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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Sea stars should be tested for plutonium, not just for radioactive cesium

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

highly-recommendedSea 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.

Grant Number N00014-93-1-1287: “This project is assessing the extent to which select species of seastars, brittle stars, and clams typical of the Kara Sea concentrate and retain a variety of long-lived radionuclides known to be (or suspected to be) present in the disposed wastes in the Russian Arctic…. The study we are conducting is examining the extent to which clams (Macoma balthica) and echinoderms such as seastars (dominant asteroids in the Kara Sea include Pontaster, Asterias, and Hymenasier) accumulate these radioisotopes and can be used as bioindicators of released radioactive wastes.
sea-stars
 
 Results of experiments thus far have indicated that M. balthica can accumulate diverse radionuclides from a wide variety of food sources; seven different algal species have thus far been examined. The assimilation efficiency of ingested radionuclides varies greatly among the radionuclides and less among the different foods for a given radionuclide….have found significant transfer of 241 Am, some transfer of 57 Co and virtually no transfer of 137 Cs to the starfish… 
 
Results to date indicate that these organisms have unusually long biological half-lives for these radioisotopes (especially the transurnic element, americium), underscoring the likelihood that the echinoderms could be very effective bioindicators of any released radionuclides from the disposed radioactive wastes“[1]

Continue reading

March 16, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

The hazard of Fukushima nuclear radiation in the seafood chain

radiation-in-sea--food-chaiIs 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.

March 14, 2015 Posted by | oceans | Leave a comment

Radionuclides from Fukushima found in fish at long distances

radiation-in-sea--food-chaiReport: 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 PBqChernobyl 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

See also: Gov’t: Alaska island “appears to show impacts from Fukushima” — “Significant cesium signature” — Scientists anticipate further impact as ocean plume arrives (VIDEO)

March 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Record concentration of radioactive Cesium in fish near Fukushima nuclear station port

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.

radiation-in-sea--food-chaiTEPCO has also discovered a record 740,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in the fish, Kyodo News reported.

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

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, oceans | 1 Comment

Threats for oil drillers and others, in the Arctic’s submerged radioactive trash from Russia

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.

submarines-sunk-in-Arctic

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

February 21, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

The world’s oceans in trouble: it’s US

How we ruined the oceans The Week, 14 Feb 15 

Why are the oceans in trouble?They can no longer absorb the damage inflicted by the 7 billion people on Earth. Over many decades, the human race has overfished key species to near extinction, and polluted them with carbon dioxide emissions, toxic chemicals, garbage, and discarded plastics. A groundbreaking new study, recently published in Science, warned that our oceans are being irreparably damaged by human activity and could be on “the precipice of a major extinction event.” Coral reefs, home to a quarter of the ocean’s fish, have declined by 40 percent worldwide. Stocks of swordfish, yellowfin tuna, and other large fish that people avidly eat are down by 90 percent. Marine scientists say that if mankind does not dramatically change how it treats the oceans and their inhabitants, many marine species will become extinct — with catastrophic consequences for the food chain. “If by the end of the century we’re not off the business-as-usual curve,” says Stanford University marine ecologist Stephen Palumbi, one of the report’s authors, “there’s not much hope for normal ecosystems in the ocean.”

How does global warming affect fish? As the oceans heat up, many species are migrating to cooler waters to survive. Some inevitably will fail in these new habitats. Warmer temperatures also make coral reefs more vulnerable to “bleaching,” a chemical process that drains the organisms of their brilliant colors and leads to their death. Other problems are caused directly by the burning of fossil fuels. With oceans absorbing a quarter of the world’s CO2 emissions, they have become 30 percent more acidic, causing inhibited shell growth in coral and crustaceans and reproductive disorders in fish. Power plant emissions — especially from burning coal — put tons of highly toxic mercury in the air, which settles into the ocean. The mercury is taken up by sea creatures and concentrated in predatory species. A recent study found that mercury levels in Pacific yellowfin tuna have been rising at a rate of 3.8 percent a year since 1998. “If it keeps going like that,” says co-author Carl Lamborg, eventually almost “every kind of fish is going to be potentially hazardous.”

