Radiation in the ocean and Fukushima


Geiger counters in the hands of citizens found 150 CPM coming from the ocean.

► Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco

Let’s start by doing the math on what 150 CPM (counts per minute) means. One Bq is 1 decay event per second. So divide CPM by 60, and you have Bq detected. This article detected 2.5 Bq. But in your body, on a normal day, you have 4,400 Bq. See: Wikipedia on Bequerel

So why is there radiation found near the ocean, and 5 times what’s on land? Most people have no idea that there are 3.2 tons of natural uranium in every cubic kilometer of ocean. (13.34 tons per cubic mile.) The ocean has a total of 4.2 billion tons of uranium in it. So, yeah. When you go near the ocean, you find radiation. But it’s always been there. There’s also potassium-40, radium, polonium-210. Like the spaghetti sauce, you name it, it’s in there. And it’s perfectly fine. It’s in your sea-salt.

But let’s concentrate on uranium, so we can get a sense for natural radiation sources.


San Franciso Bay is 400-1600 square miles depending on what part is used. For this calculation 1000 square miles will be used.

Depth of San Francisco Bay varies, but its average is 15 feet deep.

15 ft ÷ 5280ft/mile = 0.00284 miles deep.

0.00284 x 1000 square miles = 2.84 cubic miles of seawater.

Seawater averages 13.34 tons of natural uranium per cubic mile.

2.84 cubic miles x 13.34 metric tons uranium/cubic mile = 37.8977 metric tons of uranium

Using 2204.622 lbs per metric ton, there are 83550.16 lbs of uranium in San Francisco Bay.

0.72% of natural uranium is U-235, suitable for making bombs. (Ignoring U-234)

0.0072 x 83550.16 lbs = 601.56 lbs of U-235 in San Francisco Bay.

It took 140 lbs of 80% enriched uranium to make the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Since that U-235 wasn’t pure, we need to calculate how much 601.56 lbs of pure U-235 would be at 80% enrichment.

601.56 lb of U-235 ÷ 0.80 = 751.95 lbs of 80% enriched uranium.

751.95 lbs ÷ 140 lbs per bomb = 5.371 bombs.

On a normal day, San Francisco Bay has enough U-235 dissolved into it to build at least 5 Hiroshima sized bombs.

And yet, because it is dissolved in the ocean, you can swim in it. It is safe. You can eat the fish.The ocean is big. Even a bay is huge.

So what’s coming from Fukushima?

The average person hears Bq numbers, and doesn’t have the background to translate them into meaning.There are also wild exaggerations out, mostly from RT and other Russian sources. And most of the public is totally unaware that Russia has reaped a huge (global warming producing) bonanza from Japan’s shutdown of nuclear power plants.

That’s because Russia is selling oil and natural gas to Japan to replace Japan’s nuclear power. Russia wants that to continue – global warming be damned. I was in Russia talking about the factories in Siberia 10 years ago.

Those factories that produce most of the world’s (now mostly illegal) freon for refrigeration. Freon and other chlorinated fluorocarbons are a major global warming and ozone depletion gas that most of the world has decided is very bad for the environment. And I realized that for a guy in Siberia looking out the window at the snow and permafrost, the idea of warming things up sounds pretty good.

So there’s that Russian conflict of interest to think about, and there’s a general interest in Russia in warming things up to open Siberia. Russian oil men are not much different from Texas oil men, or British Petroleum oil men, or Saudi princes. They want to pump oil and gas and sell it.

Reported TEPCO figures are 20-40 trillion Bequerels. RT published 15 quadrillion Bq (15,000 billion) as escaping from Fukushima. It’s a wild exaggeration, but, let’s use it anyway, because it shows us the same thing.

Measuring radiation in Bq is like measuring sugar in the kitchen by the molecule. So let’s ask ourselves how much sugar would it be, if every Bq (or decay) per second was sugar. Sugar is 342 grams per molecular weight. A molecular weight has a fixed (and outrageously large) number of molecules in it. (Avogadro’s number). Atomic weight is what is used to figure out molecular weights and count atoms.

Avogadro’s number is 602,214,130,000,000,000,000,000

So now we will divide RT’s 15 quadrillion sugar molecules by Avogadro’s number.


Multiply 25 billionths of a molecular weight by 342 grams to get the number of grams of sugar.

0.000000025 x 342 grams = 0.0000085 grams

1 grain of sugar is about 100 milligrams.

You would have to break 1 grain of sugar into 11,000 pieces, and take one of them to put your finger on 15 quadrillion sugar molecules.

In other words – you couldn’t find it on your kitchen counter without a magnifying glass.

And that’s the wild exaggeration version of what has gone into the ocean from Fukushima.

Yes, we can detect atoms of Cs-137 in modern laboratories because we have phenomenally sensitive equipment that can notice single atoms. But atoms are extremely small.

You cannot detect that radioactivity from Fukushima with your Geiger counter. If you think that you are detecting it, you are saying that you can detect the equivalent of 1 grain of sugar broken into 11,000 pieces, where just one of those pieces went into the Pacific ocean on the coast of Japan. You are saying that up against that tiny amount, you can find that in the ocean, when San Francisco Bay alone has enough U-235 in it to make 5 atomic bombs, and corresponding amounts of ocean just off the coast have the same.

I think it’s great that people have Geiger counters and get into it. But you have to learn more about what’s really going on in order to make sense out of it.

Radiation is everywhere, always. You can’t get away from it. And that’s just fine. Enjoy the ocean. It’s always had tons of radioactive stuff in it. Always will.

Conflict of interest disclosure:

The author has no connection to the nuclear industry, does not and has not worked for the nuclear industry, and is not paid by the nuclear industry.

Brian Hanley, PhD Butterfly Sciences Davis –

CA 95616 (415)518-8153

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  • Derek

    First to comment

  • Derek

    I stole that joke from Tosh.o…Thanks Tosh

  • Derek

    But seriously,Its nice to hear that we shouldnt worry about fubu-shima. I try not to believe much of what anybody says anymore anyways, especially about crazy stuff like the o-zone, the economy, and things so far fetched and outta my control anyways. Ive been that way since 99. So, I thought I would post something way cooler to read than crazy nerd stuff to hard to wrap my pea brain around. Its called the Egg. And a two year old could understand it.

    The Egg

    By: Andy Weir

    You were on your way home when you died.

    It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

    And that’s when you met me.

    “What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

    “You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

    “There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

    “Yup,” I said.

    “I… I died?”

    “Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

    You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

    “More or less,” I said.

    “Are you god?” You asked.

    “Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

    “My kids… my wife,” you said.

    “What about them?”

    “Will they be all right?”

    “That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

    You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

    “Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

    “Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

    “Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

    “Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

    “All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

    You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

    “Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

    “So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

    “Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

    I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

    “You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

    “How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

    “Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

    “Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

    “Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

    “Where you come from?” You said.

    “Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

    “Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

    “Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

    “So what’s the point of it all?”

    “Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

    “Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

    I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

    “You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

    “No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

    “Just me? What about everyone else?”

    “There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

    You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

    “All you. Different incarnations of you.”

    “Wait. I’m everyone!?”

    “Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

    “I’m every human being who ever lived?”

    “Or who will ever live, yes.”

    “I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

    “And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

    “I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

    “And you’re the millions he killed.”

    “I’m Jesus?”

    “And you’re everyone who followed him.”

    You fell silent.

    “Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

    You thought for a long time.

    “Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

    “Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

    “Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

    “No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

    “So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

    “An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

    And I sent you on your way.



  • Peter Switch

    I’m glad I came across this article. Thought me something I knew not!

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