The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

“Worst accidental radioactive pollution of Pacific Ocean” hasn’t moved US to test seafood

Nuclear Power: Dead in the Water it Poisoned, CounterPunch,  by JOHN LAFORGE    NOVEMBER 5, 2015 “………..Radiation exposure and contamination should concern everyone because by all accounts the volume of radiation-in-sea--food-chairadioactive materials discharged to the Pacific Ocean by Fukushima is the single greatest radioactive contamination of the sea ever observed. [27] An estimated 27 “peta-becquerels” (27 million billion becquerels) of cesium-137 had already leaked or been deliberately dumped into the Pacific by October 2011. A becquerel represents one atomic disintegration/second.

Last July, Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima wreckage, acknowledged that an additional 300 tons-a-day of highly contaminated water is leaking into the Pacific from the six-reactor station — and has been since the beginning of the disaster almost three years ago. The American Medical Association — following the revelation of massive ongoing leaks — called on the US government to “monitor and fully report the radioactivity levels of edible species sold in the United States.”[28]

Yet at present, US seafood is not regularly tested for cesium contamination, in spite of the large numbers of fish and other foods that have been found contaminated by Fukushima isotopes — including blue fin[29] and albacore tuna[30] caught off the US West Coast, grapefruit from Florida, and prunes, almonds, pistachios and oranges from California.[31]

In this context, a coalition of public health and environmental groups petitioned the FDA in early summer demanding a drastic reduction in the amount of radioactive cesium allowed in food. The petition by members of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) declared that the arbitrarily high 1,200 becquerels-per-kilogram (Bq/kg) US limit is “ridiculous.” The standard is between 120 times to 24 times weaker than Japan’s.

The petition demands that US foods have no more than 5 Bq/kg of cesium-137 and -134, and that all food be tested and labeled with its cesium content. The FFAN reports that the devastated Fukushima reactors continue to leak more than 10 million becquerels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 per hour into the environment, “with no sign of stopping.” The network said it was “alarmed” at the lack of testing currently in place to meet the threat of radioactive contamination in food. Because cesium-134 has a hazardous life of about 10-20 years, and cesium-137 has a hazardous life of about 300-600 years, the FFAN said, the threat of food contamination “is a long-term issue that deserves immediate attention………”


November 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Southern Ocean fast becoming acidic, with abrupt effects on the marine food chain

ocean-heatingAbrupt changes in food chains predicted as Southern Ocean acidifies fast: study [excellent pictures]  November 3, 2015   Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Southern Ocean is acidifying at such a rate because of rising carbon dioxide emissions that large regions may be inhospitable for key organisms in the food chain to survive as soon as 2030, new US research has found.

Tiny pteropods, snail-like creatures that play an important role in the food web, will lose their ability to form shells as oceans absorb more of the CO2 from the atmosphere, a process already observed over short periods in areas close to the Antarctic coast.

Ocean acidification is often dubbed the “evil twin” of climate change. As CO2 levels rise, more of it is absorbed by seawater, resulting in a lower pH level and reduced carbonate ion concentration. Marine organisms with skeletons and shells then struggle to develop and maintain their structures.

Using 10 Earth system models and applying a high-emissions scenario, the researchers found the relatively acidic Southern Ocean quickly becomes unsuited for shell-forming creatures such as pteropods, according to a paper published Tuesday in Nature Climate Change.

“What surprised us was really the abruptness at which this under-saturation [of calcium carbonate-based aragonite] occurs in large areas of the Southern Ocean,” Axel Timmermann​, a co-author of the study and oceanography professor at the University of Hawaii told Fairfax Media. “It’s actually quite scary.”

Since the Southern Ocean is already close to the threshold for shell-formation, relatively small changes in acidity levels will likely show up there first, Professor Timmermann said: “The background state is already very close to corrosiveness.”

Below a certain pH level, shells of such creatures become more brittle, with implications for fisheries that feed off them since pteropods appear unable to evolve fast enough to cope with the rapidly changing conditions.

“For pteropods it may be very difficult because they can’t run around without a shell,”  Professor Timmermann said. “It’s not they dissolve immediately but there’s a much higher energy requirement for them to form the shells.”

