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Doped carbon could partially treat contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi removing nearly 93 percent of cesium and 92 percent of strontium in a single pass

Nothing new here. There are lots of ways of pulling radionuclides out of water : activated carbon, ion exchange, chemical affinity, sunflowers (phytoremediation). But still can’t deal with tritium. All costs money, and results in just shifting the contamination to a different material. Radionuclides cannot be simply destroyed, they can only be shifted from one location/ source to another.

 

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Doped carbon could treat water from Fukushima

US and Russian scientists have discovered a new way to remove radioactivity from water, which could be used to treat contaminated water at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.

The researchers, from Rice University and Kazan Federal University, used oxidatively modified carbon (OMC) material to remove caesium and strontium from samples of water. Published in the journal Carbon, their work details how over 90 per cent of the radioactive elements were extracted using OMC column filtration.

Just passing contaminated water through OMC filters will extract the radioactive elements and permit safe discharge to the ocean,” said Rice chemist James Tour, who led the project with Ayrat Dimiev, a former postdoctoral researcher in his lab and fuknow a research professor at Kazan Federal University. “This could be a major advance for the cleanup effort at Fukushima.”

According to Tour, OMC makes good use of the porous nature of two specific sources of carbon. One is an inexpensive, coke-derived powder known as C-seal F, used by the oil industry as an additive to drilling fluids. The other is a naturally occurring, carbon-heavy mineral called shungite, which is found mainly in Russia.

The team found that the two types of OMC were efficient at extracting cesium, which has been the hardest element to remove from radioactive water stored at Fukushima. The OMC was also much easier and less expensive than previously used filtration materials such as graphene oxide.

We know we can use graphene oxide to trap the light radioactive elements of relevance to the Fukushima cleanup, namely caesium and strontium,” Tour said. “We learned we can move from graphene oxide, which remains more expensive and harder to make, to really cheap oxidised coke and related carbons to trap these elements.”

As well as being cheaper than other materials, OMC has the added advantage of not having to be stored alongside the radioactive waste it is used to treat.

Carbon that has captured the elements can be burned in a nuclear incinerator, leaving only a very small amount of radioactive ash that’s much easier to store,” said Tour.

https://www.theengineer.co.uk/doped-carbon-could-treat-fukushima-water/

Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water

Researchers at Rice, Kazan universities develop unique sorbents, target Fukushima accident site 

Researchers at Rice University and Kazan Federal University in Russia have found a way to extract radioactivity from water and said their discovery could help purify the hundreds of millions of gallons of contaminated water stored after the Fukushima nuclear plant accident.

They reported that their oxidatively modified carbon (OMC) material is inexpensive and highly efficient at absorbing radioactive metal cations, including cesium and strontium, toxic elements released into the environment when the Fukushima plant melted down after an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

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C-seal F, a source used to synthesize oxidatively modified carbon, is seen magnified 20 times by a scanning electron microscope. The material is highly effective at removing radionuclides from water, according to researchers at Rice University and Kazan Federal University. Click on image for a larger version. Courtesy of Kazan Federal University

OMC can easily trap common radioactive elements found in water floods from oil extraction, such as uranium, thorium and radium, said Rice chemist James Tour, who led the project with Ayrat Dimiev, a former postdoctoral researcher in his lab and now a research professor at Kazan Federal University.

The material makes good use of the porous nature of two specific sources of carbon, Tour said. One is an inexpensive, coke-derived powder known as C-seal F, used by the oil industry as an additive to drilling fluids. The other is a naturally occurring, carbon-heavy mineral called shungite found mainly in Russia.

The results appear this month in Carbon.

Tour and researchers at Lomonosov Moscow State University had already demonstrated a method to remove radionuclides from water using graphene oxide as a sorbent, as reported in Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange late last year, but the new research suggests OMC is easier and far less expensive to process.

Treating the carbon particles with oxidizing chemicals increased their surface areas and “decorated” them with the oxygen molecules needed to adsorb the toxic metals. The particles were between 10 and 80 microns wide.

