Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fukushima Daiichi, the "Blob" and Pacific Coastal Life

I returned from a vacation trip to San Diego a few days ago.


I had not been in San Diego since the summer of 2011. Please see my post about the condition of tide pools that year at Wynd and Sea Beach in La Jolla.

Unfortunately, this year we didn’t make it back to that same beach at low-tide so I wasn’t able to inspect the tide pools to see if they have recovered.

I did visit La Jolla Cove with my family this year (1-2 miles north of Wynd and Sea). The water at La Jolla Cove was very, very warm at 79 degrees in La Jolla Cove. I don’t recall it ever being that warm in the years I lived there from 1983-1989 and during the subsequent summer visitations nearly every year after until my last visit in 2011. 

The "blob" has enveloped La Jolla Cove, but the area seemed to be full of life. I saw a baby stingray and my son saw a CA lobster there. The cove was thick with fish and sea lions. The seal ions were swimming alongside people in the cove, a situation which I doubt was healthy for either species, although relations between the two seemed very relaxed.  

We visited Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla, up by UCSD, and I asked about sea lion strandings. The employee I spoke with said the strandings of juvenile and adult sea lions continues unabated at elevated levels, with over 200 stranded sea lions treated for “malnutrition” this spring. She said Sea World has taken the lead in rehabilitation and re-introductions. This trend in sea lion strandings began in 2011, along with other significant adverse impacts to sea life that have been documented by the NOAA and I’ve described in my book monographs. 

What does it all mean? Ocean degradation had been accelerating rapidly prior to Fukushima. The Atlantic Ocean had already been described as suffering from collapse of fisheries and the Pacific was imperiled.

There is no doubt that Fukushima contaminated the ocean, and continues to do so as I write this post. The Fukushima Daiichi accident was described as an “unprecedented” assault of radiocesium, radiostrontium, radioiodine, etc. However, the exact level of contamination is UNKNOWN because source terms for atmospheric radiation contamination did not include the direct “leaks” of radioactivity into the ocean that began in 2011 and have not ceased in 2016. I have documented these leaks in my books and at this blog. 

We know for a fact that Fukushima atmospheric fallout occurred primarily over the ocean, although we also have evidence of radiocesium and iodine-131 contamination in Hawaii and the American west respectively from data collected by researchers at the University of Hawaii and by the US Geological Survey.

For example, Trista McKenzie and Henrietta Dulai of the University of Hawaii at Manoa found that “Fukushima-derived cesium was present in both mushrooms and soil and the soil inventories ranged 2.2-60.9 Bq/m2 for Cs-137 and 16.1-445.8 Bq/m^2 for I131. They also found that Fukushima-derived cesium inventories in soils were correlated with precipitation gradients.[i]

Radioactive contamination in Hawaii and North America arrived first in rain in 2011. Radioactive fallout from Fukushima’s atmospheric emissions was detected in kelp in Southern California in 2011.[ii] Radioactive particles were also transported by ocean currents and through the dispersions of flora and fauna contaminated by them. For example, US researchers in southern California captured tuna contaminated with races of radiocesium from Fukushima.[iii]

A radioactive plume of water arrived in Southern California in 2013 according to one group of researchers. Stan-Sion, Enachescu, and Pietre identified arrival of the ocean-borne plume of radionuclides from the initial days of the Fukushima disaster in La Jolla, California, evidenced by a 2.5 factor increase in Iodine-129 and Iodine-127 activity peaking June 18 2013 (date collection ended July 2013).[iv] 

A separate study modeling dilution declines of Cesium 137 published in Environmental Research Letters predicted that after seven years the ‘total peak radioactivity levels would still be about twice the pre-Fukushima values’ off the coastal waters of North America’[v]  
The contamination of the Pacific Ocean commenced a year or so before the blob, an area of warm water, which was reported first in late 2013. 

The relationship between the blob and Fukushima radiation is unknown and unexplored in publicly available information.

The relationship between the many reported adverse mortality events and Fukushima radiation is similarly unknown. 

The mainstream narrative holds that the blob is entirely “climate related” and is the primary cause of the problems afflicting sea lions, sea stars, etc. 

I have no way of knowing whether the blob is related to Fukushima contamination. It seems unlikely based on the reported fallout inventory, but its possible that Fukushima’s missing reactor cores are playing some sort of role. TEPCO still doesn’t know where the majority of the melted corium from units 1, 2 and 3 reside, despite muon testing. 

However, although there is no firm evidence linking the blob to Fukushima, there is strong circumstantial evidence that Fukushima contamination permeates the Pacific Ocean eco-systems, including island and coastal eco-systems. 

I personally believe that Fukushima contamination is playing a role in the reported adverse mortality events because exposure to ionizing radiation is linked to a variety of adverse biological effects, especially compromised immunity. 

I saw devastated tide pools in the summer of 2011, which I described in my blog. Those tide pools were devastated by some forces before the appearance of the blob. Perhaps it was the same force that devastated the insect population in my yard that summer (see here and here).

NukePro has written a couple of very interesting posts regarding the role of radiation in destroying chitin, a building block of marine life:

Nuke Pro. 2016. Thursday, February 11, 2016. A Scientific Basis For Destruction Of Ocean Food Chain Via Radiation

Nuke Pro. 2016. Mechanism By Which Radiation Destroys "Chitin" Which Destroys The Ocean Food Chains and Bees
Radionuclides, especially radioiodine, radiostrontium and Americium, bioaccumulate at high levels in organic materials.[vi] Radiocesium also bioaccumulates, although at a lesser concentration rate than some other dangerous radionuclides. 

Tritium, perhaps the most plentiful radionuclide produced by Fukushima, bioaccumulates in marine life.[vii] TEPCO has deliberately dumped water contaminated with tritium since the beginning of the disaster.

