The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Global warming is happening fast in the world’s oceans

climate-changeWorld’s oceans warming at increasingly faster rate, new study finds
Ocean water has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels,
Guardian, , 19 Jan 16,  The world’s oceans are warming at a quickening rate, with the past 20 years accounting for half of the increase in ocean heat content that has occurred since pre-industrial times, a new study has found.

US scientists discovered that much of the extra heat in the ocean is buried deep underwater, with 35% of the additional warmth found at depths below 700 meters. This means far more heat is present in the far reaches of the ocean than 20 years ago, when it contained just 20% of the extra heat produced from the release of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution.

The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, sheds further light on the vast quantities of heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans.

Ocean water, which has a much higher heat capacity than air, has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels. The vast Southern Ocean sucked up 1.2bn tonnes of carbon in 2011 alone – which is roughly equivalent to the European Union’s annual carbon output…….

As the oceans warm, storm intensity increases and aquatic species are forced from their traditional ranges. Absorption of carbon dioxide has also made the oceans 30% more acidic, which is when the pH of the water drops, making it harder for creatures such as coral, oysters and mussels to form the shells and structures that sustain them.

Scientists have already declared that a third global coral bleaching event is currently underway, where corals whiten and die off due to extreme heat. An analysis of more than 620 studies last year found that the food chains of the world’s oceans are at risk of collapse due to climate change, overfishing and localized pollution.

January 19, 2016 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Radioactivity in seafoods, especially from Russia, found in South Korea

Study finds 5.3% of domestic and Russian seafood contains radioactive material  By Kim Young-dong, staff reporter Please direct questions or comments to [

radiation-in-sea--food-chaiflag-S-KoreaDec.26,2015 Highest rates of Ce-137 detected in Russian cod, though overall rate for domestic and imported seafood actually down 1.4% from last year

Radioactive material was discovered at detectable levels in domestic and Russian seafood products, a recent study confirms.

The news comes amid growing concerns about radiation contamination in seafood products entering the country since the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. In response, environmental groups are calling for more intensive inspections of seafood for radioactivity.

The findings were announced on Dec. 23 after a study by three groups: the Institute for Environment & Community Development Studies (IECDS), the Korea Radiation Watch Center, and the Gwangju chapter of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement. Analysis of 150 samples of mackerel, pollock, cod, kelp, and sea mustard taken from discount stores and markets in Seoul, Busan, and Gwangju between March and November showed the presence of radioactive cesium-137 in eight of them, or 5.3%.

Cesium-137 is considered one of the chief examples of a radioactive isotope detected in the process of artificial nuclear fission, with an acceptable standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

The isotope was found in samples of pollock and cod from Russia and domestic mackerel and kelp at levels of 0.37 to 1.09 becquerels per kilogram. The highest rate of detection was for Russian cod at 13%, followed by Russian pollock at 11.5%, Korean kelp at 7.7%, and Korean mackerel at 3.3%.

By place of origin, Russian products showed the highest detection rate at 13.3% (six out of 45 samples), compared to a 3.2% rate for domestic products (two out of 63 samples). No radioactive material was found in other imported seafood.

The overall Ce-137 detection rate for domestic and imported seafood was down slightly from a similar survey conducted last year, falling from 6.7% to 5.3%. But the rate for Russian products showed a slight increase from 13% last year to 13.3% in 2015.

“The radioactive material detection rate for Russian products was quite high. We need greater monitoring and more stringent standards,” said IECDS researcher Min Eun-ju. “We also need to figure out the cause behind the radioactive material detected in Korean sea grasses and take appropriate steps,” Min added.

Min also weighed in on the South Korean government’s current plans to consider lifting import bans on seafood from eight Japanese prefectures. “If that happens, there will be no way to stop the import of seafood contaminated with radioactivity. We should be beefing up our standards, not loosening them, and we should be responding forcefully to the Japanese government’s complaint with the World Trade Organization,” she said.

Ce-137 has a half-life of over thirty years and is known to cause radiation exposure within the body as it accumulates in muscles and subcutaneous fat. The details of its effects on the human body from exposure through accumulation of small amounts remain unknown. By Kim Young-dong, staff reporter Please direct questions or comments to []

December 28, 2015 Posted by | oceans, South Korea | Leave a comment

West Coast of Scotland shellfish polluted by radioactive trash from Sellafield

Scottish shellfish are contaminated by radioactive waste from Sellafield, Herald Scotland 20 Dec 15   Radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria is contaminating shellfish hundreds of kilometres away on the west coast of Scotland, according to a new scientific study.

