The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Widespread dispersal of radioactive cesium as Fukushima debris is removed

Cesium-137Study: Cesium from Fukushima debris removal likely spread 50 km July 16, 2014 By MIKI AOKI/ Staff Writer

Radioactive substances released during rubble-removal work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant last year likely spread to areas nearly 50 kilometers away, according to a research team at Kyoto University.

The agriculture ministry earlier raised the likelihood that debris-removal operations on Aug. 19, 2013, led to cesium levels exceeding the safety standard detected in rice harvested more than 20 km from the plant.

Akio Koizumi, a health and environment science professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine, and four other scientists discovered that the wind likely carried the cesium more than twice that distance.

The researchers set up air sampling instruments at three points in residential areas of Fukushima Prefecture and have measured radioactive cesium concentrations every week since September 2012 to estimate residents’ exposure to radiation.

From samples collected between Aug. 15 and 22 last year, they found a reading of 1.28 millibecquerels per cubic meter at a location in Soma, 48 km northwest of the plant. That radioactivity level was more than six times higher than usual.

Radioactivity levels were 20 to 30 times higher than normal in Minami-Soma, 27 km north-northwest of the Fukushima plant. And there were almost no changes in cesium concentrations in Kawauchi, 22 km west-southwest of the plant, the researchers said.

Based on the wind’s speed and direction at the time, as well as size of the collected particles, Koizumi and his colleagues concluded that the radioactive cesium came from the Fukushima No. 1 plant as the result of the Aug. 19, 2013, clearance work at the No. 3 reactor.

The team also found that cesium levels at the measuring point in Minami-Soma surged in both May and June 2013. They attributed the increase to debris-clearing operations at the facility.

The research results indicate that future rubble removal at the nuclear plant could disperse radioactive materials over much broader areas surrounding the facility.

In March this year, the scientists presented their findings to the Environment Ministry. It has also been reported that the agriculture ministry instructed Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the nuclear plant, to take measures to prevent the release of radioactive substances in the debris-removal work at the site.

TEPCO currently plans to resume debris-removal efforts by the end of July, starting with the dismantling of a cover installed on the No. 1 reactor building, where highly contaminated rubble remains to be removed.

The utility acknowledged that the Aug. 19 operations released a maximum 4 trillion becquerels–more than 10,000 times the usual levels at the site–over four hours, and apologized to residents for “causing trouble.”

However, TEPCO argued that it is unclear whether the increase in cesium readings was related to debris-clearing work.

July 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, Japan | Leave a comment

USA soil still has radioactive material from Fukushima nuclear disaster

text-radiationFlag-USAFox: Fukushima radioactive material still being found in U.S. soil — Japan Gov’t: The disaster “posed radiation threat to human society”… In 4 days “detectable all across northern hemisphere” — Denmark: Fukushima clearly had widespread consequences, not limited to borders (VIDEOS)

Danish Emergency Management Agency’s Carsten Israelson, Nordic Nuclear Safety Research’s 2013 Fukushima seminar (at 4:15 in): The accident in Fukushima… clearly showed that there are consequences that are widespread, and is not limited to borders… Nuclear accidents do happen! Nuclear accidents will likely have widespread consequences – for all of us. >> Watch presentation hereNational Institute of Radiological Sciences (Japan), March 3, 2014: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident led to the release of large amounts of radionuclides into the environment. [...] The released radioactive materials posed radiation threat to human society. Thus, source identification of radioactive contamination and long-term environmental behavior of released radioactive materials are important issues of study after the FDNPP accident.

Japan Atomic Energy Agency & University of Tokyo, Apr. 10, 2014: By March 15, traces from the accident in Fukushima were detectable all across the northern hemisphere. By April 13, the associated radioactivity had spread to the southern hemisphere of the Asia-Pacific region and was clearly detectable at CTBT IMS stations located in Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

Fox 10 News — Phoenix, AZ, July 15, 2014: [Aubrey Godwin, director of Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency] says radioactive material can still be found in Arizona soil from nuclear weapons testing in the 50′s and from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in 2011. Despite that Godwin says there is no health concern.

