Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fukushima radiation: should we worry?

First, the scare. Michael Snyder gives a raft of facts to show that post-Fukushima, radiation levels have increased around the west coast of America. Professor Michel Chossudovsky discusses the spread of radiactive fallout from Japan under the shock title "... A Nuclear War Without A War..." - somwhat insensitively bearing in mind that Japan is the only country to have been atom-bombed. The Liberty Beacon relays official US information on the plume of water-borne radioactivity.

Then, some critical comment and reassurance. American Live Wire shows that a dramatic graphic purporting to show the spread of radiation across the Pacific is actually a map of increased wave height from the tsunami. And the ever-informative xkcd freely offers the following infographic on normal and acceptable radiation dosage (click on caption for full size picture):
Finally, the rational concern: as with the now-banned pesticide DDT, the most significant potential damage could be concentration of the toxic substances as they rise through the food chain. Now, shoppers in Korea are using Geiger counters to check imports of "eastern sea" fish, and as early as January 2012 the readings from seaweed were 3 times higher than background:

Fish (like tuna) that eat other fish; scavengers like crab and lobster; plankton and krill (and the whales that eat them), squid... we may be advised not to eat Pacific seafood. Already Seoul has banned imports from the Fukushima region. And it's possible that wildlife is suffering from the disaster.

What if there was a bigger disaster? There's been much excited speculation about the consequences of a potential collapse of the spent fuel storage that could result in fire and evacuation. Paul Blustein at discusses this coolly and concludes that it could be very bad, though not apocalyptic.

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