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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

In a secret program US Government Injected Citizens with Uranium

exclamation-secret-agent-SmFlag-USAUS Government Injected Citizens with Uranium Under Secret Program: Flashback Files reveal feds posing as doctors experimented on public By Anthony Gucciardi Global Research, November 19, 2014 If you still think the United States government would never harm its own citizens for the benefit of federal agencies, then I would direct your attention to a formerly classified black ops program launched by the US government starting way back in 1945. With the goal of testing highly radioactive substances on overall healthy patients through secret injections administered by government agents, the program has still been widely ignored since being released to the public in recent years.

In the covert program that is now admitted to be true, the United States government injected unknowing human ‘participants’ with highly toxic substances like plutonium. It sounds like a bizarre torture scenario that you’d expect to see blamed on illegal terror organizations, but the individuals behind this crime are actually doctors working for the United States government. Disregarding the health of innocent citizens, the government testers were eager to see how unknowing participants suffered as a result of the injections.

That’s right, they were testing the lethal effects of radioactive isotope injection on citizens. And not that it would make it any more ethical, but they didn’t even choose terminally ill patients who were most likely going to pass away anyway. Instead, they chose patients who sometimes were only suffering from ailments like broken bones.

Injecting Unknowing Patients With Uranium

It began in 1945, when an employee at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility was in a car accident. Ebb Cade survived, but was taken in as a human participant in a disturbing study he did not consent to. It is important to note that this man was a fifty-three-year-old African American, as previous government trials have singled out African Americans and other minorities. The racist sterilization programs occurred between 1929 to 1974 under an admitted eugenics programs that officials claimed were ‘creating a better society’. Most victims were poor, black women who were ‘deemed unfit to be parents’. Individuals as young as 10 were sterilized simply for not getting along with schoolmates or being promiscuous, and many parents were misled into sterilizing their children……… http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-government-injected-citizens-with-uranium-under-secret-program-flashback/5414983

November 22, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Legal action by Washington State over Hanford nuclear site vapors

justiceFlag-USAWashington state to sue federal government over nuclear site vapors, Yahoo News,  By Victoria CavaliereNovember 19, 2014 SEATTLE (Reuters) - Washington state’s attorney general said on Wednesday he intends to sue the U.S. government for not adequately protecting workers involved in the decades-long cleanup of a decommissioned nuclear site, saying dozens have been sickened by toxic vapors.

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a World War Two-era nuclear weapons site in southeastern Washington, has 56 million gallons (211.98 million liters) of nuclear waste in 177 underground tanks, several with known leaks, according to federal officials. The U.S. Department of Energy, which owns Hanford, is responsible for cleanup at the site, including the hiring of contractors and workers to extract the waste from tanks for safe disposal.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday the Department of Energy was not doing enough to protect tank workers with dozens reporting illnesses over the past two decades, including 44 over the past 12 months.

“Hanford workers face a very real and immediate health risk,” Ferguson said during a conference call Wednesday. “I want these protections now and I want them for the duration,” he said.

A study released last month by a panel of independent experts found strong evidence of a causal link between chemical vapors and adverse health effects in tank farm workers and also that the system for measuring such vapors was inadequate.

These health effects have ranged from nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness, nausea, burning skin and increased heart rate to reported long-term disabilities, including permanent loss of lung capacity, the report found.

“Despite the 20 years of study and multiple reports, there is no lasting solution and workers continue to get sick,” Ferguson said.

In announcing the intent to file a lawsuit, the Department of Energy has 90 days to respond with a plan of action, he said……..http://news.yahoo.com/washington-state-sue-federal-government-over-nuclear-vapors-224320870.html

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Financial settlement on the costs of closing San Onofre nuclear power plant

Flag-USA$US1.4b settlement after nuclear closurehttps://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/us1-4b-settlement-nuclear-closure-005216557.html 21 Nov 14 Consumers will get refunds and credits of about $US1.4 billion, but also pay about $US3.3 billion, under a settlement involving the premature closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The vote by the California Public Utilities Commission was 5-0.

At issue has been who should take the financial hit for the plant’s demise – company shareholders or customers.

The settlement stems from negotiations among operator Southern California Edison, minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and consumer advocates. Critics argued that the deal short-changed ratepayers.

The payments will be made over the next decade.

The settlement “is reasonable in light of the whole record, consistent with law and in the public interest,” Commissioner Mike Florio said in a statement on Thursday.