What about plastic?
Our oceans contain an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic — most of them less than 5 millimeters wide — weighing a total of 269,000 tons. ……..

Why aren’t we doing more?
Like global warming, the plight of our oceans is an issue that affects every country in the world. But with each government beholden to its own voters — and its own fishing, plastic, and energy lobbies — it’s almost impossible to achieve any consensus. Ecologists insist it’s not too late to solve the problems affecting our oceans. Some schemes, such as the introduction of “safe zones” where fish can naturally replenish, have worked on a small scale and could be expanded. The authors of the Sciencestudy say it’s possible to reverse the current crisis, but political will is required. “The next several decades,” they say, “will be those in which we choose the fate of the future of marine wildlife.”

The dangers of a fishy diet
For decades, doctors and health officials have encouraged people to eat as much seafood as possible because of fish’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart and brain health. But in recent years that recommendation has been tempered, as emissions from factories and power plants have pushed mercury concentrations in oceans and fish up to potentially dangerous levels. Mercury is highly toxic and can cause neurological damage and accumulate in organs; in children and fetuses, it can lead to long-term cognitive disorders. Last year, the FDA updated its advice on fish to say that pregnant women and children should avoid eating tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel, and limit their consumption of white tuna — all of which contain particularly high levels of mercury because they’re at the top of the food chain. Consumer Reportsrecently criticized the FDA guidelines on fish consumption as inadequate, saying that anyone who eats 24 ounces or more of fish per week — or about six servings — “should steer clear of high-mercury choices,” and warning people not to eat canned tuna or sushi made from tuna. http://www.theweek.com/articles/538881/ruined-oceans

February 16, 2015 Posted by | oceans | Leave a comment

Russia’s sunken nuclear submarines pose danger in the Arctic

Discarded Russian submarines could cause a nuclear disaster in the Arctic JEREMY BENDER Business Insider, 14 Feb 15 The Arctic could become a site of future turmoil, and not just because of the emerging geopolitical tensions and militarization in the region.

Beyond concerns of a frozen conflict in the icy north, there is the additional fear that the Barents and Kara Seas could become the location of a slow-motion nuclear disaster. Until 1991 the Soviet Union used the seas as a junkyard where it would dispose of its nuclear waste.

Accordingto the Bellona Foundation, citing theNorwegian Radiation Protection Authorities (NRPA), the Soviet Union dumped “19 ships containing radioactive waste; 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radioactively contaminated heavy machinery; 17,000 containers of radioactive waste,” and three nuclear submarines in the seas.

Disposing of nuclear waste and spent reactors at sea was actually a common practice around the world until the early 1970s. But the Soviet Union dumped a significant amount of material into bodies of water that were sometimes not that far from neighbouring countries.

Three scuttled nuclear submarines are the most dangerous of the disposals for the overall safety of the region — the K-27, the K-278, and the K-159, according to The Moscow Times. Of those, the K-27 is the one most likely to cause a Chernobyl-like event in which the casings of the reactors fail and dangerous amounts of radiation escape into the environment.

submarines-sunk-in-Arctic

The K-27 is particularly risky, the BBC reports, due to its unique design. The submarine, which was launched in 1962, was experimentally developed with two previously untested liquid-metal cooled reactors. Soon after deployment the submarine began emitting high levels of radiation, poisoning its crew.

In 1981, the Soviet Union sunk the submarine in the Kara Sea. But the sub was scuttled at a depth of only 99 feet (30 meters), significantly below international guidelines………

“K-159 represents the biggest potential for emission, considering the levels of radioactivity in the reactors, compared with other dumped or sunken objects in the Kara Sea with spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste,” Ingar Amundsen, the head of the NRPAtoldthe Barents Observer…….. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/potential-chernobyl-like-disaster-in-arctic-2015-2

February 14, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

World’s excess heat going largely into the Southern Oceans

ocean-heatingSouthern oceans play major role in absorbing world’s excess heat, study finds February 3,  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The world’s oceans are heating at the rate of two trillion 100-watt light bulbs burning continuously, providing a clear signal of global warming, according to new study assessing data from a global fleet of drifting floats.

