Are Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Really Over?

To paraphrase an oft-misattributed quote, pseudoscience can travel halfway around the world while good science is still putting its lab coat on. This would appear to be the case for “At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over,” a hysterical blog post alleging that all fish out of the Pacific will be unsafe to eat forever because of leaking radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The piece was written by Gary Stamper, who runs “Collapse into Consciousness,” a website devoted to surviving the supposed coming collapse of society. It went up on August 14th, and has been reposted on numerous blogs and Facebook pages since then. It’s clear that a lot of people have read it (Stamper claims it’s gotten half a million views) and become extremely frightened. Should they be? Is there anything to Stamper’s claims of animals being burned, fish becoming inedible and thyroid cancer skyrocketing?

The short answer is no, there isn’t. Certainly, the leak of radioactive water into the Pacific is dangerous and needs to be fixed. The situation at Fukushima started bad and hasn’t gotten much better. But it’s not the all-out disaster Stamper makes it out to be. And while Stamper can’t be written off simply because of his credentials, he makes a number of allegations that have little to no validity behind them, backed by dubious sources and unsound science. He takes information out of context, leaving in the horrors and removing the explanations that make them not so horrible. And he wanders in and out of the topic at hand, lumping things together that have nothing to do with each other.

This is the kind of pseudoscience that demands a skeptical examination. So what does Stamper claim, and why is it wrong? Read on and find out. And if you’d like, enjoy some nice sushi-grade tuna while you do.

One thing to note is that there are several versions of the piece floating around. Stamper substantially rewrote the later sections after commenters accused him of plagiarizing a site called “Nuclear Crimes.” For consistency’s sake, I’m going to address the version currently on Stamper’s site. The words might have changed, but the crap science remains.

All quotes [sic], of course.

At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over
Opinion by Gary Stamper

Right off the bat, we have problems. A hyperbolic scare title designed to induce hysteria in readers is not responsible science. It’s good click-bait, but not good journalism. And while the piece might label itself as “opinion,” opinion presented as fact often takes on the appearance of fact. And fact this is not.

The heart-breaking news from Fukushima just keeps getting worse…a LOT worse…it is, quite simply, an out-of-control flow of death and destruction.

There’s that hyperbole again. Worthy of collapsing into a fainting couch, perhaps, but not of anything meant to be a scientific document.

TEPCO is finally admitting that radiation has been leaking to the Pacific Ocean all along. and it’s NOT over….

TEPCO is short for Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operators of the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant. On July 22, 2013, TEPCO revealed that a large amount of water was flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors and leaking out into the Pacific – at a rate of 300 long tons per day. This was contrary to previous assertions they made that contaminated water wasn’t making its way into the open ocean.

The Fukushima site, including storage tanks for radioactive water (Reuters(

The Fukushima site, including storage tanks for radioactive water (Reuters(

While TEPCO’s bungling of the situation is indefensible, what Stamper writes here is misleading. TEPCO did not admit “radiation” was leaking into the Pacific Ocean, they admitted radioactive water was leaking. It might sound like a minor difference, but it’s not.

[…] It now appears that anywhere from 300 to possibly over 450 tons of contaminated water […] is flooding into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daichi site everyday.

This is true. It’s exactly what TEPCO said. And it’s not good. So we should all be pulling our hair out before the radiation takes care of it, right? No, and here’s why:

Radiation can be difficult and confusing to measure, so let’s go with the figures from TEPCO. They admitted that between 20 and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive material had gone into the ocean since the initial incident in March, 2011. Sounds bad, right? But what does that actually mean?

A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity that measures decays per second in the nucleus of an atom. It’s a rate of action, not a dosage. So we can’t say that a person or a fish was exposed to x number of becquerels of radiation, because that doesn’t really mean anything. And while 20-40 trillion anything sounds like a scary number, the amount of becquerels in the water leaking into the Pacific is orders of magnitude less than what was spewing from the plant after the incident, which might have been as high as 15,000 terabecquerels. By comparison, the water leak has dumped around 7.2 terabecquerels total into the Pacific since the incident.

It’s also a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the entire Pacific Ocean, which is roughly 187 quintillion gallons in volume and will quickly dilute the water in question. While hundreds of tons and trillions of becquerels sounds like a lot, this is simply not enough water to have any kind of lasting effect on the health of either the Pacific Ocean or the fish in it.

To give you an idea of how bad that actually is, Japanese experts estimate Fukushima’s fallout at 20-30 times as high as as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945

At this point, Stamper has simply started talking about something else. Fallout from a nuclear explosion is not at all the same thing as leaking radioactive water. It’s not even the same thing as fallout from a nuclear event, which is what Fukushima is considered. The only event that Fukushima can be compared to is the Chernobyl meltdown, and by every comparable measure, Chernobyl was much worse.

Comparing the Fukushima incident to the atomic bombings is lazy, simplistic and simply designed to scare people by tying an event which caused extraordinary death and destruction to one that did not.

There’s a lot you’re not being told. Oh, the information is out there, but you have to dig pretty deep to find it, and you won’t find it on the corporate-owned evening news.

Ah yes. When in doubt, blame the “mainstream media.” So what are “they” not telling you?

◦An MSNBC article in April of 2012 reported that seals and polar bears were found to have “external maladies” that consisted of fur loss and open sores, obvious signs of radiation burns from the Fukushima meltdown, despite the conclusions of the article.

The article Stamper links to specifically says “Reuters noted that preliminary studies do not support a theory that the disease is due to contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.” Stamper offers no proof that the article is wrong, other than him saying it’s wrong.

◦Fukushima radiation appears to be causing an epidemic of dead and starving Sea Lions in California and the FDA has refused to test for radiation

Given that the radiation plume from the Fukushima water leak has not reached the West Coast, this is literally impossible. Any radiation from the initial incident would be far too weak to do this kind of damage – which is why the NOAA isn’t looking at it as a cause of the sea lion epidemic in California and Oregon.

◦Update: Huffington Post reports that the reactors used “dirty fuel,” a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX), which means we can never return to this place again. This comes from a Russian nuclear physicist who is an expert on the kinds of gasses being released at Fukushima.

MOX is not “dirty fuel.” It’s uranium oxide with a small amount of plutonium in it. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, “[D]ue to […] the relatively small differences between the radionuclide content of MOX and low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, the use of MOX fuel did not have a significant impact on the offsite releases of radioactivity.” And the bit about the Russian physicist is simply appealing to authority. Pay it no mind.

◦.Almost a third more US West Coast newborns may face thyroid problems after Fukushima nuclear disaster

This absurd claim is the finding of a study by the Radiation and Public Health Project, a New York-based anti-nuclear power research group. They use dubious methodology to tie a slight increase in hypothyroidism in certain Western states to exposure to iodine-131 from Fukushima – despite the fact that, again, the radiation plume from the water leak hasn’t reached the US. Also, iodine-131 has a half-life of only eight days, meaning none will reach the US anyway.

◦Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years — “We were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread”

The quote is from Claus Boning, a researcher at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. And while Boning and his colleagues did find what Stamper alleges, Stamper leaves out the part of the study that contextualizes the findings: “While this may sound alarming, these [becquerel] levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water.” The radioactivity level of US coastal waters will increase – from miniscule to slightly less miniscule. Then it will decrease again, as the cesium decays.

So yes, the “corporate-owned evening news” is not telling you any of this. Because it’s wrong.

above: German Scientists have calculated the dispersion of Cs-137 in the Pacific Ocean

Here’s where Stamper’s lack of scientific rigor shows. In his original post, he used a map from the National Oceanic and and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to illustrate the severity of the radiation that would reach the US. Except the map had nothing whatsoever to do with radiation. It’s a map of wave heights after the tsunami that followed the 2011 earthquake. But being totally wrong about something has never stopped people from being terrified of it. This image, devoid of context, spread so quickly around the internet in 2011 that Snopes devoted an entry to explaining what the picture actually is.

After being corrected by commenters, Stamper replaced the picture with the video above, illustrating the findings of the Helmholtz Centre cesium study. But the version Stamper posted omits the voiceover from the researcher (no doubt a paid shill for Big Cesium) explaining what it actually means and replaces it with ominous music – then silence. Devoid of context, it looks like a spreading plume of red death. Which it is not. This is the actual video from the Helmoltz Centre study, minus the Tubular Bells-esque horror:

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE PACIFIC OCEAN FOOD CHAIN? – May 2013 – Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology […] have detected radioactive cesium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in plankton collected from all 10 points in the Pacific they checked, with the highest levels at around 25 degrees north latitude and 150 degrees west longitude. […]

Another misleading, out-of-context study. Japanese researchers did indeed find higher levels of cesium in plankton from around the leak site. This is to be expected. But the highest concentration found was 10.5 becquerels per kilogram – which is far lower than the newly toughened Japanese standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram for general foodstuffs. “Higher” does not mean “so high it will kill you and everyone you love.”

A WARNING TO SEAFOOD LOVERS EVERYWHERE – Scientists previously reported higher-than-expected concentrations of radiation in fish off Japan.

Yes, fish from around Fukushima do have a much higher than permitted becquerel level. This is why Japan has banned the sale of fish from this area. But on the West Coast of the US, only Pacific Bluefin tuna have been found to have any kind of radiation increase – and only in trivial amounts, far lower than the radiation that naturally occurs in potassium rich foods like bananas.

The NOAA wave height map, which has nothing to do with radiation.

The NOAA wave height map, which has nothing to do with radiation.

Now there are calls for testing of seafood sold in the U.S. Although contaminated air, rainfall and even radioactive debris from Japan have drifted toward the U.S. West Coast since the disaster occurred 2 1/2 years ago, scientists are unclear about how the contaminated waters could impact the health of Americans, and while scientists say that 300 tons of contaminate water is diluted in the Pacific, no one knows how long that’s been going during those 2 1/2 years as we also now know TEPCO has been lying all along.

This sentence is so long and rambling that I can’t actually tell what it’s trying to say. Radiation from the initial leak reached the US a few days after the incident, but it was so weak that it couldn’t possibly have had any kind of effect. The same will be true of the radiation from the water leak. The length of time the leak has been going on simply is irrelevant. The Pacific will dilute the radioactivity in the water to the point of being harmless.

Nuclear experts are calling on the U.S. government to test West Coast waters and Pacific seafood sold in the U.S. in the wake of Japan’s alarming admission about an ongoing radiation leak, something the EPA and the FDA have so far refused to do, as they are only testing imported fish, not wild-caught. WHY?

Completely false. The FDA was testing wild-caught fish in the aftermath of the incident. They tested 1313 samples, 1312 of which had no increase in radioactivity. One did, but it was still below the acceptable threshold. So they stopped testing.

The only way to protect your children and grandchildren is by NOT EATING SEAFOOD from the Pacific Ocean until we have better information.

We have the information we need, and it all points to one thing: Pacific Ocean fish being perfectly safe.

Source.Information posted at the website of heThe Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California recommends not buying any fish from the Pacific Ocean or western states, including Baja.

Stamper links here not to the official website of the University of California at Berkeley, but an anonymous message board post from someone connected to Berkeley who won’t buy anymore Pacific Ocean fish. Which is completely their right, but it should not be mistaken as properly vetted scientific information.

WHAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TOLD ABOUT FISH CONTAMINATION

[…]

The rest of the piece is a long, rambling Gish Gallop of random information, out-of-context links, opinion and anti-technology haranguing. Most of it has little or nothing to do with the topic at hand. Feel free to read it, but it’s only going to make your brain hurt.

Obviously, the situation at Fukushima is distressing, and not at all something that should be shrugged off. But compounding it with scaremongering about our food supply does nothing productive for anyone. Whether or not you continue to eat fish from the Pacific Ocean is entirely up to you. But I urge you to make that decision based on sound scientific research and testable claims, not hysterical screeds backed by supposition and fear.

About Mike Rothschild

Mike Rothschild is a writer and editor based in Pasadena. He writes about scams, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and pop culture fads. He's also a playwright and screenwriter. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rothschildmd.
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171 Responses to Are Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Really Over?

  1. The way I see it, eating fish from the Pacific Ocean gives me a better chance of becoming the Hulk. Bring on the sushi! Seriously though, great rebuttal of this scaremongering. One hopes that the lessons from Fukushima will prevent or mitigate the damage of future incidents.

  2. Aitch says:

    Thanks for the great rebuttal, and for introducing me to the term “gish gallop.” I’ve been calling that the “Whac-A-Mole” strategy—every time one starts to debunk one theory, the conspiracist pops up another, and another, and another…

  3. Dave says:

    What relevant credentials does Mike Rothschild have to make this rebuttal?

    Don’t get me wrong, Stamper doesn’t support his claims well, but on the same token can Rothschild refute them with proof?

    In the spirit of keeping this “scientific” lets not forget that radiation (of any kind) has an extremely long half life, and when you ingest radioactive particles through fish or otherwise they will bounce around in your body causing damage until the day you die.

    • The proof is in the piece. It’s extensively sourced. Did you read the sources?

      • daiaravi says:

        yes and i have read plenty of what you call scare-mongering that has substantially documented resources as well, I would not trust the ramblings of someone who themselves is committed to being a “skeptoid” any more than the ravings of the alex jones crowd – you are arrogant and not credible in your “debunking” any more than that which you purport to debunk. your blog title virtually excludes you from unbiased evaluation – you are bent on showing how everyone who does not think like you is stupid and wrong –

        not a very bright approach– ANY increase in radiation – especially that which we would consume – is a serious danger – there is nothing you can “debunk” about that fact.

        • “ANY increase in radiation – especially that which we would consume – is a serious danger – there is nothing you can “debunk” about that fact.”

          That’s speaking in absolutes. If one starts off with some ridiculously low level of radiation and doubles it to a still ridiculously low level of radiation, it does not automagically become a serious danger whether ingested or not. We need to be talking about significant levels of exposure for there to be a reasonable expectation that health will be compromised. Shouting that ANY increase in radiation is dangerous shrilly ignores the fact that we live in a universe that by definition is bathed in radiation. Why just yesterday, I enjoyed an hour of exposure to ultraviolet radiation and noticed a small change in skin pigmentation because of it. And now I think I’ll have a banana, despite the fact that I’ll be exposed to radioactive potassium.

          Be careful when speaking in absolutes. Sure, an increase in Caesium in the Pacific waters isn’t great, but poor diet and lifestyle choices are much more likely to kill you if the health statistics over the last 40 years are anything to go by.

    • DenzilPenberthy says:

      In the spirit of keeping this scientific, let’s remember that radiation of all kinds have different half lives depending on what radioisotope is involved. Caesium-137 is 30.17 years, Iodine-131 is 8.02 days etc etc.

