The 70-mile-wide current joins the North Pacific Current, moving eastward until it splits and flows southward along the California Current, which flows along the coast to Ventura County and beyond.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 outlying Alaskan islands and is suspected to have already hit the West Coast, including California.
“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 the VCReporter on Feb. 9 during a news conference about new ship sewage regulations. “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,” he said.
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 Feb. 10 e-mail. “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.”
The lack of testing disappoints Dan Hirsch, U.C. Santa Cruz nuclear policy lecturer and president of Committee to Bridge the Gap which exposed the Rocketdyne partial meltdowns above the western San Fernando Valley in 1979 and continues to lead the fight to clean up Rocketdyne today.
“EPA did some special monitoring for a few weeks after the accident began, then shut down the special monitoring” Hirsch told the VCReporter. “What monitoring was done was very troubled. Half of the stationary air monitors were broken at the time of the accident. Deployable monitors were ordered not deployed.”
Even when the government testing did work, increasingly high levels of radiation seem to have been ignored.
The VCReporter has learned that the California Department of Public Health halted monitoring of Fukushima fallout when its Radiologic Health Branch issued its last report on Oct. 10, 2011.
That report shows an alarming rise in cesium-137 in CalPoly San Luis Obispo dairy farm milk beginning June 14, 2011, when it tested 2.95 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) and steadily rising in four subsequent tests until it was 5.91 pCi/l. The hot milk was at twice the allowable amount of this radionuclide in drinking water, according to the EPA’s 3.0 pCi/l limit.
Then the testing stopped, for no other reason than the government concluded that nothing from Fukushima had sufficiently contaminated anything to be of concern. Even detections of radioactive sulphur-35 in San Diego and plutonium-239 in Riverside did nothing to pique the interest of regulators.
“The lesson to be learned is that both the U.S. and Japan suffer from very lax regulation, a too-cozy relationship between nuclear regulators and the industry they are to regulate,” Hirsch said. “This can lead to dangerous outcomesThis was not unanticipated. Yet the need for immediate information was undeniable.
Live-streaming radiation readings from Santa Monica began four days after the meltdowns. Since then, this reporter has conducted more than 1,500 tests in four states and miles above the Earth, where jet radiation registered more than five times normal, even accounting for altitude.
Special tests revealed elevated radiation in Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon rain. Southwest Michigan rain samples were hot.
Santa Monica and Los Angeles rain and mist were also high. Readings taken in Agoura, Oxnard and Ventura mostly mirrored these measurements. The Radiation Station Ventura California provides near-daily radiation readings that include local food measurements.
Japanese sake, beer, vegetable juice, seaweed, pastries and tea all registered significant ionization above background. Powdered milk, turkey hot dogs, and jet travel breathing masks were all part of the specific media tested, many of which were recorded in these videotaped radiation detections.
HEPA filters may also be effective in capturing buckyballs, which are geodesic dome-shaped structures that are spherical with multiple flat sides. Strong evidence suggests that these hardy radioactive Uranium-60 nanoparticles have crossed the Pacific quickly, with their concentrations rising.
That evidence includes our and the EPA’s high beta readings in Los Angeles. Our radiation station is a little more than a mile from the Pacific shoreline. Downtown Los Angeles is more than 13 miles away from the sea.
The Jan. 27, 2012, U.C. Davis report “Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater,” is the first account to analyze what is happening to the gargantuan amount of seawater, as well as fresh water, that has been hosing down the melted reactor cores and flushing into the Pacific.
The study spells out a horrific scenario in which compromised irradiated fuel turned huge amounts of ocean water into a series of uranium-related peroxide compounds containing as many as 60 “uranyl ions” in hardy nanoscale cage clusters that can “potentially transport uranium over long distances” and persist for “at least 294 days without detectable change.”
How hot these nano-cage clusters of cancer-causing radiation are depends on what kind and ratio of uranium isotopes make up the 60 in each one.
“A given isotope has the same radioactivity (half-life) regardless of what chemical state it is in,” Alexandra Navrotsky, Ph.D., director of nanomaterials research at U.C. Davis, told the VCReporter. “So the radioactivity for a constant number of U atoms depends on the proportion of different isotopes in the sample.”
There is a strong possibility that these uranium peroxide buckyballs are already sloshing around in the waters off Southern California as this reporter and the EPA’s radiation readings appear to indicate. But if it was the source of our high detections what was the mechanism that was transporting radiation inland.
Sea spray, perhaps. Radioactive sea spray has been shown to blow hundreds of kilometers inland in tests conducted in the United Kingdom by British and European researchers. As any one who has ever smelled the salty ocean air miles from the ocean might expect, salt in sea spray can travel a significant distance. The same holds true for radioactive particles floating in the sea, even if in addition to U60 buckyballs.
In the 2008 report “Sea to land transfer of radionuclides in Cumbria and North Wales,” the greatest average concentration of cesium-137 and plutonium-239 in soil at a depth of 0 to 15 centimeters was found 10 kilometers from the coast. The highest average amounts found at 15 to 30 centimeters deep were 5 kilometers away from the sea illustrating the unpredictability of radiation fallout.
A 62-page UK study released in December 2011 found that sea spray and marine aerosols created from bubbles forming and popping when the sea is choppy or waves break have increased concentrations of radioactive “actinides.”
Actinides are chemically alike radioactive metallic elements and include uranium and plutonium. One actinide infused the spray with an 812 times greater concentration of americium-241 than normal amounts of Am-241 in ambient seawater.
The report cited information that sea-spray-blown cesium 137 was found 200 kilometers from the discharge source in the New Hebrides islands in northern Scotland.
Another UK study found that the Irish Sea has a micro layer on top of it, perhaps only thousandths of a millimeter in thickness, that can become imbued with fine particulate material and its absorbed radiation.
These concentrations of plutonium and americium are four to five times their concentrations in ambient seawater. Plutonium concentrates by 26,000 times in floating algal blooms at sea, says the report.
These radionuclides and buckyballs make up the goo inexorably crossing the Pacific, which may just have begun to impact our shores. Yet not a nickel of state or federal money is spent monitoring it. We are on our own in this Fukushima nightmare.