Scottish researchers discovered traces of radioactive carbon discharged from Sellafield in the shells of mussels, cockles and winkles as far north as Port Appin in Argyll, 160 miles from the notorious nuclear plant.


The findings are a “wake-up call” for anyone who thinks pollution from Sellafield is yesterday’s problem, say campaigners. Sellafield, however, stresses that the contamination is well below safety limits.

 The study was carried out by a team of scientists from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in East Kilbride and The Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban. It has been published online in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.

The scientists found raised levels of radioactive carbon-14 in shellfish sampled at Port Appin, at Maidens in South Ayrshire and at Garlieston and Kippford on the Solway coast of Dumfries and Galloway. Mussels were most contaminated “due to the surface environment they inhabit and their feeding behaviour,” they said.

The contamination comes from Sellafield, which has poured huge amounts of radioactivity into the sea, researchers concluded. The plant, which reprocesses spent fuel from nuclear power plants in Scotland and across the UK, has discharged an average of more than eight million megabecquerels (measure of radioactivity) of carbon-14 a year from its pipelines between 1994 and 2013.

The levels peaked in 2003 but have remained “relatively high”, the scientists pointed out. Carbon-14 persists for tens of thousands of years in the environment and the amounts emitted from Sellafield make up the largest contribution to the long-term collective radiation dose across Europe from the entire nuclear industry.

“This is the first study to have shown that radiocarbon is accumulating in areas remote from Sellafield like Port Appin,” the lead researcher, Kieran Tierney, told the Sunday Herald.

 “The enhanced activities we found are due to authorised Sellafield discharges of radiocarbon and they, including the higher activities close to Sellafield, do not pose any radiological risk.”

Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent radiation consultant, described some of the carbon-14 contamination as “surprisingly high”. At Garlieston near Dumfries concentrations in mussels were almost three times the normal background level, while at Port Appin, north of Oban, they were 20 per cent higher…….

Pete Roche, an energy consultant and editor of ‘no2 nuclear power’ website, said: “This is a wake up call for anyone in Scotland who thinks contamination from Sellafield is yesterday’s problem.”

He pointed out that waste fuel from nuclear plants at Torness in East Lothian, Hunterston in North Ayrshire and Dounreay in Caithness will continue to be reprocessed at Sellafield until at least 2018. “Radioactive discharges will continue to flow back in the other direction long after that,” he argued……..

December 24, 2015 Posted by | environment, oceans, UK | Leave a comment

High level nuclear waste into the ocean: Japanese govt’s latest idea

Fukushima toiletJapan to consider ocean disposal of nuclear waste December 12, 2015 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The industry ministry will consider the feasibility of burying high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants under the seabed, which a working panel said Dec. 11 could be a “highly appropriate” solution.

In an interim report on disposal methods of highly contaminated materials from spent nuclear fuel, the panel said such waste could be disposed of in adjacent waters within 20 kilometers of the coastline.

It called the disposal method relatively realistic because the circulation of groundwater at sea is not as strong as on land. The panel said the site should be created in adjacent waters so that nuclear waste can easily be transported by ships.

The panel included the under-the-seabed disposal plan in nearby waters as a viable option for the final disposal site.

Based on this proposal, the ministry will set up an expert panel in January to discuss what specific technical challenges lay ahead.

The expert panel will discuss locations of active faults under the seabed and the impact of sea level changes to evaluate the feasibility of the project. It is expected to issue its recommendations by next summer.

While the government has encouraged municipalities to submit candidate sites for nuclear waste disposal, it is being forced to rethink this policy because no local government has come forward to provide a realistic disposal site.

Instead, it will hand-pick the “candidate sites from scientific perspectives” and unilaterally request local governments to comply with its research and inspection efforts.

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, Japan, oceans | 3 Comments

The dangers of transporting nuclear waste by sea

ship radiationNuclear waste transport risks ,Tor Justad,   “…..I would wish to draw attention to the proposal from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to transport nuclear waste by sea from Scrabster to Barrow – a distance of over 400 miles.

This high level nuclear waste/spent fuel emanates from the Dounreay nuclear site and is intended for Sellafield – described as “the most toxic nuclear site in Europe”.

The campaigning group Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (Hant) has been campaigning since 2013 to stop this plan on the grounds that the risk to the environment, fishing, aquaculture and tourism is unacceptable.

