Soils retain, contain radioactivity in Fukushima Science Daily, March 24, 2015 Source: American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
Radiocesium dissolves easily in water, allowing it to spread quickly. However, different soils have the ability to retain various toxins and prevent them from spreading or entering the food chain. The authors measured the ability of a large number of soil samples collected from Fukushima to intercept radiocesium. They found success depends on various factors.
One key factor is the presence of rough or weathered edges of certain minerals, such as mica, in the soil. These rough edges catch the radiocesium and prevent its movement. This is the frayed edge site (FES) concentration. Nakao explains, however, that “quantification of the FES with a simple experiment has proven difficult.” A “surrogate” measurement used by soil scientists is the radiocesium interception potential (RIP). This measurement is time-consuming and requires specialized facilities, preventing its measure at local institutes.
Thus, Nakao’s study looked for and found that other, more easily measured soil properties to predict the radiocesium interception potential (RIP) of a soil. “These findings may be useful in screening soils that are particularly vulnerable to transferring radiocesium to plants grown in them,” Nakao says. “However, the amounts of radiocesium transferred to plants are normally negligible, because most of the radiocesium is strongly fixed on the frayed edge site.”……..http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324101006.htm
Fracking Radiation- North Dakota Considers Weaker Landfill Rules, Less Oversight , CounterPunch, MARCH 19, 201 by JOHN LaFORGE
Radioactive waste produced by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is making headlines all over gas land, particularly in North Dakota’s booming Bakken gas and oil field.
National news coverage of the scandalous illegal dumping of radioactive filter “socks” there — on Indian Reservations no less — has led North Dakota’s legislature to consider changes to its radioactive waste laws so that fracking’s contaminated wastes can be dumped in ordinary landfills.
One current bill would permit fracking’s radioactive waste in state landfills to be contaminated with 10 times the radioactivity that state law now allows — as long as it’s covered with 10 feet of dirt. Radioactive fracking waste that’s not being illegally discarded — no Victoria, mobster dumping probably hasn’t ended — is supposed to be being trucked out of state.
ND House Bills 1113 and 1114 — reportedly requested by the State Health Department — are being contested by some law makers and journalists who question the right of the department to set its own rules.
The ND Newspaper Association and the ND Broadcasters Association complained that one bill eliminates mandatory public hearings about landfill rule changes and instead permits them “when appropriate.” The bill also cancels public notification of the permitting process for disposition of radioactive materials.
Dave Glatt of the State Health Department told the Bismarck Tribunethat his agency commissioned Argon National Laboratory in Chicago to study the issue and make recommendations. The department wanted to know “radiation limits that would be safe for workers and the public.” Glatt forgets that there are no safe radiation doses, only legally permitted ones.
Locals are Worried
“We don’t want to have, when this oil and coal is gone, nothing left here, a wasteland, and I’m afraid that’s what might happen,” said Underwood farmer Gene Wirtz to KXNET news reporter Ben Smith in January. Wirtz is worried about the increased radioactivity in local landfills. “Any amount of radiation beyond what you’re already getting is not a good thing,” he said.
Radioactive isotopes that contaminate fracking industry waste and its machinery include radon, radium-226, uranium-238, and thorium-232. According to the Health Department’s website, these long-lived radioactive pollutants come in six forms:
* “Produced water” which is injected underground but later brought to the surface as waste;
* “Sulfate scales,” which are hard, insoluble deposits that accumulate on frack sand and inside drilling and processing equipment;
* Contaminated soil and machinery;
* Filter socks, contaminated by filtering “produced water”;
* Synthetic “proppants” or sand; and
* Sludge and “filter cake” solids of mud, sand, scale and rust that precipitate or are filtered out of contaminated “produced water. They build up in “filter socks,” and in waste water pipes and storage tanks that can leak.http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/19/fracking-radiation/
The decline in contamination has been very slow among bottom fish, including karei flat fish and ainame greenling caught off Fukushima. The same is true of freshwater fish, including iwana, caught from rivers, lakes and ponds in Fukushima, Miyagi, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures.
As for mushrooms and wild vegetables, samples from 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka, exceeded the threshold between April 1 last year and March 1, according to the data.
Produce worries easing but some fish, wild foods still a problem in wake of Fukushima meltdowns, Japan Times BY MIZUHO AOKI STAFF WRITER MAR 12, 2015 The public panic over the threat of radioactive food has subsided in the four years since the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant experienced three reactor core meltdowns and spewed massive amounts of fallout, but worries persist.
Seikatsu Club, a mail-order food delivery co-op, maintains an online database that includes more than 700,000 results of radiation tests on food items. Page views have fallen to about one-tenth of their peak in 2012, said Hiroshi Tsuchida, a quality management division chief with the co-op, but there are people who still visit the site almost daily.
“For such members, we are continuing testing and disclosing all the data on our website,” Tsuchida told The Japan Times. “In Ukraine, there are screening devices at markets where people check food even today, nearly 30 years since the (start of the Chernobyl) nuclear disaster. I believe we should do the same.”
Despite the lingering fears, however, overall contamination levels of farm produce and seafood from Fukushima and neighboring prefectures have declined significantly……..
But concern remains over fish, wild vegetables and wild game. Between April 1 last year and March 1, around 292,000 such samples were tested for radioactive cesium and 502, or 0.17 percent, exceeded the safe threshold, the health ministry said. In fiscal 2012, that ratio stood at 0.85 percent. Continue reading
Given this research by Nicholas Fisher on Americium and Ken Buessler’s Ph.D. on plutonium testing, one would think that they would test for this at Fukushima. They apparently decided to test for Caesium, instead. The following was an important, taxpayer funded (seemingly DOD) research grant, which is apparently NOT being put to good use
Sea Stars: Sentinels for Radionuclides-Nuclear Waste, Mining Awareness 14 Mar 15 Over 20 years ago, the US government gave money to researchers to study the impact of long-lived radionuclides, which might leak from Russian nuclear waste in the Arctic. It was determined that sea stars could be bioindicators of 241 Americium.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality just received this week additional information from EnergySolutions related to potential erosion and other “deep time” problems suspected to impact its Tooele County disposal site, pushing back the start of a public review to April 13.
Helge Gabert, project manager for the state on the depleted uranium issue, said the requested information was about a month late. It was submitted Wednesday for review. It will be incorporated into a subsequent analysis or safety evaluation that the agency will release for public comment about a week beyond its earlier time frame.
In addition, a pair of public meetings will be held the week of May 4, with a decision on disposal due July 1 from Rusty Lundberg, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control.
To take the nation’s leftovers of 750,000 metric tons of depleted uranium, EnergySolutions has to first convince Utah regulators that its site will be safe for 10,000 years. Beyond that, it has to prove that the threat to public health will be minimal in the advent of a return of a Lake Bonneville or other “deep time geologic events” over 2.1 million years.
It is a mind boggling scenario, planning for all manner of circumstances that could play out, modeling time and performance over such an extended period that it is difficult to grasp.
EnergySolutions must account for the farmer who wanders onto the disposal site, unaware of the radiological hazard underneath his feet. Or the burrowing rodent that could cause vulnerabilities to the at-grade disposal site.
The company must try to figure out how the wind will deposit the sand, how dunes will form and when the lake returns — as some say it inevitably will — how the water might disperse the radiological hazard from an anticipated breach of the disposal barrier.
Such planning is something Utah is requiring because of the unique nature of depleted uranium, which is the byproduct of the uranium enrichment process for nuclear fuel. While depleted uranium has commercial applications, such as antitank armaments, demand for it is far outpaced by the amount that is generated. The U.S. Department of Energy has responsibility for its disposal.
Depleted uranium gets more radioactive as its isotopes try to get back to their natural state, and as these “daughter products” break down, they not only multiply, but increase in intensity.
The instability that occurs in the decay process occurs over 2.1 million years, with what was once classified as “low-level” radioactive waste breaching Utah-imposed limits on what is allowed to be buried in the state.
Gabert said there is no question that by 40,000 years, depleted uranium will violate the state’s prohibition on anything “hotter” than Class A waste, so it becomes a policy issue for current regulators to decide if its disposal is acceptable in the here and now.
“You could argue why does not the state just make the decision based on the science, but we have not made that. We are willing to hear out what the facility has to say,” Gabert said.
The deep time analysis looks in particular if the threat will be mitigated enough — if the doses of radioactivity would be diluted to the degree that even exposure to a higher “category” of waste would not cause harm.
Critics of the EnergySolutions’ proposal to dispose of the depleted uranium say no amount of assurances or analysis can safeguard human health given the sheer amount of unknowns.
The 2015 Fukushima Report is available for download in English at http://www.greencross.ch/en/news-info-en/case-studies/fukushima-report.html.
As with the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which impacted 10 million people, Japan is expected to see increased cancer risk and neuropsychological long-term health consequences. The stress-related effects of evacuation and subsequent relocation are also of concern. The evacuation involved a total of over 400,000 individuals, 160,000 of them from within 20km of Fukushima. The number of deaths from the nuclear disaster attributed to stress, fatigue and the hardship of living as evacuees is estimated to be around 1,700 so far.
“Our local presence and ongoing activities to help the communities impacted by radioactive contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima gives us first-hand experience of the human and environmental consequences of nuclear disasters,” said Adam Koniuszewski, Chief Operating Officer of Green Cross International, who recently shared the stage with former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan for a conference on nuclear power. “This is why we are demanding more transparency and better governance around nuclear power and the risks involved, and a better assessment of its mounting costs. The management of nuclear waste in increasingly burdensome and the cost of decommissioning plants is escalating. In the meantime, renewable energy solutions are getting cheaper. Over the last five years the cost for utility scale solar has declined by 78 per cent, and by for wind by 58 per cent.”……….
About Green Cross International:
GCI is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization founded in 1993 by Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev. It addresses the interconnected global challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation through global advocacy and local projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has a network of national organizations in 27 countries http://www.gcint.org/
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Is seafood totally free from Fukushima radiation?http://www.fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?monthyear=&day=13&id=75191&l=e&special=&ndb=1%20target=Friday, March 13, 2015,
A new report on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan raises concerns as to seafood safety given the radioactivity levels in tuna and other fish.
The 2015 Fukushima Report was prepared under the direction of Professor Jonathan M. Samet, Director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California(USC), as a Green Cross initiative.
“Our local presence and ongoing activities to help the communities impacted by radioactive contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima gives us first-hand experience of the human and environmental consequences of nuclear disasters,” pointed out Adam Koniuszewski, Chief Operating Officer of Green Cross International.
“This is why we are demanding more transparency and better governance around nuclear power and the risks involved, and a better assessment of its mounting costs. The management of nuclear waste in increasingly burdensome and the cost of decommissioning plants is escalating. In the meantime, renewable energy solutions are getting cheaper. Over the last five years the cost for utility scale solar has declined by 78 per cent, and by for wind by 58 per cent,” Koniuszewski added.
The radiation released by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was largely concentrated in Japan and over the Pacific Ocean.
According to estimates, 80 per cent of the released radiation was deposited in the ocean and the other 20 per cent was mostly dispersed within a 50 km radius to the northwest of the power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture.
While the expected cancer risk to humans caused by the radiation released over the Pacific Ocean are small, trace amounts of radiation have already reached the North American continent, in particular parts of the North West Coast of the United States.
In addition to the radioactive material initially released in the ocean, water leakage at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant remains a problem four years after the accident.Reports of pipes breaking and water escaping from containment tanks in the months and years since the accident are a source of worry for workers and the public. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) reported that radioactive material had been released as late as May of 2013.
Green Cross is committed to phasing out nuclear energy worldwide. The organisation is also concerned about the effects military use of nuclear materials can have on the environment and health. Because of the worldwide effects of climate change and nuclear disasters, it is urgently necessary for the global community to work together on developing and using renewable energies, boosting energy efficiency, and pursuing a controlled, global end to the production of nuclear power.
The 2015 Fukushima Report is available to download in English at: Fukushima Report.
UCLA Researchers: Fukushima “not only affecting that local area, but also worldwide” — Gov’t Expert: “Immediately the Iodine-131 plume moved eastward reaching US West Coast [then] covering entire northern hemisphere… Significant concern on the safety of the population and environment worldwide” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/ucla-researchers-fukushima-only-affecting-local-area-worldwide-govt-expert-immediately-iodine-131-plume-moved-eastward-reaching-west-coast-covering-entire-northern-hemisphere-early-april-posing-sig?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29 8 March 15
In the Fukushima Disaster Zone with UCLA researchers, Mar 3, 2015: Four years after Fukushima disaster, some areas remain untouched, clocks recording the exact time that the tsunami swept through. Access is highly restricted but two UCLA researchers were recently given permission to document the disaster zone. — at 3:45 in — “With this study I think that’s what we’re trying to explore — is that once a nuclear catastrophe strikes, it’s not only affecting that local area, but also worldwide.”
