Assessing Fukushima-derived radiocesium in migratory Pacific predators

??? Good news if true…



The 2011 release of Fukushima-derived radionuclides into the Pacific Ocean made migratory sharks, teleosts, and marine mammals a source of speculation and anxiety regarding radiocesium (134+137Cs) contamination, despite a lack of actual radiocesium measurements for these taxa.

We measured radiocesium in a diverse suite of large predators from the North Pacific Ocean and report no detectable (i.e., ≥ 0.1 Bq kg-1 dry wt) of Fukushima-derived 134Cs in all samples, except in one olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) with trace levels (0.1 Bq kg-1).

Levels of 137Cs varied within and across taxa, but were generally consistent with pre-Fukushima levels and were lower than naturally-occurring 40K by one to two orders of magnitude.

Predator size had a weaker effect on 137Cs and 40K levels than tissue lipid content.

Predator stable isotope values (δ13C and δ15N) were used to infer recent migration patterns, and showed that predators in the central, eastern, and western Pacific should not be assumed to accumulate detectable levels of radiocesium a priori.

Non-detection of 134Cs and low levels of 137Cs in diverse marine megafauna far from Fukushima confirms negligible increases in radiocesium, with levels comparable to those prior to the release from Fukushima.

Reported levels can inform recently developed models of cesium transport and bioaccumulation in marine species.

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean



Local residents and environmental groups have condemned a plan to release radioactive tritium from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, say tritium poses little risk to human health and is quickly diluted by the ocean.

In an interview with local media, Takashi Kawamura, chairman of TEPCO, said: “The decision has already been made.” He added, however, that the utility is waiting for approval from the Japanese government before going ahead with the plan and is seeking the understanding of local residents.

The tritium is building up in water that has been used to cool three reactors that suffered fuel melt-downs after cooling equipment was destroyed in the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east Japan in March 2011.

Around 770,000 tons of highly radioactive water is being stored in 580 tanks at the site. Many of the contaminants can be filtered out, but the technology does not presently exist to remove tritium from water.

“This accident happened more than six years ago and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean”, said Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Kyoto-based Green Action Japan.

“They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted, but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas”, she told The Telegraph.

Fishermen who operate in waters off the plant say any release of radioactive material will devastate an industry that is still struggling to recover from the initial nuclear disaster.

“Releasing [tritium] into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumours, making all our efforts for naught”, Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishing cooperative, told Kyodo News.


Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds


Three of the six reactors at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi complex were wrecked in March 2011 by an earthquake and tsunami. The destruction of emergency electric generators caused a “station blackout” which halted cooling water intake and circulation. Super-heated, out-of-control uranium fuel in reactors 1, 2, and 3 then boiled off cooling water, and some 300 tons of fuel “melted” and burned through the reactors’ core vessels, gouging so deep into underground sections of the structure that to this day operators aren’t sure where it is. Several explosions in reactor buildings and uncovered fuel rods caused the spewing of huge quantities of radioactive materials to the atmosphere, and the worst radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean ever recorded. Fukushima amounts to Whole-Earth poisoning.

Now, researchers say, radioactive isotopes that were spread across Japan (and beyond) by the meltdowns will continue to contaminate the food supply for a very long time.

According to a new study that focused on “radiocaesium” — as the British call cesium-134 and cesium-137 — “food in japan will be contaminated by low-level radioactivity for decades.” The official university announcement of this study neglected to specify that Fukushima’s cesium will persist in the food chain for thirty decades. It takes 10 radioactive half-lives for cesium-137 to decay to barium, and its half-life is about 30 years, so C-137 stays in the environment for roughly 300 years.

The study’s authors, Professor Jim Smith, of the University of Portsmouth, southwest of London, and Dr. Keiko Tagami, from the Japanese National Institute of Radiological Sciences, report that cesium-caused “radiation doses in the average diet in the Fukushima region are very low and do not present a significant health risk now or in the future.”

This phraseology deliberately conveys a sense of security — but a false one. Asserting that low doses of radiation pose no “significant” health risk sounds reassuring, but an equally factual framing of precisely the same finding is that small amounts of cesium in food pose a slightly increased risk of causing cancer.