Transporting nuclear waste by sea is opposed by environmental groups throughout the world and Hant is of the view that all nuclear waste should remain on the sites where it is produced which is in line with Scottish government policy. Hant provided an input at a Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) seminar in Lerwick in August 2015 on “Transportation of Dounreay’s nuclear materials by rail or by sea to Sellafield – is it a safe solution for reducing the nuclear legacy in Scotland?” and was pleased to hear from SIC and Kimo representatives at that seminar that they supported Hant’s position.

The need for emergency response vessels stationed around the Northern Isles and Western Isles is important to safeguard these coasts against marine accidents and emergencies  of any kind but the need is increased by the proposal to transport nuclear waste.

As is well known, nuclear radiation knows no land or sea boundaries so this issue is of concern to all coastal communities in the Highlands and Islands.

Hant will continue to campaign on this issue and would urge individuals and interested organisations to support this campaign.


December 9, 2015 Posted by | oceans, opposition to nuclear, safety, UK | Leave a comment

North America’s West Coast getting record levels of Fukushima radiation

Fukushima toiletRecord levels of Fukushima radiation detected off West Coast — Massive plume stretches for more than 1,000 miles — Reuters: Contamination is spreading off U.S. shores — Radioactive cesium reaches 11 Bq/m3 at multiple locations

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dec 3, 2015 (emphasis added): Higher levels of Fukushima cesium detected offshore — Scientists monitoring the spread of radiation in the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear accident report finding an increased number of sites off the US West Coast showing signs of contamination from Fukushima. This includes thehighest detected level to date from a sample collected about 1,600 miles west of San Francisco. The level of radioactive cesium isotopes in the sample, 11 Becquerel’s per cubic meter… is 50 percent higher than other samples collected along the West Coast so far… Working with Japanese colleagues, [Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine radiochemist] also continues to independently monitor the ongoing leaks from Fukushima Dai-ichi by collecting samples… During his most recent trip this October they collected samples of ocean water, marine organisms, seafloor sediment and groundwater along the coast near the reactors. Buesseler says the levels of radioactivity offFukushima remain elevated – some 10 to 100 times higher than off the US West Coast today, and he is working with colleagues at WHOI to try to determine how much radioactive material is still being released to the ocean each day.

Ken Buesseler, WHOI: “These new data are important for two reasons… the changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific. Second, these long-lived radioisotopes will serve as markers for years to come for scientists studying ocean currents and mixing in coastal and offshore waters… [F]inding values that are still elevated off Fukushima confirms that there is continued release from the plant.”

Statesman Journal, Dec 3, 2015: Higher levels of Fukushima radiation detected off West Coast— Higher levels of radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident are showing up in the ocean off the west coast of North America, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported today. And an increased number of sampling sites are showing signs of contamination… This year, Buesseler has added about 110 new sample results to 135 already on the project’s web site. They include the highest detected level to date, from a sample collected about 1,600 miles west of San Francisco.

Reuters, Dec 3, 2015: Radiation from Japan nuclear disaster spreads off U.S. shores… andcontamination is increasing at previously identified sites… Tests of hundreds of samples of Pacific Ocean water confirmed that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to leak… The latest readings measured the highest radiation levels outside Japanese waters to date some 1,600 miles (2,574 km) west of San Francisco. The figures also confirm that the spread of radiation to North American waters is not isolated to a handful of locations, but can be detected along a stretch of more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) offshore.

See also: Fukushima nuclear waste now being found off all U.S. states on West Coast — Detected near shorelines of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska this summer — Highest radiation just miles from San Francisco (MAP)

December 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, USA | 1 Comment

Dr Ken Buesseler reports cesium-134 from Fukushima in ocean waters off North America shores

Pacific-Ocean-drainFukushima radiation detected off North America shores Researchers detect higher levels of radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster off North America’s shores.Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said on Thursday recent tests of Pacific Ocean water revealed that the Fukushima nuclear power plant continues contamination of the ocean with radioactive isotopes.

Buesseler said samples taken from several hundred miles off the shores of Oregon, Washington and California as well as Canada’s Vancouver island over the past few months tested positive for cesium-134.

Cesium-137 isotope was also detected at low levels in almost all seawater samples tested by Buesseler and his fellow researchers.

“Despite the fact that the levels of contamination off our shores remain well below government-established safety limits for human health or to marine life, the changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific,” said Buesseler.

