The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: Radioactive Pacific

posted by / Blogs / August 30, 2013

Reflecting on the plume of comments.


SURFING Magazine's ScoopYears ago, SURFING Magazine would print a letters to the editor section in each issue. It was the reader’s opportunity to publicly express their opinion. Fast-forward a few years, and factor in a few unemployed mailmen, and now we have online commenting. When you remove the thought that goes into actually taking pen to paper and mailing a letter, things get a bit hasty. The Internet is instantaneous and interactive, but it’s a far better environment for conversation. Yet somehow, we’ve lost the official reply from the magazine along the way. We’re going to fix that.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is SURFING Magazine’s new letters to the editor section. If you are the voice of reason in a mangled thread of banter, we salute you here. If you call us out on something and actually make valid points, we’ll bring your comment to light here. If your comment makes no sense whatsoever, well, we might just poke a little fun at you here.

This week, we look back at The Scoop: Radioactive Pacific. —Brendan Buckley


Love how people don’t understand that the pacific ocean is 6.6 × 10^20 litres, and the volume per day apparently leaving the reactor was 1.13×10^6 litres of potentially contaminated water, means that was 1.71×10^-13 % of the volume…or 0.000000000000171% of the pacific oceans volume. Then add mixing between the other oceans and the number gets EVEN smaller.

Also the Cs has many isotopes, most of which are unstable and have half-lives of mere minutes. Some last days or years, but stable radioactive isotopes are pretty rare and usually give off less radiation per unit time since releasing energy is the mechanism by which the atom becomes stable.

As for the coffee analogy, if you put a teaspoon of milk in a swimming pool of coffee, it doesn’t make much difference to the color and milk doesn’t decay. Now add that teaspoon of milk to a swimming pool that is a hundred million times the size of a regular pool. Thats closer to the volume ratios we are looking at here.
This will hopefully put things in perspective for some. (take with a grain of salt/a drop of milk 😛 )

I may not be qualified to teach this stuff since I do not have a degree in Nuclear Chemistry/Physics, but using a moderate amount of critical thought and a bit of research it becomes clear pretty quick that this radiation is something we want to prevent in the future, but no reason for panic.


“Ocean” should have won this, but their comment was 648 words and therefor too long to repost. But Rowsta’s was simple, explanatory and non-hostile. They didn’t call Ken Buesseler an asshole or attack any other commenters. They moseyed on in, dropped some knowledge and bailed. No harm, no foul: just some mathematics, a link and a weird tongue face. Boom.


The last place anyone should look to for accurate information on something as serious as radioactive waste in our ocean is Surfing magazine or any surf related magazine for that matter which will do no real investigation/journalism whatsoever. Downplaying this is ridiculous. It’s ok you’ll be fine,no worries just keep polluting, destroying our ocean and see what happens. Wake up, we are slowly killing our oceans right before our eyes. This is bogus.


We strongly disagree with your first sentence. The last place anyone should look for accurate information regarding radioactive waste in our ocean is social media — which is exactly what prompted us to get this scoop. We’d never claim to be vanguard investigative journalists, but we did go as far as reaching out to three esteemed scientists before we began to put this post together. The radiation from Fukushima is an issue that is entirely relevant to our audience, and so we covered it. We strove to report it in a way that was straightforward and easy to understand. Ken is renowned for his work, and we simply relayed his knowledge. However, Don is very much right in saying that we must take action in protecting our oceans. We do need to wake up, and maybe Fukushima is our call. By no means are we saying that this is trivial, or that people should ignore it. We just want to shed light on the facts and ease unwarranted fear.



of a NOAA tsunami swell map, not radiation!!!!


You are correct. This image is fake, or at least misrepresented. Hence, our caption. Try reading the very first line of text next time.

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  • Mik

    Before anyone concludes that everything is fine, and that the Japanese are on top of the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis, read this:

    “Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident” —
    by Akio Matsumura, April / 2012:

    “At Fukushima, Radioactive Groundwater Nears Sea” — by Mari Yamaguchi, August / 2013:

    “Mission Impossible? Fukushima scientists brace for riskiest nuclear fuel clean-up yet” —
    by RT News , August 15, 2013:

    “West Coast of North America to Be Hit Hard by Fukushima Radiation” —
    By Washington’s Blog; Global Research, August / 2013:

    “Russia Offers Fukushima Cleanup Help as Tepco Reaches Out” — By Yuriy Humber and Jacob Adelman August / 2013:

    To truly understand how dangerous the situation has actually become, one must understand that TEPCO has also run out of any foreseeable means to safely contain (without leeks), or dispose of the huge amount of radioactive waste water that has already accumulated, and they also does not have enough room to expand the storage area in order to contain a toxic waste problem that is increasing every day — which is in turn raising the risk of a full-blown nuclear power plant melt-down in the vicinity of three adjoining nuclear power plants.

