John, as you know I have a heavy "science" bent...... and had to study the Fukuishima situation carefully as part of my job at the college sicne I was taking students there. So I learned a LOT in the process.
There is a HUGE issue with what has happend and is happening at Fukushima. There is a lesson there about the use of nuclear power, if anyone is listening. I'm no fan of nuclear power. We need geothermal, solar, wind, and tidal souces...... not more nukes. At least until we know a LOT more about how to handle it.
But there is a MASSIVE amount of fearmongering going on.
Let's disect the "journalism" there in the Turner article a bit and see how facts and writing skills can be used to distort the perceptions of the reader as to what is actually being said.
"On March 30, 2011, Mr. Lake Barrett, a former official with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and now an adviser to TEPCO, said "The environmental release is the growing challenge; you’re going to read more and more about it in the paper. Wait until the first cesium-137 shows up in Alaska salmon, which is only a matter of time." Mr. Barrett's warning was prescient."
So to add ceredibility to what follows, the writer selects someone who has some "credentials" to make a statement. Fine. That sets up the situation that can later be built upon. Then there is a quote that is nothing earth shattering. With sensitive enough instruments it is a certainty that Cesium 137 IS going to show up pretty much everywhere in the world from this event. Doh. The man knows his science and how the world works. Because of the cold war, we have some amazingly sensitive instruments to measure radiation.
What is NOT talked about there is the AMOUNT of cesium 137 that will show up in those Alaska salmon he mentions and what that detectible level really means. But they won't go there in this piece, because it does not serve the agenda that the writer is pushing.
So then the article goes on.........
"In 2012, out of twenty Pacific Tuna fish caught and tested from various points in the ocean, one hundred percent (100%) tested positive for radiation contamination! Researchers at Stanford University studied samples from 20 blue-fin tuna caught off California between May and August 2012 and said they detected radioactive cesium. They concluded the source of the contamination was the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant".
This again is a no-brainer. As I said above it does not take much understanding of science to know that the cesium is going to get all over the planet. Again the real ISSUE is HOW MUCH? But the article again deliberately does not mention this level detected. That is a deliberate tactic to instil fear. Because the mere word "radiation" is misunderstood by scads of peoople and it is inflamitory.
And by adding this paragraph right after the lead-in paragraph, there is an implication to the non-critical reader that the credibility of the guy mentioned in the first paragraph is somehow now transfered to this next part also. And that this is even worse than the first guy states........ not only salmon, but bluefin tuna. Again...... very deliberate considered writing.
So it goes on.......
"In British Columbia, Canada, Pacific Herring have been found to be bleeding from their eyes, mouths, fins and tails. Independent fisheries scientist Alexandra Morton is raising concerns about a "disease" she says is spreading through Pacific herring causing fish to hemorrhage. “I did a beach seine on Malcolm Island [near Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island] and I got approximately 100 of these little herring and they were not only bleeding from their fins, but their bellies, their chins, their eyeballs. “It was 100 per cent … I couldn’t find any that weren’t bleeding to some degree."
Now this part is AMAZING in it's blatant attempt to connect two disparate things that do not have any documentable connection. So....... this next part has no linkage to the radiation at all, and the article does not SAY that it does. There is nothing in the piece to show studies have proven that this is something that is being caused by the radiation mentioned previously. It is deliberately left to the READER to draw the connection. Nowhere do they state that the radiation is the cause........ but most reading this piece will make that connection. Some good writing skills there.
This is fearmongering journalism at its best.
No, we shouldn't be adding any more radiation into the world from nuclear plants than the already natural exposures that exist from stuff like granite and cosmic rays. But understanding the magnitude of the hazard posed by an event like Fukushima here in the USA is also improtant.
A couple other somewhat related pieces of info:
Now the folks in Fukushima Prefecture........ THAT is a different story. They DO have something to worry about. Japan has something to worry about.