Radiation On West Coast of North America Could End Up Being 10 Times HIGHER than in Japan

George Washington's picture


We've extensively documented the fact that ocean currents bring Japanese radiation to the West Coast of North America, and that - rather than adequate ocean dilution -  there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation.

Joke F Lübbecke of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences poured tracer dye into coastal waters off of Fukushima, and monitored its progress as it traveled to the West Coast of North America, to find out what might really happen.

They have revealed their results in a new paper published by journal Environmental Research Letters.

The paper shows that the West Coast of North American could end up with 10 times more radioactive cesium 137 than the coastal waters off of Japan itself.

How could radiation levels be lower closer to the source of contamination: Fukushima?

Because the currents are swift off of the Eastern coast of Japan, and quickly move the contaminated water away.

The paper explains:

In the following years, the tracer cloud continuously expands laterally, with maximum concentrations in its central part heading east. While the northern portion is gradually invading the Bering Sea, the main tracer patch reaches the coastal waters of North America after 5–6 years, with maximum relative concentrations ( > 1 × 10−4) covering a broad swath of the eastern North Pacific between Vancouver Island and Baja California. Simultaneously some fraction of the southern rim of the tracer cloud becomes entrained in the North Equatorial Current (NEC), resulting in a westward extending wedge around 20°N that skirts the northern shores of the Hawaiian Archipelago. After 10 years the concentrations become nearly homogeneous over the whole Pacific, with higher values in the east, extending along the North American coast with a maximum (~1 × 10−4) off Baja California. The southern portion of the tracer cloud is carried westward by the NEC across the subtropical Pacific, leading to increasing concentrations in the Kuroshio regime again.




With caution given to the various idealizations (unknown actual oceanic state during release, unknown release area, no biological effects included, see section 3.4), the following conclusions may be drawn. (i) Dilution due to swift horizontal and vertical dispersion in the vicinity of the energetic Kuroshio regime leads to a rapid decrease of radioactivity levels during the first 2 years, with a decline of near-surface peak concentrations to values around 10 Bq m−3 (based on a total input of 10 PBq). The strong lateral dispersion, related to the vigorous eddy fields in the mid-latitude western Pacific, appears significantly under-estimated in the non-eddying (0.5°) model version. (ii) The subsequent pace of dilution is strongly reduced, owing to the eastward advection of the main tracer cloud towards the much less energetic areas of the central and eastern North Pacific. (iii) The magnitude of additional peak radioactivity should drop to values comparable to the pre-Fukushima levels after 6–9 years (i.e. total peak concentrations would then have declined below twice pre-Fukushima levels). (iv) By then the tracer cloud will span almost the entire North Pacific, with peak concentrations off the North American coast an order-of-magnitude higher than in the western Pacific.

"Order-of-magnitude" is a scientific term which means 10 times higher.  The "Western Pacific" means Japan's East Coast.

Here are the important graphics from the paper:

Figure 4. Decadal evolution of relative surface tracer concentration in the 0.1°-model simulation; boxes in (d) indicate regions for which the temporal evolution is computed in figure 7; contour lines mark power of 10 intervals.

Postscript: Prussian Blue may be used to treat cesium poisoning.  But don't take any Prussian Blue before consulting with a qualified healthcare professional.  Antioxidants may also help reduce damage from low-level radiation.

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Element's picture

George, what you're doing in presenting articles like this is at best, 'Gilding the Lilly'.  Others more forthright might call it the blog equivalent of baiting to bottom-feed.

If a scientist says something is so, as it most commonly turns out in retrospect, it isn't so at all.  The Hystery of Science is replete with endless examples of this continual and characteristic habit of scientists (especially with regard to GIGO model-based claims). 

The thing I learned early-on, to be the most important cognitive-tool available, for assessing any and all research, it's projections, predictions and conclusions - is a well developed sense of scepticism.  Some call it, "scientific scepticism", but it's really just weighing-up, checking and testing key fundamentals, to see if core axioms, results, claims and concluding remarks are reasonable, consistent, whole and balanced with regard to other data.

The second most important tool, is a keen sense of proportion, and awareness of scale, and how changing both affects the dynamics and effects observed, and determines practical significance, or the lack thereof, of measurements.

