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Where is News of Fukushima Radiation Impact?

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DATA DRIVEN VIEWPOINT: Sometimes the big news stories can only be seen by the shadows that they cast.  You would think that it would be easy to find copious updates on the radiation impact Fukushima is having on the fishing industry, US food production, global radiation distribution, etc. You would be mistaken. The relatively large amount of media coverage the Fukushima disaster initially generated has diminished to the point of near silence.  Maybe my own internet search skills are to blame, but even having to run a search on Fukushima’s radioactive legacy for North America is an warning sign to which journalists and the media should be paying attention. There was this month (November, 2012) a scientific study published regarding the release of radiation from Japan, but its focus is primarily on how tracing  the travel of radionuclides gives insight into atmospheric air circulation in the Northern Hemisphere.

I would be interested in learning more about what the US and Canadian governments are doing to monitor radiation levels, track distribution rates and study how it may or may not be impacting our food supply. If any of you reading this comes across such information, please post links here to the comments section below.  If you search but can’t find information, that is news worth also, so please comment about your efforts also.  Thank you.

Science of The Total Environment

Volume 438, 1 November 2012, Pages 80–85
Cover image

Tracking the complete revolution of surface westerlies over Northern Hemisphere using radionuclides emitted from Fukushima

  • a Department of Applied Physics, University of Huelva, Huelva, Spain
  • b Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, Ansan 426–744, South Korea
  • c Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, Uljin 767–813, South Korea
  • d Department of Environmental Marine Science, Hanyang University, Ansan, 426–791, South Korea
  • e Department of Geology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

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Massive amounts of anthropogenic radionuclides were released from the nuclear reactors located in Fukushima (northeastern Japan) between 12 and 16 March 2011 following the earthquake and tsunami. Ground level air radioactivity was monitored around the globe immediately after the Fukushima accident. This global effort provided a unique opportunity to trace the surface air mass movement at different sites in the Northern Hemisphere. Based on surface air radioactivity measurements around the globe and the air mass backward trajectory analysis of the Fukushima radioactive plume at various places in the Northern Hemisphere by employing the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model, we show for the first time, that the uninterrupted complete revolution of the mid-latitude Surface Westerlies took place in less than 21 days, with an average zonal velocity of > 60 km/h. The position and circulation time scale of Surface Westerlies are of wide interest to a large number of global researchers including meteorologists, atmospheric researchers and global climate modellers.


► Evidence of the South Korea contamination with released radiocesium from Fukushima. ► Field samples and air mass analysis were utilized to elucidate the transport of those radionuclides. ► Characterization of the air mass movements at different sites at the Earth’s surface. ► Verification of the uninterrupted complete revolution of the artificial radionuclides released in Fukushima. ► Quantification of the velocity of the artificial radionuclides released in Fukushima.

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