Here’s a link to our 2015 PRA Fall newsletter (pdf)
Elizabeth Barger, PRA TN board member represented PeaceRoots recently at the Campaign Nonviolence National Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. See photo.
Trace amounts of radiation from the ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan were found in water samples collected in the Pacific Ocean 100 miles due west of Eureka, a Massachusetts-based researcher reported.
The concentration of cesium-134, a radioactive isotope known to come from the earthquake-and-tsunami ravaged Fukushima plant, was just barely detectable by his equipment and far below a level that would pose a risk to human health or marine life, said Ken Buesseler, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute marine chemist who has been monitoring North American coastal waters since January.
“We knew it was out there,” Buesseler said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It’s good to be getting some numbers.”
Cesium in the sample collected in August offshore from Eureka was less than 2 becquerels per cubic meter, he said. The acceptable U.S. limit for cesium in drinking water is 7,400 becquerels.
“It wouldn’t stop me from swimming in it or from eating any local seafood,” Buesseler said.
Still, it is the first positive test for Fukushima radiation in water off the West Coast of the United States obtained by Buesseler’s crowd-funded, citizen-science program to collect and test water samples for cesium-134, the telltale marker for radiation from the Japanese power plant meltdown that followed the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
None of the more than 50 coastal seawater samples collected from Alaska to San Diego and on the north shore of Hawaii has shown any detectable amount of cesium-134, Buesseler said. But John Smith, a Canadian scientist, found levels of cesium similar to Buesseler’s sample on research cruises offshore from Canada earlier this year, according to a news release from the Woods Hole institution.
Scientific models have indicated a radioactive plume stretching 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean and expected to appear offshore of Alaska and the coast of Canada, move south along the coast of North America and eventually back toward Hawaii, the release said.
But the models “differ greatly on when and how much would be found,” it said.
The radioactive sample was collected in August by volunteers on the research vessel Point Sur sailing between Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Eureka. Eureka is about 240 miles north of Bodega Bay.
Results of all samples taken and tested by Buesseler’s program are posted online at www.OurRadioactiveOcean.org.
The list includes a sample collected at Bodega Head on June 1 and three samples collected at Point Reyes in January, April and June. All four samples indicated a cesium-134 level “below detection,” or less than 0.2 becquerels per cubic meter.
A sample collected at the Farallon Islands in April had the same finding.
Dan Sythe, CEO of International Medcom, a Sebastopol company that makes radiation detection equipment, said he and Buesseler collected the seawater sample at Bodega Head.
Sythe, who plans to collect another sample on Nov. 22, said he’s been concerned since the Fukushima meltdown that radiation would reach the California coast. His company has conducted a small sampling program of seaweed and fish from Bodega Bay and tested it for radiation.
No radiation has been found here since the spring of 2011, Sythe said, but he shares Buesseler’s concern that the federal government is not monitoring West Coast waters. Some people are “on edge” about the prospect of Fukushima radiation reaching them, he said.
The radiation now reaching California is at the front edge of the plume, and Buesseler said the concentration is expected to increase, possibly to 10 becquerels, still a low level, over the next two to three years. But it’s worrisome, he said, that what’s happening now in Japan will reach North America in about three years.
News reports said that cesium contamination reached record levels — three times higher than previously recorded levels — after a typhoon swept through Japan last month. Buesseler said the ocean waters off Japan now contain equal concentrations of cesium and strontium-90, a dangerous isotope that lodges in bones and can cause cancer when ingested.
On shore at Fukushima, more than 1,000 storage tanks are holding water that was pumped out of the damaged reactor buildings with strontium-90 levels more than a hundred times greater than releases in 2011, Buesseler said.
“The red flag is we don’t know enough to predict this very well,” he said, referring to radiation’s slow movement across the Pacific Ocean.
You can reach Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@ pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @guykovner.
From The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA, November 11, 2014
Please help fund more seawater tests at Bodega Head here: http://ourradioactiveocean.kintera.org/CS104
The “Level 8” Nuclear Disaster campaign is focused on mobilizing governments and organizations in every country to demand modification of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s current 7-level scale that indicates the severity of nuclear accidents. This newly proposed “Level 8” would firmly classify the gravity of the situation in Fukushima as a crisis calling for an unprecedented, internationally coordinated response of resources and aid in answer to a global nuclear emergency.
Sonoma West Times and News had a nice article on our Family Summer Festival:
FAMILY FUN AT IVES — The Peaceroots Alliance held its Family Summer Festival Fundraiser at Ives Park last weekend, bringing about 300 people to Ives Park for music by The Best Witches — a local women’s choir — Sylvia Tepper and Phil Lawerence, The Farm Band and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with Bobbie Bonnickson, Jethro Jeremiah and the Soulmates. Other activities included kite and bracelet making, puppet shows, story time, hula hooping, dancing, vegan food, beer and wine, a silent auction, quilt raffle, booths on radiation detectors and presentations by Dan Sythe from Medcom, Michael O’Gorman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Peter Schweitzer of Plenty, an international relief organization. Proceeds from the event will go to projects such as local radiation testing. Peaceroots, a 501(c)3 non-profit, started in Petaluma after the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center. The non-profit is currently helping Fukushima Response gather data about radiation from the disaster at the nuclear plant in Japan and its effect on the California coastline. For more information, go to peaceroots.org.
This week we lost Stephen Gaskin, who brought us together. Lots of media on him out there right now. We are grieving his loss and celebrating his life at this time. Sharing this one.of many in his honor.
Plenty International / Stephen Gaskin (USA)“…for caring, sharing and acting with and on behalf of those in need at home and abroad.”
PLENTY is an international, non-profit, non-sectarian agency for relief, development, environment, education and human rights. It was founded in 1974 by Stephen Gaskin on the principle that all people are members of the human family and that, if we protect and share the abundance of the earth, there is plenty for everyone.
From 1976 until the end of 1980, PLENTY employed more than 100 American volunteers in projects with the Mayan people of Guatemala – in fields such as primary health care, drinking water systems, soya bean agriculture, food processing and communications technology.
While working with the Mayans in Guatemala, PLENTY gave priority to the strengthening and preservation of indigenous cultures. “We learned to that an amazing degree we shared the values and visions of these precious cultures and that, for us, development was no longer a one-way trip in which we, the privileged, provided help to the underprivileged. We saw that, in truth, it was a fair exchange where every participant had something valuable to give.”
In 1978 the PLENTY Ambulance Service was established in the South Bronx, New York, providing free emergency medical care and training to the embattled residents of that sprawling American ghetto. In the same year, a rural village development programme was begun in tiny Lesotho, a country landlocked by South Africa. Then, early in the 1980s, PLENTY founded a free health clinic for Central American refugees in Washington, DC, and undertook small-scale agriculture projects in Jamaica, St Lucia and Dominica in the Caribbean.
Today, PLENTY is involved in soy agriculture and processing training in Liberia, Central America and the Caribbean. It markets the creations of indigenous artisans from around the world through its Indigenous Women’s Economic Development Program (IWED) and is engaged in environmental, cultural and legal protection and economic development work with native peoples in the US and Latin America. Two related organisations, PLENTY Canada, founded in 1977, and PLENTY España, founded in 1987, are engaged in similar activities. In 2009 projects were ongoing in Belize, dealing with the Guatemala Spanish-speaking Maya, and the Belizian English-speaking Maya, as well as the Garafuna who are culturally a tribe of Maya, although composed mostly of African runaway slaves.
At The Farm community in Tennessee, PLENTY also has a programme to benefit inner city children, called Kids to the Country.
Stephen Gaskin passed away on July 1st, 2014.