Watch the Fox 10 broadcast here

July 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, USA | Leave a comment

Tokyo in danger from Fukushima radiation, says Japanese doctor

radiation-warningflag-japanJapan Doctor: “Tokyo should no longer be inhabited” — Everyone here is a victim of Fukushima — People truly suffering — Bleeding under skin, urinary hemorrhaging — Children’s blood tests started changing last year — Time running short… up to physicians to save our citizens and future generations

Dr. Shigeru Mita’s essay published in the newsletter of Association of Doctors in Kodaira (Tokyo)
, translated by WNSCR, July 16, 2014: Why did I leave Tokyo? To my fellow doctors, I closed the clinic in March 2014, which had served the community of Kodaira for more than 50 years, since my father’s generation, and I have started a new Mita clinic in Okayama-city on April 21. [...] It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation [...] contamination in the east part [of Tokyo] is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and the west part is 300-1000 Bq/kg. [...] 0.5-1.5 Bq/kg before 2011. [...] Tokyo should no longer be inhabited [...] Contamination in Tokyo is progressing, and further worsened by urban radiation concentration [...] radiation levels on the riverbeds [...] in Tokyo have increased drastically in the last 1-2 years. [...] Ever since 3.11, everybody living in Eastern Japan including Tokyo is a victim, and everybody is involved. [...] The keyword here is “long-term low-level internal irradiation.” This differs greatly from medical irradiation or simple external exposure to radiation. [...] People are truly suffering from this utter lack of support. [...] If the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it [is] in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves. [...] Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. [...]

Dr. Mita on patient symptoms since 2011: White blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children [...] Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations [...] we began to notice changes in children’s blood test results around mid-2013 [...] Other concerns I have include symptoms reported by general patients, such as persistent asthma and sinusitis [...] high occurrences of rheumatic polymyalgia [...] Changes are also noticeable in the manifestation of contagious diseases such as influenza, hand-foot-and-mouth disease and shingles. [...]

See also: Japan Physician: I hope adults will leave Tokyo, not just children — Strange things happening — Medications don’t seem to work — Rare diseases increasing dramatically (VIDEO)

And: Japan Physician: Parents should evacuate children from Tokyo; Danger from Fukushima radiation — “The threat has seemed to be spreading” — “I’ve seen a lot of patients badly affected”

July 19, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan | 1 Comment

Living on a radioactive uranium dump

uranium-oreWhat does uranium do?

When uranium is ingested it is deposited in the kidneys, lungs, brain and bone marrow. The alpha particles – which contain massive doses of energy – sit in these parts and damage the tissue around them. Because it is an endocrine disrupter, it increases the risk of fertility problems and reproductive cancer. Large doses are fatal, but the constant exposure to low levels has intergenerational effects that are still not fully understood

flag-S.AfricaOne man’s home is another man’s uranium dump, Mail & Guardian, Africa 18 JUL 2014 SIPHO KINGS With nowhere else to live, many seek refuge in the radiation wastelands in Gauteng, unaware of the deadly dangers the abandoned mining areas present……..Faded photographs in the town museum show people sunbathing and swimming in the lake in the 1980s. There were bars, a jetty and a miniature putting course. Now only the foundations remain after it was closed because of the increasing concentration of uranium in Robinson Lake.

In the past it was a place for the residents of Randfontein – 50km west of Johannesburg – to relax on the weekend and forget their jobs in the mining industry. But in the late 1990s the underground mines started closing because the falling price of gold and uranium made them unprofitable. The mines were abandoned and the water levels inside started rising. Acid mine drainage began seeping into the dam, increasing the level of uranium to levels 220 times higher than the safe limit. The resort closed.

Deep into winter a chill breeze blows across the lake, creating ripples in the clear water. The surface is a stark blue reflection of the sky, with the bottom tainted red from the heavy metals in the water. No alga grow here, no fish swim, no underwater life ripples the surface.

The periphery of the lake is a wide ring of cracked yellow earth. The soil beyond is brown. There are 20m-high blue gum trees. There are yellow signs with “Radiation area – Supervised area” wired to the fence around the area and nailed to the trees.

Gold seam
The Witwatersrand gold seam runs for about 100km, from Randfontein in the west of Johannesburg to Springs in the east. A century of mining drove a mining boom, thanks to this being the world’s largest concentration of the precious metal.

Mine shafts up to 3km deep were sunk. The waste was dumped above ground in over 400 mine dumps or tailings dams that now dot the province. These contain a mixture of heavy metals, and an estimated 600 000 tonnes of uranium.

The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) says this is the only place in the world where large numbers of people live next to dumps full of uranium. Continue reading

July 19, 2014 Posted by | environment, South Africa, Uranium | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive releases – Cesium 137 onto the Pacific Ocean

Pacific-Ocean-drainTV: Fukushima radioactive releases into ocean can continue thousands of more years, says nuclear expert — Japan gov’t concerned with tracking radioactive waste in Pacific as it returns to Fukushima from U.S. West Coast after several decades (VIDEO

American Chemical Society — Environmental Science & Technology (pdf),Apr. 29, 2014 (emphasis added): 135Cs/137Cs Isotopic Ratio as a New Tracer of Radiocesium Released from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident [...] many important issues with respect to its atmospheric transport, deposition processes, and distributions in terrestrial and marine environments remain to be investigated. It has been estimated that ∼80% of the atmospherically released 137Cs was deposited in the western North Pacific Ocean, in addition to [...] 137Cs directly discharged into the ocean [...] continuous input of 137Cs into the ocean due to river runoff of the 137Cs deposited in heavily contaminated Fukushima forest soil can be expected. Recent studies have revealed the start of the transport of the Fukushima accident-sourced 137Cs into the ocean interior [...] it is predicted that in 30 years the Fukushima accident-derived 137Cs will come back to the ocean surface in the western North Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima coast through its transport by the Kuroshio current. Thus, to understand the environmental behavior and the fate of Fukushima accident-sourced radionuclides in the environment, a powerful Cs tracer is strongly required, because the currently widely used 134Cs/137Cs activity ratio tracer will become unavailable in several years because of the rapid decay of 134Cs [...] 135Cs has a half-life of 2 × 10^6 [2.3 million] years; therefore, we are confident that the 135Cs/137Cs isotopic ratio can be considered as a new powerful tracer for long-term source identification and environmental behavior studies. [...] This study was supported [...] partially by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan [7 of study's 8 authors are from Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences]

Nuclear analyst John Large, July 9, 2014: The cores remain active for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, so there’s a commitment to keep either the ice wall technology in place or to replace it with an alternate technology by some future generation. […] Water is coming off the escarpment above the three reactors, it’s then percolating through the ground — there’s hydrostatic pressures pushing the water up toward the sea level — it’s then collecting the fission products and radioactive products from the melted-down cores and taken out to sea. […] What I think they should now have a plan to tackle the root cause… How do you control, manage and eventually remove the reactor cores? […] If the reactor cores remain in there, it’s going to be a constant leachate (water that percolates through a solid and leaches out some of the constituents) of radioactivity.

Watch the interview with Large here

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Britain’s Ministry of Defense finally to clean up Dalgety Beach radiation

flag-ScotlandMoD will clean up radiation at Dalgety Bay beach The Scotsman by DAVID MADDOX 11 July  2014 THE Ministry of Defence is to pay an estimated £10 million to clean up radiation on a Fife beach, following a campaign by local residents concerned about health risks.

Some 3,500 radioactive particles have been found at Dalgety Bay over the past two decades.

The material is thought to date back to when parts of Second World War aircraft, including their radiated instruments, were dumped at the site.

Defence chiefs have now confirmed that work will include removing the particles from the beach, and building a wall and slipway to prevent other radioactive material from reaching the area.

It should start later this year and will continue in phases until 2018.

A report on the work does not specify costs but local MP and former prime minister Gordon Brown believes the clean-up total will be around £10m.