    Should a meltdown occur, not only would it render the air and land toxic for hundreds of miles, it could potentially create the same scenario in the other three adjacent nuclear facilities. This reality defies both imagination, and dispels any belief in any plan for resolution that TEPCO has offered up.

    Given the immediacy of these problems, and the fact that TEPCO has so far been unable to exhibit any ability to resolve ANY of them, many scientists in this field have already grimly concluded that Northern Japan will soon be a radioactive wasteland, and so will much, if not all of the world’s oceans — which will inevitably lead to the deaths of millions or even billions of people. In other words, an unthinkable global tragedy is staring us in the face even as you read this blunt evaluation of what is actually happening in Japan, right now.

    I may be somewhat of an alarmist here, but if these articles are saying what they appear to be saying, then I am not off by much, and we need to let the Japanese government know that we are depending on them to reach out and resolve this NOW.

  • Einstein

    If Building 3 or 4 collapse within the next 50 years due to an earthquake…make no mistake.



    Google Natural News, Arnie Gunderson, Helen Caldicott

  • dgb

    And this today from the ABC in Australia:

    The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant says it has found new radiation hotspots, one with levels so high it could kill a person within a few hours.

    TEPCO has long struggled to deal with the growing volume of contaminated water it has used to cool reactors that went into meltdown after being struck by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

    The company says workers have discovered high levels of radioactivity on three tanks and one pipe at the Fukushima plant.

    It says one reading was 1,800 millisieverts per hour – a level that can kill a person in four hours.

    What the shills at Surfing don’t understand is that this is an ongoing problem and will be for the next hundred years. Remembering containment at Chernobyl is an ongoing concern 25 years later.

    Maybe Surfing should get Jon Jon to keep stirring the milk becasue there is a lot more coming.

  • tony (ty) carson-kailua kona big island

    Seems like this is a twist on Brendan’s last blog- “Punching Ghosts” -“a brand new column that dismisses the invisible man”. Seems like Brendan just has it in for people and their comments that “he” disagrees with and “he’s” going to “fix it”. Instead of punching ghosts, it now seems he is trying to intimidate the commenters he doesn’t agree with- by threats of poking a little fun at them and trying to shame you a little. So much for free thought again-whether it’s good, bad or ugly.

  • justplainugly

    This segment would be much better if Taylor Paul was writing the responses. Now that guy is funny.

  • dgb

    Could someone at surfing mix my coffee a little better than that!

    S. Korea bans fishery imports from 8 Japan prefs. including Fukushima
    Kyodo — Sep 06
    South Korea said Friday it has placed an import ban on all fisheries products from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima.
    The decision was made Friday following a meeting between government agencies chaired by Prime Minister Chung Hong Won and the ruling party.
    Any guesses as to why that Korea might ban fishery imports, Rowsta?

  • dgb

    Or maybe Surfing’s top shills could perhaps shed some light on why 42 other countries also ban imports from the same regions as mentioned above?

  • NavyBuckeye

    OMG, Run!!!!!

    All of you individuals afraid of radiation better get some lead suits and hide. It is all around you. In fact you get higher doses taking the time to type your overly dramatic response than you do at any nuclear facility being ran properly.

    Are the leaks a concern at Fukushima? Yes. Why? Because people like to blow things out of proportion when it comes to Nuclear. Ironically these same people have no problem using radios, tv’s, coputers, cell phones, etc. All of these items give off dose to some extent. Not to mention the natural decay of atoms occurring all around us every second of every day.

    As for the food. Those countries are banning items because it is the popular thing to do. It sound great. Yet they will let their citizens eat processed foods with out a second thought. Processed foods with chemicals that are more dangerous than small amounts of ionizing radiation.

    Get a grip people.

  • Samhill

    Strange to hear but seems pretty awesome to hear this and thanks to letting us know about the surfing magazine.

  • Samhill

    Strange to hear but seems pretty awesome to hear this and thanks to letting us know about the surfing magazine.
    Thanks for letting us know on this.