Fukushima Radiation Scare Stories Are Going Viral On the Internet. Are They Real Or Fake?

Fukushima I nuclear accidents diagramIf you were to visit the websites of the likes of Alex Jones or Mike Adams you’d be scared shitless that California is being irradiated by Fukushima nuclear fallout. PolicyMic tries to squash the concerns of millions of Americans. We’re linking to (but not necessarily endorsing) their take on the issue here, but we welcome and expect contrary views in the comments:

The news: A few suspect news stories have been making the rounds on the internet in recent days, suggesting that radiation from the Fukushima power plant disaster has hit the West Coast of the United States and is causing major harm to the Pacific Ocean off California. Most pernicious is the report from NaturalNews.com that a scientific study found a significant drop off in sea life in the Pacific Ocean near the U.S. coast.

So should you trust these scare stories? Absolutely not. 

The fine folks at Deep Sea News — which features writers with academic degrees, actual professional credentials, and expert knowledge — are doing their best to debunk the rumors spreading about Fukushima radiation and its impact on the U.S.

Take the dangers of radiation hitting California. Will it kill you? Are we all going to die? DSNhas your answer: “No it will not be dangerous … It’s not even dangerous to swim off the coast of Fukushima.”

If you went swimming in the waters right next to the actual power plant, you would only experience “0.03% of the daily radiation an average Japanese resident receives.”

So I’m thinking everybody in the U.S. will be OK.

But back to that story about sea life dying in droves off the California coast: what’s going on? The Natural News article cites an actual study with scientific evidence published in a real academic journal. There has to be some truth to the fact that “the number of dead sea creatures blanketing the floor of the Pacific is higher than it has ever been in the 24 years that monitoring has taken place, a phenomenon that the data suggests is a direct consequence of nuclear fallout from Fukushima.”

If true, that’s pretty freaking scary. That means radiation from Fukushima is killing off mass amounts of sea creatures right off the U.S. coast. The only problem is that the study the article cites contains no actual mention of Fukushima. In fact, the study offers a perfectly logical explanation for the mass die-offs: a natural cycle of increasing and decreasing levels of algae and other sea life depending on climate and the seasons.

The study’s findings even cite trends that began five years before the Fukushima disaster occurred. Indeed, the study’s authors have gone out of their way to be very clear: “There is no indication that any of the events in this study were associated with the Fukushima nuclear accident.” …

[continues at PolicyMic]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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48 Comments on "Fukushima Radiation Scare Stories Are Going Viral On the Internet. Are They Real Or Fake?"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm |

    I worked in the medical radiation biz for decades
    one thing I know fer sher
    the herd knows nothing about radiation physics
    and therefore hasn’t enough info to assess the risks

    • This is disquieting.

      • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm |

        the inverse square law of radiation distribution
        plus an understanding of half life
        goes a long way in helping to grasp the situation

        • Chernobyl should be an indication. They have yet to cap it off with that concrete dome, or whatever the solution. A person has to get special permission to vist Pripyat, and the meltdown happened in 1986. What about Bikini and Rongerik Atoll?

          • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm |

            the closer to Chernobyl
            the greater the radiation
            which is inversely proportionate
            to the square of the distance

            see, I told ya

          • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm |

            now mix that with Half-Life
            & your on your way to almost understanding

          • Seems like a degrading case of tar-babies.

          • The closer you are to RADIOACTIVELY CONTAMINATED MATERIAL you mean. Not just the closer you get to the original site of the disaster. Contaminated material does not always stay in one place. And the bodies of living things tend to bioaccumulate and bioconcentrate radioactive contamination.

            And did you read the article? “If you went swimming in the waters right next to the actual power plant,
            you would only experience “0.03% of the daily radiation an average
            Japanese resident receives.””

            Theyre claiming the inverse square of distance doesnt even matter! That you can swim in the contaminated water RIGHT NEXT to the Fukushima reactor and somehow receive LESS radiation than the average Japanese citizen living hundreds of miles away! That is not just unscientific, its insane, and anyone who believes it is insane as well.