San Onofre shut down for good last year after a long fight over whether it was safe to restart. It had been idle since January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes inside virtually new steam generators.

A federal investigation after the 2012 leak concluded that a botched computer analysis resulted in generator design flaws that were largely to blame for the unprecedented wear in the tubing that carried radioactive water.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant flooding raises safety problems

Flooding at St. Lucie nuclear plant prompts more oversight from regulators TCPALM, Will Greenlee, Nov 21, 2014 ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is stepping up oversight of one of two units at Florida Power & Light Co.’s St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant after about 50,000 gallons of water entered a reactor auxiliary building during heavy rains in January, according to the NRC.

The incident at the nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island occurred Jan. 9, when more than 7 inches of rain fell on the site, a report states. A blocked storm drain system played a role.

“During the event, stormwater entered the reactor auxiliary building … through degraded electrical conduits that were later found not to have internal flood seals,” a report states………50,000 gallons is about the amount held by a 25-by-45-foot swimming pool with an average depth of 6 feet…….http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/flooding-at-st-lucie-nuclear-plant-prompts-more-oversight-from-regulators_24283175

November 22, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Danger of nuclear fuel storage at Columbia Generating Station

Groups says fuel storage poses risk at the Northwest’s lone commercial nuclear plant  Oregon Live By Ted Sickinger| tsickinger@oregonian.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter   November 20, 2014 The growing stockpile of spent nuclear fuel at the Northwest’s lone commercial nuclear plant poses a safety risk to the public in the event of an earthquake, according to a study sponsored by anti-nuclear groups.

The study of spent fuel storage at the Columbia Generating Station is the latest of several commissioned by the Physicians for Social Responsibility and Heart of America Northwest. They collectively suggest that the plant is an expensive and dangerous way for the Northwest to generate electricity, and that it ought to be closed.

The study was authored by nuclear critic Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. Officials at Energy Northwest, the utility consortium that operates the plant, say it is riddled with hyperbole, data errors and fear mongering. They also suggest its backers are extrapolating earthquake risks from recent seismic data that doesn’t apply to the plant site.

The 1,200 megawatt boiling-water reactor is located on the Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland, Wash. It opened in 1984 and has since generated some 368,000 spent fuel rods in 4,588 assemblies.

In the absence of a national repository, about 60 percent of that waste has been transferred to durable, dry-cask storage, a safety measure that Alvarez applauds. But the remaining 40 percent remains in the reactor’s spent fuel pool, a 350,000-gallon tank located at the top of the reactor building, six stories above ground……….http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2014/11/groups_says_fuel_storage_poses.html

November 22, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant contains volatile materials – “potential bombs”

exclamation-Flag-USA“Patented explosives” reported inside plutonium waste drums at US nuclear facility — TV: So volatile, experts comparing it to ‘bomb’ — Official: I’m appalled we weren’t told about real and present danger — Over 5,000 drums a threat — Invisible reactions may have already occurred (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/investigation-patented-explosives-drums-plutonium-waste-nuclear-facility-tv-volatile-experts-calling-potential-bomb-5000-drums-threat-invisible-reactions-occurred-other-containters-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Sante Fe New Mexican, Nov. 15, 2014 (emphasis added): The combination [of neutralizer and wheat-based organic litter] turned the waste into a potential bomb that one lab chemist later characterized as akin to plastic explosives, according to a six-month investigation by The New Mexican. [Los Alamos National Lab] then shipped [the waste] to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant… Feb. 14… the drum’s lid cracked open… Temperatures in the underground chamber soared to 1,600 degrees, threatening dozens of nearby drums… Documents and internal emails show… officials downplayed the dangers… and withheld critical information.

Patented Explosives

  • LANL chemist Steve Clemmons [found] the drum’s contents match the makeup of patented plastic, water-gel and slurry explosives… “All of the required components included in the patent claims would be present,” Clemmons wrote… “I am appalled that LANL didn’t provide us this information!” [wrote DOE official Dana Bryson]… On May 27, when they learned of the memo about patented explosives… WIPP abandoned plans for the next day to sample the area where the breach occurred, fearing it was too dangerous. “In a phone call withLANL, they indicated that there is a possibility that any sampling of the kitty litter/drum contents could cause another event,” [wrote] David Freeman, Nuclear Waste Partnership’s chief nuclear engineer… “We have a formal letter on LANL letterhead implying there is a real and present danger in the WIPP underground,” Bryson wrote.