The research, published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Climate Change, used data collected from the array of about 3500 Argo buoys from 2006-13 to show temperatures were warming at about 0.005 degrees a year down to a depth of 500 metres and 0.002 degrees between 500-2000 metres.

Oceans south of the 20-degree latitude accounted for two-thirds to 98 per cent of the heat gain during the period studied, with three giant gyres in the southern Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans largely responsible for drawing down the extra warmth.

“The global ocean heat content right now is the most reliable metric of that radiation imbalance” between the energy received from the sun and what is radiated back to space, said Susan Wijffels, an oceans expert at the CSIRO and one of the report’s authors………..

“The ocean is just vertically transferring the heat away from the surface to the depth,” Dr Wijffels said. “The ‘hiatus’ is not meaningful.”

Even with the relative slowdown in surface temperature increases, 14 of the world’s 15 warmest years on record have been in the 21st century, the World Meteorological Organisation said on Monday.

The United Nations body also confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year, edging out 2010 and 2005. The readings were based in part on United States agencies, including NASA which last month also declared 2014 as its warmest year.

John Church, another of the paper’s authors and also from the CSIRO, said the temperatures in the atmosphere – which accounts for just 1 per cent of the planet’s heat uptake – would rise sharply if oceans absorbed less of the heat……..

As it is, warming oceans are swelling in volume, lifting sea levels, and also affecting ecosystems, he said.

“If we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change then we need to start taking some mitigation action,” Dr Church said. This included cutting carbon emissions and lifting renewable energy targets at home and overseas.

Future Argo missions will extend coverage to higher latitudes, including sea-ice zones, and reach depths of 6000 metres.

However, Dr Wijffels said Australia’s contribution is in doubt with about half of its Argo budget tied up with the Abbott government’s stalled higher education reform bills.  Those funds run out “in a few months”, she said.

The Nature study was led by Dean Roemmich of the California-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/southern-oceans-play-major-role-in-absorbing-worlds-excess-heat-study-finds-20150202-133j2p.html

February 4, 2015 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Fukushima radiation in Pacific monitored by Canadian citizen scientists

flag-canadaB.C.’s citizen scientists on alert for radiation from Japan, Vancouver Sun  BY AMY SMART, TIMES COLONIST JANUARY 25, 2015 Since October, citizen scientists have been dipping buckets into the waters of B.C.’s coast, looking for fallout from the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Japan.

At the centre of the search are two man-made isotopes, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, which act as “fingerprints” for radiation specific to the Japan disaster. Both isotopes were released when the reactors failed in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami, just as they were during nuclear testing in the mid-20th century.

Cesium-137While Cesium-137 has a half-life — the time it takes for the radioactivity to fall to half its original value — of 30 years, Cesium-134’s is only two years. That means that if Cesium-134 is found in a sample, scientists can be certain it came from Fukushima.

“It’s been sufficiently long since atmospheric weapons testing last century or the Chernobyl disaster that we don’t see traces of [Cesium-134 from those sources] anymore,” said University of Victoria ocean chemist Jay Cullen. “So if we detect it in seawater or an organism, then we know that sample has been affected by Fukushima.”

The radiation is as close as 100 kilometres, with levels expected to peak over the next two years. But so far, members of the InFORM Network — citizen scientists, and representatives from academia, government and non-governmental organizations — haven’t found anything in seawater samples collected by volunteers at 14 coastal locations.

“The models of ocean circulation that the physical oceanographers have put together suggest that we are going to see it along the coast and we can expect it to arrive over the next couple of years, the heart of that contaminated plume,” said Cullen, who leads the network.

InFORM is also monitoring marine life, which can absorb radiation. The first results, from sockeye salmon and steelhead trout selected for their known migration paths, showed traces of Cesium-137, but no Cesium-134……….

John Smith, a senior research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, agrees that the health risks are likely to be “extremely low.” At its peak, the radiation in the plume is expected to be three to five becquerels per cubic metre of water. Canadian guidelines for safe drinking water impose a limit of 10,000 becquerels per cubic metre, he said.

For Smith, who began monitoring the plume’s spread in 2011, it provides a “dye test” for testing theories about ocean currents. The results will have implications for all kinds of models, including understandings of climate change, he said.