            I mean for all of the constant talk about “Soviet propaganda”, at least the Soviets never tried to convince the world the the radiation leaking out of Chernobyl was completely safe!

          • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm |

            interesting reliance on several huristics
            that seem reasonable
            dispite any proof of the valdity of your best guess
            clearly you didn’t pass high school physics

          • Rhoid Rager | Jan 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm |

            Despite his silly rhetoric, i don’t find his reference to bioaccumulation-bioconcentration particularly irrelevant. Strontium 90 accumulates in the bones and teeth replacing calcium as it does so.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 10:10 pm |

            A study of hundreds of thousands of deciduous teeth, collected by Dr. Louise Reiss and her colleagues as part of the Baby Tooth Survey, found a large increase in 90Sr levels through the 1950s and early 1960s. The study’s final results showed that children born in 1963 had levels of 90Sr in their deciduous teeth that was 50 times higher than that found in children born in 1950, before the advent of large-scale atomic testing. Commentators on the study said that the fallout was likely to cause increased cases of diseases in those who absorb strontium-90 into their bones.

          • Rhoid Rager | Jan 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm |

            But that’s just radiation leaking from the core. The hydrogen explosions sent plumes of Cesium 137 and Strontium 90 everywhere. Cs 137 has been detected in mushrooms gathered around the base of Mt. Fuji. When radiation particles are scattered through contamination, this effectively spreads the irradiated area to well beyond the cores’ reach. The half-lives of both those elements imply that the next two generations will still have to make efforts to detect and decontaminate the areas they reach.
            As TEPCO continues to remove the spent fuel from the pool of Reactor 4 with ad hoc equipment, we can only hope that they don’t drop any and instigate zirconium oxidation causing an nearly-controllable fire that releases even more deadly particles of Uranium 238 and Plutonium 240 into the atmosphere. As was mentioned above, this does not even take into consideration the incredible amounts of tritium, cesium and strontium laden water leaking uncontrollably into the Pacific everyday. Overall, not a good situation and very, very far from being safely resolved.

          • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm |

            I wasn’t making a comment about the radiation leak
            I was making a comment about our inability to comprehend

    • Luckily “the herd” didn’t write this article nor were “they” interviewed about it. The sources are listed:

      Behrens, Erik, et al. “Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima.” Environmental Research Letters 7.3 (2012): 034004.

      Buesseler, Ken O., et al. “Fukushima-derived radionuclides in the ocean and biota off Japan.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109.16 (2012): 5984-5988.

      Fisher, Nicholas S., et al. “Evaluation of radiation doses and associated risk from the Fukushima nuclear accident to marine biota and human consumers of seafood.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013).

      Nakano, Masanao, and Pavel P. Povinec. “Long-term simulations of the 137 Cs dispersion from the Fukushima accident in the world ocean.“ Journal of environmental radioactivity 111 (2012): 109-115.

      Rossi, Vincent, et al. “Multi-decadal projections of surface and interior pathways of the Fukushima Cesium-137 radioactive plume.“ Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers (2013).

      • BuzzCoastin | Jan 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm |

        yeah, the herd checked & read the sources
        then they read Feynman’s Lectures on Physics
        to help them digest their Mickey D burger

  2. OdinMcHaggis | Jan 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm |

    I trust everything that government officials say. When they do lie to me or violate our laws, I know it’s for my protection and national security. The policies are working the stock market is up. What more evidence do you need? Mission accomplished.

    • Cute, but this isn’t about statements from government officials, is it? Or did you not bother to read it before you commented?

      • OdinMcHaggis | Jan 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm |

        Maybe you haven’t heard, it certainly isn’t the article but your government said it’s safe to go outside, borrow some money and buy something, anything, seafood is safe buy that or maybe allocate your 401k into off shore energy exploration or better yet invest in nuclear power. Just buy something already.

