[Coral-List] Distressing News for the Whole Pacific Ocean

Melbourne Briscoe Mel at briscoe.com
Sun Sep 1 11:11:33 EDT 2013

The press only likes to cover "events" and "controversies." The press only
covers short-term "events," which is why they don’t' cover climate change as
an "event," and the attention span for "events" is quite short, for example
for a volcanic eruption or a wildfire, and then it is over and they don't go
back to it. The Fukashima "event" is over. And thus now forgotten. But there
is always the press coverage for "controversies," which is how
climate-change is covered. One dissenter versus 1000 believers is still a

So, and this is not tongue-in-cheek, if you want press coverage for
Fukashima, now that the "event" is over, you need to find a way to get it
seen as a controversy...and the more polarized and strident the better.
There is a little of that already on this list-serve: "the end of the world
as we know it" versus "don't worry about it, the dilution will take care of
it." For example: get the press to cover a panel discussion at a major
meeting that presents these two views.

Good luck.

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Austin
Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2013 9:04 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Cc: melissae.keyes at yahoo.com
Subject: [Coral-List] Distressing News for the Whole Pacific Ocean

Dear Listers, 
I thank Melissa Keyes for bringing this topic up to the list as things are
unfolding that have the potential to affect us all.  I agree that what was
released in March of 2011 and heading towards the USA is indeed rather
minor, however the Fukushima situation has recently taken a turn for the
worse and these developments may have grave consequences for life in the
Pacific Ocean.  The international press is not covering this very well,
however a recent summary of developments is available at CNN.
han-you-think/?hpt=hp_c4  Also see an updated collection of unfiltered (both
factual and speculative) news stories on the Fukushima situation at
It is clearly time for the scientific community to become both more aware
and more involved, and this includes coral reef scientists.  All the
stakeholders in Japan now admit that the situation is out of control,
with an estimated 300-600 tons of extremely radioactive water spilling into
the ocean daily, exceeding what was released in 2011, and with no end in
sight and with the prospect of increasing over time.  The equivalent of 2.5
times that which was released at Chernobyl is so far stored in over a
thousand temporary tanks that are beginning to leak, and the tanks are very
difficult to repair due to the extreme radioactivity on site, with a lethal
dose reached within only four hours in the area of major leaks.  An
additional 400 tons of highly radioactive cooling water is generated each
day and must be stored.  The storage tanks are not considered earthquake
resistant and were put in place as a short-term measure until a more
permanent solution could be found, but that solution has not yet been
The total amount of radioactive material on site is equivalent to 80 times
that of the Chernobyl reactor, which represents a grave potential.  The
damaged reactors are adjacent to the ocean, which complicates containment
and no one has yet come up with a workable solution for a situation rapidly
spiralling out of control. Within a year Fukushima is expected to surpass
Chernobyl in total environmental release, and with the majority of that
release into the ocean and continuing.  
BBC Quoting Dr Ken Buesseler, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution who has examined the waters around Fukushima. 
"It is not over yet by a long shot, Chernobyl was in many ways a one week
fire-explosive event, nothing with the potential of this right on the
ocean.... Once it gets into the ground water (its) like a river flowing to
the sea, you can't really stop a ground water flow. You can pump out water,
but how many tanks can you keep putting on site?"  
This situation is certainly not something to take lightly, especially as the
problem has no end in sight and has the potential to suddenly worsen. The
CNN link above includes plans of action for more direct involvement if
anyone wants to devote some time to helping solve this planetary conundrum
that very well could be with us for generations to come.  This is indeed, as
Melissa put it "distressing news for the entire pacific Ocean".
Austin Bowden-Kerby, PhD
Corals for Conservation
P.O. Box 4649
Samabula, Fiji Islands
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