While graphene oxide excelled at removing strontium, Tour said, the two types of OMC were better at extracting cesium, which he said has been the hardest element to remove from water stored at Fukushima. The OMC was also much easier and less expensive to synthesize and to use in a standard filtration system, he said.

We know we can use graphene oxide to trap the light radioactive elements of relevance to the Fukushima cleanup, namely cesium and strontium,” Tour said. “But in the second study, we learned we can move from graphene oxide, which remains more expensive and harder to make, to really cheap oxidized coke and related carbons to trap these elements.”

While other materials used for remediation of radioactive waste need to be stored with the waste they capture, carbon presents a distinct advantage, he said. “Carbon that has captured the elements can be burned in a nuclear incinerator, leaving only a very small amount of radioactive ash that’s much easier to store,” Tour said.

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C-seal F, a carbon source, magnified 200 times reveals its high surface area of 12.5 square meters per grams. Processing it into oxidatively modified carbon raises its surface area to 16.9 square meters per gram while enhancing its ability to remove radioactive cesium and strontium from water, according to researchers at Rice University and Kazan Federal University. Click on image for a larger version. Courtesy of Kazan Federal University

Just passing contaminated water through OMC filters will extract the radioactive elements and permit safe discharge to the ocean,” he said. “This could be a major advance for the cleanup effort at Fukushima.”

The two flavors of OMC particles – one from coke-derived carbon and the other from shungite — look like balls of crumpled paper, or roses with highly irregular petals. The researchers tested them by mixing the sorbents with contaminated water as well as through column filtration, a standard process in which fluid is pumped or pulled by gravity through a filter to remove contaminants.

In the mixing test, the labs dispersed nonradioactive isotopes of strontium and cesium in spring water, added OMC and stirred for two hours. After filtering out the sorbent, they measured the particles left in the water.

OMC1 (from coke) proved best at removing both cesium and strontium from contaminated water, getting significantly better as the sorbent was increased. A maximum 800 milligrams of OMC1 removed about 83 percent of cesium and 68 percent of strontium from 100 milliliters of water, they reported.

OMC2 (from shungite) in the same concentrations adsorbed 70 percent of cesium and 47 percent of strontium.

The researchers were surprised to see that plain shungite particles extracted almost as much cesium as its oxidized counterpart. “Interestingly, plain shungite was used by local people for water purification from ancient times,” Dimiev said. “But we have increased its efficiency many times, as well as revealed the factors behind its effectiveness.”

In column filtration tests, which involved flowing 1,400 milliliters of contaminated water through an OMC filter in 100-milliliter amounts, the filter removed nearly 93 percent of cesium and 92 percent of strontium in a single pass. The researchers were able to contain and isolate contaminants trapped in the filter material.

Co-authors of the paper are Artur Khannanov, Vadim Nekljudov, Bulat Gareev and Airat Kiiamov, all of Kazan Federal University. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice. The Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University supported the research.

http://news.rice.edu/2017/01/19/treated-carbon-pulls-radioactive-elements-from-water-2/#sthash.ha7SYWlq.dpuf

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Tests Pacific Ocean’s Ecosystem

 

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By Cole Hambleton

On Friday March 11, 2011, following a major earthquake, a 15-meter tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing a nuclear accident. All three reactor cores largely melted in the first three days, but were stabilized in the following weeks with seawater. By July 2011, they were being cooled with recycled water from a new treatment plant. An official “cold shutdown condition” was eventually achieved in mid-December 2011.

In November 2011, the Japanese Science Ministry reported that long-lived radioactive cesium had contaminated 11,580 square miles of the land surface of Japan – of which approximately 4,500 square miles (an area almost the size of Connecticut) was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s pre-earthquake allowable exposure rate of 1 millisievert (mSV) per year.1,2 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster also produced the largest discharge of radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean in history. Fifteen months after a quantity of radioactive cesium were deposited into the Pacific Ocean, 56% of all fish catches off the coast of Japan were found to be contaminated. 3  Fishing continues to be banned off the coast of Fukushima up to 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant, where 40 percent of bottom-dwelling fish were recently found to have radioactive cesium levels higher than current Japanese regulatory limits for human consumption. Contamination levels are also still unacceptably high in the base levels of the food chain, including algae and plankton. With contamination being found through the whole food chain, scientists believe that the long-term effects on the Japanese human population’s diet will be significant.4

What Has Been Released Into the Pacific Ocean?