        • Ha Ha you realize our government raised the radiation level limit on all you food and dairy products, to mask the facts its all gone up right? Did you also know that our seafood off the west coast is coming up with up to five time the normal legal limit,etc.. “”KEEP TRUSTING YOUR GOVERNMENT SHEEPLE”” the Nazis did and they did great LMAO… dig deeper be smart don’t listen to the main stream media they are owned by a small group of elete roughly 12 family’s for almost everything you see on mainstream media…

          • sambacomet | Jan 9, 2014 at 3:11 am |

            There are no statements from the gov’t, or mainstream media quoted in this article. If you have a real critique,and or contradictory data,post it. If repeating the words sheeple and nazis changes anything, why hasn’t it worked yet? Why not follow your own advice and dig deeper


    • Agreed. What more is there?

  3. Recently, It seems like every other day, there is some new iteration of the cuban missile scare. Have we shifted away from the Bert the Turtle aproach to the Foxy-Woxy sham?


  4. lilbear68 | Jan 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm |

    so that’s not a vestigial tail growing at my but crack? what a relief

  5. lilbear68 | Jan 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm |

    isn’t in these educated fops to keep the rabble calm? to continue working and paying taxes to keep the funding goin?

  6. i wonder what beach front property is going for in fukushima these days
    surely this is a buying opportunity what with all that confused rabble
    who slept through physics in high school because everything is fine
    the government and the corporations are in control
    don t worry be happy and above all
    don t ask any questions


  7. Toggle Switch | Jan 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm |

    ….there is so much damage control being done on the reports that are released by the japanese gov’t or by Tepco…it is difficult to get a bearing on what is actually happening.

    …meanwhile in Europe the media silence is almost deafening….any and all information i receive about what it’s like at fukushima comes from concerned Japanese citizens that live in the area….mainstream media is so biased i don’t believe anything they say. Rupert and company would never allow the truth to be reported…..he seems to be allergic to it.

    The reported measurements of radiation lvls are nearly meaningless to me…..depending on who you read it would seem that the safe lvl numbers are increasing….how many sieverts have you had today? or you using becquerels this season? The types of radiation depend on the materials used. Different nuclear material….different measurement or different unit….some materials aren’t as bad as others and some are just plain deadly and their half life is thousands of years.

    I’m not a nuclear physicist. However, I am intelligent enough to know that deteriorating nuclear materials emit radiation that is not friendly to any living thing. It is poisonous to life….period. Listening to the spin dickheads talking about the radiation like it could be used to fertilize your begonias or even put some in your coffee makes me want to choke the living shite out of somebody. This isn’t a game we’re playing here.

    Nuclear radiation of the type coming from the Fukushima plant can and most likely will kill you with prolonged exposure. There have been increased incidence of thyroid cancer in the children that are living in the hot areas. The increase has been significant enough to get health officials talking about evacuating as many as 300,000 children from the area they now live in.

    Then some idiot says something like it is safe to swim in the water around the fukushima plant.

    Nuclear radiation of the type emitting from the Fukushima plant is dangerous and potentially lethal to any and all living things. If you are saying anything different it is because you are either on the disinformation team payroll or you are absolutely the dumbest human being on the planet.

  8. Ronnie Pudding | Jan 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm |


  9. Arni T Gudmundsson | Jan 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm |

    And BuzzCoasting has a PD. in trolling or does wanna tell us how it is and what if any the dangers are ? According to him he would newer respond witout expailing his views in full.. Thanks for swift reply. 😉

  10. jasonpaulhayes | Jan 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm |

    Deepseanews is highly suspect to me… oddly they have no contact info, focus on “debunking” and not presenting actual news.

    • dupreesparadise | Jan 10, 2014 at 1:09 am |

      I could not agree more with your assessment of Deepseanews. I found the article to be nothing more than the author’s opinions, the inclusion of “true facts” in the title as disingenuous, and the focus on “debunking” very suspicious.

  11. jasonpaulhayes | Jan 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm |

    I discussed this website with some “friends” last night which is why its strange to see this post here today. Highly suspicious website what raises all sorts of red flags… there are only twitter links to editors and publishers not any contact information.