“This was a unique oceanographic event in that a large quantity of radioactivity was deposited into the ocean off Japan at a given moment in time and at a given location. It was a tremendous disaster. But it has provided an oceanographic tracer for currents that has never occurred before.”…….. www.vancouversun.com/health/citizen+scientists+alert+radiation+from+Japan/10758982/story.html

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Canada, oceans, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

80 miles from Sellafield nuclear facility, radiation is found in food

plate-radiationRadiation found in food 80 miles across the border from Cumbrian nuclear-plant Sellafield Daily record, Jan 07, 2015 By Jennifer Hyland

NUCLEAR waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast radioactive. RADIATION has been found in food 80 miles across the border from a Cumbrian nuclear-plant a report has revealed.

Nuclear waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast slightly radioactive.

And fish-fans in Dumfriesshire have the highest exposure to nuclear radiation of anyone north of the Border.

Despite Sellafield nuclear station being situated 80 miles away, the new report reveals that the nuclear power station is still having an impact on Scotland, reports the Daily Mail. And although the levels are within safe EU limits, Sellafield and Scottish nuclear power stations have infiltrated the food chain here.

Traces of radiation were found in fruit, potatoes and vegetables near to Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness, in the far north-east of Scotland .

Whilst in Chapelcross, in Dumfriesshire, nuclear radiation has made its way into the milk.

Where as at Faslane, near Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, the destination of Britain’s nuclear submarines where liquid radioactive waste is discharged into the Gareloch,

beef has been revealed to contain a small amount of radiation……..

  • The unborn children of pregnant women living within 550 yards of the Hunterston B site, in North Ayrshire – one of Scotland’s two working nuclear power stations -would received the highest dose there.

    Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “There is no safe level of radiation. Nuclear technology… poses an ongoing threat to public health.”………http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/health/radiation-found-food-80-miles-4931653

January 10, 2015 Posted by | environment, health, oceans, UK | 1 Comment

The distinctive “fingerprint” of the Fukushima radiation fallout

water-radiationThe real fallout from Fukushima, Maclean’s  Colby Cosh January 8, 2015 On the verge of the new year, scientists from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans issued the first systematic report of measurements on the spread of radioactive seawater from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor to the coast of British Columbia. …….Accurate measurements of the Fukushima plume are possible because humans wisely stopped testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere in 1980. There is still a “fallout background” of radiation lingering in the world’s oceans from these nuclear tests—and, of course, from those two nuclear explosions that did not quite have the character of tests. But every kind of radioactive isotope has a different rate of decay, usually expressed as a “half-life,” and the short-lived ones from nuclear testing are all gone.

This means that the 2011 Fukushima disaster left a distinctive “fingerprint” of fast-decaying radioactives that cannot be attributed to any other source. So that’s what the scientists measuring the plume look for—fanning out between Vancouver Island and Japan on Canadian Coast Guard oceanographic vessels, gathering up seawater from various depths, and pumping it through ion exchangers to extract the telltale radioactive cesium that spewed out of the damaged reactor.

In 2011, the measurements along the B.C.-Japan line looked just like usual. But the levels of cesium-134, which can only have come from Fukushima, suddenly increased about 1,500 km off the continental shelf when samples were taken in 2012. In 2013 the “fingerprint” of Fukushima seems to have reached the shelf itself.

Cesium-134 degrades fast. What physicists and doctors have been concerned about is the equal amount of cesium-137 spilled at Fukushima: that isotope has a half-life of 30 years, so most of whatever reaches B.C. now will be around for a while. The radiation emitted by the fallout background—the cesium-137 presently left in the ocean by past nuclear testing—works out to about one becquerel per cubic metre of seawater. That figure has now doubled. The total peak level of ocean radioactivity off Canada’s Pacific Coast is expected to reach somewhere between three to five becquerels per cubic metre before beginning to drop back down……..

Overall, the authors of the paper expect the Fukushima plume to make B.C. ocean water as radioactive as it was in the 1980s…….

