Saturday, January 11, 2014

Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of Life in the Pacific Ocean?

(Hat tip: The argument outlined here was suggested in a careful assemblage of Enenews headlines, particularly this one:
Radiation jumps around Fukushima plant — Now ~1,000% previous levels — Tepco kept strontium-90 data secret for months — Officials knew of increase but ‘too busy’ to do anything — Gov’t holds Friday meeting about what can be doneI've made the argument explicit using additional data.)

The nuclear village is prepped for the propaganda war.

Nuclear scientists are lined up ready with their research to minimize the impact. Even non-biased scientists may grossly underestimate Fukushima contamination by relying on flawed models.

We see this concerted trivialization of potential Fukushima effects at online sites such as Deep Sea News, which has recently committed to “combat misinformation about the presence of high levels of Fukushima radiation…” with articles such as:

Is the sea floor littered with dead animals due to radiation? No.

Three Reasons Why Fukushima Radiation Has Nothing to Do with Starfish Wasting Syndrome

These articles attempt to debunk radiation as a cause by logic rather than empirical data. What are missing from the Deep Sea analyses are actual empirical measurements of radiation levels. Lack of empirical data calls into question Deep Sea’s conclusions.

Scientists predicting ocean contamination from Fukushima based on samples taken in 2011 and 2012 may be grossly under-estimating the volume of total releases occurring across time.

For example, one study estimated total releases of strontium based samples analyzed in 2012. So, the samples were either taken in 2011 or 2012.

N. Casacuberta, P. Masqu´e, J. Garcia-Orellana, R. Garcia-Tenorio, and K. O. Buesseler (2013) 90Sr and 89Sr in seawater off Japan as consequence of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident Biogeosciences Discuss., 10, 2039–2067

Here we calculated the release of 90Sr by using the 90Sr/137Cs ratio data obtained from the analyzed samples (Buesseler et al., 2012), once corrected for background concentrations (1.2 and 2.5 Bqm−3 for 90Sr and 137Cs, respectively) (IAEA, 2005) (Fig. 7).

This study does not anticipate a sharp increase in the volume of strontium released by Fukushima Daiichi across time in its estimates of total releases, although it does acknowledge direct discharges of cooling water into the ocean:

Thus, the inventory of 90Sr Fukushima-derived in the oceans from 19±6 to 265±74 Bqm−3, respectively. While the occurrence of 89Sr is an evident signal of Fukushima-derived releases, the activities of 90Sr measured in some stations reached values two orders of magnitude higher than the background levels reported in this area (i.e. 1.2 Bqm−3). The 90Sr/137Cs ratio has been calculated to be 0.0265±5 0.0006 (in May–June 2011) although it may have varied, especially after a significant leakage of contaminated waters that occurred in December 2011. This ratio is unique and significantly different than that of the global atmospheric fallout produced by nuclear weapon tests, which was 0.63 and it may be used in future studies to track waters coming from Fukushima. Results of the samples analyzed here evidenced a much 10 stronger influence of direct discharges of cooling water into the sea and the oceanic background concentration, rather than atmospheric deposition. Direct discharges have been quantified on the basis of the estimates of 137Cs discharges and the 90Sr/137Cs ratio, resulting in a range between 90 and 900 TBq of 90Sr.

This study’s results for total releases will not be valid if strontium contamination increases exponentially.

It appears that strontium contamination is increasing exponentially. Radiation levels in fresh and sea water sampling have been rising steadily since the summer of 2013:

Record radiation levels detected in well at Fukushima nuke plant Dec 14 2013, The Asahi Shimbun,
A record 1.8 million becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter of water were detected at a monitoring well at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Dec. 13. The reading concerns strontium and other beta-ray sources. The water was sampled at a monitoring well in an area close to the sea near the No. 2 reactor building on Dec. 12. The well is located close to trenches holding highly radioactive water. TEPCO said the reading apparently spiked after highly radioactive water seeped into the surroundings through failed parts of the trenches

Fukushima Diary analyzed TEPCO’s December 2013 data and reported unprecedented levels of  strontium:
1,900,000,000 Bq/m3 of all β nuclide on seaside of reactor2 / Keeps increasing for a month. Posted by Mochizuki on December 23rd, 2013

Significantly high level of all β nuclide (including Strontium-90) is detected in groundwater on the seaside of reactor2, and it’s breaking the highest records every time Tepco analyzes. This is the groundwater sampled from one of the borings between reactor2 and the sea. From Tepco’s own data, the density has been increasing at least since 11/25/2013. The latest reading is 1,900,000,000 Bq/m3, which is measured on 12/19/2013. This is approx. as double as the one of 11/25/2013.

