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Riding The Nuclear Wave: San Diego Journalist Profiles Fukushima Surfers

Evening Edition

Aired 7/3/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Riding The Nuclear Wave: San Diego Journalist Profiles Fukushima Surfers


Kimball Taylor, writer for Surfer Magazine

Travis Pritchard, Programs Director for San Diego Coastkeeper


Kimball Taylor

A well regarded surf spot about 15 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, March 11, 2014.

It's been three years since an earthquake-triggered tsunami caused a meltdown of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Many residents who were evacuated still have not returned to their homes.

San Diego journalist and author Kimball Taylor traveled to the region and found that while there are concerns globally about contaminated water spreading, surfers in Japan have returned to the water.

Ground water contamination continues to be an issue in the region. Scientists have yet to develop a long-term solution to the problem and are currently in the process of filling massive storage tanks with the irradiated water.

Taylor spoke with surfers living in the city of Sendai, the largest costal city near the nuclear plant. There, he explored the unique cultural beliefs of the Japanese surfers who said they were more afraid of the "ghosts" from their friends and family than any nuclear radiation.

His feature "After the Wave" will be published in the August issue of Surfer Magazine.

Kimball Taylor is the author of Return by Water: Surf Stories and Adventures, as well as, Drive Fast and Take Chances: Fair Warning from Surfers. He’s a longtime contributor to Surfer Magazine. Taylor has co-authored history books on Pipeline and Jeffreys Bay.

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Avatar for user 'lifesaver1'

lifesaver1 | July 3, 2014 at 12:46 p.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

Kimball Taylor's comments seem highly suspect to me. He seems to cite no evidence of contamination levels, while acknowledging his own paranoia. Last year the United States Lifesaving Association was poised to send a national team of lifeguards to Japan to compete in an ocean event some distance from Fukishima, but the competitors were understandably concerned. I contacted a researcher at Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography on their behalf. He emailed as follows on September 7, 2013: "FYI, I leave tomorrow on a research cruise to just 1 km off Fukushima power plants and I feel it is safe to sample there, handle water, sediments, etc. Fisheries are closed in that location. All levels we have measured in the ocean since June 2011 off shore are below what is allowed for cesium isotopes in US drinking water (though no one drinks salt water, you will be swimming in it and could safely swallow some). I am not a health expert but concerned too about my safety when working in the area, and new releases are not really new, but same as has been going on for 2+ years, but now finally admitted to by TEPCO." He also pointed me to this web page:

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Avatar for user 'ecoguy'

ecoguy | July 7, 2014 at 10:27 a.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

URGENT READ THIS: Anyone eating Pacific Ocean fish or seafood or if you feel that you have indeed been radiated due to Fukushima or any other radioactive release, you should look into doing a detox with the natural mineral called Zeolite that have been proven to safely remove both radiation and heavy metals from the body! More more information do a simple one word search for the single word Zeolite.

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