Thursday, January 9, 2014

(OT) No, #Fukushima I NPP Did Not Cause High Radiation Reading on California Beach, Experts and Officials Say

But yes, the beach was "contaminated" with naturally occurring thorium and radium.

From Half Moon Bay Review (1/8/2014):

Experts say beach radiation unrelated to Fukushima

...The amateur video went viral, drawing more than half a million views to date, and spurring government inspectors to conduct their own surveys.

After watching the clip, El Granada electrical engineer Steven Weiss grabbed his own radiation measurement equipment to test the radiation reports for himself.

On Monday, Weiss carried a Geiger counter in each hand for a second survey of Surfer's Beach. As he descended to the waterline, the readings on his gadgets climbed. He tested various spots: the side of the bluffs and the white sand closest to the waterline, both registering levels that were high but not suspiciously so as far as he was concerned. But when he placed the sensors down near a line of black silt along the back of the beach, the meters on both his gadgets spiked. The counters registered about 415 counts per minute. A cpm of 30 is considered the baseline for radioactivity typically found in the air.

“It's not normal. I've never seen 400 cpm when I just wave my Geiger around.” he said. “There has to be something radioactive for it to do that.”

Weiss is no amateur; for 40 years he has made a living designing Geiger counters, most recently for International Medcom Inc. After he verified the hotspot, he took a sample of the dark sediment and sent it to his company's main offices in Sebastopol for analysis.

International Medcom CEO Dan Sythe later put the dirt sample in a spectrum analyzer to view the radioactive “signature” of the particles, the photon energy associated with each isotope. What he found was different from cesium-137, the fissile material used in the Fukushima reactors. He would know – since the 2011 meltdown, Sythe has visited Japan nine times to help map the cesium fallout.

Instead he was seeing radium and thorium, naturally occurring radioactive elements.


Nonetheless, the presence and concentration of natural thorium and radium at Surfer’s Beach left experts puzzled. Both elements are actually common at beaches. In fact, a 2008 study by the Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society found similar concentrations at Southern California beaches.

Sythe offered a couple possible explanations. A vein of thorium could be spilling out from the nearby coastal bluffs, he suggested. Alternatively, he heard mention of an old oil pipe running nearby the beach. Oil pipelines had a tendency to collect heavy radioactive minerals, he said.

Peterson thought the minerals could be just washing up with the salt water from the shores. The radioactive materials all were just past the high tide line, so it made sense that would be where the minerals would build up, he said.

The conditions that are out on the beach could be the same conditions that have been out there for millennia,” he said.

Update: Tests by government health inspectors have found no connection between the elevated radiation levels at Coastside beaches and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, according to a statement by the California Public Health Department released late on Tuesday evening. An analysis by county and state officials found the radiation was the result of naturally occurring minerals, a conclusion similar to reports by independent experts.

(Full article at the link)

But the net media who went there to prove the source of radiation was the wrecked nuclear plant halfway across the globe is undeterred:

...Working to relieve concerns that the high radiation readings indicated fallout from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had finally reached the United States, electrical engineer Steve Weiss, a radiological expert who has worked on Geiger counters for 40 years, examined the same beach as the man in the video, and presented even worse results.

Weiss found levels well in excess of 1,400% of what acceptable amounts should be.

“It’s not normal. I’ve never seen 400 cpm when I just wave my Geiger around,” Weiss told the Review. “There has to be something radioactive for it to do that.”

After a spectrum analysis of the dirt on the cove, the paper later discovered the isotopes to be naturally occurring thorium and radium, and not cesium-137, the fissile material employed at the Fukushima reactor. This led many to scrap the notion that radiation from the damaged nuclear plant in Japan was the cause of the high readings. We, however, were not convinced, and set out on a mission to conduct radiation measurements up and down the coast.

And on they went, armed with a pocket geiger counter ("Inspector" brand, it looks).

Unless you find cesium-134 in addition to cesium-137, you can't tell whether cesium-137 is from Fukushima or from the atmospheric nuclear testing that the US has done so many times. And without analysis by a gamma-ray spectrometer to see the distinct peaks for nuclides and knowledge to read them, well...


Azby said...

Thanks for covering this story. A simple Google search turned up a number of references to natural radiation on California beaches, including this one from 1962 about the same general area:

Tracing Coastal Sediment Movement by Naturally Radioactive materials
Kamel and Johnson, UC Berkeley

It states:
"This radioactive thorium is added naturally at discrete places along the coast where rivers flowing through thorium rich granite outcrops reach the coast or where the thorium rich granite itself outcrops at the sea coast."

So it's one of those things that geologists and other scientists have known about for a long time, but which the public has been unaware of.