Majia here: Ok so strontium levels in the ground water and in ocean samples have been spiking massively. That is why TEPCO has been withholding readings:

TEPCO withheld Fukushima radioactive water measurements for 6 months (2014, January 9) The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has withheld 140 measurements of radioactive strontium levels taken in groundwater and the port of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant between June and November last year. TEPCO has been releasing the combined levels of all radioactive substances, including strontium, that emit beta rays, at the crippled nuclear plant. But strontium levels exceeded the all-beta readings in some instances, leading the utility to decide they were “wrong” and to withhold them from public releases, TEPCO officials said Jan. 8. Previously, TEPCO officials said they had not released the data because the numbers were not confirmed.

Majia here: So, from these rising contamination levels we can conclude that the published research studies predicting total strontium contamination of the ocean are going to grossly under-estimate actual total contamination.

What we need is a model that predicts trends in strontium contamination under the conditions found at the Daiichi site.

First, what conditions are found at Daiichi? TEPCO admitted in May of 2011 that core melt-throughs had occurred at the Daiichi site. Melted fuel has breached containment and is in direct contact with water at the site.

The Daiichi site is very, very wet because it was built on the site of an old river bed, which was diverted for construction. The river has returned to its historical course under the Daiichi site.

This explains why site liquefaction is occurring at the Daiichi site. So, we need a model of strontium contamination based on a water-logged melt-through scenario. 

Enenews reported on a German study that roughly uses these parameters, although the German model was less water-saturated

Study finds giant strontium-90 release into body of water begins around 1,000 days after reactor meltdown — 1,000 days after 3/11 = December 2013 — Graphic shows very high levels discharged for tens of thousands of days

The German simulation found that strontium-90 levels in ground water would likely spike dramatically 1,000 days after a meltdown. The study was published in the 1990s but has relevance for Fukushima’s melt-throughs. I read the article and this passage stood out: 
The highest radionuclide concentration of approx. 10 to the tenth power Bq/m3 is reached by Sr-90 after 5000 days. The effective equivalent dose for an adult is above 10 the second power Sv/a.

After a prolonged period of about 10,000 days, Cs-137 reaches a maximum of about 10 to the eight power Bq/m3. The effective equivalent dose for this radioncuclide is approximately 1 sv/a.

A. Bayer, W. Tromm, & I. Al-Omari. Dispersion of Radionuclides and Radiation Exposure After Leaching by Groundwater of a Solidified Core-Concrete Melt.

Majia here: This study may lend insight into TEPCO data on spiking strontium contamination.

The study’s model best fits the data on spiking contamination levels, providing more conceptual and empirical evidence that at least one of the units at Fukushima Daiichi experienced full melt-through, known in popular jargon as ‘China Syndrome.’The Pacific Ocean is going to be hammered with Strontium-90 for years and years.

Majia here: Hideo Yamazaki, a marine biologist at Kinki University, believes the site will continue to contaminate the ocean for years until massive structural repairs are made: ‘The current levels of contamination in the fish and seafood from the Fukushima coast will continue for a while, perhaps more than 10 years, judging from the progress in the cleanup process’. [i] 

Marine animals at the top of the food chain and birds that feed on marine life will become highly contaminated under these conditions. Bioaccumulation and biomagnification are inevitable and I believe they will be devastating to Pacific life. 

Bioaccumulation of cesium has been studied more widely than strontium because the former is easier to detect. In August of 2012, Jiji Press reported that ‘25,800 Becquerels of Cesium Detected in Fish Caught off Fukushima.’[ii] In March 2013, a fish measuring 740,000 Bq/kg was caught off of Fukushima.[iii] In April 2012 the Japanese media reported: ‘Cesium up to 100 times levels before disaster found in plankton far off nuke plant.’[iv]

More recently:
Fish with very high levels of cesium found near Fukushima January 11, 2014
A fish contaminated with extremely high levels of radiation was found in waters near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant…The Fisheries Research Agency said Jan. 10 the black sea bream had 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, 124 times the safety standards for foodstuffs. The fish was caught at the mouth of the Niidagawa river in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Nov. 17. The site is 37 kilometers south of the stricken power plant….The research institute said it will study the fish further to try and determine when it became contaminated with such high levels of radioactive cesium.

Strontium contamination is ultimately going to be far more concentrated than cesium contamination. However, unless scientists go out and actually sample sea life across time they will not be able to predict cumulative strontium contamination levels. 

Unfortunately, strontium is more difficult to test for than cesium. Scientists might well test only for cesium and then excluded all radionuclides as causing undiagnosed disease syndromes in sardines and starfish, for example, based on strontium-cesium ratios predicted in research studies such as the one examined above by Casacuberta, et al (2013).

