Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fukushima Radioactive Contamination in Oregon, US Much Less Than Bomb Test Era

[Fukushima NukeBlog Index]

If it's any great reassurance, all that fallout the US west coast got from the Fukushima mess only raised the levels of ground radioactivity by 10-15% (115% of a normal level is still pretty much normal except that the spike was from an abnormal event). Levels of radioactivity that was detectable in food such as milk was much greater during the in-the-open bomb testing during the 1950s (well that makes me feel much better to compare the meltdowns to nuclear tests...)

This is from that guy from Worcester Polytechnic who claims to have looked over all those radioactive automobile air filters from Tokyo that only a few shady nuclear activists like Chris Busby (who has been instrumental is promoting evidently fabricated charges of using depleted and enriched uranium weapons against Muslim populations in Beirut, Fallujah and Kosovo) from have been screaming about. He said that the hottest concentrations were around Portland Oregon, and then Colorado which has been making the nuclear panic / 9-11 truther conspiracysphere internet circuit. 

My position on these "alternative outlets" which attract fans of justice for Palestine and "No War on Muslims" and 9-11 truthers and neo-nazi-confederate  Ron Paul David Duke and Alex Jones supporters is mixed. One the one hand, since the mainstream is essentially NOT covering the Fukushima crisis at all, most of the information whether reliable or nutty we can get in the US is from these sites. Just because people also promote anti-US and anti-semitiic/Israel conspiracy theories which blame Israel for trying to harm Iran and Palestine doesn't  mean they are always unreliable, but you have to be careful about where the information came from and what agendas they are also promoting. 

Radiation from Japan's damaged reactors posed little risk in Oregon despite Portland 'hotspot'

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012, 10:15 PM     Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 7:04 AM
View full sizeAn aerial view of Fukushima, Japan, on March 12, 2011. (AP Photo/GeoEye)
Here's what researchers found and why it's not a danger. Marco Kaltofen, an environmental scientist and doctoral candidate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and colleagues tested about 200 soil samples collected across the U.S. last spring. One samp {Camas WA} showed the highest level of radioactive cesium they found.

"This data was an outlier.... in our study, in the sense that the data was correct, but it was unrepresentative of Oregon as a whole," Kaltofen said via email Friday. "The remaining 200 or so samples from the western U.S., including many from areas in Oregon quite close to Portland were at typical background levels."  {They got one zinger, but most nearly areas weren't nearly as high}

Although an outlier, the level of radioactivity in the Portland sample -- 8 picoCuries per gram -- isn't alarming to experts in radiation protection. ..The added radiation exposure from the leaking Fukushima reactors totaled about 0.000002 millisieverts {that's a bunch of zeros to the right of the decimal point, meaning really, really small levels, much smaller than .1} per day in Oregon, radiation protection officials calculated. To put that in perspective, a CT scan to screen for heart disease delivers 16 millisieverts. Flying roundtrip between Portland and Frankfurt delivers 0.1 millisieverts.

Milk Radioactivity 1,000 times less than nuclear testing days, 5,000 less than dangerous

Tests of milk from West Coast dairy cows found radioactivity levels of 0.8 pico-Curies per liter attributable to the Fukushima accident. That's about 1,000 times lower than the amount routinely measured in milk in Oregon during the 1960s era of nuclear weapons testing by the U.S. and Soviet Union. The radiation levels in milk after Fukushima were 5,000 times lower than the amounts considered problematic by the Food and Drug Administration.

1,500 picoCuries in natural milk vs 0.8 of Fukishima effect

The amount of harmless, naturally occurring radioactivity in milk (from the ever-present potassium-40 that's taken up by plants from the soil) averages about 1,500 picoCuries per liter in Oregon.

Camas Wa (near Portland) highes, then CA mountains and Boulder CO Most I-131

In an analysis of rainwater contamination, the U.S. Geological Survey found the highest level of radioactive iodine-131 east of Camas, Wash., followed by sites in the Sierra Mountains in California and outside Boulder, Colo. The highest levels of cesium-137 turned up in rainwater near Los Angeles, followed by the Colorado sampling site. Even these remained well below the levels considered harmful by federal regulators.

Radioactivity of soil increased by 3 to 10 percent across Western US

Gregory Whether, lead author of the USGS report, said cesium-137 from Fukushima increased the radioactivity per square meter of soil by about 3 to 10 percent across all the sites the report monitored. During bomb testing in the 1960s, some cities accumulated five times more cesium-137 per year than the maximum level deposited near Los Angeles after the Fukushima accident. {I still wouldn't want 1/5 of contamination from bomb testing to fall on my house either}

Joe Rojas-Burke

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