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Debunking Fukushima: Your Radiation Roundup

Fukushima continues to dominate the ocean news cycle, and while no one is denying that it is a real and ongoing tragedy, the woo is strong in the Fukushima fear-mongering community. Fortunately, the scientists are out in force, debunking the bunk and cutting through the crap to keep you informed. Here is a handy collection of detailed links, from trusted source, tackling some of the most egregious pseudoscience coming out of Fukushima.

Southern Fried Science

Deep Sea News

Skeptoid

If you know of any other good articles debunking Fukushima fear-mongering, please leave them in the comments below.

If you feel the need to accuse any of the authors above of being shills for Big Nuclear, The Government, any Secret Board of Shadowy Figures, Tepco, or any combination thereof, I have an experiment for you: This website is ad free and run entirely by volunteers. Head on over the our “Support Southern Fried Science Page” and make a donation help to keep us running. Maybe, if you donate enough, we’ll start shilling for you (disclaimer: we won’t, but we will continue to produce high quality marine science and conservation articles from a diversity of voices).

On a serious note, we don’t do this Fukushima debunking for fun. We certainly don’t enjoy the hate mail, death threats, and personal insults that crop up every time someone tries to have a serious, scientifically-literate, discussion about the real and imagined consequences of the Fukushima-Daichi Nuclear Disaster. As I said in the closing paragraph of the 28 Fallacies post, getting the science right matters:

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an unparalleled environmental catastrophe and we will be seeing fallout from it for years to come. I honestly cannot think of any reason to fabricate a bunch of paranoid talking points to make it seem worse. Thousands of people were displaced from their home, many of them permanently. Contaminated waste was, and still is, being dumped into the water surround the plant. The energy infrastructure of an entire nation was compromised. Do we really need to blame Fukushima on a viral outbreak in British Columbia, too?

To put things in perspective, the Fukushima disaster released approximately one ten-thousandth of the total radiation produce by the world’s coal power plants annually. That number will either be reassuring or terrifying, but, really, it should be both.

There is another reason why articles like this are so compelling, particularly to those in rich, developed countries. It gives us the ability to blame the “foreign other” for our own environmental crises. It’s not our fault that salmon stocks are collapsing, it’s the Japanese! We aren’t the ones driving polar bears and marine mammal moralities, Fukushima did it! The West Coast of the United States is being fried. It’s being fried by over-fishing, agricultural run-off, runaway development, and a host of other issues, but it’s not being fried by Fukushima, and articles that promote that fallacious argument are distracting us from the dominant causes of environmental degradation on our coasts: Us.


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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