Strontium is very nasty biologically. I recommend reading these two posts by Optimal Prediction and Nuke Pro (who is anti-nuke):

Strontium, the Bogeyman exists, a Wicked One Two Punch

One of the unpleasant things I learned about strontium is that can enter the brain’s calcium-ion channels and be stored there as an analogue of calcium. Imagine having radionuclides decaying inside your brain’s neural networks. Read about it here

Bioaccumulation and biomagnification are typically much faster in the ocean than on land. However, we too will bio-accumulate strontium, as well as other radioisotopes across time and we will transmit damage to our children via our radiation-mutated germ line cells.

We will breath strontium in the air and consume it in our food, particularly in seafood but no doubt in other food sources that tend to be high in calcium.

Strontium will continue to be dispersed atmospherically directly at the plant in the form of radioactive steam releases and the strontium in the ocean will be cycled through evaporation and bio-magnification. It is indeed likely that Fukushima contamination will kill great swathes of life in the Pacific, particularly because that life was already stressed by ocean contamination, acidification, and declining food stocks. Fukushima contamination is, I argue, a likely global tipping point.


[i]   ‘Cesium Levels in Fish off Fukushima Not dropping’ (26 October 2012), The Asahi Shimbun,, date accessed 27 October 2012.
[ii] ‘25,800 Becquerels of Cesium Detected in Fish Caught Off Fukushima’ (21 August 2012), Jiji Press,, date accessed 22 August 2012. See also ‘Radiation 258 Times Legal Limit Found in Fish off Fukushima’ (22 August 2012), The Asahi Shimbun,, date accessed 23 August 2012.
[iii] ‘TEPCO (15 March 2013), Jiji,, date accessed 17 March 2013.
[iv] ‘Cesium up to 100 Times Levels Before Disaster Found in Plankton Far off Nuke Plant’ (3 April 2012), The Mainichi,, date accessed 3 April 2012.


Introduction to Majia's Blog and Index of Posts Here 
October 2013 Interview with James Fetzer about my book, Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk (Palgrave, 2013)

PowerPoint of data examining reports of conditions at the plant and evidence of criticalities, which can be seen here  or here



  1. My comment at Enenews about this particular blog post:

    Recent headlines posted by Enenews make the implicit argument that strontium and other radionuclide levels are far greater than anticipated by research models.

    Additionally, Enenews admin has carefully noted that even Ken Buesseler is concerned about bio-accumulation.

    We have a scenario unfolding where sites such as Deep Sea News and public health authorities are saying adverse animal mortality events could not be caused by Fukushima because radiation levels are not high enough to cause these effects and some of the effects occurred, albeit in far less magnitude, before the disaster.

    But these Deep Sea News stories and claims by public health authorities are not based on actual empirical data of contamination levels, particularly of strontium levels, which are harder than cesium to detect.

    Strontium contamination is going to be far greater than cesium according to the German study that was cited by Enenews. And strontium contamination looks like it is just getting started.

    I have explicated this argument carefully with a wide array of data points include rising strontium detections by TEPCO and scientific findings and analyses:

    Public health authorities will wring their hands and say it couldn't be Fukushima because they are relying on flawed models and they do not acknowledge the scope of previous eco-system damage due to SF dumping & Hanford.

    Denial is a drug.

  2. Thank you, Majia, this is so important.

    The majority of fallout studies I have seen focus on Strontium 90. I don't believe that they spent the 20th century measuring Sr-90, but now it is too "difficult."

    Sr-90 effectively reveals the effects of fallout in significant increases in cancer, etc.

    We also need to see the data on Iodine 131, as an indicator of on-going fission at Fukushima, as well as plutonium. Why, after almost 3 years, do they still withhold this data?


  3. Majia, I appreciate very much your articles, I want to ask you two things.
    1. Why dont you have a RSS button on your blog, sso that it would be easier for people to follow ALL your articles coming out. As it is I am missing some sometimes.
    2. Is it possible to follow you on Twitter?

    Thanks for all your work and efforts, good continuation to you. Best wishes.

    1. I apologize but I don't know the answers to these questions. I'll have to check.

  4. I see that some shills are reliant upon Deep Sea Nutwork for their claims. So many claimed contributing Doctors, so few brain cells. Ain't brain death a wonder?
    Am thankful you are here! Wishing i had "awakened" sooner.

  5. Majia,
    Thanks for continuing to produce blog articles that are full of facts that are difficult to dispute.

    It seems this guy McClain is the owner of the Deep Sea Network site and he is funded by the National Science Foundation - which is funded by the US government. So he is hardly an independent researcher.