Many different radioactive elements are contained in the water leaking from Fukushima. Plutonium 239, which can cause death if inhaled in microgram-sized doses, is found in the released water and can bio-accumulate in the food chain leading to leukemia and bone cancers if ingested by humans. Both short-lived radioactive elements, such as iodine-131, and longer-lived elements such as cesium-137 with a half-life of 30 years, that have been found in the discharged water can be absorbed by phytoplankton, zooplankton, kelp, and other marine life and then can be transmitted up the food chain, to fish, marine mammals, and humans. Other radioactive elements, including plutonium, which has been detected outside the Fukushima plant, also pose a threat to marine life. 5

Capacity of Ocean to Recover?

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 gave scientists a small amount of information on what to expect during a nuclear meltdown on land, but the world has not experienced a meltdown that affects the ocean. 6 Scientists generally agree that oceans have the unparalleled ability to dilute most contaminants to manageable levels and eventually break down those contaminants over time.

Unfortunately, the types of contaminants released due to the Fukushima disaster are substantially different from the more common oil or other chemical spills experienced by the world’s oceans. How the radioactive materials released from the Fukushima plant will behave in the ocean will depend on their chemical properties and reactivity. 

If the radionuclides are in soluble form, they will behave differently than if they are absorbed into particles. Soluble iodine will disperse rapidly. But if a radionuclide reacts with other molecules or gets deposited on existing particulates – minerals, for example – they can be suspended in the water or, if larger, may drop to the sea floor where the water is not circulated or blended as often as the water closer to the surface. 7 

If the contaminants make it to the ocean floor, they may be able to avoid being broken down by natural processes for a longer period of time. This type of pollution has never been seen before so the long-term consequences are not fully understood. Scientists are currently monitoring the ocean and land contamination. 8

While most scientists believe that the ocean’s powers of dilution will eventually spread the contamination in its suspended and soluble states over time and return the ocean to normal levels of radioactivity, those same scientists do not agree on the amount of time that this dilution will require. As Fukushima continues to dump contaminated water into the ocean, for the sake of the Pacific Ocean food chain, we must hope that the dilution occurs sooner rather than later.

1 About a month after the disaster, on April 19, 2011, Japan chose to drastically increase its “safe” radiation exposure levels from 1 mSV to 20 mSV per year, 20 times higher than the U.S. limit. This allowed the Japanese government to downplay the dangers of the fallout and avoid evacuation of many badly contaminated areas.
2http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/responses/costs-and-consequences-of-fukushima.html
3 Roslin, Alex. “Post-Fukushima, Japan’s Irradiated Fish Worry B.C. Experts.” Straight.com 19 Jul. 2012. Web. 6 Nov. 2012 <http://www.straight.com/article-735051/vancouver/japans-irradiated-fish-worry-bc-experts>
4http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-07-24/threat-to-japanese-food-chain-multiplies-as-cesium-contamination-spreads
5http://e360.yale.edu/feature/radioactivity_in_the_ocean_diluted_but_far_from_harmless/2391/
6http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Chernobyl-Accident/
7http://e360.yale.edu/feature/radioactivity_in_the_ocean_diluted_but_far_from_harmless/2391/
8http://e360.yale.edu/feature/radioactivity_in_the_ocean_diluted_but_far_from_harmless/2391/

Source: https://www.bv.com/Home/news/solutions/environmental/fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-disaster-tests-pacific-oceans-ecosystem

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

100 Meters High Crane Collapsed at Takahama nuclear Plant

In Fukui Prefecture a 100 meters crane collapsed in a storm at Takahama nuclear Plant.