 The consequences to Japan of the Fukushima accident are still being added up, and the sum is not altogether final until decades of decommissioning work is completed. … http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-real-fallout-from-fukushima/

January 10, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, radiation | 1 Comment

Plutonium from Fukushima in the Pacific Ocean

VIDEO: Fukushima corium found in Pacific — Flowing into ocean after hydrogen dissolves nuclear fuel — Scientist: We’ve actually seen plutonium floating on surface; “We have no control over this accident… they’ve got leaks everywhere” http://enenews.com/video-fukushima-corium-found-pacific-hydrogen-dissolving-nuclear-fuel-plutonium-detected-surface-ocean-water?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

2014 Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (final link at bottom of page), K. Buesseler, E. Black, and S. Pike of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; T. Kenna of Lamont-Doherty Earth Obseratory; P. Masqué of Autonomous University of Barcelona, Sept 12, 2014 (emphasis added): Plutonium Isotopes In The Ocean Off Japan After Fukushima— The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants (NPPs) are known to be an unprecedented accidental source of 137Cs, 134Cs and other volatile radionuclides to the ocean. Much less is known however about the extent of input of refractory radionuclides such as plutonium to the environment. Limited available data from land soils and vegetation, suggest at least some atmospheric delivery of particulate Pu… In 2011, in surface ocean waters, we found ratios 240Pu/239Pu >0.3, which implies a component of Fukushima Pu had been delivered to the ocean… Fukushima derived Pu was not found deeper in the water column.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Science Made Public — Fukushima Radiation:

  • 51:00 — Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole  senior scientist: People have a hard time with radiation risk because we can’t taste it, we can’t smell it… we have no control over this accident.
  • 5900 – QuestionI’m wondering about the corium and whether anything you’ve detected in the water is coming form the core, the meltdown?
  • 59:30– Buesseler: Great question… What I’m thinking of are things like plutonium uranium, the fuel itself… We’ve actually seen, I’d say a trace amount of plutonium, I’ve seen two talks on that… It doesn’t come out as a gas, it’s in the ocean, probably because of all that cooling water they put on there. Hydrogen makes it very acidic… it dissolves some of the materials and bring that back into the ocean… We haven’t yet taken that into the seafood… [It] may have come out in the hot acidic water, that’s been — still to this day btw – they’re putting on 100s of tons of water a day to cool those reactors and only recovering about half of that water… They have to cool that thing for decades, for years certainly and that takes water and they’ve got leaks everywhere.

Watch the presentation here

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Buesseler and other scientists are calling for more monitoring of Pacific Coast radiation

water-radiationhighly-recommendedScientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation Tracy Loew, USA TODAY March 9, 2014 SALEM, Ore. – Very low levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster likely will reach ocean waters along the U.S. West Coast next month, scientists are reporting.

Current models predict that the radiation will be at extremely low levels that won’t harm humans or the environment, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who presented research on the issue last week.

But Buesseler and other scientists are calling for more monitoring. No federal agency currently samples Pacific Coast seawater for radiation, he said.

“I’m not trying to be alarmist,” Buesseler said. “We can make predictions, we can do models. But unless you have results, how will we know it’s safe?”……………

There are three competing models of the Fukushima radiation plume, differing in amount and timing. But all predict that the plume will reach the West Coast this summer, and the most commonly cited one estimates an April arrival, Buesseler said.

A report presented last week at a conference of the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Section showed that some Cesium 134 has already has arrived in Canada, in the Gulf of Alaska area.

Cesium 134 serves as a fingerprint for Fukushima, Buesseler said.

“The models show it will reach north of Seattle first, then move down the coast,” Buesseler said.

By the time it gets here, the material will be so diluted as to be almost negligible, the models predict. Radiation also decays. Cesium 134, for example, has a half-life of two years, meaning it will have half its original intensity after that period.

In Oregon, state park rangers take quarterly samples of surf water and sand at three locations along the coast. The water is analyzed for Cesium 137 and iodine 131. Both of those already exist in the ocean at low levels from nuclear testing decades ago.

The monitoring began in April 2012, when tsunami debris began arriving along the Oregon coast. So far, all of the tests have shown less than “minimum detectable activity,” or the least amount that can be measured.

Results of the most recent samples, taken in mid-February, won’t be available until mid-March, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said.