      It is entirely false to say that all radiation has an extremely long half life.

      • Dave says:

        Technically speaking that is true but in the case of Fuku its signature is Cesium-137 & Cesium-134, of which as you say Cesium-137 is 30yrs, in other words 60 full years before it leaves your body. Standard is pretty clear about the dangers of Cesium to humans:

        http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2012/ph241/wessells1/

        Its half-life of about 30 years is long enough that objects and regions contaminated by cesium-137 remain dangerous to humans for a generation or more, but it is short enough to ensure that even relatively small quantities of cesium-137 release dangerous doses of radiation (its specific radioactivity is 3.2 × 1012 Bq/g). [2-4]

        Along with its intermediate half-life, a combination of high-energy radioactivity and chemical reactivity makes cesium-137 a particularly dangerous fission product.

        • Stan T says:

          “in the case of Fuku its signature is Cesium-137 & Cesium-134, of which as you say Cesium-137 is 30yrs, in other words 60 full years before it leaves your body.”

          I’m sorry sir, but that’s not the way half-life works. After 60 years, 25% of it would still remain if its half-life is 30 years. 1/2 after 30 years, then 1/2 of *that* 1/2 after another 30 years, or 1/4 of the original amount. The correct math actually better supports your point, not that I agree with the overall thrust of it.

        • Bill says:

          You don’t understand half life. Every thirty years the radiation is reduced by half. After 30 years it’s one half as much, after 60 it’s one quarter as much as the starting level, after 90 years it’s one eighth, etc. Just in the interest of keeping things scientific.

          • Anonymous says:

            In many circles of RAM community (RadioActive Materal) 10 half lives are considered enough to get to background. Not necessarily with a spill of this magnitude, but test assured the Cs- isotopes will around but less likely to be as big of a problem as Mr. Chicken Little ah have implied.
            I remain un phased by he “threat”, and have been a radiation wither for over 27 years.
            Best of luck combing through the noise to find your signal.

            Also, if you are in or of the community trying to bioassay the Pacfic Northwest, be sure you can discriminate actual Fukushima contaminant from any and all other sources, such as Naval nuclear powered craft that may vent anywhere in the entire Pacific Ocean.
            Cheers!

        • J.A. says:

          “in other words 60 full years before it leaves your body.”

          Mmm, no.

          Like potassium, cesium is excreted from the body fairly quickly. In an adult, 10% is excreted with a biological half-life of 2 days, and the rest leaves the body with a biological half-life of 110 days. Clearance from the body is somewhat quicker for children and adolescents.

          • Dylan M says:

            This is true but you may not be considering the aspect of continual dosage (especially to marine life who’s excretion rates may be higher or lower than humans’)

        • Dylan M says:

          After 60 years, a quarter of Cs137 exposure remains (approximately every 30y, the concentration halves what it was 30y prior) but that means half of the Cs137 has RADIOACTIVELY DECAYED in one’s body which is what damages DNA and causes cancer. To reiterate: Cs137 has neither gone after 60y nor has any material simply “left” one’s body (Cs137 decays, emitting a high-energy particle and transforming into Ba137m). You are right to say that Cs137 is of concern but you are misunderstanding some basic concepts of radioactive material.

          • “After 60 years, a quarter of Cs137 exposure remains (approximately every 30y, the concentration halves what it was 30y prior) but that means half of the Cs137 has RADIOACTIVELY DECAYED in one’s body which is what damages DNA and causes cancer.”

            Except that Caesium-137 has a _biological_ half life of 70 days (not 110 days as stated elsewhere). Continual dosage is a relatively minor risk unless one is eating large amounts of contaminated seafood and/or sea vegetables. It’s worth understanding that thanks to atmospheric nuclear testing in the ’60s, the entire earth is covered with a caesium-137 background level. Unsurprisingly, people do a far better job of getting cancer from bad diet and lifestyle choices than by any minor amount of caesium-137 entering the food chain via the ocean. Which all those nuclear tests at various atolls did already.

            Caesium in the food chain is an old problem. Nobody’s going to grow an extra limb from eating sushi.

    • Steve Hyman says:

      Not all radiation is the same! While some has a long half – life some is extremely short…

  4. Moral Dolphin says:

    “while good science is still putting its lab coat on.”

    Thanx Mike for fostering a little ignorance about us…

    When I see drivel like that I stop reading..

    • You know the original expression ends with “…putting its pants on” right?

    • TiSi says:

      If you didn’t read the article, you should not be critical of it. One poorly chosen sentence does not negate the rest of the article, which is informative and thoughtfully written.

      • mud says:

        Its a continuation of generalisation of scientists. Mike could have done with my input on this.

      • I found it more dismissive than informative. The author uses the term half life as if that is the time in which radiation is dangerous. This is patently untrue. The half life is the duration of time in which half of the radioactive material will deteriorate. You still have the remaining half, which is still equally radioactive, and equally dangerous. I am disappointed by the lack of actual scientific understanding. One who is basing their argument on adherence to fact should be particularly careful to adhere to fact. Some math is in order also in this case, as all of this can be easily proofed with high school level physics, none of which was represented whatsoever. A for effort, F for execution.

        • Umm… no. Half life is the time it takes for the radiation to diminish by half.

          • Dylan M says:

            Umm, mopsyd said, “The half life is the duration of time in which half of the radioactive material will deteriorate. You still have the remaining half, which is still equally radioactive, and equally dangerous.” which is categorically identical to your simplistic rendition. Any way, deteriorating or diminishing, half of the material does not simply go away in that timeframe; half of the material DECAYS, emitting high energy particles which may potentially damage DNA, potentially causing cancer and/or other ailments.

    • Tim says:

      I’m no scientist, but I believe you took that statement completely out of context. Maybe you should try to reinterpret it. I believe what he meant to say was that while “good science” is in its beginning stages coming to a conclusion on any project, myths and rumors are already spreading like wildfire to scare the population. Neither statements are false; everyone knows that good science takes time to come to the RIGHT conclusion, while rumors and myths evolve every day. For being a “scientist” you sure came to an ignorant conclusion rather post-haste.

      • Yes, exactly that. The original quote, attributed to about half a dozen people, is “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” I’ve also heard “shoes.”

  5. Freke1 says:

    If You want to eat sushi You should watch “The end of the line” (on Netflix). You obviously haven’t (or maybe You just don’t care but I don’t think so).

  6. mud says:

    Freke, dont they eat putrid herring your way?

    • Freke1 says:

      lol kinda actually that’s in Sweden, I’m in Denmark. I eat standard herring and mackerel, cause they are tiny and 90% of the big fish are gone (see “The end of the line”).
      I stopped eating tuna cause of that.

  7. Great post but I am left thinking that at least one thing he said was true – “The only way to protect your children and grandchildren is by NOT EATING SEAFOOD from the Pacific Ocean until we have better information.” albeit for a completely different reason. Perhaps the statement should read – The only way to hope to conserve the marine environment for your children and grandchildren is by not eating seafood, until we have better information – now that is something even Sylvia Earle is preaching and would support

  8. Mike Wofsey says:

    There is a lot that is correct here, but the author misses the point. The main danger isn’t in the direct radiation from the continued leak, but rather in the release of smaller-than-10-micron-sized sinters from the collapsed fueling system that necessarily pass through the rapidly corroding filtering system. For these sinters that are largely alpha-emitting, that size (and even a bio-accumulation of submicron particles) can constitute a dose that exceeds the LD50 for alpha emitters.

    These alpha emitters enter the air as well through a standard Gaussian distribution micron- scale particulates. Given that the Stokes settling time for these particle sizes is on the order of weeks and months, transport to the California rain-scrubbed air is not only a possibility, but a likelihood.

    Dismissing the danger of Fukushima by discussing the radiation rather than the ingested and inhaled alpha sources is like dismissing the danger of a gun by discussing the inhalation of the smoke from the barrel rather than the bullets from the muzzle.

    • penny says:

      What are the alpha emitting isotopes that are associated with the small sinters?

      Also there seems to be an easy to control way to deal with this threat. It may be very very inconvenient but a particle face mask would be enough to avoid inhaling the particles that emit the alpha.

    • Ronny says:

      Finally someone with a potential argument. Do you have a reference to a study about these “main danger” particulates?
      I assume they would cause similar damage as the alpha emitting Radon222 which is ubiquitous in air at concentration of 15-400Bq/m3? or beta decaying Potassium40 which is found in seawater at 12kBq/m3 or in humans at ~4000Bq/person?
      What concentrations do you expect in the US from a point source in Fukushima diluted spherically over 8500km? Please do explain the conversion process from submerged alloys to PM10 aerosol.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        Penny, an alpha emitting sinter at 10 microns would have a mass of around (4/3)( pi )((10 x 10^-6 m / 2 )^3 (9400 kg/m^3) = 5 x 10^-12 kg.

        The LF50 for typical alpha source for an average adult is about a microgram, or about 200,000 PM10 particles, which all together would weigh less than a single grain of beach sand.

        Alpha radiation is harmless outside of our bodies, the danger is when it’s ingested (I.e. from fish meat) or inhaled.

        Your desire to meet the author’s goal to quell fear is an admirable one, but as noticed by the research paper I cited earlier, that desire doesn’t meet the emerging reality of field collected data.

        • penny says:

          I see the potential dangers of inhalation but any alpha emitting particles within a fish would be harmless as all its energy would’ve been deposited within the fish. In the case that the energy was not all deposited the fish would be dead and long gone before it reached our shores. Ingestion wouldn’t be a real problem.

          That research paper is an interesting and important to note, but has nothing to do with alpha radiation. It does bring up the the dangers of long term beta emitters.

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            That’s not what apparently happens with any bioaccumulation though. The fish that ingests an alpha source gets sick, which makes it easy prey for other fish, it is ingested by another animal. Once that animal’s digestion opens up the animal enough to expose the alpha source, then that animal gets internally irradiated, gets sick, swims slowly, becomes prey for a bigger animal, and this continues up the food chain, with the end result possibly being a fish taco at some trendy restaurant in San Antonio or Manchester.

            The point I’m trying to demonstrate is that the reason alpha emitters are so toxic (again, Polonium is 250,000 times more poisonous than Hydrogen Cyanide) is BECAUSE the alpha radiation is readily absorbed by healthy internal tissue. Rather than spreading the radiation load through a large volume of tissue, the alpha source creates a hotspot right where it lays internally. And since it kills the tissue where it lays, it then becomes difficult to flush these things from the body. Our natural cellular defenses and digestional microorganisms are powerless against something that burns anything that touches it and has a half-life that is neither too long nor too short relative to the life of organisms.

            Now, I eat fish because I love to eat fish and I’m willing to gamble that I’m not going to ingest an animal that contains significant Fukushima contaminants. The chances of getting that are low I’m willing to wager. I won’t eat Japanese Sea Bass of course, but when I eat a fish meal I’m trading the benefits of the fish against the threat of becoming poisoned and it’s a risk I accept. At the same time though, I know enough about internal radiation poisoning that I have to be honest about the potential threat.

            Fish are probably unlikely to just die, sink to the bottom of the ocean and remove themselves from the food chain completely as you seem to suggest. It seems that in the ocean, anything that resembles food will eventually be eaten by another animal.

        • penny says:

          Also I’m not discounting the dangers of plutonium etc, but other sources seems to be more troublesome.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        The total mass of alpha emitters coming from the disaster site is something that is going to take years to fully quantify, that site is in full disaster recovery mode and I can only assume that data collection is a low priority. Dismissing that concern however, is not scientific by any means.

        Again, you’re making the mistake of assessing the danger in terms of radiative dose, rather than ingested/inhaled mass. Alpha emitters are harmless outside of the body, it makes no sense to assess the threat in terms of Bq m^-3.

        Also, it doesn’t make sense to ask about particle distribution in a spherical distribution from the point source in the air because that’s not the way particulate is distributed in the troposphere. The troposphere is highly stratified which restricts the particulate to a more 2 dimensional spread, and then the plume is carried by horizontally limited currents which restrict the plume somewhat to a latitude band. As for the in-water distribution, that’s defined by both movements of current but also the organisms that ingest and accumulate the contaminants. So normally it would be nearly impossible to ingest a significant amount of contaminant from Fukushima in say, Chicago, but when fish from the area are harvested and brought to Chicago, you gave a brand new distribution vector that is outside of any conventional Gaussian distribution calculation … The inverse square assumption is useless.

        Finally, as to your question how a “submerged alloy” can enter the air, that’s a well studied area. The submicron sinters can and do act as nucleation centers for the steam boiling off of the hot cores, they enter the air with the steam and then renucleate onto ordinary PM10 particles through conventional inter-molecular forces. Since the settling time of PM10 is relatively short, the contaminated particulate can easily find its way back to ground level air, water and food chains, some distance from the source, which may partly explain the measured thyroid problems for infants in Hawaii and California.

        Another way of entering the air is through mechanical agitation near the surface of the water, again with nucleation of accumulation mode particles onto water. This is a similar reason why salt spray from the ocean can be found miles inland. But do PM10 sinters enter aerosol mode directly as you suggest? I think that would be unlikely, the inter-molecular force and free surface energy would be too small to allow a particle of that size to aggregate directly. The danger with larger particles like that is that they can enter the food chain directly since their settling time g even in water) is relatively short.

        • Ronny says:

          Thank you for your response. Radon and Potassium are however inhaled and ingested masses just as Polonium would be. The amount might be diffused over the whole population while Polonium is concentrated.
          Radon is inhaled at 1 picogram per day, and Potassium ingested at 2 grams per day.
          Lets go further then, I am no doctor, but:
          1. Smaller particles (radon) tend to go deeper into the lung and do more damage than a big particle.
          2. If polonium kills the surrounding cells, they could act as a radiation shield while our body expel the dead “ball”
          3. Total Bq/m^3 is relevant, as some radiologists say that no amount of radiation is safe and refer to the LNT-model. Then 10MBq to one person is better than 10MBq to several, since it limits cancers to 1.

          I do not dismiss Fukushima as a nothing, but like many here, I do not see it as a catastrophe. If 10 or 10000 polonium sinters make it into humans and causes deadly cancer, nuclear power has still saved 1.8 million by indirectly reducing air pollution from coal. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es3051197?source=cen The advantage outweighs the disadvantage as long as we have less than a INES 7 per 1-5 years.

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            I see the comparison between coal and nuclear as a false equivalency. In industrialized nations, both coal and nuclear are dying energy sources. A more accurate comparison would be to compare nuclear to natural gas.

        • dougblakely says:

          Why are you ignoring the testing already done on CA area fish? Wouldn’t the beta emitters be detected in those fish if present?

