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  1. #531
    Radiation levels spike 7,000% at US nuclear site — Coming from Plutonium, Uranium, Americium, or other alpha emitters — AP: Workers shelter in buildings — Official: Contaminated sample is so safe “it could have been… put in someone’s lunch bucket” (VIDEO)

    Published: November 11th, 2014 at 6:28 pm ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article

    AP, Nov. 6, 2014 (emphasis added): A pair of air samplers at [New Mexico's WIPP] nuclear waste repository detected low levels of radioactive contamination after workers restarted one of the fans… workers took shelter inside buildings before restarting the fan…
    Carlsbad Current Argus, Nov. 10, 2014: A new small, but measurable amount of radiation was detected… [Tim Runyon, of WIPP Recovery Communications said] officials were expecting a small radiation leak…
    US Dept. of Energy – WIPP Air Sampling for Station B (The amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere -Source), Nov 6, 2014:

    • Oct. 21-22, 2014: Alpha @ 72 dpm
    • Test results over the previous 6 months have averaged below 1 dpm
    • Levels haven’t been this high since the initial days of the Feb. 14 WIPP disaster

    WIPP Town Hall, Nov. 6, 2014:

    • Tammy Reynolds, Nuclear Waste Partnership: On the 21st, we put that fan back in service… We wanted to make sure we were prepared if there were some particles that came lose… We were very pleased with the results… Less than we actually anticipated… much less than any person would ever be… impacted from.
    • Russell Hardy, Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center (created by DOE funds): We did see a small amount of Americium-241a few hundred feet from Station B… This filter could have been… folded up and put in someone’s lunch bucket, that’s how small this is… It’s measurable [but] it does not pose any concern to public health. (Public health refers to the population as a whole, not the individual -WHO)

    Nuclear Hotseat w/ Libbe HaLevy, Oct 21, 2014 — Don Hancock, Southwest Research & Information Center (at 22:30): Their analysis… showed the starting of that fan, it’s a different fan than the one that’s been operating most recently… could trigger some additional radiation coming out… Because the site is contaminated, there’s constantly the possibility that additional contamination can be released… This is an ongoing problem, and will be… unless the site is closed up… The DOE is proposing many activities that are very likely to release a lot more radioactivity than [the fan restart]… People are correct to be concerned… We’re talking about this going on for years into the future if DOE’s plans are approved.
    Watch the WIPP town hall here
    Published: November 11th, 2014 at 6:28 pm ET

    Related Posts

    1. Paper: WIPP workers “not permitted to speak” — “Their jobs won’t ever be the same… will face new paradigm” — Concerns plutonium contaminated surrounding salt — Preparing for radiation levels so high, only robots can be used (VIDEO) April 22, 2014
    2. NBC Right Now: Explosion at U.S. nuclear site — Kept secret from public — Happened in plant where plutonium was manufactured — “One of the most hazardous buildings” in America — Workers: “Flames shot out… big, loud bang like a shot gun” (VIDEO) May 4, 2014
    3. Video: Gov’t official ‘chokes up’ over WIPP problems — Needs 15-second pause at community meeting — President of nuclear dump replaced — “We definitely got away with not having anyone seriously hurt” — Took 30 minutes to notice fire, truck leaking oil, extinguisher didn’t work March 14, 2014
    4. Reuters: “Unsafe levels of radiation” were released during WIPP accident; More workers contaminated with plutonium — AP: Leak of radioactive material could’ve been “orders of magnitude larger”; Feds now testing air & soil 50 miles from site (AUDIO) March 31, 2014
    5. TV: US Senators want federal agents near WIPP to check if safe; “A lot more people could have been hurt a lot worse” — Public “skeptical whole truth about environmental risks shared” — Report: “It will shut WIPP down for a year or more, and now everyone is talking about maybe WIPP is no good” (VIDEO) March 27, 2014

    November 11th, 2014 | Category: Audio/Video Clips, US, WIPP

  2. #532
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Tiny amount of Fukushima radiation reaches West Coast; does it worry you?

