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This diary is part of an ongoing series that endeavors to provide useful and accurate information about: 1) the fate of Fukushima derived radionuclides in the Pacific Ocean, and, 2)  the impact of these radionuclides on the marine ecosystem and the west coast of North America. The purpose of this diary is to draw attention to a number of poorly researched posts about a recently published study in a Chinese journal that predicts a concentrated plume of radioactive elements from Fukushima arriving on the west coast. It is an unfortunate but common example of how news aggregation sites can misinterpret the results of a scientific study and misinform the public.

The study in question by Fu and co-workers published in the Journal of Ocean University of China in 2014 (behind paywall unfortunately) is wholly incapable of describing the behavior of dissolved radionuclides in the plume that is now arriving on the west coast of North America.

From the paper the authors themselves state in the methods that:

"In the study, the radioactive pollutant in the ocean is treated as a mixture of multiple Lagrangian particulates, and each particulate represents a radioactive element. The particulates can move in both horizontal and vertical directions, but cannot diffuse and mix with surrounding seawater."
What this means is that rather than being allowed to mix and diffuse (or decay or sink after becoming associated with particles) the radionuclides are treated as neutrally buoyant drifters. The model, therefore, greatly overestimates the concentrations of radionuclides reaching the west coast of North America in the plume.  

For those interested in models using accurate physics that will allow for an accurate prediction of radionuclide concentrations consult the following studies:

Behrens et al. (2012) and  Rossi et al. (2013)

The Behrens et al. study is open-access while the Rossi et al. study is not. Measurements taken in the North Pacific by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans indicate that the Rossi et al. study predicts the arrival time of the plume on the west coast but overestimates the activity of the Fukushima derived radionuclide 137-Cs. Behrens et al. predict a too late time of arrival but with lower activities that appear to more realistic.

Articles that confuse the conclusions of the Chinese study are a good example of poor reporting on an important subject.  The example here was originally spawned by Energy News who have a history of inaccurate reporting on Fukushima and then propagated through the web by uncritical followers of the site.

Originally posted to MarineChemist on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:30 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech, Science Matters, Gulf Watchers Group, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (151+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, elfling, sponson, Tommy T, kevinpdx, CanisMaximus, Lefty Coaster, Fonsia, kbman, kalmoth, Alice Venturi, raoul78, Ageing Hippie, northstarbarn, Executive Odor, onionjim, checkerspot, xaxnar, rodentrancher, basquebob, Mike Kahlow, mamooth, tobendaro, Remediator, DKBurton, Alice Olson, ChemBob, jrooth, Amber6541, Bluebirder, Uncle Moji, jamess, rlk, SpamNunn, Creosote, Sylv, LeftCoastTom, la58, hlsmlane, T Maysle, 2thanks, myeye, wader, Deward Hastings, CanyonWren, certainot, NYFM, LookingUp, not a lamb, Mortifyd, Nebraska68847Dem, unclejohn, flowerfarmer, AdamR510, orlbucfan, Ozy, Yonkers Boy, boatjones, Hayate Yagami, kingneil, pixxer, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, technomage, JayBat, MKinTN, Involuntary Exile, susakinovember, wonmug, leeleedee, wilderness voice, oofer, bluesheep, radical simplicity, cwillis, rebel ga, blue aardvark, LakeSuperior, leftykook, christomento, 1arryb, vahana, Farugia, New Minas, MarkInSanFran, palachia, Sun Tzu, laurak, AllanTBG, jilikins, slowbutsure, SeattleTammy, pvasileff, Will Rockafellow, Bonsai66, roses, 1BQ, Laurel in CA, Yasuragi, Catte Nappe, enhydra lutris, StrayCat, tharu1, BachFan, divineorder, IndieGuy, skod, agent, Tonedevil, livingthedream, BMScott, flevitan, JerryNA, brentut5, Windowpane, Nowhere Man, BlueMississippi, doingbusinessas, indubitably, T100R, loftT, bnasley, Ender, houyhnhnm, nio, BYw, cwsmoke, ebohlman, Ignacio Magaloni, Kombema, antirove, PJEvans, J Orygun, bobatkinson, VelvetElvis, mjfgates, Agathena, PHScott, bewild, cv lurking gf, lanius, KenBee, raincrow, wildweasels, FG, Alfred E Newman, terabytes, BeninSC, rduran, River Rover, walkshills, Larsstephens
  •  It is believed that sightings of so many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga, jilikins

    Large mammals along the west coast is because of the plume and these animals attempt to escape.

    •  is this not the normal time of year for the annual (18+ / 0-)

      whale migrations along the west coast . . . . ?

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:54:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is what I think we are missing (0+ / 0-)

        Lots of animals both marine animals and those that feed on them are poisoned by radioactivity which gets more and more concentrated the higher up the food chain you go.

        I suspect there are increased numbers of either sick or dead animals making the pickings easy for carnivores. As carnivores in turn get sick and die biological niches open up for animals who had previously seen that territory as taken.

        This accounts for some opportunistic encroachment into new territories which are seen as migrations. I'm not sure if there is any direct evidence of an effect on wolves, coyotes, fishers, pine martins bears and other fur along the Aleutians but I wouldn't be surprised to see it all the way down into the Queen Charlotte's.

        There is certainly a lot of evidence of the effects on fish stocks.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:53:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may consider this circumstantial evidence (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bnasley, Joieau, Ignacio Magaloni, bewild
          Conditions never seen before by scientists in Pacific seals and walrus — Thyroid cysts, lesions of reproductive system, retained placenta — Hunters concerned — Oceanographers to discuss radiation from Fukushima on Alaska radio tomorrow January 27, 2014
          Former Japan Prime Minister: Seals, polar bears dying after Fukushima radiation exposure (VIDEO) February 3, 2014
          Radio: Mysterious disease killing seals in Atlantic Ocean — Fukushima fallout testing underway by gov’t scientists (AUDIO) September 1, 2012
          Reports: White ‘goo’ everywhere in Alaska seal, crows won’t touch it… yet they eat people’s roofs — Slime in ones mouth, kidney almost black — Another appeared to change color — Hairless one seen recently: “We all still have sick seals here!” (PHOTOS) January 26, 2014
          Alaska Professor on Radio: Fukushima fallout a suspected factor in ‘unusual mortality’ of seals and walrus — We couldn’t test for plutonium (AUDIO) January 28, 2014
          No real studies have begun in the last three years due to lack of funding, but the effects are all the way down to Califirnia is chools of whales and dolphins.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:59:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The focus is on effects to humans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            Are our days of eating fish from the Pacific over? Articles like that don't really get to the root problem.

            Fish that ingest nuclear materials off Japan swim to the west coast of the US and die contaminating the bottom here. This probably will continue to be a  problem for centuries and meanwhile the radiation plume from Japan just intensifies.

                   An MSNBC article in April of 2012 reported that seals and polar bears were found to have “external maladies” that consisted of fur loss and open sores, obvious signs of radiation burns from the Fukushima meltdown, despite the conclusions of the article.
                    Fukushima radiation appears to be causing an epidemic of dead and starving Sea Lions in California and the FDA has refused to test for radiation
                    Update: Huffington Post reports that the reactors used “dirty fuel,” a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX), which means we can never return to this place again. This comes from a Russian nuclear physicist who is an expert on the kinds of gasses being released at Fukushima.
                    .Almost a third more US West Coast newborns may face thyroid problems after Fukushima nuclear disaster
                    Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years — “We were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread”

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:04:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You need to include a live link with any pull quot (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bewild

              like this, please, so we can read the full article and judge the source ourselves.

              "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by Kombema on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:55:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  this is all nonsense (5+ / 0-)

            There are more whales off California this year because we have stopped harpooning them, and there are more whales.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:13:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Pollution produced by the earthquake (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CharlieHipHop

            wasn't limited to radiation.  The affected areas included buildings and storage areas filled with pesticides, fuels, and a full range of other chemicals, plus whatever else was around or part of the buildings.  All of it was sucked into the ocean, subsequently either dispersing or hovering in the plume.  Individual pollution sources are bad enough, but the combined impact (especially combined with elevated radiation levels) would have a devastating impact.  

          •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

            My mojo is gone so I can't rec your comment, but thank you for posting some reality.

            These cherry picked "studies" with their tiny, cherry picked samples are an affront to science.

            REALITY: Something horrible is going on in the seas, and nobody is bothering to REALLY study why.

            They tell me I'm pretty amusing from time to time working with 140 characters or less.

            by CharlieHipHop on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:10:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hi CharlieHipHop (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              walkshills, Ozy, nojay

              I am sorry you don't understand that the motivation of the oceanographic community is to understand what is going on in the ocean.

              This diary, if you read it, is about poor reporting on Fukushima that either because the news sites misunderstand the studies or selectively report pieces of the study distort what scientists have found.

              You blanket statements about scientists are, not surprisingly, inaccurate.  Much of what you say above about reality could be argued to be inaccurate as well. If you want a larger effort to study and monitor the radionuclides in the ocean lobby your local representative to fund it.

      •  No and certainly not in these numbers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P

        with the reported behavior of whales coming up and putting their heads into boats

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:05:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  see comment below (0+ / 0-)

          This whole "whales are fleeing the radioactivity !!" thingie is silly.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:12:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is nothing silly about this (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            cluster of abnormal phenomena. There is clearly something unnatural going on even if we don't fully understand how far the threat extends.

            Its more helpful to consider the range of options as including more research, recognize we won't get more research without advocating more funding for research, look for areas that more research might be useful and
            say why more research about whales might be among the research you would or would not consider.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:17:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What cluster of abnormal phenomena? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee

              So far, all you've provided is a couple of block quotes making fairly hysterical assertions ("Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years", and "Almost a third more US West Coast newborns may face thyroid problems after Fukushima nuclear disaster") but  without links, so there is no for anybody to verify the credibility of the claims therein. I didn't spend all those years lurking around alt.folklore.urban to be convinced of anything based on a random uncited quote on the internet. Please provide links for your block quotes above.

            •  there is no cluster of abnormal phenomena. (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BYw, ebohlman, RocketJSquirrel, thm, lanius, KenBee

              The whales are migrating just like they do every year for the past 10 or 12 million years.

              And since whales can't sense radiation any more than you can, they couldn't flee from it anyway.

              And "more research"  isn't gonna change that, any more than "more research" will change the fact that the earth isn't flat.

              There are plenty of things that Fukushima should concern us about.  "The whales are fleeing to California !!!" is not one of them.  The whole thing is anti-science silliness that just makes every anti-nuke actrivist look like a buffoon.

              So stop doing it.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:41:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whales are not migrating just as they always do (0+ / 0-)

                Whales are not migrating just as they always do

                "Unprecedented activity"," entire coast to be affected" "Levels will continue to rise for years" does that sound normal to you?

                “Unprecedented activity” near Canada’s West Coast: Whales in record numbers, displaying highly unusual behavior — Expert: Problems in Pacific could be bringing sea life to area; “Something’s amiss out there” December 21, 2013
                Study: High concentrations of Fukushima radioactive material will reach west coast of North America — “Entire coast” to be affected from Alaska to Mexico — “Can negatively affect human life for decades… should raise concern” (MODEL) September 23, 2013
                Senior Scientist: Fukushima radiation already on West Coast of N. America — We don’t know how much is coming or how fast it’s moving, situation ‘evolving’ — Levels will continue to rise for years — Unprecedented event for Pacific, largest ever radioactive release into ocean (VIDEO) January 15, 2014
                TV: Problems with killer whales local to West Coast — Only baby born in 2013 died — Just two born in 2012 — Depleted fish supply blamed January 22, 2014
                L.A. Times: Alarming West Coast sardine crash likely radiating through ecosystem — Experts warn marine mammals and seabirds are starving, may suffer for years to come — Boats return without a single fish — Monterey Bay: Hard to resist idea that humpback whales are trying to tell us something January 5, 2014

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:33:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  this is all nonsense /nt (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lanius, KenBee

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:22:34 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  That sounds like unquantified garbage (0+ / 0-)

                  And it doesn't help that you're appealing to a fisherman for authority.

                  •  As a fisherman he has some knowledge of fish (0+ / 0-)
                    Jeff Feldner is a longtime commercial fisherman who also has fisheries management experience.
                    In my experience fisherman go through phases. At first they care about fisheries management only to the extent that the fishing that they make their living off of should be closed to outsiders.

                    As they become respected leaders and end up going to a lot of meetings to make that case they are sought out be researchers who explain to them what's happening to their fish stocks is related to things like ocean temperatures and pollution.

                    Then they become researchers, take water samples, report abnormalities.

                    A past member of the Oregon Salmon Commission and Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission
                    I can't say for sure but Jeff is also probably a hunter and likes guns, we might make him out to be a typical Republican; I mean if you are going to call him "a fisherman" why stop there.
                    he has also been involved in direct retail and wholesale seafood sales and marketing,

                    Sounds like a businessman as well; clearly an unredeemable scoundrel
                    and as a collaborator in a number of fisheries research projects.
                    This part is interesting. To some extent scientists are coopting one segment of economic interests and making them aware that if they want their kids to continue in their footsteps some conservation measures wouldn't be a bad idea. Fishermen and hunters hate poachers and tend to be relatively supportive of fish and game wardens. Its not hard once you have your foot in their door to turn them into collaborators with us liberal tree huggers.
                    While Jeff has officially retired, he remains with Sea Grant on a part-time basis to continue work on specific projects.
                    Seems like the grant process is also appealing to the collaborator businessman types.

                       

                    Projects/Specialties: Seafood traceability
                        Fisheries utilization  Marine reserves
                    Is there really anything here that convinces you it doesn't help that I'm appealing to a fisherman for authority?

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 05:55:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Show me an example of Jeff's research (0+ / 0-)
                      •  He holds a post at Oregon State University (0+ / 0-)

                        seafood and fisheries Oregon State University

                        He fishes or at least markets fish or did before he retired to take the University post, (still seems like a young fella to me) so he's on the front lines of the controversy, knows the players including the researchers and allows his phone number to be given out by Oregon State so you can ask him what he knows.

                        He's been interviewed on the subject of Fukishima radiation reaching US fish stocks and says its too early to tell.

                        Obviously there is some conflict of interest because instead of giving us the straight dope about all the abnormalities fisherman are observing in their catches he is allowing the American consumer to be put at risk so that west coast fish producers can make a few dollars more before they get shut down for good, right?

                        I'm an East Coast guy so I don't know for sure, maybe he's just a self aggrandizing smooth talking out of both sides of his mouth typical fisherman with no interest in pissing off all the people who might be put out of business by this, just content to collect some easy grant money on the side, but maybe what he's saying is he's worried...

                        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                        by rktect on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 07:50:19 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                          •  Why don't you call and ask him (0+ / 0-)

                            Maybe you don't want to hear anything further from your lying eyes but do you consider super pods of thousands of dolphins normal? Where have you seen that before.

                            http://www.cbc.ca/...

                            Some of the phenomena being observed can't be evaluated because who knows if starfish die offs lead to anchovy abundance due to things preyed on by starfish being tasty morsels for anchovy's.