It was incredibly easy to find references about this, but none of the people who promoted the original story seems have done even this kind of elementary fact-checking.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I've seen people in the US measuring radiation of rain and snow and freaking out (over naturally occurring bismuth and lead).

Anonymous said...

" .. where rivers flowing through .. reach the coast .. "

I would like to suggest that Henry Kissinger's long-awaited Doomsday Cache has finally been released, the very one he'd been counting on to deter press coverage of his retreats/vacations in the Russian River area decades ago ..

To paraphrase Henry, "It's Out!".

Anonymous said...

The average person thinks a present elevated Geiger counter's reading automatically means it is radiation originating from Fukushima, so I am glad Areva's article addresses the fact that a spectrum analyzer is necessary for determination of origin. I'm not making light of the Fukushima disaster, far from it, but there are definitely people out there making outrageous doomsday predictions without considering the science. Not that I think so highly of scientists, just, damn, you nutbars, can't you just focus on the science for once, and not your personal brain-debilitating paranoia.

Anonymous said...

Areva has chosen areva's way of saying this: a spectrum analyzer is necessary and available at nearby Berkeley, yet no one from Berkeley will take an hour or 2 out of their day to identify the substances.

"nutbars" will say the same thing in their way: look at what no one cares to identify.

Anonymous said...

At Berkeley, it never occurs to them that people don't know about these natural radioactive nuclides.

Anonymous said...

I bet. Not only Berkeley, but TEPCO.

In fact, I can imagine TEPCO's HR dept. having its own Idiots Act it forces applicants to gauntlet-run.

" .. facilities for the care, education, and training of Idiots and Imbeciles".

" .. the parents of children hoping to enter would have to complete a form stating that they were "a lunatic, an idiot, or a person of unsound mind". Additionally, they were required to answer irrelevant questions and present two medical certificates."

Other than the 2 certificates, sounds accurate.

Anonymous said...

But there is the possibility TEPCO's HR will clean up its act in concert with the physical cleanup of Fuku.
Something along these lines of classification may be how they rank applicants:

a) Idiots. Those so deeply defective as to be unable to guard themselves against common physical dangers.
b) Imbeciles. Whose defectiveness does not amount to idiocy, but is so pronounced that they are incapable of managing themselves or their affairs, or, in the case of children, of being taught to do so.
c) Feeble-minded persons. Whose weakness does not amount to imbecility, yet who require care, supervision, or control, for their protection or for the protection of others, or, in the case of children, are incapable of receiving benefit from the instruction in ordinary schools.
d) Moral Imbeciles. Displaying mental weakness coupled with strong vicious or criminal propensities, and on whom punishment has little or no deterrent effect.

Anonymous said...

Don't be thinking TEPCO hasn't done a radionuclide spectrum analysis yet. Of course they have, they just don't want anyone to know what they found. With all the hysterical nutbars misinterpreting data, who in their right mind would put it out there.

Should Japanese people uproot their whole lives and move to Greenland? 57 people died relocating from Fukushima, so how many would die if the government declared Tokyo unliveable?

Yeah, maybe there should be another classification rank-- e) Morally Defunct Imbecile Hammy Nutbar (homo histrionicus), who trolls under dozens of aliases and, at best, gets a few laughs together with succeeding in getting other similar hysterically inclined nutbars(or sock puppets) to side with him/her, or, at worst, bores the living daylights out of readers with his copy/paste paragraphs and linkys, making even the most tireless of the anti-nukes yawn.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:14 pm, one can only dream that those who purposefully keep distressing the Japanese and others with relocation due to contamination where there is no contamination to justify relocation, themselves prove their belief by relocating to the Antartic. Them volunteering for Fukushima disaster clean up won't give you the result you are looking for, if that is what you are hoping, unless they start accusing fellow workers of being papal depop Malthusian crazed Jesuits or "Outing" spys left and right, then a radiation induced demise would be the least of their worries.

Anonymous said...

You 2 crack me up.

First, we'll deal with 5:14's "near-sanity", his "approach to sanity",

".. 57 people died relocating from Fukushima, so how many would die if the government declared Tokyo unliveable?"
I'm assuming a "Hammy Nutbar" is one who is hamming it up, only.
And a reference to "histrionics". Ok.

Some history: in NYC on 9/11 they CARED enough to end up evacuating 500,000 people from Manhattan with, as far as I know, not one of those relocators dying. See, if they don't wholesale abandon their responsibilities people don't die like the Fuku 57.

So yes, there was "histrionics", and it came from 5:14's version of "history". A "ham", as it were.
And possibly in the service of Malthus. Or Ntrepid. Google it.

a female Faust said...

anon 10:38

::::right on.::::

Anonymous said...