“After three years of intensive campaigning, including four debates in the House of Commons, I welcome the Ministry of Defence agreement to spend what I believe will be £10m to clean up the pollution caused by radiation at Dalgety Bay,” he said.

“The pollution resulted from dumping 800 wartime planes with radiated dials and other hazardous equipment into the sea. Subsequent coastal erosion has brought the pollution to the surface.”………

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said it was not a “complete solution” but praised the local community for their campaigning.
He said: “Some radioactive waste will be left entombed on site but it should finally put an end to the danger faced by humans and wildlife in what should be one of Scotland’s more attractive seaside spots.
“All credit to the community and to Sepa for their dogged persistence in getting the MoD to finally do the right thing.”
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said: “Residents of Dalgety Bay and Fifers from across the Kingdom have been waiting decades for this mess to be cleaned up, so I am glad that some progress has been made on this issue and that the MoD has finally accepted

July 12, 2014 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

The enormous and intractable problem of Fukushima’s radioactive soil

text-radiationflag-japanFukushima’s radioactive soil sparks fights, exposes the enormity and hopelessness of clean-up taskStraight, by MARTIN DUNPHY on JUL 4, 2014 “…….Soil would fill how many B.C. Places?In the months after the 2011 earthquake-and-tsunami catastrophe, environment ministry experts estimated that the amount of radioactive topsoil from parts of four surrounding prefectures that would have to be “decontaminated” and stored could be as high as 29 million cubic metres.

That would be about enough dirt to fill the 59,000-capacity B.C. Place Stadium 23 times.

However, Yuichi Moriguchi, a University of Tokyo environmental-engineering professor, pegged the amount at closer to 100 million cubic metres, enough to fill 80 B.C. Places.

Minister Ishihara had told reporters in Tokyo on June 16 that the dragged-out and often acrimonious soil-storage negotiations between Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party–led administration and local and state governments in Fukushima would be solved once the issue of “monetary value” was settled.

Fukushima residents, evacuees, the governor, and the mayors of Futaba and Okuma—the two towns adjacent to Daiichi that have been tentatively earmarked for storage facilities—were outraged by the comment.

They called it insensitive and said it failed to take into account their dislocation, fears, and sense of helplessness. They said it made them seem to be concerned only with compensation.

Minister underestimated reaction

The environment minister quickly backtracked, saying he was misconstrued, but he refused to retract his statement. After opposition pressure, however, he apologized during a June 19 parliamentary session and retracted his remark………

Many of the sites are already at or near capacity.

Costs could be wildly inaccurate

In December 2013, Tokyo announced that it would spend almost $1 billion to store 132,738 tonnes of radioactive soil already removed from near the crippled power plant. No towns came forward to offer to sell the approximately three to five square kilometres of land estimated to be needed to build the supposedly “interim” facility to house the waste, currently stored temporarily in different locations around Japan.

(That plan covers less than 150,000 tons of soil. Greenpeace International has claimed that as of February 2013, more than fourmillion tons of radioactive waste had been produced.)

The $1-billion cost of this plan might be severely underestimated, however. A disposal centre in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, for low-level radioactive waste from the country’s nuclear plants (including metal parts and work clothing) cost $2 billion to build.

And it holds only 200,000 cubic metres of material.

The true cost for the planned “interim” facility could be in the tens of billions of dollars—or much higher.

Waste needs to be stored for 30 years

Prefecture officials and residents expressed skepticism about the unclear future location of “permanent” storage sites, noting that the material would have to be stored away for a minimum of 30 years and voicing fears that their towns would become the preferred perpetual spots…….

There are many areas outside this district that are contaminated as well, to varying degrees, including isolated “hot spots”. Some of these were found in Tokyo, more than 200 kilometres away from Daiichi. On the other hand, that original clean-up area consists of up to 70 percent woodlands, hills, and mountains, much of which (if not most) will probably never be touched by decontamination efforts.

