Bright sunshine and a seemingly-warm breeze this early Monday here on California’s north coast, a kind of opposite to the weather across the US upper mid-west, where temperatures are “…about 20 degrees below the average high…” and nabs the title, ‘Winter Storm Astro,’ first of the season.
And a first, too, a Fukushima “fingerprint” is slowly lapping our shores.
(Illustration found here).
Earlier this year, traces of cesium-134, and cesium-137, both, were detected off Canada, but this notice from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute this morning brought the big picture to a smaller scale (h/t Lost Coast Outpost):
Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California.
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.
“We detected cesium-134, a contaminant from Fukushima, off the northern California coast. The levels are only detectable by sophisticated equipment able to discern minute quantities of radioactivity,” said Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine chemist, who is leading the monitoring effort.
“Most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope. Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s.
“Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”
The amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less than 2 Becquerels 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 1000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by US EPA.
Well, that’s a relief.
Eureka is about 10 miles south of where I am, so give-or-take a few miles, that shit is still pretty close for any comfort, despite the supposedly low wattage. Cesium-134 is so-considered the “fingerprint” from the crime scene that’s Fukushima.
The clean-up work on the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant continues in its normal fucked-up pace. Just on Friday, another mishap:
Three workers at the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant were hurt during an operation to set up a coolant tank for contaminated water. A 13-meter-high steel construction collapsed on them.
One of the workers has been left in critical condition after being knocked unconscious.
He was transported to the hospital from the plant by helicopter, according to a TEPCO spokesman, AFP reported.
A second worker has a broken leg, while the third did not sustain any major injuries.
The plant has been facing the worrying issue of contaminated water leaking into the Pacific Ocean.
It is looking into ways to clean the water to later release into the ocean without risk.
And on Friday, Japan approved a nuclear-plant restart — via the Guardian:
A local governor in Japan has given final approval to restart a nuclear power plant in southern Japan, the first to resume operations in the country under new safety rules imposed after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami.
Kagoshima governor Yuichiro Ito said restarting two reactors at the Sendai power station would go ahead despite the concerns of residents.
“All things considered, I must say that we still need to rely on nuclear energy, and it is extremely important for us to steadily carry out the plan,” Ito told a news conference.
Some residents are not convinced by the decision.
At the prefectural assembly on Friday, the chairman’s announcement of the yes vote was nearly inaudible as about 200 citizens in the audience shouted their opposition.
They stood up, some held “no” signs, while others shouted “Protect residents’ lives” and “Shame on you”, according to Kyodo News agency.
Residents are particularly concerned about several active volcanos around the plant.
Horse-ass — ‘despite the concerns of residents’ is the match-words of all the energy companies, especially the fracking butt-holes here in the US.
In a world literally burning up, hats-off to nasty douchbags.