    I don't know if ocean animals are dying of radiation, but I would not be surprised. I don't really like relying on "die off" reports, without clear linkage to radiation, because that's the kind of thing that can be easily faked or overhyped. Take one picture of dying starfish and post a hundred articles over the internet. This the kind of thing the global warming team has been doing for years. Show a receding glacier and blame it on global warming - when in equilibrium half the glaciers are growing and half receding at any particular point in time.

    It shouldn't be hard to do some simple testing on the dying animals and determine what the cause of death is and determine if radiation is present in high quantities.

    But this does not appear to be happening. In nearly every case they say "it's not because of radiation" because of this or that - not "because we tested and there was no radiation".

    For a scientist - such as this McClain guy - to be studying starfish die offs and to try to discredit radiation as the source without testing for radiation - is ludicrous.

    Actually it happens all the time - it's fake science.

    I know it sounds crazy - but having a guy like that with real credentials spewing non-science in a way that reeks of political agenda - would have passed right over my radar in the past. But today this kind of thing just stops me in my tracks.

    It's a sure sign that someone with enough money to hire a real scientist and have him spew garbage like an 8th grader; a sure sign that something is afoot and someone is actively trying to gloss it over.


  6. So like the cover up of 9/11. Apparently there are only a handful of people who know anything about radiation? Just as there was a terrible shortage of people who knew physics and things about explosives after 9/11? Unfortunately Fukushima is far more complex than 9/11 and not so easy to penetrate. Assuming what we have been told all along . . . dirty bombs for example. DU. Workers wearing badges that note level of exposure. Licking radium off paint brushes. Tons now of radioactive material being washed over by water flowing into the Pacific. Granted it is a big lot of water--but imagine this goes on for decades and centuries. Sounds very bad to me. But nothing even at Drudge most days. Nothing anywhere except in almost hidden places like this. The latter to be expected because Rense is rather obsessed with health. But still I think America could handle a few days of PANIC. They have no qualms when it comes to terrorists even when the terrorists have been nannied to the act by the FBI or CIA with a fake bomb. But then the terrorist thing is mostly a hoax whereas Fukushima is the scary real thing monster. Apparently TEPCO needs no helping hands. Twiddling to no end. I wonder though why they don't go back from the coast and dig down far enough to intercept the water and then divert it. Concrete would do this quite well. They might put a cover over it to keep out rain--an astro dome. Or is the water what is keeping it under some control? When do we get a professional quality documentary? Or will that be for the potentially deformed great grand children? A trillion dollars for defense and nothing for this practical problem?

  7. I agree with your comments James and William.

    The silence from the 'experts' is rather telling I think.

    The problem is that the silence is going exacerbate exposure unnecessarily.

    I guess that our so-called leaders' experience with environmental dispossession (across the world) has been so effective that its their mode of operation.

    People, land, water, and air can be contaminated without sanction so long as the contaminant is not detectable with everyday senses (taste, smell, sight).

    The recent 'spill' in West Virginia produced a strong smell and could not be denied.

    If only radiation smelled.

  8. As we have to come to expect both the government and academia will sit out on a disaster if at all possible. Remember the Florida professor whose job was in jeopardy for his comments on Sandy Hook. The Navy is now asserting that the sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan were not exposed to dangerous levels of radiation! Must be something the 71 ate or sea sickness. And I hope we keep in mind that the NSA would not spy on Congress persons for illicit reasons.
    A writer today at the "Daily Sheeple" gave a good explanation as to why Obama would want to remain silent on this "non-event" as one of his high appointees is the CEO(?) of GE. And there are 23 M1 nuclear reactors in the USA with their 100' high pool of spent fuel--what a crazy design feature in an unstable world. I imagine a stinger missile could cause a lot of havoc pretty easily or even something homemade. Geologists now say an earthquake could occur anywhere which I am sure was not news in the past century.
    So we are living in one of the usual regimes of history. Like bad kings and tyrants the Presidents, Prime Ministers and Premiers busily work to enhance their images. In fact I would venture to say that the President of the USA is one of the least free men of history locked in the embrace of the big corporations. Given all his secrets he can hardly make a move without being threatened with blackmail domestically or abroad. I wonder what Japan has on him? Still this is probably one of the biggest ever cover ups. It goes way beyond JFk '63 or 9/11 as it is likely within two decades to destroy the lives of quite possibly millions. Dr. Caldicott explained that it takes about 17 years for the cancers to develop. In the meantime the ocean will just play out and become a strange laboratory for mutations. It will be interesting to watch them come up with novel explanations for all this. Probably climate change is the cause of the sardines dying out? And there will be other clever ideas that come along. Fortunately as a California professor has demonstrated no field work will really be necessary. Nonetheless, the more people that know the more that can take some precautions such as careful eating, some herbs and supplements and so on. But there is a limit to that as well. I suppose were it not for the problem of air living in an old mine would be feasible. We have lots of those in CO, and there are plenty in CA. It is a little early for escapes to other planets--and there is a lot of radiation in the Van Allen Belt. Good luck. Glad you are doing this blog and working so hard to keep track of things.