                            Nobody has ever seen the phenomena before.

                            Who knows if fish that feed on things growing on the debris plume which is presently the size of texas and sitting `1700 miles off the California coast get eaten by larger fish and as the radiation gets passed up the food chain it gets concentrated.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:12:41 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Superpods of dolphins? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rduran, ebohlman

                            Where? Like everywhere:

                            http://azoreswhales.blogspot.com/...

                            http://www.orcaweb.org.uk/...

                            http://www.blog.wildquest.com/...

                            https://cassiopaea.org/...

                            And yeah, those ones are all in the Atlantic.

                            Here are some Pacific examples (pre-dating Fukushima)

                            http://www.arkive.org/...

                            http://www.ironwulf.net/...

                            But sure, that particular one you're talking about MUST be from Fukushima.

                            I'm curious, do you just find something on the internet that you've never heard about, don't bother doing any research whatsoever, and then immediately post that it must be because of Fukushima?

                            Because that's what it seems like.

                          •  Your examples are hundreds rather than thousands (0+ / 0-)

                            My understanding is dolphins form superpods to cooperate in a hunt. Three hundred dolphins can take out a whole school of fish. For there to have been enough food to feed thousands of Dolphins suggests another predator starfish perhaps with a decreased population was leaving more food for the targeted school causing it to get larger providing more opportunity for Dolphins.

                            The fact that you went to such lengths to try and find another large superpod realizing you were finding reports of hundreds rather than thousands tells us all we need to know about your research.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:48:01 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really dude (0+ / 0-)

                            You want to double down?

                            First of all, one of those links had just as many dolphins as your link. Second of all:

                            http://www.theguardian.com/...

                            http://video.ca.msn.com/...

                            https://www.youtube.com/...

                            http://www.dolphinsafari.com/...

                            So yeah, not so incredibly rare. So still the answer to your question "Where have you seen that before?" is EVERYWHERE.

                            The fact that you can't seem to do a simple Google search tells us all we need to know about your capabilities.

                          •  How many sightings of ten thousand dolphins? One (0+ / 0-)

                            One out of three hundred sixty five I'd call rare enough to raise questions. Three hundred six of the sightings in a year were of pods in the hundreds. All the pods of 1000 or more were on the west coast; mostly  in CA except one in Costa Rica.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:30:28 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, (0+ / 0-)

                            so it's pretty rare, except it does happen.

                            So, since it does actually happen, and since your speculation of 'how' it could have been affected by Fukushima isn't actually supported by any data, your contention that THIS time the large pod HAD to be because of Fukushima is ridiculous.

    •  curious--how would marine mammals sense the (29+ / 0-)

      presence of radioactivity in the water, since it is colorless, odorless and tasteless.  Do they carry little Geiger counters with them?

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:55:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  credible reports (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rebel ga, jilikins, Joieau

        are that when you have this kind of large event
        you can taste a metallic bite in the air

        and animals have a lot of senses

      •  My thought exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bonsai66, doingbusinessas

        Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

        by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:52:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, maybe if it affected the food chain... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Duckmg, native, Joieau, Jim P

        then their patterns of feeding would be thrown off.  I don't know about other senses but if there are dead zones with no plankton then I think the food chain would move and the predators would move along with it.

        Now, I do not know if this is happening but I find it odd that there are so many eco-friendly people here poo-pooing the notion that dumping millions (if not billions) of gallons of radioactive water into the pacific ocean is bad for the sea creatures that live there.  What exactly would it take for it to be "bad"?  I mean if all of this is no big deal then we should just allow a certain level of radioctive waste to be dumped into the ocean on an ongoing basis because the ocean is so big it will take care of the problem.  As people in the industry say, "the solution to polution is dilution".

        If all of this is no big deal, I do not want anybody to freak out about my car dripping oil on the road and eventually making it into our watersystems because if all of this is no big deal then, screw any piddly ass efforts on my part.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:05:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seawater (11+ / 0-)

           Seawater is naturally radioactive, about 11,000 Bq per cubic metre, and it has been for billions of years thanks to K-40, a naturally-occurring isotope of potassium which an essential element that is conserved in pretty much all multicellular life and especially the ones swimming in it 24/7/365. It's what makes human bodies radioactive as well as tuna, shrimp, beef, bananas, white potatoes etc.

           A few kilometres from the Fukushima coast notable fission isotopes like cesium from the Daiichi plant are present at a level of maybe 25 Bq per cubic metre. The radioactivity of the cesium and strontium are a tiny fraction of the levels due to potassium; it's a major problem for folks trying to detect the specific fallout isotopes from the Daiichi plant. The cesium and strontium readings are also under the level of some of the other natural radioactive substances in seawater like rubidium-87 (about 1,000 Bq per cubic metre) and even uranium (33 Bq per cubic metre).

          •  Cool, this whole, "what to do with nuclear waste" (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, Jim P, molecularlevel, Duckmg

            question is solved... Just dump it into the ocean because it is already radioactive and besides, the ocean is really, really BIG.

            You know, this is great because I have spent the last 30+ years worrying about radioactive waste and now I know, it was all for nothing.  I bet Chernobyl is going to be very happy to hear about this.

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:16:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joe Jackson, gzodik, PJEvans

              Dispersing nuclear waste in the ocean would have little effect on sealife and the environment generally. It would still be a bad thing to do so it's forbidden by international treaties, the same way dumping mercury and other toxic wastes even in small quantities is forbidden.

               The engineers at Fukushima Daiichi are trying to stop the leaks of radioactive material from the reactor cores that are still happening while at the same time trying to not make things worse and avoiding killing anyone. They've reduced the outflow somewhat and they are cleaning the cooling water they pump through through the reactor to remove cesium and most other isotopes that contaminate it. There's still dangerous amounts of fission isotopes in the broken fuel elements in the reactors though and there will be for a long time to come.

               As for nuclear waste, deep geological burial seems to be the chosen solution around the world. The Finns, oddly enough, are the first to implement such a scheme at Onkalo. Other nations have determined they will start work on burial sites in a few decades time when they have accumulated enough waste to make it worthwhile -- France's stockpile of processed nuclear waste wouldn't even fill a small Walmart and that's about 1200 reactor-years worth. The Finns don't reprocess spent fuel so they have a larger volume of material to dispose of from only a handful of reactors of so they're starting digging now to build a repository that will deal with about a century's worth of spent fuel by the time it's filled and sealed.

        •  nobody is "pooh-poohing" anything (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ozy, Joe Jackson, PJEvans, lanius

          Radionucleotides in fish is bad news for anything that eats the fish.

          But this whole idea of "whales fleeing to California !!!" is silly. The whales migrate every year, and there are more of them migrating because there are more whales (a sign that cetacean conservation efforts have been successful). And the whales can't detect radiation any more than YOU can. They can't "flee" what they don't know is there.

          PS--I am getting awfully fucking tired of the recent trend at DKos to label anyone who disagrees with anyone about anything as "an apologist for The Man".  It's silly, stupid, and makes us all look like flaming idiots. So stop doing it.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:17:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmmm... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, Jim P, molecularlevel

            Now you said:

            curious--how would marine mammals sense the presence of radioactivity in the water, since it is colorless, odorless and tasteless.  Do they carry little Geiger counters with them?
            Now unless you actually thought that Duckmg may have believed that fish had little Gieger counters wit them, you were being snarky, trying to be funny at his expense, in other words you were mocking him.

            I responded:

            Well, maybe if it affected the food chain then their patterns of feeding would be thrown off.  I don't know about other senses but if there are dead zones with no plankton then I think the food chain would move and the predators would move along with it.
            But going forward (and the part you took issue with in a susequent comment):
            Now, I do not know if this is happening but I find it odd that there are so many eco-friendly people here poo-pooing the notion that dumping millions (if not billions) of gallons of radioactive water into the pacific ocean is bad for the sea creatures that live there.  What exactly would it take for it to be "bad"?  
            This is what got you so mad?  Mad enough to say:
            I am getting awfully fucking tired of the recent trend at DKos to label anyone who disagrees with anyone about anything as "an apologist for The Man".  It's silly, stupid, and makes us all look like flaming idiots. So stop doing it.
            Hmmm...  Well, you have a right to feel however you like but here is what I am getting awfully fucking sick and tired of:

            People mocking others and then getting their feelings hurt when someone disagrees with them or puts forth a different point of view.  I never accused you of being an "Apologist for The Man" (by the way, bonus points to keeping you jive groovy and hip) but I am saying now that I think you do not know what the Hell you are talking about and the fact you are spouting your dogma as if you are some kind of expert is bullshit.  You do not know what the actual level of radioactivity is in the waters around Fukushima unless you are there measuring them yourself. You have the data that has been provided to you and we all know that that has a tendency to be revised upward at a later date by multiples of 400% .  You also have no idea what a massive spill of radioactivity will do to the food chain because nobody does.  Never before in history has food been caught, shipped and consumed globally as it is today.  

            The fact is, there are a lot of unknowns out there and for you to come on here and act like you know what the fuck you are talking about, enough to mock another dKos member for making a reasonable comment, well I'm glad you are getting awfully fucking tired of all this.  Maybe if you get tired enough, you'll resist the urge to act like you know more than what you actually do and shut the fuck up before you mock somebody else.

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:58:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hi Buckeye Nut Schell (6+ / 0-)

              There is no evidence of deadzones without phytoplankton (algae) in the ocean resulting from Fukushima.  Phytoplankton are some of the most radiation resistant organisms on the planet and speculation that they will experience negative impacts given the very small activities of Fukushima sourced radionculides in the Pacific is baseless.

              •  Thank you Marinechemist... (4+ / 0-)

                I wasn't really saying there was but was using that as an example of food chain disruption.  

                You have written several diaries on this subject and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all.  I have read and recc'ed each one that I have had the opportunity to read.  I think you balance out some of the hysteria even though I think that there is more damage occurring than your diaries suggest.  

                However, I know that my beliefs are based purely on speculation.  I have read many of the doomsday articles from supposed experts saying that this was going to bring about the end of the world and I have read your diaries and found facts and news articles that quote the "official" story and it is all very confusing.  

                A lot of people have vested interests in making the story into what they want it to be and since A.) I am not there doing studies on my own and B.) I am not a nuclear scientist or a marine biologist, I have nothing to go on except my ablity to know who to trust (which is sometimes faulty).  

                I remember Three Mile Island and how it was made out to be no big deal and now, forty years later, we are still learning about what a nightmare it was and could have been and the amount of radiation that we were lied to about.  I remember Chernobyl and the initial reports about how it was nothing major and I remember how the initial reports about Fukushima were made to sound like it was all under control.  Governments lie, it is one of the few constants in the universe.  

                Now, I really like your fact based coverage of this event and your knowledge helps me understand a lot of things I otherwise would not know.  However, I also know that there are limits to the information you have access to as well and there are limits to what we, as a society know about this stuff.  How long was it before we realized mercury was bad for us?  Lead?  Plastic water bottles?  

                No one can say that what is happening in Fukushima is not going to have a tremendous negative impact on our oceans and our food supply.  We just do not kow that yet.  However, it is also most likely not going to be an "End of the World as We Know It" event either.

                Thank you again you the facts you provide.  I really do appreciate them and your kind attitude as well.

                "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

                by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:28:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau
                ...the very small activities of Fukushima sourced radionculides in the Pacific
                Would you please pass the bananas!

                "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                by dharmasyd on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:45:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  and so we double down on the "apologist for The (0+ / 0-)

              Man" silliness.

              (sigh)

              PS---I know enough to know that marine mammals can't detect radiation any more than you or I can. Which is apparently more than some silly posters here know.

              If you want to believe that makes me a spy for the nuclear industry, go ahead and believe any damnfool thing you want. I can't prevent people from being fools. (shrug)

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:15:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  ps--I'm also smart enough to tell who is on the (0+ / 0-)

                same side of the issue as me and who is not.
                Apparently you aren't smart enough to do that.

                (sigh)

                Most of DKos has turned into dumbasses. Sad to see.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:17:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  behavior changes (0+ / 0-)

          are far more likely to be due to changes in ocean temperatures, which do affect their food supply, far more than the relatively small amount of radiation and pollution from Fukushima that they might run into.

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:43:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  about that increase in whale sightings . . . . . (28+ / 0-)
      http://www.ocregister.com/...

      Gray-whale sightings off West Coast at record levels

      Biologists, whale watchers delight in the large numbers. An expert attributes the high number in December to a healthier-growing population.

      December sightings of whales fluking, spy-hopping and diving by the Southern California coastline continued a strong trend of rising from a low point seen four years ago.

      Mansur attributes the high number of gray whales in December to a healthier-growing population. In recent years gray whales seem to be having more calves. The calves born in the lagoons put on as much as 65 pounds a day. After a couple of months they're ready to head north.

      Schulman-Janiger and Mansur say the abundance of baby grays might be why the whales are being spotted more easily. Hugging the coastline provides a safer route and keeps their travels in shallower water, a place that makes it less likely for an orca group to trap and drown a gray whale.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:24:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some people will believe anything. (20+ / 0-)

      No mammal can detect radioactivity without a Geiger counter or an equivalent device.

      Many thanks to MarineChemist for injecting scientific reality in to this "based" community.

      Unclejohn, nuclear physicist.

      The 99% are watching.

      by unclejohn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:07:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do large mammals come equipped with (5+ / 0-)

      Geiger counters nowadays? Because one of the things about this sort of radiation is that you typically don't feel it. That's part of what makes it dangerous.

      Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

      by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:51:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  post hoc ergo propter hoc (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      It's a baseless guess.


      Every time my iPhone battery gets down to 47%, I think of Mitt Romney.

      by bobinson on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:16:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Believed by believers, (0+ / 0-)

      not scientists.

  •  Fish caught off of Japan exceed Japanese (6+ / 0-)

    Radiation limits.  Can come to America in weeks.

    http://enenews.com/...

    •  Migratory species like Salmon worry me (8+ / 0-)

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:28:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They can. Bluefin tuna make the round trip (28+ / 0-)

      regularly.

      I don't have the links so this won't mean anything to you, but no one should be surprised about two things: marine biologists have been monitoring the tuna ever since Fukushima happened, and the fish DO have some contamination from the site.

      Fortunately the contamination was never high enough to harm animals or people, and it has been diminishing continually.

      I applaud the diarist for trying to bring some actual science to this subject.

      It's interesting that you link to Energy News, which the diarist states:

      The example here was originally spawned by Energy News who have a history of inaccurate reporting on Fukushima and then propagated through the web by uncritical followers of the site.

      Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

      by Fonsia on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:38:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good science is helpful, to be sure (15+ / 0-)

        but I think we could agree that unsourced opinions are even less reliable than enenews.com aggregations.

        Fortunately the contamination was never high enough to harm animals or people, and it has been diminishing continually
        I would be interested to learn that "actual science" points to these comforting assurances.  What level, and more importantly what type of ionizing radiation causes absolutely no harm to animals or people?  I have been working under the assumption that all exposure, no matter how small, has some effect.  Proponents of nuclear power are happy to believe that a lack of scientific evidence of a clearly demonstrable causal link to harm means that there is no harm. Governments would like people to believe that all is well and adjust their "safe limits" regularly to comport with the ever increasing "background levels" that escalate with each nuclear accident.  Others continue to doubt that there is a basis for comforting reassurances that is based on reality and good science.  

        "Absense of evidence is not evidence of absense" is a maxim that should be applied our notion of what constitutes "safe" amounts of ionizing radiation in our food.

        It has always seemed strange to me...The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. - John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

        by ovals49 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:41:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  About this, probably the level(s) and type(s) (4+ / 0-)

          found naturally in people:

          What level, and more importantly what type of ionizing radiation causes absolutely no harm to animals or people?
          Which are given in some level of detail about 1/2 way down this site
          •  The absolutism makes the (10+ / 0-)

            assertion both unscientific and wrong. Radon occurs naturally, is a big chunk of that "naturally occurring background" exposure. Which is far from "absolutely" harmless in that the EPA has concluded that radon exposure causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States.

            Twenty thousand dead every year doesn't sound very harmless to me. YMMV.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:20:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You obviously didn't read my link (5+ / 0-)

              radon is NOT listed as a type of radiation found naturally in people.

              I'd cut and paste the table giving the pertinent information into this comment, but the formatting is all fucked up.

              Just in case you, or anyone else, is too timid to actually click on the link . .. .

              •  Radon is a big chunk (8+ / 0-)

                of "natural background" exposures.

                Radon is inhaled, thus the exposures that cause lung cancer are "in" people.

                That's simple enough to understand. Per K40 in bananas or any other source not "in" people until they eat them, the concentrations in those bananas and in people do not change (though there's more as people grow and gain more cells/mass). It's always 0.0117% of all natural potassium, and has been since this planet was formed.

                Doesn't mean it "absolutely" never causes harm, of course. Just means it's not something we can do much of anything about. Because it's always there. As for polonium, people who don't subsist on constant seafood diets don't bioaccumulate as much of it. But I'd not consider it harmless either.

                Again, YMMV. No amount of ionizing radiation - interior or exterior - is harmless to organic tissues. So say the many agencies concerned with radiation exposures.

                There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:48:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're confusing the issue. (5+ / 0-)

                  Yes, everyone is exposed to some amount of radon, it's part of our 'average natural' background.

                  However, many people are exposed to much higher concentrations of radon due to poorly ventilated basements. This is not 'average background', though it is still natural radiation.

                  It is this excess exposure that causes the increased cancer risk.

                  You're also misstating the scientific view on low level radiation. It is treated as if there is a LNT for radiation, basically risk declines linearly with dose, but there is no 0 or threshold level.

                  However, LNT has not been scientifically validated. In fact, current research indicates LNT is likely wrong. But, since radiation safety measures are conservative, regulations would like to err on the side of caution.

                  Btw, once again, your banana example is wrong. Until homeostasis kicks in and you pee out the excess potassium, eating a banana will increase your radioactive load. I thought we already went through this.

                  •  K40 has a half-life of (6+ / 0-)

                    just over 1.25 billion years. Your "excess dose" from the .0117% of the ~450mg of potassium in any given banana (~20% your RDA) that is K40 while it's going through your digestive system is, if any exposure can be so considered, not significant. If Fukushima prefecture were a notable banana growing region, its bananas would contain a concentrated amount of man-made cesium taking the place of natural potassium in the bananas. Because cesium is a potassium mimic in biological tissues. With half-lives of 2 years (134) and 30 years (137), each atom far more radioactive than K40.

                    I've seen people claim that I131 doses can be considered insignificant because it has such a short half-life [8 days], but anybody who knows anything knows that the shorter the half-life the MORE damage is done while it's in you. K40 in bananas isn't one of those, and I strongly suspect you know that.

                    P.S. While you may believe-in the hormesis hypothesis because it suits your preconceived prejudices, THAT is the dose model that hasn't been scientifically validated or accepted by any of the responsible agencies worldwide who set dose limits for human beings.

                    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                    by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:55:22 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Hi Joieau (6+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ozy, flevitan, JerryNA, ban nock, PJEvans, thm

                      Similarly, the committed effective dose one receives from eating a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of 137-Cs and 134-Cs contaminated tuna from the Pacific is about 40 nanoSv (40 x 10^-9 Sv).  This compares to typical annual committed effective doses from natural sources of about 1-4 milliSv (1-4 x10^-3 Sv).  That is 5-orders of magnitude lower.

                      For comparison, if you are a pack a day cigarette smoker you have a committed effective dose over the year of about 0.15-0.4 milliSv from 210-Po, 210-Pb, 226-Ra and 228-Ra in the tobacco.

                      •  Doesn't matter if it's "less than" (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Jim P, ozsea1, dharmasyd

                        or "equal to" our natural dose, in aggregate from Fuku /bomb /nuke dump contamination, ALL isotopes instead of just one, total dose. Every single bit of it is in addition to our dose from natural background.

                        Radiation exposure is cumulative, as is the damage it does to biological tissues. If we are assured that eating crabs from Alaska only gives us a dose "about equal to" our average natural dose, our radiation dose has doubled and many of the isotopes are particularly dangerous due to bioaccumulation in specific tissues/organs.

                        That's just a simple fact. No amount of hemming and hawing about bananas or rocks or snow makes it not true. We can all pay attention and learn how to put the relative dose levels into some kind of context per things we may wish to do to limit our exposures best we can, definitely. We are not going to go extinct from Fukushima radionuclides. Conversely, TEPCO, the Japanese government, and other nuclear authorities have lied about conditions and levels regularly and repeatedly. Projections cannot be what they are if releases from Fukushima are ten or a hundred times worse than reported. Here I'll mention that TEPCO 'discovered' a few weeks ago that their reported figures on beta releases to the ocean (for three years now, 24-7) were off by some millions. Extrapolations from bogus figures are bogus. None of it's "harmless."

                        I personally do NOT believe minimizing the situation via blanket brush-offs and deceptive half-truths is helpful in any way. To anybody.

                        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                        by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:34:20 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Hi Joieau (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          BMScott, Ozy, flevitan, PJEvans

                          What is deception or half-true about what I said above?  Do you disagree with the effective dose estimates from 137-Cs and 134-Cs from tuna?  The dose from 210-Po is 23,160 nanoSv/kg relative to the 40 nanoSv from the Cs isotopes. The committed effective dose from other Fukushima sourced radionculides in fish is unlikely to approach the levels from Cs.  30 times more Cs was released compared to 90-Sr for example and the concentration for Cs is much higher than for Sr in fish. I wrote about that here.  

                          The range given for committed dose from cigarettes is absolutely accurate as well.

                        •  You just don't understand how this works. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Roadbed Guy, flevitan, Fonsia
                          Radiation exposure is cumulative, as is the damage it does to biological tissues.
                          Untrue for low level exposure.

                          Yes, risk is cumulative, as is trivially true for every low risk activity. If I drive twice as much I'll have twice the risk for an accident.

                          However, radiation damage is most certainly not cumulative at low levels. There is no scientific uncertainty about this, radiation induced cancer is a stochastic effect. The uncertainty lies in whether the risk for cancer extrapolates linearly from high dose, not that low dose rates cause accumulated damage.

                          We have DNA repair mechanisms that work very well unless they are overwhelmed by a large dose. In fact, these mechanisms are called upon to repair thousands to tens of thousands cells each day, mostly from molecular/chemical damage.

                          Once a cell successfully repairs DNA damage from a radiation interaction, that damage is gone, erased, as if it's never been. It most certainly does not 'accumulate' as you seem to think, or make the next event more 'risky'.

                          And if the cell is not properly repaired, then it may become cancerous, regardless and independent of any prior or future exposure.

                          You seem to have some deep and basic misunderstanding of how radiation interacts with human tissue that is the basis for all sorts of incorrect statements. We don't get cancer by continuously accumulating cellular radiation damage that crosses some threshold into a tumor. That's just not how it works.

                          •  Oh, I understand it well enough, Oz. (0+ / 0-)

                            Cancer doesn't happen only when repair is "overwhelmed" by sheer number of hits. Any cell can become cancerous if certain genetic damage is done, at any time. That's why there's LD50's - which is a median with higher and lower, just so you know - along with excess cancers over time in exposed populations quantified statistically, from radiation. High dose or low, it's all relative to the damage done in an individual system to individual cells. And of course the age of the dose-ee, and that dose-ee's general robustness per cellular repair and/or death and recycling mechanisms, general health, etc., etc., etc. Stochastic in nature, there are no absolutes here.

                            Surely you would not be someone to say that if your system is too weak or stressed to 'handle' the damage, your death doesn't count. Would you?

                            There are no absolutes here, no responsible party in any radiation and/or health care authority makes absolute pronouncements about the risks of exposure. This is why the NRC, the IAEA, et al. subscribe to LNT and not hormesis as a model of radiation effects in biological tissues across populations.

                            I'm old now, but health physics was my specialty once upon a time. Though I spent more time in crystallography and genetics, do try to keep current. Have some hands-on meltdown experience, though. I'm guessing you don't. You should try it - it's exciting (and educational). I'm sure TEPCO's subcontractors are looking for fearless engineer volunteers, Lake Barrett would probably welcome the English-speaking company.

                            Wouldn't matter though, would it? You'd echo their lies anyway. Because you are emotionally and existentially committed to believing them, or at least convincing the plebes to believe them even if you don't really. That's kind of sad.

                            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                            by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:49:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, you don't apparently understand it. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy
                            Any cell can become cancerous if certain genetic damage is done, at any time.
                            Only if that damage is not repaired.

                            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...

                            And that repair mechanism can indeed get 'overwhelmed' at higher doses:

                            http://newscenter.lbl.gov/...

                            However, if that damage is repaired successfully (or the cell dies), as happens to the large majority of the 1000's - 10000's damage events that happen to our cells EVERY DAY, then the risk/damage from that particular event is gone. POOF. It does not 'accumulate'.

                            The rest of your paragraph is a meaningless word salad. It's nonsense, through and through, and makes me doubt all of your previous claims to actual knowledge about the subject.

                            I'm old now, but health physics was my specialty once upon a time. Though I spent more time in crystallography and genetics, do try to keep current. Have some hands-on meltdown experience, though. I'm guessing you don't. You should try it - it's exciting (and educational).
                            Given your obvious lack of knowledge regarding how the body handles DNA damage, your errors regarding things like 'PK', your misunderstanding of what 'hormesis' is compared to a threshold model, your hemming and hawing over what level of radiation is actually insignificant, and your seeming inability to properly parse the sources you link to, I find this extremely hard to believe. Maybe it's just because research has advanced in the intervening time, but statements like 'radiation damage is cumulative' just don't make any sense when applied to low dosages, and I'm pretty sure it didn't make any sense 20, 30, or 40 years ago either.

                            Either you get cancer from a particular low level dose, or you don't. You don't 'store up' radiation damage and get cancer once that damage reaches some sort of threshold, which is what your statement implied. That particular risk is independent of previous and future low level dose risks, that's how the stochastic nature of radiation induced cancer works. Otherwise it wouldn't be stochastic.

                          •  Why don't scientists understand... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joieau

                            ...the word...
                                     

                            CUMULATIVE
                                                        ?

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:55:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand it. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            Why don't people understand what that actually means with regard to radiation?

                            Exercise for you:

                            I get zapped with a bit of low level radiation with a 1% chance of developing a tumor.

                            My cells fix the DNA damage, no harm done.

                            Now, I get zapped with the same dose again.

                            What's my risk of developing a tumor?

                            Explain how the word cumulative applies.

                          •  I guess the counter argument is (0+ / 0-)

                            the second time you get zapped, even though the chance of you getting cancer is still only 1% from that incident, the cumulative effect is that you will have experienced a 2%  chance of getting cancer.

                            So statistically that might be a valid argument, but biologically it is meaningless.

                            The very same situation applies to UV radiation, of course - I wonder if the same people who argue that the effects of very low, sub-threshold levels of ionizing radiation have the same view of exposure to sunlight.

                            Which pretty much everybody can appreciate if you're exposed to 5 minutes of every day, you'll be just fine. By contrast if you're exposed to a whole summer's worth of 5 minutes a day exposure in one day - say 10 straight hours in the sun one day out of the blue - you almost certainly won't be.  I'd say that that's something that everybody can agree on, but that's probably not the case at this site.

                            The point being that the body and its cells is perfectly well equipped to deal with day to day insults - by far the greatest of which are reactive oxygen species generated from normal metabolism.  

                          •  To clarify the second paragragh (0+ / 0-)
                            So statistically that might be a valid argument, but biologically it is meaningless.
                            The part that is biologically meaningless is the idea that * any * exposure to radiation carries a measurable risk (you said 1% but 10% or 0.000001% would work just as well) .

                            There are levels that have no measurable risk and hence are for all intents and purposes zero - hence, after the first exposure, you are no worse for the wear.  Or another way to put you, you can add up zeros (or is it zeroes) all day long, and still be at zero.

                          •  Yeah, it's the same with all low level risks. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            northstarbarn, Roadbed Guy

                            The cumulative risk adds (approximately).

                            For some reason Joieau makes a big point about this with radiation, but it's trivially true for everything in life that is low risk.

                            Drive twice as much, double the risk for an accident. Climb twice as many ladders, double the risk for falling. And so on. Cancer risk from radiation is no different except that people actually get real-time information as to whether their risk was successfully bypassed in the other cases.

                            Which might be related to the entire psychology behind the fear.

                          •  When a scientist of the caliber... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...of Dr. John Gofman says there is no safe level of exposure to radiation, I tend to believe.

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 12:28:59 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's a meaningless comment (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dharmasyd

                            because there's no 'safe' way to do anything in life. Everything has risk associated with it.

                            What makes radiation so special in your mind?

                          •  FEAR! (0+ / 0-)

                            Would you accept that without quarreling with me?  I keeps trying to mellow this down.  But you are staunch!

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 02:41:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The problem is that fear can be worse (0+ / 0-)

                            than the radiation itself in terms of negative health outcomes.

                            Seriously, there were real negative health effects associated with stress involved in the fear of radiation for both Fukushima and Chernobyl, even for people nowhere near the exposure zone, including suicide, alcoholism, and a lowering of the life expectancy.

                            So, as a society we have to do what we can to  make sure that the fear is reasonable instead of overblown, unless we're just willing to tolerate the additional negative health effects from that unwarranted fear.

                            For example, you're worried about a granite countertop. Have you had your home surveyed for Radon concentration already? It could very well be that you're already living in a higher than recommended level.

                            http://www.epa.gov/...

                            If you're worried about radon exposure because of your other health issues, then you should take the time to check your home and investigate remediation techniques if it's too high.

                          •  Dear, dear Ozy... (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm 81 yo, was out geiger measuring radiation with my physics department friends at UCB during the Pacific tests in the 1950s.  I've spent a lifetime bantering into nowhere with folks like you.  I'm saying goodbye now.  I shall not waste my time trying to discuss with you.

