January 13, 2014 – Farganne
Fear about Fukushima and its “poisoning of the Pacific” is rampant these days. On Facebook, I have noticed that the hysteria amongst my “truther” friends has grown to such a pitch that they get angry if I dare to question the reality of radioactive tuna, disintegrating starfish, and a nuclear apocalypse looming over the Pacific Northwest. The term “fear porn” has gained a lot of traction, and in this instance I can see why: intelligent people have become so addicted to their Pacific Ocean horror fixation, they refuse to evaluate any data that might contradict it.
Are there dying animal populations? Should residents of the Pacific Northwest be concerned? Does the Pacific Ocean contain large amounts of radioactive material? While the answer to all these questions is a definitive “Yes”, there is, as usual, a lot more to know.
Mainstream media outlets predictably peddle the lie that all four obliterated reactor containments at Fukushima remain unbreached. Meanwhile, the so-called “alternative media” has been hammering truth seekers relentlessly with dire claims that are equally misleading. These two false scenarios – one, everything is under control, and two, the Pacific Ocean has been destroyed – constitute the usual goalposts by which people are routinely deceived, manipulated, and distracted from reality.
Usually, the goalpost dialectic leads the public down a predetermined path of brainwashed opinion, and reality is somewhere outside the confines of the posts. In this case, however, reality is not only outside the goalposts, but in between them as well.
Let’s look at the latter reality first.
Yes, there was a starfish apocalypse. Dead starfish by the millions littered the ocean floor off the British Columbian coast. Their arms were falling off. Their guts were gooshing out. When marine biologists collected them in tanks for analysis, they sometimes turned to jelly before they reached the laboratory. This starfish die-off is confirmed by multiple sources; it is in no way a hoax.
“Alternative news” sites such as ENEnews.com promptly attributed the die-off to radiation from Fukushima. Droves of truthers, already terrified by reports of radioactive tuna and Google Maps images showing the killer radiation overtaking the Pacific like a psychedelic oil slick, fell for this bit of disinformation hook, line, and sinker.
The truth is that such die-offs are a regular occurrence in nature, as any professional biologist knows. Die-offs happen when populations outstrip food supply; malnourishment leads to starvation and, more importantly, disease, which quickly propagates, effecting a population crash.
After the crash, the survivors, presumably the fittest, enjoy less competition for a rebounding food supply, and there is a population explosion.
Dr. Craig McClain, Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, identifies the syndrome that caused the die-off, and gives three reasons why it had nothing to do with Fukushima: (1) as an observed phenomenon, it predates Fukushima by 3 – 15 years; (2) it also occurs on the East Coast; and (3), other forms of life in the region remained unaffected.
Far from being unusual events, animal die-offs happen all the time, and normally go unremarked by all but the scientists who monitor them. Unscrupulous outlets like ENEnews.com and Rense.com are now hauling reports of them into the alternative media limelight and attributing them to Fukushima fallout without presenting a shred of evidence. In doing so, they spread not only disinformation, but needless fear.
I have noticed many claims of high Geiger counter readings in the Pacific Northwest. As I live a few hundred kilometers upwind of Fukushima (west of it), I have no way to verify these claims personally, so my inclination is to suspend judgment until I have more data to work with. From there, I employ my BS detector, which is calibrated to my satisfaction.
According to Jim Stone, the engineer and ex-NSA analyst who proved that Fukushima was an act of environmental terrorism, the outlook for the North American Pacific coast is troubling. Not dire, but there are causes for concern. The nuke that destroyed Reactor 3 and blew its fuel core sky-high did indeed produce particles that were blown eastward and are most likely to end up in riverbeds. Stone says that if he were to go camping anywhere in that region without a Geiger counter, he would avoid dry riverbeds by default.
So, radioactive particles that are not naturally occurring – suddenly they occur. That isn’t good, but neither is it the end of the world, when one considers the many nuclear test detonations conducted by the Cold War superpowers and other “first-world” nations. True, such explosions are not as dirty as the one at Reactor 3, but they certainly don’t vanish without a trace. Said test detonations have been identified as one factor in the cancer rate explosion of the 20th century.
Then there are articles like this one from Geigercounter.com, which argues that high readings in California were owing to naturally radioactive sand. I’m not saying it discounts all other claims of high readings, but it does make me reflect on the possibility that (1) more people than ever, out of fear, are buying Geiger counters and taking readings, and (2) they assume that any reading above normal is directly due to Fukushima.
What most people don’t realize is background radiation is not uniform. There are naturally occurring hot spots that vary widely in intensity. In some parts of Iran, people thrive in regions where the radioactive norm is many times that in the United States.
So I think it makes sense to take the amateur Geiger counter readings with several grains of salt.