Last year, Buesseler said Fukushima radiation was detected in samples taken off the coast of northern California. In April, radiation was also identified off Canada’s shores.

The latest figures show that the spread of Fukushima radiation is not limited to certain locations, but can be found along a stretch of 1,000 miles offshore. n March 2011, a massive tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9 quake filled the Fukushima nuclear cooling systems with water, sending some reactors into meltdown and sparking a decades-long cleanup effort by the Japanese government.

Shortly after the accident, radiation was released into the sea, food chain, and air, and now the Fukushima incident is the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

December 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

“Worst accidental radioactive pollution of Pacific Ocean” hasn’t moved US to test seafood

Nuclear Power: Dead in the Water it Poisoned, CounterPunch,  by JOHN LAFORGE    NOVEMBER 5, 2015 “………..Radiation exposure and contamination should concern everyone because by all accounts the volume of radiation-in-sea--food-chairadioactive materials discharged to the Pacific Ocean by Fukushima is the single greatest radioactive contamination of the sea ever observed. [27] An estimated 27 “peta-becquerels” (27 million billion becquerels) of cesium-137 had already leaked or been deliberately dumped into the Pacific by October 2011. A becquerel represents one atomic disintegration/second.

Last July, Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima wreckage, acknowledged that an additional 300 tons-a-day of highly contaminated water is leaking into the Pacific from the six-reactor station — and has been since the beginning of the disaster almost three years ago. The American Medical Association — following the revelation of massive ongoing leaks — called on the US government to “monitor and fully report the radioactivity levels of edible species sold in the United States.”[28]

Yet at present, US seafood is not regularly tested for cesium contamination, in spite of the large numbers of fish and other foods that have been found contaminated by Fukushima isotopes — including blue fin[29] and albacore tuna[30] caught off the US West Coast, grapefruit from Florida, and prunes, almonds, pistachios and oranges from California.[31]

In this context, a coalition of public health and environmental groups petitioned the FDA in early summer demanding a drastic reduction in the amount of radioactive cesium allowed in food. The petition by members of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) declared that the arbitrarily high 1,200 becquerels-per-kilogram (Bq/kg) US limit is “ridiculous.” The standard is between 120 times to 24 times weaker than Japan’s.

The petition demands that US foods have no more than 5 Bq/kg of cesium-137 and -134, and that all food be tested and labeled with its cesium content. The FFAN reports that the devastated Fukushima reactors continue to leak more than 10 million becquerels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 per hour into the environment, “with no sign of stopping.” The network said it was “alarmed” at the lack of testing currently in place to meet the threat of radioactive contamination in food. Because cesium-134 has a hazardous life of about 10-20 years, and cesium-137 has a hazardous life of about 300-600 years, the FFAN said, the threat of food contamination “is a long-term issue that deserves immediate attention………”


November 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Southern Ocean fast becoming acidic, with abrupt effects on the marine food chain

ocean-heatingAbrupt changes in food chains predicted as Southern Ocean acidifies fast: study [excellent pictures]  November 3, 2015   Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Southern Ocean is acidifying at such a rate because of rising carbon dioxide emissions that large regions may be inhospitable for key organisms in the food chain to survive as soon as 2030, new US research has found.

Tiny pteropods, snail-like creatures that play an important role in the food web, will lose their ability to form shells as oceans absorb more of the CO2 from the atmosphere, a process already observed over short periods in areas close to the Antarctic coast.

Ocean acidification is often dubbed the “evil twin” of climate change. As CO2 levels rise, more of it is absorbed by seawater, resulting in a lower pH level and reduced carbonate ion concentration. Marine organisms with skeletons and shells then struggle to develop and maintain their structures.

Using 10 Earth system models and applying a high-emissions scenario, the researchers found the relatively acidic Southern Ocean quickly becomes unsuited for shell-forming creatures such as pteropods, according to a paper published Tuesday in Nature Climate Change.

“What surprised us was really the abruptness at which this under-saturation [of calcium carbonate-based aragonite] occurs in large areas of the Southern Ocean,” Axel Timmermann​, a co-author of the study and oceanography professor at the University of Hawaii told Fairfax Media. “It’s actually quite scary.”

Since the Southern Ocean is already close to the threshold for shell-formation, relatively small changes in acidity levels will likely show up there first, Professor Timmermann said: “The background state is already very close to corrosiveness.”