                            Now you try to lecture me on the harmful effects of fear.  Too late kiddo.  It is clear you will not accept anything I say at face value.  Try to think of me kindly.  I am a human being with my own shortcomings as well as some really cool traits.  But you have exhausted this old lady.  So I will simply say:  "Bye!"

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 05:34:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Since when is discussion (0+ / 0-)

                            a lecture? It's only one sided if you refuse to engage, and I accept your words entirely at face value. When you say it's based on fear, I believe you whole heartedly. I just prefer that people don't live in fear if they don't have to. Life is too short as it is.

                            My suggestion to get your place checked for radon was sincere, a good fraction of residential buildings are above the EPA suggested limits. This is far more of a real danger than a granite countertop.

                          •  GOODBYE! (0+ / 0-)

                            You know NOTHING!

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:04:09 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  *sigh* (0+ / 0-)

                            Apparently your 81 years wasn't enough to teach you manners, nor how to engage in civil discussion.

                            And it's 'me' who won't accept words at face value? Why did you even bother joining the discussion if you had nothing to add except unsubstantiated fear? There's already more than enough of that nonsense in the threads.

                    •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      divineorder, JerryNA, Fonsia
                      Your "excess dose" from the .0117% of the ~450mg of potassium in any given banana (~20% your RDA) that is K40 while it's going through your digestive system is, if any exposure can be so considered, not significant.
                      Certainly, I thinks so, but you tend to be one who thinks that no exposure is insignificant. If you would please give a level at which you think radiation is indeed insignificant, I can keep this in mind for further discussions and avoid misunderstandings.
                      I've seen people claim that I131 doses can be considered insignificant because it has such a short half-life [8 days], but anybody who knows anything knows that the shorter the half-life the MORE damage is done while it's in you. K40 in bananas isn't one of those, and I strongly suspect you know that.
                      The insignificance depends on the actual activity, not just the half-life. The relevance of the short half-life is more that the danger from release is less because the element decays quickly in the environment. Things with shorter half-lives have higher activity for the same number of atoms, however for a given activity, radioisotopes with longer half-lives are more dangerous.

                      So it doesn't make any sense to judge danger just by half-life.

                      P.S. While you may believe-in the hormesis hypothesis because it suits your preconceived prejudices, THAT is the dose model that hasn't been scientifically validated or accepted by any of the responsible agencies worldwide who set dose limits for human beings.
                      Who believes in the hormesis hypothesis? I've explicitly stated in another diary that radiation hormesis has no scientific support. Where do you get your misinformation from? Do you even know what radiation hormesis is? Or is this just another 'PK'?
                •  A small hyperbole problem... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy
                  It's always 0.0117% of all natural potassium, and has been since this planet was formed.
                  The earth is 4.5 billion years old and the half life of K40 is 1.25 billion years.

                  So, it was 0.0234% of natural pottasium 1.25 billion years ago.  0.0468% 2.5 billion years ago. 0.0936% 3.75 billion years ago.

                  •  You can of course limit that (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ozsea1, dharmasyd

                    to "The Entirety of Existence and Evolution of Complex Multicellular Life on Planet Earth" if you like. Doesn't change my point, but you're right. There have been maybe 4 half-lives, only another 6 to go before it's so gone whatever life is left (if there is any, anywhere in this cosmic neighborhood) will never have been exposed to it.

                    All the plutonium we've created and released (or will be released) will be long gone before the next half-life of potassium-40 comes around. That might be something to look forward to.

                    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                    by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:32:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Where in link you're responding to (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, divineorder, JerryNA, Fonsia

              does it say radon is 'absolutely harmless'?

              Furthermore, it's well known that poorly ventilated basements and underground dwelling areas can concentrate the gas and increase exposure well beyond 'normal' background.

              •  Yeah, I think it's a stretch to say that (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JerryNA, Fonsia, PJEvans

                radon is "naturally" found in people.

                Insofar as a basement - one of the most non-natural things out there - is basically a prerequisite for that to happen.

                •  Or uranium mines - that is the other "biggie" (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue aardvark, JerryNA, Fonsia, PJEvans

                  wrt radon exposure.

                  But again - like basements - uranium mines are not completely "natural" IMHO.

                  •  Now, now. Why, just a few (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JVolvo, cotterperson, ozsea1, dharmasyd

                    weeks ago the DOE explained a radiation alarm going off in their half-mile deep 'basement' in the Permian salt bed - and subsequent radiation spikes measured miles away in open air by NM State University as "a little radon off-gassing," which as always was and will ever be "No [Immediate] Danger To The General Public." Just radon. Wafts here and there, comes down in the rain, all over the place all the time, perfectly natural, etc., etc., etc.

                    Of course, it wasn't radon after all. It was americium-241 accompanied by at least three gnarly isotopes of plutonium and a few other actinides. Damn those university egghead types anyway for checking. Then it became maybe a collapsed ceiling in one of the storage caverns used to 'isolate' high-level plutonium/ transuranic waste from nuclear weapons production since the 1940s. Or maybe a ghostly forklift operator abandoned in the mines long ago, who operates heavy machinery when nobody's looking. They might go down there later this month or in April to find out, they say. It's far too dangerous for humans now, will need more venting...

                    So I'd certainly agree that mining unstable Permian salt beds half a mile underground to store high-level transuranic military waste qualifies as "unnatural," radon is obviously the go-to natural, constant exposure alpha-emitter to blame for any harm to humans known to result from exposure to alpha-emitting radionuclides. ALL of the 200,000 citizens who die every decade of lung cancers caused by radon must have been uranium miners, WIPP employees, or lived in houses with unventilated basements, right?

                    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                    by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:32:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You do realize this is an estimate (5+ / 0-)

                      based off the LNT hypothesis, and not a real measurement.

                      ALL of the 200,000 citizens who die every decade of lung cancers caused by radon must have been uranium miners, WIPP employees, or lived in houses with unventilated basements, right?
                      Don't you?

                      Silly me, look who I'm asking.

                      •  The EPA gives the number as 21,000 (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Fonsia

                        so the figure of 200,000 is massive hyperbole, at the very least.

                        •  Be careful (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Roadbed Guy, Fonsia

                          he added 'every decade' to inflate the number.

                          Yeah, he likes to play those games. It's easier than using facts to substantiate your argument.

                          •  Oh, yeah, I forgot that everything is decade based (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PJEvans

                            now.

                            Hence the ~9,000 Bq of radiation found naturally within the human body (per the link I give above) should really be described as "a person is bombarded internally with 2.83 trillion isotopic disintegrations from natural sources"  but yet survives.  So meh, radiation can't be all that harmful, no?

                             (I'm not necessarily making that argument, just pointing out that playing with statistics can go both ways).

                          •  "He?" You must be new around here. (0+ / 0-)

                            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                            by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:56:48 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My bad. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dharmasyd

                            'That person'.

                          •  I would add to your list... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...after poorly venilated  basement:

                            being forced by the management of my apartment to accept granite kitchen counter tops at age 80 with emphysema and COPD, while management quotes from their memorized EPA brochures that I'd get a larger dose sitting in the garden.
                            Sorry, since radiological exposure is cumulative, that tiny, tiny dose I might get from preparing my food on a radon  emitting granite counter at chest height is not a risk I care to take, no matter how many EPA assurances they, you, or anyone else quotes to me.  

                            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                            by dharmasyd on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:11:39 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Risk is always cumulative. (0+ / 0-)

                            That's how risk works. Driving 2*X miles in your car is approximately twice as risky as driving X miles in your car. Low level radiation is no different than any of the other multitude of risks you take in your life, but each one can be analyzed independently.

                            That granite counter has a risk associated to it. That risk is independent of other low-level radiation risks. So you can evaluate for yourself whether that risk is worth it or not.

                            Do you know how much risk that counter adds? Do you know whether it's more or less risky than other actions you take without a second thought?

                            People are notoriously bad at estimating risk, so I'm just wondering whether you actually did the calculation.

                            On the other hand, if you're saying radiation dose 'damage' is cumulative, I'm afraid you're mistaken.

                            Now, if you were a smoker, you should definitely avoid any and all sources of radon if possible as it seems to have a multiplicative effect on the risk.

                  •  The real biggie (5+ / 0-)

                    for radon release is coal mining and also coal generating plants where the bulk coal is crushed to a powder before it is burned, releasing noticeable amounts of radon usually close to human habitation. The solution is to dissipate it into the atmosphere like all the other toxic flue gases. Sucks to be downwind though, like St. Louis which is only about 50km from the Labadie coal power complex.

                     Most uranium ore mining operations take place a long way from towns and cities and they tend to be tiny compared to coal mining. What's dug up in uranium mines contains a lot more radon per tonne than coal but the total amount dug up, a few million tonnes of ore producing about 60-70,000 tonnes of uranium per annum) is dwarfed by the radon released from excavating and burning tens of billions of tonnes of coal and overburden in places like Germany, China etc.

          •  And cancers and other radiation related diseases (8+ / 0-)

            occur at some baseline rate as well.

            Some portion of the baseline cancer rate can probably be attributed to the baseline radiation level.

            Which is to say, more radiation is bad for you, but you will never get to zero no matter how hard you try. At some point you have to accept that yes, living is dangerous.

            Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

            by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:55:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If this were true (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue aardvark, thm
              Some portion of the baseline cancer rate can probably be attributed to the baseline radiation level.
              There should be some multiple of the baseline cancer rate for populations who live in high radiation areas.

              But there isn't.

              From Wikipedia

              Areas with high NBR[edit]

              Some areas have greater dosage than the country-wide averages.[13] In the world in general, exceptionally high natural background locales include Ramsar in Iran, Guarapari in Brazil, Karunagappalli in India,[14] Arkaroola, South Australia [15] and Yangjiang in China.[16]

              more:
              The highest background radiation in an inhabited area is found in Ramsar, primarily due to the use of local naturally radioactive limestone as a building material. The 1000 most exposed residents receive an average external effective radiation dose of 6 mSv per year, (0.6 rem/yr,) six times more than the ICRP recommended limit for exposure to the public from artificial sources
              It's like OH MY GOD - HOW DO THESE POOR PEOPLE SURVIVE?

              just fine, it turns out:

              People in some areas of Ramsar, a city in northern Iran, receive an annual radiation absorbed dose from background radiation that is up to 260 mSv y(-1), substantially higher than the 20 mSv y(-1) that is permitted for radiation workers. Inhabitants of Ramsar have lived for many generations in these high background areas.

              Cytogenetic studies show no significant differences between people in the high background compared to people in normal background areas. An in vitro challenge dose of 1.5 Gy of gamma rays was administered to the lymphocytes, which showed significantly reduced frequency for chromosome aberrations of people living in high background compared to those in normal background areas in and near Ramsar.

              link

              •  Do I read that correctly that the citizens of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy

                Ramsar have a genetic adaptation to radiation?

                Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

                by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:25:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, there was no claim made as to mechanism (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue aardvark

                  my guess would be that it is likely epigenetic.

                  Sadly, based on the political situation in Iran, I suspect any state-of-the-art research on this topic is now ongoing.

                •  Here's a (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue aardvark

                  a recent paper that shows that cancer cells can use epigenetic mechanisms to become resistant to the high doses of radiation used in cancer therapy.

                  It's probably not that huge of an extrapolation that similar biochemical mechanisms could kick in to deal with differences in "background" levels of radiation.

                  Not sure how quickly this occurs, however - for example if a Floridian (where there are notoriously low levels of background radiation) were to move to Ramsar, that might be a problem.  On several levels, of course, since the Ramsar Islamic Guard types might be offended at nude beach type behavior of the Floridian in question, thereby thwarting longer term study of the radiation effects under discussion in this thread . .. .

                  •  Epigenetics fascinating (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy

                    Backing up to the original topic, though, a sudden increase in background radiation, occurring before adaptation can take place, might well track with increased cancers, as have been seen near Hanover Washington.

                    It's similar to climate change; if the climate changes over millions of years, life adapts. If the climate changes over decades, life doesn't.

                    Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

                    by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 09:05:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Adaptation should be possible over a time (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      blue aardvark

                      period of weeks to months.

                      Although your point of requiring "decades" (which implies generation-to-generation effects) is also plausibly supported by the literature.

                      For example, "in utero" epigenetic effects of Dutch babies whose mothers  suffered severe malnutrition at the hands of the Nazi invaders during WW2 have been well studied and shown to have life-long consequences.

                      On the plus side, in addition to the actual factual content of this post, it fulfills (note, "fulfills" not violates!!) Godwins' Law.

                      •  "Should be possible" is not the same as "radiation (0+ / 0-)

                        is safe".

                        It takes, IIRC, 6 weeks for the cells in the body to refresh. I'm not certain if that's true for all cells.

                        Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

                        by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 09:28:06 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  A blanket statement on this topic is not warranted (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          blue aardvark
                          It takes, IIRC, 6 weeks for the cells in the body to refresh.
                          Different cells in the body are "refreshed" a vastly different rates - for example RBCs turn over in about 120 days, intestinal gut lining cells in 11 hours, and some cells (certain neurons and heart cells, for example, probably last for a lifetime).

                          On this topic, you might want to do a Google search on dating cells with nuclear weapons  (with dating in this context not referring to taking your cells out to a romantic dinner . .. . )

                        •  As far as safety goes, again a blanket statement (0+ / 0-)

                          cannot be made.

                          At one extreme, radiation can kill; at the other it can save your life.

                          Most of time most people are exposed somewhere in the middle where there is absolutely no measurable effect.

        •  And about this (8+ / 0-)
          I have been working under the assumption that all exposure, no matter how small, has some effect
          Cells have a robust ability to repair radiation damage (otherwise we - and all other life - would have been dead billions of years ago).

          So while it may be true that "all exposure, no matter how small, has some effect" may be true,  the important statement, which is NOT true would be "all exposure, no matter how small, has a harmful effect"

        •  Indeed. Remember that I wrote: (10+ / 0-)
          I don't have the links so this won't mean anything to you
          The diarist, however, did provide links.

          And it's morning now, so I had a teensy bit of time to use the Google machine:

          http://www.cnn.com/... (CNN report with links)

          And an actual report:

          http://www.pnas.org/...

          Here's the abstract from it:

          Radioactive isotopes originating from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 were found in resident marine animals and in migratory Pacific bluefin tuna (PBFT). Publication of this information resulted in a worldwide response that caused public anxiety and concern, although PBFT captured off California in August 2011 contained activity concentrations below those from naturally occurring radio- nuclides. To link the radioactivity to possible health impairments, we calculated doses, attributable to the Fukushima-derived and the naturally occurring radionuclides, to both the marine biota and human fish consumers. We showed that doses in all cases were dominated by the naturally occurring alpha-emitter 210Po and that Fukushima-derived doses were three to four orders of magnitude below 210Po-derived doses. Doses to marine biota were about two orders of magnitude below the lowest benchmark protection level proposed for ecosystems (10 μGy·h−1). The additional dose from Fukushima radionuclides to humans consuming tainted PBFT in the United States was calculated to be 0.9 and 4.7 μSv for average consumers and subsistence fishermen, respectively. Such doses are comparable to, or less than, the dose all humans routinely obtain from naturally occurring radionuclides in many food items, medical treatments, air travel, or other background sources. Although uncertainties remain regarding the assessment of cancer risk at low doses of ionizing radiation to humans, the dose received from PBFT consumption by subsistence fishermen can be estimated to result in two additional fatal cancer cases per 10,000,000 sim- ilarly exposed people.
          (emphasis added)

          Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

          by Fonsia on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:29:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  this is indeed a danger for organisms that eat the (9+ / 0-)

      fish, since radiation has its most potent biological effect when it is swallowed or inhaled or in some other way actually enters the body tissues.

