Impact to US West Coast from Fukushima disaster likely larger than anticipated, several reports indicate
Non-naturally occurring radionuclides from the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant’s triple meltdown last year radioactively contaminated the entire northern hemisphere within days and the US west coast bore a significant brunt of so called hot particles, an independent scientific paper released yesterday claims. Charles Digges, 19/09-2012
US government environmental monitoring agencies have either declared as safe, refused to comment on, or – say several independent researchers – vastly understated what impacts, if any, this could have for America’s western coastal population. Significant omissions in data reporting and hobbling of radioactive monitoring systems, say many, make it seem unlikely that hard government facts will be forthcoming to support evidence presented by independent researchers.
The new scientific paper, which will be published in November 1 edition of the journal Science of the Total Environment says that its research “clearly demonstrates how little dissipation [of radionuclides] occurred [between March 12 and 16] due to the nature of the rapid global air circulation system.”
The massive release of anthropogenic – or non-naturally occurring radionuclides such as cesium 137 and cesium 134 – by the meltdowns and explosions that rocked Fukushima Daiichi occurred in the five days following the beginning of the accident, the report says.
Simulations of potential dispersion of the radiation cloud conducted by Weather Online Website in the UK showed that air masses were eastwardly displaced from Fukushima after the accident, which put it on a collision course with the US West Coast.
The report goes on to say that “the Fukushima radioactive plume contaminated the entire Northern Hemisphere during a relatively short period of time” after the March 11, 2011 ten-meter tsunami emanating from a 9.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed Fukushima Daiichi’s primary and backup coolant systems.
New West Coast helicopter patrols raise alarm
News reports from the US west coast throughout August indicated that government helicopter were seen flying at low altitudes in cities such as Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle measuring radioactivity in the air, the San Francisco Examiner and MSNBC reported.
The choppers were contracted to measure radiation along the West Coast by the US Department of Homeland Security, which has not released any data about its findings, said the Examiner.
The department has maintained a position that radiation reaching the US West Coast after the Fukushima disaster was insignificant.
‘Tokyo levels’ of hot particles in Seattle
But nuclear physicist Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer of energy consulting company Fairewinds Associates and a former nuclear power industry executive, disagreed.
“During April, the people in Seattle could have just as easily been in Tokyo for the amount of hot particles that were there,” he told Washingtonblog, referring to microscopic pieces of airborne radioactive material.
Independent reports on radiation dispersion from the worldwide radiation sensor stations operated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization CTBTO, though not as dire as Gundersen’s asserting, confirm enormous and widespread releases of cesium-137, cesium-135 and iodine-131.
“Nine days after the accident, the radioactive cloud had crossed Northern America,” reported the CTBTO. “Three days later when a station in Iceland picked up radioactive materials, it was clear that the cloud had reached Europe.”
By day 15, said the CTBTO, traces from the accident in Fukushima were detectable all across the northern hemisphere.”
Other reports concur
Fukushima Roulette (CounterPunch)