Baseless rumors: it's ok to import Japanese beef as an American expat, and ok to drink Sendai whiskey

"Aron Lewis, an expat from New Orleans who lives in Tokyo and works in marketing for the Japanese beef industry, is one convert."

"Nikka operates two distilleries in Northern Japan and farther from Tokyo and the main touristic routes: the Miyagikyo plant in Sendai and the Yoichi plant .."

Further baseless rumor: the Ntrepid in-house sock assigned to USAToday has NOT been found betraying opsec or w/e

Anonymous said...

Shinzo has a new reward system set up for collaborators in silence in the Japanese medical system: their phase-out, or "Fuku-med",

"In Tokyo, last month, right-wing PM, Shinzo Abe announced the launching of his own “Special Economic Zones”. Here’s a short summary of Abe’s plan from an article in the Japan Times:

“Special zones aimed at spurring corporate investment through deregulation and tax incentives are to be created in Tokyo as well as Osaka and central Aichi Prefecture….Other deregulation steps to debut in such zones will .. expand the scope of treatment that can be administered by non-Japanese doctors and nurses, facilitate the use of foreign drugs .."

Anonymous said...

Now it's 6:57's turn,

Perhaps they could "relocate" to Cambridge University, and remotely from there explain the need to explain away the constant "cock-ups" of the corporateers, see this "linky" with many, many "paragraphs" ..

Antipater said...

"Some history: in NYC on 9/11 they CARED enough to end up evacuating 500,000 people from Manhattan with, as far as I know, not one of those relocators dying."

1) The Manhatten evacuation was justified. You don't have access to a follow up as to what happened to evacuees. No media has reported on it (to my knowledge), so we DON'T KNOW. Perhaps the media moguls decided American people were traumatized enough and didn't need to be subjected to more bad news, whatever the real story behind 9/11 is.

2) Tokyo has a population of over 13 million and this is Japan, not the USA. Evacuation of Tokyo would not be justified, according to the science. If the Fukushima evacuation caused 57 people to die, we can only extrapolate based on this prior result because we are talking about Japan and have to take into account the way the Japanese do things and the Japanese psyche.

I know, I know, you are going to "out" me again, provide an indispensable linky and give at least one sock puppet reply patting yourself on the back..... am I right?

Anonymous said...

Nah!, can't be done because "this is Japan". How's this, August 27, 2011,

"No one was was in command. There was no single plan. (The New York City Emergency Response Center was buried in the rubble of the towers.) Nevertheless by nightfall almost half a million commuters had been evacuated by New York mariners who knew what they had to do and worked together to do it. It was one of the largest maritime evacuations in history."

So you're agreeing with Kuntsler Japan should give up on modernity?

Antipater said...

"So you're agreeing with Kuntsler Japan should give up on modernity?"

No, I'm disagreeing with you on why Tokyo should be evacuated in the first place, and second, a massive evacuation, whether Japanese or other, is not going to go perfectly just because it did in Manhatten, no matter how many times you write it will. Perhaps it was an anomaly. Perhaps NYC is much better prepared. Perhaps it was because of a much smaller amount of people. Perhaps you should also take into account the New Orleans evacuation, Mayor Nagrin's performance and FEMA's capabilities.

You are going to ignore my points and counter with a question that goes off on a tangent. But although you posted 3 linkys nobody is going to look at, I will commend you on containing yourself enough not to have accused me of being a Jesuit, or "outing" me as a spy. Your multiple stupid idiot online characters, aliases and sock puppets, however, still put you in the rank of Morally Defunct Imbecile Hammy Nutbar troll ---homo histrionicus.

Anonymous said...

haha, homo histrionucus morphing troll is actually a lawyer from the west coast whose first name begins with R, and if arevamirpal erases this comment you'll know it's true.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the public transport system was broken in many places up north, and the trains were not running normally in Tokyo either. In addition, there were intermittent blackouts in Tokyo. Also, due to the oil refineries being on fire, deliveries of gasoline throughout Northern Japan were stopped. This situation is quite different from organizing an evacuation prior to a storm hitting.
As far as I know, the 500k people who "evacuated" by boat from lower Manhattan were panicked residents who left via whatever means was available to them, rather than a government-mandated evacuation. The same thing happened in Tokyo: a great many residents panicked and left of their own free will via whatever means was available to them. I wouldn't be surprised if the number was over 500k. At any rate, CNN was describing Tokyo as a ghost town, so apparently many people left. But a government-ordered evacuation of 13 million people, after the transport system is already mucked up, is a different story.
As for people not abandoning their responsibilities, thanks to some very brave workers at Fukushima who continued trying to get water into the cores and into the spent fuel pools amid unpredictable and dangerous conditions, the scope of the accident was limited. Sorry if this sounds defensive, but the insinuation that NYC knows how to do things, while Japan is clueless, is insulting.

