Is Fukushima Radiation Poisoning California? Yes and No! - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Is Fukushima Radiation Poisoning California? Yes and No!

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     When Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down after the powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011, there were warnings all over the place.

     Many said the radiation from the world's worst nuclear accident would poison the pacific ocean, the U.S. and the world.

     Now, some people are using Geiger counters and saying they're finding radiation from Japan in California, but are those claims true?

     To find out, I went digging and investigated those claims.

     I didn't want to use government sources because many people don't trust them, but I didn't want to take all of the Geiger counter reports at face value either.

     I found a researcher at U.C. Berkeley who has been digging deeply into this issue himself.

     He doesn't have a side to take and he isn't associated with any government agency.

     He says that, right now, those internet reports are true, up to a point, but also wrong in a big way as many internet reports often are.

      The sound a Geiger counter makes when it detects radiation is loud, clear and continuous, and that's what some people using them say they are finding on California deserts, beaches, farmlands and food.

     Now, several of those people are posting videos of their findings on Youtube showing those noises and gauge read outs.

     So, if that is radiation they seem to be detecting, where is it coming from?

     The independent reporters making and posting these videos point to one source.

      2:46 PM, March 11, 2011.  The most powerful recorded earthquake ever to hit Japan, registering 9.0 on the Richter scale, buckled the ocean floor east of the main island and sent a devastating tsunami crashing into Japan's Pacific coastline, and into the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant.

      The twin disasters overwhelmed the plants three layers of backup systems cutting off cooling water from the reactors and sending three of the plants six nuclear cores into meltdown. 

      The superheated cores ultimately exploded and releasing plumes of radioactive particles into the air.

     Highly radioactive water pumped through in an emergency effort to cool the reactors also leaked into the ocean and continues to leak from tanks built to store it.

     So where has all that radioactive material gone?

     Doctor Kai Vetter, professor of nuclear engineering at U.C. Berkeley, says he also found evidence of nuclear fallout from Fukushima in California.

      "The first time we saw radiation associated with Fukushima was in the rain water. Right after we saw an uptake in most of the food samples."

        However, Vetter says, he and other scientists were only able to detect the airborne fallout only in the days and weeks shortly after the disaster and not since and never in amounts high enough to cause any real concern.

     "You had to drink 20 to 30 gallons of that rainwater on that one day to get as much exposure as one cross country flight," Vetter explained.

      Vetter says he can say that with confidence because of the big difference between his equipment and what the internet reporters and posters are using.

      Vetter says, while Geiger counters can measure radioactivity,  they can't tell you what kind it is or where it came from, but Vetter says, his eighty-thousand-dollar Gamma Ray Spectrometers can.

      "This is actually a sand sample which we collected in Half Moon Bay on one of the beaches which made the news several weeks ago.       

      We measured it we tested it in situ right on the beach with one of our high resolution gamma ray spectrometers and there and here we confirmed the increase of radiation we see on the beach is due to natural causes not Fukushima."

      Natural radiation many times stronger than anything from Fukushima, Vetter says.

      "A Geiger counter is not good enough to distinguish between radiation that is naturally occurring and the radiation which is due to the releases from Fukushima."

       Vetter says the airborne radioactive particles he's been able to find are not a health concern at this time and other scientists, including the scientists with the EPA agree with him, but that's not the end of the story.

      Some of that radioactive water is only now making its way to the California coastline after traveling across the Pacific for the last three years

      Scientists estimate that it should begin arriving in measurable amounts on or after April of this year.

      Will that show up in significant enough concentrations to cause any problems?

       Some environmentalists claim radiation in the ocean from Fukushima is already killing starfish off of our pacific coast and causing health problems for seals and polar bears, and researchers say they have found radioactive contamination in tuna caught off the coast of California and salmon in Alaska.

       Other scientists say the concentration of radiation in the oceans from Fukushima is too low and dispersed to have that effect.

       The bottom line is despite internet claims to the contrary, Vetter and other scientists say there is no evidence of any health issues for Californians yet.

      KMPH Fox 26 news will keep an eye on this story and if anything changes we will definitely let you know.

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