  9. Mike Wofsey says:

    http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperDownload.aspx?FileName=OJPed_2013030716594887.pdf&paperID=28599

    Penny … The lethal dose of an alpha emitter (like Polonium for instance) is 250,000 times smaller then cyanide. That’s smaller than a speck of dust and it’s unmeasurable if it’s inside of a piece of seafood since most of the radiation is absorbed by the fish. It’s also small enough to pass though any dust mask. Only a high end respirator will stop a particle in the micron size domain.

    Regardless what the author here writes, actual scientists have published actual research showing a rise in thyroid problems in newborns since Fukushima.

    Link at top.

    • penny says:

      I agree that more research needs to be conducted to see the impact of the fallout of Fukushima. They should be continually monitoring the site and continue doing population studies like the one you provided.

      However I still don’t see how alpha emitters are a cause for concern. Any emitters in the fish would’ve deposited all or most of its energy within the fish. The fish wouldn’t be dangerous. From what I know alpha has a very low linear attenuation coefficient and doesn’t travel very far in air (can be stopped by paper etc). The only real concern is if the isotope is somehow inhaled into the body. However would an isotope in the micron size range emit enough alpha to be of harm to us? There is a higher probability that the particle would be stopped by our dead skin layer. Also a fair few dusk masks do stop particles in the micron size domain (I think ones with ratings 95+)

      Anyway I do believe that the fallout should be of concern but a lot of people are panicking about things they don’t really need to. The author seems to be providing evidence to quell those fears.

      • Moral Dolphin says:

        In making his case, (but not explaining very well) is that alpha emitters may be ingested and may have long biological halflives. During that period they may be organ specific and label bones etc provided the chemistry is correct. he hasn’t even started on that.

        Th problem is Mike doesnt get down to tin tacks . He is arguing that oxides may be resident within fish or other biota that the west coast may consume.

        The problem is, the core releases are trivial when compared to other events (if at all) and Mike has to explain How the “sintered” particles not only reach the USA, but enter the food chain (or aerosolise to inhalation) but are then reduced to produce the full effect of a resident labelled complex with bone or soft tissues. Remember, we arent talking inhalation.

        You are absolutely correct in questioning Mike but have to realise he is still making a case for us to read.

        He has excluded the micron sized particle argument as inhalable particles as he knows the risk of that is profoundly higher for those in the region compared to the US (and without basis). So far, Mr Rothschilds post.. eating pacific fish is unassaulted by months of Mikes various nuclidic loads being deposited into humans via fish (or another food item).

        • Mike Wofsey says:

          Moral Dolphin writes …

          >> The problem is, the core releases are trivial when compared
          >> to other events (if at all)

          That’s your opinion, but it’s wrong. I don’t know of any source ingestable radiation that has anywhere close to the particle number density of Fukushima, where there is active mass transport from direct contact with exposed fuel rods in the hundreds of tons per day.

          If you know of anything even in the ballpark, please name the source.

          If you’re comparing ALL the coal plants to a single Fukushima, then you may have a point, but that’s ridiculous, because the mass density of contaminants from hundreds of poorly controlled coal plants around the world has the benefit of dilution that Fukushima doesn’t have. And further on coal plants with inferior particulate control, the larger particulates PM10 act as effective nucleation centers for the smaller submicron particulates where the radiation sources live. The accumulation mode particulates from poorly control coal plants are removed from otherwise slow Stokes settling by the pollution itself. That doesn’t happen as well in the ocean because the water-solid interface isn’t always as advantageous for aggregates as the air-water interface, due to the surface energy.

          >> and Mike has to explain How the “sintered” particles not only
          >> reach the USA, but enter the food chain (or aerosolise to
          >> inhalation) but are then reduced to produce the full effect of
          >> resident labelled complex with bone or soft tissues.
          >> Remember, we arent talking inhalation.

          I did explain how they can get into air, please reread. This is reasonably well understood, it’s the reason why salt from the ocean can damage structures close to the ocean. Particles in water act as nucleation centers, to which salt (and sinters) can nucleate then be mechanically removed from the water by wind and turbulence. If you’ve seen a dust trail from a truck winding up a dirt road, then you know how particles can leave one volume to another at an interface.

          As for bioaccumulation, again, this is a fairly well-understood process. We’ve discussed this already.

          >> He has excluded the micron sized particle argument as
          >> inhalable particles as he knows the risk of that is profoundly
          >> higher for those in the region compared to the US (and
          >> without basis).

          I don’t know where you’re getting this … and I agree, the people who live near Fukushima are “profoundly” more threatened by that accident site than people down-current from it.

          >> So far, Mr Rothschilds post.. eating pacific fish is
          >> unassaulted by months of Mikes various nuclidic loads being
          >> deposited into humans via fish (or another food item).

          In my opinion, Mr. Rothschild’s post is as bad as the scare mongering you claim to hate. He’s doing essentially the same thing, except it’s “dismissal mongering.” We can’t conclude that Fukushima is relatively harmless. And anyone who discounts the threat without care or caution is as guilty of disinformation as one who scares without care or caution.

          • Dave says:

            You can’t win Mike. This “Moral Dolphin” character is akin to a religious zealot. No matter how much evidence you show them, they just have “faith” that they are right. He is probably a shill for a nuclear power company and stands to lose a lot of $ in market shares when nuclear energy is banned.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        I think it’s important to look at studies with a critical eye, regardless the journal.

        However just as it’s unscientific to blindly trust an isolated study, it’s also unscientific and irresponsible to dismiss an entire field of study with how contaminants enter food chains and breathable air.

    • Moral Dolphin says:

      Ok Mike, now you have been fished out again, can you start being a bit more specific about activities etc. After all, you are ignoring their daily proportion intake of alpha emitters from common sources and have deviated wildly from the discussion. How come you havent included alpha emitters from coal burners raining down upon the west coast masses? How come you havent included common fractonation into food sources from the soil of…alpha emitters

      Here you seem to be maintaining that alpha emitters are entering into the west coast food chain or not..Where is your extra burden and where is it coming from?

      Your inexperience in the matter (your admission) has been noted

      Compare this with your original histrionics – the hyperbole you introduced (and admitted to be hyperbole) into this conversation. Are we now concentrating on alpha emitters only?

      Please compare this with a prior incident in europe. How does the intake of disaster alpha emitters from that event over Britain and europe compare to the lack of core material from fukushima bear up. No I am not going to feed you, Look it up outside of your “sources”.

      I’d like a reasonable argument for a change.

      as we know,

      People re working, living, fishing and surfing in the fukushima region. How is you american alpha emitter contamination hyperbole not a disproportionate argument. Especially in the light of the British experience. Especially in the light that people in Japan and Europe are/were “just that little bit closer to the event.

      What load of alpha emitters have you finally calculated to be inumbent on the US population. What is that load on the eat coast Japan population. What natural alpha emotting load have you subtracted ? After all, you argument is to date has now become..its all about alpha emitters.

      Is it about time people familiarised themselves with a map of the east coast of Japan?

      I’ll gladly discuss these things and go through the literature without resorting to direction from special interest groups.

      After all, I did offer the contct via Gmail so we could discuss the matter so you could get a coherent grip on radiation safety concepts. None of it was taken up.

      Your argument has been a shifting hyperbole which you have admitted.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        Moral Dolphin writes …
        >>> you are ignoring their daily proportion intake of alpha emitters from
        >> common sources and have deviated wildly from the discussion. How
        >> come you havent included alpha emitters from coal burners raining
        >> down upon the west coast masses? How come you havent included
        >> common fractonation into food sources from the soil of…alpha
        >> emitters

        There are alpha sources in coal, and a bit of residual alpha emission in soil. But the half life of a typical alpha emitter like Po210 is fairly short, a few months. So the threat of old alpha sources in the soil isn’t that large, and most Industrial coal plants have particulate control with wet electrostatic scrubbers that have a high efficiency for removing submicron particulates. However, nuclear accidents spread fresh radiation emitters, and accident sites like Fukushima spread emitters with virtually no pollution control of even a typical coal plant. So you’re comparing a many low-density dilute pollution sources to a single high density pollution source. That doesn’t really work too well.

        >> Here you seem to be maintaining that alpha emitters are entering
        >> into the west coast food chain or not..Where is your extra burden
        >> and where is it coming from?

        We don’t know for sure. We know that radiation sources can enter the food chain and aquifers through radiation spills and nuclear accidents. This has been studied extensively with Chernobyl. The extra burden in this case would be the melted-through, damage contrainment at Fukushima. Again, the onus of responsibility is on safety. It’s too late to do much of anything about Fukushima, but it’s possibly irresponsible to just blow off that accident as relatively harmless in an attempt to dismiss the proven black swan dangers of nuclear power.

        >> Your inexperience in the matter (your admission) has been noted
        >> Compare this with your original histrionics – the hyperbole you
        >> introduced (and admitted to be hyperbole) into this conversation.
        >> Are we now concentrating on alpha emitters only?

        I’ve been consistent, regardless what you write. From the beginning, I’ve written that the threat from irradiation isn’t in the same league as the threat of ingesting and inhaling active radiation sources.

        >> Please compare this with a prior incident in europe. How does the
        >> intake of disaster alpha emitters from that event over Britain and
        >> europe compare to the lack of core material from fukushima bear
        >> up. No I am not going to feed you, Look it up outside of your
        >> “sources”.
        >> I’d like a reasonable argument for a change.

        They’re different accidents. Chernobyl has taken from tens to thousands of lives, depending on the willingness to consider the statistics of dying of cancer downwind from a nuclear accident. But Fukushima is different because the ocean spreads emitters with a velocity greater than land by orders of magnitudes. Water allows accumulation where land doesn’t.

        Again, it’s not reasonably to blow off these risks in my opinion.

        >> experience. Especially in the light that people in Japan and Europe
        >> are/were “just that little bit closer to the event.

        That’s not the way it works though, you’re comparing apples to oranges. Air has a roughly Gaussian distribution, land has limited distribution, and in water the distribution follows ocean currents. Currents allow for accumulation because the nutrient streams tend to follow the currents as well.

        >> What load of alpha emitters have you finally calculated to be
        >> inumbent on the US population. What is that load on the eat coast
        >> Japan population. What natural alpha emotting load have you
        >> subtracted ? After all, you argument is to date has now become..its
        >> all about alpha emitters.

        This argument is tantamount to suggesting that if we don’t know the names of the rapists living on the block that there are no rapists living on the block. Again, the characterization of this continued spill is going to take years. In the meantime, in-between time, perhaps caution isn’t so threatening?

        >> After all, I did offer the contct via Gmail so we could discuss the
        >> matter so you could get a coherent grip on radiation safety
        >> concepts. None of it was taken up.

        I don’t know what you mean by that. What are you going to prove on GMail that you can’t prove here? I’m interested in combating disinformation about nuclear accidents, not having a private argument about who is the smartest. I’m sure you’re wonderfully smart, but you seem to be arguing that extreme caution isn’t warranted with Fukushima, and future nuclear projects, and I consider that a form of possible disinformation.

    • dougblakely says:

      A rise in thyroid problems HAS to be connected? That doesn’t sound like scientific method. And to the alpha emitter, once the energy is absorbed by the fish, what is the threat? Sorry, I don’t have experience but I want to understand what you’re saying.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      I’m a practicing physicist with experience in particulate nucleation and distribution and I can’t dismiss the danger of Fukushima as many have done.

      It’s tempting to call out alarmists, and on some level that’s valuable. But when the anti-alarmist with insufficient data dismisses genuine potential threats, that person can begin to resemble all that he despises.

      • “I’m a practicing physicist with experience in particulate nucleation and distribution and I can’t dismiss the danger of Fukushima as many have done.”

        Do you really think the incidence of cancer will be significant due to Fukushima considering that 25-30% of North Americans will get cancer anyway due to environmental stresses, diet and lifestyle choices? Living here in Tokyo, I see my RADEX RD1503 registering ~0.16 mSv/hr, give or take a bit. That seems well below the global average.

        I don’t discount the significance of Fukushima dumping 300 tons of contaminated coolant into the ocean daily, but I suspect that it’s just a little more fuel on an already raging fire. After all, when pregnant women are warned against eating fish due to mercury, things are already past the point of being bad. (If fish are bad for pregnant women, they’re bad for everybody.)

        • Maybe you meant 0.16uSv/hr? Since 0.16mSv will give you a dose 400times the world average. Alternatively you live in house with insufficient ventilation and radon is accumulating in the air.

          • Yeah, brain fade here. Definitely microSv/hr. Prior to the Fukushima event, the average background radiation here in Tokyo was around 0.04 uSv/hr. Very low. Even at 4 times that amount, it’s still below the global average.

          • dougblakely says:

            Insufficient ventilation, like an energy-efficient home?

          • Ronny says:

            doug: No, energy-efficient homes have optimal ventilation (~0,5 1/h) with heat recovery and filters. Newer homes also have radon protection in the foundation. Elevated radon levels would be found in older buildings, before ventilation became a concept, and then in basements.

  10. Discoballs says:

    Wow! Gish gallop, my new favourite word!

  11. I appreciate Mike Rothchild’s emphasis on trying to think clearly about the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. In that spirit, I call your attention to the following statement in Mike’s article:

    “It’s also a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the entire Pacific Ocean, which is roughly 187 quintillion gallons in volume and will quickly dilute the water in question. While hundreds of tons and trillions of becquerels sounds like a lot, this is simply not enough water to have any kind of lasting effect on the health of either the Pacific Ocean or the fish in it.”

    I view the above statement (“this is simply not enough”) as a long term assessment that only a marine biologist could make. Mike would do everybody a great service if he would round up some marine biologists and ask them their views. What species of fish are the most severe bio-accumulators? Low level pollution in the ocean doesn’t necessarily stay diluted, but instead can get re-concentrated up the food chain. This is why the fish at the top of the food chain are often contaminated with mercury.

    The Fukushima plant may leak radioactive groundwater for decades, or even centuries. If, in Mike’s opinion, the current level of radiation will not contaminate the fish in the entire Pacific, what level would do so? Every time it rains in the Fukushima area, the rain washes into the sea some of the fallout from the reactor explosion — a process that will probably go on for some unknown period of years. So we are going to be living with these questions for a long time.

    I wish the fear-mongering alarmists and the myth-skewering skeptics would both calm down and give us a more carefully-drawn picture of the Fukushima situation.