Given the sheer scale of the marine creatures involved, “take away this biomass, [and] you have avalanche effects for the rest of the food web”, he said.

As carbon dioxide levels rise, the impacts seen in the Southern Ocean – and its counterpart regions in the northern hemisphere – can be expected to spread closer to the equator.

Scientists anticipate that a halt in the increase in greenhouse gases will take time to have an impact on slowing the warming of the planet. However, a faster response can be expected in the oceans to any slowing in the pace of acidification.

“The corrosiveness of the water is a very strong function of the atmospheric C02 and there is not much of a delay [to any changes]”, Professor Timmermann said.

The paper’s release comes about four weeks before delegates from almost 200 nations are expected to gather in Paris, France to negotiate a new global treaty to curb carbon emissions.

November 4, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Japan’s coastal population: risks from radiation ignored by govt and IAEA

UK research clearly shows that coastal zone populations are exposed to doses of marine radioactivity under the following set of environmental parameters:

  1. resident in coastal zones up to at least 200kms downstream of a source of liquid radioactive discharges to sea
  2. resident in coastal zones adjacent to coastal waters with high suspended sediment loadings
  3. resident in coastal zones adjacent to extensive fine sediment inter tidal/sub tidal sediment deposits (salt marsh, mud flats etc)
  4. resident in coastal zones subject to prevailing onshore winds and storm or tidal conditions generating marine aerosols, sea spray and coastal inundation
  5. resident in coastal zones where such parameters (A to D above) have, elsewhere, been shown to enable/facilitate the penetration of marine radioactivity for across the shoreline and up to 10 miles inland from the coast.


Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population Tim Fukushima toiletDeere-Jones 28th September 2015 

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.

Review of the official Japanese marine monitoring programme reveals that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to the risks of marine radiation from the stricken Fukushima site.

The strategy it has adopted, with the support of the IAEA, consistently ignores the latest evidence about the way marine radioactivity behaves in inshore marine environments and the potential radiological risks to coastal populations.

This strategy is based on a flawed hypothesis, developed by the nuclear industry through the late 1940s and early 1950s, when both oceanography and the study of the behaviour and fate of radioactivity in marine environments were in their absolute infancy.

As a result, the principal conclusions on the marine impact of the Fukushima event put forward in recent reports from the IAEA, the Government of Japan and it’s relevant agencies, minimise the environmental and public health negatives and emphasise a range of hypothetical ‘positives’.

This is a major flaw because the empirical evidence from ‘non-aligned’ research in the UK is that coastal communities are subjected to highly enriched doses of marine radioactivity through pathways of exposure, and from environmental parameters, which will not be analysed and researched under current Fukushima monitoring plans.

As a result, significant public health impacts of the event will not be documented, nor will important data about the way Fukushima marine radioactivity behaves at the coastline.

Failing to gather the evidence of coastal radiation Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear power station at Bradwell would damage the marine environment

water-dropsflag-UKMP warning over new nuclear power station in Essex East Anglian Daily Times 25 September 2015 Matt Stott  An Essex MP has claimed a new nuclear power station at Bradwell would cause “significant damage” to the marine environment. Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin expressed concern over the impact the site would have on the region’s fishing industries and ecology.

His intervention comes days after Chancellor George Osborne indicated a £2 billion Government guarantee for Chinese investment in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset could pave the way for further deals, including a majority Chinese-owned nuclear generation facility at Bradwell.

It is thought the site, next to the former nuclear power station, could be shared with between owners EDF and Chinese firms to build and run a new nuclear plant.

Mr Jenkin said: “There should be no new nuclear at Bradwell, unless the concerns about damage to the estuary and storage of nuclear waste on site can both be unequivocally resolved. “There seems no way that a new nuclear power station would avoid significant damage to the marine environment in the estuary.

“When the Magnox station was decommissioned, there was explosive recovery in the marine environment. I have been informed that a new power station would take six times more flow of water than its predecessor.

“The estuary cannot supply the volume of cooling water without severely damaging the natural life-cycle of organisms in it. This jeopardises the ecology, our local fishing industries and goes against the aim of the Marine Conservation Zone.”