Antipater said...

5:05 PM, no, I'm not insinuating NYC knows for sure how to do anything better than Tokyo and I certainly did not insinuating cluelessness. Note my use of the word "perhaps" in my prior comment. You also missed the part where I use New Orleans as an example of the mayhem that befell an evacuation, so I don't think the USofA is any better than Japan either, just that they are different.

CNN was describing Tokyo as a ghost town not because of the amount of people that left but because of the amount of people who dared not venture out of their homes.

Sorry for not being clearer with my overall comment. It's actually the histrionic troll that suggests Japan not give up on "modernity".

Anonymous said...

I bet the doomday troll would just love to see 13 million people displaced and miserable. It would make him feel better about his miserable self spending all his free time in mom's basement smoking weed and listening to Pink Floyd inbetween crank comments.

Anonymous said...

And what is this about "13 million" people? Isn't that a little low?, more like 35 million?

Appears obvious that Japan has exited modernity already. Let's use your estimate of 500k evacuating of their own initiative. The Japanese media of modernity Failed to note this? The many Japanese fisherman who presumably use boats to do so with, they failed to note their fellow Japanese, their customers, needed "a lift" while the New York area fisherman/boaters did not fail. Do you expect us to overlook that your perspective is essentially "clueless", that you are, in effect, declaring yourself as "Out"? That it has become your "banner", as it were, to step up, puff up your silly chest, and spew bluster & insult to others' intelligence?

Pages here on ex-SKF detailed TEPCO personnel starting to evacuate people from Fukushima and stopping, and that's not "abandoning responsibilities?
Seriously, from what planet do you translate from?

Antipater said...

Okay 4:59 AM, so you showed self restraint on posting linkys, but just couldn't control yourself and had to "out" someone. And that someone may be yourself, since you are an expert sock puppet along with being a troll. Otherwise, bravo, you have found and "outed" another spy who writes comments besides me. Arrogant and paranoid ass that you are.

Anonymous said...

11:23, right you are, except for that last.

My mission is to thoroughly "out" the fellas of Ntrepid, til their HQ is as much a ghost town as Tokyo was.
When I am done with them, shadowy forces will avoid the place like warded poltergeists.

To paraphrase wikipedia,
"The results envisioned would also communicate to the socks real-time local information, so that they could appear to be socially aware as they would be 'twere they not alien lizard men, or even had the remotest sense of having been found quite and OUT."

Antipater said...

Go back to trolling Fukushima Diary and Enenews. 95% of all comments there is just you, your aliases and your sock puppets. You are like Rick Berman and a reverse Rick Berman at the same time, on steroids.

Anonymous said...

And with that @ 7:07, you have iced your cake. You are like a shameless, Senseless GE Press Release from Way Back Then promoting the Torus Suppression Chamber Fuku-type reactor.

Iced as a cake, you have found YOURSELF, not only "out", but OAF.

Get Out, Get OAF!, get .. off!


Anonymous said...

I beleive you mean Berman of Star Trek fame and not the other one. Our resident troll is more of a "production" on its way to a slow death.

Anonymous said...

I'm the anonymous poster at 5:05 (January 11).

The comment I reacted to was this; "in NYC on 9/11 they CARED enough to end up evacuating 500,000 people from Manhattan". Emphasis on the word "cared", as if Japan did not care about its people. In fact, the NYC evacuees were all people who left of their own free will, using services available to them. In Japan, the exact same thing happened. A great many people left via the services which were at their disposal. They didn't need a flotilla of ferries, as most of the people who were interested in leaving did so via their own vehicles or by other public transport. So the comparison with Fukushima and NYC is not an accurate one, or an accurately portrayed one.

And CNN was clearly promoting the idea that people were leaving the city, creating a ghost town.

"Many foreigners living in Tokyo have decided to leave, either catching a flight home out of the country from Narita or Haneda, or taking the bullet train west to the relative safety and comfort of Osaka, Kyoto and beyond.
Many Japanese too, have decided to take the office closures as an opportunity to have an impromptu holiday with the family, or visit relatives outside the city."

Anonymous said...

So CNN can story it, you immediately "forget" Japanese media did not, and thereby fall in line with Japanese Official-dumb's plan to de-humanize the Japanese peoples' relations with each other so as to essentially assist Abe's intent to further loot the Japanese middle class.
All done with a mixture of motives, and of course, self-"complementing" when, ahem, IDENTIFIED?


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