    Posted on November 13, 2014 | By Jake Ellison
    Use the zoom tool to see parts of the graphic:

    A water sample taken in August from about 100 miles west of Eureka, California, has been found to contain a small amount of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan.

    “Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean,” states a news release from the institute.
    “We detected cesium-134, a contaminant from Fukushima, off the northern California coast. The levels are only detectable by sophisticated equipment able to discern minute quantities of radioactivity,” said Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine chemist, who is leading the monitoring effort.

    “Most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope. Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s. Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”

    Basically, scientists say it’s nothing more than a curiosity or confirmation of models showing where some of that radiation will show up, but the rumors and fears surrounding radiation contamination are hard to dampen.

    Fukushima Radiation Reaches U.S.

    This is the second time radiation from Japan has shown up on our shores. In March, we reported:
    A bit of cesium-134 — a telltale kind of radiation particle expected from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster — has been detected in a soil sample taken from the beach at Kilby Provincial Park up the Fraser River Valley in British Columbia, said Krzysztof Starosta, an associate professor of chemistry at Simon Fraser University.

    The sample was collected by a marine biologist studying spawning salmon at that point in the river. Starosta said the university has collected five other samples from the area looking for more of the radiation, but so far nothing.

    The arrival of a “radioactive plume” sounds pretty bad, but scientists repeatedly say running for your life would be an overreaction … refusing to eat fish and avoiding beaches would be too.

    In fact, the last time Mike Priddy, supervisor of Washington’s Environmental Sciences Section, and his crew tested shellfish — which is where you would expect to find contaminants, because they filter the water — they found nothing, Priddy told us in February.

    “We’re not seeing anything that requires anyone to be afraid,” he said.

    He added in an email exchange today:
    … if the water has radioactive material in it at any level, coming into contact with it will cause the contamination to transfer. That said, the levels of radioactivity we are talking about are VERY low and pose no real health affects regardless of how you are exposed, whether you come in contact with the water or somehow casually ingest it. The levels I have seen in seawater are interesting from a scientific point of view, but well below health concerns.

    Nevertheless, it’s not like a little extra radiation is good for you either. So, oceanographers and health department officials from Washington and elsewhere have been monitoring our coastline for radiation that would have come from the wrecked nuclear plant. And there has been plenty of fear- and conspiracy-mongering surrounding the radiation leak from Fukushima.

    A fervor was created last winter when a video (below) purporting to show “dangerously high radiation levels” in the sands of Pacifica State Beach in California surfaced in December. That video was quickly countered by state officials, who ran tests and found that what is on the beach remains “well below any levels considered unsafe for humans,” as SFGate reported.

    “There is no public health risk at California beaches due to radioactivity related to events at Fukushima,” the California Department of Public Health said.

    “Recent tests by the San Mateo County Public Health Department show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident,” it said.

    Yeah, but …
    Does radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster worry you?

    • Yes - scientists et al. either don't know all there is to know about the risk or may not be telling us.
    • No - I accept that the amount of radiation making it to our shores is too little to worry about.

    Your vote is being added to the total. Votes are not reflected in the tallies immediately.

    Some of the airborne radiation — in the form of iodine-131, which is produced by an active nuclear reactor — did cross the ocean shortly after the accident, and state officials did detect small amounts in our air for a couple of months; again, nothing even close to the total amount of “excess” radiation that would be dangerous to a person, Priddy said.

    Also, there were those albacore tuna caught off our coast in 2012 with small amounts of some cesium-134 in them.

    “We would not have detected it normally,” Priddy said, because the amount was so small. “We had to look hard for it. … Basically, so far, we have only seen a very, very small amount of radioactivity that may have been from Fukushima.”

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  3. #533
    Fukushima Student: “It seems like we are about to get killed” — “Anyone, please, please save the lives of Fukushima people and children… Gov’t abandoned us… Japan is clearly going insane… Nothing has gotten better” (VIDEO)

    Published: November 13th, 2014 at 8:36 pm ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article

    IMDb – Kakusei: The Fukushima End (2014), Blondion Productions: Today the Japanese government assures its people of Fukushima’s safety and urges residents to move back. However, citizens are not convinced… Through the experiences of five individuals, this documentary reflects upon how culture has influenced the choices citizens make everyday, and how those have changed.
    Closing scene from ‘Kakusei’:

    • Hikaru Abe, student in Soma, Fukushima (40 km north of Fukushima Daiichi) who stayed behind after his mother and younger brother evacuated: “Nothing has gotten better… The government was incapable to deal with issues, covered up information we needed and even put pressure on us. While many human errors were seen, people in Fukushima worked hard to move on with the support from all over the country. Fukushima is in the process of recovery. Our government abandoned us. Anyone, please, please save the lives of Fukushima people and children. Japan is clearly going insane. It seems like we are about to get killed. Please lend your strength to Fukushima.”

    The documentary is extremely well produced. Its thoughtful subject matter, eye-catching cinematography and excellent sound design will hopefully soon be seen by millions. According to the film’s official trailer posted last year, “We are currently in need of funding to complete and distribute the film. Please lend your support and donate:”
    This letter by Tomoko Hatsuzawa, a mother in Fukushima City, expresses sentiments similar to those shared by Hikaru. Hatsuzawa gave the letter to Hiroko Tabuchi of The New York Times, who also translates: “To people in the United States and around the world, I am so sorry for the uranium and plutonium that Japan has released into the environment. The fallout from Fukushima has already circled the world many times, reaching Hawaii, Alaska, and even New York. We live 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the plant and our homes have been contaminated beyond levels seen at Chernobyl… But the government will not help us. They tell us to stay put… I was eight years old when the Fukushima Daiichi plant opened. If I had understood what they were building, I would have fought against it. I didn’t realize that it contained dangers that would threaten my children, my children’s children and their children. I am grateful for all the aid all the world has sent us. Now, what we ask is for you to speak out against the Japanese government. Pressure them into taking action. Tell them to make protecting children their top priority. Thank you so much.”
    Watch the Kakusei pre-screener here

    Related Posts

    1. Japan Lawmaker: “Children coming down with many health problems… this is reality” — CNN: “Many parents of Fukushima blame nuclear accident” for higher cancer rate (VIDEOS) November 9, 2013
    2. Lawmaker warns emperor of reality facing Japan: “Children are suffering from health problems” — Another official reveals “the incidence of cancer in children has been increasing” and is heckled (VIDEO) November 2, 2013
    3. Japan Professor: Pregnant women get free new houses if they move back to Fukushima — Physician/Mayor: Children being severely harmed, must be evacuated; World has never come across situation like this (VIDEO) October 30, 2013
    4. Video: 10 million people in Japan have been abandoned in high radiation areas after Fukushima — Kanto Region extremely contaminated March 13, 2013
    5. Former Official: Fukushima radiation is killing children… heart problems, leukemia, thyroid — Terrible things are going on — Authorities hiding truth from world — We need to admit many people are dying, but we’re not allowed to say that (VIDEO) April 21, 2014

  4. #534

  5. #535
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Massive starfish die-off in Pacific Ocean linked to mystery virus

    By Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News
    POSTED: 11/17/14, 12:23 PM PST | UPDATED: 3 MINS AGO

    Marking a major breakthrough in the mystery of one of the largest wildlife die-offs ever recorded in the world’s oceans, scientists believe they have found the cause of a disease that has killed millions of starfish since last year along California and the Pacific Coast.

    The epidemic, which threatens to reshape the coastal food web and change the makeup of tide pools for years to come, appears to be driven by a previously unidentified virus, a team of more than a dozen researchers from Cornell University, UC Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other institutions reported Monday.

    Scientists found that the same virus that is killing starfish today is also present in museum starfish specimens dating back to 1942, indicating the disease has been present in Pacific waters for 72 years.

    Yet although there were smaller outbreaks in years past, nobody knows what triggered the current marine plague, which has killed up to 95 percent of starfish in some areas and spread from Alaska to Mexico.

    “Something may have happened recently that caused it to go rogue, because we’ve never seen anything like the current outbreak,” said Peter Raimondi, a professor of biology at UC Santa Cruz and co-author of the study.

    The outbreak, known as “wasting syndrome,” has infected at least 20 different species of starfish since it was first detected in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in June 2013. It spread to Oregon, Monterey Bay, Big Sur and as far south as Baja California, even killing starfish in major aquariums in Seattle, Vancouver, Monterey and other cities.

    When infected, starfish at first become sluggish, then develop white lesions. Within days, they curl up and parts of their arms break off, sometimes literally crawling away. Not long after, the entire starfish turns into a gooey mess and dies.

    In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded the disease is a type of densovirus. It is similar to viruses that affect insects, sea urchins and other invertebrates, and is distantly related to parvovirus, the cause of feline distemper in cats and canine parvovirus in dogs.

    If the outbreak were a murder mystery, scientists now know the killer’s name. But the case is not yet closed.

    “It’s definitely a huge breakthrough,” said Dr. Mike Murray, director of veterinary services at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “It provides a lot of other researchers a place to start and say, ‘OK, we found this virus in lots of sea stars. What was the trigger? What started it all off?

    Are there other problems in other species?’”

    So far, the researchers found, the virus is present in sea urchins and sand dollars, but isn’t killing them in large numbers.

    The virus spreads in seawater and sand, the scientists discovered. But it does not affect humans. And there is no way to offer a cure to starfish populations.

    “It would be nice if we could do that, but it’s too simplistic,” Murray said, comparing it to human epidemics like the Spanish flu of 100 years ago or the Black Death in 14th-century Europe.

    “This is one of those natural phenomena that may or may not have a human basis behind it,” he said. “It is going to play itself out, and hopefully it will do that in a way that will allow sea stars to persist.

    But there are no guarantees.”

    Using cutting-edge genetic tools, scientists at Cornell pinpointed the disease.

    “There are 10 million viruses in a drop of seawater, so discovering the virus associated with a marine disease can be like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Cornell microbiologist Ian Hewson, lead author of the study.

    Working with 335 starfish collected on the West Coast, the researchers ground up tiny amounts of tissue from infected starfish and injected it into healthy ones in lab tanks, learning how it spread.

    Now that they believe they know the culprit, the next step will be to find out why it spread so widely. It could be something natural, like overpopulation of starfish in some areas. Or it could be related to pollution, warming waters or the increasing acidity of the oceans. If triggered by toxics, new laws could make a difference, experts say.

    “It is probably part of their population cycle. But if it is driven by something linked to pollution or climate change or things like that, then we would have some responsibility to deal with it,” said Brian Tissot, director of the Humboldt State Marine Laboratory.

    Starfish are key predators in tide pools and near-shore waters. They eat mussels, clams and snails. If their populations don’t recover relatively soon, mussels and other species could explode out of control, affecting other ocean life.

    “How likely is this disease to maintain itself and keep populations suppressed?” Raimondi asked. “How likely is it to jump to other species? Those are really important questions. And the jury is still out.”

    Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at


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  6. #536
    TV: Attempt to stop flow of highly radioactive liquid at Fukushima “in doubt” — AP: Much of it is pouring in trenches going out into Pacific — Experts: Amount entering ocean “increasing by 400 tons daily” — Problem “so severe” it’s consuming nearly all workers at site — Top Plant Official: “Little cause for optimism” (VIDEO)

    Published: November 14th, 2014 at 11:46 am ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article