He added: “It is also a significant concern… that high level nuclear waste would have to be secured and stored on the site for some decades after a new facility has reached the end of its operating life, before it can be safely transported.

“This raises questions about how could it be stored safely over such a long period.”………

September 26, 2015 Posted by | environment, oceans, UK, water | Leave a comment

Pacific Ocean radioactive isotopes from Atomic Testing compared with from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Fukushima inputs are much smaller in magnitude and despite ongoing release unlikely to exceed weapons fallout. 
The weakness of this approach is that there are other pressures (ocean acidification, warming, oxygen depletion) on the marine environment that one could qualitatively say might make the ecosystem more vulnerable to these very small increases in radiation.
Pacific-Ocean-drainHistory of Bomb Strontium and Cesium Isotopes in Pacific Compared to Fukushima Sources (EXCELLENT GRAPHS) by MarineChemist

The purpose of this diary is to compare the concentrations of Sr-90 and Cs-137 in the North Pacific Ocean over the last 50 years to the concentrations predicted to arrive on the west coast associated with waters affected by release of radionculides from the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Given present levels that are being measured in the eastern Pacific and barring release rates that significantly exceed past rates in March-April 2011 the impact on marine organisms and the marine environment is going to be very minimal.  What follows below the fold is a comparison of the concentrations measured and predicted over much of the Pacific owing to Fukushima to the concentrations that were present in the mid-1960s from the fallout of atmospheric weapons testing that is free from any discussion of safe doses or models of radiation exposure to organisms. Continue reading

September 21, 2015 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Timothy Mousseau dismisses radiation as cause of giant wolffish

 When images of a “mutant” wolffish caught off the coast of Japan started making the rounds this week, panic ensued. But like a fictional “Godzilla”, this fish is actually nothing to be worried about. For starters, it’s not as big as it looks. Remember last year’s “giant” mantis shrimp? Just like in that photo, what you’re seeing here is the result of forced perspective. By bringing the fish closer to the camera’s lens, fisherman Hiroshi Hirasaka is creating an optical illusion. For that very same reason, trees often look like they’re growing out of the back of a subject’s head in family photos and Frodo Baggins looks so small in Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy.

As for the idea of giant, mutant Fukushima fish … there is no scientific evidence to support claims that fallout from the Fukushima disaster has, or will, cause this to happen. Even right after the disaster, a swim in nearby waters would have dosed you with just 0.03% of the daily radiation an average Japanese resident receives. And much of that fallout has disappeared because of natural decomposition and decay.

Besides, even in the extremely unlikely event that radiation was the culprit here, we would actually expect to see smaller, not larger, fish. “Very, very few mutations lead to extra-large size,” explains University of South Carolina radiation specialist Dr Timothy Mousseau. “[Instead], they grow less efficiently, they’re less capable of catching food and they tend to not live as long.

All that said, this catch is still an impressive one. Wolffish (family Anarhichadidae) average about three feet in length (110 cm), but can get bigger. What Hirasaka has landed is a very old and very healthy specimen. “If you look hard and long enough there’s always a few that manage to survive long enough to achieve these large sizes,” says Mousseau.

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, oceans, spinbuster | 2 Comments

USA’s secret plans with Japan to dump radioactive trash into oceans

Pacific-Ocean-drainUS tried to conspire with Japan to dump nuclear waste into world’s oceans, reveal documents (NaturalNews) When nuclear energy production technology first began to emerge in the US in the 1950s, neither scientists nor the US government considered what would be done with nuclear reactors once it was time for them to be put out of commission. And recently-released documents reveal that, in an effort to hastily deal with this problem after the fact, the US government actually tried to conspire with Japan to gain secret approval for dumping decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world’s oceans.

In 1972, the United Nations (UN) had proposed the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention, to deal with the growing, global pollution problem. The agreement’s provisions sought to specifically regulate the environmental pollution that signing nations could and could not dump into the oceans, which of course included nuclear production materials.

But since a finalized version of the agreement had not yet been fully established, the US government took advantage of the situation by seeking to insert an exemption cause permitting the dumping of decommissioned nuclear reactors into the ocean. And since Japan had also been involved in developing its own nuclear energy program, the US thought it could gain additional support for the exemption clause from its Asian ally.