Up to 55 more drums of waste ‘destabilized ‘

  • The intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste [near the one that ruptured], calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst. “[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures… is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”

Over 5,000 more waste drums a threat

  • LANL began treating waste with assorted varieties of organic kitty litter as early as Sept. 2012spawning thousands of drums of waste that hold the same organic threat… [It] may have been mixed in up to 5,565 containers of waste at LANL.

LANL (pg. 21 of pdf): [The team] evaluated the effect of a heat generating event on the adjacent waste containers [that] could have chemically or physically changed the waste and introduced a reaction hazard. Unreacted drums of nitrate salt waste stream… continue to pose a potential reaction hazard… Reactions may have occurred within some of these drums at levels insufficient to lead to detectable visible evidence.

KOB, Nov. 16, 2014: Nuclear waste so volatile, it’s been called a potential bomb by experts… Greg Mello, former nuclear waste inspector for LANL: “The drum in question was basically kind of a time bomb.”… [A WIPP] assessment… estimates over 5,000 drums of waste may contain the volatile organic kitty litter that caused the one drum to split open.

Watch the broadcast here

November 19, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

US troops for combat, in the event of ISIS getting nuclear weapons

Obama ‘Would Order’ US Troops Into Combat If ISIS Got Nuclear Weapon, abc news, Nov 17, 2014, By   President Obama has been unwavering and definitive in declaring he will not deploy U.S. ground troops into combat to fight ISIS militants. Period.

But for the first time since the start of then anti-ISIS offensive dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, the president volunteered a scenario which he said would change his mind.

“If we discovered that [ISIS] had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon, and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then, yes,” the president told reporters at a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday. “I would order it.”

There is no indication that ISIS currently possesses or could easily obtain a nuclear weapon, officials say.

Still, Obama’s declaration of a nuclear weapon in the hands of ISIS is a noteworthy new “red line” – and a very high bar for a U.S. offensive role on the ground……..http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-order-us-troops-combat-isis-nuclear-weapon/story?id=26976710

November 19, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chief warns that Commission is not geared for needs of decommissioning

Macfarlane, AllisonNuclear Agency Rules Are Ill-Suited for Plant Decommissioning, Leader Says NYT By NOV. 17, 2014 WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rules are not geared for supervising the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, the task that will occupy much of its time in the coming years, the head of the agency, Allison M. Macfarlane, said Monday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in a wide-ranging look at her agency and the industry before she leaves the job at the end of the year, Dr. Macfarlane said the industry had instead set itself up about 15 years ago to oversee more reactor construction, a revival that did not occur. “The industry was really expecting to expand,” she said. “The agency’s not facing the future that five years ago people envisioned.”

Instead, a plunging price of natural gas and slack demand for electricity have made some existing plants uncompetitive, and the pace of retirements has been high. But the commission’s rules on areas like security and emergency planning are geared to operating plants, she said. So shut-down plants are applying for exemptions to the rules that no longer seem to fit the risk that the reactors pose when decommissioned.

As with nuclear waste, the commission’s rules on reactors seem more focused on construction and operation than on the “back end,” said Dr. Macfarlane, a geologist who is returning to academia.

Decommissioning

In her comments, Dr. Macfarlane said that the future of a proposed nuclear waste repository near Las Vegas, blocked for years by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada as majority leader, was still far from assured, despite the coming change of party control in the Senate. The commission’s job would be to rule on whether the repository should be licensed, but it could never approve a license without “a willing applicant,” she said.

That applicant would be the Department of Energy, which dropped work on the project after a campaign promise by Barack Obama when he ran for president the first time.

To resume work on the proposed repository, at Yucca Mountain, the Energy Department and the commission would need a new appropriation, she said. And at the time work was stopped, in 2010, “there were more than 300 contentions challenging the application,” she said. Each must be argued before a panel of administrative law judges.

And even then, she noted, Yucca Mountain would not be big enough for all the waste.

In light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 in Japan, Dr. Macfarlane said that the commission should consider new rules on some reactors whose design does not resemble the ones that melted down in Japan. The commission has required older plants of the General Electric design to improve their systems for venting gases in an emergency, but perhaps other models should have to do the same, she said……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/us/nuclear-agency-rules-are-ill-suited-for-plant-decommissioning-leader-says.html?_r=0

November 19, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power promoter DOE to run research into health effects of radiation

Dracula-DOE House passes bill to study low-dose radiation http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/224411-house-passes-bill-to-study-low-dose-radiation
By Cristina Marcos November 17, 2014,
The House on Monday passed legislation by voice vote to authorize Department of Energy research on the risks of low-dose ionizing radiation.