    The contact page says the following

    “Note for students: We often get requests for very detailed information
    from grade school and college students. We are excited you are studying a
    topic about oceanography and marine biology, but we do not have the
    time, nor will we do your homework for you. Each of us are, or have
    been, educators ourselves and know the difference between curiosity and
    lazy studying.”

    • Calypso_1 | Jan 9, 2014 at 11:24 pm |

      In under 5 min, I found listed contact phone & email for everyone of the contributors at their respective scientific institutions.
      I think your suspicion is poorly founded.

      • jasonpaulhayes | Jan 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm |

        Did you find contact info on the site in question? No

        • Calypso_1 | Jan 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm |

          No doubt continued grounds for high suspicion.
          Are you receiving psychic insight on this particular issue?

          • jasonpaulhayes | Jan 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |

            It’s a group of under graduates debunking the likes of Alex Jones… that’s profound research.

            My psychic insight tells me you should call them up and ask who funds this research now that you have telephone numbers.

          • Calypso_1 | Jan 10, 2014 at 5:41 pm |

            Post-doc ≠ undergraduate.
            After only a brief phone call I was provided with their NSF grant #.

          • jasonpaulhayes | Jan 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm |

            Confirmed Psychic !

  12. James Russell Dugger | Jan 8, 2014 at 11:46 pm |

    Well explain the guy on the beach on dec 23 2013 with a radiation detector hitting a wopping 150

    • Calypso_1 | Jan 9, 2014 at 1:12 am |

      150 cpm is not wopping and doesn’t tell you anything about the energy level of the radiation. One measurement w/ a low end device means nothing. On any given day you can explore your environment and find peaks like this. Get a real detection event and your counter roars like a blowtorch.

  13. BuzzCoastin | Jan 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm |

    my point is about the inability of.most
    to comprehend the comlexity
    the Japanese are totally F’ed

  14. kowalityjesus | Jan 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm |

    THE PROBLEM OF FUKUSHIMA WILL NEVER BE AN ISSUE FOR ANYONE OUTSIDE OF JAPAN! Spend your time on something that will matter, like TPP!!!

    According to this website, http://www.livescience.com/39340-fukushima-radioactive-plume-reach-us-2014.html
    “radiation levels in the water off the Canadian/American coast north of Oregon will increase by 10-30 becquerels per cubic meter from 2014-2020.”

    Unfortunately they don’t discuss what a laughably minute amount of radiation that is. Potassium in a typical human body produces 4,000 bequerels of activity, so this purported increase is 133-400 times weaker than the radiation released by potassium inside the human body…in sea water off the coast…per cubic meter……

    There is a possibility that caesium will bioaccumulate in Pacific tuna. Solution: stop eating tuna or any other apex predator and quit whining.

    • This subject brings out the tantrums in certain people every time.

      • kowalityjesus | Jan 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm |

        Anything relevant that you would like to say? Or are you just sore because you could never come up with any worthwhile facts for your position?
        Here is your opportunity to redeem yourself.
        For Americans, the problem is not in the water. There will never be enough radioactivity from Fukushima to taint the Pacific currents arriving in California. Never. The problem could be in the fish, because of cesium bioaccumulation. The problem could be atmospheric through explosions, which I have never heard how explosions could happen. If you can tell me how, we would both be the wiser. Otherwise this Fukushima scare is Oscar Mayer Balogna.

        • I thought worthwhile facts for my position were provided by others with better memories than I last time. Either way, cesium bioaccumulation is exactly what I’m worried about.

          • kowalityjesus | Jan 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm |

            OK so lets refine the “Sky is Falling and We Will All Have Leukemia in a Couple Months” theory to “Don’t Eat Tuna or Orca from the Pacific If You’re So Damn Worried About It”

          • Parasites, mercury, and other heavy metals were enough to steer me away from seafood.

            And I think I’m already getting way too much radiation exposure from my cell phone, so…

          • I’d be down with that.

Comments are closed.