Some areas may be deserted forever

And if more than five centimetres of topsoil needs to be scraped off to remove radioactive cesium­, after years of rain and groundwater movement, the volume of material needing to be stored will rise accordingly. Prof. Tomoko M. Nakanishi, from the University of Tokyo’s graduate school of agriculture, conducted soil research in Fukushima post-disaster and had this to say about how readily radioactive cesium was absorbed by the soil: “It was like pollen with superglue.”

Friends of the Earth, an international network of environmental groups, reported in 2012 that a test soil-decontamination program for only three houses in Fukushima generated 35 tons of soil waste.

In the end, it will probably be areas around parks, residences, schools, hospitals, and other public buildings that will see the most attention from decontamination efforts.

Some parts of the surrounding prefectures may never see a return to levels of human activity to compare with pre-Fukushima. And some areas may remain deserted forever.

Oh, yeah, then there’s the ocean

This is without even mentioning the incalculable amount of radioactive groundwater and cooling water that has flowed into the Pacific Ocean nonstop since the first day of the disaster almost three-and-a-half years ago. Woods Hole Oceanographic Society scientists labelled this “the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history”.

According to Greenpeace International, one month after the meltdowns, cesium-137 levels in the sea near Daiichi were 50 million times higher than pre-disaster measurements. (Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years; cesium-134′s is a bit more than two years.)

And Asahi—using data provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the Daiichi plant operator—says that 462TBq (a terabecquerel equals one trillion Becquerels) of radioactive strontium have been dumped into the Pacific. Strontium is potentially far more dangerous to human life than either cesium-134 or cesium-137.

There have been conflicting reports about the amounts of even deadlier plutonium that might have been released into the soil, air, or water……

July 7, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, Japan | Leave a comment

120 Quadrillion becquerels of radioactive cesium into North Pacific Ocean from Fukushima

Cesium-137Japan Gov’t-funded Study: Fukushima has released up to 120 Quadrillion becquerels of radioactive cesium into North Pacific Ocean — Does not include amounts that fell on land — Exceeds Chernobyl total, which accounts for releases deposited on land AND ocean (MAP) 1 July 14,

Scientific Reports (, Mar. 4 2014: The total amount of decay-corrected 134Cs in the [subtropical] mode water was an estimated about 6 PBq [petabecquerels, i.e. 6 quadrillion becquerels] corresponding to 10–60% of the total inventory of Fukushima-derived 134Cs in the North Pacific Ocean. […] The decay corrected ratio of 134Cs/137Cs in soils has been calculated to be 1.0, which suggests that the total amounts of 134Cs and 137Cs released from FNPP1 were equivalent. […] the total amount of Fukushima-derived radiocesium in the North Pacific remains uncertain, because it has been difficult to obtain sufficient samples of water, especially from subsurface and deep waters, in the vast North Pacific Ocean […] Estimates of the total 134Cs released to the North Pacific Ocean ranged from 10 PBq (direct discharge of 4 PBq + atmospheric deposition 6 PBq) to 46 PBq (16 + 30 PBq). Thus, the 6 PBq inventory accounts for 10–60% of the total release. However, the total inventory in the subtropical region derived from the activity in STMW [Subtropical Mode Water] may be underestimated, because CMW probably carried the radiocesium into the subtropical region, too […] The estimated inventory in the subtropical region (6 PBq or 10– 60% of the total inventory) is probably a lower limit of estimation because contribution of CMW [Central Mode Water]  was not counted. [...]

Funding: “This work was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid… from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan

Note: The study states that up to 46 PBq of 134Cs is estimated to have been released into the North Pacific Ocean from Fukushima Daiichi. Yet, it also states that the 6 PBq in the study area represents between 10-60% of the  total 134Cs released into the North Pacific Ocean. If the 10% figure is used, the total release into the N. Pacific would equal 60 PBq of 134Cs. The study also states the releases of 134Cs and 137Cs were equivalent, resulting in a total of 120 PBq into the N. Pacific. This total does not include releases deposited on land or in other bodies of water.

Chernobyl Comparison: A report by the Nuclear Enrgy Agency states that when more detailed deposition data eventually became available, the United Nations estimated the total Chernobyl release of 137Cs at 70 PBq. 134Cs is estimated to have been 53.7% of the 137Cs — approximately 38 PBq of 134Cs — resulting in a total of 108 PBq. Unlike the Fukushima total reported above, this does include all 134Cs and 137Cs releases from Chernobyl — not just what was deposited in the ocean.

See also: California Gov’t Report: Fukushima released up to 181 Quadrillion Bq of cesium, Chernobyl was 105 Quadrillion — Radioactive material to flow from Japan “for years to come”

And: Marine Chemist in Jan. 2014: Latest numbers I have are Fukushima has released 80 Quadrillion Bq of cesium-137 (Chernobyl estimated at 70 Quadrillion) — “The radioactive plume itself has actually arrived… it’s already here” on west coast of N. America (AUDIO)

July 2, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, oceans | 2 Comments

High proportion of deformities in migratory birds in Japan

Emergency research underway in Japan after birds found with perplexing deformities — “Something unusual occurring inside their bodies” — Never reported in 500,000 exams done before 3/11 — Now observed at every site across country, some over 1,000 km from Fukushima (PHOTO)

Asahi Shimbun, June 25, 2014: [Noboru Nakamura, a researcher at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology] has visited the riverbed [in Fukushima] 20 times [...] looking into whether the earthquake or the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused abnormal changes among wild birds. [...] [Researchers] first verified abnormal change [200 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi] in Niigata Prefecture [...] Oct. 24, 2011, a common reed bunting, a small migratory bird, was found with uneven tail feathers that had a moth-eaten appearance. The institute started emergency surveys [...] The most perplexing thing was the overly long feathers [...] Its feathers very reliably grow to a certain length [...] [Kiyoaki Ozaki, Yamashina Institute for Ornithology deputy director-general,] could not imagine a reason for them to be longer. By March 2012, the same abnormality was identified at all research sites across Japan, such as Tochigi, Ibaraki, Tokyo, Shizuoka, Shimane, Kagawa and Fukuoka [over 1,000 kilometers from Fukushima]. The proportion of birds with the abnormality was 13.8 percent. In at least one place, the ratio exceeded 25 percent. Birds born in 2011 account for 97.3 percent of the specimens with the abnormality. [...] Researchers have found feathers that already appear moth-eaten when they split open the sheath. Some birds even grew back feathers with the same deformity after the researchers plucked out older, misshapen feathers. [...] One thing is certain: The common reed [...] pass through or stop in the Tohoku region during their migration.

Noboru Nakamura, a researcher at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology“In Iitate, I caught a Japanese bush warbler in the net yesterday. It had feathers missing from the back of its head, and its skin was dark on that part. I found the same thing last year and the year before in Minami-Soma. I don’t know the reason.”

Kiyoaki Ozaki, Yamashina Institute for Ornithology deputy director-general“Bird banding surveys of the common reed bunting began in 1961, and nearly 480,000 of the birds have been examined [...] we monitor [their tail feathers] closely. But this sort of abnormality hasn’t been reported before. I’ve seen thousands of the birds, but it was the first time for me to see tail feathers like these. [...] There is something unusual occurring inside the birds’ bodies, perhaps with their genes or hormone secretion. [It's] in the realm of possibility [that it could be the effect of radioactive substances].”

See also: Professor: Fukushima twice as strong as Chernobyl when comparing species of birds found in both places — We don’t know why they are doing even worse in Fukushima (VIDEO)

And: The Australian: The devastating physical & genetic effects of Japan’s nuclear disaster are revealed — All mutant butterflies were caught far outside Fukushima evacuation zone

June 26, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

USA coastal communiities monitoring sea-borne Fukushima radiation plume

Fukushima radiation concerns coastal communities Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal 25 June 14, Talk in the Oregon coast town of Bandon often turns to the approaching plume of sea-borne radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

“We’ve been worried about it and worried about it,” said Zac Adams, owner of Bandon Designsconstruction company. “We’re really concerned about it affecting the fisheries, the wildlife, the tourism, and most importantly our health.”…….