      But of course this is an entirely different matter than that of radio-particles being carried along here by currents in the open ocean (one major difference being that radiation in the open sea is diluted quickly over distance, while radiation inside an organism is not).

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:05:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  These various model assumptions can be tested (9+ / 0-)

    by sampling, can they not? Who is doing the sampling and evaluation of the models?

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:01:33 PM PST

    •  Scienists at many, many universities (18+ / 0-)

      They are, and they have been. The equipment for doing a gamma spectral analysis to accurately measure the specific isotope signatures needed is found at many major universities. That's not even mentioning various governments and international agencies.

      It's rather unlikely that ALL of these people are cooperating in some grand, vast conspiracy to hide the truth.

      There is very little justification for US residents to be concerned about exposure to radioisotopes from Fukushima. For Japanese, eating seafood caught directly from Japanese coastal waters, and living in proximity to the plant, it's a different story.

      •  I agree that there seems to be some (10+ / 0-)

        level of fear that is not justified, but I retain some concern over the long term effects of these kinds of pollutants in the Pacific, both for marine mammals, marine life (including deep water), people of the Pacific Rim, and marine plant species.  

        All (not some, but all) the women I know (admittedly a small number) who grew up in Hawai'i or the Philippines or other small island nations during the heydays of atmospheric and underwater testing have thyroid disease.  A friend who is an MD born and raised in the Philippines who went to med school and practices in the US who says it is her practice to test all women who were children or teenagers in the Pacific in the 1950s & 1960s for thyroid disease, which she believes is related to marine exposure to those raised yet minute amounts dispersed through the ocean during nuclear testing.

        It's not just fish that is eaten, but shellfish and seaweed - often dried and concentrated.  

        I am not an alarmist (my brother works for the US nuclear navy in Japan, at this moment, and I believe he is safe and exercises good caution) but I wonder how much more we will learn and should learn about the long term effects of dilute radioisotopes in our waters.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:26:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know people from eastern Washington with (6+ / 0-)

          thyroid problems from living too close to Hanford.

          I believe the level of exposure there is many times that which a US resident is receiving from Fukushima.

          Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

          by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:00:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Other than my own anecdotal, non-scientific (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue aardvark, Yasuragi, divineorder

            experience, and that of my internist friend, I wonder what long term studies have been conducted to examine what, if any, link exists.  I believe it exists, but I am no scientist.  

            There is a tendency for our media and our attention spans to focus only on the big sexy catastrophic impact of "a traveling underwater plume" or Chernobyl or Three Mile, but I cannot help but wonder about the less sexy but perhaps more population significant impact of the chronic minute dose long term exposures versus the acute disasters.  

            Yes, I agree, I'd worry more about Hanford than Fukushima, unless I lived in Fukushima.

            "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

            by Uncle Moji on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:10:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There have been two large studies (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uncle Moji, elfling, JerryNA, gzodik, PJEvans

              regarding the link between thyroid disease and Hanford.

              This study found no link:

              http://www.cdc.gov/...

              A followup study found a slight increase in men for a particular form of underactive thyroid disease:

              http://www.seattlepi.com/...

              It's difficult because thyroid disease is actually pretty common in the general population, especially among women. So it's hard to tease out small increases in risk when you have a large background incidence.

              Everyone receives a long term chronic, minute dose of radiation while they are alive, so it's extremely difficult to assess the effects of increasing that dose by a small fraction. It tends to be overwhelmed by other factors, which are hard to control for statistically speaking.

              •  Thanks for the links, I read them (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, Yasuragi, Ozy, divineorder
                The larger, earlier Hanford Thyroid Disease Study failed to find increased thyroid disease in people who lived downwind of Hanford.

                The latest study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, found a statistically significant increase in thyroid disease in men who lived next to Hanford, said Greg Thomas of the agency's Seattle office.

                The increase was in underactive thyroids, or Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a condition in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms can include an enlarged thyroid, fatigue and weight gain.

                However, the study did not link the increase to iodine 131, Thomas said. Women in the study also did not show a similar risk.

                seattlepi.com

                As I read, the first study was specifically to examine a link between iodine 131 and thyroid disease, and perhaps was too narrow.  

                I understand we are exposed to naturally occurring radiation every day (my brother loves to point to a banana as a natural source of radiation higher than that that he is exposed to in his daily work with Navy nuke plants), but just as this newer study with less narrow parameters now has CDC indicating a statistically significant increase (however small) in males living near Hanford during that time, a link that was previously assumed did not exist per the iodine 131 study, I, again, wonder what, if any, the long term effects may be, of ocean-borne pollutants on those and that which lives in, on, and near the Pacific.   If you have any links to any such studies, I would be grateful.

                Thanks again for your helpful links.  I appreciate the opportunity to expand my horizons.

                "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

                by Uncle Moji on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:55:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The problem with broad studies (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Uncle Moji, JerryNA

                  is that they will often find a correlation just by chance.

                  http://xkcd.com/...

                  Basically, when you try to look for links, standard statistical indications of a good correlation is a 95% confidence level, which indicates there is 5% chance that the discovered link is just a coincidence.

                  Therefore, if you look at 20 different connections, using this standard metric, chances are you will find a statistically significant correlation at least once, just by coincidence.

                  That's why narrow studies are better than broad studies, and multiple studies looking at the connection with different data sets are even better.

                  Currently, there is not enough excess radiation in the Pacific Water along the west coast to even try to find a health risk, as the levels both from Fukushima, Chernobyl, and things like weapons testing are thousands of times smaller than the natural radiation already present. Unless that changes, looking for health problems now, 10 or even 50 years in the future would be a snipe hunt.

                  •  Actually I was thinking of studies that are more (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ozy, divineorder

                    focused on Oceania, where more of the arms testing was done.  (I believe the Johnston Atoll Thermonuclear atmospheric test was the closest to Hawai'i and the West Coast - and I am old enough to remember that test and the startling EMP that followed).

                    But appreciate your thoughtful counsel.  Thanks, again for your links and your insight.  Appreciate your help.

                    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

                    by Uncle Moji on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:59:26 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Further reading. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      divineorder, JerryNA, Uncle Moji

                      There is a fair bit of information out there, but you can look here for a summary of some of the research.

                      http://www.americanscientist.org/...

                      short answer: boost of thyroid cancer by 10-15% in the US exposed population, much smaller increase in other cancers (e.g. 0.1% increase in leukemia, extra 20k other cancers out of 60M total).

                      For heavy fallout areas like the Marshall Islands:
                      174% boost of thyroid cancer
                      3% boost of leukemia and other cancers.

                      These increases are from the populations exposed at the time, not from current exposure to remaining radioactivity.

      •  Our government is not monitoring. (6+ / 0-)

        Nor is Japan's. Or Canada's. Some marine scientists did take a few samples in 2011. There is now a multi-university project called "Kelp Watch" that will sample kelp every few months off California to see what's to see. All on their own research budget dimes, of course, and that's a shallow pool.

        Fish caught off Japan too contaminated to sell there have been shipped to Canada and the US, because our allowed limits in seafood were raised to 10 and 12 times what Japan's are.

        I don't find that particularly reassuring either, so I've sworn off Pacific seafood.

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:27:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Longitudinal studies of the Eastern Pacific (11+ / 0-)

      have been underway at least since the 1970s when June Amlie succeeded at getting the hundreds of old Liberty Ships sunk offshore to make artificial reefs.

      She was a Ph.D. chemist at the Navy's weapons lab up the Mojave. Mother of three. Killer tennis player.

      Great idea!

      The study panels were designed to include nucleotides to detect delayed fallout from atmospheric weapons tests and the secondary runoff from earlier fallout events that was being washed into the Pacific with normal rainfall.

      Strontium and cesium isotopes stand out like neon lights at midnight. Easy to detect. The surprise then was that there was so little of them in the sea water.

      After the big tsunami-washout, I'd expect to see something show up here. A tsunami can move one helluva lot of mud. This is a whole different hydrological mechanism from little creeks flowing down hillsides.

      A tiny part of what's in the Pacific today is going to be radioactive material from the cooling systems at Fukushima. The cooling systems were what got trashed. Compared to the old nuclear weapons tests as radiation sources, they're tiny.

      But this outflow of old bomb debris is not to be ignored. That is tons of radioactive material that gets relocated. Rain runoff concentrated that material decade after decade, then the 3/11 tsunami churned a big segment of it into a combination of mixtures and colloidal suspensions.

      Moving stuff with atomic weights 90 or 130 is no joke. But a tsunami can do damn near anything she wants. Heavy metals on the bed of a river will sink into the silt, hopefully down a ways. When Sue Nami come along, she don't care. She want to move it, it moves.

      •  I don't know man (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo, divineorder, Joieau

        3 cores melted down, that's thousands of tons
        of fuel.

        A nuke is a few KG of material,  

        Even adjusting for purity, it's a very different matter.

        •  Yebbut.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, waterstreet2013

          there were HUNDREDS of nuclear weapons tests, weren't there?

          "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

          by leftykook on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:47:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Three reactors (9+ / 0-)

          The total load of fuel in the three reactors at the time of the accident was about 300 tonnes of uranium oxide and plutonium oxide pellets (80 tonnes in reactor 1, about 110 tonnes in each of the other two reactors), not "thousands of tonnes". Nearly all of that fuel is still in the reactor buildings, melted and badly damaged but contained.

           The explosions and venting that occurred after 3/11 released something like a hundred kilos of radioactive material, almost all of it fission fragments such as I-131, Cs-134/-137 and a host of others. The engineers at TEPCO worked hard to get cooling water into the damaged cores after the meltdowns since cooling the rubble reduces the rate of escape of easily-mobilised fission isotopes still left in the buildings. Some of it, especially Cs-134 and Cs-137 is still leaking out but the amounts are much much less than the original releases were.

           In comparison the hundreds of atmospheric nuclear tests of the 1950s and 1960s distributed their entire fission inventory into the air and sea. Some Pacific thermonuclear tests like the Castle Bravo device, the size of a large house, used hundreds of kilos of nuclear fuel and produced several kilos of fission products in one shot, enough in fact to kill a Japanese fisherman and sicken several others from intense radiation poisoning when the fallout plume shifted unexpectedly and they were caught under it.

           In the early 1970s before the Fukushima reactors were even built, ten years after the last Pacific tests ceased seawater off the Japanese coast still had about 8 to 10 Bq/m3 of Cs-137. The much-feared plume of radioactivity arriving at the US west coast from Fukushima might reach a level of 2Bq/m3 but that's a high estimate.

          •  no containment. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau
            The total load of fuel in the three reactors at the time of the accident was about 300 tonnes of uranium oxide and plutonium oxide pellets (80 tonnes in reactor 1, about 110 tonnes in each of the other two reactors), not "thousands of tonnes". Nearly all of that fuel is still in the reactor buildings, melted and badly damaged but contained.
            each reactor that melted out, is by definition
            not contained, thousands of gallons of water flood the
            reactor buildings, and pick up contamination.

            http://totallycoolpix.com/...

            show me the containment above.

            http://endthelie.com/...

            or here.

            those are all fuel pools sitting out in the air now.

            •  SFPs and cores are different (0+ / 0-)

              The spent fuel pools did not suffer anything like the heat and damage that the cores did, they did not overheat (a worry at the time) and boil dry thanks to the efforts of the engineers on site at the time of the tsunami and afterwards and the fuel rods in the spent fuel pools have not released any noticeable amount of radioactivity into the air or the sea because of this.

               On the other hand the reactor cores of units 1, 2 and 3 are mostly slagged rubble, lying in the bottom of the reactor vessels and beneath them in the containments and they are bleeding radioactive isotopes (mainly cesium-137) into the cooling water being pumped in (about 400 tonnes a day or in your quaint Tea Party units, about a hundred thousand gallons) as well as into the groundwater leaking into the containment structures (estimated to be about 300 tonnes a day). Some of that contaminated water is then leaking out into the sea as groundwater. Efforts are being made to reduce and eventually stop the leaks to prevent this from happening. The key task is to cool the core rubble in the three reactors to remove the decay heat (a few megawatts in total by now) and prevent a buildup of more hydrogen gas which might lead to more explosions.

               You can't see the reactor containments from the outside since there's a large amount of heavily-reinforced concrete and building structure surrounding them. There are many diagrams and pictures of models of the containment structures of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors on the web if you want to look them up.

              •  No-no-no = "three cores melted down." (0+ / 0-)

                Nothing melted down. All of the reactor cores at Fukushima shut down automatically when the earthquake was detected.

                The worst that happened inside the reactors was that the "cold shutdown" status power rods had the very tops of the rods stick out of the cooling water. In fact, this cooling water was replaced/refilled within the 24-hour design-for response period.

                There was never even a threat of a reactor meltdown. Nothing in the recovery cycle exceeded the original design specs.

                More modern reactor designs -- from 1990 on -- store a month of replace/refill water above the reactor. But these older designs such as Fukushima are refilled from Fire Department water trucks -- not exactly hard to do even with the mess that the 3/11 tsunami produced. You can run water hose a mile if you have to, using extra pumps. That's about what they did though a lot less than going a whole mile.

                Wearing radiation protection gear was the big adjustment for TEPCO's refill crew. Thankfully the event occurred in late winter, not high summer. Summer does not favor radiation gear.

                Apparently making things up about Fukushima has become a hobby, or maybe a cottage industry. You'll see Mothra come ashore before you see one of those reactors melt down.

                •  Ummm, no (0+ / 0-)

                  The three reactor cores all underwent enough overheating to generate hydrogen gas from steam reaction with the gadolinium alloy jacketing of the fuel pellets when the cooling systems lost power and the battery backups expired. The resulting overheat from fission products decaying slagged down the fuel rod jackets (melting point about 1600 deg C) and the core assemblies and sufficiently damaged the bottom of the reactor vessels including the control rod drives that material escaped into the containment below. The hydrogen explosions appear to have ruptured the surge suppression structures and this is why radioactive material is still leaking from the vessels.

                   The fairy stories about "flash-fissioning" corium and "China Syndrome" Hollywood physics and spent-fuel pools on fire are fine for the Chicken Little types like Arne Gunderson and Chris Busby but the actual real problems the engineers at Fukushima face are difficult enough to deal with and that includes slagged fuel rods, compromised reactor vessels, damaged overheated fuel pellets and leaks of radioactive isotopes into the coolant and from there into groundwater.