Stone makes another good point. In Washington State, police cars are equipped with Geiger counters, and they still sometimes detect radiotherapy patients and pull them over. This indicates that the background radiation in that region has not spiked because of Fukushima; otherwise, the cops’ Geiger counters would be jammed and useless for detecting cancer patients.
Bottom line: some particles from the obliterated core of Reactor 3 have certainly found their way to North America, but the reality does not begin to approach all the hype.
“The Pacific Ocean is DYING!”
This is where my friends have been getting most emotional, most reactionary, and understandably so. People love whales and dolphins, and a whole lot of them enjoy seafood too. If the Pacific dies, well, how much more catastrophic can you get, short of a planetary mass extinction event?
It turns out that this claim, that “The Pacific Ocean is dying”, is the most tenuous of them all.
For this section, I am going to appeal to what I consider to be a qualified authority, and let Jim Stone speak for himself:
The Pacific is not destroyed for several reasons. One of them is the fact that for millions of years almost all of the reactor cores will sit where they are right now, that material is not all getting put in the ocean – in fact, only a fraction of a percent will ever be there (short of what reactor 3 put there during the blast, which was a lot).
Another reason why the Pacific will not be destroyed is the fact that it is just too much volume to contaminate seriously with only three reactor cores. The U.S. did a large number of atomic tests out in the Pacific, many of them using up to a thousand pounds of enriched uranium and it did not wreck the ocean. I would estimate that at a minimum the U.S. blew up a total of at least 20 percent of the total volume of radioactive material in the melted down reactors during past atomic tests out in the Pacific, and it cannot be measured now. And Tsar Bomba which was lit off by Russia contained approximately 5 percent of the radiological potential of the reactors out at Fuku and released it all into the environment in one big blast. The area is not dead now (though it was significantly fried at the time).
The ocean happens to be an ideal sink for radioactive waste. One key factor is that even gamma radiation cannot penetrate more than two and a half feet of seawater. Water itself is a radiation shield. This will serve to enormously squelch any damage Fukushima does to the ocean and certainly people living on the coast will not get anything measurable from the sea even while swimming in it. If it was open air, where gamma rays can travel miles, well, that might be a different story.
It takes only a fuel pool with a little water to soak up ALL the radiation from many reactor cores. To say even reactor 3´s entire expelled core could poison the ocean is beyond stupid – it’s ludicrous. Three hundred tons of radiactive water may weigh a lot in the bedroom, but compared to the ocean it is not even a bird turd dropping in the Panama Canal. When you also factor in the fact that this water will have less than a milligram of dissolved nuclear material, it’s ludicrous to say that whatever is seeping into the ocean from Fuku could cause a problem. Any contamination being read happened when the dust of reactor 3 precipitated into the ocean, NOT what is seeping in now. The big dirty already happened . . . .
Again, when I asked him if he was avoiding tuna, his reply:
Why would I avoid tuna? The Fuku scare is BULLSHIT. That’s like avoiding tuna because nuclear tests were done in the ocean 50 years ago. True, reactor 3 matches that but to think the entire ocean is shot is ridiculous…
Of course I eat tuna. If tuna was even marginally radioactive, if it had even a trace of radioactivity all the port alarms would go off every time a fishing boat came to town. Those boats are made out of steel, not lead and things remain awful silent in Ketchican.
I’m no scientist, but Stone’s claims make sense to me. I checked it out, and water is indeed an excellent radiation sink. The Pacific tests really happened – ask the natives of Bikini Atoll. The analogy of the bird turd in the Panama Canal also seems about right when you consider that the Pacific Ocean occupies fully 30% of the planet’s surface.
I know that I have not addressed all the Fukushima contamination claims, just the main ones. If you are freaked out by the hype, I suggest that you consider the possibility that you are getting roped in by a fear porn campaign designed to … do what?
Now we come to the reality outside the goalposts.
Stone thinks that the purpose of the disinformation is to divert truthers’ attention from the real issues surrounding Fukushima. Those are that (1) the disaster on 3/11/11 was a coordinated attack on Japan, (2) the majority of environmental damage outside Japan came in the immediate wake of that attack, and (3) the most serious issue is all the expelled fuel that remains lying out in the open near Reactor 3’s destroyed containment. So lethal is that debris that not even robots can survive proximity to it, and it threatens to render much of that region of Japan uninhabitable for centuries to come.
I think there is another purpose to it, as well. I think the “elites” enjoy scaring the masses, and in a sense they feed on it. Fear is an excellent tool for keeping people’s minds in chains, especially when they happen to be a demographic (frequenters of “alternative” media) who are consciously trying to shake off those chains and become mentally free.
If you haven’t yet read Stone’s report proving that 3/11/11 was an act of war and Israel was involved, you can download it in PDF format here.