Below a certain pH level, shells of such creatures become more brittle, with implications for fisheries that feed off them since pteropods appear unable to evolve fast enough to cope with the rapidly changing conditions.

“For pteropods it may be very difficult because they can’t run around without a shell,”  Professor Timmermann said. “It’s not they dissolve immediately but there’s a much higher energy requirement for them to form the shells.”

Given the sheer scale of the marine creatures involved, “take away this biomass, [and] you have avalanche effects for the rest of the food web”, he said.

As carbon dioxide levels rise, the impacts seen in the Southern Ocean – and its counterpart regions in the northern hemisphere – can be expected to spread closer to the equator.

Scientists anticipate that a halt in the increase in greenhouse gases will take time to have an impact on slowing the warming of the planet. However, a faster response can be expected in the oceans to any slowing in the pace of acidification.

“The corrosiveness of the water is a very strong function of the atmospheric C02 and there is not much of a delay [to any changes]”, Professor Timmermann said.

The paper’s release comes about four weeks before delegates from almost 200 nations are expected to gather in Paris, France to negotiate a new global treaty to curb carbon emissions.

November 4, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Japan’s coastal population: risks from radiation ignored by govt and IAEA

UK research clearly shows that coastal zone populations are exposed to doses of marine radioactivity under the following set of environmental parameters:

  1. resident in coastal zones up to at least 200kms downstream of a source of liquid radioactive discharges to sea
  2. resident in coastal zones adjacent to coastal waters with high suspended sediment loadings
  3. resident in coastal zones adjacent to extensive fine sediment inter tidal/sub tidal sediment deposits (salt marsh, mud flats etc)
  4. resident in coastal zones subject to prevailing onshore winds and storm or tidal conditions generating marine aerosols, sea spray and coastal inundation
  5. resident in coastal zones where such parameters (A to D above) have, elsewhere, been shown to enable/facilitate the penetration of marine radioactivity for across the shoreline and up to 10 miles inland from the coast.


Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population Tim Fukushima toiletDeere-Jones 28th September 2015 

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.

Review of the official Japanese marine monitoring programme reveals that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to the risks of marine radiation from the stricken Fukushima site.

The strategy it has adopted, with the support of the IAEA, consistently ignores the latest evidence about the way marine radioactivity behaves in inshore marine environments and the potential radiological risks to coastal populations.

This strategy is based on a flawed hypothesis, developed by the nuclear industry through the late 1940s and early 1950s, when both oceanography and the study of the behaviour and fate of radioactivity in marine environments were in their absolute infancy.

As a result, the principal conclusions on the marine impact of the Fukushima event put forward in recent reports from the IAEA, the Government of Japan and it’s relevant agencies, minimise the environmental and public health negatives and emphasise a range of hypothetical ‘positives’.

This is a major flaw because the empirical evidence from ‘non-aligned’ research in the UK is that coastal communities are subjected to highly enriched doses of marine radioactivity through pathways of exposure, and from environmental parameters, which will not be analysed and researched under current Fukushima monitoring plans.

As a result, significant public health impacts of the event will not be documented, nor will important data about the way Fukushima marine radioactivity behaves at the coastline.

Failing to gather the evidence of coastal radiation Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear power station at Bradwell would damage the marine environment

water-dropsflag-UKMP warning over new nuclear power station in Essex East Anglian Daily Times 25 September 2015 Matt Stott  An Essex MP has claimed a new nuclear power station at Bradwell would cause “significant damage” to the marine environment. Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin expressed concern over the impact the site would have on the region’s fishing industries and ecology.

His intervention comes days after Chancellor George Osborne indicated a £2 billion Government guarantee for Chinese investment in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset could pave the way for further deals, including a majority Chinese-owned nuclear generation facility at Bradwell.

It is thought the site, next to the former nuclear power station, could be shared with between owners EDF and Chinese firms to build and run a new nuclear plant.

Mr Jenkin said: “There should be no new nuclear at Bradwell, unless the concerns about damage to the estuary and storage of nuclear waste on site can both be unequivocally resolved. “There seems no way that a new nuclear power station would avoid significant damage to the marine environment in the estuary.

“When the Magnox station was decommissioned, there was explosive recovery in the marine environment. I have been informed that a new power station would take six times more flow of water than its predecessor.

“The estuary cannot supply the volume of cooling water without severely damaging the natural life-cycle of organisms in it. This jeopardises the ecology, our local fishing industries and goes against the aim of the Marine Conservation Zone.”