This fact was acknowledged by Prof. Smith in the June 14 University of Portsmouth media advisory that announced his food contamination study, which was published in Science of the Total Environment. Because of above-ground atom bomb testing, Prof. Smith said, “Radioactive elements such as caesium-137, strontium-90 and carbon-14 contaminated the global environment, potentially causing hundreds of thousands of unseen cancer deaths.”

No less an authority than the late John Gofman, MD, Ph.D., a co-discoverer of plutonium and Professor Emeritus of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, spent 50 years warning about the threat posed by low doses of radiation. In May 1999, Gofman wrote, “By any reasonable standard of biomedical proof, there is no safe dose, which means that just one decaying radioactive atom can produce permanent mutation in a cell’s genetic molecules. My own work showed this in 1990 for X rays, gamma rays, and beta particles.”

The Fukushima-borne cesium in Japan’s food supply, and in the food-web of the entire Pacific Ocean, emits both beta and gamma radiation. Unfortunately, it will bio-accumulate and bio-concentrate for 300 years, potentially causing, as Dr. Gofman if not Dr. Smith might say, hundreds of thousands of unseen cancer deaths.



Fukushima, the Gift That Keeps on Giving



Radiation from Fukushima has now officially entered the food chain, can it be fixed?
Fukushima, as you may recall, was an accident at a Japanese nuclear complex back in 2011. A combination of an earthquake and a tsunami damaged the facility, allowing radioactive water to pour into the ocean. In fact, ABC news reported that — “The 2011 quake of magnitude-9 was the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan, and it generated a tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.”

Since then, there have been various plans to stabilize the situation, but all have failed. Robots sent in to find the cores have failed. The National Post wrote that — “It takes two years to build them. Each operator trains for a month before picking up their controls. And they get fried by radiation after working for just 10 hours.” That’s right. In just 10 hours, the robots are so damaged, they don’t work. In fact, the article continued by writing — “The reason the robots need to get inside core is that officials need to locate the plant’s melted (and still very radioactive) fuel rods before they can plan on what to do next”.

Wait, you might be asking yourself, what about the ice wall? Well, RT reported that — “In March, (a Japanese) construction company began building the frozen wall of earth around the four damaged nuclear reactors and had completed most of the 1.5-km (1 mile) barrier. TEPCO hoped that the frozen earth barrier would thwart most of the groundwater from reaching the plant and divert it into the ocean instead.

However, little or no success was recorded in the wall’s ability to block the groundwater during the five-month-period. The amount of groundwater reaching the plant has not changed after the wall was built.” That’s right. This plan has also failed.

And while media has effectively been silent on the issue, it does pop up from time to time, such as this article in Science World Report — “(a) Woods Hole chemical oceanographer, tracked down the radiation plume in the seawater. He proposed that the (contaminated) seawater crossed the Pacific Ocean and reached (America’s) west coast.” In fact, that article revealed that — “the seawater samples collected last winter from the Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in the west coast indicated the presence of low levels of nuclear radiations. Thankfully, the levels were calculated too low to cause any harmful impact on the human or animal population of the region.” But that is missing the point – radiation has now officially entered the food chain.

Although the article in Science World Report notes that the levels were low, it should also be noted that their samples were all the way across the ocean. What if they took a sample in other places? Surely, logic would dictate that it would become stronger, the closer one gets to Japan.

It should also be noted that radioactive water continues to pour into the ocean on a daily, hourly, and by the minute basis. That hasn’t stopped. It is happening right now. It happens while you sleep. It happens while you are awake. It happens even if no one is talking about it and has been happening for more than 5 years, and there is no plan to stop it.

Nuclear Hotseat #271: How Radiation in Oceans Contaminates Our Food Supply – Tim Deere-Jones


This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Tim Deere-Jones is an independent marine pollution consultant and a specialist in the behavior and fate of marine pollutants in ocean, coastal and estuarine environments. He explains how radiation in the ocean from Fukushima and the UK’s Sellafield nuclear facility have impacted food safety at tremendous distances, as far away as the US West Coast.  A jaw-dropping eye-opening report.  This is an Encore presentation originally presented on Nuclear Hotseat #225 from October 13, 2015.

