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Fukushima Radiation Nears California Coast, Judged Harmless 114

sciencehabit writes After a two-and-a-half year ocean journey, radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has drifted to within 160 kilometers of the California coast, according to a new study. But the radiation levels are minuscule and do not pose a threat, researchers say. The team found a high of just 8 becquerels of radiation per cubic meter in ocean samples off the coast. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for drinking water allow up to 7400 becquerels per cubic meter.
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Fukushima Radiation Nears California Coast, Judged Harmless

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @01:48PM (#48361459)

    Uh, we had a slight malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This isn't worth reporting.

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @01:55PM (#48361549)
      What is more interesting is our technological capability to detect such minute concentrations of just about anything.
    • by tiberus ( 258517 )

      Maybe it's a slow news cycle . . .

      In terms of reporting a danger, you may well have a point but, you can also look at it in terms of reporting that once it crosses the ocean the radiation is at a very low level and does not present a threat . . . In which case you may still have a point. Well at least now we have a benchmark for how long it takes radiation to get to the U.S. from Japan, might come in handy someday.

      • No its not a slow news cycle. Its called radiophobia. Reporters love to report even the tiniest any nuclear sensational misleading factoid. And they make it a point not to ask a rational nuclear scientist or nuclear doctor to analyze the information in a rational way. They are only interested in reporting the anti nuclear (sensationalist) side.

    • The big risk however is that unlike most radiation sources, cesium is bio-concentrated. Drink the water regularly, or eat fish that live in it, and pretty soon the concentration in your body is going to be *much* higher than in the water.

      • Man. I can't wait! I'm just going to dive off a beach in northern California and start gulping down water by the mouthful!

      • No, the biggest risk from Japanese radiation is Godzilla. The collection and concentration of decaying radioactive isotopes within my body will likely result in mutant superpowers (I'm crossing my fingers for Teleportation) while a skyscraper-sized lizard that can walk and shoot energy beams from his mouth is extremely destructive and deadly. Use some common sense. SMH.
        • And how do you suppose Godzilla built up enough radioactivity to shoot those energy beams? Big predator like that, swimming around in radioactive waters, eating all the other high-concentration radioactive predators, it's a wonder he doesn't glow in the dark.

          Sadly for us, by far the most common radioactive superpower is "dying from cancer", which has got to be the lamest superpower *ever*. You've got to wonder just how many malformed cancerous iguanas died to give us just one Godzilla.

      • You need to go out and understand how little is 8 becquerel per cubic meter. It's orders of magnitude below insignificant.
        And the morons taking this subject to court also need to read something about nuclear biology.

        Gamma rays are considered the deadliest thing ever. Guess what, all animals produce gamma and beta rays from K40 and C14 decay. Our bodies have cell level equipment to handle with radiation damage. If low levels of radiation were a menace to animal life, we'd be all extinct.
        A good nuclear physic

  • bananas (Score:5, Informative)

    by ssam ( 2723487 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @01:56PM (#48361567)

    So 2 tonnes of water has the same amount of radiation as 1 banana. []

  • ...and the fish? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    what about the fish that are living in it the whole time? How contaminated are they? And we still eat fish out of that water.

  • Some context (Score:5, Informative)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:16PM (#48361781)

    The team found a high of just 8 becquerels of radiation per cubic meter in ocean samples off the coast.

    A becquerel is the radioactive decay of a single atom per second. Your body has 4400 becquerels of radiation [] due to a naturally-occurring radioactive isotope of Potassium. If you drank a liter of seawater that would mean Fukushima has increased your radiation dose by 0.008 becquerel - less than a 0.0002% increase in radiation internally in your body. This is literally less than a drop in a bucket. The salt is far more likely to kill you than the radiation.

    • Why the hell are you telling us all those facts and numbers?

      This is Slashdot, man. Land of the trolls, flamewars and nerd rage.

    • I can see the 24hr News interview now:

      But isn't it true Doctor, that if you were to be completely submerged in this Fukishima Sea Water for a period of no more than 5 minutes it would almost certainly prove fatal? It seems dangerous to continue to allow people to swim and boat in it when accidental submersion turns fatal so quickly.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:28PM (#48361883) Homepage Journal

    You mean all the pretty pictures and panic-stricken posts on Crackbook for the past few years about how California was *already* subject to radiation from Fukushima were bullshit?

    Gee. You can't believe *anything* you read on the internet anymore. *LOL*

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:35PM (#48361953)

    ... authorities are keeping a watch for big lizards approaching the coastline.

  • The team found a high of just 8 becquerels of radiation per cubic meter in ocean samples off the coast. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for drinking water allow up to 7400 becquerels per cubic meter.

    Damn it's 925 times lower than the maximum allowed by the U.S.A. EPA guidelines. And I wanted to make a "mostly harmless" joke.

  • If you read TFA... (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheBilgeRat ( 1629569 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2014 @02:43PM (#48362029)

    You would have read this:

    The findings are reassuring, Buesseler says. He measured a high of just 8 becquerels of radiation per cubic meter in the samples. Of that, he says, less than 2 becquerels came from cesium-134 traced to Fukushima. The remainder is largely from strontium-90 and cesium-137: Some of that is fallout from mid-20th century atomic bomb tests in the Pacific, and some may have come from Fukushima—these isotopes lack the half-life fingerprint that ties cesium-134 to the Japanese disaster. The total level of radiation is hardly worth worrying about, Buesseler says: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for drinking water allow up to 7400 becquerels per cubic meter. Buesseler is presenting his latest findings Thursday at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America’s annual meeting.

    So, that's 6 Bq that was most likely deposited by aboveground or underwater Pacific nuke testing.

    You can now return to your previously scheduled freakout over "ZOMG RADIATSHUNS!"

  • It's almost as dangerous as Ebola!

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson