by Joel Carlinsky
In his report on the lack of radioactive fallout detected in North America from the Japanese nuclear meltdown now underway, James DeMeo says:
"As noted previously, the Pacific Ocean is very large, and the discharges of radioactive smokes and gasses in Japan were almost entirely confined into the lower atmosphere, the troposphere. This means, that air will be subjected to a lot of stormy weather and scrubbing as it moves across the Pacific. With luck, the worst of it will have rained out long before that atmosphere arrives into North America."
I tend to disagree with the "with luck" part of that statement. If the radioactive fallout ends up in the Pacific Ocean food chain, that will perhaps be "good luck" for the people living in Oregon, but it will still be a major ecological disaster for the Pacific Ocean, and since the radioactive material will disperse much faster and farther in water than on land, it will end up being a much worse disaster for the earth as a whole than if the fallout had come down on land, where it would tend to stay put.
Perhaps James DeMeo does not eat much fish, but those who do may have to find something else to eat for the next few thousand years or so if the Pacific Ocean food chain ends up as the final repository of the fallout cloud. The oceans are already drastically over-fished, and the addition of a high burden of radioactivity may well spell the collapse of the entire marine ecosystem.
And if that goes, it is highly unlikely anything on land will be unaffected. For a start, two thirds of the plant life that provides the atmosphere with oxygen is in the ocean. If the plankton are decimated by radioactive fallout, it will make little difference if the land areas escape the fallout cloud or not.
The real danger from the meltdown of not just one, but several, Japanese nuclear plants, is not the release into the atmosphere of fallout that may rain down on distant land masses, but the release into the nearby waters of radioactive sludge and debris that will contaminate a vast area of the ocean. The much more rapid spread of the radioactivity through water than on land makes the danger of a water release much worse, although the mass-media may not think that angle would interest Homer Simpson enough to be worth reporting.
But what should be of interest to Dr. James DeMeo is the probability of someone trying to use a cloudbuster to protect the West Coast of North America from the fallout cloud by triggering rain while the cloud is still out over the Pacific. If a cloudbuster located on shore were to do that, the radioactive particulates in the cloud would end up in the ocean food chain instead of on land.
That would contaminate a much greater area than any fallout over land would be likely to. And given the fact that cloudbusters are known to exist in Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington, it is almost a certainty that at least one operator will make the attempt to prevent the radioactive cloud from carrying it`s burden to shore.