State health officials from California in the U.S. have debunked claims raised by an Internet video posted on YouTube which pointed out dangerously high radiation levels in the sands of Pacifica State Beach. The author of the video linked the radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
The No.4 reactor building (top) and the building housing the commonly spent fuel pool are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, in this aerial view taken by Kyodo, November 18, 2013. TEPCO began on Monday removing 400 tonnes of the dangerous spent fuel in a hugely delicate and unprecedented year-long operation fraught with risk. Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo
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"Recent tests show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident," Wendy Hopkins, spokeswoman of the California Department of Public Health, said.
"There is no public health risk at California beaches due to radioactivity related to events at Fukushima."
The video showed an unidentified man carrying a commercial Geiger counter. The device displayed levels of radiation as the man walked along the beach shores. It showed the levels rose to "alert" levels.
Half Moon Bay is often frequented by surfers. The video's author said he has been taking radiation measurements in the area for over two years.
This particular video, titled 'Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco?', has gone viral over the Internet; it was posted on Christmas Day 2013.
"Someone going around with a Geiger counter is likely to discover these great variations in levels from time to time," Edward Morse, a Berkeley nuclear engineering professor, was quoted by online portal Politix. "That's absolutely no correlation with anything that happened in Fukushima."
Low-level radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors crossing the Pacific following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami was first detected in May 2012. This was based on a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Its authors were Daniel J Madigan, a marine ecologist then at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, and Nicholas Fisher, a marine scientist at Stony Brook University.
Hearing of the latest video, Mr Fisher told the San Francisco Chronicle that radiation levels on the California coast from Fukushima "have gone down ever since".
Dan Sythe, CEO for International Medcom, which designs and manufactures Geiger Counters, supported the findings.
"The radionuclides are in the NORM class of radioactive substances, not from Fukushima," Mr Sythe said. When he saw the video, he immediately asked a sample of sand from the beach and had it tested. He said they are convinced whatever radiation levels found were not linked to Fukushima.
"The levels detected are about five to 10 times what you would normally expect to find on a beach," he said. "But if the sand were contaminated by radiation from Fukushima it would show cesium-137 which is reported to be the major health concern in Fukushima."
He said he got radium and thorium instead, which are naturally occurring radioactive elements.
Watch the video in question here:
*Video Source: YouTube/ Kill0Your0TV