Fallout from Japan: “Radioactive Debris Island” the Size of California Nears Hawaii


The tsunami that engulfed mainland Japan last March sucked as much as 100 million tons of debris out into the Pacific Ocean. Experts fear that the “monstrous debris field” (in the words of one American oceanographer) contains radioactivity from multiple meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant located 150 miles north of Tokyo. According to nuclear energy specialist Arnie Gunderson, the “radioactive debris island” – roughly the size of California – is closing in on the idyllic white-sand beaches of Hawaii and will hit the West Coast of the United States in the coming months.

Based on wind and water patterns, experts estimate that approximately one-fourth of the 100 million tons of debris will ultimately make landfall on U.S. shores. Concern over radiation exposure has been intensifying for weeks, ever since the first pieces of debris washed ashore in Washington state in early December. From a Dec. 15 KIRO-TV report:

While the bulk of it is still in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at least 10 black buoys with Japanese markings, commonly used in fish farming, have washed up on beaches from Ocean Shores to Neah Bay. Similar ones have been found wedged into a debris field north of Hawaii.

“That’s about as good as the evidence gets for first arrivals,” (Oceanographer Curtis) Ebbesmeyer said.

By nearly all accounts, U.S. officials are in a state of denial about the gravity of the situation. More from Ebbesmeyer: “We are not prepared for this. Nobody is prepared for this. Nobody’s even thought through the dimensions. This is unprecedented in scientific history. This is unprecedented in recorded history.”

Gunderson, among a host of other nuclear experts, shares Ebbesmeyer’s deep concern (verging on panic): “…all the governments involved have been eerily quiet and stopped monitoring in many locations in order to protect sales and profit margins rather than lives.” Some nine months after the crisis began in Japan, the island nation continues to be plagued by an ineffective and opaque government response. From a Dec. 28 Examiner report by Deborah Dupre:

Gundersen reported that collusion between nuclear regulators and nuclear industry to cover up the truth have led many children in Japan continue receiving exposures to radiation levels more than ten times as high as the average nuclear power plant worker in the US, and, children are much more sensitive to radiation exposure than adults.

“The ongoing nuclear accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant site in Japan is the worst industrial accident the world has ever faced…”

We’ll soon see if the U.S. government will respond to this serious threat to public health and safety with an effective and transparent response, or if we will follow the irresponsible lead of the Japanese.

Read the full KIRO-TV report: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/report-first-debris-japan-tsunami-reaches-west-coa/nF3mS/

Big kudos to Deborah Dupre for her tireless and courageous reporting on issues of public safety and human rights. Read her entire Examiner report here: http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/hot-particles-bombarded-u-s-west-coast-contaminated-food-worst-arriving

© Smith Stag, LLC 2011 – All Rights Reserved

1 comment

  • It was obvious there would be dire consequences from the Japan nuclear disaster, unless you operate by the ostrich theory. Denial does not stop facts. This is very concerning!

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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