Letter: Guam should worry about contamination from Fukushima via Pacific Daily News

We islanders worry about too many things. Perhaps it is the limits of our confinement within our reef-fringed turf that makes us realize that size does matter.


Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant lies about 59 miles south of Sendai. It was heavily damaged by the earthquake and the following tsunami. Cooling systems were disabled followed by the meltdown in three reactors, spilling radioactive iodine 131, cesium 137 and strontium 90, or the Bone Seeker. 

Of the sinister trio, the isotope strontium 90 is the most dangerous and feared. It is a well-known catalyst for bone cancer and leukemia. It came into prominence with the detonations of the Manhattan Project 73 years ago, when it was feared it might filter into the atmosphere and gradually cover the entire world. As a child, I remember studying nuclear fallout shelter plans in Popular Mechanics that would effectively shield occupants from strontium 90 contamination.

Well, the fears are with us once again. Fukushima continues to contaminate the environment despite the claims of the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company that repairs have been fully contained. Contaminated water is continuously being dumped into the Pacific Ocean by the millions of gallons.

The powerful Kurushio Current picks up that contamination, conveys it northward and make a right turn between the 40th and 50th parallel. The Coriolis Force, the momentum created by the rotating Earth, nudges all that water downward along the Canadian coast until the whirlpool-like Great Pacific Gyres drives it toward the Hawaiian Islands. All that heavily contaminated water travels a few thousand miles westward and, hafa adai, it is in our waters.

Fishermen all over the Pacific Ocean are discovering unusual anomalies in their catches. More and more fish with cancerous growths are being found in their nets. This is extremely alarming.

We must be vigilant. Carefully observe any changes in the seafood we purchase or catch. Be aware of any skin changes if you are exposed to seawater for any given length of time. The Fukushima disaster took place seven years ago. The Pacific Ocean has had plenty of time to disperse all that dangerous material throughout its watery domain.

Louie Gombar is a resident of Mangilao.

Read more at Letter: Guam should worry about contamination from Fukushima

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