Massive radiation plume from Fukushima continues drifting to U.S. West Coast
by: David Gutierrez
By 2016, nearly as much radiation from the Fukushima disaster will have reached the North American West Coast as was initially scattered over Japan during the nuclear explosions, according to professor Michio Aoyama of Japan's Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity.
In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple nuclear meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A massive cloud of radiation was ejected into the atmosphere, settling all across Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.
Approximately 800 terabecquerels' worth of cesium-137 (Cs-137) alone is expected to reach North America by next year, accounting for just 5 percent of the Cs-137 spilled into the ocean as a result of the disaster.
Radioactivity already arriving
Radioactive cesium does not naturally occur on planet Earth and is found only as a result of human nuclear activities. Cs-137 is widely considered one of the most dangerous byproducts of nuclear activity, because it mimics the activity of potassium and therefore accumulates in soil and plants, and is actively taken up by the human body.
Aoyama says that approximately 3,500 terabecquerels' worth of Cs-137 have been released into the sea from the Fukushima plant since March 2011, plus an additional 1.2 to 1.5 terabecquerels that was first released into the air but later fell into the sea. Based on measurements of the pace at which the Cs-137 has been moving eastward, Aoyama recently calculated that 800 terabecquerels would reach the West Coast of North America by next year.
Notably, 800 terabecquerels is nearly as much as (80 percent of) the 1,000 terabequerels that Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Company says fell over Japan following the disaster.
In April, researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announced that they had detected traces of Cs-134 in waters collected at the shores of Vancouver Island. Because this isotope has a half-life of only two years, the only likely source of this contamination is from the Fukushima disaster.
Based on this and other studies, Aoyama said that the 800 terabecquerels he has predicted might already have arrived at North American shores.
Media coverage of Aoyama's statements noted that Cs-137 levels measured at U.S. beaches were "only" 1 to 2 becquerels per cubic meter, and should therefore not pose health risks. However, this may be because the bulk of the radioactive material has not yet reached U.S. shores. Measurements taken a little farther off the California coast returned readings of 6.9 becquerels per cubic meter for Cs-137 and 1.7 bequerels per cubic meter for Cs-134, for a total of 8.6. Similarly, the Woods Hole study -- which took place on Canadian, not U.S., shores -- returned total readings of 7.2 becquerels per cubic meter.
How to protect yourself
People concerned that they live in areas where they might be exposed to radioactive cesium have a few ways to protect their health. Certain water filters are able to remove radioactive isotopes, including cesium, from drinking water. According to WaterFilterLabs.com, the Big Berkey filter is the most effective, removing nearly all traces of toxic elements, including 98.6 percent of cesium. Other filters capable of removing cesium include AquaTru and Zero Water.
People exposed to radioactive cesium in their food might want to consider the patent-pending Cesium Eliminator, developed by the Health Ranger, Mike Adams. Available in powder or pill form, the Cesium Eliminator is an emergency measure to bind up cesium isotopes and keep them from being absorbed by the body, similar to how iodine supplements can help protect the thyroid gland during a nuclear disaster. Cesium Eliminator is not a dietary supplement and is meant for emergency situations only.
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