Deployment of towed gamma radiation measurement system off Fukushima

via Daily Kos / January 27, 2014 / There have been a number of diaries over the last few months about the contamination of the Pacific Ocean by huge and ever increasing releases from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster site. I have written about the ramped-up PR effort to minimize the possible impact of those releases as the waterborne plumes begin to reach the western coasts of North America.

As part of the PR effort, academics have been enlisted to add their cachet of authority, even if they’re not ‘experts’ on the subject of nuclear technology or radiation. Including those whose fields are psychology and even just risk assessment. Then there are the oceanographers such as Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (among others), who did some sediment, water and life form testing off Fukushima and across the Pacific in 2011 and 2012, documenting the levels of Fukushima isotopes and degree of bioaccumulation in food chains. Their most maddening tendency – to me, as someone who does know a bit about radiation and its gnarly effects on biological tissues – is to equate the concentrations of Fukushima radionuclides to ‘natural’ background levels of exposure for the purpose of minimizing possible public concern for the increased presence of man-made radioisotopes in our environment and food supplies.

At the present time, just as the leading edge of the first major plumes are hitting the coasts and Japan has legislated new secrecy laws that make it a crime to report things the government doesn’t want reported, our own government is shirking its responsibility to monitor the situation and inform the public of any dangers this contamination may present. To the point where now that he recognizes the need and public desire for further real-time monitoring of radiation levels, even Ken Buesseler is having to ‘crowdsource’ funding so he and his colleagues can do that job.

NRC, EPA, FDA, even DHS have all declined to do the monitoring that should by all rights be done. Some California university departments and ocean concerns have gotten together to do their own monitoring, dubbing the project Kelp Watch 2014. It will do regular testing of kelp forests off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, using departmental funding and contributions from concerned citizens and groups. Because state and federal governments won’t do it. They don’t want to know, or maybe they just don’t want YOU to know.

I could of course go on and on about the effects of low level internal and exterior radiation exposure, but the fact of the matter is that our collective radiation exposure – background PLUS man-made and elective (medical) exposures – have gone up significantly over the years since nuclear technology first made its debut on the human scene. Fukushima is adding to that daily, with its recognized status as the most serious radioactive contamination incident the world has ever seen. We can do many things to limit our exposures simply by following health physics developed housekeeping habits and watching out for our food choices, but we’re all going to get exposed to a certain amount of it. Despite what anyone in the industry PR effort tells you (with or without a degree of shame for the disinformation), radiation exposures are always cumulativein addition to natural background, never the “same as” or “less than.”

So in this diary I want to say a little something about the most basic – and effective – way to minimize radiation damage from both natural and unnatural sources. It’s a darned good starting point for awareness and the confidence of knowing that there’s something you can do. That means something in our new, more radioactive world.

Many people these days are aware of the value of antioxidants for protecting our bodies from the effects that come with aging as well as protecting us from various disease conditions from arthritis to cancer and beyond.

I happened upon a research paper the other day about a clinical study of radiologists and radiological staff (like the teeth-cleaner and x-ray assistant at your dentist’s office, and hospital/clinic personnel who do everything from setting up and standing aside for x-ray and MRI and CT type procedures to delivering those deadly radiation therapy doses to cancer patients. There’s no open source for the full paper, but the abstract is informative enough –

Effects of Melissa officinalis L. on oxidative status and DNA damage in subjects exposed to long-term low-dose ionizing radiation. Demonstrating, as ‘conclusively’ as the side-by-side double-blind medical research a few years ago during the swine flu epidemic established that elderberry tincture is as or more effective as an anti-viral than Tami-Flu, that good old Lemon balm, as a tea taken twice a day, diminishes the biological damage done by chronic low-level radiation exposures.

Radiologists have always demonstrated an increased risk of cancers, primarily leukemia, but also breast, skin and other cancers. In the early days doses were much higher, so it happened much more often. There’s a reason they don’t put fluoroscope machines in shoe stores anymore… But the risks are still higher than most people’s from ‘natural’ background, and the cancer rate of radiologists is still something researchers pay attention to. Our risks from increased doses (over background) are just as considerable, even when we are subjected to nuclear industry PR campaigns designed to make us think it’s not a problem.

There are many antioxidant food sources, primarily fruit and vegetable, known for their protective abilities against cancer and other ailments. There’s a number of dietary supplements that doctors advise as well, including vitamins A, C and E. There are many herbs used regularly by people all over the world in cooking and health maintenance that are amazingly high in antioxidants in addition to these vitamins. The reputation of Lemon balm as one of these has been growing over recent years, and that is why this particular herb was the subject of the above-linked research project.

A good overview of the herb as part of gardening and landscaping as well as health maintenance and medicinal uses can be found at Wise Living Journal. This is every bit as delicious an herb as spearmint or bee balm for adding to summer iced teas or winter hot teas. Its lemony flavor with minty background mixes well with other infusion-worthy herbs.

So for those keeping track and a little bit concerned about ongoing contamination from the Fuku disaster, get a pot of propagated lemon balm (or some seeds) this spring and grow it in a prominent place with good sun to dappled shade. It’s really pretty growing, would make a nice surrounding for your outdoor pole light or mailbox, along the borders, in the flower beds… anywhere a 12-18 inch planting would look nice. It’s lush, has pretty purple flowers, and thrives the more you harvest the upper sprigs.