 

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

January 20 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Donald Trump sees the future in coal. China sees the future in renewables. Who’s making the safer bet?” • In Donald Trump’s vision of America, the flagging coal industry is revived. China is meanwhile moving sharply in the opposite direction, with huge new investments in renewable energy, creating 13 million new jobs. [PRI]

Coal plant with wind turbines in the background (Photo: Bert Kaufmann, from Roermond, Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons) Coal plant with wind turbines in the background (Photo: Bert Kaufmann from Roermond, Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Shift to ‘base-cost’ renewables: 10 predictions for 2017” • At the start of 2017, it is once again easy to list the potential storms that might disrupt the smooth sailing of the good ship clean energy. First and foremost are the potentially tempestuous consequences of Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Emerging energy markets are expected to add nearly 81 GW of stationary energy storage capacity by 2025 to…

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Veterans Opposing Trump Nominee Tillerson Try to Meet with Senator McCain; McCain Staffers have then Arrested; #VetsRejectRex

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harvests to suffer from #climatechange #auspol 

jpratt27

Harvests in US to suffer from climate change
Some of the most important crops risk substantial damage from rising temperatures.

To better assess how climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions will likely impact wheat, maize and soybean, an international team of scientists now ran an unprecedentedly comprehensive set of computer simulations of US crop yields.

The simulations were shown to reproduce the observed strong reduction in past crop yields induced by high temperatures, thereby confirming that they capture one main mechanism for future projections.

Importantly, the scientists find that increased irrigation can help to reduce the negative effects of global warming on crops — but this is possible only in regions where sufficient water is available.


Eventually limiting global warming is needed to keep crop losses in check.
“We know from observations that high temperatures can harm crops, but now we have a much better understanding of the…

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kukes: Russian Oil Magnate with Ties to Putin and Cheney Gave Almost $300,000 to Trump

Mining Awareness +

Who is this Simon Kukes who donated $275,700 to Trump’s Campaign? What does he want?
Kukes donations to Trump FEC gov
http://www.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/norindsea.shtml

People need to ask who this Simon aka Semyon aka Semen Kukes is, who appears to have had both close ties to Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and to have been at least tolerated by Putin, having replaced a Putin foe at Yukos. In April of 2000: http://www.exim.gov/news/ex-im-bank-approves-financing-for-us-oil-industry-exports-russias-tyumen-oil-company. In December 2004, Yukos’ core asset, Yuganskneftegaz, was confiscated and sold to Russian State owned Rosneft via an intermediary.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukos

ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson and Rosneft aspirations to create a petroleum mega cartel is being partially blocked due to sanctions because of Russia’s invasion of Crimea. ExxonMobil operates and co-owns the Rosneft Sakhalin project, despite sanctions. (Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State nominee, only resigned as CEO less than one month ago). Trump has started fetching excuses to lift sanctions against Russia.
NEW YORK. Signing an agreement between the Tyumen Oil Company (TNK) and Eximbank USA. Vladimir Putin with TNK President Simon Kukes. 8 September 2000. www.kremlin. ru CC-BY-3.0 via open secrets-wikimedia
NEW YORK. Signing an agreement between the Tyumen…

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We Cannot Wait for History to Judge: We Need the Truth About Trump and Russia Now (and ExxonMobil and Robert Mercer)

Mining Awareness +

Either way — whether any of these allegations are true or false — the entire matter must be investigated thoroughly and immediately. The dark clouds hovering over American politics must be cleared up. Left unresolved, the allegations present a clear and present danger, a ticking time bomb that could explode and bring an end to America’s nearly 250-year experiment in self-government” (Moyers and Winship, 18 Jan 2017)

Investigation needs to include Trump’s ties to Exxon Mobil and investigation of anyone who votes for (now former) Exxon Mobil CEO Tillerson for Secretary of State. The Tillerson appointment benefits both Exxon Mobil AND Russian State owned Rosneft . Also, of Trump ties to Russian campaign donor Simon Kukes, who gave $275,700 to Trump: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/kukes-russian-oil-magnate-with-ties-to-putin-and-cheney-gave-almost-300000-to-trump/. There are also these alleged ties: http://youtu.be/6vL4ntaryvA What are the ties, if any, between Robert Mercer and Putin-Russia? Steve Bannon? Trump’s children and spouses, two…

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January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi: (Nitrogen?) Device Screenshots

I’m assuming this very large device is what injects nitrogen into the reactors to prevent the buildup of explosive gasses.