                   The emergency coolant refill system you talk about is part of some GenIII designs involving a much larger containment vessel around the reactor core and steam generators etc. There are lots of post-1990 reactors that don't have this top-tank feature -- it is not a simple add-on to existing designs for lots of reasons.

  •  And this is logic, how? (16+ / 0-)
    Rossi et al. study predicts the arrival time of the plume on the west coast but overestimates the activity of the Fukushima derived radionuclide 137-Cs. Behrens et al. predict a too late time of arrival but with lower activities that appear to more realistic.
    Rossi study is accurate about arrival time.
    Behrens is not accurate about arrival time.
    But Rossi's estimate must be too high, and Behrens 'appear[s] to [be] more realistic.

    Well, apart from the fact that one study correlates with reality, the only way I can see that the study which didn't would 'appear' to be 'more realistic' is from the wish and hope that it be so, neh?

    I assume both studies, btw, would have to start out with assumptions about how much is in the initial, and ongoing releases. And those assumptions would be based on what TEPCO reported as measuring. But we now know TEPCO was underreporting by one-hundred-fold, even a thousand-fold what they were actually recording.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:14:40 PM PST

    •  Thank you for demonstrating some analysis of (7+ / 0-)

      the basics involved in investigating the matter  properly, and also for using logic to further your query.

      Of course, at least Marine Chemist, Behrens, and Rossi are all concerned about the radioactivity now released upon the citizens of this planet.

      Apparently major media feels the need to reassure the public with such notions as "we simply don't have any data at all regarding the damage that radioactivity may or may not do" as a Time Magazine put the situation during the summer of 2012. Why the writer of such an article had never herd of our scientists descending upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the A bombs had been dropped there to collect data, I don't know.

    •  Model prediction vs data (18+ / 0-)

      One model could have a simpler description of the physics, the other more complex (more realistic). The problem with more complex models is that they typically require inputs that may be difficult or even impossible to measure. Yes, if you known that much about your system, you can predict what it will do. At some point it's easier to just go out a pull a sample to confirm the simple model prediction than it is to measure all the parameters needed for the complex model.

      This event has produced a huge opportunity to study ocean movement with tracers that couldn't normally be dispersed on this scale. I would guess that is a huge ongoing offshore data collection program.

      •  And who is doing that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        patbahn, divineorder, Jim P

        Given that it sounds more complex and long term than taking some bottom, water and fish samples back in 2011.

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:32:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hi Joieau (14+ / 0-)

          There is an ever growing body of measurements from 2011 to the present with more samples being collected all the time.

          Ken Buesseler's (WHOI) Our Radioactive Ocean crowd-funded monitoring program

          The community is also measuring the activities of radionuclides in the upper 500 m on an onshore-offshore (1500 km) transect in the northeast Pacific three times a year at 5 more or less equally spaced stations.

          •  How much sampling would you want to do (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, divineorder

            if you wanted to be assured of public health
            in both Japan, US, Canada and to users of
            pacific seafood products.

            •  Hi patbahn (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PJEvans

              I am focused on the west coast of North America.  If nothing dramatic happens at the FDNPP site the critical period for determining the maximum concentrations in seawater and biota will be over the next 3 years. A good start would be to continue the many coastal stations being monitored by ourradioactiveocean.org and expand the number of coastal stations to increase coverage in BC and AK.  Ideally 3-4 times a year offshore sampling of the upper 500 meters of the ocean surface with a transect north to south in the middle of the Alaskan Gyre and onshore-offshore from the coast of BC will allow us to characterize the activities in the plume.

              Subsets of common seafood items like salmon, oysters and dungeness crab should be monitored to determine if activities in these organisms reach levels of concern.

              Overall, the more measurements the better.  All of the cost of such a program would need to balanced against the potential for public health impacts from Fukushima against other public health concerns that might be more pressing in terms of resource allocation (smoking, obesity, alcoholism etc.).

        •  Perhaps DOE, UCAR and/or DOD (0+ / 0-)

          If they used the atmospheric data to validate their models, they might also be interested in the concentration in the water that might produce aerosols. So yes, there has probably been a fundable white paper floating around. Hopefully it's already landed on the right desk and work is underway.

          Hope is all I can offer here, it's not my field.

          •  Perhaps you are right. (0+ / 0-)

            I suppose that for purposes of some future archaeologist digging up the geological repository of All Things Secret from back in the early part of the 2-3000 decamillennium, keeping track of what was really going on might be of some academic value. Or aliens. You never know.

            I actually do suspect they're keeping track. Having done a 10-part series of analysis on the NRC Op-Center documents from the first 6 weeks (and some follow-ups) of the Disaster at Daiichi, that suspicion does have some support. Unless they've let the industry foxes take over the henhouse entirely once they drove Jaczko out (always a consideration). They wouldn't bother.

            Either way's the same to me. And you, and everyone else. These are not people known for truth-telling.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:48:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  TEPCO missed the old radiation runoff. (4+ / 0-)

      There's no reason to blame them for that mistake. If you weren't in the nuclear weapons business going back to the 1960s and 1970s, there's no reason for you to know anything about it.

      They're engineers, not weapons guys.

      Also, the quantities of radiation runoff that did show up in Pacific waters in the 1970s were remarkable only because they were so small. It's very heavy stuff, so tiny amounts presented from ordinary weather processes.

      Takes a major tsunami to move a whole lot of it at once.

      •  there are lots of reasons to blame TEPCO (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo, divineorder, Joieau

        every mistake they make is always to minimize.

        They lost credibility with me when Reactor 3 exploded
        and they said "It's designed to do that", like it was a good thing.

      •  Uh, they're 'nuclear professionals.' Who still (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, ozsea1

        can't tell you where the heart of their profession -- the cores -- actually are, nor their state.

        TEPCO had meters, I forget the exact number, but they went up to say '200,000.' They hit that number right away and stayed there. TEPCO did not inquire into whether or not they needed something which could measure higher.

        That's just one instance of their incompetence; several times they've admitted to hiding higher readings that they knew about.

        I dunno. I do book-making for a living. No lives are at stake, but if I don't know how to position a running head and I keep misjudging the size of the pages, I get fired. And guess how long I'm called a 'professional' by people who have brains.

        TEPCO had no problem billing the citizenry for tens, hundreds of millions, and now hundreds of billions for their 'mistake,' while forcing 180,000 people to homelessness.

        PS: they admitted to 300, then 400 tonnes a day runoff, after denying any but a minimum. Seems there could be a lot more than that. There's a reason the Japanese government quickly raised the 'safe level' by 2000% overnight.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:59:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Engineering works best with plans (0+ / 0-)

          and actual measurements.

          Appeal to Ignorance is not a format that convinces a typically sceptical audience.

          As to the reactors at Fukushima, they are shut down and they are monitored normally. There has been no interruption to that process and status since the first two days after 3/11 tsunami.

          Claiming otherwise puts an argument outside the facts. These reactors shut down automatically when the earthquake was detected. Long before the tsunami arrived.

          The original cooling systems were what got wiped out. And for shut down reactors, that is a planned, designed-for scenario.

    •  Or, both studies correlate with reality. (6+ / 0-)

      With some caveats. The first gets arrival time ~correct, but overestimates radiation. The other overestimates time, but gets the radiation/time correct.

      "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

      by Hayate Yagami on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:09:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understood the original claim. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        Which you've restated. But why would the lower one be automatically the more trustworthy figure? That was my question, but you've just restated the thing which raised the question. The question remains.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:08:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it's automatic (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ozy, Jim P

          rather, that it better matches what's being measured.

          "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

          by Hayate Yagami on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:29:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ??? That doesn't make sense. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1

            One study says x, the other says x*y. Why would the x be the more probable figure, outside of wanting it to be?


            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:53:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Both say XY (0+ / 0-)

              The studies each make two predictions:
              1) When the radioactive elements arrive (e.g. based on currents moving the material along)
              2) How radioactive the arriving material will be, over time (e.g. based on rates of decay and dispersal in the oceans)

              Measurements are being taken out in the Pacific. They show that the first model got the arrival time roughly correct, but overstates the amount of radioactive material.

              The other overestimates the arrival time, but gets radioactivity/time correct.

              It's not just wishful thinking. In addition to the models, there is actual data coming out of the Pacific Ocean on this.

              "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

              by Hayate Yagami on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:59:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But read it: the 'overstating' is ASSUMED (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau

                hence the use of [paraphrased] 'probably right' for the lower readings.

                Both studies were predictive of what would be found, and when.

                That there is sufficient sampling of the Pacific Ocean, or of locations on the Coast, in any case, seems dubious. Reports I've read talk about 40 locations, and many of them using data collected two years ago or more.


                Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                by Jim P on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:58:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hi Jim P (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ozy

                  Please read the links that are posted.  There have been many many samples collected and analyzed since immediately after the disaster until present. Certainly there will be enough to determine what maximum concentrations in the plume will be. Samples are being collected right now. We always want to increase sampling density but even with stations existing now and planned research expeditions offshore to come, as long samples are collected over time, will allow the oceanographic community to characterize the temporal evolution of activities in the plume.

                  Look at ourradioactiveocean.org and the following presentation by Dr. John Smith of DFO Canada link.  We will soon have measurements from the middle of the Alaska Gyre collected two weeks ago.

                  Data matter more than models.  Data help to validate models.

    •  Each model had to reduce complexity (6+ / 0-)

      because you can't model every molecule in the Pacific Ocean. Without having read the models, I'd say that each one reduced complexity (and therefore fidelity) in different ways.

      Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

      by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:04:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except one attained fidelity in practice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        and the other did not. Yet the estimate of the one which did not is the one that's 'probably right.' Hard to say there was no bias in picking the lower level, no?
         


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:00:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Accusations of bias against scientists (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          T100R, rodentrancher

          need to be verified with an examination of the rationale of the choices made in the model, which I have neither the time nor the expertise to do. If you do, pray proceed. If you don't, or you do but haven't yet, one does not level charges of bias based on nothing but supposition. You might be a paid troll of the Koch brothers trying to undermine usage of alternative fuels, right? Emphasis on "might". You need actual facts to accuse someone of wrongdoing.

          Also, both models were right, but in different ways. An examination of the two models might reveal a way to combine them and get one model superior to either on its own. Science often works that way.

          Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

          by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:06:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  DDT, Asbestos, PCBs, Dioxin, Tobacco, Car Exhaust, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, ozsea1

            Vioxx, Glyphosate, Propulsid, Posicor, Gulf War Syndrome, Bisphenol A. Azodicarbonamide... for a partial list off the top of my head (some still legal in the US, though banned in the world).

            Thousands of professionals, with tens of thousands of studies... how did they go so wrong? And how many tens of thousands dead

            Sorry, but just because someone puts on Science Robes and conducts Rituals of Science isn't cause to genuflect.

            You have not explained why it is reasonable, logic, or intellectually honest in saying that the lower estimate is probably the right one. Then honest scientific position is that 'questions remain.'

            PS: I KNOW how science works, and I'm not sure you're the one in a position to condescend. But do you know how $cience works? I sure do, and I've dead relatives to show it.


            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:22:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Evidently you read neither my comment nor (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ozy, T100R, PJEvans

              the diary, so I will reiterate: one model was right on travel speed, wrong on quantity; the other was wrong on travel speed, right on quantity.

              I don't see where in the diary you find that one is preferred to the other.

              I don't see why you should make insinuations against Marine Scientist, which I feel you are doing.

              Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

              by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:29:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm getting pretty fucking tired of the recent (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ozy, blue aardvark, skod, tarkangi

                trend at DKos to paint anyone who disagrees with somebody as a paid troll, or a biased shill, or a spy for the corporations, or whatever.

                It's idiotic and stupid.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:00:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Since they doubtless exist we must be eternally (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  skod, tarkangi

                  vigilant.

                  Which means flinging baseless accusations randomly about the Internet. What else could one possibly do?

                  Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

                  by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:46:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it's the equivilent of the goppers blathering that (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    blue aardvark, skod, ebohlman

                    everyone they don't like is a "socialist".

                    It's a way to shut down conversation by demonizing anyone who disagrees with one. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

                    It should be intolerable to everyone here.

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:53:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's the equivalent of claiming that (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      tarkangi

                      Michael Sam came out as gay in order to distract people from Benghazi.

                      A claim that a columnist for the Moonie Times actually made.

                      I'd like to think we aspire to be more credible than the Moonie Times.

                      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

                      by ebohlman on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:24:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  You'd get a *big* kick out of the comments (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ebohlman, tarkangi

                  at ENENews, then- anyone who makes the mistake of posting anything factual and/or traceable back to any sort of real science is hounded off that site pretty quickly. The average commenter there seems to be absolutely terrified of science, scientists, data, and any form of higher education. Many there seem to be convinced that anyone associated with a laboratory, university, or holds a degree in a related field has to be a complete bought-and-paid-for shill. And Gawd help anyone who posts that they were educated at Berkeley- they seem to think that that institution in particular is run by the Debbil hisownself.

                  The only people who seem to get any traction in the comments there appear to have no knowledge of any kind and seem very proud of that fact. They are just utterly convinced that the scientists are Bad People, to a man, and they are Out To Get Us, and We're All Gonna Die. The place is quite the hotbed of conspiracy theories: an utter sewer of them, in fact.

                  I've been reading the comments there for several years, primarily as a source of amusement- very much the same as being unable to look away from the slow-motion train wreck. It is a sad comment on the human condition....

  •  This is an important subject for me... (14+ / 0-)

    ..as I live in Alaska. The Gulf of Alaska holds the Alaska Gyre which eventually brings water from the west Pacific to the coast of Alaska. It is where most of the wild salmon which spawn in our waters spend their maturing years.

    After the fear-mongering I've heard, this is welcome. As one prone to hyperbole myself, I need talking down once in a while....

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:22:01 PM PST

  •  What's happening in HI in this regard? Anybody? nt (6+ / 0-)

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

    by nailbender on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:27:52 AM PST

  •  Thanks for giving us access to facts. (8+ / 0-)

    The general hysteria that hyperbole can created needs some reality based tamping down.   Will add you to my list of follows so that I can hear all fact based sides of the argument.

    You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

    by SpamNunn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:56:14 AM PST

    •  I've been anti-nuke since the 70's (I lived in PA (10+ / 0-)

      not far from Three Mile Island), but alas it is indeed a sad fact that many on the anti-nuke side don't have even a basic grasp of science, and operate almost entirely on emotion.

      It's unfortunate, since science is what helps us understand why nuclear power is untenable for the longterm (not to mention uneconomic in the short term, which is really what has killed it).

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:18:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apart from the waste issue, which science is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cream Puff, PJEvans

        addressing with higher efficiency reactors, nuclear power is probably our best option.  I am convinced that, one day, we will have recyclable mini reactor modules in every city powering up our homes and cars.  We're closer to that than you think.  

        You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

        by SpamNunn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:36:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The DOE thinks so, too. They are funding a lot (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cream Puff, Bonsai66

          of R&D in this area:

          http://www.babcock.com/...

          You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

          by SpamNunn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:41:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  vaporware (5+ / 0-)

          The industry has been telling us for half a century now that better, cheaper, safer nukes are just around the corner.