Under the measure, H.R. 5544, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would conduct research on low-dose radiation. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), the bill’s sponsor, said there isn’t enough scientific data regarding exposure to low levels of radiation.

 “Sufficient data is not available for experts to definitely conclude whether there are risks from this low dose radiation,” Broun said. “As a medical doctor, and a true fiscal conservative, I recognize that this major gap in understanding is detrimental to the health of Americans and will contribute to the unnecessary economic burdens if we do not deal with it immediately.”

The director of the Energy Department’s Office of Science would be required establish an agreement with the National Academies on a long-term strategy for low-dose radiation research within 60 day’s of the bill’s enactment. Such a study would have to be completed within 18 months.

The measure encountered no opposition during House floor debate.

 

November 19, 2014 Posted by | politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Government Accountability Office wants public input into decisions on nuclear waste


text-wise-owl

wastes-1Flag-USAGAO: Nuclear Waste Issue Requires Public Buy-in http://blogs.rollcall.com/energy-xtra/gao-nuclear-waste-issue-requires-public-buy-in/?dcz= By Randy Leonard Nov. 13, 2014 In response to a request from House Republicans, the Government Accountability Office looked into the challenges of the Energy Department’s handling of spent nuclear fuel – which without a central or interim waste storage facilities has been piling up at reactors in 33 states. The office concluded that no matter which path the administration and Congress take, the department needed to conduct a public outreach program.

“Without a better understanding of spent nuclear fuel management issues, the public may be unlikely to support any policy decisions about managing spent nuclear fuel,” the GAO wrote.

The administration in 2010 stalled plans for a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, though a court order last year and Republican control of the Senate will likely meansome further action toward developing the site.

But even proponents of Yucca like Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., say that an alternative strategy and facility are needed to process all the waste being generated. He has signed on to a bill that would set up a new administration for handling nuclear waste.

“Officials noted that the department’s strategy cannot be fully implemented until Congress provides direction on a new path forward,” GAO wrote. “However, experts and stakeholders believe that one key challenge – building and sustaining public acceptance of how to manage spent nuclear fuel – will need to be addressed irrespective of which path Congress agrees to take. In this context, they suggested the need for a coordinated public outreach strategy regarding spent nuclear fuel management issues, including perceived risks and benefits, which would be consistent with the administration’s directive to be more transparent and collaborative.”

November 17, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Medical isotopes made without need for a nuclear reactor

nuclear-medicineSaskatoon scientists make medical isotopes without nuclear reactor   http://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/saskatoon-scientists-make-medical-isotopes-without-nuclear-reactor-1.2102945#ixzz3JBjS72AU November 14, 2014 Canadian Light Source scientists have developed a way to produce medical isotopes without the use of a nuclear reactor.

The Saskatoon-based facility announced Friday they recently shipped isotopes made by powerful X-rays to Winnipeg for clinical trials.

“To be part of a project that will meet the health needs of so many Canadians, that is the most gratifying element,” said Canadian Light Source CEO Rob Lamb in a media release. Medical isotopes are used in medical imaging to diagnose cancer and heart disease. According to Health Canada, energy emitted by the isotope is detected by a special camera during a scan.

The Medical Isotope Project facility in Saskatoon is the first of its kind in the world, light source officials said. A particle accelerator hits molybdenum-100 metals — which resemble dimes — with high-energy X-rays. The rays knock a neutron from the nuclei and convert the molybdenum-100 to molybdenum-99, which then decays into a medically useful isotope — technetium-99m. Leftover metals are recovered and recycled. A nuclear reactor is not needed and no nuclear waste is created. Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Canada, health | Leave a comment

USA nuclear weapons system – unaffordable, and in decay

Foundation of US nuclear system showing cracks By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer Wane.com  November 8, 2014, WASHINGTON (AP) — The foundation of America’s nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it.

The cracks appear not just in the military forces equipped with nuclear weapons but also in the civilian bureaucracy that controls them, justifies their cost, plans their future and is responsible for explaining a defense policy that says nuclear weapons are at once essential and excessive.

It’s not clear that the government recognizes the full scope of the problem, which has wormed its way to the core of the nuclear weapons business without disturbing bureaucracies fixated on defending their own turf. Nor has it aroused the public, which may think nuclear weapons are relics of the past, if it thinks about them at all.