I’ve seen the device many times before and it usually is placed in service when atmospheric emissions start to thicken, as illustrated by this screenshot from earlier today:

Jan 20 00:33

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It is huge, as illustrated here when the crane pulls it out of the building and drops it in the foreground of the building (reactor1) where it had been embedded:

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http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/01/fukushima-daiichi-nitrogen-device.html

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima seafood: radioactive cesium not detected (i.e., less than the detection limit value) in 95.0 percent of 8,502 specimens

Here’s a correction on last week’s Kyodo News report on Fukushima seafood contamination.

Kyodo said that 95% of the more than 8,000 fish tested had contamination levels that were “hardly detectible”. Japan’s Atomic Industrial Forum reports, “…radioactive cesium was not detected (i.e., less than the detection limit value) in 8,080 specimens, or some 95.0 percent of the total.”

Not detected is considerably different from hardly detectible. JAIF adds that the specimens were taken from the Pacific Ocean within a 20 kilometer radius of F. Daiichi.

(Comment – With severe “radiophobia” infecting millions of Japanese, it is imperative that popular news outlets report accurately. Kyodo News ought to post a correction.)

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All Fukushima Seafood Tested in 2016 Falls Below Cesium Standard Value

After the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, Fukushima Prefecture has been conducting tests on fish and shellfish in coastal waters. It was revealed recently that the concentration of radioactive cesium in all the fish and shellfish collected during tests in 2016 fell below the national standard value of 100Bq/kg. It was the first time since the nuclear accident that all such seafood from Fukushima fell below the standard value in a single calendar year.

According to the prefectural Fisheries Experiment Station, the number of specimens tested in 2016 was 8,502. Among those, radioactive cesium was not detected (i.e., less than the detection limit value) in 8,080 specimens, or some 95.0 percent of the total. The last time that the reference value had been exceeded was in March 2015, after which no instances have been registered.

The inspections, which started in April 2011, include fish and shellfish taken from the sea within a 20-km radius from the Fukushima Daiichi site. The proportion of fish and shellfish exceeding the reference value has been decreasing year by year, as follows: 39.8 percent in 2011, 16.5 percent in 2012, 3.7 percent in 2013, 0.9 percent in 2014, and 0.05 percent in 2015.

Test operations are continuing in limited sea areas in the coastal waters off Fukushima, including fish species in which it is difficult to incorporate radioactive substances.

http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/all-fukushima-seafood-tested-in-2016-falls-below-cesium-standard-value/

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Long-distance transport of radioactive plume by nocturnal local winds

Long-distance transport of radioactive plume by nocturnal local winds

Abstract

Radioactive plumes can spread far and wide depending on wind conditions. The plumes often frequently reached the Tokyo metropolitan area, which is approximately 200 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, under spatially heterogeneous wind fields in March 2011. To reduce exposure to radioactive plumes, the behaviour of the plumes must be known. However, the transport mechanism of radioactive plumes is not fully understood. Using a regional climate model, we show that multiple diurnal cycle processes play a key role in the frequent transport of radioactive plumes to the Tokyo metropolitan area. The observed data and hindcast results indicate that the radioactive plume moves along the local winds, which comprise the northeasterly local wind (NELW) associated with the meso-scale low-pressure system (meso-low) and the northerly sea wind (NSW) during the night. The long-term analysis and sensitivity simulations also show the nocturnal processes that the NELW caused by the meso-low and the NSW are formed east of the Tokyo metropolitan area and from Fukushima offshore east of the Tokyo metropolitan area, respectively, when neither winter monsoons nor extra-tropical cyclones are predominant. These findings indicate that the radioactive plumes could reach faraway places frequently via nocturnal local processes.