But Japan allegedly did not comply, according to Kumao Kaneko, 74, who was a member of the Foreign Ministry team involved in the negotiations at the time. So the US decided to go it alone in proposing its exemption clause, which was meant to be a last-resort option — and it was eventually successful in achieving its goal.

Though the US made no mention of any long-term plans to utilize the ocean as its nuclear dumping ground during the proposal, it now appears as though the country had every intention of using the ocean as a nuclear disposal facility. And since the London Convention clause still exists to this day, all other signing countries are free to dump their nuclear waste in the ocean as well.

Russia, a signing member of the London Convention, openly admitted back in 1993, for instance, that it dumps nuclear reactors and fuel into the ocean because it allegedly has no other safe way to dispose of such materials (…).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, claims the US stopped dumping nuclear reactors into the ocean a long time ago. And US officials claim that decommissioned nuclear reactors are today buried in the ground rather than dumped into the ocean:

September 6, 2015 Posted by | history, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Ken Buesseler, Jay Cullen, lead independent research into radiation in the Pacific Ocean

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Great article. As an anti nuclear activist myself, I think that it is most important that we keep our concerns in proportion. The nuclear industry has so many bad effects, that we don’t ned to exaggerate ones that are not clear. Thankfully, despite government inertia, Buesseler and co are working to establish the facts on the effect if the Fukuhsima disaster on the ocean.


Pacific-Ocean-drainhighly-recommendedRadiation in the Ocean  Director, World Ocean Observatory The West Coast of the United States seems under siege by negative environmental news: earthquake predictions, oil spills, drought, critically diminished water supply, wildfires, and numerous accounts of unusual coastal events: algae blooms, whale strandings, cancer in seals, collapse of fish stocks, and more.

How to explain? Well, much of this can be attributed to climate factors where rising temperatures have resulted in multiple inter-related consequences: limited glacial melt, increased evaporation, no water, dry land, and the inevitable fire darkening that pristine Pacific air with smoke and ash the length of the coast.

The ocean phenomena may be different. The warming of the ocean surely has an impact on changing growth patterns of marine plants and animals, just as the changing pH or acidity of the ocean has been shown to modify habitat and migrations. But what else?

One argument has been the effect of radiation leaking from the three nuclear power plant reactors shut down by the earthquake and resultant tsunami tidal wave that inundated Fukushima, Japan in 2011, and has been thereafter distributed by ocean currents; indeed there is evidence of a plume of increased concentration of Cesium-134, and other radioactive elements that have been observed at unprecedented levels, spreading out some 5,000 miles into the Pacific toward North and South America. In April of this year, there were headlines declaring that “Fukushima radiation has reached the North American Shore” and concerns were raised, spread through the Internet and press, that this was surely the cause of these otherwise inexplicable anomalous natural events.

There is no Federal agency that funds monitoring of radiation in coastal water, and the present effort, conducted since 2004 by Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been underwritten by crowd-funding and the efforts of volunteers taking samples to provide data on cesium isotopes along the west coast of Alaska, the U.S. mainland coast, and Hawaii, the information that has been used to model potential distribution and concentration of any contamination. A comparable effort has been launched in Canada, led by Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria in collaboration with government, academic, and NGO partners.

The radioactivity has been decreased by time, the natural half-life of the isotopes, and by dilution in a very large and deep body of water. In their samples, Buesseler and his “citizen scientists” did detect cesium-137 already in the waters as a result of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and cesium-134 which does not otherwise occur naturally in the ocean and can only be attributed to Fukushima, to serve as a first baseline for subsequent collection, analysis, modeling, and conclusion.

Buesseler channels his research through the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Institute, where he offers a preliminary conclusion that “the amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less that 2 Becquerels (a radioactive measure) per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Buesseler continues, “We emphasize that cesium-134 has not been detected YET as it has been detected offshore of North America by Canadian oceanographers… The uncertainty in the predictions by these ocean models only emphasizes the importance of collecting samples from along the shores. Remember too that those models predict interacting levels of both cesium isotopes for the next 2 or 3 years, the highest published prediction is for 20 to 30 Becquerels per cubic meter, or well below what is thought to be of human health and fisheries concerns.”

So, yes, and no. No definitive conclusion, no clear argument that radiation is the cause of those coastal events which distress us so. There is no solace in uncertainty, just as there is no certainty without evidence. The question is immensely important and thanks to Ken Buesseler and all those volunteers alongshore and in research vessels who are working to provide the substance for a real answer.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | oceans, Reference | 2 Comments

#Nuclear submarines bring increasing danger to Indo-Pacific region

submarine-missilethe more submarines you put in the same body of water, the higher the probability they might collide’.

Indo-Pacific nuclear sub threat to rival Cold WarAFR, by John Kerin, 3 Sept 15  The Indian and Pacific Oceans are becoming increasingly crowded with nuclear armed and conventional submarines increasing the risk of collision and nuclear conflict.

The warning is contained in a new Lowy Institute of International Affairs paper to be released on Friday which argues the region faces the greatest threat of a miscalculation involving nuclear armed submarines since the Cold War era.

“The regional contests for influence between the United States and China and China and India do not yet have the existential or ideological ‘life or death character’ of the Cold War,” the paper by Professor Rory Medcalf of the ANU based National Security College and Brendan-Thomas Noone from the Lowy International Security Program says.

“But quite literally below the surface a new and dangerous competition is emerging as China and India in particular start deploying nuclear weapons at sea……….

The paper says during the Cold War there were estimated to have been between 20 and 40 submarine collisions at sea.

“Dangerous submarine incidents can occur even among allies in the post Cold War world, as shown by a potentially disastrous clash between British and French nuclear armed boats in 2009,” the paper says.

“With the number of submarines operating in the Indo Pacific growing, particularly around choke points, the chances are such encounters will increase.

 “As the Commander of US submarines in the Pacific Rear Admiral Phillip Sawyer has noted ‘the more submarines you put in the same body of water, the higher the probability they might collide’.

The paper says the risk of triggering a nuclear conflict remains low but could occur as countries such as China and India field long range nuclear weapons aboard their submarines for the first time – but crews lack sufficient experience with training and nuclear doctrine.

“There will likely be a long phase of initial instability as China and India start deploying nuclear submarines without the full command and communications systems and the training and doctrine so vital to a credible and secure deterrent,” the paper says.

“Unless these systems are in place nuclear submarines could be a strategic liability, rather than a stabilising presence, particularly during conflict or crisis situations,” it says……….

The first Australia-India naval exercise will be held later this month and the countries are also expected their first joint airforce exercises.:

September 4, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Barents Sea – the Arctic’s radioactive legacy of Soviet nuclear weapons testing

“The Barents Sea and the coast of Novaya Zemlya were turned into a dump for solid and liquid radioactive waste. A catastrophic situation has been created. A real threat has emerged, not only to sea mammals but everything in the ocean. The ecological and genetic consequences are unpredictable.”

Novaya Zemlya, an Arctic island twice as big as Switzerland, was cleared of its inhabitants in the 1950s to make way for nuclear weapons testing.

The frigid waters of the White and Barents seas were used as a dump for spent reactors from nuclear submarines and icebreakers.

Kara-barents_seaAt top of the world, the Soviet legacy is pollution, Baltimore Sun  April 19, 1992|By Kathy Lally | Kathy Lally,Moscow Bureau ARCHANGEL, Russia — Soviet power has disappeared here, but it has left a fatal legacy.

The march toward communism cost the people of Archangel their pure air, clean water and even the health of their children. This snowy expanse near the Arctic Circle seems fouled beyond all understanding.

The damage was thorough, unrelenting and so insidious that scientists have yet to determine its extent.

The latest victims are thousands of harp seals dying of cancer from the harm the former Soviet Union inflicted upon itself and its unsuspecting people as it moved to industrialization and superpower status. Scientists suspect that these beautiful animals with the large imploring eyes are being killed by years of irresponsible Soviet nuclear testing and dumping.

Once the seals were threatened only by hunters who club the pups to death for their luxurious, snow-white pelts. Now those that survive migrate through water so contaminated that environmentalists imagine it fairly crackles with radioactivity.

Scientists began taking blood and tissue samples from the seals two years ago, after more than a million dead starfish washed up along the White Sea coast.

