Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen told CNN on Monday that residents of Seattle, Washington, are breathing an average of 5 “hot particles” per day of radiation from Fukushima:
Hot particles have an affinity for the lungs, and – if breathed in – can cause cancer down the road.
As Gundersen explained in an interview last Friday:
I am in touch with some scientists now who have been monitoring the air on the West Coast and in Seattle for instance, in April, the average person in Seattle breathed in 10 hot particles a day.
The report takes some time to make its way into the literature. The average human being breathes about 10 meters a day of air, cubic meters of air. And the air out in the Seattle area are detecting, when they pull 10 cubic meters through them, this is in April now, so we are in the end of May so it is a better situation now. That air filter will have 10 hot particles on it. And that was before the Unit Four issue. Clearly we all can’t run south of the equator to our second homes in Rio or something like that. But it will stay north of the equator for anyone who has a Leer jet and can get out. But I guess what I am advising at that point is keep your windows closed. I would definitely wear some sort of a filter if I was outside. I certainly wouldn’t run and exercise until I was sure the plume had dissipated. This isn’t now. This is, as you were saying, this is worst case. If Unit Four were to topple, I would close my windows, turn the air conditioner on, replace the filters frequently, damp mop, put a HEPA filter in the house and try to avoid as much of the hot particles as possible. You are not going to walk out with a Geiger counter and be in a plume that is going to tell you the meter. The issue will be on the West Coast, hot particles. And the solution there is HEPA filters and avoiding them.
Gundersen also told CNN that Fukushima photos showed steam in March and April because it was cold. He said that the lack of visible steam doesn’t mean that radiation releases have stopped, only that the warmer air temperatures mean that releases won’t form visible steam.
And he pointed out last week that the White House and Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommend a 50 mile evacuation around Fukushima, yet insist that the U.S. is safe with only a 10 mile evacuation:
Gundersen also said yesterday:
“So eventually though we are going to see top of the food chain animals like tuna and salmon and things like that that have this process bio accumulates. The bigger fish gradually get higher and higher concentrations. And I am concerned that the FDA is not monitoring fish entering the United States because sooner or later a tuna is going to set off a radiation alarm at some part and people are going to think it’s a dirty bomb or something like that. So that’s not here yet because the tuna haven’t migrated across the Pacific. But I am thinking by 2013 we might see contamination of the water and of the top of the food chain fishes on the West Coast.”
For background on the radiation danger to seafood, see this.