You're a good read, on a wide range of topics, and perhaps you feel giving-air to, or highlighting such claims is a necessary public service, simply because the mainstream aren't interested, so no debate occurs--and that's more-or-less fair enough. 

But this post is the worst example I've seen from you of either scepticism or proportionality during the past 4-years of reading your various posts, at zh, cw and nc.

You're better than this sort of muck.

i-dog's picture


"what you're doing ...... is at best, 'Gilding the Lilly'"

I disagree. What he is doing is playing "more cowbell".

I, too, used to think he was a good read ... until I wised up to the globalist agenda behind the fear overload pouring from the megaphones of Alex Jones and others. Mostly truth, though never touching on the Luciferian connections, and always at high volume -- keeping the sheep running from one barking sheepdog to another with attention diverted from the stockman until, exhausted and resigned, they stagger into the chute.

Though, I think he's finally jumped the shark with this one!

SafelyGraze's picture

from ye olde mass transport equation (incompressible version)


the change in concentration over time is the difference between a diffusion term (with a coefficient D) and a convection term (with a velocity v)

for water, the self-diffusion is on the order of 10^{-9} m^2/s, whereas the pacific surface current eastward from japan is much larger, on the order of 1 m/s

eviently the time scale of convection is small (months) compared to the time scale for diffusion (years)

The Ram's picture

I logged onto AlertsUSA.com  Sounds like analysis on Fox News.  Why would I want to pay for this?  Sounds like the type of web site that will insist that 9/11 was carried out by arabs with box cutters! 

Unfortunately, it's going to be damned hard to get good data on FU-shima.  There are lots of agendas here and even legitimate scientists disagree on radiation levels and their effects.  Watching the incidence of birth defects in Japan will be key, but good luck ever getting those 'real' statistics.  I can do without Pacific seafood, so I will play it safe.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

Ironic.  Could this be Japan's payback?

Anyway, fluid dynamics are really fun stuff to predict especially when there are so many variables that could influence it over six years, but even assuming the projection is correct:

"...the main tracer patch propagates eastward across the Pacific Ocean, reaching the coastal waters of North America after about 5–6 years... The magnitude of additional peak radioactivity should drop to values comparable to the pre-Fukushima levels after 6–9 years (i.e. total peak concentrations would then have declined below twice pre-Fukushima levels). (iv) By then the tracer cloud will span almost the entire North Pacific, with peak concentrations off the North American coast an order-of-magnitude higher than in the western Pacific."

So, the plume takes 6 years to get here, the peak radiactivity in the majority of it will then be less than twice pre-Fukushima levels except possibly in spots off the N. Am. coast where it could be ten times greater than the levels in the western Pacific 6 years from now.

Other than keeping an eye on fish harvested off the west coast, no big deal.  

Meanwhile, lets build 21st century nuclear power stations and ditch the "accidents waiting to happen" pressurized water kludges we currently use.  That ancient tech combined with the literally criminal "management" of them in Japan led to this mess.

world_debt_slave's picture

T minus 1 week to lift-off from the West Coast to environs east of Cali.

engineertheeconomy's picture

Anyone that defends Nuclear Energy is seriously, seriously, but I mean SERIOUSLY fucked up in the head.

A centralized power source results in  populace dependance,  the basis for a totalitarian control freak state. Their greatest fear is that people will become independant, for example with solar panels and without electric meters.

Don't forget it.

Quantum Nucleonics's picture

I'll defend it.  This article trys to make something trivial (that is, CS 137 exposure on the US West Coast) into a big deal.  Look at the levels, they are tiny.  Radiation exposure on the US West coast as a result of this incident is trivial.  Worrying about CS 137 from Japan before you do the following is completely, utterly foolish:

   (1) If you smoke, STOP!  Tobacco has a remarkable affinity for Polonium 210.  If you smoke, you're getting at least 10,000x more radiation from smoking than from Fukushima.

   (2) Limit your medical tests, especially CT scans, unless you really need one.  One CT scan is the same as up to 7 years of background radiation exposure in a few minutes.

   (3) Limit long distance air travel, especially over the pole.  Radiation levels from the sun and cosmic rays are dramatically higher at 40K feet.