  12. April says:

    here’s a petition to ask U.S. government to engage in this matter. it is questionable situation for west coast people including Hawaii and Alaska. our government should protect the people where ever they live, and the situation is no longer just Japan’s problem. this matter should be discussed with all other countries to solve the situation together. Japan alone has been failing to control the situation for past 2 years. it’s time to get help from world wide experts.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/urge-japan-stop-fukushima-radiation-contamination-and-international-community-admit-severity-it/0P3BFv2y

  13. would you swim in it, daily? allow your children to? would you drink it? taste it in your mouth? if you can/would do this then i feel not so pissed off that people are so fking ignorant as to pollute/destroy the very thing that keeps us alive! wtf is wrong with (almost) everyone?

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “it.” Do you mean the water directly off Fukushima? Of course I wouldn’t swim in that or drink it. Nobody should be. Do you mean the water directly off the Pacific coast? I’ve gone swimming in it several times since the incident. It’s cold, but it hasn’t turned me into a mutant.

  14. Former Alaskan Salmon-eater says:

    Actually I found this article desultory and unconvincing. He kept jumping the last step to conclusions that there wasn’t anything to worry about. Dennis’s comment above is a good example: exactly why does the number 187 quintillion make me not worry about varied and continued leaking of long-lasting radioactive particles? And besides Mike’s lack of actual followthrough on his criticisms, doesn’t that video by the German forecasters show a Cesium-137-like tagger getting on our shores by the end of this year? There is simply no healthy dose for a particle known to be damaging to our health that won’t leave our body for an entire human lifetime. After he “clarified” that video by including the German narrator’s explanation, I only became more worried!

    • “There is simply no healthy dose for a particle known to be damaging to our health”… untrue. Everyone that ever lived has had about 20 million Plutonium atoms in their body; radioactivity is a natural part of our planet and the universe. Toxicity is a function of dose. Every compound has a safe level, and every compound has a dangerous level.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        Brian, there is naturally-occurring radiation, but the reason we have trace amounts of plutonium in our bodies is due to atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s up until the Limited Test Ban Treaty. But not all nuclear countries ratified the treaty and testing continued into the 1990s. To suggest that the plutonium in our bodies is largely due to some natural process is wrong.

        Further, just using your numbers, of “20 million plutonium atoms” in our bodies, the molar mass of Plutonium is 244 grams per mole. So based on your statement, we have about 3 x 10-17 of a mole of plutonium in our bodies, for a total mass of about 8 x 10^-18 kg.

        Compare that amount to a single sinter from Fukushima that ends up in the food chain …

        Assuming a roughly spherical sinter of 5 microns (too small to catch with the damaged filtering equipment at Fukushima), the volume would be about 7 x 10^-17 m^3. Multiply times a typical density of a transuranic element leaves about 1 x 10^-12 kg.

        If that sinter is ingested through contaminated seafood, that’s about 100,000 times higher mass than the “20 million” plutonium atoms you claimed harmlessness in your post.

        Again, the problem with the approach of this blog is that it’s comparing apples to oranges. Single atoms may dilute to relative harmlessness in the ocean and air, but particulates don’t do that because their mass is so much higher.

        • Nuclear explosions consume plutonium, they do not produce it.

          Pu-239 and Pu-244 are both naturally occurring and exist throughout the planet, always have, always will. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-transuranic-elements-s

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            Nuclear explosions do consume plutonium through their mechanism, but they produce the Pu 239 isotope through Uranium 238 decay.

            There is no doubt that there is some naturally-occurring Plutonium, as your Scientific American article shows. But remember, that’s in addition to the body absorption from nuclear accidents and weapons testing. Sure, my body is mostly water, but that doesn’t mean that I’m immune to drowning.

            You can’t claim that we shouldn’t be concerned about radioactive sinters from Fukushima just because we already have a small amount of radiation in our bodies.

          • Nor would I, as that would be an absurd straw man argument. We should base our concern over Fukushima on the facts, which so far show no significant risk to anyone’s health.

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            So it’s an “absurd straw man argument” to suggest that someone is immune to drowning since their body contains water, but your suggestion that sinters from Fukushima pose little or no danger since we have some plutonium atoms in our bodies isn’t an “absurd straw man” argument?

            The danger of ingesting and inhaling alpha emitters is a well-established field of study. The process of bio-accumulation is a well-established field of study. We know that the slapdash seawater cooling system used at Fukushima is transporting active radioactive emitters into the ocean, atmosphere and food chain. We know this because this has been measured.

            These are the facts with which we’re facing on Fukushima.

            Your claim that the “facts … so far show no significant risk to anyone’s health” is something I haven’t seen. Do you have a reference to a peer-reviewed study which establishes the “fact” of the harmlessness of the Fukushima emissions? Without a direct, established study which shows the harmlessness of Fukushima, I believe we have an obligation to side with previous work in this area, and proceed with extreme caution, rather than throw caution to the wind. Both the operators of Fukushima and Chernobyl had an obligation to have safer systems and methods in place, and their process failed. Why should we continue with such carelessness in ignoring the continuing emissions of radioactive emitters from Fukushima?

            Here’s the fundamental issue … new-style environmentalists love nuclear power because it seems to offer a clean solution to combustion-based energy sources. Fukushima, on the other hand is a giant billboard that spells out the specific dangers of the 0.001% of the time when things go wrong with nuclear power. Since the accident can’t be swept under the rug, the new-style environmentalists are instead embracing a pseudoscience of pretending that active radioactive emitters don’t actually pose much if any danger to us when they find their way into our air, water and food chains.

            I’m a practicing physicist that has spent a portion of my career working around alpha emitters and radiation sources in various calibration and sensing systems. I’ve found two basic truths to the public’s perception of radiation …

            1. They typically overestimate the threat of ionizing radiation outside of the human body — The inverse square law, our skin and natural biological processes combine to protect us from this type of radiation more than most folks think. In general, we get more dangerous dose of external, ionizing radiation from the sun than from waste and the remains of past tests and nuclear accidents.

            2. They almost universally underestimate the threat of inhaled and ingested radiation sources. — When I was in the lab we used to have dry-runs with experiments so that when we brought in relatively small sources we lowered the risk of screw ups that could lead to inhalation or ingestion. We knew enough of the danger to exercise extreme caution.

      • Ian Forsyth says:

        Beware confusing Chemical toxicity with radiotoxicity Brian.

  15. Dave says:

    SFU scientists found spikes of radiation in the seaweed in Vancouver 1 week after the meltdown in 2011. This could be the reason sea lions et al are having the health problems in California and the newborns are having thyroid issues. We know the reactors continued to leak airborne radiation for months after the actual first explosion meaning some of that was and possibly still is reaching North America. Why did you not note this source of radiation when speaking about such things? Just curious.

    • Radiation from Fukushima has been detected all around the world, as expected. Detectable levels and dangerous levels are two very different things. Keep in mind we can also detect radiation from the Big Bang.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        We detect radiation from the Big Bang the same way we detect radiation from a distant star or reflected radiation from the Moon.

        These are/were enormous sources of radiation. But we detect these forms of radiation as propagating from the source. We don’t detect Big Bang or starlight radiation because a chunk of primordial matter or a chunk of the star fell in our yard.

        But with Fukushima, far from the source, we detect that radiation signature because there has been MASS transport from the Fukushima site to our location. THAT is the thing that is supposed to make you toss and turn at night as you try to sleep but think of the health of your children and the air they breath, and food they eat. And if it doesn’t make you lose sleep then it’s because you don’t understand how Mother Nature uses Gaussian distribution to spread things around.

  16. Mike Wofsey says:

    This again?

    it’s simple, I volunteer to explain it again ….

    1. Radiation follows an inverse square propagation, so if you detect radiation from that far, then you’re detecting it because there has been MASS TRANSPORT from Fukushima to that location.

    2. None of us tree-hugging, baby-protecting lefty greenies have suggested that there it’s any danger at all from the minute amounts of radiation that were detected at those locations. Again, we recognize that the detected radiation amounts are so small as to be harmless.

    3. BUT, the fact that radiation was detected proves that there was mass transport, and when there is mass transport then the very real danger of ingested and inhaled alpha emitters is established. Again, the lethal dose of inhaled or ingested alpha radiation is smaller than a single grain of beach sand, and since alpha is so heavily absorbed, we can’t easily measure it from fish or the air. We use the detection of other, harmless signatures to alert us to the presence of leukemia-causing, thyroid-mangling radiation.

    4. It’s like a fire engine racing down the road … the sound of the siren won’t hurt you, but if you hear the siren, get out of the way, because there is a strong possibility that behind that siren is a few tons of steel, rubber and firefighters that can squash you like a worm if you ignore the sound.

    Again, inhaled and ingested alpha emitters can be 250,000 times more lethal per unit mass then hydrogen cyanide.

    • Moral Dolphin says:

      Hang on, David, I have ignored the article as Mike has taken to generalising as some attempt (here and elsewhere) to argument. Not so, and I stop reading as soon as I spot them.

      so to your post,

      Quote
      1. Radiation follows an inverse square propagation, so if you detect radiation from that far, then you’re detecting it because there has been MASS TRANSPORT from Fukushima to that location.
      end quote

      Comment

      Electromagnetic radiation follows the inverse square law as any electromagnetic radiation does in a vacuum, Interactions with matter tend to “shield” or stop electromagnetic radiation by the various absorptive processes and interactions. So yes, If there was a detectable “shine” from the incident site it would be attenuated by any electromagnetic interactions and the inverse square law.

      With particles (α,β), its similar but the interactions are overwhelming and the particles get stopped within a very short range. The biosphere is is a great absorber of particle radiation.

      If particle radiation is detected in the USA that is attributed to an event across the pacific its due to radioactive matter being transported by matter in currents and detectable by environmental sampling of biota and matter on on those currents or some atmospheric transport (which isnt the case at present as it was for Chernobyl).

      Quote
      2. None of us tree-hugging, baby-protecting lefty greenies have suggested that there it’s any danger at all from the minute amounts of radiation that were detected at those locations. Again, we recognize that the detected radiation amounts are so small as to be harmless.
      end quote

      Comment, Yes, the environmentally detected levels of particle radiation emission from the sea water or biota do not elevate your annual doses (ingested or otherwise) Its negligible.

      Quote
      3. BUT, the fact that radiation was detected proves that there was mass transport, and when there is mass transport then the very real danger of ingested and inhaled alpha emitters is established. Again, the lethal dose of inhaled or ingested alpha radiation is smaller than a single grain of beach sand, and since alpha is so heavily absorbed, we can’t easily measure it from fish or the air. We use the detection of other, harmless signatures to alert us to the presence of leukemia-causing, thyroid-mangling radiation.
      end quote.

      Comment

      The extrapolation here is just a bit far (to hyperbole) if its related back to the Fukushima incident. The comparison is nonsense in this case but very real for the clean up crews of radiological incidents. In the Chernobyl case, many people were exposed because of ad-hoc practices in the unplanned clean up.

      The hyperbole is a bit thick in this particular point as an inhaled α or β particle is quickly stopped whereas a particle of matter transporting activity containing any nuclides (α,β or γ emissions) may present a problem wrt activity and exposure period (half lives and exposure to organs come into the estimate) where the external doses (not in this case) and internal doses can be calculated as an average.

      The last sentence is hyperbolic drivel aimed at alarmism in intent.

      Quote

      4. It’s like a fire engine racing down the road … the sound of the siren won’t hurt you, but if you hear the siren, get out of the way, because there is a strong possibility that behind that siren is a few tons of steel, rubber and firefighters that can squash you like a worm if you ignore the sound.

      Again, inhaled and ingested alpha emitters can be 250,000 times more lethal per unit mass then hydrogen cyanide.

      End quote

      Comment
      The above has moved on from fair comment to set up a ridiculous argument of comparison.

      The last sentence is a trivial comparison of biological effect of radioactivity to toxins in the environment. Alarmism at best and it appears that self interest sites are being reprised in the sentiment. Our entire environment has a large load of radionuclides and we evolved in that environment. The load of alpha emitting nuclides in the environment (ingested or inhaled, external contamination and electromagnetic exposure) hasnt changed at the USA pacific coast. In fact, the actions of humans on that coast have raised the local levels above the original background to which the source of discussion is insignificant (and well within the expected exposure of day to day increases in the next generations due to perfectly acceptable practices).

      Maybe there is a case for banning fire trucks. I doubt that. Maybe some are profoundly ignorant of the radioactive environment.

      There is only one comment to make of that; In the light of the matter that appears to be discussed, the indications are clear and accepted by the above commenter that the environmental load has changed so little that there is no risk (his point 2). The addition of this point clearly indicates that someone is having an argument with himself.

      Clearly a case of a generalising Blog entry deserving a generalising comment.

      Tree hugging? Trees are radioactive ….

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        @Moral Dolphin …

        Moral Dolphin wrote … “Electromagnetic radiation follows the inverse square law as any electromagnetic radiation does in a vacuum, Interactions with matter tend to “shield” or stop electromagnetic radiation by the various absorptive processes and interactions. So yes, If there was a detectable “shine” from the incident site it would be attenuated by any electromagnetic interactions and the inverse square law.

        With particles (α,β), its similar but the interactions are overwhelming and the particles get stopped within a very short range. The biosphere is is a great absorber of particle radiation.

        If particle radiation is detected in the USA that is attributed to an event across the pacific its due to radioactive matter being transported by matter in currents and detectable by environmental sampling of biota and matter on on those currents or some atmospheric transport (which isnt the case at present as it was for Chernobyl).”

        Let’s see what you’ve done here. Except for the last line (which is wrong) you’ve just rewritten what I’ve written, but with a bunch of scientific complexity. Is rewriting what I’ve written supposed to elevate the rest of your opinions? I don’t really see the point. Why not just write that you agree with what I’ve written and move on?

        Moral Dolphin wrote: “Yes, the environmentally detected levels of particle radiation emission from the sea water or biota do not elevate your annual doses (ingested or otherwise) Its negligible.”

        This is wrong and it isn’t what I wrote. If we can measure RADIATION then, it’s an indication that there has been mass transport from Fukushima. You are 100% wrong in grouping “ingested or otherwise” together like that. For instance I can be near a significant amount of alpha radiation and even with attenuation, suffer zero health effects. But if I heaven forbid, ingest or inhale the source of that radiation then I can suffer a major illness. The LD50 of a typical alpha source is measure in micrograms! So no, this is wrong. I can receive a radiative dose from Fukushima fallout without measurably raising my dosage, but the second I ingest or inahle that particulate my dosage can quickly move off the chart. Again, we’re talking about micrograms here.

        Moral Dolphin wrote: “The extrapolation here is just a bit far (to hyperbole) if its related back to the Fukushima incident. The comparison is nonsense in this case but very real for the clean up crews of radiological incidents. In the Chernobyl case, many people were exposed because of ad-hoc practices in the unplanned clean up.”