They are still unsure of what killed the starfish, but the study of the seals has revealed blood pathologies consistent with long-term toxic or radioactive exposure.

“This is a problem so big and serious it goes beyond us,” says Yuri K. Timoshenko, director of the marine mammal laboratory at the Polar Scientific Research Institute here. Continue reading

August 31, 2015 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans | Leave a comment

Persistence of radioactive caesium in ocean floor near Fukushima Daiichi

Cesium-137Nuclear Accident: Cesium contamination persists in ocean floor near Fukushima Daiichi site  Journal of Environmental Radioactivity   Volume 148, October 2015, Pages 92–110


• The majority of radiocesium is transported in the particulate fraction.
• The contribution of the dissolved fraction is only relevant in base flows.
• Significant transfer of particulate-bound radiocesium occurs during heavy rainfall.
• Radiocesium deposited in floodplains may be remobilized, inducing contamination.
• Transdisciplinary approach is required to quantify radiocesium transfers.
Abstract The devastating tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 inundated the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) resulting in a loss of cooling and a series of explosions releasing the largest quantity of radioactive material into the atmosphere since the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Although 80% of the radionuclides from this accidental release were transported over the Pacific Ocean, 20% were deposited over Japanese coastal catchments that are subject to frequent typhoons. Among the radioisotopes released during the FDNPP accident, radiocesium (134Cs and137Cs) is considered the most serious current and future health risk for the local population.

The goal of this review is to synthesize research relevant to the transfer of FDNPP derived radiocesium from hillslopes to the Pacific Ocean. After radiocesium fallout deposition on vegetation and soils, the contamination may remain stored in forest canopies, in vegetative litter on the ground, or in the soil. Once radiocesium contacts soil, it is quickly and almost irreversibly bound to fine soil particles. The kinetic energy of raindrops instigates the displacement of soil particles, and their bound radiocesium, which may be mobilized and transported with overland flow. Soil erosion is one of the main processes transferring particle-bound radiocesium from hillslopes through rivers and streams, and ultimately to the Pacific Ocean. Accordingly this review will summarize results regarding the fundamental processes and dynamics that govern radiocesium transfer from hillslopes to the Pacific Ocean published in the literature within the first four years after the FDNPP accident.The majority of radiocesium is reported to be transported in the particulate fraction, attached to fine particles. The contribution of the dissolved fraction to radiocesium migration is only relevant in base flows and is hypothesized to decline over time. Owing to the hydro-meteorological context of the Fukushima region, the most significant transfer of particulate-bound radiocesium occurs during major rainfall and runoff events (e.g. typhoons and spring snowmelt). There may be radiocesium storage within catchments in forests, floodplains and even within hillslopes that may be remobilized and contaminate downstream areas, even areas that did not receive fallout or may have been decontaminated.

Overall this review demonstrates that characterizing the different mechanisms and factors driving radiocesium transfer is important. In particular, the review determined that quantifying the remaining catchment radiocesium inventory allows for a relative comparison of radiocesium transfer research from hillslope to catchment scales. Further, owing to the variety of mechanisms and factors, a transdisciplinary approach is required involving geomorphologists, hydrologists, soil and forestry scientists, and mathematical modellers to comprehensively quantify radiocesium transfers and dynamics. Characterizing radiocesium transfers from hillslopes to the Pacific Ocean is necessary for ongoing decontamination and management interventions with the objective of reducing the gamma radiation exposure to the local population.

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

International Research Team studies Fukushima contaminants in seafloor sediments

Examining the fate of Fukushima contaminants, Science Daily,

Fraction of buried, ocean sediment uncovered by typhoons, carried offshore by currents August 18, 2015,  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

An international research team reports results of a three-year study of sediment samples collected offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The research aids in understanding what happens to Fukushima contaminants after they are buried on the seafloor off coastal Japan. Scientists found that a small fraction of contaminated seafloor sediments off Fukushima are moved offshore by typhoons that resuspend radioactive particles in the water.
An international research team reports results of a three-year study of sediment samples collected offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in a new paper published August 18, 2015, in the American Chemical Society’s journal,Environmental Science and Technology.

The research aids in understanding what happens to Fukushima contaminants after they are buried on the seafloor off coastal Japan.