Atmospheric dispersion of Iodine-131 released after the Fukushima event, by Giuseppe A. Marzo, ENEA (Italian National agency for new technologies, Energy and sustainable economic development), 2014: From March 12, 2011, a significant amount of radioactive material… discharged into the atmosphere… Total emission of 131I has been estimated in [128** petabecquerels (PBq)], while 133Xe, and 137Cs total emissions have been estimated in [15,300 PBq and 36.6 PBq], respectively. In this work the global atmospheric dispersion of 131I released by the Fukushima accident is carried out, focusing on this specific radionuclide due to its radiological relevance in terms of consequences on the human health… Figure 1 summarizes the simulation results. It illustrates the radioactivity concentration due to 131I released into the atmosphere at specific times and integrated over the total atmospheric column. Immediately after the initial release on March 12, the plume moved eastward reaching the United States west coast on [March 15 at 10:00p PST]… In early April the plume extended over the entire northern hemisphere… A significant accidental event occurred at the Fukushima NPPs… volatile radionuclides such as 131I were transported away from the source posing significant concern on the safety of the population and the environment worldwide… the atmospheric dispersion of 131I [was] covering the entire northern hemisphere by early April…
**According to a document released by TEPCO, “Our result shows a higher I-131 amount (500PBq) compared to the result obtained from a thirdparty organization (120-200PBq).”
Four years after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, Japan’s leaders and citizens still face many complex challenges. Among these, none is more complicated than the issue of nuclear power.
Concerns remain about the containment of radioactive waste and the progress of decommissioning the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. Periodic media reports of radioactive water spilling into the Pacific Ocean have not inspired confidence. Instead, they directly undermine Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s strong desire to restart Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors, which have been offline since the disaster.
There is still controversy about how to dispose of contaminated topsoil and other radioactive material scattered around Fukushima. Locals want their land decontaminated and habitable, and very few communities want a stockpile of radioactive waste in their backyard.
The level of uncertainty was patently obvious when the Science Council of Japan proposed that the radioactive waste material be stored at an above-ground facility for 50 years while officials and citizens devised a better option. But it has been difficult to find a locality willing to accept this material even in the short-term. Only in late February 2015 did Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori finally agree to establish interim storage facilities in the towns of Futaba and Okuma. The radioactive waste is to be permanently disposed of ‘outside the prefecture’ in 30 years’ time……..
Farmers whose lands were contaminated with radioactive fallout must make difficult decisions. Cleaning contaminated topsoil and foliage is an expensive undertaking and does not guarantee the elimination of radioactive hotspots. Some farmers are retooling and moving into other forms of agriculture (such as greenhouse production), but this can be costly and time-consuming and is not easy for elderly, established farmers. Younger farmers with families must also weigh up the health risks of taking their children back into areas deemed decontaminated.
But even if agricultural operations begin to revive, convincing consumers that Fukushima produce — rice, fruit, and seafood — is safe will not be easy. Advertising campaigns publicising the rigorous testing procedures for Fukushima produce run the risk of fuelling consumer concern rather than mitigating it.
Community rebuilding and restoration challenges also remain. In late 2014, around 90,000 people whose homes were destroyed in the disaster were living in temporary housing. A similar number were living in public and privately owned apartments financed by municipal governments, taking the total number of displaced persons to around 180,000……..
now scientists are predicting a similar calamity for the Tokyo region.
If such a disaster were to occur, the knock-on effects for the economy and society could be catastrophic. Tohoku certainly proved that even seismologists can miss the ‘big one’, but it’s the after effects that have demanded a serious rethinking of Tokyo’s disaster preparedness. Scientists are saying there is a 70 per cent chance that a magnitude 7.0 or higher quake will hit Tokyo by 2016 and a 98 per cent chance it will hit in the next 30 years.
Whether or not this eventuates, Tohoku and the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi should be a warning about the dangers of complacency.