          (yawn)

          The fact is that nukes have been dead for years now, due solely to economic reasons. They simply can't compete with other energy sources.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:45:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are already prototypes in operation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PJEvans

            that are based on Generation IV technology and designed to use 5% depleted uranium (formerly waste pellets) as fuel.

            You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

            by SpamNunn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:03:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yeah yeah yeah, just like pebble-beds and (5+ / 0-)

              molten-sulphur and thorium and all the other prototypes that never went anywhere.

              Talk to me when they're reality and not just pipe dreams.

              And REALLY talk to me when they are cheaper than existing power plants.

              Until then, they're just vaporware.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:06:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  wind and Solar and Battery are way (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                divineorder, Joieau

                cheaper then Nuke.

                It's now the price of a cheap car to go grid neutral.

                In a few years it will be the price of a decent car to go
                grid free.

                I'm trying to get my solar HWH running, then i can slash my carbon footprint.  

                •  nukes were supposed to be cheap cheap cheap (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, divineorder, patbahn, Joieau

                  Instead, they have been expensive expensive expensive.

                  Duke Energy just recently dropped its plans to repair its broken nuke in Florida and add two more. Not because of tree-hugging environmentalists or burdensome regulations boo hoo hoo.  Because the cost had already tripled and they hadn't even stuck a shovel into the ground yet.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:12:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Given the Climate Change train (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    flevitan, PJEvans

                    barreling down on us, I'm not sure if preferring coal/oil/gas power plants over nuclear 'because they were cheaper' was such a good idea.

                    •  nukes have no better carbon footprint than (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      elfling, divineorder, Joieau

                      renewables do.

                      And uranium mining is one of the most destructive environmental processes ever carried out by humans.

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:22:41 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  ps--nobody said a single word about (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      wu ming, divineorder, Joieau

                      "preferring coal/oil/gas power plants".

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:23:41 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm talking about the realities of the world (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BMScott, JerryNA, northstarbarn, PJEvans

                        we've lived in up until now, and even a bit more into the future.

                        Both Germany and Japan replaced their nukes with fossil fuel plants and dropped their Kyoto commitments.

                        If you're talking about some future world with 100% renewables, then I'm right there with you. Saying renewables are better is meaningless if countries are still turning to coal/oil/gas.

                        And no, uranium mining is a pittance compared to the damage from climate change and whole scale destruction of our ocean ecosystems, even discounting all of the oil spills, fly ash spills, and general pollution.

                        But again, fossil fuels are 'cheaper'.

                        •  and one more time, nobody is talking about (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          divineorder, ozsea1

                          "preferring oil/coal/natural gas".

                          So stop wasting your breath on it.

                          And no, uranium mining is a pittance compared to the damage from climate change
                          So is whaling and over-fishing. So what? Do you consider whaling and over-fishing OK because global warming is even worse . . . ?

                          You wouldn't consider uranium mining "a pittance" if you lived downstream from one of the tailing piles and most of your family was dead from cancer.

                          And I'll simply repeat one more time--nukes have no less a carbon footprint than renewables do. So you are waving your arms over nothing. Nukes are simply not the silver bullet against climate change that you seem to think they are.  (shrug)

                          In the end, reality always wins.

                          by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:37:19 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  So what? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            buddabelly, PJEvans
                            So is whaling and over-fishing. So what?
                            So, if I made the claim that waling and over-fishing were
                            one of the most destructive environmental processes ever carried out by humans.
                            I would expect people to scoff at my hyperbole. Unless you normally refer to every bad thing as 'one of the most destructive things ever done by humans'. In which case I'll just note you have an odd conversational tic.
                            And I'll simply repeat one more time--nukes have no less a carbon footprint than renewables do. So you are waving your arms over nothing. Nukes are simply not the silver bullet against climate change that you seem to think they are.  (shrug)
                            ? I simply don't understand what you're saying. I'm not saying they are better than renewables, that sort of analysis requires getting into the details. I'm saying that the are LOADS better than fossil fuels, and since fossil fuels are the past and current replacement for nukes, then I certainly AM waving my arms over something.

                            I'm waving my arms over the fact that our past and present preference of fossil fuels over nukes has lead us to almost certain disaster with AGW.

                            You prefer renewables to nukes, fine. That's clear.

                            However, a relevant question is, did you or do you prefer fossil fuels to nukes, given what Japan and Germany actually did when they suspended nuclear generation. Give your anti-nuke activism in the past, my guess is you're not comfortable answering that question in the present.

                            But we've already diverged a bit from the diary's primary topic, so perhaps we should wait until a more appropriate diary to hash this out.

                          •  it's not Nukes or Coal, it's Nukes, Fossils or PV. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ozsea1

                            sorry,

                            making a false dichotomy is the first act of intellectual
                            trolling.

                          •  If it were that easy (0+ / 0-)

                            then we would be at 100% renewables and not facing AGW disaster.

                            Of course, it isn't that easy, we are facing disaster, and the fact that coal and oil were/are so cheap is largely to blame.

                            Again, if Japan hadn't replaced their nukes with fossil fuels, your argument would have merit. They did.

                            If German hadn't ramped up their coal and dropped their Kyoto commitment your argument would have merit. They did.

                            The fact that you seem to mistake future possibilities with present realities makes it extremely difficult to have a discussion with you, especially since people here, you included, cry troll whenever facts get in the way.

                          •  it's all in the incentives (0+ / 0-)

                            Germany and Japan have big FITs
                            and got massive investment.

                            What's the Installed cost and incentive price that
                            you think will make the conversion?

                          •  it's not a binary A or B (0+ / 0-)
                            You prefer renewables to nukes, fine. That's clear.

                            However, a relevant question is, did you or do you prefer fossil fuels to nukes

                            We don't need to choose between nukes or coal. There are lots of other alternatives.

                            Anyway, what I think (or what you think) doesn't matter a rat's ass. The electric companies themselves have already killed nukes, purely for economic reasons. And they are not going to bring nukes back just because you or anyone else asks them to politely.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:33:58 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Apply a carbon tax (0+ / 0-)

                            that includes emission and externalities and we'll see.

                          •  alas, given that nukes don't have a carbon (0+ / 0-)

                            footprint any smaller than renewables do, I'm not sure how that would help nukes any . . . . ?

                            Yes, a carbon tax would move companies away from coal, but that doesn't mean they'd move to nukes. Particularly since nukes have already been so soundly rejected by them--and the price of nukes keeps going up, while the price of renewables keeps going down.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:51:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ? Perhaps you're misreading me. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            northstarbarn, PJEvans

                            If they can somehow manage to kill off coal with renewables in the next 5 or 10 years. GREAT!

                            I don't think they can do that. I don't think they can get rid of coal with renewables in 20 years.

                            But as long as coal/oil/gas are priced higher than nukes, then let the market decide what they want to do...

                            My priority isn't nuke over renewables, it's EVERYTHING ELSE over coal, and to a lesser extent oil and gas. The recent trend in Japan and Germany went the wrong way.

                            Although nuclear power seems to be the only topic which 'the market has spoken' holds any argumentative weight on this site.

                            Most of us seem to think that the market shouldn't be the final arbiter of the best way to run a civilization.

                          •  I'm reading you fine (0+ / 0-)

                            I just don't see nukes as any sort of coal-killer. Indeed, nukes are, economically, dead as a mackerel--they've been killed themselves.  And I see no pathway for them to come back.

                            Most of us seem to think that the market shouldn't be the final arbiter of the best way to run a civilization.
                            I quite agree.  And in a non-market economy that will be the case.

                            We don't live in a non-market economy yet, though. In the actual world in which we live, the only people with the power and ability to build nukes--the electric companies--have already decisively rejected them. That race has already been run. That game is already over.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:22:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not entirely true. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SpamNunn

                            The government can and does apply subsidies and tax incentives. I wouldn't have solar on my roof now if it weren't for a heavy federal and state subsidy.

                            So of course nukes could come back in a market economy, if the government subsidized them to make them more profitable.

                            I mean, people like you are fond of saying how 'dead' nukes are, and yet they are still being built in a lot of different places.

                            http://www.world-nuclear.org/...

                            Following a 30-year period in which few new reactors were built, it is expected that six new units may come on line by 2020, four of those resulting from 16 licence applications made since mid-2007 to build 24 new nuclear reactors.
                            However, lower gas prices since 2009 have put the economic viability of some proposed projects in doubt.
                            Slap a carbon tax on natural gas, and voila. Profitable nukes.

                            Just curious where you guys are getting your 'nukes are dead' talking points from?

                            http://www.world-nuclear.org/...

                            Nuclear power capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with over 60 reactors under construction in 13 countries.
                          •  in the current US, I think the chances of that (0+ / 0-)

                            are somewhere between "hell no" and "fuggedaboudit".

                            Yes, nukes are being built elsewhere--but only in places where they themselves are either completely government-owned or heavily government-subsidized. If you think you can get the US to make a commitment like that, have fun trying. I won't hold my breath.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:35:55 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The first link (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PJEvans

                            was about reactors being built in the US, some of which are indeed being challenged by the low prices of gas.

                            What's your 'fuggedaboudit'? A carbon tax? Possibly, but that hurts renewable penetration just as badly.

                            Again, where are you sourcing your data regarding the economic 'death' of nuclear power? Surely you're not just passing around an unsourced talking point without looking into it yourself.

                            And again, why aren't we talking about what we should do instead of a defeatist submission to the 'free market' forces?

                            This ain't redstate, we're allowed to believe that the government should intervene for the benefit of our citizens, and subsidies are a tried and true method.

                          •  well, have fun storming the castle (shrug) (0+ / 0-)

                            Me, I'd prefer that if we're going to have large-scale government subsidies and intervention, it should be for renewables. Alas, that very likely won't happen either.

                            I suspect that we won't actually do anything at all about global warming because, deep down inside, as a society, we simply don't want to. We'd rather die than give up our fat lazy indolent wasteful profligate lifestyles.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:53:25 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It already is happening. (0+ / 0-)

                            The government is pouring a significant amount of money into research and subsidies for renewables. I got a 30% federal and 16% state subsidy for my residential installation, along with a state supported renewable energy credits program that pays me $450 per MWh.

                            Do the math, that's valuing my solar production at a total of around $0.55 per kWh! And even then, mostly due to installer incompetence, I've still not broken even...though again, that's primarily from specific problems with my installation, not solar PV in general.

                            The missing part is the carbon tax.

                            And I don't know what you expect people 'to do' other than try and elect politicians that aren't beholden to fossil fuel interests. I think most of us here are already on that bandwagon.

                          •  one thing we can do is cut our per capita use of (0+ / 0-)

                            energy to the level found in, say, Japan or Germany or France or the UK. We produce the same amount of CO2 as China does, but we do it with one-fifth the population. Our per capita energy usage is twice that in most of Europe. We can go a long way towards solving our problem by cutting our usage, without building a single new power plant of any sort.

                            We don't need to elect anyone to do that--all we need to do is stop using so much energy, and no fossil fuel company on the planet can stop us from doing that.

                            But as I said before, we Americans would rather die than give up our fat lazy wasteful lifestyle.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:18:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not sure how you equate (0+ / 0-)

                            energy usage with 'fat and lazy' lifestyle. If we were that lazy, we wouldn't be using so much damn energy.

                            It has more to do with GDP per capita than 'being wasteful' (e.g. We have 5x more GDP per capita than China).

                            Now, that's a generalization as there certainly are efficiency gains to be had, and our low population density makes transportation kind of a pain in the ass. But do you really think China uses less energy because they are 'more efficient' per capita?

                          •  when we drive three blocks to the store (0+ / 0-)

                            instead of walking, that is because we are fat and lazy.

                            China uses less energy because they aren't as fat and lazy as we are.  Neither is France, England, Germany or Japan, all of which have lower per capita energy usage than we do (and all of which have roughly equal GDP per capita than we do).

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:10:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  China has a worse (0+ / 0-)

                            emission per GDP value than we do.

                            Eastern Europe is generally worse than we are, Western Europe is generally better. Japan is better, South Korea is worse. Southeast Asia and the Middle East are much worse.

                            If you can pull an 'Americans are lazy' out of that data, more power to you.

                            I've been to China, several times. It is not a model of efficiency, energy or otherwise.

                            Of course France tops the list, as do the Scandinavian countries. Massive hydro and nuke production tend to cut down the CO2 emissions, eh?

                            Now, if you just want to look at energy intensity (energy usage per GDP):

                            Finland, Canada, and Iceland are worse than the US. Are they even lazier than we are?

                          •  Lots of things greatly distort the emissions (0+ / 0-)

                            pictures. Let's take Iceland, for an example. Our three largest industries are aluminum, tourism, and fishing.

                            Aluminum is the big killer. We have three smelters. Even the smallest uses more power than all the homes and businesses combined. Aluminum smelting involves using electric power to move oxygen atoms from molten aluminum, to a carbon electrode, creating aluminum metal and carbon dioxide.

                            Not like the other two are much better. Fishing, in its essence, is driving a huge, heavy metal object hundreds of kilometers through the water, gathering up so much weight of fish that the top of the ship is nearly below the water line, and then powering back to shore. It's a very fuel-intensive activity per job provided. And tourism means people flying in on giant jets and spending their time driving around the country - twice as many people per year as live here.

                            It's not the people of Iceland using the aluminum. It's not the people of Iceland eating the fish. It's not the people of Iceland touring our country. It's everyone else.

                            Now one coud say, "pick a less CO2-intensive activity to base your economy on", but that'd be stupid. What are we supposed to do, grow pineapples? We have abundant electricity-generation potential, beautiful landscapes, fish, and.... not much else. We tried banking but I don't think many people want us to make that a priority again. We're trying to diversify more into server farms and other computing tasks, but our relative isolation limits that applicability due to data transfer costs. So what exactly should we do?

                            And even if we found a way to switch industries... you really think the world would just stop eating fish, using aluminum, and doing tourism? Is shuffling the deck really a solution to anything? Is it better for CO2 to produce aluminum in a country where the power is geothermal and hydroelectric, or in a country where the power is coal? Should we stop using aluminum altogether? But aluminum is often used to reduce CO2 emissions by making things (such as cars) lighter. The embodied CO2 in making a car is a lot, but it's dwarfed by how much fuel it will burn over its lifespan.

                            In short, focusing all attention on a simple population-to-CO2-emissions figure I don't think is the right way to evaluate countries.

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 03:19:52 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree completely. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rei

                            Which is why I was pushing back on the assertion that high energy use per capita == fat and lazy.

                            Energy use is 'how things get done' in the word, from fishing and smelting, to transporting food and goods across the country.

                            Furthermore if one looks at other metrics, like GDP per hour worked, the US is #3 on the list, behind Norway and Luxembourg.

                            There are many reasons to criticize the general US population, but this meme about 'fat and lazy' is just as stupid as when the Republicans try the same shit with lower income and welfare recipients.

