downwind of Japan 5,000 miles across the ocean. This burn-mobilized radiation will likely fallout on the Pacific, U.S. and Canada along with the massive amount of venomous vapors that have escaped the ruined reactors for the last 11 months.
Precipitation has been the predominant method of fallout from Fukushima in North America, unlike the dust, ash and ‘black rain’ that landed on thousands of Japanese survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.
Among the first North Americans likely impacted by any radioactive air releases resultant from the burning goo would be over 18,000 Americans living in Tokyo. Thousands more are based at Yokosuka on Tokyo Bay as part of the United States Seventh Fleet, including over 6,000 sailors on the USS George Washington.
The incinerated and compacted radioactive ash will be dumped into Tokyo Bay where, Japanese officials say, it will be perfectly safe.
The main wave of water-borne radiation from the meltdowns, including highly mobile uranium-60 buckyballs, is surging across the Pacific along the Kuroshio Current. Sometimes called the Japan Current, it is known for its strong and fast flow clockwise around the Pacific second only in power to the Gulf Stream on the planet.
Millions of tons of seawater and fresh water have been used to cool the melted cores and spent fuel rods generating millions of tons of irradiated water. The Kuroshio Current is transporting a significant amount of this escaping radiation from Fukushima Daiichi across the Pacific towards the West Coast.
The warm waters of the 70 mile wide Kuroshio Current are responsible for the mild weather along Alaska’s south coast as well as coastal British Columbia. The current joins the North Pacific Current moving eastward until it splits and flows southward along the California Current.
And just as predicted, the American government has done nothing to monitor the Pacific Ocean for over half a year even though a Texas-sized sea of Japanese earthquake debris is already washing up on outlier Alaskan islands.
“In terms of the radiation, EPA is in charge of the radiation network for airborne radiation; it’s called RadNet,” EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld told EnviroReporter.com during a news conference about new ship sewage regulations February 9. “And we have a very significant and comprehensive array of RadNet monitors along the, actually along the coast, but on land. We don’t have jurisdiction for looking at marine radiation. Perhaps NOAA would be able to answer that question but we don’t have data or monitor it.”
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suspended testing the Pacific for Fukushima radiation last summer after concluding that there wasn’t any radiation to be detected.
“As far as questions about radiation, we are working with radiation experts within the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy,” NOAA media liaison Keeley Belva wrote in a February 10 email. “Here are some contacts information for those agencies at the headquarters level.”
In other words, no federal agency, department or administration is doing anything to sample and analyze water from the Pacific. Fish aren’t being tested for contamination either.
“NOAA is not currently doing further research on seafood,” Belva said adding “NOAA is doing a study related to radiation that is focused on radiation plume modeling.”
Canada also ceased testing for Fukushima-related radiation last summer.
“Given that radioactivity levels across Canada continue to be within normal background levels and that there is no cause for concern, on Thursday, August 11, 2011 Health Canada removed nine supplementary fixed point detectors that were installed in British Columbia and the Yukon in response to the Fukushima nuclear incident,” a Canadian government website announced last summer. “In addition, on September 15, 2011, Health Canada will end its weekly data postings, resuming its previous schedule of quarterly postings of the fixed point network data and terminating Website Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) data reporting.”
The chief medical health officer for Health Canada’s Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Patricia Daly, went even further in dismissing concerns about Fukushima fallout in an October 13, 2011 email to a Vancouver constituent that was obtained by EnviroReporter.com.
“All environmental, food and water testing undertaken since the Japanese earthquake have indicated there is no cause for concern in Canada,” Daly said. “Since there has been no significant release of radiation from the Japanese nuclear reactors since the earthquake, it is not anticipated that there will be any further cause for concern, although ongoing and regular monitoring will continue as per usual Health Canada protocols.”
The Canadian government detected high levels of xenon-133, cesium-137, iodine-131 in different media and British Columbia rainwater was found to be hot before the authorities terminated testing.
Millions of Americans and Canadians have been unknowingly impacted by Fukushima fallout. Even with the threat to the food chain, ocean health, and the glowing possibility that beachgoers and anyone within breathing distance of the sea will inhale toxic radiation, more folks are aware of Bay Watch than any beta watch by EnviroReporter.com or the EPA picking up meltdown effluence.
DEARTH OF DATA
Apart from valuable EPA RadNet air readings from major metropolitans – readings that have shown alarmingly high levels of radiation including beta – America has no testing programs of any kind for air, water, soil, livestock, dairy agricultural crops or processed food specifically for Fukushima radiation.
Yet all the while the Kuroshio Current will bring more uranium-60 buckyballs as the main concentration of contamination flows ever closer to North America. Other radionuclides in the toxic goo included cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239 with a half-life of 24,200 years.
“There is sufficient evidence in humans that inhalation of plutonium-239 aerosols causes lung cancer, liver cancer and bone sarcoma,” according the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network. “[Plutonium is] an extremely poisonous radioactive material. The permissible levels for plutonium are the lowest for any of the radioactive elements. This is occasioned by the concentration of plutonium directly on bone surfaces, rather than the more uniform bone distribution shown by other heavy elements.”
Some Americans have been remarkably adaptable to the dearth of information about Fukushima fallout. News feeds like EnviroReporter.com-affiliated BakRad News have filled the void left by mainstream news concerns that have neither the capacity, scientific prowess nor even the inclination to cover this unfolding disaster as it literally descends on the United States.
Nuclear experts like those found at Fairewinds Associates and Potrblog have explained better than the government what is happening in Japan and its fallout in the United States since the March 11 meltdowns began.
Not surprisingly in light of the Japanese, American and Canadian governments’ representations that the meltdowns are in “cold shutdown” and that no effects of the fallout were or will be felt in North American, news organizations have treated the multiple meltdowns as old news.
Other than a few bloggers and YouTube video posters with Geiger counters, radiation detections in the U.S. are limited to the EPA’s network which frequently is inoperative and always lacking in any analysis of the high readings picked up across the country.
While sometimes extremely helpful, many gooporters lack the necessary knowledge of radiation science to get meaningful measurements or how to properly use their instruments without contaminating them. These people, who span the political spectrum from anti-nukers to Truthers, are getting better and more creative such as the popular “Fukushima fallout daily forecast” YouTube channel demonstrates.