This is not mainly about the safety of today’s weapons, although the Air Force’s nuclear missile corps has suffered failures in discipline, training, morale and leadership over the past two years. Just last week the Air Force fired nuclear commanders at two of its three missile bases for misconduct and disciplined a third commander.

Rather, this is about a broader problem: The erosion of the government’s ability to manage and sustain its nuclear “enterprise,” the intricate network of machines, brains and organizations that enables America to call itself a nuclear superpower.

What have been slipping are certain key building blocks — technical expertise, modern facilities and executive oversight on the civilian side, and discipline, morale and accountability on the military side.

The shortfalls are compounded by tight budgets and what experts call a decline in political support for the nuclear system. In the absence of a headline-grabbing nuclear accident in recent decades and receding fears of nuclear war, these problems generally are paid little heed.

The scientific and military capability is arguably the best in the world, but its underpinnings have weakened gradually.

The White House and Congress have paid little attention, allowing the responsible government agencies to “muddle through,” according to a congressional advisory panel. This is the case despite the fact that the U.S. still has thousands of nuclear weapons — more than it says it needs — and is approaching decision points on investing enormous sums to keep the arsenal viable for future generations………

“Unaffordable,” is the blunt conclusion by a panel of defense experts who reviewed the Pentagon latest defense plan…….http://wane.com/2014/11/08/foundation-of-us-nuclear-system-showing-cracks/

November 12, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Luxury underground apartments on sale to prepare for nuclear apocalypse

Paranoid US millionaires can buy Survival Condos to survive nuclear war in style, Telegraph UK,  By , New York 11 Nov 2014 Former weapons silo in Kansas converted into luxury underground apartments complete with pool, bar, dog park and cinema Paranoid millionaires in the United States are being offered the opportunity to buy a flat in a luxury underground apartment building in which to see out a nuclear apocalypse in style.

apocalypse

Called “Survival Condos,” the apartments in a former weapons silo at a secret location near Concordia in rural Kansas are on the market for between $1.5 million (£950,000) and $4.5 million (£2.8 million), and come complete with access to a swimming pool, bar, movie theatre and “hydroponic” vegetable garden.

Dog lovers have a place to walk their pets, while a “holding cell” can be used as a prison to house any residents who turn unruly during the long days and nights underground. There is a shooting range and rock climbing wall.

In the event of nuclear war or other disaster, the complex is designed to keep up to 70 people alive for five years, providing food, water and even entertainment.

The complex’s online marketing brochure describes itself as “Survival Bunker Security / Full Luxury Resort Living.”……..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11223714/Paranoid-US-millionaires-can-buy-Survival-Condos-to-survive-nuclear-war-in-style.html

November 12, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Wyoming in-situ uranium mining company fined for 2 radioactive spills

$5,000 fine for uranium spills at new Wyoming mine http://www.kulr8.com/story/27356303/5000-fine-for-uranium-spills-at-new-wyoming-mine Nov 11, 2014 By MEAD GRUVERAssociated Press CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – A company has agreed to pay a $5,000 state penalty for spilling uranium solution at a newly opened uranium mine in Wyoming.

Two spills occurred at the Nichols Ranch in-situ mine between Casper and Gillette last summer. Casper-based Uranerz Energy Corporation started production at the mine in April and announced its first shipment of yellowcake uranium in September.

In-situ mining involves pumping chemicals underground to release uranium into a solution that is pumped to the surface.

Department of Environmental Quality officials say over 20,000 gallons of uranium-bearing liquid spilled from a pipeline July 17. A second pipeline spill of 12,000 gallons occurred Sept. 8.

Department Director Todd Parfitt and Uranerz Vice President Michael Thomas signed the penalty agreement Nov. 3. Thomas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

November 12, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast

cesium in california 10 nov 2014

November 10, 2014

Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.

In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami off Japan, the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant released cesium-134 and other radioactive elements into the ocean at unprecedented levels. Since then, the radioactive plume has traveled west across the Pacific, propelled largely by ocean currents and being diluted along the way. At their highest near the damaged nuclear power plant in 2011, radioactivity levels peaked at more than 10 million times the levels recently detected near North America.

“We detected cesium-134, a contaminant from Fukushima, off the northern California coast.  The levels are only detectable by sophisticated equipment able to discern minute quantities of radioactivity,” said Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine chemist, who is leading the monitoring effort. “Most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope.  Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s.  Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”

The amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less than 2 Becquerels 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 1000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by US EPA.