   (4) Get your house tested for radon if you are in a moderate or high risk area.

Burning coal releases tons of heavy metals and radioactive isotopes.  Coal from power plants kill way more people than have died from nuclear power.  If the US and the world switched from coal to nuclear, overall radiation exposure would decline.

SAT 800's picture

for quantum nucleonics; it doesn't do any good. they just keep whinning and waving their hands. It takes years to learn to do logical analysis; if you only spent 3 minutes on it in your life time and the rest of the time deciding what it made you feel good to get excited about; this is what you get.

SAT 800's picture

Possibly you should study engineering before you engineer the economy. They're not even slightly concerned; it's completely out of the question. Central power production has always been, and always will be single most lif-enhancing, quality of life improving, gift of real engineers to the masses of enumerate simpletons like you. Thanks for your appreciation.

TSA gropee's picture

The only thing I appreciate about you is that you consistently provide us with prime examples of what an infantile POS you are. It is also interesting that I've read many articles by GW, but not seen a single article posted by you. Just cheap ad hominem laced posts devoid of any real substance. Telling isn't it?

Sabibaby's picture

Actually it's life enhancing quantity of life, not necessarily quality. You probably think there are no limits to growth, we'll see how well that works for you.

reader2010's picture

Just curious how many FEMA camps they built on the West Coast?

Invisible Hand's picture

Hard to get real numbers from this post (since units are not included) but it appears that they are saying that the radioactivity levels off Japan are 10 Bq/cubic meter.  Ten times higher would be 100 Bq/cubic meter. 

According to a National Academy of Sciences book from seventies (Radioactivity in the Marine Environment--available online) the natural level of radioactivity in the ocean is 750 dpm/liter.  This converts to 125,000 Bq/cubic meter.

Natural radioactivity in the ocean is "only" 1250 times higher than the radioactivity levels we should be worried about?

Check my math.  I only had 5 minutes to spend on this but I think this is a typical incoherent, alarmist article meant to scare you rather than inform.

madridisburning's picture

More doomsday nonsense from neo-Mayans. And, strangely in the same sitting as criticism of Bus Insider being over the top. Where is it safe to take off my tin foil hat?

pashley1411's picture

Hiroshima revenge, bitchezs.

americanspirit's picture

Well, it's true that over time concentrated radioactivity becomes diluted - in the ocean. However, in the oceanic food chain dilution (highly dispersed radioactive particles) become concentration (one bigger fish eats lots of smaller fish, then lots of those bigger fish get eaten by one even bigger fish). And then along come Barbi and Ken who just love to eat Ahi sushi. Oh No!

So while the Fukushima radioactivity in ocean off the West Coast of the US may be diluted, the fish are working very hard at concentrating it. Further, concentration doesn't have to take place by big fish eating little fish. Shellfish, for example, who filter seawater to extract food from it also extract radioactivity. Mmmmmmmm- oysters.

Nassim's picture

Fluid dynamics are really full of surprises - I studied civil engineering a long while back. One example we were given as students is some pollution going into the reservoir of a dam. It would have been expected that it would be diluted and mixed with all the other water in the reservoir before being fed into the water-treatment facility behind the dam. In fact, this stuff just skimmed across the surface and came out before most of the other water - and at a high concentration. I really hope the Pacific is not playing similar games. Of course, the fish and crustaceans will do a good job of concentrating the caesium.

Darth..Putter's picture

Not to mention the bigger successful fish (concentrated cesium 137) that survive to swim upriver to spawn, and then die.  Distribution of the bodies into the river systems, and flora/fauna, and us.

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I look forward to seeing this on the nightly news. I'm sure this will be all everyone is gabbing about at work tomorrow.

apberusdisvet's picture

This does not address the airborne radiation which hasn't stopped and for which there is NO current technological solution according to the objective (not bought and paid for by the Nuke Industry) scientists.  Already there have been reports of radiated tuna and dramatic increases in infant mortality along the Northwestern Coast of N. America.  All you need to know is that Hillary has given a waiver on testing of all exported Japanese food products.  Scared yet?

