Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alaska's Ring Seals May Be Suffering from #Fukushima Radiation

From Reuters via msnbc (12/27/2011):

SEATTLE — Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska's Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals' fur coats.

Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor.

"We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity," said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"There is concern expressed by some members of the local communities that there may be some relationship to the Fukushima nuclear reactor's damage," he said.

The results of the tests would not be available for "several weeks," Kelley said.

Water tests have not picked up any evidence of elevated radiation in U.S. Pacific waters since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which caused multiple fuel meltdowns at the Fukushima plant and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate the surrounding area.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been seeking the cause of the diseased seals for weeks, but have so far found no answers.

A ringed seal displays significant hair loss on the Artic Ocean coast near Barrow, Alaska. An unknown disease is killing or weakening ringed seals along Alaska’s north coast. Ringed seals, the main prey of polar bears, and a species that rarely comes ashore, in late July began showing up on the Beaufort Sea coast outside Barrow with lesions on hind flippers and inside their mouths, along with patchy hair loss and skin irritation around the nose and eyes.


Anonymous said...

Other sealife, walrus?, should be looked at as well. Any animal who has a similar diet to the Harp Seal..shellfish, fish, plankton, squid--and so on. Its known larger fish in currents near Fukushima are showing signs of radiation in their bodies. And is anyone publishing the results of the "water tests?"..location, depth (3-4 foot level to start with)-and looking at plankton..and so on for bioaccumlation? And looking in many areas? Dont see any contracts out there right now for this work...just saying..

Greyhawk said...

If they are eating radioactive small fish then the food chain will bring the same radiation to humans. Say goodbye to tuna, salmon and mackerel. Or anything else from the largest ocean on the planet.

Anonymous said...

They surely could have done this testing back when they were looking for viral causes.
Between NOAA and the various research facilities, it took 6 months to do this ?
Many readers of the local news in Alaska suggested this months ago.

Nancy said...

Skipjack tuna is already showing contamination. Guess what goes into canned tuna and migrates all the way across the Pacific?

The walrus population in Alaska is also starting to show signs of this disease or exposure.

Contamination from Fukushima was found in Russian waters 1 month after the start of the accident. That area of Russia is in the migration range of the Alaska seals.

I won't eat any seafood out of the Pacific, even before tuna started showing up contaminated. I knew it was just a matter of time before it worked its way up the food chain.

The problem is the US declared this a non-event in March and refused to do any seafood or sea testing. It will only be admitted when it is too late and some group bashes US officials over the head with a stack of documentation proving the damage.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

US government has just given congratulations to the Japanese counterpart for their wonderful handling of the accident. Nothing to learn from Fukushima, no effect. They are just as bad as the Japanese gov and TEPCO.

Anonymous said...

Well, GE cannot have its name tarnished, can it? US government is the expert everyone else learns how to cover their shit from.

Anonymous said...

The nuclear power industry grew out of the nuclear weapons industry and has the same arrogance, the same rationalizations for opacity and control over public knowledge and discussion, and the same bottomless pit of taxes to feed it. Like other aspects of global government, the nationality designations mean far less than the mutual profitability of being above the restraint of government of, by and for a people. To aide the lack of accountability they work in each other's countries, i.e., Areva from France here or GE in Japan and Toshiba (?) in Texas.

Yosaku said...

NOAA has posted a preliminary report of its findings:

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