For example, in May of 2013 The Asahi Shimbun reported the TEPCO was going to begin dumping groundwater at the Daiichi site because its storage capacities for contaminated water were nearly exhausted. [viii] There was considerable resistance from local fisherman because TEPCO lacked the capacity to remove both tritium and Strontium-90 from captured water. 

At that time in 2013, filtered water measured 710 million Becquerels per liter while unfiltered water was reported as twice as radioactive, from tritium and strontium. TEPCO was not able to eliminate Strontium until the fall of 2014.[ix] In 2015 the NRA approved a plan to allow TEPCO to dump decontaminated groundwater into the sea if the water registered less than 1 Becquerel per liter of cesium, less than 3 Becquerels per liter of beta emitters such as Strontium-90, and 1,500 Becquerels per liter of tritium.[x]

The Pacific Ocean is being contaminated with high levels of radionuclides at an unprecedented rate, adding to decades of wanton destruction of the ocean through dumping of radioactive waste. See Jacob Hamblin’s excellent work for details. 

I cannot prove that Fukushima fallout is playing a role either in the blob or in the die-offs occurring up and down the North American Pacific Coast but I personally believe, based on circumstantial evidence, that bioaccumulation of radionuclides in Pacific life has created a “tipping” point that is accelerating general eco-system degradation with unknown and likely catstrophic long-term consequences. 

For information about fallout within Japan and its surrounding waters, see Greenpeace’s latest report here:

Hisayo Takada, Shaun Burnie, Kendra Ulrich, Jan Vande Putte. 2016. Atomic Depths: An assessment of freshwater and marine sediment contamination. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster- Five years later. Greenpeace, July 2016,


  [i] Trista McKenzie and Henrietta Dulai. 2016. Quantifying Atmospheric Fallout of Fukushima-derived Radioactive Isotopes in the Hawaiian Islands Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 18, EGU2016-10453, 2016 EGU General Assembly 2016 © 2016. CC Attribution 3.0 License.

  [ii] S. Manley and C. Lowe (6 March 2012) ‘Canopy-Forming Kelps as California’s Coastal Dosimeter: 131I from Damaged Japanese Reactor Measured in Macrocystis Pyrifera’, Environmental Science & Technology,

[iii] D. J. Madigan, Z. Baumann, and N. S. Fisher (29 May 2012) ‘Pacific Bluefin Tuna Transport Fukushima-Derived Radionuclides from Japan to California’, PNAS, and ‘Study Finds Radioactive Fallout in California Kelp Beds’ (5 April 2012), Everything Long Beach,, date accessed 6 April 2012.

[iv] C. Stan-Sion, M. Enachescu, and A. R. Petre, “AMS analyses of I-129 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in the Pacific Ocean waters of the Coast La Jolla – San Diego, USA” Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 17(5)(2015): 932-938 DOI: 10.1039/C5EM00124B.

[v] E. Behrens, F. Schwarzkopf, J. Lübbecke, and C. Böning (2012) ‘Model Simulations on the Long-Term Dispersal of 137Cs Released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima’, Environ. Res. Lett., 7.3,

[vi] Nicholas S. Fisher, Poul Bjerregaard and Scott W. Fowler (1983). Interactions of Marine Plankton with Transuranic Elements. 1. Biokinetics of Neptunium, Plutonium, Americium, and Californium in Phytoplankton. Limnology and Oceanography, 28(3) (May, 1983), pp. 432-447 Published by: American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. Stable URL: 445.

[vii] Jaeschke, B. C., & Bradshaw, C. (2013). Bioaccumulation of tritiated water in phytoplankton and trophic transfer of organically bound tritium to the blue mussel, mytilus edulis. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 115, 28-33.

[viii] S. Kimura (6 April 2013) ‘120 Tons of Contaminated Water Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant’, The Asahi Shimbun,, date accessed 7 April 2013.

[ix] Yoshida ‘Fukushima No. 1 Can’t Keep its Head Above Tainted Water’.

[x] NRA signs off on TEPCO plan to release decontaminated groundwater into sea January 22, 2015


  1. Agreed, Maija. Common sense tells us it is so.

  2. Yep... fine examination, Majia, Thank You.

  3. On a micro level it is people using dangerous drugs either prescription or street drugs, eating GMO food, getting vaccinations, etc. Pollution and contamination are in style. Like tattoos or piercings. The desire for change and transformation inverted and going down rather than up.
    So it would seem that the movement towards destructive impurity is quite far advanced and can be linked to the Industrial Revolution and all the thereafter of science and technology. It is the counterbalancing "bad" to the wonders of human ingenuity. And it shows how dependent most people are on authorities to know what to do. Doctor's orders! Thus a dangerous situation that has grown out of tribalism. Follow the leader!.

  4. The sea surface heat anomaly traveled eastward across the Pacific ocean starting in 2011, and followed the path predicted by the ocean dispersion models. When it started getting near the coast, not only did the heat blob show up in the same place, but signs of an ecological catastrophe of sea life started at the same time and place. What is needed is detailed radionuclide detection, of many nuclides, not only in sea water at different depths, but in all sea life, all across the north Pacific. The completely inadequate Buesseler measurements won't cut it, and drawing conclusions from it amounts to scientific fraud.

  5. Some of the blob is from decay heat

    1. If trump says anything about fukushima , how bad uranium mining is, the dangers of nuclear power , I might vote for him. The us is a mess

  6. Politics in USA is funny. The koch brothers support Hillary, wanna mine uranium in the grand canyon because the want to ban mining there with a new national monument. Meanwhile trump is now getting some support from Soros. Follow the money.