Japan radiation poisoning America?

New concerns hitting U.S. Pacific coast

Published: 31/12/2013

Steve  ElwartAbout | Email | Archive

Steve Elwart, P.E., Ph.D., is the executive  research analyst with the Koinonia Institute and a subject matter expert for the  Department of Homeland Security. He can be contacted at  steve.elwart@studycenter.com.
Some tuna caught off California is showing evidence  of radiation poisoning. (RT photo)

Like a slow-motion train wreck, the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster is still  causing damage long after the world’s media has left the news story behind.

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan triggered a  tsunami with waves that reached as high as 144 feet. These waves swamped the  Fukushima nuclear power-plant complex, causing a resulting shutdown leading to  the world’s worst nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The accident has been rated a level 7, on a scale of 1 to 7, on the International  Nuclear Event Scale.

As a result of this disaster, the complex’s coolant pumps failed to operate  and the power plant reactors overheated, leading to a release of radionuclides  directly into the ocean exceeding that from any previous accident.

Water is currently being pumped into the reactors in an attempt to keep them  cool and prevent further explosions, but handling the water is becoming a  problem.

The contaminated cooling water is being released directly into the ocean and  is making its way into the ecosphere.

Water from the storage tanks has also  seeped into the groundwater and from there, into the ocean. Efforts to use a  various barriers to prevent contamination have not completely stopped the  leakage.

In another effort to stem the radioactive water from reaching the sea, Japan  has pledged to spend $470 million to construct an “ice  wall” around the reactors to contain the water. Under the Japanese plan, a  wall of frozen earth will be constructed around the reactors to prevent the  water being used to cool the fuel rods from comingling with the sea.

“The world is closely watching whether we can dismantle the (Fukushima)  plant, including the issue of contaminated water,” said Japanese Prime Minister  Shinzo Abe. “The government is determined to work hard to resolve the  issue.”

This is quite a change from previous statements the prime minister has made.  In a speech Sept. 7 in front of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos  Aires, Abe stated categorically, “Let me assure you the situation (the  contaminated groundwater problem) is under control.”


Six days later, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, disputed  the prime minister’s claim at a meeting in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.

“We regard the current situation as not being under control,” said Kazuhiko  Yamashita, a senior official at Tepco.

Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games following Abe’s speech.

“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” said  Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant who has previously advised the French  and German governments and has consulted widely for a variety of organizations  and countries on nuclear issues. “What is worse is the water leakage everywhere  else – not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is  leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that.”

It is clear that the repercussions from this disaster are far from over.

There has been a debate over the size of the Pacific Ocean and the quantity  of the contamination. Some say that even though the U.S. is directly across the  ocean from the accident, the volume of the water will easily disperse the  contaminants.

Others say the particular isotopes from the reactor do not disperse easily  and don’t sink to the bottom. They remain in the water column, from top to  bottom.

In this last scenario, sea life has a much greater chance of contacting and  carrying the suspended radiation. They either breathe it or eat it in others.  Scientists are watching carefully for any signs of contamination in the ocean’s  biosphere.

According to Maxim  Shingarkin, deputy chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee for Natural  Resources, “Currents in the world ocean are so structured that the areas of  seafood capture near the U.S. northwest coast are more likely to contain  radioactive nuclides than even the Sea of Okhotsk, which is much closer to  Japan. These products are the main danger for mankind because they can find  their way to people’s tables on a massive scale.”

This is an issue of significant importance to the United States since,  according to the National  Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. imported almost 45 million pounds of fish  from Japan in 2012.

There is evidence the radioactive water emanating from the plants starting  two years ago has made its way into the ocean currents and will soon start to  affect the ecosystems in North America as early as the spring of 2014.

Some say it is already here.

Reports are coming in that the North American food supply is already being  affected by Fukushima.

Bluefin tuna caught off the San Diego coast is showing evidence of  radioactive contamination. This is the first time that a migrating fish has been  shown to carry radioactivity 3,000 miles from Fukushima to the U.S. Pacific  coast. It is a nutrition source that accounts for approximately 20,000 tons of  the world’s food supply each year.

