A radioactive plume that was released from Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors is making its way across the Pacific Ocean towards the West Coast of the United States today.
And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
Think it’s time to panic? You bet it is. Radiation! The thing you see in a-bomb explosions and James Cameron movies! It’s coming here!!
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Thomas McKone, senior staff scientist at the U.S. Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has to say:
“There is enormous dilution between Japan and here… I don’t think there can be any measurable health impacts in California.”
I don’t know what any of that meant, but that “dilution” thing sounds pretty dangerous. To be safe, I’m locking my doors at the deadbolt AND the knob.
As if that weren’t enough, nothing separates us from Japan but a few miles of ocean. Five thousand miles, to be precise.
“Whether it will be even detectable is a question in my mind because of the amount of dispersion that goes on over at least a 5,000-mile track,” said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground Inc. “It just wasn’t emitted in large enough quantities to be a threat to human health.”
Five thousand miles – that’s nothing! That’s just five Proclaimers songs! And he WALKED those.
And what if Japan’s reactor experiences a meltdown?
Bloomberg news reported Jeff Masters as saying:
“Even in the worst-case scenario of a reactor meltdown at the Fukushima plant, dilution of the radiation by the Jet Stream and Pacific winds is likely to prevent harmful radiation from reaching the West Coast.”
Worst-case scenario! I didn’t read anything past that!
So is this comparable to an atomic bomb going off in our living room, or at least that coffee place down the street?
“It is hard to compare a bomb going off up in the air over with something 5,000 miles away in Japan at the surface. The exposure was far, far greater from the Nevada test explosions.”
And Bloomberg news continues:
More than 500 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests were conducted worldwide prior to 1963, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The , in a study that included the CDC and the , estimated in 2006 that anyone living in the lower 48 states after 1951 had been exposed to some fallout.
So we’re too late. We’ve all been going about our lives for almost fifty years – like idiots – without realizing we should have been panicking nonstop.
We should have at least headed for the mountains. Is it too late to get on a flight to Denver?
Here’s professor Kirk Smith, from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health:
“The (naturally-occurring) radiation you get on a flight to Denver would be far higher than anything that could come from Japan.”
And to think I spent all that time on planes worried about terrorists.