    NHK, Nov. 13, 2014 (emphasis added): Radioactive water may still be entering tunnels — [TEPCO] faces another challenge in its effort to address radioactive water at the complex. It says highly contaminated water may still be flowing from reactor buildings into adjacent underground tunnels even after a work to stem the flow ended. The water in the tunnels is believed to be leaking into the sea… the firm began work in April to stem the flow of radioactive water between the reactor buildings and the tunnels… TEPCO finished the work on November 6th. But workers found that water levels in the reactor buildings and the tunnels are still linked
    ITAR-TASS, Nov 14, 2014: Radioactive water discharge from Fukushima Daiichi NPP into ocean continues; According to specialists, the volume of contaminated liquid that is leaking into the ocean is increasing by 400 tons daily — The repair operations… aimed at preventing radioactive water discharges into the ocean have yielded no result, the NPP operator [TEPCO] reported on Friday. The water… is still leaking into the NPP drainage system even after last week’s operations to stop the leak… [D]ue to the major damage of the plant’s infrastructure most of the water that is poured inleaks into the drainage system and gets into the ground waters and then into the Pacific Ocean… The radioactive contamination level in the ground waters, according to TEPCO, is very high…
    AP, Nov 12, 2014: Japan’s nuclear cleanup stymied by water woes… nearly all the workers are devoted to a single, enormously distracting problem: coping with the vast amount of water that becomes contaminated after it is pumped into the reactors to keep the melted radioactive fuel inside from overheating… The water becomes contaminated upon exposure to the radioactive fuel, and much of it pours into the reactor basements and maintenance trenches that extend to the Pacific Ocean.
    The Guardian, Nov. 13, 2014: The man in charge of cleaning up the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has admitted there is little cause for optimism… The water problem is so severe that [Tepco has] enlisted almost all of their 6,000 workers… to bring it under control… “ I have no intention of being optimistic” [Fukushima Daiichi’s manager Akira Ono] told the Guardian… large quantities [of contaminated water] find their way to other parts of the site, including maintenance trenches connected to the sea… “The contaminated water is the most pressing issue – there is no doubt about that,” Ono said… “I cannot say exactly when, I hope things start getting better when the measures start taking effect.”

    Related Posts

    1. ‘Increasing alarm’ at Fukushima: Trenches filled with thousands of tons of plutonium contaminated liquid leaking into ocean — ‘Biggest risk’ at plant — ‘Exceptionally difficult’ problem — ‘Constant flow’ in and out of trenches — ‘Racing to stop’ more from coming in (PHOTO) August 7, 2014
    2. TV: Nuclear waste “flowing out to sea” from underground tunnels at Fukushima — 950 Billion Bq/m³ of cesium in Unit 2 shaft next to ocean — 11,000 tons estimated in tunnels — ‘Stream’ of moving water — Gov’t regulators ‘urgently assessing’ problems, ‘sense of crisis’ needed (VIDEO) July 30, 2014
    3. NHK: Radiation levels increasing at Fukushima plant — “No solution to tainted water” — Hundreds of tons flowing into reactor buildings every day (VIDEO) January 5, 2013
    4. Tunnels under Fukushima plant suspected to have quake damage — Allows radioactive water to ‘move’ into ground — Still holding over 15,000 tons — High-level contamination flowing in from turbine buildings — Tepco “couldn’t afford to work on tunnels” August 3, 2013
    5. CNN: “Problem from hell at Fukushima” — Tons of ‘highly radioactive’ liquid pouring out of Reactor 2 each day — Mysterious explosive bang “deep inside” — 3 areas at bottom may be ruptured — Caroline Kennedy at Plant: US will help with the leaks; 21 y/o son also on Tepco’s 3 hour tour (VIDEO) May 14, 2014

  7. #537
    US Gov’t: Uranium plant leak “warranted emergency classification of ALERT” — Worker: “Video shows release was out of control… Smoke billowing… They refused to warn community” — TV: “I’ve lived here 30 years and never seen anything like it… I was shocked” — “It’s ridiculous… it’s not contained, everybody watched it” (VIDEOS)

    Published: November 17th, 2014 at 10:40 am ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article

    Follow-up to: “Emergency” at US Nuclear Facility, Uranium Gas Release–Witnesses: “There’s the plume… moving across highway… Chemical taste in mouth… I could smell it!” (VIDEO)