  9. OK, here are a few facts that need to be considered by Fukushima doomsayers, and which I haven’t seen front and centre in the debate as yet.
    Assuming that the German modeling study is accurate and reasonably applicable to the Fukushima situation, my calculations worse case scenarios for Sr contaminated groundwater discharges to the ocean is that they will peak at an upper level of 1-2 PBq/year around 2025.
    While that sounds a great deal at first blush, it needs to be seen in context.
    Compare that annual discharge of 1-2PBq to the estimated 500PBq of Sr90 deposited into the Pacific between 1950 and 1980 dues to weapons testing.
    1 Pbq is the equivalent of around 15g of Sr90.
    Compare that to the amount of non radioactive Sr in the Pacific Ocean- which is approximately 5000 trillion tons (total water in Pacific is 6 x 1020 litres, and Sr is present naturally at mean concentrations of 8ppm).
    In that context, it should be remembered that that biological processes do not distinguish between uptake of radioactive and nonradioactive Sr. Biotoxicity of Sr90 is therefore a function of the ratio between Sr90 and Sr. (see
    On land, where the concentrations of Sr in soils are several orders of magnitude less than in the oceans, depositions of particulate Sr90 result in Sr90/Sr ratios hundreds, if not thousands of times greater than in the marine environment.
    The only logical conclusion I can see is that Sr, while of far greater importance than Cs (which will have lower long term concentrations, is not strongly bioaccumulative and has a much lower biological halflife than Sr), is unlikely to present a significant marine contamination source outside of the inner coastal waters of Japan.
    I just wish they would actually tell us the figures they are getting from monitoring Sr90!!
    A final point. There are areas in the North Pacific like Bikini Atoll that received localized doses of Sr equivalent to decades of peak predicted discharges from Fukushima.
    They are not nuclear wastelands choked with dying fish populations. Ground zero Bikini Atoll is now a world famous dive location, with no observable long term marine ecological effects having been suffered from 50 years of Sr exposure.
    Feedback, anyone?

    1. Thank you for your comment Nicholas

      Please see my response here

    2. Regarding the Marshall Islands and atomic testing:

      “To this day, peoples of Rongelap, Bikini, Enewetak, and many in the Marshall Islands continue to suffer from cancer, miscarriages, and tumors. Eighty-four percent of those who lived on Rongelap who below 10 years old at the times of the explosions have required surgery for thyroid tumors (Alexander, ibid., p.30).”

      First hand account of illness from atomic testing, how the environment changed, how she was told food was safe to eat, and how she was very sick, etc.


      "The most common birth defects on Rongelap and nearby islands have been “jellyfish” babies. These babies are born with no bones in their bodies and with transparent skin. We can see their brains and hearts beating. The babies usually live for a day or two before they stop breathing. Many women die from abnormal pregnancies, and those who survive give birth to what looks like purple grapes that we quickly bury.”

  10. Watch the video linked below on testing fish for radiation,

    and listen to how the government agencies are passing the buck on testing.

    The interviewer asks why aren’t gov’t agencies covering this?

    She answers that Buesseler has gone to 5 different agencies.

    But “budges are very tight”

    And everyone seems to think it’s someone else’s problem ===>

    > NOAA says we’re looking at debris, but we don’t look for radiation

    > EPA says they cover chemicals but not radioactivity… that would be done by the DOE

    > DOE says we look at radiation but only on land

    > FDA says yes but this isn’t affecting our food supply

    > National Science Foundation says we do basic research, and this is really an applied problem

    Everyone has a justification for not looking for radiation.

    1. Unbelievable!

      No agency wants the responsibility for telling the people.

  11. What I would like to know is why haven't the mainstream environmental groups made a huge issue regarding Fukushima? After all, they're supposed to be worried about the environment, oceans, etc., aren't they? Could it be since there is no money in pursuing Fukushima that they have elected to let it pass, unspoken of and ignored? Just thinking...

    1. I believe there has been a concerted propaganda campaign around Fukushima.

      The best reporting was very early in the disaster before the media (at least in the US) were brought in step in April 2011.

      I've reported and commented upon this engineering of consent around Fukushima news quite extensively.