Numnutz of the Week:

The only thing “super” about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-Baby showing up dressed as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics is his gall at continuing to lie about the nuclear contamination awaiting anyone who dares to attend the 2020 Tokyo Radioactive NOlympics.  (And that ball he’s holding is pure projection, if not delusion…)


Listen Here:

Nuclear Hotseat #271: How Radiation in Oceans Contaminates Our Food Supply – Tim Deere-Jones


A Marine Food Web Bioaccumulation model for Cesium 137 in the Pacific Northwest

July 2, 2014
The Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011 emerged as a global threat to the
conservation of the Pacific Ocean, human health, and marine biodiversity.
On April 11 (2011), the Fukushimanuclear plant reached the severity level 7, equivalent to that of the 1986-Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
This accident was defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as “a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures”.
Despite the looming threat of radiation, there has been scant attention and inadequate radiation monitoring.
This is unfortunate, as the potential radioactive contamination of seafoods through bioaccumulation of radioisotopes (i.e. 137Cs) in marine and coastal food webs are issues of major concern for the public health of coastal communities.
While releases of 137Cs into the Pacific after the Fukushima nuclear accident are subject to high degree of dilution in the ocean, 137Cs activities are also prone to concentrate in marine food-webs. With the aim to track the long term fate and bioaccumulation of 137Cs in marine organisms of the Northwest Pacific, we assessed the bioaccumulation potential of 137Cs in a North West Pacific foodweb by developing, applying and testing a simulation time dependent bioaccumulation model in a marine mammalian food web that includes fish-eating resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) as the apex predator.
The model outcomes showed that 137Cs can be expected to bioaccumulate gradually over time in the food web as demonstrated through the use of the slope of the trophic magnification factor (TMF) for 137Cs, which was significantly higher than one (TMF > 1.0; p < 0.0001), ranging from 5.0 at 365 days of simulation to 30 at 10,950 days.
From 1 year to 30 years of simulation, the 137Cs activities predicted in the male killer whale were 6.0 to 182 times 137Cs activities in its major prey (Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Bioaccumulation of 137Cs was characterized by slow uptake and elimination rates in upper trophic level.
Source :

Radiation in the Ocean Food Chain, An Assessment of BioMagnification

Biomagnification chart

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This chart is from Woods Hole.    I annotated it, since their description of different rates of plutonium absorption was verbal and very hard to track, seems intentionally so.

Then I tried to come up with actual radiation measurements in the water and the animal life.   The link below has decent water data, and some limited fish and ocean biota.

This report from Woods Hole Oceangraphic Institute is interesting to read.    Of course they always end with “Further research is needed”, LOL as giving them more money is their prime objective.

Interesting though….rather then doing testing on Marine Life, they do a lot of testing on water and they do modeling of ocean flows, and it seems a prime objective is to calculate the “source term” of what came out of Fukushima.     This Source Term is an estimate of what and how many radionuclides left the buildings.    Is seems odd but I guess that is what scientists do….calculate things.

But since they are in the ocean on  a boat equipped  with advanced radiation analysis equipment, and the ability to catch fish.     It sure seems like my prime focus would be to test the fish! And the bait crops.

The above is the main article.     You need to do quite a bit of bouncing around to get to the meat of that data.

Chart below  shows that contaminated water does not mix vertically much.     The radiation stays in the top 300 feet primarily.    It stays where 95% of the fish and critters stay.   It stays where it can do the most damage.

Depth and concentrationFish samplesFinally, the bogeyman that no one wishes to speak of.    Strontium.    Strontium goes into bones and becomes a permanent part of the food chain.

This article states that the Strontium can be present in same levels or more, than the Cesium.

Radiostrontium in the western North Pacific: characteristics, behavior, and the Fukushima impact.