    NRC, Nov. 13, 2014 (emphasis added): NRC inspection found that Honeywell did not recognize that the HF [hydrogen fluoride gas] released… warranted an emergency classification of ALERT. Honeywell agreed with the NRC findings and subsequently reported their failure… The NRC has reviewed Honeywell’s calculations on the amount of HF released and their subsequent plume estimateweekly radioactive air monitoring reports for the fence line and nearest residence [show] the activity results were within the Honeywell license limits.
    NRC, Oct. 27, 2014: An operator noticed on the room monitor video screen a haze in the air… This haze indicated a UF6 leak… public outside the plant reported a cloud emanating from the building for five minutes before the mitigation spray towers were activated… Region II received initial notification of this occurrence by public inquiry
    NRC, Nov. 12, 2014: Hydrogen fluoride gas… was visible emanating from the building.
    ABC 3, Oct. 28, 2014: A leak… has residents concerned for their safety… Company officials say there’s nothing to be worried about, but neighbors and plant union workers think it’s more serious than they’re letting on… Heather Cremeens lives less than a block from the plant… Throughout the years, she’s seen a few releasesbut nothing this big.
    Heather Cremeens, lives a block away: “I have lived here for 30 years and I have never seen anything like that before in my life… We grabbed our child… and we took off, we didn’t know what to do… I was shocked they didn’t let us know.”
    NBC 6, Oct. 30, 2014: A spokesman tells us the release was contained… But people that live nearby are trying to figure out what was that large cloud blowing awayGary Cameronsays the hour-long release Sunday night was different.
    Gary Cameron, 30 years living a mile away: “It’s ridiculous, they have these leaks and they say it’s contained every time. It’s not contained — everybody stood there and watched it.”
    John Smith, worker: “Water’s heavier than air [and] going to sink… HF vapor is lighter than air, it’s going to move up, the cloud leaving the facility was definitely moving horizontal and up
    ABC 3, Oct. 28, 2014: Neighbors have reported there was a heavy metallic smell in the air.
    Stephen Lech, union president: “Smoke [was] billowing from… the building… 7 minutes after the release started, the mitigation towers began… An impossibility [the cloud was water]. The spray towers [are] large, they look a lot like a fire stream… Honeywell’s explanation is that fog [is] water vapor… that’s just not a possibility. We expect Honeywell to come clean.”
    Lech: “The company refused to warn the community and told responders that the release was contained to their building and the cloud was water… We believe this video shows that the release was out of control and went on for almost 6 minutes before the spray towers were activated (5:46 in the video). We believe Honeywell has lied to the community.”
    Watch the video here
    Published: November 17th, 2014 at 10:40 am ET

    Related Posts

    1. “Air detection teams deployed” after U.S. nuclear plant accident — “Evacuation signs were posted throughout community” — Concerns over building stability? — Worker: Worst thing to happen in 30+ years (VIDEOS) April 1, 2013
    2. TV: “Massive radioactivity release” at Fukushima going on for almost 3 years now; Visible steam “just the tip of the iceberg” — NHK: Containment vessels are ‘broken’ (VIDEOS) January 5, 2014
    3. Gundersen: U.S. Navy sailors suffered horrific radiation exposures off Fukushima coast — Massive government cover-up going on for many years (VIDEOS) December 31, 2013
    4. Nuclear Expert: This is just 1st radioactive wave hitting U.S. and Canada; Fukushima pouring into ocean, unstoppable for years and years — Marine Expert: No sign it will stop anytime soon; Plant unstable, potentially worse than Chernobyl (AUDIO) January 21, 2014
    5. Community Leader near Fukushima: “It’s our duty to ensure an accident like this never happens again… by eliminating nuclear power” (VIDEOS) October 25, 2011

  8. #538

  9. #539
    West Coast Scientists: Many animals on sea floor looking sick or dead — “Everything’s dying… Dead, dead, dead, and dead” — Experts investigate what’s killing sea urchins and cucumbers in Pacific Northwest — “Seeing things never previously observed” (PHOTOS)

    Published: November 18th, 2014 at 12:59 pm ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article

