Fukushima radiation alerting world to nuclear radiation danger in oceans
“In terms of the ocean, this is definitely an environmental catastrophe, and it’s still ongoing,”
”though contamination in the most seriously affected areas has been worse than a lot of things that have gone in the past, conscientious testing of seafood can help prevent it from becoming a human health disaster as well.”
“It also shows us that we have to redouble our efforts to fully understand the health consequences of the testing period, because that will help us prepare for the future consequences of Fukushima.”
This article has a misleading title. The author does not “downplay” Fukushima radiation hazards. On the contrary, he is pointing out the seriousness of radioactive matter in the oceans, and how this has been ignored in the past
Scientists downplay Fukushima radiation hazards DW 25.10.2013 Julian Ryall, Tokyo Experts agree that the radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant is an “environmental catastrophe,” but it is only a fraction of the fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, they say…….
Tokyo Electric Power Co. confirmed Tuesday that radioactive cesium had again been detected about one kilometer offshore from the Fukushima nuclear plant, crippled in March 2011 by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that it triggered……
People forget that the world we live in already has a lot of cesium-137 in the environment,” Dr. Mitsuo Aoyama, senior scientist in the Oceanography and Geochemistry Department of the Japan Meteorological Research Institute, told DW…….
Dr. Aoyama’s studies show that by 1970, an estimated 290 petabecquerels – an alarming 29 followed by 15 zeroes – of cesium fallout was in the north Pacific ocean from atmospheric weapons tests……
an ongoing study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, based in Massachusetts, shows that in 1990 the rate in the Black Sea stood at 52 becquerels per cubic meter, at 55 in the Irish Sea – a legacy of problems at Britain’s Sellafield nuclear plant – and at 125 in the Baltic.
“Most people either didn’t know how high these levels were or didn’t really care,” said Azby Brown, an environmentalist who is director of the Future Design Institute at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and a volunteer with the Safecast independent radiation monitoring organization.
“There are people who care a lot, of course, such as Marshall Islanders, who were affected and feel they deserve better compensation, but the nuclear tests dumped vast amounts of radioactive contamination all over the world, especially in the northern hemisphere, and the reaction of governments at the time was that this really wasn’t going to affect people’s health,” Brown told DW.
Those attitudes prevailed until the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which forbade atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests.
“It has been challenging for researchers to demonstrate clear evidence of a detrimental impact on human health caused by the nuclear tests,” Brown said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
Fears over food supplies
“Food is an area of great concern, and the situation needs to be watched closely,” said Brown. “But reliable tests by both government and independent groups strongly suggest that very few people in Fukushima today are consuming as much as 1 becquerel per day of cesium in their food, whereas back in 1964, because of fallout from the tests, the entire country was eating about 5 becquerels a day, every day.
“There was no effort to either warn people of the contamination risk, or to keep contaminated food off the market,” he pointed out. “And this was true for most countries.”
These figures have triggered anger in some quarters and accusations that scientists are attempting to downplay the impact of the Fukushima disaster. But Brown disagrees, saying that the comparison is very instructive.
“In terms of the ocean, this is definitely an environmental catastrophe, and it’s still ongoing,” he said. “The damage to the ocean floor off Fukushima in particular will take a long time to heal, and our only real option is to wait for mother nature to take her course.”
The expert also said that “though contamination in the most seriously affected areas has been worse than a lot of things that have gone in the past, conscientious testing of seafood can help prevent it from becoming a human health disaster as well.”
“It also shows us that we have to redouble our efforts to fully understand the health consequences of the testing period, because that will help us prepare for the future consequences of Fukushima.” http://www.dw.de/scientists-downplay-fukushima-radiation-hazards/a-17182633
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