Fukushima Daiichi Surfer Beach California... it has been recently claimed that radioactivity from the Daiichi Nuclear Plant has arrived at Surfer Beach California, contaminating the sand. Analysis of beach sand was performed Jan. 7th or 8th. Different radioactive materials have different "signatures" upon analysis. In this case, a dark band of sand showed the highest spikes of radioactivity on Geiger Counter testing in the field. Samples were taken of the dark sand and sent to International Medcom headquarters in Sebastopol, a manufacturer of high end medical equipment... and Geiger Counters and other devices for measuring and identifying radioactivity source materials.
The CEO of the company ran the sand through a spectrum analyzer, a device that identifies radioactive isotopes of various materials, and found... nothing from Daiichi. Fukushima Daiichi produces Cesium-137 as the radioactive byproduct that has contaminated the soil, groundwater and Pacific Ocean water around the Power Plant. The isotopes found in the sand were isotopes of Radium and Thorium, two naturally occurring radioactive materials. Where the band of dark sand came from has not been determined, but it did not come from Fukushima. There is no Fukushima Daiichi Surfer Beach connection. Nonetheless, with no evidence beyond the knowledge that a portion of one beach in California showed elevated radiation counts, the blogging fear-mongers, the conspiracy pushers and the far-right, doomsday-prepper, government haters of the internet began shrieking about the coming death from Fukushima. And they will declare this analysis a government cover-up.
There have been no analyses reported for other anomalous discoveries of radioactivity in the American West. Spikes of radioactivity have been identified in snow and air samples in Arizona and other western states, but samples have been taken and results should be forthcoming shortly. There are other, very real and immediate dangers associated with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant... at and near the plant.
From the beginning, according to TEPCO, the company that owns the facility, between 125 and 300 tons of radioactive water a day has been leaking into the ocean. Three of four units have suffered meltdowns, and Unit 3 is still so hot that it periodically emits steam from the cooling water that covers the fuel rods. The radioactive cooling water is constantly exchanged, but the removed water is put into "flange" tanks which are failing because they are riveted tanks with rubber gaskets at the overlaps to prevent leaking. However, many of them have leaked, and it is anticipated that virtually all of them will eventually leak, simply because they are not properly designed for the task to which they're put. Once again TEPCO has demonstrated its incompetence by purchasing the least expensive storage tanks available, and it has not replaced them or changed the order. The leaking water goes into the ground water, and there is uncertainty about its impact on the surrounding lands and whether it reaches the ocean.
However, Scientific American suggests that once the immediate vicinity of the plant itself has been left behind, there is not enough radioactivity in the three units at Fukushima Daiichi to pose much of a threat. According to a January 9 article titled: "What You Should and Shouldn't Worry about after the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdowns," there is no reason to suspect that the steam from Unit 3 that has the fright blogosphere so exercised is really an indicator of anything bad. The fuel rods, melted and not, continue to heat the water, creating steam.
Similarly, the article reports that when it comes to contamination of Pacific Ocean water near the West Coast of the USA and Canada, "...any radionuclides from Fukushima have been diluted by the vastness of the Pacific to insignificant quantities." The article also notes that changes in sea bottom life off the U. S. West Coast are most likely due to CO2 from the use of fossil fuel changing the water conditions (mainly the pH of seawater), meaning, in short, that marine life has changed because of Global Warming. Acidification of the seas from CO2 absorption because of Global Warming has horrendous implications for the phytoplankton which constitutes the base of the entire oceanic food web.
There has been a substantial amount of hysteria around some reported large purchase of potassium iodide by the US Government... the hysteria centering around the idea that the doses are for US Military use as the supposed Fukushima radioactive material reaches the western U. S. shores. The entire business is absurd... there is no radioactive iodine remaining in Fukushima, or floating toward the USA. As the article notes: "This also means that no one in the U.S. should be taking potassium iodide pills, especially because there has been no radioactive iodine issuing from Fukushima for several years now. (Radioactive iodine has a half-life of just eight days, meaning that all of it was gone within three months of the March 2011 nuclear accident in Japan.)"
It's time to stop acting as if the entire population of the USA lives within a kilometer of Daiichi. No one in the western USA is in immediate danger from that power plant, nor are Americans at risk of much in the way of future danger. Nuclear testing at sea left far more radioactive material in the Pacific Ocean than Fukushima Daiichi ever will.