Simon Avenell is Associate Professor in History and an Australian Research Council Fellow at The Australian National University.http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2015/03/07/the-ongoing-fallout-from-japans-nuclear-meltdown/
Report: Fukushima fallout detected in U.S. fish — Dose equal to samples caught 100 miles from plant — Persistently high levels detected in marine life offshore “not anticipated… orders of magnitude” more than expected — “Measurements needed… along predicted plume trajectory” http://enenews.com/report-fallout-japan-reactors-detected-freshwater-fish-radioactive-dose-equivalent-fish-caught-100-miles-fukushima-reactors-ongoing-measurements-needed-along-predicted-plume-trajectory
Excerpts from ‘Radiological Dose Rates to Marine Fish from the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: The First Three Years Across the North Pacific’, includes authors from Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences and Oregon St. Univ., 2015 (emphasis added):
- A more complete record is emerging of radionuclide measurements in fish [from]across the Pacific… Fish 100–200 km east of [Fukushima], coastal fish in the Aleutian Islands… and trans-Pacific migratory species, all had increased dose rates as a consequence of the FDNPP accident.
- FDNPP produced the largest single-event influx of radioactive cesium isotopes into the Pacific [137Cs up to 90 PBq; Chernobyl total: 70-85 PBq].
- Dose rates to the most impacted fish species near the FDNPP have remained above benchmark levels for potential dose effects at least three years longer than was indicated by previous, data-limited, evaluations.
- [Strontium-90] was estimated to contribute up to approximately one-half of the total 2013 dose rate to fish near the FDNPP.
- Evaluations… suggested that the dose rates to fish near the FDNPP… only briefly remained above the benchmark levels for potential harmful effects… However, subsequent data have indicated highly elevated and persistent accumulation of Cs.
- Maximally exposed fish near the FDNPP [had] an increase of more than six orders of magnitude… The elevated activity concentrations were not isolated to one sample, or one species. In 2013, activity concentrations of 134,137Cs exceeding [100,000 Bq] kg were measured in more than 100 fish from ten species sampled from FDNPP port… concentrations in [some species] are orders of magnitude higher than predicted.
- Some of the released radionuclides are being carried long distances…
- At Amchitka Island [in Alaska] the 134,137Cs dose rates to [greenling and rockfish] were only slightly higher than pre-event levels… The increase… appears to be due to atmospheric transport from Fukushima as 134Cs was measured… in freshwater fish[11 Bq/kg in trout].
- Detections of 134Cs in California water samples gathered in August 2014… suggest incremental dose rate increases to resident fish.
- Fish at 100–200 km east of the FDNPP, coastal fish in the Aleutian Islands, and trans-Pacific migratory species all had increased dose rates.
- Persistence of the radionuclides in fish was not anticipated by existing models…ongoing measurements are needed at locations near the FDNPP and further along the predicted plume trajectory… Some areas that have experienced air deposition in 2011 (e.g. Aleutian Islands), should continue monitoring as they may experience a second arrival of 134,137Cs in subsequent years via an oceanic plume.
- This study was in collaboration with the… IAEA
In December, the EPD issued a permit to Southern Nuclear to draw up to 74 million gallons of water daily from an intake site on the river. Southern Nuclear was required to install oxygen injection systems, commonly called “bubblers,” in the Savannah Harbor to offset concerns about oxygen levels.
“This will affect other dischargers and those using the waters, including the harbor and the lakes,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus. “We have permits that are expired and have not been renewed, and this one is being put forward prematurely.”…….Environmentalists underscored that the Vogtle project is nearly three years behind schedule and said the EPD should take more time to consider the potential damage to the river and the Savannah Harbor.
In December, the EPD issued a permit to Southern Nuclear to draw up to 74 million gallons of water daily from an intake site on the river. Southern Nuclear was required to install oxygen injection systems, commonly called “bubblers,” in the Savannah Harbor to offset concerns about oxygen levels.
“This will affect other dischargers and those using the waters, including the harbor and the lakes,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus. “We have permits that are expired and have not been renewed, and this one is being put forward prematurely.” http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2015-03-03/conservationists-nuclear-proponents-comment-vogtle-hearing
Alarm at Fukushima Nuclear Plant: Radioactivity too High, National Japan News, By Ken Tanaka & Norihisa Taguchi 23 February 2014
“…….There are presently not enough sturdy, above-ground tanks that can be used take the water from the pits in which it is stored, TEPCO General Manager Masayuki Ono said at a news conference. Water has been leaking from the pits over the lst few weekends.“………Contaminated Water And Records Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has revealed that it may not have enough space to store the contaminated water that began to leak from its nuclear Fukushima plant over the weekend.
The company is still facing problems dealing with the consequences of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, as it attempts to keep reactors and spent fuel pools in a safe state known as cold shutdown.
A record quantity of radioactive cesium – 7,400 times the country’s limit deemed safe for human consumption – has been detected in a greenling fish in the waters near the crippled Fukushima plant, two years after the nuclear disaster.