Led by Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist and marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the team found that a small fraction of contaminated seafloor sediments off Fukushima are moved offshore by typhoons that resuspend radioactive particles in the water, which then travel laterally with southeasterly currents into the Pacific Ocean.

“Cesium is one of the dominant radionuclides that was released in unprecedented amounts with contaminated water from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami,” says Buesseler. “A little over 99 percent of it moved with the water offshore, but a very small fraction–less than one percent–ended up on the sea floor as buried sediment.”

“We’ve been looking at the fate of that buried sediment on the continental shelf and tracking how much of that contaminated sediment gets offshore through re-suspension from the ocean bottom,” he adds.

The research team, which included colleagues from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, analyzed three years’ worth of data collected from time-series sediment traps……….

“The total transport is small, though it is readily detectable. One percent or less of the contaminated sediment that’s moving offshore every year means things aren’t going to change very fast,” Buesseler says. “What’s buried is going to stay buried for decades to come. And that’s what may be contributing to elevated levels of cesium in fish–particularly bottom-dwelling fish off Japan.”

While there were hundreds of different radionuclides released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant during the disaster, after the initial decay of contaminants with half lives (the time it takes for one half of a given amount of radionuclide to decay) less than days to weeks, much of the attention has remained focused on cesium-137 and-134– two of the more abundant contaminants. Cesium-134 has a half-life of a little over two years, and so any found in the ocean could come only from the reactors at Fukushima. Cesium-137 has a half-life of roughly 30 years and is also known to have entered the Pacific as a result of aboveground nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and ’60s, providing a benchmark against which to measure any additional releases from the reactors.

In October, Buesseler and the research team will return to Japan to redeploy more sediment traps. The continued study will help estimate how long it takes to decrease the level of radiocesium in seafloor sediments near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear bomb testing has resulted in radioactive polonium in seafoods

Kiwis exposed to radiation in seafood – study—study-2015081507#axzz3ipQ2JViV Saturday 15 Aug 2015 New Zealanders who eat a lot of seafood may be exposing themselves to radiation and putting their health at risk, a study suggests.


Researchers found seafood such as mussels, paua and oysters contained concentrated levels of radiation.

Those at particular risk were sub-populations for whom fish consumption was culturally important and those relying of fishing and shellfish collection to feed their families, the study’s authors said in an article released on Friday.

“Seafood has importance to the New Zealand population as a source of nutrition consumed in considerable amounts by some sectors of the community,” they said.

“Chemical contaminants in seafood can therefore lead to significant health burdens to the population and it is an important public health function to identify the contaminants of concern and characterise their exposure.”

Researchers measured levels of radioactive caesium and polonium in 36 kinds of seafood.

Levels of caesium were of minimal dietary concern, but levels of polonium could “contribute significantly to the dietary does of ionising radiation for high seafood consumers, although the magnitude varies considerably depending on the composition of seafood species consumed,” the researchers said.

They found levels in New Zealand were the same as found in other countries, which suggested the radiation was a worldwide result of global nuclear testing rather than the 2011 Fukushima incident.

Radiation levels were higher in seafood than other foods, they said.

The study by Andrew Pearson, Sally Gaw, Nikolaus Hermanspahn and Chris Glover was published in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity earlier this year.


  • Slapjack tuna
  • greenshell mussels
  • paua
  • queen scallop
  • rock lobster
  • Bluff oyster
  • littleneck clams

August 15, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, New Zealand, oceans | Leave a comment

“Trillions of becquerels of radioactive material still flowing into sea” at Fukushima

water-radiationOfficials: “Trillions of becquerels of radioactive material still flowing into sea” at Fukushima — Map shows nuclear waste coming up from bottom of ocean far offshore — Japan TV Journalist: “Contaminated seawater will circulate around globe… disaster like a huge cloth expanding everyday” (VIDEO)