SAT 800's picture

There are no reports of irradiated Tuna, there are no reports of infant mortality; you're a completely mindless idiot. Congratulations.

bankruptcylawyer's picture

if you nuked the fukushima reactor site, all of tokyo would be glowing in the long term, with nearly everyone exhibiting radiation sickness for over a decade. 

lunaticfringe's picture

Think of all the dough you could make milking that! A big ol class action nirvana..

syvanen's picture

I look at Geo Wash's pieces on Fukushima because he does report accurately what other people are saying.  However, he, like most who talk about this disaster, are utterly oblivious to any realistic risk assessment.


I am not about to deny the serious problems that Northern Japan is going to experience from this disaster.  What I want to point out is that even in the absolutely worst case scenario where all spent fuel rods stored in the ponds above reactors 1-4 were dumped into the Pacific ocean, the health effects on the West Coast of the US would be negligible.


 This is a straightforward calculation. There is 140 million Ci of Cs 137 stored in those ponds. If that were disolved into the ocean and carried by the currents (eg 5 year map above) that radioactivity would be distributed over about 2 million sq Km of ocean.  If we assume that the depth of the surface currents are 100 m then we can estimate that the Cs 137 concentration would be about .1 nanoCi per liter. This compares with natural K 40 which we are all continuously exposed to of about .3 microCi per liter.  That is, this natural isotope that each of us carries in our body is 3000 times more radioactive than would the worse case accident coming out of Fukushima.  Of course, in the meantime the entire Japanese and probably Korean and Siberian fishing industries would have been destroyed.

SAT 800's picture

The terrifying thing about George Washington and all the people who can't do critical reading and critical thinking who "like" his articles; is that they're going to vote. That is a horrifying possibility.

TSA gropee's picture

The terrifying thing about ego-maniacal douchebags like yourself is that you are allowed to breed. You offer virtually nothing of substance but yet can't resist to engage in ad hominem against just about everybody.

So, fuck you and the high horse you rode in on you SAT POS.

Divine Wind's picture


The bio-accumulation in the Pacific food chain really creeps me out.

From seaweeds through to the larger fish like tuna, everything is becoming suspect.

External exposure is not so much of a concern. When it gets inside, either by breathing or consumption, this is where problems can start to manifest.

For instance, take this article which appeared just today:


US Newspaper Reports On Link Between Birth Defects and Eating Radioactive Contamination

— One Piece of Contaminated Food May Deliver Radiation of Hundreds of X-rays



Element's picture

@ DivineWind 

Did you notice he said;

"I am not about to deny the serious problems that Northern Japan is going to experience from this disaster"

No one is denying the bio-accumulation hazard, particularly for Japan, where the real radioactive hazards actually exist. 

All that's being said is to let reality do the talking, rather than indulging endless vexingly ignorant speculations, mixed with mad-cap Henny-Penny claims.

SAT 800's picture

The article actually says, "One mushroom may produce as much radiation as a 100 X-rays". Produce the Mushroom, I want to examine it. Think, for Christs' sake; this is physically impossible and this two-bit moron they're quoting is just another jerk-wad who wants to get in the newspaper.

Joe A's picture

The motto in the 70s to pollution was that dilution is the solution to pollution. That is why there are smoke stacks. But then it became clear that everything ended up in one place anyway because of eddies that always went to the same place. Same shit in this case.

Element's picture

"... After 10 years the concentrations become nearly homogeneous over the whole Pacific ..."


'Homogeneous distribution' means what to you?

Joe A's picture

"peak concentrations off the North American coast an order-of-magnitude higher than in the western Pacific. "Order-of-magnitude" is a scientific term which means 10 times higher."

'Peak concentrations' means what to you?

Just like with smokestacks overall pollution will go up, but due to eddies in some places there will be higher or occassional peak concentrations. Not a thing to think lightly about.

Element's picture

If we are dealing with parts per trillion (and it will be a whole lot less than that), then ten times fuck all ... is ... still fuck all.

Anything against maintaining a sense of proportion?

Joe A's picture

Not at all. But what also is important is time of exposure and mode of exposure. Humans are exposed to background radiation all the time and as long as that is within limits then that's fine. I wouldn't want to have a radioactive particle logded in my lungs or guts though, how ever low the radiation. And we'll talk sense of proportion again if -heaven forbid- there is another earthquake at Fukashima and all the stored fuel rods are exposed to air and seawater. Building a nucleair power plant in an earthquake zone is pretty bonkers.