The radiation is expected to hit the U.S. this year at very low levels that wouldn’t harm humans or the environment. But no federal agency is monitoring it.

So Adams joined a citizen-science project, crowd-sourcing funds in his community to test a sample of seawater that he will soon collect.

Four hours north, the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership has funded two collection sites, in Tillamook and Pacific City.

“Over the last year-and-a-half, it’s been an issue that’s been raising in prominence along the coastline,” said Lisa Phipps, executive director of the partnership. “In our area, there have been groups that have been coming together to talk about what is happening in the ocean.”

And fund-raising is underway for two more sites, in Newport and Winchester Bay.

Altogether about 30 sites, from Alaska to Baja, Calif., have been funded, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who put together the project, called “How Radioactive is Our Ocean?”

It uses crowd-sourced money and volunteers to collect water samples along the Pacific Coast, then ship them to Buesseler in Massachusetts to be analyzed on an $80,000 instrument………

Buesseler is looking for increased levels of Cesium-137, which already is in all oceans from previous nuclear testing and accidents; and for Cesium-134, a “fingerprint” of Fukushima.

Because of its short, two-year half-life, any Cesium-134 could only have come from the plant, he said.

So far, Buesseler said, no samples have indicated that the plume has reached the West Coast.

Buesseler posts results on the project’s website. They show Cesium-134 and increased levels of Cesium-137 off the coast of Japan and across the ocean.

“We know it’s out there,” Buesseler said. “We’ve seen it more than halfway across the Pacific.”

Northwest of Hawaii, for example, Buesseler has found Cesium-134 at concentrations as high as 3.8 becquerels per cubic meter.

But to put that in context, he said, the U.S. drinking water limit is 7,400 of those units.

“Every additional radiation exposure causes additional risks for cancer,” he said. “But when the numbers are in the one to 10 range, that’s a very small additional risk.”

That’s the range that is expected to hit our shores, with lower levels coming first.

“As the contamination arrives, we expect the concentrations to go up over the next two years,” Buesseler said……..

June 26, 2014 Posted by | oceans, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

U.S. shores continue to have increasing levels of Fukushima radiation

radiation-in-sea--food-chaiPost-Fukushima radiation levels near US shores continue to increase Radiation levels in Albacore tuna have tripled post-Fukushima, according to Oregon State University (OSU) researchers. The scientists came to that conclusion after conducting a study on fish caught off the coast of Oregon.

According to Delvin Neville, a graduate research assistant at OSU, these trace levels are too small to be a realistic concern. “A year of eating albacore with these cesium traces is about the same dose of radiation as you get from spending 23 seconds in a stuffy basement from radon gas, or sleeping next to your spouse for 40 nights from the natural potassium-40 in their body,” said Mr. Neville.

However, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences say the worst is yet to come and that the most highly radioactive water hasn’t reached US shores yet.

Regardless, all scientists apparently agree that the radioactive contamination is still traveling in ocean currents, the long-term effects of which remain to be seen.

June 12, 2014 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

South Dakota’s community livelihood at risk from uranium polluted water

water-radiationUranium mine would affect more than West River Kim C. Kraft  Are you aware of the potential problem of uranium mining in western South Dakota to the rest of the state? Presently, there are more than 200 abandoned uranium mines leaching radioactive debris into our rivers. Radioactive residue from these mines can be detected as far as Vermillion. So it is not just a West River problem.

Now we have Powertech/Azarga, a China-based investment company, wanting to take vast amounts of water from two major aquifers of the Southern Black Hills for in situ mine leaching of uranium. Not only will they take the water from our ranchers, who desperately need it during the drought, but contaminating it for any future use by the ranchers and surrounding communities. With the Western states becoming dryer from prolonged drought, we cannot afford to waste clean water for the benefit of foreign countries. Our state government is allowing this. Our governor and Legislature have removed oversight and control over water usage in the Southern Black Hills, thus allowing the mining companies to use up precious clean water, pollute it and then leave with no responsibility to clean the mess up. They are putting our livelihoods on the line. Remember this for the November elections.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | Uranium, USA, water | 1 Comment