    National Geographic, Nov 17, 2014 (emphasis added): Urchins and cucumbers seemed to have escaped the ill effects of the virus until now. But in recent weeks, reports have started to come in that they too are dying along beaches in the Pacific Northwest, Hewson said… [He and his team are] studying the urchins and sea cucumbers that are already dying to see if the same killer is responsible.
    Dr. Bill Bushing, kelp forest ecologist, Nov 2, 2014: I’ve mentioned before that [in Southern California] our starfish and sea urchins have been dying… I’ve recently seen sea cucumbers that appear to be diseased as well… I’ve also observed strangely colored sea hares (big shell-less snails) in the park. The red algae they normally eat seems to have died out… Divers also report seeing far fewer of the sea hares this year.
    Ronald L. Shimek, PhD, marine biologist, Nov 10, 2014: Jan Kocian, diving photographer extraordinare… has been actively surveying several marine subtidal areas in northern Puget Sound for some time… [During a Sept. 18] dive… on Whidbey Island, Washington… he started seeing things he had never previously observed.… there were many animals lying exposed on the sandy sea floor, looking limp, sick or dead. Red sea cucumbers were flaccid and dead… Aleutian Moon snails were in odd postures… pink/yellow worms [were] another rare or unusual sight…. Nuttall’s cockles were on the sediment surface with their siphons out, instead of being buried… 22nd September, the area containing dying animals was not only still present it was spreading; whatever seemed to be the cause was still doing its dirty work… 25th September [many] red sea cucumbers… were lying fully exposed, and apparently dead… 29th of September… A few living Cucumaria were acting oddly, not quite dead, but just slightly responsive to touch… Numerous green sea urchins were found with their spines in abnormal postures, definitely not looking healthy… The full extent of the dead area, and the reason for the mortality, remain indeterminate.
    Captions to photos taken by diver Jan Kocian: (3) Death of the sea urchins; (4) [Red sea cucumber] Cucumaria miniata dying and decomposing [alt text on photo: "Everything's dying"]; (5) Dead, dead, dead, and dead – or dying
    See all of the published photos from the dive surveys here
    Published: November 18th, 2014 at 12:59 pm ET
    By ENENews

    Related Posts

    1. Lead Researcher: Fukushima pollution may be causing sea star epidemic on West Coast — Sea urchins, sea cucumbers also affected — “Something’s making them susceptible”… “It’s unlike anything we’ve seen”… “Populations go locally extinct overnight” December 30, 2013
    2. Alaska: “Scientists alarmed by new mystery disease” — Pacific Northwest: “Alarming changes” — “Couldn’t believe my eyes” — “Scientists really stumped… It’s kind of an alien thing” — “Gotten much, much worse… a horror show… could wreak havoc on entire ecosystems from Mexico to Alaska” (VIDEO) August 6, 2014
    3. Gov’t Investigator: Acute hemorrhaging found in dead owls along west coast — Mortality event began 8 months after Fukushima explosions — “In very poor condition… badly emaciated” when arriving in Pacific Northwest from Arctic May 3, 2014
    4. Experts: “Really an off year” — Pelicans starving in Pacific Northwest since 2011, killing baby birds for food — Breeding success “really poor” since 2011 — “I believe pelicans are responding to large scale changes” — “Sardine crash” persists in Pacific since decline in 2011 December 22, 2013
    5. ‘Bizarre creature’ turned 50 miles of California coast into graveyard in summer 2011 — Gov’t Biologist: Die-off like this never seen here — “Abalone massacre… carcasses of urchins, starfish, other mollusks” — Experts find “alterations in 30 genes, some unknown to science” — “Suddenly proliferating… killing wildlife” (PHOTO) May 12, 2014

    November 18th, 2014 | Category: Canada, US, West Coast

  10. #540
    Experts: Seemingly benign virus on West Coast causing “ecological upheaval the likes of which we’ve never seen” — Very peculiar, different from all known viruses — Mutations could be helping it spread — Something may have recently caused it to go rogue… we’ve never seen anything like this — Why now, what changed to allow outbreak? (VIDEO)

    Published: November 18th, 2014 at 6:58 am ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article