Divine Wind's picture


If you don't trust the mainstream media on any other subject, why would you believe anything they tell you about Fukushima?

In such situations, it is an imperative that one regularly put a few min into digging a little further. Call it risk management.

I have posted the following resources previously. I appreciate your forbearance if you have seen them already. Some may find them useful.

The links lead to mostly FREE resources and services well worth exploring:


http://www.RadTest4U.com   FREE testing of auto and home air filters for radioactive materials (hot particles). Know what you are breathing.

http://ThreatJournal.com   FREE weekly newsletter covering a variety of threats to the U.S. including Fukushima. Mouthpiece of the RadTest program. (Download, print and store their 3 free reports).

http://ENEnews.com   FREE website covering all things Fukushima. Check the little links at the top. Outstanding resource. Visit daily. Perhaps one of the best sources for regular news.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/   FREE website providing ongoing, insightful analysis of the Fukushima disaster. Another outstanding resource. The moderator speaks and reads Japanese and English fluently, thereby scaling the language barrier TEPCO uses to hide some of their BS.

http://fairewinds.org/   This is the House of Gunderson. Former nuclear exec and engineer turned whistle-blower of sorts. One of the few truth speakers from within the industry. He and his wife are good people and worthy of your support if so moved.

http://AlertsUSA.com   NOT FREE SHTF alert service. Our firm has used them for over a decade. No bullshit. They broke the news of the Fuku disaster here in the U.S. Check out their customer list. There is a reason they all use the service. Even the MSM uses them to find out what the hell is going on.


There are also a myriad of websites, blogs, university homepages and the like providing even more information.

For instance

http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/UCBAirSampling UC Berzerkly is monitoring milk, water and some veggies for contamination.




Element's picture

(cough) bullshit (/cough)

Really jumping the radioactive shark now.

Personally i think Iceland is really in for it this time.

Spigot's picture

First, these are comparative figures. If the Cs137 levels at the beginning of the dump were trivial than the west coast USA levels (water borne) would be 1 ten thousanth of these trivial levels.

If the radiation levels were say, 10,000 bQl then the result would be 1 bQl on the west coast.

However, the problem of bio-accumulation and internal irradiation due to uptake of radio-isotopes through food chain is far more lethal then measuring skin/surface irradation dosages. 

SAT 800's picture

Yeah, don't eat any banannas whatever you do. You poor fool.

Shizzmoney's picture

This shit is getting closer and closer to what the Ghost in the Shell manga was based on; almost a prediction (nuclear conflict result in a "Japanese miracle" of using cyborgs and nano machines to resolve the enviromental crisises).


Also in the series, America breaks into 3 countries, including one called  the "Imperial American Empire" after WWIII (in Brazil):



dugorama's picture

an order of magnitude is adding a zero.  that's the easiest way to explain it.  that way the hoi polloi understands that 3 orders of magnitude doesn't mean 30x but 10,000x.  and adding the word "zero" is better on this web site.

foxmuldar's picture

This explains why the tuna on my plate is glowing. And I thought it was a reflection fo the ceiling lights. lol 

Sutton's picture

"Suck it up"-Charlie Munger

Dingleberry's picture

"Radiation is good for you"

-Ann Coulter

Dodgy Geezer's picture

This is simple scaremongering. The article clearly states three things:

1 -  the radiation (already highly diluted) is expected to drop considerably in strength over the first 2 years, and begin to hit the coast of the US after 5-6 years. By 10 years it will be spread as evenly as it's going to get.

2 - at that point (10 years) the concentration at the US side will be about 10 times that at the Japan side (unsurprising, as the current flows east-to-west)

3 - the total radioactivity will drop to an effective background level (defined as less than twice the figure if Fukushima had not happened) within 6-9 years.


So the measured radiation attributable to Fukushima will be higher on the West Coast of the US than on the East Coast of Japan, but it will also be perfectly safe. It will only be 10 times higher than Japan because there will be little or no remaining radiation in Japan, and the '10 times higher' figure will still be within safety guidelines.


