Fukushima Radiation Arrives on US West Coast: What Do We Do Now?
Along the Oregon Coast at Tilamook Bay and Gold Beach, researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) have discovered radioactive matter, specifically cesium-134 in seawater.
Kathryn Higley, director of the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering (SNSE) at OSU explained that cesium-134 “disappears much more quickly”; however shows the “fingerprint of Fukushima”.
Ken Buesseler, senior scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), maintains that the radioactive levels discovered are low and shouldn’t be of concerns for swimmers or sea-food eaters.
Buesseler said : “To put it in context, if you were to swim every day for six hours a day in those waters for a year, that additional radiation from the addressed cesium from Japan … is 1000 times smaller than one dental x-ray.”
Buesseler reported two years ago that that “the radioactive element Cesium-134” detected on the West Coast is “far lower than any radiation that would pose a threat to human or marine life.”
At the time, Buesseler’s team took samples from an expedition on the pacific coastline and brought them for analysis to the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory (MLML) for evaluation.
This research team reported from Canada in 2013 that also claimed only trace amounts of radiation from Fukushima had invaded the west Coast of North America.
Cesium-134 from Fukushima has been detected off the West Coast, but “most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope.”
Buesseler said: “Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s. Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”
Conclusions made several years ago predicted the radiation from Fukushima would hit Seattle, Washington State first, and then head south, making a sharp turn downward.
In Japan, screenings after the disaster at Fukushima yielded disturbing results . Nearly 50% of those tested had nodules or cysts on their thyroids which could become cancerous.
According to a research paper on thyroid cancer, “the rate of thyroid cancer in those Fukushima kids was more than 600 per million.”
Greenpeace discovered that after 3 decades, and “due to the reduced financial support to deal with the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, control of contaminated foodstuffs is reduced, less money is available to implement protective measures, and less scientific monitoring data are available.”
Locals to the Ukraine are “still coming in daily contact with dangerously high levels of radiation” because of issues such as Russia’s military insurgency which has left the country unable to financially protect itself from the effects of Chernobyl.
The Greenpeace report points out: “This means that the radiation exposure of people still living in the contaminated areas is likely increasing, even though this continuing impact of the disaster goes largely unnoticed. Thousands of children, even those born 30 years after Chernobyl, still have to drink radioactively contaminated milk on a daily basis.”
The report states: “Of the 50 milk samples collected from three villages in the Rivne region [in Ukraine], located approximately 200 km from Chernobyl NPP, all but four contained caesium-137 at levels above the limit value set for consumption by adults in Ukraine, and all were substantially above the lower limit set for children.”
Indeed, the report shows how ceasium-137 can move though the food chain, persist in ecosystems, bury itself into the soil and permeate the atmosphere through forested areas.
Greenpeace has also taken samples from Fukushima and as with Chernobyl, repositories of radioactive contamination that cannot be cleaned up remains which poses “a risk to the population for decades or even centuries to come”.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) said “the Japanese government’s decontamination efforts had so far been inadequate and left the door open to recontamination of areas deemed to have been cleaned.”
This study utilized “advanced ultrasound devices that can detect tiny growths” which is why their findings are so much higher than previous research.
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