Introduction

Radioactive plumes can scatter widely under the strong influence of the weather1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese government evacuated the area within a 20-km radius of the power plant and advised residents within a 20-km to 30-km radius of the power plant to stay inside their homes9. However, high air doses were observed in faraway places outside the 30-km radius (Fig. 1a,b). In such situations, exposure should be minimized because the released radioactive material (131I) is assumed to have the potential to cause thyroid cancer10. Therefore, when and where radioactive plumes will travel should be known in advance.

 

Figure 1: A common feature of the atmospheric fields when a high air dose was observed in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

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(a) The locations of Fukushima, Tokai-mura, and the Tokyo metropolitan area. (b) Time variations of the observed air doses at the observation sites in Tokai-mura. Cases 1, 2, 3, and 4 correspond to the spikes in the air dose. (c) The wind field and geo-potential height of MSM-GPV (975 hPa) at midnight before each of the four cases. Dark areas indicate low pressure. The maps were created by using GrADS 2.0.1 (http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/) (a,c) and Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011 (b).

 

The movement of a radioactive plume is not only influenced by large-scale events, such as monsoons and extra-tropical cyclones, but also by local-scale events4,5. For example, local-scale events, including land/sea breezes, are predominant under calm weather conditions11,12. A land/sea breeze can cause severe atmospheric pollution even in areas that are distant from the emission source13,14,15. A contamination could occur in a specific area because of the local circulation if large amounts of radioactive materials are emitted over a long period.

A large quantity of radioactive 131I, estimated to be between 1.8 × 1012 and 8.9 × 1015 Bq h−1, was released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the end of March 201116,17,18. To represent the transport and deposition distribution of radioactive materials in Japan, several numerical simulations have been performed using the estimated emission data3,4,5,6,7,8,16,17,18. However, simulating the distributions is difficult because many uncertainties affect numerical simulations. One such uncertainty is the chaotic behaviour of the atmosphere19,20, which amplifies prediction errors resulting from imperfections in the model formulation or the sensitive dependence on the initial conditions. Indeed, if chaotic behaviour were predominant, the movement of the radioactive plume would be difficult to predict accurately.

In contrast, predicting the movement of a radioactive plume would be relatively simple if large-scale events, such as monsoons and extra-cyclones, were predominant because the wind field would be expected to be temporally constant and spatially homogeneous. However, radioactive plumes often reached the Tokyo metropolitan area, even under spatially heterogeneous wind fields5. The types of atmospheric events that might have affected the wind field and the mechanisms by which the radioactive plumes travelled over long distances remain poorly understood. The chaotic behaviour of the atmosphere might be associated with the movement of the radioactive plume. Here, we investigate the mechanism of radioactive plume transport from Fukushima to the Tokyo metropolitan area using a regional climate model.

Results

High air doses, indicated by the spike in Fig. 1b, were often observed at Tokai-mura in the eastern coastal region of the Tokyo metropolitan area in the morning. At approximately the same time, the NSW and the NELW commonly occurred near the coastal area of the northeastern region of the Tokyo metropolitan area at 975 hPa (see Supplementary Fig. S1), whereas these winds were not detected at 850 hPa (see Supplementary Fig. S2). Another common feature, the nocturnal meso-low, formed in the Tokyo metropolitan area before the high dose rates were observed east of the Tokyo metropolitan area in the morning (Fig. 1c). We conducted a hindcast (HC run) to confirm the relationship between the observed high air radiation doses and the radioactive plume simulated using a regional climate model21 (see Methods). The simulated radioactive plume occurred from Fukushima to the northeastern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area in all cases (see Supplementary Fig. S3).