    NBC News (emphasis added): Scientists may have fingered the culprit responsible for a mysterious epidemic that has killed millions of starfish… the disease was a relatively common parvovirus found in invertebrates that rose to epidemic levels due to overpopulation, a genetic mutation or other unknown environmental factors.
    PBS: Scientists… said it’s a virus that’s different from all other known viruses infecting marine organisms [and] don’t yet know what sparked the seemingly benign virus to transform into the perpetrator of what’s considered the largest marine disease outbreak ever…
    National Geographic: The virus [is] quite common. [Cornell professor Ian Hewson, lead author of the study, said] “It’s been around for 70 years [and] probably present all over the world.”… Why such a pervasive virus is suddenly killing millions of animals is still up for debate… Previous events [were in] one or two species, but the virus is now infecting 20. It’s unusual for a single type of virus… But mutations in a key part of a viruscan help the infection spread to more species, the study authors write…
    Hewson: “It is very peculiar to find a virus [infecting] such large numbers of species.”
    Reuters: The researchers detected it in… specimens from as early as 1942. They said it may have been present at low levels for years and only recently became a large-scale threat due to some kind of viral mutation, environmental trigger, starfish overpopulation or other factor.
    AP: Hewson adds they don’t know yet what triggered the outbreak of the virus… He said it could be related to… a change in the virus, or changes in the environment.
    National Geographic: [Hewson] suspects that the virus may not actually cause the symptoms… [it may] disrupt the sea stars’ ability to control the bacteria that they normally co-exist with… Why is the current outbreak… so dramatic when [virus] is actually an old presence?

    • Dr. Pete Raimondi, study author: “Something may have happened recently that caused [virus] to go rogue, because we’ve never seen anything like current outbreak
    • Amanda Bates, Univ. of Southampton: “[The virus] has been living with sea stars for over seven decades without causing the large-scale mass mortality of the past two years… we still don’t know why such a large number of sea stars over such a wide geographic area have succumbed to this disease. Has the virus changed to be more virulent, or deadly? Perhaps something in the environment has shifted.”
    • Dr. Mike Murray, Monterey Bay Aquarium: “It provides a… place to start and say, ‘OK, we found this virus in lots of sea stars. What was the trigger? What started it all off? Are there other problems in other species? [This] may or may not have a human basis”
    • Dr. Ian Lipkin, Columbia Univ., pathogen discovery specialist: “The authors… note themselves, there is much more work to be done before we will know whether the densovirus they describe is necessary and sufficient to cause disease.”
    • Vincent Racaniello, Columbia Univ. virologist: “The crucial experiment that remains… is to… inoculate [the virus] into sea stars, and show that it causes wasting disease.”
    • Drew Harvell, Cornell ecologist: “The million-dollar question in all this: Why now? What is it that changed that created the conditions for this outbreak? And we don’t have the answer to that. But certainly a viral mutation would be one explanation.”
    • Carol Blanchette, Univ. of Santa Barbara: “It is likely thatenvironmental causes… have played an important role [and the virus] may only be one part of the story.”
    • Harvell: “Their disappearance is an experiment in ecological upheaval the likes of which we’ve never seen.”
    • Watch an interview with lead author Hewson here

    Published: November 18th, 2014 at 6:58 am ET

    Related Posts

    1. PBS: Plague along West Coast has biologists fearing extinction of species — Experts: Take your kids to beach and see them before they’re gone; Worst outbreak ever known in the oceans; Catastrophic losses nearly everywhere we’ve been (VIDEO) October 15, 2014
    2. TV: “The largest disease outbreak that we know of ever in the oceans” now hitting West Coast — Potential for “global extinction” — “Affects over 20 species… causing catastrophic mortality” — Expert: One of history’s largest wildlife die-offs… signal in ecosystem that something’s not right (VIDEO) June 16, 2014
    3. Officials: Unprecedented disease outbreak to blame for dozens of bald eagles deaths — “A major development.. really kind of undocumented” — Concern virus may have mutated — Brains hemorrhaging, immune systems not fighting it off, why are they now more susceptible? (VIDEO) January 1, 2014
    4. CBS: This is really disturbing, sea stars dying by the millions on West Coast — Like the Black Death, only faster and deadlier — ‘Mystery plague’ affecting 20+ species — TV: Disappears from Orange County coast over 2 week period — Expert: “Largest epidemic ever in ocean… Something has changed in marine environment to lead to this” (VIDEO) July 29, 2014
    5. NPR: Starfish epidemic “moving fast” — Turning into ‘goo’ in Washington, not just Canada — “Virus, bacteria or something else entirely”? “Will it spread to other sea life and other parts of West Coast?” (AUDIO) October 14, 2013

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