The impact of the Fukushima-derived radiostrontium ((90)Sr and (89)Sr) on the western North Pacific Ocean has not been well established, although (90)Sr concentrations recorded in surface seawater offshore of the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant were in some areas comparable to or even higher than (as those in December 2011 with 400 kBq m(-3)(90)Sr) the (137)Cs levels. The total amount of (90)Sr released to the marine environment in the form of highly radioactive wastewater could reach about 1 PBq. Long-term series (1960-2010) of (90)Sr concentration measurements in subtropical surface waters of the western North Pacific indicated that its concentration has been decreasing gradually with a half-life of 14 y. The pre-Fukushima (90)Sr levels in surface waters, including coastal waters near Fukushima, were estimated to be 1 Bq m(-3). To better assess the impact of about 4-5 orders of magnitude increased radiostrontium levels on the marine environment, more detail measurements in seawater and biota of the western North Pacific are required.
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] 

We also know this from our work on estimating the overall source term of all the nuke waste at Fukushima.     The strontium is about equal to the cesium.

Finally a link to some prior work I had done on the bioaccumulation, aka biomagnification on sea life in Alaska.    Alaska was hit particularly hard by the Fukushima fallout, in fact, Fukushima increased the radiation in sea life the same way a direct nuclear bomb test did at point blank range.

Wrap your head around that.

From Alaska 2011 June

The soil and lichens have VERY high radioactivity.   6000 Bq /kG!

Here is the full report you can download.

“…* Uranium-234 — 3.854 pCi/kg Dolly Varden
* Uranium-234 — 5.312 pCi/kg Goose Egg no shell
* Uranium-234 — 3.466 Ci/kg Gull egg
* Uranium-234 — 4.96 pCi/kg Chiton
* Uranium-234 — 9.344 pCi/kg Dragon Kelp
* Uranium-234 — 7.885 pCi/kg Rockweed
* Uranium-234 — 4.906 pCi/kg Greenling
* Uranium-234 — 2.304 pCi/kg Halibut
* Uranium-234 — 58.721 pCi/kg Horse Mussel tissue
* Uranium-234 — 8.86 pCi/kg Irish Lord
* Uranium-234 — 7.127 pCi/kg Octopus
* Uranium-234 — 4.976 pCi/kg Pacific Cod
* Uranium-234 — 4.644 pCi/kg Rockfish
* Uranium-234 — 3.032 pCi/kg Reindeer Lichen
* Uranium-234 — 3.906 pCi/kg Sea Urchin

* Plutonium-239 — .039 pCi/kg Dolly Varden
* Plutonium-239 — .186 pCi/kg Goose Egg no shell
* Plutonium-239 — .104 pCi/kg Gull egg
* Plutonium-239 — .298 pCi/kg Chiton
* Plutonium-239 — .093 pCi/kg Dragon Kelp
* Plutonium-239 — .084 pCi/kg Rockweed
* Plutonium-239 — .379 pCi/kg Greeling
* Plutonium-239 — .038 pCi/kg Halibut
* Plutonium-239 — 4.194 pCi/kg Horse Mussel tissue
* Plutonium-239 — .378 pCi/kg Irish Lord
* Plutonium-239 — .036 pCi/kg Octopus
* Plutonium-239 — .05 pCi/kg Pacific Cod
* Plutonium-239 — .279 pCi/kg Rockfish
* Plutonium-239 — .152 pCi/kg Reindeer Lichen
* Plutonium-239 — .195 pCi/kg Sea Urchin
* Plutonium-240 — .039 pCi/kg Dolly Varden
* Plutonium-240 — .106 pCi/kg Goose Egg no shell

Source: Nuke Pro
* Plutonium-240 — .069 pCi/kg Gull egg
* Plutonium-240 — .149 pCi/kg Chiton
* Plutonium-240 — .037 pCi/kg Dragon Kelp
* Plutonium-240 — .02 pCi/kg Rockweed
* Plutonium-240 — .189 pCi/kg Greeling
* Plutonium-240 — .012 pCi/kg Halibut
* Plutonium-240 — 2.097 pCi/kg Horse Mussel tissue
* Plutonium-240 — .189 pCi/kg Irish Lord
* Plutonium-240 — .021 pCi/kg Octopus
* Plutonium-240 — .015 pCi/kg Pacific Cod
* Plutonium-240 — .139 pCi/kg Rockfish
* Plutonium-240 — .091 pCi/kg Reindeer Lichen
* Plutonium-240 — .117 pCi/kg Sea Urchin