Reflecting Upon a Pool of Radioactive Ocean Water

We’re bombarded by extreme media hyperbole about everything we should be afraid of. I have a high level of cynicism and skepticism about most of what I read. I suspect most people do. We need to act on what we think is credible, so we spend time sorting what to ignore, and what to take note of.

I’ve been aware of FUKUSHIMA since the tsunami. I have a friend who has a friend in Japan, I like to eat seaweed, and I generally care about the depth and breadth of the disaster, and very much care how it affects the Japanese people.

I realized this weekend that my focus needs to shift from caring about Fukushima as if doesn’t affect me, to being concerned for my own well-being, and that of loved ones. I ran across a press release from a California town south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, that reported higher than normal radiation levels. Then, went to look for that again on the Web, and couldn’t find the press release from the town anymore. Instead, I found an article in the town paper, saying that the increase wasn’t significant:

Then, an article written about independent researchers who went to check out the levels, and got the controversy started. The levels were very high. Here’s a story that covers that:

So, two differing stories, two different claims on the severity of the alarm. The town, saying that the increase is not from Fukushima, the researchers saying, what else could it be from? For our purposes here, let’s call it a draw.

Then, I dig a little deeper on the issue, and find a forum site where University of California at Berkeley Nuclear Engineers and Nuclear Physicists are arguing about the correct way to measure and interpret the amount of radiation in our Pacific Coast food supply. They’re arguing. Can’t agree. After several lengthy exchanges, a scientist says to the others, “Well, can I eat the food from the store, or not?” Indeed. Read the exchange here:

The issue, is that radiated water overflowed into the ocean, and ocean currents took that water other places. There are reports of radioactive element contamination in tuna, and other food that crosses great distances. Naysayers say, the amounts are small. Critics say, you only need a very small amount ingested, to cause cell mutation, and cancer.


Then, there is Dr. Helen Caldecott. I found her interview on the topic recently, in an unexpected way. The MESSENGER about the interview, an unlikely source. A friend from L.A., saying that after hearing the interview, was taking steps to be able to move to South America. Before I listened to the interview, I remember uttering “shite” over and over, eyes big as saucers. My friend and his film partner considering leaving because of info I don’t know about.

In the interview, Dr. Caldecott, a Pediatrician, and Nuclear Energy Critic, says that the radiation that has already leaked is the cause for the 200,000 new cases of child thyroid dysfunction in Japan. The normal incidence, 2 in 1,000,000. “Okay”, I’m thinking, that’s in Japan.

Then, she explains, yes, the water overflowed, the food chain is contaminated, and there is a plume of radiated water coming to the Pacific Coast of the U.S.. Then, she shares that the Japanese government, which usually uses robots to move the fuel rods to a new cooling pond, cannot do that given the environment they have to be moved out of. That the owner of the nuclear plant has hired the Japanese mafia to find homeless men and mental hospital patients to do the manual moving of the rods, and that the rods are a few millimeters apart, and must not touch, or will cause a nuclear reaction. I’m thinking, “Wow. Unbelievable. This is the stuff that great stories are born from”. But, then she breaks the big news…

That if there is another earthquake of 7 or greater, that the fuel rods may fall from their housing, and that if they do, the rods will begin nuclear reactions. These reactions will cause a fire, and radiated smoke will cover the Northern Hemisphere. In that scenario, the smoke would bring radiation levels much higher than Hiroshima fallout to the Northern Hemisphere. More serious than serious. Here’s the interview:

So, VERY concerned, I create a google alert for “Fukushima earthquake”, and find out that a three days ago, a 7.3 earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima, preceded by two 5.0 quakes closer to shore, the day before.

WONDERING when we will hear, if we will hear, what we need to hear, in time to do something that will matter. Sharing this info so you can also be aware to be aware. Hoping that we all will be safe somehow. In the meantime, for myself, sushi is not a healthy food.

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