        You’ve confused inhaled/ingested dosages and radiative dosages. The workers in Fukushima all presumably had full and effective respirators and protection to keep them from inhaling and ingesting radiation sources, the reason they could only work on site for a short time is due to the high gamma radiative dosages that move through their protective gear. This isn’t a major issue far from Fukushima, the problem is inhaled and ingested radiation sources.

        Moral Dolphin wrote: “The hyperbole is a bit thick in this particular point as an inhaled α or β particle is quickly stopped whereas a particle of matter transporting activity containing any nuclides (α,β or γ emissions) may present a problem wrt activity and exposure period (half lives and exposure to organs come into the estimate) where the external doses (not in this case) and internal doses can be calculated as an average.”

        This is wrong too. The Stokes settling percentage of micron-domain particles most definitely are NOT “quickly stopped” on inhalation. The aggregation for these particles is high because the intermolecular forces are high for the relatively low radius of curvature (and thus free surface energy) but they need something larger on which to aggregate. Once they are inhaled, the aggregation surface then becomes live, active tissue in the lungs, the alveolar region, or for sub-micron particles, extensive research has shown them to pass through dierectly to the bloodstream.

        Moral Dolphin wrote: “The last sentence is hyperbolic drivel aimed at alarmism in intent.”

        You ask why I use hyperbole? I use hyperbole because of the pseudo-scientific nonsense like what you’ve written, which is specifically designed to give the illusion of expertise where expertise seems not to exist. Eventually the only method of communication becomes hyperbole because I start writing consistent rebuttals of what is written here and the nonsense continues to flow.

        Moral Dolphin wrote: “The above has moved on from fair comment to set up a ridiculous argument of comparison. The last sentence is a trivial comparison of biological effect of radioactivity to toxins in the environment. Alarmism at best and it appears that self interest sites are being reprised in the sentiment. Our entire environment has a large load of radionuclides and we evolved in that environment. The load of alpha emitting nuclides in the environment (ingested or inhaled, external contamination and electromagnetic exposure) hasnt changed at the USA pacific coast. In fact, the actions of humans on that coast have raised the local levels above the original background to which the source of discussion is insignificant (and well within the expected exposure of day to day increases in the next generations due to perfectly acceptable practices).”

        There are measurements in peer-reviewed journals to suggest that there is in fact increased loading and that your casual dismissal is nonsense. Do you have access to the peer-reviewed journal article which supports what you’ve written here?

        Moral Dolphin wrote: “There is only one comment to make of that; In the light of the matter that appears to be discussed, the indications are clear and accepted by the above commenter that the environmental load has changed so little that there is no risk (his point 2). The addition of this point clearly indicates that someone is having an argument with himself.”

        If you think I am arguing with myself it’s apparently because I’ve either failed to communicate or you’ve failed to read. I did NOT claim that there is no increase in load of radiation source. I wrote that the increase in radiative energy is insignificant, but that once you ingest or inhale these sources they become far from insignificant.

        Again, my claim is supported by literature in peer-reviewed journals.

        • daiaravi says:

          i just want to thank you Mike Wofsey for your time and very lucid arguments here – kindof a shame that your entries here are attached to such a poor article. but – i found em and thanks for that–

  17. Dave says:

    My question was for the writer of the blog, Mike Rothschild guys. :)

  18. Jim Dittmer says:

    Hmm… if enough people panic and stop eating Pacific fish, the lack of demand will bring the price down and I’ll be able to afford to buy it. Great Idea! Maybe we could start a rumor about beef, too?

    • A conspiracy! I’m in.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        Hilarious.

        And if the fallout has in fact led to children with mangled futures, then I’m sure they’ll think it’s hilarious too.

        Remember Thalidomide? Was that one a knee-slapper too?

        • Moral Dolphin says:

          Mike, I have adressed this ridiculous alarmist hyperbole above.

          Stick to the facts, write coherent posts if you have a real basis for your persistence. Who knows, you may actually post something thats correct (as you have once here) for a whole post rather than just a point that is extrapolated to ridicule.

          To date, an incident in fukushima has resulted in a fear that matter has transported unacceptable levels radioactive materials to the USA pacific coast.

          Has this occurred?
          How are the levels unacceptable?
          What are the environmental levels of radiation and radioactive materials in the disputed region?

          Remember that;
          People live, surf and fish in the fukushima region without elevating their annual levels of dose and intake.

          We have a saying here that goes against all the decades of quality we have foisted on the general public;

          “She’ll be right mate” or SBRM.

          By the level of understanding exhibited in some of these posts, SBRM is copying what an other ignorant said.

          Hardly a quality system..

          Where do you fit in this?

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            @Moral Dolphin …

            Moral Dolphin wrote: “I have adressed this ridiculous alarmist hyperbole above. Stick to the facts, write coherent posts if you have a real basis for your persistence. Who knows, you may actually post something thats correct (as you have once here) for a whole post rather than just a point that is extrapolated to ridicule.”

            You have demonstrated why I resort to hyperbole, for better or worse. You write things that are wrong, which to a layperson give the illusion of truth. My hyperbole is a emotional response to reading nonsense that can be potentially damaging. Ingested alpha emitters are — by weight — the most lethal toxins on Earth. That you can call my attention to that “hyperbole” suggests to me that you’re either ignorant of the truth, or an active denier of it.

            Moral Dolphin wrote: “Has this occurred? How are the levels unacceptable? What are the environmental levels of radiation and radioactive materials in the disputed region?

            There is specific data from the operators of the broken nuclear plant itself that significant radiation sources are flowing into the ocean and Professor Kanda at TUMS has found a reversal of previous radiation depletion, indicating continued loading. So yes, this has apparently occurred, regardless what you write. What is the loading in the West Coast of the USA? That’s an open question. We have detected the radiative signatures, so we know there has been mass transport. How dangerous? We don’t know. Regardless that you seem to claim some level of expertise that there is no danger, the reality is that we just don’t know of the danger of inhaled and ingested particulate because it’s too soon to know for sure.

            So since we don’t know, do we do what you seem to have done and just claim that there is no problem, even with signs pointing to the opposite of that? Or do we proceed with caution?

            Moral Dolphin wrote: “People live, surf and fish in the fukushima region without elevating their annual levels of dose and intake.”

            Except that actual measurements do not support what you’ve written here. Unless you can show a specific study that supports your statement, why write something that disagrees with published research? http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEgQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sfrek.se%2Fpresentation2.pdf&ei=TAAxUpjbD5DsrAH49oDwBA&usg=AFQjCNFpmf36JnBC4xaiH7CuEba-MHUOFQ&bvm=bv.52109249,d.aWM&cad=rja

            Moral Dolphin wrote: “We have a saying here that goes against all the decades of quality we have foisted on the general public; “She’ll be right mate” or SBRM. By the level of understanding exhibited in some of these posts, SBRM is copying what an other ignorant said. Hardly a quality system..”

            In my opinion, the quality of your position has been seriously decayed by the mistakes you’ve made in your analysis. What you’ve written looks like science, but it seems to more closely resemble pseudoscience to me.

            Moral Dolphin: “Where do you fit in this?”

            I’m not on the West Coast of the U.S.A., I’m in the path of the fallout though. I’m not particularly worried for myself or my family, and I still eat Pacific seafood, but I’ve had actual in-lab experience working with radiation sources for low-energy calibration purposes. When I read opinions on this thread that take on the illusion of fact, and when they’re wrong, I feel compelled to respond. Based on what you wrote, for instance, there still isn’t a clear understanding of the difference between Fukushima radiation sources outside the body (no significant threat that I can see outside of Japan) and inhaled and ingested particulates contaminated with and composed of radiation sources. You’ve written incorrect analysis of these for instance and thus I feel compelled to respond.

  19. Moral Dolphin says:

    Thanks for admitting your argument is based on ignorance and presented with emotional hyperbole. Its a frank admission and any further contribution by you will be viewed in that light.

    I need not make comment on the rest of your post as your initial admission is all that was required.

    Thanx for that and hopefully you’ll meet up with the rest of the dingbats on another plane.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      Translation … you’re unable to defend your pseudo science against actual science, so you choose to take the easy way out and claim a pyrrhic victory.

      Enjoy it. But the truth has bowled you over, Fukushima cannot be claimed as the harmless event that you and others have claimed.

      • I never claimed it was “harmless.” In fact, I said several times in the original piece that it’s a bad situation that needs to be rectified.

        But this hyperbolic rhetoric about sea otters bursting into flames and fish being inedible until the end of time is just scaremongering nonsense.

        • Moral Dolphin says:

          Sorry Mike, a scientist was putting on his pants after adjusting his labcoat and missed the import of your recent….

          Give up the generalisations in your blog posts and scientists may contribute to what you are trying to say.

          You dont want to end up like Bruno and be profoundly ignored after posting, retracting, posting and finally admitting in an entire blog post that you were right initially but hadnt bothered to flesh your ideas out with a bit of research bfore submitting.

          If you want to do a science based post on an issue that requires scientific evaluation you dont start calling the guys who have done this sort of work on generalisations fit for the public you are trying to address.

          Thats the work for the conspiracists and woo artiste commenters in skeptoid proper.

        • Mike Wofsey says:

          Mike, that reply was to Moral Dolphin, I never claimed the horror you’ve suggested. I eat Pacific fish regardless the possible risk.

          I’m a practicing physicist with in-lab experience working with alpha sources. In good faith, I can’t dismiss the serious danger as you have been able to do in your opinion piece. We really don’t know, and in my opinion it’s irresponsible to dismiss this.

          • Moral Dolphin says:

            wow, that really impresses me.not. Ive met and taught many dolts who are and went onto become physics professionals.

            Please tell me you are at least doing something pretty nifty like radiation detectors and deep level transients detector response modelling and not just using an alpha source for in house detector calibration.

            Mike, about time you appraised my derision of your hyperbole on a scientific basis seeing you have just popped your head up for a profound kicking as a practising physicist.

            If a physicist can get it as bad as your drivel to date
            I suggest you attend a radiation standards lab in your country.

            Its “professional” honour now. See if you can remove the asterisks around “professional” and obviously “physicist”.

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            @Moral Dolphin,

            Given the errors that Moral Dolphin has posted here, I believe that he or she is in no position to judge the competency of other physicists.

            My current work is in ion polarization. And no, I did nothing “nifty.” I was and am a workaday scientist doing somewhat ordinary research. I don’t care if you are impressed or not. From what you have written here, I am willing to guess that you have little or no direct experience with alpha emitters, nor do you seem to understand the most basic process of particulate transport through the air and in the body.

            What you have posted here seems to have been lifted from someone else, there seems to be little if any understanding of what you’ve written.

            On the other hand, I have supplied links to specific studies on the topic, I post here under my own name, and my credentials are verifiable.

            Normally I wouldn’t take the time to get involved with a meaningless internet slapfight like this, but the layperson’s understanding of the dangers of inhaled and ingested radiation is not typically developed (as well noted in this thread) so I’m willing to slog it out for a while to perhaps counter some of the disinformation.

          • Moral Dolphin says:

            Strange that, I realised a primary standard for Am-241 in 1994.

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            Here is a reference to alpha sources measured some distance from the plant.

            http://enenews.com/watch-alpha-radiation-detected-50km-south-of-fukushima-in-iwaki-city-up-to-1000-times-more-dangerous-than-beta-or-gamma-equivalent-video

            Remember that pure alpha emitters can not be detected by conventional Geiger Counters, and the only way you will know that are there is to get the specific sample that has an alpha source in it, then check it with fairly specialized scintillation equipment or similar.

            Again, your statement that “alpha emitters are not a credible threat” is not supported by the reference you supplied and the news report I supplied above suggests that they have in fact left the core and entered the environment and food chain.

  20. Moral Dolphin says:

    Please, if you wish to remonstrate anything I have said on a scientific basis do so…

    I really dont wish to waste my time on admitted emotional hyperbole, thats Brian’s chosen career.

    Just make it so I can read your posts and not have to sift through mountains of additional text.

    Quote what you think is a mistake (scientific). I am uninterested in the cajoling.

    If your text goes off your initial post and my response I wont reply to that point until you repost it after your emotional hyperbole post and my response has been cleared.

    It would be quickly cleared up.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      Moral Dolphin, I’ll quote what you wrote and then follow each of your quotes with my response.

      >>>>> “Yes, the environmentally detected levels of particle radiation emission from the sea water or biota do not elevate your annual doses (ingested or otherwise) Its negligible.”

      This is deceptive. While the radiation from an alpha or beta emitter outside of the body is relatively harmless, If even a microgram amount alpha or beta emitter is inhaled or ingested from that seawater or “biota”, it WILL elevate the victims radiation dosage, sometimes so significantly that the victim will die. The LD50 of Polonium, for instance, is measured in micrograms, it is 250,000 times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. That is not hyperbole, it’s fact.

      Suggesting that these sources have a “negligible” danger to people is — as far as I know — not supported outside of your opinion.

      >>>>> “Our entire environment has a large load of radionuclides and we evolved in that environment. ”

      Deceptive. There is no known biological function for most radionuclides., and adding radionuclides to the environment (i.e. through nuclear disasters or tests) adds to the natural background of radiation and sources., which necessarily increases our exposure beyond the naturally-occuring amount.

      >>>>> “The load of alpha emitting nuclides in the environment (ingested or inhaled, external contamination and electromagnetic exposure) hasnt changed at the USA pacific coast.”

      This seems to be your opinion only. As far as I know there is no functional study that supports this assumption. Increased radiation has been measured in the USA Pacific Coast. If you have a specific reputable study with supports your claim of no change in loading, please supply it, otherwise perhaps you shouldn’t spread disinformation.

      >>>>> “(and well within the expected exposure of day to day increases in the next generations due to perfectly acceptable practices).”

      Deceptive. Again, there is no issue of exposure to radiation. The problem is when emitters of radiation are ingested or inhaled.

      >>>>> “… accepted by the above commenter that the environmental load has changed so little that there is no risk (his point 2). The addition of this point clearly indicates that someone is having an argument with himself.”

      Again, incorrect. This is not what I claimed. I wrote that the danger of absorbing radiation from external sources far from Fukushima is insignificant. There is however an unknown, and possibly considerable danger from ingesting or inhaling particulate that carries radiation emitters.

      >>>>> “People live, surf and fish in the fukushima region without elevating their annual levels of dose and intake.”

      Again, this seems to be opinion and I would be surprised to see a reputable study which supports your opinion. I provided a link to a study from a Japanese professor which directly counters your ability to claim no elevated intake of radiation and sources assuming a natural uptake of water and radiation from the surrounding water, air and land for those people.

