And circulating in that warm, surging, El Niño-influenced Pacific Ocean — along with our weather elements — are radioactive shit still coming toward us off the Fukushima disaster.
Now coming upon five years later…
Early on March 11, 2011, a rattling: ‘An administrator at the Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa facility said the process for the cooling reactor was “not going as planned,” adding that “nuclear emergency situation” has been declared. Officials evacuated the three-kilometer area around the plant.’
Shit then hit-the-fan, and since.
Beyond the sordid history of one disaster-after-another at the plant, the Fukushima horror still keeps kicking — from yesterday’s Discovery:
Fukushima radiation did eventually show up off British Columbia the following year, according to a study published in 2014 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and it’s been continuing to drift this way ever since.
Now, according to new research, an increased number of sites off the U.S. West Coast are showing signs of contamination from the crippled nuke plant.
That sampling includes the highest detected level to date, from waters about 1,600 miles west of San Francisco.
And most-likely, the trend will continue moving toward our Pacific coastline. Ken Buesseler, director of the Woods Hole Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity (via Mother Nature Network this morning):
“Levels today off Japan are thousands of times lower than during the peak releases in 2011.
“That said, finding values that are still elevated off Fukushima confirms that there is continued release from the plant,” explained Buesseler.
And even worse — a new study published last September reveals Fukushima was a preventable fuck-up (via Science2.0):
“While most studies have focused on the response to the accident, we’ve found that there were design problems that led to the disaster that should have been dealt with long before the earthquake hit,” said Synolakis, professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC Viterbi.
“Earlier government and industry studies focused on the mechanical failures and ‘buried the lead.’
The pre-event tsunami hazards study if done properly, would have identified the diesel generators as the lynch pin of a future disaster.
Fukushima Dai-ichi was a siting duck waiting to be flooded.”
The authors describe the disaster as a “cascade of industrial, regulatory and engineering failures,” leading to a situation where critical infrastructure – in this case, backup generators to keep the cooling the plant in the event of main power loss – was built in harm’s way.
(Illustration above found here).