Scientists have used models to predict when and how much cesium-134 from Fukushima would appear off shore of Alaska and the coast of Canada. They forecast that detectable amounts will move south along the coast of North America and eventually back towards Hawaii, but models differ greatly on when and how much would be found.

“We don’t know exactly when the Fukushima isotopes will be detectable closer to shore because the mixing of offshore surface waters and coastal waters is hard to predict. Mixing is hindered by coastal currents and near-shore upwelling of colder deep water,” said Buesseler. “We stand to learn more from samples taken this winter when there is generally less upwelling, and exchange between coastal and offshore waters maybe enhanced.”

Because no U.S. federal agency is currently funding monitoring of ocean radioactivity in coastal waters, Buesseler launched a crowd-funded, citizen-science program to engage the public in gathering samples and to provide up-to-date scientific data on the levels of cesium isotopes along the west coast of North America and Hawaii. Since January 2014, when Buesseler launched the program, individuals and groups have collected more than 50 seawater samples and raised funds to have them analyzed. The results of samples collected from Alaska to San Diego and on the North Shore of Hawaii are posted on the website http://OurRadioactiveOcean.org. To date, all of the coastal samples tested in Buesseler’s lab have shown no sign of cesium-134 from Fukushima (all are less than their detection limit of 0.2 Becquerel per cubic meter).

The offshore radioactivity reported this week came from water samples collected and sent to Buesseler’s lab for analysis in August by a group of volunteers on the research vessel Point Sur sailing between Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Eureka, California. These results confirm prior data described at a scientific meeting in Honolulu in Feb. 2014 by John Smith, a scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, who found similar levels on earlier research cruises off shore of Canada. Buesseler and Smith are now working together on a new project, led by Jay Cullen at the University of Victoria, Canada, called InFORM (http://fukushimainform.wordpress.com/) that involves Canadian academic, government and NGO partners to determine and communicate the environmental risks posed by Fukushima for Canada’s Pacific and Arctic coasts and their inhabitants.

Buesseler believes the spread of radioactivity across the Pacific is an evolving situation that demands careful, consistent monitoring of the sort conducted from the Point Sur.

“Crowd-sourced funding continues to be an important way to engage the public and reveal what is going on near the coast. But ocean scientists need to do more work offshore to understand how ocean currents will be transporting cesium on shore.  The models predict cesium levels to increase over the next two to three years, but do a poor job describing how much more dilution will take place and where those waters will reach the shore line first,” said Buesseler. “So we need both citizen scientists to keep up the coastal monitoring network, but also research vessels and comprehensive studies offshore like this one, that are too expensive for the average citizen to support,” said Buesseler.

Buesseler will be presenting his results on Nov. 13, 2014, at the SETAC conference in Vancouver (http://meetings.setac.org/frontend.php/presentation/listForPublic ). He is also responding to questions from the public on the “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit at 1 p.m. EST on Nov. 10 (http://www.reddit.com/r/science).

Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who specializes in the study of natural and man-made radionuclides in the ocean. His work includes studies of fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, assessments of Chernobyl impacts on the Black Sea, and examination of radionuclide contaminants in the Pacific resulting from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Dr. Buesseler has served as Chair of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI, as Executive Scientist of the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Fluxes Planning and Data Management Office, and two years as an Associate Program Director at the U.S. National Science Foundation, Chemical Oceanography Program. In 2009, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2011 he was noted as the top-cited ocean scientist by the Times Higher Education for the decade 2000-2010. He is currently Director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at WHOI. For more info, visit his lab, Café Thorium.

Funding for the citizen monitoring effort at ourradioactiveocean.org comes from close to 400 individuals and sponsoring organizations including Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska SeaGrant, Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Cook Inlet Keepers, David Suzuki Foundation, Deerbrook Charitable Trust, Dominical Real Estate, Fukushima Response Campaign, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Parks Canada, Humboldt State University Marine Lab, Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) Network, International Medcom, KUSP Santa Cruz, Lush Cosmetics, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Nuxalk Nation, Onset Computer, Pacific Blue Foundation, Peaceroots Alliance, PFx, a Picture Farm Company, Point Blue Conservation Science, Prince William Sound Science Center, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, Say Yes! to Life Swims LLC, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Program National Park Service, St. Mary’s School, The Guacamole Fund, The Institute for Building Biology and Ecology, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, Ucluelet Aquarium, Umpqua Soil & Water Conservation District, University of California Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, University of Hawaii, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu

Originally published: November 10, 2014

Source:  http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/Fukushima-detection

November 10, 2014 Posted by | USA | , , | 3 Comments

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