According to the report  published by the National Academy of Sciences, “We report unequivocal evidence  that Pacific Bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived  radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean.”

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the  researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the  National Academy of Sciences.

“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides  is pretty amazing,” Fisher said.

To rule out the possibility the radiation found in the tuna was carried by  ocean currents or dropped into the ocean through rainfall from the atmosphere,  the team also analyzed Yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and Bluefin  that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no  trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from  nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.

The report went on to say: “The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times  higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous  years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S.  and Japanese governments.”

The results were surprising enough to conduct further tests this coming  summer with a larger sampling of migratory fish. The tuna that were the subject  of the previous study were exposed to radiation from Fukushima for approximately  one month. The upcoming study will be looking at fish that have been swimming in  radioactive waters for a longer period.


They will also be expanding their study to cover other migratory species  including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.

There have been many other reports  of fish and sea-creature populations dying in the Pacific. Also, there have been  many discoveries of cesium–137 in high concentrations in seafood caught in the  Pacific and sold in North America. There have also been many reports of  unexplained deaths among wildlife:

  • There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths due to starvation along the  California coastline. The question is: why are they starving? Has the food chain  been disrupted?
  • Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population  of sockeye salmon is at a historic  low
  • Something  is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills,  bellies and eyeballs
  • Experts  have found very high levels of cesium–137 in plankton living in the waters of  the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast, affecting the food chain in  a process called “biomagnification”

As of now, there has been no direct correlation between these events and  Fukushima, but the timing of the events and some contributing factors are giving  scientists pause and are giving substance for calls for more studies.

While the evidence may circumstantial at this point, it is enough for  countries to take action.

Due to radiation fears, Fukushima Prefecture fishermen have had to dump most  of their catch. Two years into the nuclear disaster, South Korea still bans  Japanese fish and seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures. The ban  covers an area of Japan that exported 5,000 metric tons of fishery products, or  about 13 percent of the 40,000 total tons imported last year to South Korea.

In eastern Japanese ports outside of the prefecture, hundreds of pounds of  fresh fish are sent to Onjuku, a small town a few hours away from Tokyo.

Once they arrive, samples of the fish are checked for radiation in a move to  restore the world’s confidence in Japan’s food supply in the wake of  Fukushima.

Japan’s Marine Ecology Research Institute, or MERI, operates out of Onjuku  and is charged with the testing. MERI was established in the mid 1970s to  certify that fish supplies remain safe despite wastewater discharge from the  nuclear plants. It is now working overtime to assure the world that Japan’s fish  are safe to eat.

Even with these assurances, many buyers are not sure just how much to trust  the quasi-government laboratories. The U.S. has recently banned agricultural and  fishery imports from 14 prefectures in Japan, up from the eight that South Korea  banned.

Leung Ka-sing, an associate professor at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University’s  department of applied biology and chemical technology, has stated his country  should expand its ban on fish products from the current conditional ban on eight  prefectures to all of Japan. This is in response to public fears of  contamination from ongoing leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant. He said the ban  would act as a preventive measure and address fears over radiation.

The events in the Pacific Rim do not seem to be isolated incidents. They may  not be provocative. The oceans are large, and they contain a massive population  of species that get sick from time to time. But they are in numbers that warrant  an in-depth discovery and full disclosure.

Radiation is found everywhere in the world, so some radiation in food can be  expected. How much is a safe level seems to vary over time. Immediately  following the World War II atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, American  military construction crews were sent into the cities to clear irradiated  rubble, telling the crews that the work was safe.

Only years later did they find out it wasn’t safe, and that serious,  permanent injury resulted from working in the area.

Gordon McDonald, Ph.D, executive director of Research for the Koinonia  Institute, contributed to this report.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/japan-radiation-poisoning-america/#8E2t3ocOWrFRdLJY.99