  21. Moral Dolphin says:

    Its a pity the kittens get away so quickly and lightly. A similarly claimed contributor on the Nuclear energy forum (The sky is falling folks!) immediately cut and ran.

    To al those who would misuse the word pyrrhic victory, I advise that you should review a bit of Roman history.

    It appears easier than learning the simplest physics.

  22. Moral Dolphin says:

    Mike I’ll quote what you wrote and then follow each of your quotes with my response. Point post per comment.

    >>>>> “Yes, the environmentally detected levels of particle radiation emission from the sea water or biota do not elevate your annual doses (ingested or otherwise) Its negligible.”

    MMMMMMMMM This is deceptive. While the radiation from an alpha or beta emitter outside of the body is relatively harmless, If even a microgram amount alpha or beta emitter is inhaled or ingested from that seawater or “biota”, it WILL elevate the victims radiation dosage, sometimes so significantly that the victim will die. The LD50 of Polonium, for instance, is measured in micrograms, it is 250,000 times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. That is not hyperbole, it’s fact.

    comment, who is getting microgram concentrations of high specific activity α emitting nuclides as mixed FP or decayed daughters?

    MMMMMMMMMMSuggesting that these sources have a “negligible” danger to people is — as far as I know — not supported outside of your opinion.

    Comment, No, your unsupported view as indicated by my first comment. You just made a grab of μg of α emitters without reference to activity concentration.

    Thats a radiation physics fail. You have now moved away from standards lab and health physics cred.

    So you arent one of those “physicists”. The quotation marks remain. Your ability to derive as a physicist involved in radiation physics is now in question.

    • Moral Dolphin says:

      >>>>> “Our entire environment has a large load of radionuclides and we evolved in that environment. ”

      MMMMMMMMM Deceptive. There is no known biological function for most radionuclides., and adding radionuclides to the environment (i.e. through nuclear disasters or tests) adds to the natural background of radiation and sources., which necessarily increases our exposure beyond the naturally-occuring amount.

      Comment
      Patent chemistry fail. Sorry had you picked up a nice degree in inorganic chemistry on your way to the calibration room you’d be aghast at that comment you just made.

      Thorium and uranium (for a start) are comfortably ingested/inhaled handling common modern situations. Maybe you should examin a bag of concrete or a brick on your γ-spec.

      Secondly, your entire environment and food chain is filled with ingestable and inhalable radionuclides.

      Patently, you have never set up an environmental detector to detect the γ- relaxation energies from current commodites such as “biologically active” food stuffs and derived routines or protocols to discriminate between these and excessive radiation loads indicating an incident such as misplaced building guages etc.

      Your “physicist” cred in the field has diasappeared and is now on the way of you changing your avatar on skeptoid so your employer doesnt recognise you for being a bit impertinent when it comes to your view and real science.

      The quotation marks remain around “professional” and I have now removed your tag as physicist in the field.

      • Mike Wofsey says:

        My comments follow yours ….

        >>> Patent chemistry fail. Sorry had you picked up a nice degree in inorganic chemistry on your way to the calibration room you’d be aghast at that comment you just made.

        Unsubstantiated and nonspecific. If you can’t specifically state your disagreement, then please do not waste the bandwidth.

        >>> Thorium and uranium (for a start) are comfortably ingested/inhaled handling common modern situations. Maybe you should examin a bag of concrete or a brick on your γ-spec.

        That’s off-topic. You may have a claim that they are relatively harmless in certain isotopes and concentrations, but that isn’t the same as having a biological role in the body.

        >> Secondly, your entire environment and food chain is filled with ingestable and inhalable radionuclides.

        No argument, they are naturally (usually) well below the LD50, so far below that they usually present no immediate threat. Your comment doesn’t apply to what I wrote.

        >>> Patently, you have never set up an environmental detector to detect the γ- relaxation energies from current commodites such as “biologically active” food stuffs and derived routines or protocols to discriminate between these and excessive radiation loads indicating an incident such as misplaced building guages etc.

        Doesn’t relate to the topic of Fukushima pollution.

        >>> Your “physicist” cred in the field has diasappeared and is now on the way of you changing your avatar on skeptoid so your employer doesnt recognise you for being a bit impertinent when it comes to your view and real science.

        This is your opinion, and it’s invalid, given your apparently lack of knowledge on the subject at hand.

        >>> The quotation marks remain around “professional” and I have now removed your tag as physicist in the field.

        I don’t care, this is off topic.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      Moral Dolphin, my comments follow yours …

      >>> comment, who is getting microgram concentrations of high specific activity α emitting nuclides as mixed FP or decayed daughters?

      We know that there has been mass transport from Fukushima since we can detect the radiation signatures. If there has been mass transport then we have to accept the possibility of micron and submicron sinters and particulate entering the food-chain and the air. Who — if anyone — is specifically inhaling them, or ingesting them? Maybe nobody, maybe somebody. Maybe ten, maybe hundreds, maybe zero. But I can’t take the position of the author of this blog and claim that the danger is nonexistent.

      >>> Comment, No, your unsupported view as indicated by my first comment. You just made a grab of μg of α emitters without reference to activity concentration.

      We err on the side of the safety when it comes to public safety. We know that there has been mass transport and that the possibility of submicron (and possibly) micron particulates that carry contamination from alpha and beta emitters can possibly enter the air and food-chain. My knowledge that this has specifically happened might be supported by the thyroid study, or maybe not, however my view is not unsupported. In fact it is your view that there is no increase in radiation loading that is unsupported and contrary to measurement.

      >>> Thats a radiation physics fail. You have now moved away from standards lab and health physics cred.

      Why? Please be specific.

      >>> So you arent one of those “physicists”. The quotation marks remain. Your ability to derive as a physicist involved in radiation physics is now in question.

      Your ability to question my skills does nothing to reinforce your own. So far I have seen several obvious errors in what you have written.

      • Moral Dolphin says:

        Sorry Mike, your start to this indicates you havent absorbed any of the terms that are required for anyone who claims to be any sort of radiation physicist.

        You have started talking about drivel when I have mentioned real defined terms.

        Do you want me to answer these and embarrass you further?

        If so, I hope this isnt your real name and your employer doesnt know your stage name.

        If you dont undertand fundamental terms in physics, I would get a new job..

        So, post Yes, I wish to be embarrassed even further

        or no, I was posting emotional hyperbole unrelated to science..

        • Mike Wofsey says:

          My comments follow yours …

          >>> Sorry Mike, your start to this indicates you havent absorbed any of the terms that are required for anyone who claims to be any sort of radiation physicist.

          I didn’t claim to be a radiation physicist. You either made that up to deliberately lie or you’ve not read carefully enough.

          I’m an ordinary physicist. A radiation physicist is a specific type of physicist.

          >>> You have started talking about drivel when I have mentioned real defined terms.

          Off topic, please be specific.

          >>> Do you want me to answer these and embarrass you further?

          It’s your opinion that you’ve embarrassed me at all, not one with which I agree.

          >>> If so, I hope this isnt your real name and your employer doesnt know your stage name.

          It’s my real name.

          Given that you have so far not used your real name you bring zero credence to the discussion. You have so far only proven yourself effective at writing the same kind of pseudo science which the author of this blog claims to abhor.

          >>> If you dont undertand fundamental terms in physics, I would get a new job..

          >> So, post Yes, I wish to be embarrassed even further

          >>> or no, I was posting emotional hyperbole unrelated to science..

          The three paragraphs above are unrelated to your contention that the products from the Fukushima disaster are relatively harmless.

          • Moral Dolphin says:

            Ok.. just on your first..
            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            I didn’t claim to be a radiation physicist. You either made that up to deliberately lie or you’ve not read carefully enough.

            I’m an ordinary physicist. A radiation physicist is a specific type of physicist.

            >>> You have started talking about drivel when I have mentioned real defined terms.

            Off topic, please be specific
            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            Mike, you are talking absolute drivel to a radiation physicist who has had a thirty year career in the field in radiopharmaceuticals, radio-isotope generation methodology, custom reactor irradiation, radiation standards (activity and dose), carbon dating and transport radiation discrimination.

            Return to your normal yobbo off the street commenting mode. Claiming to be any sort of physicist with any comment other than hyperbole has been profoundly embarrassing to you and your career should your employer read our exchange.

            Geez you have a cruisy job. If its a university I can offer lecturing, post grad support and post grad review to Masters and PhD. I’m retired but its important that some block of students in your country are ready for a nuclear industry.

            I’ll arrange a reasonable package with fares etc and super through my additional 10% manager (Mr Brian Dunning).

            He doesnt work for free either! Ask his detractors!

            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            Next!

            (note Mike, not next?)

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            My comments follow yours …

            >>> Mike, you are talking absolute drivel to a radiation physicist who has had a thirty year career in the field in radiopharmaceuticals, radio-isotope generation methodology, custom reactor irradiation, radiation standards (activity and dose), carbon dating and transport radiation discrimination.

            I’m not interested in credentials that can’t be specifically tied to a non-anonymous person. You’ve replied to this blog with several errors.

            I’ve asked you to explain the mistakes you keep claiming in what I’ve written, and so far I’ve not seen any.

            >>>> Return to your normal yobbo off the street commenting mode. Claiming to be any sort of physicist with any comment other than hyperbole has been profoundly embarrassing to you and your career should your employer read our exchange.

            Random insults, these have no relation to the topic of the potential health risks from Fukushima.

            >>> Geez you have a cruisy job. If its a university I can offer lecturing, post grad support and post grad review to Masters and PhD. I’m retired but its important that some block of students in your country are ready for a nuclear industry.

            Off-topic, no direct relation to the question of this blog.

            >> I’ll arrange a reasonable package with fares etc and super through my additional 10% manager (Mr Brian Dunning).
            >> He doesnt work for free either! Ask his detractors!
            >> Next!

            I’m not too interested in your employment situation in Australia or New Zealand. The open question here is about the potential health effects from Fukushima.

  23. Moral Dolphin says:

    >>>>> “The load of alpha emitting nuclides in the environment (ingested or inhaled, external contamination and electromagnetic exposure) hasnt changed at the USA pacific coast.”

    MMMMMMMMMM This seems to be your opinion only. As far as I know there is no functional study that supports this assumption. Increased radiation has been measured in the USA Pacific Coast. If you have a specific reputable study with supports your claim of no change in loading, please supply it, otherwise perhaps you shouldn’t spread disinformation.

    Comment

    I am getting a bit jaded having to lecture over the internet..

    Mike, what is the extra dose and exposure due to external exposure ingestion/inhalation on the USA cost due to increased fukushima FP load exists over the current exposures that can and have been measured prior to the incident.

    Rather than question begging your experience, you can do the experiment. Youve claimed to have access to radiation detection equipment; why dont you get ahold of a clapped out old NaI(Tl) detector an power supply, amp, MCA and SCA.

    Measure your unshielded spectrum wrt to your normal BG (U/Th and daughters). Convert your gamma count rates to calibrate your doses to U/Th (etc) and then ask your buddies over on the west coast what their results prior and post fukushima are..and after. What are the radioconcentrations in the water/atmosphere since and how does that fit with your hyperbole of the past few days?

    If you think that you are getting a percentile over your background or an increase within your allowable limits as a member of the public, write a paper.

    But dont panic, the folks in planes, on the beach at any zircon rich beach, near ore bodies etc will get just a bit resentful of particulating soils, building materials and localised coal plant flue emissions.. and those now enjoying fly ash products in their walls roads and floors/ceilings.

    Its clear you havent thought about it.

    thats three out of three so far Mike..

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      My comments follow yours …

      >>> Mike, what is the extra dose and exposure due to external exposure ingestion/inhalation on the USA cost due to increased fukushima FP load exists over the current exposures that can and have been measured prior to the incident.

      I never claimed to know this, I specifically wrote that we don’t have the specifics yet and probably won’t for some time.

      The onus of proof is on you to support your statement that the West Cost of the USA is not without danger from Fukushima, since there are indicators of mass transport from Fukushima.

      >>>> Rather than question begging your experience, you can do the experiment. Youve claimed to have access to radiation detection equipment; why dont you get ahold of a clapped out old NaI(Tl) detector an power supply, amp, MCA and SCA.

      >>>> Measure your unshielded spectrum wrt to your normal BG (U/Th and daughters). Convert your gamma count rates to calibrate your doses to U/Th (etc) and then ask your buddies over on the west coast what their results prior and post fukushima are..and after. What are the radioconcentrations in the water/atmosphere since and how does that fit with your hyperbole of the past few days?

      You already wrote on this thread that you accept that mass transport has taken place, so even if I were so inclined to take measurements, they are no longer necessary for the purposes of this debate with you.

      >>> If you think that you are getting a percentile over your background or an increase within your allowable limits as a member of the public, write a paper.

      I don’t work in this area, and apparently neither do you because if you did you would understand the difficulty of taking measurements as you suggest with a nearly impossible calibration to a floating baseline and the fact that I don’t have the ability to go backwards in time to pre-Fukushima.

      >>> But dont panic, the folks in planes, on the beach at any zircon rich beach, near ore bodies etc will get just a bit resentful of particulating soils, building materials and localised coal plant flue emissions.. and those now enjoying fly ash products in their walls roads and floors/ceilings.

      >>> Its clear you havent thought about it.

      >>> thats three out of three so far Mike..

      The three paragraphs above are off topic and have nothing to do with the supposition of this blog that there is relatively no danger from the Fukushima disaster.

  24. Moral Dolphin says:

    Mike, had you only attended friday controversy corner in the tea room when happy Henk wasnt goaded into Cranky Henk by folks who just cant derive it in their heads and on paper rather than resorting to their calculators and fumble bias..

    Lets face it, yer no field goal kicker on this one..
    Youve been deleted as any desirable physics running back at this stage…I love the football analogies…

    OK, lets continue..

    >>>>> “(and well within the expected exposure of day to day increases in the next generations due to perfectly acceptable practices).”

    MMMMMMMM Deceptive. Again, there is no issue of exposure to radiation. The problem is when emitters of radiation are ingested or inhaled.

    Comment,

    What a load of ignorant BS Mike. The issue is of total exposure, whole body dose etc etc.
    What you are exposed to by any pathway and by what emission weighting by any source and residence counts towards everybodies acceptable dose.

    Its why people like me all over the world contributed environmental measurements during their standards careers.

    By the way, have you worked out how much dose you get from radon? Ask your cigareete smoking friends if they have asked the same about U/Th and daughters.

    >>>>> “… accepted by the above commenter that the environmental load has changed so little that there is no risk (his point 2). The addition of this point clearly indicates that someone is having an argument with himself.”