This is an example of someone using percentage presentation to scare people. I'm amazed (looking at some of the comments here) that people who read a trading blog fell for it...

AlmostEven's picture

"Perfectly safe"...so why is there so much effort to contain the accident and clean it up? Let's just dump the whole pile of crap perfectly safely into the ocean. Problem solved.

SAT 800's picture

Cesium is a heavy metal. It's not going anywhere in the ocean; George is so crazy it's impossible to even describe how crazy he is.

Element's picture

Exactly.  No understanding of the solubility and transportation criteria for such metal ions within a low-pressure, low-temperature saline solution, like the ocean. 

Radioactive metals will not be going far from where they enter the water, and the ones that do will be doing so only via inclusion into particulate clay-mineral grains (which ONLY occurs over the continental margin, especially close to river delta sedimentation and esturine mud deposition), or via biological injestion, which rarely makes it into deep ocean water immediately adjacent to the continental margin in notable quantities.  We know this in great detail from drilling the marine sediments, from the near-shore to deepest ocean, and looking at the make-up, and the derivation of their component mineral grains.

In other words; this is a NEAR-SHORE SEDIMENTARY RADIOLOGICAL MARINE HAZARD, and the shore that it is near to is the JAPANESE EAST COAST.  It is not, and it never will be a US west-coast continental-margin radiological hazard!

And usually the only time fine terrestrial (terrigenous) clay dust gets into the deep ocean waters, at all, is in the event a large regional terrestrial dust-storm blows clay and silt dust out to sea, and deposits it as a very thin-layer on the bottom of the abyssal plain.  The ocean will be burying it vertically, much more than spreading it laterally.  And almost all of this will be (i.e. already has been) deposited close to Japan mostly well within its eastern EEZ boundary. 

And we also know that the key physical attributes of the oceans are horizonally stratified, remain very poorly mixed vertically, and only very slowly mixes and overturns.  And such particles tend to sink to the bottom through these horizontal layers, and to stay there, and to get slowly buried over time.

i.e.  from well over 100-years of systematically measuring and mapping countless physical water samples collected at all depths within the deep oceans, we KNOW with complete confidence that ocean waters NEVER homogenously mix in the way this paper would lead any layman to presume.

The real problem for Japan and its near-shore sedimentary radiological marine hazard, is that wind and waves from storms will continue to stir-up the marine continental margin clay particles, so the hazard will continue to evolve. The hazard is not going to go away much over the next decade and anyone eating seafood from the Japanese central east coast fishery is obviously not too bright to begin with.  It is an appalling disgrace and outrage that the Japanese Govt is actively encouraging people to eat seafood caught from within that area (like, where's the World Health Organisation? ... what's their responsibility when a criminally irresponsible Govt deliberately does this to it's own people? ... hmm? ... discuss such things an maybe you'll have some substance George).


But let's not complicate things with factual realities like this, as it just mucks-up the act of making facetious map projections, and passing them off as peer-reviewed 'science' -- which it glaringly is not.

chebetts's picture

Not to mention Arnie Gunderson's recent report on San Onofre, which is about an hour north of San Diego, just south of San Clemente. I used to live there, drive by that beast everyday.....wondering, just wondering.....oh ya and it's just a stone's throw from Camp Pendelton, Marine headquarters....so I'd be interested to see how the Marines react. I only hope that this puts added pressure where pressure is "due," on technology that we already have available, awaiting in a government computer etc. Tons of brilliant minds being spent on the latest kill technologies rather than....geee I don't know, life saving / extending technologies that are sustainable and don't jive with the business cycle (meaning they last forever, or are easily replaceable).....

Radiation washes off of you. It's when you eat it you have to understand its effect are now in play. Fukushima dumped plutonium in the Pacific....understand that and file that away in your awareness cabinet.

Maybe this is how they "engineer" the next phase of humans? I mean Monsanto and its ilk have been doing so since Vietnam.

Bring in the light and all this bullshit will disperse. Dissolve this fear.

It's coming. Just let go.

ZippyDooDah's picture

Build new nuke power plants on West Coast.

Scoop up west coast sea water to provide fuel for the plants.

Energy problems solved.

Free power forever!  Thanks Japan!