Several new studies report that the impact to the US West Coast from Fukushima may be larger than anticipated. Radiation from the March 11, 2011 power plant meltdown contaminated the entire northern hemisphere within days, especially the West Coast of the United States. US environmental monitoring agencies have so far declined comment on what, if any, impact this could have on the health of the population along the coast.
On the Bellona website, Charles Digges quotes a new scientific paper as stating that its research "clearly demonstrates how little dissipation [of radionuclides] occurred [between March 12 and 16] due to the nature of the rapid global air circulation system."
Digges quotes nuclear physicist Arnie Gundersen as saying, "During April, the people in Seattle could have just as easily been in Tokyo for the amount of hot particles that were there." California's seaweed has tested over 500% higher for radioactive iodine-131 than anywhere else in the US and Canada.
20 million tons of debris have begun to wash up on the shores of the Pacific Northwest. Digges quotes Seattle oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer as saying, "We are not prepared for this. Nobody is prepared. Nobody has even thought through the dimensions. There’s never been a devastation on one continent that has moved off to the other continent and actually recorded."
Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan, since many of them have washed up on Alaska's Arctic coast since July, with bleeding lesions on their hind flippers.
Various newspapers and network news shows have reported sightings of government helicopters flying at low altitudes over cities such as Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle, measuring the radioactivity in the air.
The individual risks of cancer from long term exposure to radiation from Fukushima will be small, but when they are examined from the perspective of an entire population, they become more significant.
Digges quotes radiation biophysicist David Brenner as saying, "A tiny extra risk to a few people is one thing. But here we have a potential tiny extra risk to millions or even billions of people. Think of buying a lottery ticket--just like the millions of other people who buy a ticket, your chances of winning are miniscule. Yet among these millions of lottery players, a few people will certainly win; we just can't predict who they will be." In this case, a few people will lose.
Is all of this an exaggeration? Stay tuned to this website to find out.
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