The operator installed a net on the seafloor of the port exit near the plant to prevent the fish from escaping. The bottom-dwelling greenling fish was found in a cage set up by TEPCO inside the port next to the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a utility official told AP on condition of anonymity.
The company also indicated that the previous record of cesium concentration in fish was 510,000 becquerels per kilogram detected in another greenling caught in the same area, TEPCO said.https://onewayjapan.com/News-National/2015/09-Alarm-at-Fukushima-Nuclear-Plant-Radioactivity-too-High.html
Chernobyl Radiation Still Blows Across Europe http://www.earthweek.com/2015/ew150220/ew150220b.html Lingering fallout in the soil around Ukraine’s crippled Chernobyl nuclear power plant is still spreading over parts of Europe when local wildfires lift the contamination into the atmosphere.
Nearly 30 years after arguably the world’s worst nuclear accident, a new study led by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research used satellite images from 2002, 2008 and 2010 to detect three fires in the forests of Ukraine and Belarus near Chernobyl.
The findings were then compared with measurements of radioactive cesium-137 deposited on the area, and fed into models of air movements and fires.
Smoke from the fires was found to have carried between 2 and 8 percent of the cesium-137 in the soil as far south as Turkey and as far west as Italy and Scandinavia.
Even though the contamination was at nearly insignificant levels by the time it reached those areas, the researchers said better forest management and construction of fire breaks could help cut down on the Chernobyl area fires.
But they say the radiation seems to be inhibiting the decay of leaf litter on the ground that can help spark the blazes. The contamination may have killed off the key insects and microorganisms that promote natural breakdown of the leaves.
The Norwegian government has spent more than $126 million on Russian nuclear safety projects in the last two decades, according to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.
The 17,000 dumped containers are also a potential disaster, creating a minefield for oil companies looking to drill in the area, particularly because the exact locations of most of the containers are unknown.
The Soviet Union Dumped A Bunch of Nuclear Submarines, Reactors, and Containers into the Ocean https://news.vice.com/article/the-soviet-union-dumped-thousands-of-nuclear-submarines-reactors-and-containers-into-the-ocean By Laura Dattaro February 21, 2015 The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine remains one of the worst nuclear incidents in history and highlighted the risks of generating power by splitting atoms. But it’s not the only nuclear waste the Soviet Union left behind. Scattered across the ocean floor in the cold waters of the Arctic are nuclear submarines and reactors dumped by the Soviets up until the early 1990s.
Now, as energy companies are seeking to drill in those same waters, the Russian government has shown an interest in cleaning up its nuclear waste. But after decades of sitting on the ocean floor, some of the most dangerous pieces may be too unstable to remove, leaving the potential for radioactive material to leak, which could disrupt commercial fisheries and destroy aquatic ecosystems.
“Taking reactors and cutting out the bottom of your ships and letting them sink to the bottom is about as irresponsible as you can get when it comes to radioactive waste,” Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace, told VICE News. “We’ve had some weird [behavior] in this country where we haven’t been all that great with it but nothing that rose to the level of what the Soviets had done.” Continue reading
Strong effects of ionizing radiation from Chernobyl on mutation rates, Scientific Reports, Anders Pape Møller& Timothy A. Mousseau Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 8363doi:10.1038/srep08363 Received 25 September 2014 Accepted 16 December 2014 Published 10 February 2015
In this paper we use a meta-analysis to examine the relationship between radiation and mutation rates in Chernobyl across 45 published studies, covering 30 species. Overall effect size of radiation on mutation rates estimated as Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient was very large (E = 0.67; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.59 to 0.73), accounting for 44.3% of the total variance in an unstructured random-effects model. Fail-safe calculations reflecting the number of unpublished null results needed to eliminate this average effect size showed the extreme robustness of this finding (Rosenberg’s method: 4135 at p = 0.05). Indirect tests did not provide any evidence of publication bias.
The effect of radiation on mutations varied among taxa, with plants showing a larger effect than animals. Humans were shown to have intermediate sensitivity of mutations to radiation compared to other species. Effect size did not decrease over time, providing no evidence for an improvement in environmental conditions.
The surprisingly high mean effect size suggests a strong impact of radioactive contamination on individual fitness in current and future generations, with potentially significant population-level consequences, even beyond the area contaminated with radioactive material………http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150210/srep08363/full/srep08363.html
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