He added: “It is also a significant concern… that high level nuclear waste would have to be secured and stored on the site for some decades after a new facility has reached the end of its operating life, before it can be safely transported.

“This raises questions about how could it be stored safely over such a long period.”………

September 26, 2015 Posted by | environment, oceans, UK, water | Leave a comment

Pacific Ocean radioactive isotopes from Atomic Testing compared with from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Fukushima inputs are much smaller in magnitude and despite ongoing release unlikely to exceed weapons fallout. 
The weakness of this approach is that there are other pressures (ocean acidification, warming, oxygen depletion) on the marine environment that one could qualitatively say might make the ecosystem more vulnerable to these very small increases in radiation.
Pacific-Ocean-drainHistory of Bomb Strontium and Cesium Isotopes in Pacific Compared to Fukushima Sources (EXCELLENT GRAPHS) by MarineChemist

The purpose of this diary is to compare the concentrations of Sr-90 and Cs-137 in the North Pacific Ocean over the last 50 years to the concentrations predicted to arrive on the west coast associated with waters affected by release of radionculides from the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Given present levels that are being measured in the eastern Pacific and barring release rates that significantly exceed past rates in March-April 2011 the impact on marine organisms and the marine environment is going to be very minimal.  What follows below the fold is a comparison of the concentrations measured and predicted over much of the Pacific owing to Fukushima to the concentrations that were present in the mid-1960s from the fallout of atmospheric weapons testing that is free from any discussion of safe doses or models of radiation exposure to organisms. Continue reading

September 21, 2015 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Timothy Mousseau dismisses radiation as cause of giant wolffish

 When images of a “mutant” wolffish caught off the coast of Japan started making the rounds this week, panic ensued. But like a fictional “Godzilla”, this fish is actually nothing to be worried about. For starters, it’s not as big as it looks. Remember last year’s “giant” mantis shrimp? Just like in that photo, what you’re seeing here is the result of forced perspective. By bringing the fish closer to the camera’s lens, fisherman Hiroshi Hirasaka is creating an optical illusion. For that very same reason, trees often look like they’re growing out of the back of a subject’s head in family photos and Frodo Baggins looks so small in Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy.

As for the idea of giant, mutant Fukushima fish … there is no scientific evidence to support claims that fallout from the Fukushima disaster has, or will, cause this to happen. Even right after the disaster, a swim in nearby waters would have dosed you with just 0.03% of the daily radiation an average Japanese resident receives. And much of that fallout has disappeared because of natural decomposition and decay.

Besides, even in the extremely unlikely event that radiation was the culprit here, we would actually expect to see smaller, not larger, fish. “Very, very few mutations lead to extra-large size,” explains University of South Carolina radiation specialist Dr Timothy Mousseau. “[Instead], they grow less efficiently, they’re less capable of catching food and they tend to not live as long.

All that said, this catch is still an impressive one. Wolffish (family Anarhichadidae) average about three feet in length (110 cm), but can get bigger. What Hirasaka has landed is a very old and very healthy specimen. “If you look hard and long enough there’s always a few that manage to survive long enough to achieve these large sizes,” says Mousseau.

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, oceans, spinbuster | 2 Comments

USA’s secret plans with Japan to dump radioactive trash into oceans

Pacific-Ocean-drainUS tried to conspire with Japan to dump nuclear waste into world’s oceans, reveal documents (NaturalNews) When nuclear energy production technology first began to emerge in the US in the 1950s, neither scientists nor the US government considered what would be done with nuclear reactors once it was time for them to be put out of commission. And recently-released documents reveal that, in an effort to hastily deal with this problem after the fact, the US government actually tried to conspire with Japan to gain secret approval for dumping decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world’s oceans.

In 1972, the United Nations (UN) had proposed the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention, to deal with the growing, global pollution problem. The agreement’s provisions sought to specifically regulate the environmental pollution that signing nations could and could not dump into the oceans, which of course included nuclear production materials.

But since a finalized version of the agreement had not yet been fully established, the US government took advantage of the situation by seeking to insert an exemption cause permitting the dumping of decommissioned nuclear reactors into the ocean. And since Japan had also been involved in developing its own nuclear energy program, the US thought it could gain additional support for the exemption clause from its Asian ally.

