Sometimes the big news stories can only be seen by the shadows they cast. You would think that it would be easy to find detailed updates on the Fukushima disaster’s impact on the fishing industry, milk production, global radiation distribution patterns, etc. You would be mistaken. The massive media coverage the initial disaster has fallen nearly silent. Some frustrated environmental advocates have suggested that there may be a media blackout. Maybe not, but media follow-up stories are few and far between these days.
In July of last year there were major stories about Fukushima and the plum of radiation reaching across the Pacific Ocean towards North America. On July 16, 2012, Deborah Dupre of the Examiner reported the following:
“As hair falls out of a Fukushima victim’s head, a new German study reports that North America’s West Coast will be the area most contaminated by Fukushima cesium of all regions in Pacific in 10 years, an “order-of-magnitude higher” than waters off Japan, according to a new German study followed by a former New York Times journalist going inside the no-entry zone and reporting radiation levels over 10 times higher than Tepco’s data.”
The article was accompanied by this scary graphic:
The article went on to say: “”After 10 years, the concentrations become nearly homogeneous over the whole Pacific, with higher values in the east, extending along the North American coast with a maximum (~1 × 10−4) off Baja California,” a new research report states.”
Then, on August 22, 2012, NHK News reported that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it has detected radiation 380 times the government safety limit in a fish caught off Fukushima Prefecture.
Since then not much else has been reported on the spread of radiation to North America. It has been reported that tons of debris from the tsunami continues to wash up on the Pacific coast, but very little, especially in the main stream press, about how we are being effected. http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/12/fukushima-debris-to-keep-hitting-the-pacific-coast-this-winter/
Perhaps my internet search skill are not the best, but the fact that I have to search for follow-up information is a warning sign. Journalists and the media should paying more attention to to this topic. The one recent article related to radiation fallout from Fukushima I found was a scientific study published in November, 2012. It focuses primarily on how tracing the travel of radionuclides gives insight into atmospheric air circulation in the Northern Hemisphere.
I think we all deserve to know more about what the US, Canadian and Mexican governments are doing to monitor radiation levels, track distribution rates and study how it may be impacting our food supply.
Below is a reference to the recently published study.
1 November 2012, Pages 80–85
Tracking the complete revolution of surface westerlies over Northern Hemisphere using radionuclides emitted from Fukushima
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.