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There's no chance of a cheap ($500) meter being able to detect the tiny increase from Fukushima over the background of natural activity and the 500 or so atmospheric bomb tests. It does make nice copy, though. If you'd like to worry, don't bother. We're already dead from the asteroid strike a few weeks ago.

Almost 48,000 barrels of waste tossed into the ocean out at the Farallon Islands.

I was told, back in the 1970s when I was doing political work in opposition to the nuclear power industry, that the US Navy had been dumping nuclear waste stored in 50-gallon steel drums near the Farallones for some time. Google "farallon island radioactive waste dump".

I wasn't paying real close attention, but last night (January 7), Channel 2 or 5 did a story on this, and a Berkeley professor said there was nothing abnormal about the readings.

Ian, there are low levels of natural radiation on every square mile of earth. Why should our beaches be any different? This is why it's important to check your houses for radon gas; you may be over a hot spot.

Or maybe a more believable theory for the government conspiracy folks is that this is left over from the Nike missile site in Sharp Park.

The relevant paragraph from the HMB Review article:

"Dan Sythe later put the dirt sample in a spectrum analyzer to view the radioactive 'signature' of the particles, the photon energy associated with each isotope. What he found was different from cesium-137, the fissile material used in the Fukushima reactors...Instead he was seeing radium and thorium, naturally occurring radioactive elements."

We still need to find out where this radiation is coming from, but we now know it isn't Fukushima. has a great rebuttal to the whole radiation thing.

The conspiracy theorists are having a field day with Fukushima. Not to downplay the tragedy of the Fukushima disaster or the lessons it should teach us about the dangers of nuclear power, but the actual danger to us on the West Coast is extremely small. Not being a scientist, I will not attempt to explain the Geiger counter readings at Surfer's Beach (not in Pacifica), but I will rely on actual scientists to assess the environmental threats we are facing.

"Our so-called local enviromentalists didn't say a word when 7.5 million gallons of poop ran across Rockaway Beach and into the ocean."

I have pointed out for two decades now that the City and County of San Francisco, due to their refusal to spring for a separate (from the sanitary sewer system) storm sewer system, was dumping raw sewage into the bay and ocean every time they got heavy rains. I have read the various pieces about Pacifica's sewage treatment problems and, while I agreed that this was a problem that needed to be rectified, I had nothing to add to the discussion, and besides there had just been an article containing more information than I could offer on the subject. Yes, let's fix that.

Why are we not hearing more about the results of the nuclear mistake at Fukushima?

Michio Kaku is interviewed about this deadly accident, November 2013:

Graphic showing relative quantities of Fukushima, Chernobyl, other sources of radioisotopes into the ocean:

From NOAA, here's an animated representation of the worldwide dispersion of cesium that's already occurring.

It seems a lurker is waiting to comment on comments instead of reading the article above.

"Our so-called local enviromentalists didn't say a word when 7.5 million gallons of poop ran across Rockaway Beach and into the ocean."

My recollection is that the San Mateo County Times reported the spill, which was one of the largest to that date. One or two City Council members went ballistic that a newspaper was doing its job, so much so that they had a meeting with the reporter and editor at the Times to protest the coverage. The story stood.

We don't have to worry about that sort of news coverage now. The Times has been greatly reduced, and the local thing that is printed on newsprint and is issued weekly does only Santa coverage and retirements.

Todd Bray, please tell us the radiation levels introduced to the waters near Fukushima and the volume of contaminated water (and thus, concentration). Then please educate us on how much this would dilute as it crossed the ocean and the level it might be when it reaches here.

I think doing the research on that, if from legitimate sources, will cause you to forget this situation and move on to more pressing concerns.

"Local enviromentalists didn't say a word when 7.5 million gallons of poop ran across Rockaway Beach and into the ocean."

Maybe that's true, maybe not. Could be that residents in Pacifica see so much of it already, this doesn't register as worth mentioning.

City Council and staff are running a virtually private administration -- maybe consensus is that comments to council are not worth the time and effort.

Our so-called local enviromentalists didn't say a word when 7.5 million gallons of poop ran across Rockaway Beach and into the ocean.

Not one of them said anything. They didn't want to upset the City Council.

The stuff you guys worry about cracks me up. Aren't there enough real threats without making stuff up?

It's a certainty that it's coming, if it hasn't already landed. Neoprene doesn't stop radiation, BTW. Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, and the EPA should be monitoring for this, if some combination of agencies hasn't already started. There is no cure for this "gift" from Japan and the worldwide nuclear industry, but our various, separate government agencies that oversee waterways, natural resources and, public safety should (I would hope) already be all over this coming (if not already arrived) nuclear overflow.

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