    MMMMMMMMMM Again, incorrect. This is not what I claimed. I wrote that the danger of absorbing radiation from external sources far from Fukushima is insignificant. There is however an unknown, and possibly considerable danger from ingesting or inhaling particulate that carries radiation emitters.

    Comment
    Kick holders dont scramble much Mike. Thanx for the attempt but lets just look at the dose contributions you insist on examining.

    What is the increase in reactor and fuel rod (held/stored), enriched fuels FP nuclides that you now expect even if you dont do the above experiments.

    You have the α-detection set up.. surely you have an idea that activity and hence total exposure estimates from all sources should have increased.

    Mike the blog post has given you the numbers that you may think are profound underestimates (given your vehement hyperbole) do the calcs!! They arent that hard!

    You have no data but claim a lot and you havent the experience to make those claims let alone the profound alarmist gargle over the past three days.

    Profession downgrade in radiation physics to….
    Roughed kick holder and disputed technician that once met a physicist in real person

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      My comments follow yours …

      >>>> Mike, had you only attended friday controversy corner in the tea room when happy Henk wasnt goaded into Cranky Henk by folks who just cant derive it in their heads and on paper rather than resorting to their calculators and fumble bias..

      I have no interest in your other conversations, they are off topic and not relevant to the opinion of this blog that the public has little or no danger from the Fukushima disaster.

      >>>> Lets face it, yer no field goal kicker on this one..
      Youve been deleted as any desirable physics running back at this stage…I love the football analogies…

      >> OK, lets continue..

      More off-topic.

      >>> What a load of ignorant BS Mike. The issue is of total exposure, whole body dose etc etc. What you are exposed to by any pathway and by what emission weighting by any source and residence counts towards everybodies acceptable dose.

      This in incorrect and reflects an amateurish understanding of ingested and inhaled radiation sources. The radiation flux per given tissue area is critical. The reason alpha sources are so toxic inside the body is partly because the the radiation is so readily absorbed leading to intense damage to receiving tissue. The total radiative dose of a microgram alpha emitter, if spread over the entire body would be harmless. Alpha is dangerous inside the body specifically for the reason that it is harmless outside the body, because the energy is absorbed readily on the surface with little volume dilution.

      >>> Its why people like me all over the world contributed environmental measurements during their standards careers.

      Vague statement. “Environmental measurements” could include the temperature of water or heat flow on a summer day. If you have experience in working with alpha emitters, please be specific.

      >>> By the way, have you worked out how much dose you get from radon? Ask your cigareete smoking friends if they have asked the same about U/Th and daughters.

      Inhaled alpha emitters from cigarette smoke are known to be a major health risk. Using the false-equivalency of cigarette smoke for a nuclear plant disaster serves no purpose in supporting the contention of this blog that the public is under little or no threat from Fukushima.

      >>> Kick holders dont scramble much Mike. Thanx for the attempt but lets just look at the dose contributions you insist on examining.

      >>>> What is the increase in reactor and fuel rod (held/stored), enriched fuels FP nuclides that you now expect even if you dont do the above experiments.

      >>>> You have the α-detection set up.. surely you have an idea that activity and hence total exposure estimates from all sources should have increased.

      Again, distraction. You’ve already accepted mass transport from Fukushima. The onus of proof is on you to support your contention that the public is under little or no threat from the disaster at Fukushima.

      >>>> Mike the blog post has given you the numbers that you may think are profound underestimates (given your vehement hyperbole) do the calcs!! They arent that hard!

      >>> You have no data but claim a lot and you havent the experience to make those claims let alone the profound alarmist gargle over the past three days.

      I provided a link to a peer-reviewed dataset measured in Japan that shows radiation loading in the water. You’ve accepted mass transport. I have no need or desire to take measurements, I don’t work in this area, nor do you apparently.

      >>> Profession downgrade in radiation physics to….
      Roughed kick holder and disputed technician that once met a physicist in real person

      Off topic and not productive to support your contention.

      • Moral Dolphin says:

        Mike, what do you actually know about the subject?

        Ive asked to concentrate on that.

        Your not doing to well against your claims and prose. Can we just zero in on something you can contribute as a professional?

        You are claiming to be a professional (ie a physicist with a degree).

        • Moral Dolphin says:

          (in physics)

        • Mike Wofsey says:

          >> Mike, what do you actually know about the subject?
          >> Ive asked to concentrate on that.
          >> Your not doing to well against your claims and prose. Can we just zero in on something you can contribute as a professional?
          >> You are claiming to be a professional (ie a physicist with a degree).

          It seems the only contribution I can make in this area is to correct the mistakes I’ve seen in this blog.

          As I wrote, I’m not a radiation physicist, but I’ve worked with radiation, I understand enough about the risks to know that the blog that Mr. Rothschild has written here is dramatically incomplete, and that you have made errors in defending it, which I have pointed out.

          What I can or have contributed to this area of research doesn’t apply to the open question of this blog.

  25. Moral Dolphin says:

    >>>>> “People live, surf and fish in the fukushima region without elevating their annual levels of dose and intake.”

    MMMMMMMM Again, this seems to be opinion and I would be surprised to see a reputable study which supports your opinion. I provided a link to a study from a Japanese professor which directly counters your ability to claim no elevated intake of radiation and sources assuming a natural uptake of water and radiation from the surrounding water, air and land for those people.

    Comment

    Now for the coup de grace

    People surf, fish and live in the fukushima region. They arent happy about it (painfully pbvious point)

    Down grade.. maybe only a surfer of fisherman would notice these things.

    Amasingly, bods like me do their environmental measurements in the region. They are happy to get a great gig like that. I am very jealous of them.

    Mike, you wouldnt get a gig in the fukushima region. The japanese public have a thing about people who walk around with their heads firmly jammed up their arses in ignorant posturing.

    But the point being, with your head where it is, you wouldnt notice the surfers, the fishermen and the folk around you in the western world when it came to radiation physics and protection..

    At least your head is warm in winter..

    Yer no surfer or fisherman either.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      >>> People surf, fish and live in the fukushima region. They arent happy about it (painfully pbvious point)

      >>> Down grade.. maybe only a surfer of fisherman would notice these things.

      >>> Amasingly, bods like me do their environmental measurements in the region. They are happy to get a great gig like that. I am very jealous of them.

      The three paragraphs above are nonsensical, and have nothing to do with support of the assumption that the public has little to be concerned from the Fukushima disaster.

      >>> Mike, you wouldnt get a gig in the fukushima region. The japanese public have a thing about people who walk around with their heads firmly jammed up their arses in ignorant posturing.

      Amateurish insult, off-topic. Waste of bandwidth.

      >>> But the point being, with your head where it is, you wouldnt notice the surfers, the fishermen and the folk around you in the western world when it came to radiation physics and protection..

      >>> At least your head is warm in winter..

      >>> Yer no surfer or fisherman either.

      The above three paragraphs are as off-topic as the rest.

  26. Moral Dolphin says:

    I take it your employer isnt reading this…

    He’ll only have to look up “Henk” fro a better consultant…

  27. Moral Dolphin says:

    Should I get a blogger status on Skeptoid blogs even if I have this irritating personality disorder?

    I’ll submit my cred rather than my perceived personality disorder when it comes to “authority”.

    I’d have to thank Bart Erhman for that classic put down..

    Over to you Mr 10%….

  28. Mike – I’m not a scientist. I don’t even play one on TV. But the fact is that most people aren’t scientists, and have little or no background in complex concepts in nuclear physics. So they read something like what Gary Stamper wrote and believe it, because it sounds both bad and authoritative – in spite of Stamper being completely wrong about much of what he claims, and backing his claims up with dubious information from biased sources. And they skip more nuanced, scientifically accurate pieces because they’re too long and complicated. This doesn’t make people stupid, it makes them non-scientists. Which, again, is *almost everyone*.

    I wrote this piece to debunk what Stamper wrote, and to attempt some kind of balance to the hysterical, we’re-all-gonna-die nonsense going around. And I wanted to make it simple, direct and narrative, not loaded down with intimidating jargon and technical terms. Because I knew nobody would read it if it were.

    Do you think it’s proper for people to make decisions based on fear and bad information? Do you think it’s right for people to be afraid of things they don’t need to be afraid of? I certainly don’t.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      @Mike Rothschild,

      I never read the Stamper blog on which you’re commenting, but if it’s like other hysterical nonsense I’ve read on the subject then I get why you felt compelled to write back on it. You did a functional job of researching your piece. The problem I see is that in working to discredit the hysteria you moved to the side where the nuclear industry claims all is going to be just swell and you endorsed the general harmlessness of the event.

      You spent most of your article discounting the threat of relatively low-intensity radiation that most anyone with some level of professional experience would also discount, but you ignore the real threat of inhaling and ingesting radiation sources.

      There is some evidence that this may be a real problem, both from measurement and possibly some medical statistics. Generally though, we don’t seem to know how much of a threat this may or may not be, so the proper thing to in public health is to be cautious based on our existing knowledge of particle transport and damage due to inhaled and ingested alpha sources.

      I understand that you need to make your opinion interesting, but if you can’t make it accurate too, then why bother? Your article is well-written and seems to be an actual piece of authority on the subject, not a response to hysteria. You can write scientifically-complete articles that are just as interesting and nuanced as the misinformation and pseudo science you want to combat.

      To your question … I think people should make decisions based on reality, when possible, and not “fear and bad information.” Misinformation (and in the case of one person here, disinformation) is the enemy too. 40 to 70 years ago, people were exposed to high dosages of radiation and told it was harmless. (In one case a company even added radioactive material to drinking water and claimed health benefits.) History is full of cases like this, from ancient Romans eating lead to housewives smoking a pack of cigarettes a day to commercially-driven “journalism” that disregards the potential issues of nuclear waste in armaments to PCB dumps.

      Any decent journalist doesn’t want to be part of the problem.

      Here’s the reality Mike … neither you nor I have the necessary data to know if people should be afraid of Fukushima or not, regardless that you claim “they don’t need to be afraid” of Fukushima emissions. We should all be educated of the potential risks, like smoking a pack of cigarettes. Once we know, if we decide to continue, then we’ve done it with some knowledge of the possible danger. Many people smoke their entire lives and grow old, other choose not to smoke and get lung cancer anyway. I still eat fish from the Pacific because I’m willing to trade my enjoyment of Pacific fish for the chance of accidentally ingesting something that was washed out of the Fukushima cores.

      But I don’t need to lie to myself and say that there is no danger. I’ve worked with small amounts of alpha sources, I know there is a danger. I know just enough of the process of alpha source poisoning that I would rather be eaten by a pack of wild animals than die of alpha poisoning.

  29. DragonLady says:

    Geez, I must read things more closely. My impression was that the Stamper thing was the backstory for a new Godzilla film.

    • Aldo says:

      Currently on a beach in the middle of the pacific and enjoyed an hour reading the original post and comment thread.
      Must agree with wofsey 100% and appreciate his continued effort at keeping the debate going vs what “mr ugly fish” had to relentlessly contribute- trash talking demeaning waste of time dribble! If he was in beach next to me- I’d slap him for for being a prick!

      • Moral Dolphin says:

        Thanx Aldo, Have I conributed to the analysis of soils on that island?

        Wofsey has been on the defensive for being called out on his lack of undersdanding of the matter and making some pretty grandiose claims.

        By the way, you can dream of sunning on a beach with men but I am not that way inclined. You’ll have to find someone else to idle your psychosexual notions with.

  30. Moral Dolphin says:

    Mike, check your google+ status, I have added you (i think) so we can make this a learning experience.

  31. Moral Dolphin says:

    Note that the IAEA has a number of releases on the matter (easily found)

    This is an example ( http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/fukushima/seafoodsafety0511.pdf )

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      Thanks for the reference to that IAEA release, you might want to read these things before you post them if you’re trying to make a point of of disagreeing with me. This one in particular agrees with what I’ve written in response to this blog, that the short-lived non-ingested isotopes aren’t a major concern, but the long-lived, ingested and accumulated isotopes need to be monitored to keep people safe:

      “Some marine organisms can accumulate radioactive material (by a factor of 10 to several
      thousands, according to the types of radionuclides and the species considered) and
      radiological monitoring programs will be important in order to ensure a high level of consumer health protection.”

  32. Moral Dolphin says:

    There is plenty of info to google from reliable press, regulatory organisations and online journals (eg http://www.pnas.org/content/109/16/5984.full.pdf+html ). These deal extensively with the traceable and threat nuclides.

    The alpha sources claimed above arent a credible threat.

    For long term effects on oceanic and transport to nearby countries, the Windscale incident has plenty of retrospectives..

    Ill post a fairly good example abstract

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15926535

    Note, the typo “270Pb” escaped the review.

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      Another good reference, thank you for linking to it. As noted previously, the researchers suggest that the easy-to-measure isotopes of Cs have not shown to present a major threat. However they write that the threat of the kind of toxic emitters I have been mentioning have “yet to be assessed.”

      Here is a quote from the paper …

      However, the salt and fresh water used to cool the Fukushima NPPs and acidic conditions in the core provide possible pathways to mobilize refractory radionuclides from the core that may have subsequently been discharged to the ocean but have yet to be assessed. Ultimately, though the radionuclide levels of 137Cs and 134Cs offshore are currently low with respect to human health effects, any assessment of radiation dose should also consider long-term exposure if the NPP remains a continued source of radionuclides (5) and if, as has been reported, coastal sediments are contaminated with multiple radionuclides.

      It should be noted that they did not study the potential danger of biocaccumulated alpha sources, and that your statement above that “The alpha sources claimed above arent (sic) a credible threat.” is not supported by the reference you supplied.

  33. Mike Wofsey says:

    In regards to the claim that “alpha emitters are not a credible threat” … news reports of Alpha sources detected some distance from the site,

    http://enenews.com/watch-alpha-radiation-detected-50km-south-of-fukushima-in-iwaki-city-up-to-1000-times-more-dangerous-than-beta-or-gamma-equivalent-video

    And it’s important to note that pure alpha emitters can’t be detected by conventional Geiger Counters, you have to get the right sample and detect it with specialized scintillation (or similar) equipment.

    The reason a relatively small amount of radiation from an ingested or inhaled alpha source can be so toxic compared to relatively large background radiation sources is because of the source doesn’t dilute its energy over a large volume. I can safely drink a hot mug of coffee, but if I concentrate that same heat energy of the coffee into a single ball bearing and then ingest it, there will be enough concentrated energy to burn right through me.

    Any argument that discounts the concern of concentrated alpha emitters based on total measured radiation and compares it to background radiation is making the same kind of argument. Again, we know that there is no serious danger from low-levels of gamma and beta radiation. The danger is in concentrated alpha emitting sources, which HAVE been measured and have been shown to escape the site, enter the environment and possibly the food chain. Dilution doesn’t have the same effect on these kind of contaminants as it does on the measured Cesium isotopes.