Interview with NHK journalist Morley Robertson, by the Center for Remembering 3.11, published Jun 30, 2012 (emphasis added): I begin with the radiation leakage. Radiation leakage exerts a long term effect on the environment. It contaminates our food chain, the groundwaterand the ocean. And the contaminated seawater will circulate around the globe. We never know how much this will impact on the environment… We’ll never able to study such issues with empirical certainty… [Due to nuclear testing] we have already accumulated “hidden losses” of radiation damage… how much is the [Fukushima] cesium in relation to that?… I believe we should enjoy delicious food rather than worrying about the food. I enjoyed the town’s delicacy… I didn’t mind about how the beef was produced or where it came from. As long as it is tasty, it is no problem for me. With regard to radiation, I have become more optimistic. My hypothesis is that it’s no use worrying about radiation. For people in Fukushima, they have a lot to worry about their future, like damaged reputation… One reason why we have relied on nuclear plants is because we didn’t know about the facts… We need to face the facts… Rad-waste from the nuclear cycle is said to be unsolvable even after 2.5 million years.

Part II of Robertson’s Interview, published Jun 30, 2012: In 1974, then PM Tanaka declared, “Let ‘s go nuclear!”… we were issued credit cards to buy electric goods to consume the extra electricity… It is OK to say that everything was just a lie… and 3/11 happened. So we must study everything. It isno longer about what to do with Onagawa nuclear power plant, Miyagi or Tohoku. This is about what to do with JapanThis has been revealed by our vulnerability to the accident… So when we talk about “disaster“, it’s like a huge wrapping cloth expanding everyday.

  • NHK: Morley is a journalist… working in the fields of television, radio, and lecture meetings… he studied at the University of Tokyo and Harvard University.
  • Robertson’s Wikipedia entry (translated  from Japanese by Microsoft): In 1968, because of father’s job moved to… Hiroshima [to work] on Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission [and] undertook study of atomic bomb patients.

TEPCO, updated Mar 10, 2015: Fukushima Daiichi Contaminated Water Issue FAQ — Q1Please explain the impact of the leaked radioactive materials on the sea. [Answer:] TEPCO announced that underground water including radioactive materials had leaked into the port… It has been implied that trillions of becquerels of radioactive materials are still flowing into the sea; however, the concentration of radioactive materials in the sea is at a level that meets the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, except for some areas…

TEPCO, Apr 28, 2015: Comprehensive risk review was implemented, considering all the possible risks that might have an impact outside the Fukushima Daiichi NPS site… Thepaths through which water could leak outside the site: …

  • Sources of risk — Trenches… Pits… Tanks… Accumulated water inside reactor buildings… Contamination inside the port
  • Leakage routes — Ground surface… Drainage channels… Underground (groundwater)
  • Destination of the contaminated material… The Sea: Unit 1-4 water intake channel… Inside the port… Outside the port

Watch Robertson’s interview here (click ‘CC’ for English)

August 14, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Fukushima 2015, Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Is Fukushima radiation affecting Arctic wildlife?


American sailors on the USS Reagan got really sick after having snowball fights with radioactive snow blowing off of the coasts of Fukushima. University of Alaska professors Doug Dasher, John Kelley, Gay Sheffield, and Raphaela Stimmelmayr theorize that radioactive snow might have also caused Alaska’s seals to become sick er plant resulting in a major nuclear accident that included a large release of airborne radionuclides into theenvironment.

Within five days of the accident atmospheric air masses carrying Fukushima radiation were transiting into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas. During summer 2011 it became evidentto coastal communities and wildlife management agencies that there was a novel disease outbreak occurring in several species of Arctic ice-associated seals. Gross symptoms associated with the disease included lethargy, no new hair growth, andskin lesions, with the majority of the outbreak reports occurring between the Nome and Barrow region. NOAA and USFWS declared an Alaska Northern Pinnipeds Usual Mortality Event (UME) in late winter of 2011.

The ongoing Alaska 2011 Northern Pinnipeds UME investigation continues to explore a mix of potential etiologies (infectious, endocrine, toxins, nutritious etc.), including radioactivity. Currently, the underlying etiology remains undetermined [i.e. scientists don’t yet know what caused the seals’ sickness, but they think it might have been Fukushima radiation]. We present results on gamma analysis (cesium 134 and 137) of muscle tissue from control and diseased seals, and discuss wildlife health implications from different possible routes of exposure to Fukushima fallout to ice sealsContinue reading

July 19, 2015 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,242 other followers