South Dakota – take heed from Colorado’s bad experience with uranium mining

thumbs-downColorado has ‘experience’ with uranium mines


Gena Marie ParkhurstRapid City South Dakota can learn from Colorado’s experience with uranium mining. While South Dakota has 272 abandoned uranium-oreuranium mines and prospects, Colorado has 387. While South Dakota has yet to experience an operating in-situ leach uranium mine (Powertech/Azarga is attempting to permit the first one 15 miles northwest of Edgemont), Colorado has experienced experimental in-situ leach uranium mining, which left elevated levels of gross alpha radiation, beta radiation, nitrate, ammonia and selenium in the underground aquifer. The contamination got worse after the mine was declared “restored.”

Colorado has had enough. Colorado House legislators recently passed new regulations on uranium processing. The bill sets minimum standards for groundwater cleanups before a company can be let off the hook. It also requires uranium and thorium mines to get a radioactive materials license from the state health department if they use a new process that involves injecting water into the mine’s rock formations.

Colorado state Representative Jared Wright, R-Fruita, said new mining technologies often pollute, despite promises to be safe and clean. “This bill is about protecting our citizens, those we are all here today to serve,” Wright said.

Let’s hope our legislators take heed and protect our water in 2015’s legislative session.

June 5, 2014 Posted by | environment, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Uranium mining’s grave risk of polluting aquifer in Southern Black Hills, South Dakota

Risks too great to allow Hills uranium mining Jerry Wilson Argus leader 1 June 14, Chinese and Canadian-funded Powertech wants to mine uranium in the Southern Black Hills by the in situ method — dissolving uranium in the aquifer, pumping it to the surface for extraction, then dumping polluted water deep into the Earth.

Twice before, foreign corporations mined uranium in the Hills and left a radioactive mess. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources lists 263 abandoned uranium sites in the state. Radioactive material and toxic heavy metals have polluted tributaries of several South Dakota rivers.

We needn’t repeat the mistakes of neighboring states. The Crow Butte mine near Crawford, Neb., has a long history of spills and “excursions” of radioactive water into the aquifer. And the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality cited the Smith Ranch/Highland mine near Glenrock, Wyo., for “an inordinate number of spills, leaks and other releases … pond leaks, well casing failures and excursions.” The cleanup was projected to cost $150 million, four times the company’s bond.

Below the Inyan Kara aquifer that Powertech wants to mine lies the Minnelusa aquifer, then the Madison, all vital to future life in the region. A study of risks to the Madison aquifer by three South Dakota School of Mines and Technology researchers concluded that “Water supplies for Rapid City … and the surrounding suburban and rural areas are extremely vulnerable to contamination.” The DENR’s mission statement is clear — “protecting South Dakota’s environment and natural resources for today and tomorrow.” Unfortunately, our Legislature passed a law –– written by Powertech lobbyists –– that tied the hands of the DENR to do its job.

If in situ uranium mining pollutes the water vital to life, tourism and ranching in the Southern Hills, we might know in a year or two, or perhaps only after Powertech is gone. That is a chance we cannot afford to take. The Powertech mine must be stopped.


June 2, 2014 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Treasure Island homes to be tested for radiation

text ionisingFlag-USAOFFICIALS TO TEST TREASURE ISLAND HOMES FOR RADIATION By Nick Smith abc 7 News,  Saturday, May 31, 2014 SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) –Officials told San Francisco’s Treasure Island residents that more testing would be done to examine the risks posed by potential radiation exposure there.

Officials with the Navy and various state of California regulatory agencies will begin checking homes next month. Each of the homes will be scanned with a Ludlum Survey Meter, a device designed to detect gamma radiation.
“I always just feel like there’s a little bit more to what they’re saying,” Treasure Island resident Linda Brown said. Dozens of Treasure Island residents spent the day pressing state officials for new information about possible health risks associated with radiation contamination at or near their homes. ……
In two weeks, officials will perform radiological surveys on the ground floor of every residence to collect the data and test for safety, but that may not end the debate….

June 2, 2014 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment


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