                          •  given the general (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ozy, tarkangi

                            ignorance about radiation in general, and nukes in particular, and the massive negative publicity every time anything happens within two miles of one, I'm not surprised that people don't want them. I think if they were more aware of the actual costs of coal and oil, they might be more open to nukes. But that required that the media learn enough to present both without fearmongering, and I don't see that happening any time soon. Ignorance is more popular.

                            (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

                            by PJEvans on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:29:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  ps--the reality of the world we live in now is (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          divineorder, patbahn

                          that no power company anywhere on the planet will build nukes unless they can make money from them--i.e., they are cheaper than existing plants.

                          You can write letters to all the electric companies in the world and ask them please to voluntarily raise their costs and lower their profits by building expensive nukes for the good of all humanity and the birdies and the fuzzy little creatures of the forest.

                          I think they will laugh at you, though.

                          That is the reality of the world we live in now.

                          In the end, reality always wins.

                          by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:42:41 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  to a first order (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ozsea1

                          Germany replaced their nukes with PV.

                          https://en.wikipedia.org/...

                          Fossil fuels have been 350 RMS with a 15 Terrawatt Standard deviation.

                          Nukes went down 50 TWH and Renewables went up 50 TWH.

                          It's almost a smooth wash.

                          •  No (0+ / 0-)

                            http://www.spiegel.de/...

                            That means that coal plants are making up for the bulk of the energy production lost due to the 2011 shutdown of eight nuclear plants, while gas plants, which emit less CO2 but are more expensive to run, are barely profitable at present.
                          •  the data doesn't support the newspaper (0+ / 0-)
                            In 1990, Germany's bown coal-fired power stations produced almost 171 billion kilowatt hours of power. .
                            ,,,,,,
                             In 2013, it rose to 162 billion kilowatt hours,
                            How does something rise to a lower number???

                            and if you look at the
                            link I included, it's pretty clear where the
                            trends are going.

                          •  Probably because time is linear (0+ / 0-)

                            so 2013 was higher than 2012.

                            Most people don't skip decades.

                            But if you need more actual data:

                            http://dailycaller.com/...

                            This is just the beginning of coal’s German comeback, as ten new hard-coal plants are scheduled to come online in the next two years, according to Germany’s electrical grid regulator. This will boost the country’s coal capacity by 33 percent, according to analysts.

                            Read more: http://dailycaller.com/...

                            Tell me again how ten new coal plants are signifying a 'dying industry'?
                          •  rwe said it missed the boat (0+ / 0-)

                            investing into Coal when they had no future.

                          •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

                            So I should just ignore the 2 dozen or so new coal plants that came online in the US over that last 5 years, and the 2 dozen or so that are on deck waiting for approval?

                            Because one company messed up it's finances?

                            And I should ignore the increased CO2 from Germany, the new coal plants, and their withdrawal from their Kyoto agreements because of this companies poor financial results? That they blamed on renewables?

                            Got it. Who needs facts and figures when you can just rely on the words from a coal executive. Guess they are trustworthy when you need them to be, eh?

                          •  i hate to sound unimpressed (0+ / 0-)

                            but 2 dozen coal plants?

                            in a country of 450 million people.

                            http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/...

                            For the first eleven months of 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) have accounted for more than a third (34.9 percent) of all new electrical generating capacity: 2,631-MW solar, 1,108 MW wind, 519 MW biomass, 121 MW hydropower, and 39 MW geothermal. That is more than that provided thus far this year by coal (1,543 MW - 12.2 percent), oil (36 MW - 0.3 percent), and nuclear power (0 MW - 0.0 percent) combined. Solar alone comprises 20.8 percent of new generating capacity (2,631 MW) thus far this year - two-thirds more than its year-to-date total in 2012 (1,584 MW). However, natural gas has dominated 2013 thus far with 6,568 MW of new capacity (52.0 percent).

                            It's a tipping point, where more and more comes in from renewables, it may take 10 years to chase out the
                            coal fleet,  but, less and less of that is coming in and
                            more is operating with poor profit margins.

                            if Coal was wildly profitable we would be building hundreds, not 2 dozen a year.

                            Sorry, look at some arithmetic and get back to me.

                          •  Nice moving of the goalposts. (0+ / 0-)

                            Coal is 'on the decline' because it's not rising fast enough?

                            Boy, you sure have acquit yourself well in this diary's comments section, huh.

                          •  if something is growing less then the mean, (0+ / 0-)

                            it's shrinking in terms of share.

                            You are welcome to copulate with yourself
                            at your discretion.

                          •  Nice one. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'll keep that in mind if I want to try and lie in future discussions.

                            Your dishonesty is laughably transparent, but at least you got some exercise moving those goal posts to another stadium.

                            Never mind that Germany increased it's coal output...they could have increased it a lot more, therefore coal is on the decline.

                            Perfect.

                    •  well we are switching to renewables. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ozsea1

                      the coal industry is dying, the markets have
                      already written them off.

                      •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                        http://www.spiegel.de/...

                        "Brown coal power stations, after nuclear plants, are the main source of profit for RWE and Co.," said Höhn, referring to Germany's major utilities. "So they don't even switch off the really old power stations."
                        •  pity that's not what RWE is telling the analysts. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ignacio Magaloni

                          http://reneweconomy.com.au/...

                          German energy giant RWE has taken a massive loss of €2.8 billion – it’s first loss in 60 years – after admitting it got its strategy wrong, and should have focused more on renewable and distributed energy rather than conventional fossil fuels.

                          RWE, like other major German utilities, has spent much of the past decade fighting against the country’s “energiewende”, the energy transition that is seeing it dump nuclear energy and transform the electricity system of Europe’s biggest manufacturing economy to one dominated by renewables.

                          teriumLast night, Peter Terium, who has been CEO for less than two years, conceded that the company had got it wrong. He admitted that the change in electricity markets, which has seen earnings from conventional generation gutted by the impact of solar and wind energy, was “unstoppable”. It was now time to change strategy, and focus on what the electricity market will look like in the future.

                          “I grant that we have made mistakes,” Terium said in a prepared speech to a media conference accompanying his result. “We were late entering into the renewables market – possibly too late.”

                          So F and U.
                          •  Lol (0+ / 0-)

                            Get back to me when Germany renews it's Kyoto commitment.

                            http://www.bloomberg.com/...

                            Germany’s air pollution is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear plants led utilities to burn more coal.
                            Again, you can talk about 'the future' all you want. But the fact is that Germany replaced their nuclear with coal, dropped Kyoto, and boosted their CO2 and pollution emission.

                            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

                            But despite Germany’s shift to renewable solar and wind energies, and amid a recession, its carbon emissions rose by 1.8pc last year.
                            In the European Union, as a whole, emissions fell by 1.3pc, mainly due to recession, according to the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.
                            To pay for this green adventure, surcharges on electricity for households have increased by 47pc, or €15bn, in the past year alone. German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe; before long, the average three-person household will spend around €90 a month for electricity, almost twice as much as in 2000. Currently, more than 300,000 German households a year are seeing their power shut off because of unpaid bills.
                            Two-thirds of the electricity price increase is due to new government surcharges and taxes to subsidise renewable energy. While electricity prices have rocketed and the middle classes receive handouts to put solar panels on their houses, pensions and wages have not kept up, hitting Germany’s poorest hardest.
                            Yeah, sure sounds like a success story.
                          •  1.5 percent. (0+ / 0-)

                            thats noise.

                          •  It's 1.8 percent rise (0+ / 0-)

                            compared to a 1.3 percent drop by the EU as a whole.

                            But sure, I guess that net 3.1 percent difference could be in the 'noise' as you say, completely unsourced of course.

                            Must be nice to arbitrarily dismiss data that doesn't fit your story.

                          •  I can bring a fool to data but i can't make him (0+ / 0-)

                            think.

                            I have sourced data, you just won't look at it.

                          •  I looked at your sources top to bottom (0+ / 0-)

                            and can't find anywhere where it claims that 3.1, 1.8, or even 1.5 percent increase is lower than the statistical noise of Germany's annual coal production.

                            Could you please specifically point out your source for your 'it's in the noise' statement?

                          •  i will pretend you are honestly asking (0+ / 0-)

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            Now follow the link,

                            you need color vision, you can't look at in black and white.

                            see that Red Line?  See how it wavers,  it's about a 20 year period, see the number scale on the left side?  
                            It's moving around about 10%.  So what's 2%?

                            That's noise.

                            now if you need a definition of RMS noise,

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/..._(electronics)#Thermal_noise

                            There you go.

                          •  Lol (0+ / 0-)

                            A graph 'moving around' is not noise. A sine-wave does not have a peak-to-peak noise equal to the change in signal.

                            You have to subtract signal trends and extract short term fluctuations.

                            So go ahead, do the computation.

                          •  I don't do homework for kids. (0+ / 0-)

                            This excercise is left to a student.

                          •  Yup (0+ / 0-)

                            that's what I thought. Nothin'. Why should this thread be any different from the countless others.

                          •  do your homework, then you can go play. (0+ / 0-)

                            ...

                        •  or what the unions in coal workers are (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Joieau

                          saying.

                          http://reneweconomy.com.au/...

                          Germany’s power plants fired with hard coal might soon run for fewer and fewer hours each year, being increasingly offset by renewables. Now, a labor union has called on power firms to sell these power plants to a “national company” as hard coal is phased out. Craig Morris says the firms like the idea.
              •  there have been (0+ / 0-)

                designs for reactors that can use depleted uranium, out there for decades. They weren't from the US government designers, so they've been ignored in this country.

                (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

                by PJEvans on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:25:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Those would have to be breeders. (0+ / 0-)

                  Not a great track record if the corporate function is making money. The few that have operated or are operating are research reactors. Most never reached design power levels and longest term of operation was only 10 years.

                  We hear a lot about 'dream' reactors, maybe, someday. I put those iin the same category ("Pipe Dreams") as fusion.

                  There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                  by Joieau on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:22:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yes. The Ford Nucleon. (3+ / 0-)

          1950's concept car. Nuclear powered cars.

          What could go wrong?

          •  indeed the US fell in love with nukes back in the (5+ / 0-)

            50's.  The military made plans for everything from nuclear-powered airplanes to nuclear hand grenades. Civilians were blabbering about using nuclear explosives to dig canals.

            What a naive time that was . . . .

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:08:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Navy has been running reactors safely for (0+ / 0-)

              60 years.    

              You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

              by SpamNunn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:40:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't expect a straight answer to this question. (0+ / 0-)
                Slap a carbon tax on natural gas, and voila. Profitable nukes.
                Just curious where you guys are getting your 'nukes are dead' talking points from?
                The "renewable energy" lobby has a lot of supporters here who actually believe (or want to believe) the propaganda that wind and solar will solve all of our energy woes.

                You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

                by SpamNunn on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:42:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  nukes ARE dead (0+ / 0-)

                  That's why no electric companies are clamoring to build them.

                  Wind and solar are not solutions to all our energy woes.  NO energy source is the solution to all our energy woes.  The solution to our energy woes is (1) a mix of several different energy sources and (2) reducing our use of energy to a sustainable level.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:16:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That should come as news to the people at the NRC (0+ / 0-)

                    who are reviewing all of the COL applications:

                    http://www.nrc.gov/...

                    You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

                    by SpamNunn on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:34:47 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  perhaps it was also news to the NRC when Duke (0+ / 0-)

                      withdrew its plans to build the nukes it asked for.

                      Talk to me in ten years, and we'll see how many of these applied-for plants actually get built--or even break a single shovel-full of dirt.

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 12:09:12 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I have a family member who works for an (0+ / 0-)

                        electric company.  He is a senior reactor operator.  I have a pretty good idea where they are actually building or intending to build.  I also know a guy who moves the condensers for the new Westinghouse AP1000's.   They don't build those or move them around the South without intending to use them, Lenny.  

                        If we had a different President, some of those reactors would be under construction already.   He only got eight years, so I'll be talking to you soon.  

                        You can get to the top by heading for the bottom. - R. Lewis

                        by SpamNunn on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 03:20:13 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Not the old Soviet Navy that dumped reactor cores (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau

                into the sea.

                Didn't our Navy occasionally dump nuclear waste in barrels--I think I have barrels of nerve gas in mind, not nuclear waste-- probably not the U.S. Navy that was involved in that operation. . .

                So, I admit I can't remember: I do seem to remember you have some kind of direct background on this, SpamNunn: what did/does the U.S Navy do with its nuclear waste? I remember some was recycled back into nuclear sub reactors--

                The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

                by Ignacio Magaloni on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:00:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  and they power one ship with each (0+ / 0-)

                Not exactly a large-scale problem-solver, is it.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:13:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Research generated in China (13+ / 0-)

    As a scientist, I and all of my colleagues (including two editors of journals) have come to suspect the validity of research emanating from China.  There is an incredible push to publish in China and appear to be few penalties for "minor infractions" such as plagiarism and the often-used strategies of publishing the same papers multiple times or using all of the data in paper A, adding another data point and re-publishing the paper as paper B.  That climate can lead to very poorly done studies or absurd conclusions made from dubious data - the major purpose of these "papers" simply being to enhance someone's c.v.
    Note that I am not saying that this is a China problem only. The difficulty in replicating studies published in the U.S. and Europe has reached the point where it has been the subject of articles, in both peer-reviewed scientific journals and in the popular press like the WSJ.  What I am saying is that the problem appears to be much worse in China where the "business model" entirely rules the research "industry" and the means always justifies the ends.

  •  they modeled it rather then sampled. (0+ / 0-)

    of course, some of the samples are
    low level waste and the JPG wouldn't
    let Greenpeace in close to sample waters
    around Fukushima Harbor.

  •  Agh, not again. (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't Fukushima bad enough without having those incorrect scare maps?

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:52:25 AM PST

  •  ORO is an interesting site (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    the sampling seems awful sparse,
    when you look at it per year, they
    have one line across the ocean.

    When you look at the 2011 data points,
    around japan, what did you think of those numbers?

  •  meh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/...

    Please don't conflate lack of data with lack of evidence.

    Cherry-picked data, basically to reassure people on the west coast of USA and tell them what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear, is unhelpful at best.

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:11:29 AM PST

  •  kudos for actual science! (10+ / 0-)

    I appreciate your diary mightily.  

  •   (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    That solid, unbiased & comprehensive information is so lacking should not be constued as "don't worry, be happy" as this diarist keeps coming back to over and over and tedious over again.

    Quotes: http://dissidentvoice.org/...

    "Given the diametrically conflicting views of the Fukushima disaster, it’s way beyond time for a full-court-press approach by the U.S. and global community to challenge what may be a whitewashed cover-up, and with intensified scientific research and accurate figures and diagnosis, to get to the bottom of what’s happening at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. Doing nothing is not an option."

    or, for those who like it short and sweet:

    "We have opened a door to hell that cannot be easily closed — if ever.”

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:15:54 PM PST

  •  Is any of this, any single tiny (0+ / 0-)

    speck of it, good in any way?

    Then what are we arguing about?

    "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

    by escapee on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:23:17 PM PST

  •  Thanks for making the effort Marine Chemist (9+ / 0-)

    I know it must be frustrating at times.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:38:52 PM PST

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