    And again … this may be a significant threat, or it may be no threat at all. 99.99% of Pacific fish may be safe to eat, or possibly some percentage lower than that. The concern is that we don’t know yet, and given the measured health effects from past nuclear accidents, it’s impossible to argue that due caution isn’t warranted.

  34. Dr Bob says:

    I think its important to listen to different sources and then making up our own mind.
    Lets hope they are wrong but when dealing with safety one should work always from a worst case scenario in mind.

    Can we trust the people with money vested in these industries…

    I dont think so and they have proved that time over time.

    Michio Kaku have a great video about this catastrophe on youtube – I trust Michio

  35. Styx says:

    Yes, good goy, listen to someone with “Rothschild” as their last name.

  36. Anonymous says:

    As an atheist, I find myself questioning many things after reading these comments. I now hope there is an ambivalent God or Goddess who will protect us from people like “Moral Dolphin” if he represents in ANY WAY the intelligence and maturity level of those in charge of educating people about and assessing/overseeing our nuclear programs. If this guy has ANY actual credibility, (doubtful) I’m afraid it will do the rest of us NO GOOD as he is completely unwilling to share any actual discourse with us and acts like a 12 year old. My guess is; shill of the nuclear industry. Mike, your voice is heard, and your stoic discussion in the face of childish remarks is commendable. I thank you.

  37. Moral Dolphin says:

    so where did you think I was being cruel to the guy who was a panic merchant?

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      Black is white, up is down, and someone who suggests caution in the face of 300 tons per day of radioactive water being injected into the ocean is labeled a “panic merchant” by a person apparently unable to engage in rational discussion.

  38. Chris Bonner says:

    Moral Dolphin,

    I’d be hard-pressed to find a post of yours on this page that wasn’t dripping with smug condescension. I don’t have the background to properly assess Mike Wofsey’s claims, but to call him a “panic-monger” is clearly a gross mischaracterization. It seems like your belief in your own correctness(and thus righteousness) grants you a license to be a haughty ass to those who you consider wrong(and thus wicked.)

    • B Fargas says:

      +1. I’m not a physicist, but I do know a little something about manners, logic and fallacies, and it looks to me like Mike is not reciprocating your snide disrespect, is resisting your attempts to derail from topic (chiefly via straw men and ad hominems), and basically tearing your arguments, such as they are, apart. I have no idea why you’re so invested in an argument where you’re so clearly outmatched.

      You’re embarrassing yourself, I’d go ahead and either give up or try a new tack (though I’m skeptical of the odds of this latter approach being in any way effective).

  39. Anonymous says:

    Great job Mike Wofsey!

  40. Moral Dolphin says:

    Pity he isnt a physicist though..

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      I have a Ph.D. in applied physics from the University of Alabama.

      This doesn’t make my opinion correct, but I have experience working with radiation sources, and I understand some of the basic physical mechanisms of transport and particulate fate.

      Again, the threat from Fukushima can’t just be dismissed.

      • Chris Bonner says:

        I agree that a realistic assessment of the threat would serve us all best.

        Right now I think that Fukushima is almost universally presented as a far greater catastrophe and danger than it was/is. I really hate that the Fukushima incident is being used as a pretext to shut down nuclear power power plants in Germany, Japan and elsewhere.

        I think that eliminating large-scale sources of carbon-free energy generation with no clear alternative will do more damage to our environment over the long term than Fukushima did.

        • Mike Wofsey says:

          You seem to have two things wrong here … Germany started shuttering their nuclear plants long before Fukushima, and even after Fukushima, Japan and Asia are still committed to nuclear power.

          Nuclear power is a dying energy source for one reason above all others … these Black Swan events like Fukushima and Chernobyl continue to happen about once per decade, and it’s getting more and more expensive now that competing energy is getting cheaper and now that weapon’s grade material is no longer a profitable coproduct of nuclear energy production.

          We are not eliminating nuclear power as you seem to suggest, our existing nuclear plants are getting older and the free market doesn’t want to replace them because nuclear energy is more expensive than hydro, natural gas and wind.

        • Mike Wofsey says:

          As an aside though Chris, I do like your willingness to examine both sides of this. You’re right that we need to be careful not to overreact, but please remember, Fukushima is still spilling 400 tons of irradiated water per day. The scale of that is hard to really grasp.

          • Dave says:

            Mike Wofsey, I’ve followed the comments on here just recently and am hoping you’re still active on this thread. I came across some studies and would like your opinion on them.since the technical aspects of how radiation works is foreign to me, I’m hoping you can help decipher the data based on the issue of certain alpha emitters as stated above in a logical way.

            http://m.pnas.org/content/110/26/10670.full.pdf

            Thanks,
            Dave

          • Mike Wofsey says:

            Hi Dave, I’m happy to look at your question. Scintillation and alpha measurement isn’t my area of expertise, but I used to work in it a bit, so I’ll give it a try.

            @Naila … thank you so much for your kind words, I have enjoyed this thread because it reminds me how so many people like you will patiently wait for results to develop. That’s unfortunately rare sometimes, we all want to know what we want to know now, when we want to know it, but the truth often seems to have its own schedule.

            Twenty years ago when I first became aware of the work of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, I wouldn’t have guessed that by 2014 we would live in a world where nuclear power would find a hard time competing with renewable energy. But that’s what happened, and regardless the relative safety of a well-functioning nuclear plant or the danger of a damaged nuclear plant, I think it’s exciting to live in a world where we see wind, water and photovoltaic gradually adding to our energy budgets. Twenty years ago the question was “how can we make free energy?” Today, the question is “how can we use energy more efficiently.” Regardless someone’s politics, that’s a mature, developed view, and it encourages me.

    • Doug Smith says:

      It’s amazing. You continue on like a pundit on Fox News. Its clear to everyone who’s read your drivel that Mike Wofsey OWNED you for the entire debate. Go back to your job at the reactor.

  41. ladyatheist says:

    Thank you for going through this article so thoroughly. I wish telling lies on the internet were illegal.

  42. Victoroni says:

    Wow that was rather painful to read, (comments not the article).
    I commend you mike wofesy for attempting to argue so long with that bigoted dolphin guy.
    It is clear, that while the scaremongering claims made by many must be subject to reasonable suspicion, we cannot afford to dismiss this as a harmless situation.
    The world will have to live with these consequences for many years to come, in my opinion with the furthering efficiency of clean energy, the cost and dangers of running nuclear plants such as this are not worth the risk. If only something could be done about the industrial titans tha control our government.
    See: banking, food, and medical industries

  43. Harry says:

    I dare anyone who thinks radiated fish and oceanlife/water is ok go eat it yourself and god help you and your children.
    10 HIROSHIMA BOMBS PER HOUR ~ULTIMATE CATASTROPHE UNFOLDING

    THE BEGINNING OF THE GREATEST CATASTROPHE OF THIS PLANET…”ALREADY equivalent to 10 Hiroshima bombs per hour”… TEN HIROSHIMA BOMBS PER HOUR INTO OUR AIR, WATER, SOIL, AND INTO THE BODIES OF EVERY LIVING THING!
    THIS IS ALREADY, RIGHT NOW, AFFECTING THE UNITED STATES IN WAYS WE CANNOT REVERSE.
    IF IT ISN’T STOPPED, OUR HUMAN BODIES CANNOT BEAT THE EFFECTS.
    ALREADY THYROID CANCERS AND BIRTH DEFECTS IN CHILDREN IS RISING.
    THE LEVELS IN SOME PLACES IN JAPAN ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN LETHAL DOSES, AND JAPAN ADMITS IT CANNOT STOP THE LEAKS.

    ONE OF THE UPCOMING ATTEMPTS TO BEGIN TO LESSEN THE RADIATION LEAKING THERE IS TO REMOVE THE FUEL RODS FROM UNIT 4, WHICH IS A SERIOUSLY WEAKENED STRUCTURE. ACCORDING TO MANY SCIENTISTS THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE AFTER SO LONG, AND IS THE ULTIMATE DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN, A DISASTER THAT ALL OF US WILL HAVE TO LIVE IN FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.

    “In November, Tepco is due to carry out a new operation which could be the most risky since the early dark days of the initial crisis [at FUKUSHIMA].”

    MEANWHILE RADIATION LEVELS WERE UP OVER 6,500 TIMES THE PREVIOUS DAY AT THE DAI’ICHI PLANT WITH ‘STEAM’ SEEN RISING INTO THE ATMOSPHERE AT ALL TIMES NOW.
    WITH LEAKS ALL AROUND ONTO AND INTO THE GROUND, WATER THAT IS INCESSANTLY FLOWING INTO THE PACIFIC, ALL OF THAT RADIOACTIVE STEAM RISING TO THE SKY, CIRCLING THE GLOBE, ALL OF THAT IS HEADED OUR WAY, NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE ON PLANET EARTH!

    THEY’VE SUFFERED 3 TYPHOONS IN THE PAST 3 MONTHS WITH A NEW ‘SUPER-TYPHOON’ APPROACHING, AND 16 EARTHQUAKES GREATER THAN 4.5 MAGNITUDE IN JUST THE PAST MONTH. THE TOWERS THAT DIDN’T GO UP IN THE 3 HYDROGEN (SOME SAY NUCLEAR) EXPLOSIONS ARE ABOUT TO TOPPLE, CRACKS VISIBLE, LEANING DANGEROUSLY, WORKERS RECENTLY INJURED BY THE ESCAPING RADIATION.

    • “10 HIROSHIMA BOMBS PER HOUR”

      That is just ridiculous and silly. It is nothing of the sort. Were it THAT bad, my geiger counter would be going absolutely nuts. I live in Tokyo. For the last couple of years, we’ve been seeing levels ~0.15 microSv/hr. That’s about 4 times higher than historical averages here prior to the accident, but it’s well within safe limits.

      Fukushima has the capacity to become the worst nuclear disaster we’ve ever faced, but it hasn’t gotten there YET. Take a deep breath and relax a bit. Maybe worry more about diet and lifestyle choices that are much more likely to trigger that 30% likelihood of cancer than the ifs of a Fukushima flare-up.

      • Dave says:

        Sigh, you’re clearly not following along. As Mike Wofsey has said several times, your G. counter will not pick up alpha emitters, only background radiation. Alpha emitters are the problem here, they will kill you if you eat them with dinner, no doubt about that. The salmon and tuna all migrate far out into the Pacific within contamination distance from Fukushima, The same ones you have with sushi every weekend. Eat up.

        • Yeah, well, anybody who thinks that 10 nukes worth of alpha emitters are being released hourly from Fukushima should step away from the crack pipe. Certainly TEPCO hasn’t released any such numbers (nor would they even were the numbers correct) and no third parties have released credible measurement data from the area in the last year or two.

          The 10 nukes/hour worth number got pulled from somebody’s adz.

          • Dave says:

            I didn’t even read the nut’s comments you replied to, just your reply. Anyone that writes in all caps is an automatic no read for me lol! But yes, alpha emitters a-plenty are in the fish and will be for the foreseeable future no doubt. 10 Hiroshima’s per hour? Sensationalism and yes, that was definitely pulled directly from his ass next to where his head is.

  44. And your rebuttal is dependent on numbers supplied by TEPCO an organization that has been proven in court to have supplied fake radiation data in the past? LOL

  45. Matthew says:

    Well, what kind of credentials does Gary Stamper have? Should his claims be given any merit in the first place?

  46. Anonymous says:

    A college education doesn’t make you intelligent.

    • Dylan M says:

      You are right; knowledge and intelligence may often go hand in hand but they are not the same. It is knowledge, however, delivered in a regimented curriculum, which on is meant to acquire from education. Another thing is that education does not necessarily have to take place in college or university; education can happen anywhere and at any time.

  47. dave says:

    Every scale must balance with weights left and right. Thanks for offering this it helps to balance the input. Terrible tragedy, yet we demand electrical power to sustain a ever increasing population. Ever think that in fact that is the real problem, an unsustainable demand on resources?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Who are these ? What evidence do they have? Did they also say that 9/11 was a fake? What about India where there’s blood all over the water how did explain ?that one? Just the worst Take give me a very little understanding of where they’re coming from. Some people do not want to know the truth they rather live a lie and stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich. Get your facts first people

  49. Patriot4America says:

    Keep living in the Matrix, the pharse “My government would never do that to us” Reminds me of many situations in history, where the people of a country were just brainwashed beyond all comprehention. Keep being Sheeple, and before you know it, you’ll awaken in chains… WAKE UP!!!!!

  50. Naila says:

    Mike, thanks so much for your patience, knowledge, and restraint. It took a long time, but all the better to reveal who this troll (or whatever) was really made of. As for Mr. Rothschild, maybe his intentions were good, but he could have raised questions without going overboard and assuming an air of omniscience. He was clearly over his head, parroting mainstream-media views that any intelligent person should know enough to at least question

    • Mike Wofsey says:

      @Dave, I have the PNAS download, I’ll study it over the next few days and try to post here some thoughts, as best as I am able.

      • Dave says:

        Thanks Mike. Not sure if you use it much but, I sent you a request on facebook if it makes info exchange easier. I’m dave clevr on there.

  51. SLundregan says:

    On the whole I agree with this article, the risks posed by Fukashima have been hysterically misreported and blown out of proportion. I think it is probably safe to eat Pacific fish. However, there hasn’t been enough data collected to determine the long term damage (if any) that the incident will cause to the food chain and Pacific biosphere. The oceans are incredibly overfished anyway; if people stop eating fish because of Fukashima, the event may end up being good for fish stocks and biodiversity in the long run!

  52. Sampson says:

    If it has been blown out of proportion that can only be attributed to the neglect given the incident by mass media which is government owned and controlled.
    Lets get an independent health company to look into this, I want a third party opinion.

  53. Joe Saba says:

    then why isn’t our beloved EPA and FDA monitoring our food supply coming out of pacific???

    how about monitoring and graphing daily radiation amounts along west coast and 2 state inward??

    and no there IS A BUDGET for these kind of items – latest excuse

    • The FDA was monitoring fish for radiation. They didn’t find anything unusual and stopped.

      As for monitoring radiation on the west coast, this is being done by a combination of professional researchers and crowd sourcing. Again, nothing unusual has been found so far.

      • Dave says:

        The funny part is, the time to monitor would be NOW as some of that radiation is definitely here from currents. I personally quit eating Pacific fish a year after the quake. Anyone that thinks it is still safe to eat Pacific tuna or salmon can eat up and be the science experiment for the us skeptics.

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