But Japan allegedly did not comply, according to Kumao Kaneko, 74, who was a member of the Foreign Ministry team involved in the negotiations at the time. So the US decided to go it alone in proposing its exemption clause, which was meant to be a last-resort option — and it was eventually successful in achieving its goal.

Though the US made no mention of any long-term plans to utilize the ocean as its nuclear dumping ground during the proposal, it now appears as though the country had every intention of using the ocean as a nuclear disposal facility. And since the London Convention clause still exists to this day, all other signing countries are free to dump their nuclear waste in the ocean as well.

Russia, a signing member of the London Convention, openly admitted back in 1993, for instance, that it dumps nuclear reactors and fuel into the ocean because it allegedly has no other safe way to dispose of such materials (…).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, claims the US stopped dumping nuclear reactors into the ocean a long time ago. And US officials claim that decommissioned nuclear reactors are today buried in the ground rather than dumped into the ocean:

September 6, 2015 Posted by | history, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Ken Buesseler, Jay Cullen, lead independent research into radiation in the Pacific Ocean

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Great article. As an anti nuclear activist myself, I think that it is most important that we keep our concerns in proportion. The nuclear industry has so many bad effects, that we don’t ned to exaggerate ones that are not clear. Thankfully, despite government inertia, Buesseler and co are working to establish the facts on the effect if the Fukuhsima disaster on the ocean.


Pacific-Ocean-drainhighly-recommendedRadiation in the Ocean  Director, World Ocean Observatory The West Coast of the United States seems under siege by negative environmental news: earthquake predictions, oil spills, drought, critically diminished water supply, wildfires, and numerous accounts of unusual coastal events: algae blooms, whale strandings, cancer in seals, collapse of fish stocks, and more.

How to explain? Well, much of this can be attributed to climate factors where rising temperatures have resulted in multiple inter-related consequences: limited glacial melt, increased evaporation, no water, dry land, and the inevitable fire darkening that pristine Pacific air with smoke and ash the length of the coast.

The ocean phenomena may be different. The warming of the ocean surely has an impact on changing growth patterns of marine plants and animals, just as the changing pH or acidity of the ocean has been shown to modify habitat and migrations. But what else?

One argument has been the effect of radiation leaking from the three nuclear power plant reactors shut down by the earthquake and resultant tsunami tidal wave that inundated Fukushima, Japan in 2011, and has been thereafter distributed by ocean currents; indeed there is evidence of a plume of increased concentration of Cesium-134, and other radioactive elements that have been observed at unprecedented levels, spreading out some 5,000 miles into the Pacific toward North and South America. In April of this year, there were headlines declaring that “Fukushima radiation has reached the North American Shore” and concerns were raised, spread through the Internet and press, that this was surely the cause of these otherwise inexplicable anomalous natural events.

There is no Federal agency that funds monitoring of radiation in coastal water, and the present effort, conducted since 2004 by Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been underwritten by crowd-funding and the efforts of volunteers taking samples to provide data on cesium isotopes along the west coast of Alaska, the U.S. mainland coast, and Hawaii, the information that has been used to model potential distribution and concentration of any contamination. A comparable effort has been launched in Canada, led by Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria in collaboration with government, academic, and NGO partners.

The radioactivity has been decreased by time, the natural half-life of the isotopes, and by dilution in a very large and deep body of water. In their samples, Buesseler and his “citizen scientists” did detect cesium-137 already in the waters as a result of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and cesium-134 which does not otherwise occur naturally in the ocean and can only be attributed to Fukushima, to serve as a first baseline for subsequent collection, analysis, modeling, and conclusion.

Buesseler channels his research through the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Institute, where he offers a preliminary conclusion that “the amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less that 2 Becquerels (a radioactive measure) per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Buesseler continues, “We emphasize that cesium-134 has not been detected YET as it has been detected offshore of North America by Canadian oceanographers… The uncertainty in the predictions by these ocean models only emphasizes the importance of collecting samples from along the shores. Remember too that those models predict interacting levels of both cesium isotopes for the next 2 or 3 years, the highest published prediction is for 20 to 30 Becquerels per cubic meter, or well below what is thought to be of human health and fisheries concerns.”

So, yes, and no. No definitive conclusion, no clear argument that radiation is the cause of those coastal events which distress us so. There is no solace in uncertainty, just as there is no certainty without evidence. The question is immensely important and thanks to Ken Buesseler and all those volunteers alongshore and in research vessels who are working to provide the substance for a real answer.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | oceans, Reference | 3 Comments


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