Washington does not test ocean water for radiation.

“We have none happening now and we have none planned,” said Tim Church, communications director for the Washington State Department of Health. “Typically that would be something that would happen on the federal level.”

California regularly samples seawater around the state’s nuclear power plants to determine whether the plants are impacting the environment. Those results all are below minimum detectable activity.

Some citizens and scientists are taking sampling into their own hands. Cal State Long Beach marine biologist Steven Manley has launched “Kelp Watch 2014,” which will partner with other organizations to monitor kelp all along the West Coast for Fukushima radiation.

And Buesseler recently offered the services of his lab at Woods Hole in Massachusetts.

His project — titled “How Radioactive Is Our Ocean?” — will use crowd-sourced money and volunteers to collect water samples along the Pacific Coast, then ship them across the country to be analyzed.

So far, results are in for two locations in Washington and three in California. They show that the plume has not yet reached the coast.

Meanwhile, West Coast states are winding down their tsunami debris response efforts.

Oregon’s coastline is seeing less debris from the tsunami this winter than in the past two years, Oregon State Parks spokesman Chris Havel said.

If that doesn’t change, officials likely will disband a task force that was mobilized to deal with the debris.

Last year, Washington suspended its marine debris reporting hotline.

Loew also reports for the (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/09/scientists-test-west-coast-for-fukushima-radiation/6213849/?utm_content=buffer51957&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

January 5, 2015 Posted by | oceans, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushiama radiation reaching USA West Coast – at this stage, not a health problem

Media Silent on Fukushima Radiation Impact in U.S.highly-recommended

My take home is always, don’t trivialize it or dismiss it, but also don’t exaggerate what the effects might be,” says Woods Hole’s Ken Buesseler.

Radiation from Fukushima is reaching the West Coast — but you don’t need to freak out, WP  By Chris Mooney December 29 “…….many Americans have been concerned — sometimes overly so — that radiation from Fukushima, traveling through the vast Pacific ocean, would eventually make its way to the waters off the West Coast of the United States and Canada. And according to a new scientific paper just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesthat has indeed happened.

The paper, by John N. Smith of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (a government agency) and several colleagues, is the “first systematic study…of the transport of the Fukushima marine radioactivity signal to the eastern North Pacific,” and concludes that radiation reached the continental shelf of Canada by June of last year, and has increased somewhat since.

But– and here’s the good news — the levels of radiation are very low, well below levels that public health authorities cite as grounds for concern. The radiation “does not represent a threat to human health or the environment,” reports the paper.

The new study is not the first to reach that conclusion.  Continue reading

December 31, 2014 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Slow journey of small amounts of Fukushima radiation in ocean to USA

Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard: Tracking Fukushima radiation across the Pacific By Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard 26 Dec 14Radiation from the meltdown of the three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in March 2011 quickly entered the offshore ocean.

The radiation was detected in the water immediately. Several species of fish caught offshore in 2011 and 2012 had radioactive cesium levels that exceeded Japan’s seafood consumption levels, but overall concentrations have dropped since the fall of 2011………..

Anything picked up by the Kuroshio Current as it passes by Japan, whether tsunami debris, glass fishing floats, or radioactive contaminants, heads towards North America, but slowly, a little more than 5 miles every day on average.

At this speed, water moving from Japan in a straight path would take about three years or longer to get to the west coast. Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown and radiation release, oceanographers projected that it would likely take until 2014 until it reached the West Coast of North America……

the nuclear bomb testing that went on in the Pacific from the 1940s to the 1980s, contributed hundreds of times more radioactivity to the oceans than Fukushima. There is also uranium dissolved naturally in seawater.

So Fukushima is not the largest contributor to radiation in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Although no U.S. federal agency has routinely monitored the offshore waters for radiation, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Oregon State University have been analyzing samples intermittently since the March 11 disaster. On Nov. 10, 2014, Woods Hole announced that they had detected trace amounts of radioactivity that could be used to fingerprint Fukushima because of the presence of cesium-134………http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/environment-and-nature/20141226/gary-griggs-our-ocean-backyard-tracking-fukushima-radiation-across-the-pacific

December 29, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, oceans | 5 Comments

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