Try it… maybe you’ll like it! [emphasis added]


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By Broc West| 19 Comments | Editorials, Featured


  1. Testing and monitoring has been and is being done.. You are paying for it.

    • Unfortunately you forgot one key word “Develop”….they haven’t done it yet by their own words….this is in the planning stages at best:

      Strategic Objectives:

      .Develop the global nuclear detection and reporting architecture
      .Develop, acquire, and support the domestic nuclear detection and reporting system
      .Characterize detector system performance before deployment
      .Facilitate situational awareness through information sharing and analysis
      .Establish operational protocols to ensure detection leads to effective response
      .Conduct a transformational research and development program
      .Provide centralized planning, integration, and advancement of U.S. government .nuclear forensics programs

      • Since 2005, nice try rookie.

    • This link is to a DHS web page (Department of Homeland Security – USA – WOW! From what I can gather the DHS is a bunch of Nazi-style, jack-booted meat-puppets who take pleasure in trashing their own countrymen), anyway, it’s a great looking web page….. but where is there any actual data, link/s to data, or anything at all relevant? There isn’t – I feel desperately sorry for the people of the USA if this is what they’re getting for their money πŸ™

      This article is, in my opinion, very good – it speaks the truth AND, despite the uphill battle, offers hope….. and we need hope. Thanks Joieau πŸ™‚

  2. Maybe they should make tea from the lemon balm and then use that to cool the reactors.

  3. Testing in Washington State is not being done, all the records stop at March 2011 and when the lead departments are contacted (federal, state and county) they admit it would be a good idea haven’t be told to do it.

    Personally, I’m glad to see someone “Independent of the Government doing it)….we all know how honest our Government’s have been with their dis-information campaigns.

    We’ll see if the feds don’t step in and threaten to stop them by cutting their budget elsewhere to make them stop.

    By the way, a solid informative piece.

  4. I can prove testing and monitoring was done since 3/11/11. IAEA final report.

    • That’s in Japan not the US.

  5. OK, this is for anybody that doesn’t know the US govt is testing and monitoring Fukushima radiation… They just aren’t telling you! Demand answers.

  6. More proof of testing and monitoring worldwide…

  7. RadNet measurements for Pacific NW.
    Groingo… The situation is grave, at least tell the people the truth. Tell them what is happening. Do you have love in your heart?

    • You seemed to have your wires crossed, the situation is NOT Grave it is well beyond that!
      I first and foremost DON’T trust anything from any Western Government agency or contractor, if in doubt pick up the phone and start making calls to those who’s job it is to protect and monitor in the US….they have NO plans and NO budget to do ANYTHING and the truth is, the fix is in, the US, Canada, UK and pretty much the Western countries who’s job now seems to be to mis inform and play things down.
      People need to have an escape plan and especially in the US you had better have an up to date Passport and Visa so you can leave the country if need be, otherwise you’re going nowhere.
      You need to stay up to date with reputable information from reputable sources and keep tabs on what is going on and if things look like their going to go sideways you get out before it does….if you do and it doesn’t you enjoy the vacation….better safe than dead.

      • I don’t know Groingo….. where are you going to run to – where can anyone run to? The complexity of contaminations and malaise affecting the planet/us is so dire and so widespread – Fukushima being the icing on the cake, so to speak – that there really is nowhere that is “safe” – just some places safer for now than others – it’s all a matter of time. And, now more than ever, we must stand and fight (remember the Fukushima Cowboy?)

        NB: If you’re still thinking of bugging out to Australia, I’ll help if I can, but be aware that this place is just a fucked-up as everywhere else and getting worse very rapidly.

        • If it goes the Western States will have three days max before we are all toasted so fortunately I do have two sponsors but you’re right it may just slow the inevitable but I haven’t a clue how to stop this world wide insanity with Nukes, I see where the UK has just given the go ahead to give cart blanch for Nuke Power and Fracking….they’re just as insane as the US and Japan!

    • Umm…Those readings are about normal for background radiation for the kind of detectors being used. The circles with the thicker outline are pancake G-M tubes, which are about 300-400% more sensitive than a normal G-M tube (like a Soviet SBM-20 or the 6993 tube in an old Civil Defense CDV-700). On my CDV-700 in central Florida, which did not receive as much Fukushima fallout as the rest of the country, and does not have granite bedrock, I see around 21 counts per minute on dry days and 30 cpm on rainy ones (radon washout). I do plan to eventually buy a pancake tube counter like a Mazur instruments PRM 9000 or SE International Inspector, and would expect to see 35-50cpm from it. (I don’t have one yet because of my low income.) The thing is, the pancake tube has a larger surface area and a mica window that lets in far more ionizing radiation than a metal tube like you would find in a reasonably priced unit like a Soeks (SBM-20) or a CDV-700 (Anton 6993). Thus, it will allow you to count soft betas as well as alfas that other counters just won’t see.

    • Good link – Thankyou, BURNT.

      (but) Again, it’s deplorable that (seemingly) all Governments are not doing enough, not taking independent research seriously and not performing their prime directive: protect the people, all other forms of life, and the environment.

      Here’s a classic example – nothing to do with Fukushima – but illustrating the complicity of Government to ONLY PROTECT WHAT THEY CAN TAX/MAKE MONEY ON…. and they’re all the same……. this is what the Canadian Government is doing to their wild salmon:

  8. Very eye-opening —>


  9. I was temporarily hopeful I had found some science-based, accurate discussion of the risk from Fukushima to the marine environment and marine food web, the need for ongoing monitoring, etc.

    Then the conclusion: lemon balm. LEMON BALM!?!? The solipsism of Californians is profound.

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