We assumed that the NSW, NELW, and nocturnal meso-low strongly influenced the radioactive plume transport when neither winter monsoons nor extra-cyclones were predominant. Some diurnal cycle processes could have formed the NSW, NELW, and nocturnal meso-low if the diurnal variations of those atmospheric fields were confirmed in the long-term composite data during calm weather. To verify this hypothesis, we defined a typical day when diurnal wind was observed as a calm day using station data for the central part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The four cases shown in Fig. 1 were included in the calm day. The diurnal variations were investigated by using the operational meteorological analysis dataset for March from 2008 to 2014 (see Supplementary Fig. S4 and Methods). Seven-year composite would be sufficient to detect the signal of diurnal cycle significantly.

The results demonstrated that the NSW, NELW, and meso-low were clearly evident in the composite of the calm day (Fig. 2b,c) at 975 hPa at night, whereas these atmospheric fields were unclear at 850 hPa (Fig. 2g–i). The meso-low could strongly influence the formation of the NELW. Additionally, the NSW and NELW could be formed as gravity currents induced by the meridional temperature gradient because no predominant forcing exists except for the temperature gradient at night under calm conditions. In contrast, the onshore wind, which is intensified by the heat-low at the mountains of central Japan14, is clearly evident in the daytime (Fig. 2a,d). Almost 30% of the days in March from 2008 to 2014 were calm days (see Supplementary Fig. S5). Thus, diurnal cycle processes are not rare events but are important contributors to the regional climate in March.

 

Figure 2: Diurnal variation of the wind fields under calm conditions.

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Diurnal variation of the composite data of wind fields, geo-potential height, and temperature at 975 hPa and 850 hPa on calm days from 2008 to 2014 according to the MSM-GPV data. The dark areas indicate areas of low geo-potential height (low pressure). The maps were created by using GrADS 2.0.1 (http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/).

 

The nocturnal meso-low forms in various areas worldwide22,23,24,25,26. The topographical heat-low in the daytime could be a trigger of the meso-low23. However, the nocturnal meso-low has been observed to persist until the morning (Fig. 2c). If the convergence caused by the NSW sustains the meso-low, the topographic effect and meridional temperature gradient could be important in the formation of the meso-low.

To elucidate the formation mechanisms of the NSW, NELW, and meso-low, we conducted simple sensitivity tests (see Methods). The effect of the meridional temperature gradient was investigated by adapting a monthly averaged global zonal mean field in March 2011 as the initial and boundary conditions (Ex. 1); the effect of geography, including the land/sea contrast, was investigated by adapting the area-averaged atmospheric field around east Japan (Ex. 2) (see Supplementary Fig. S6). The result shows that Ex. 1 simulates the NSW, NELW, and meso-low but Ex. 2 does not (Fig. 3). This finding indicates that the meridional temperature gradient is essential in the formation of the diurnal cycle of the atmospheric field.

 

Figure 3: Sensitivity test.

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The wind fields, geo-potential heights, and temperatures at 975 hPa in the morning (6 JST) of Ex. 1 and Ex. 2. The atmospheric fields of the global zonal mean and area-averaged values in March 2011 were applied as the lateral boundary conditions of Ex. 1 and Ex. 2, respectively. The maps were created by using GrADS 2.0.1 (http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/).

 

Discussion

A schematic of the transport of radioactive materials is presented in Fig. 4. The radioactive materials are transported to an area offshore of Fukushima by the land breeze, and then, the plume moves to the south via the NSW (Fig. 4a). In the morning, the radioactive plume flows into the Tokyo metropolitan area via the NELW, which is formed by the nocturnal meso-low (Fig. 4b). In the afternoon, the plume moves to the mountain area located to the northeast of the Tokyo metropolitan area because of the intensified sea breeze induced by the heat-low over the mountains in central Japan (Fig. 4c).

 

Figure 4: Long-distance transport of the radioactive plume via multiple diurnal processes.

srep36584-f4.jpg

The 3D image of the mixing ratio of 131I in Case 1. The maps were created by using Volume Data Visualizer for Google Earth (VDVGE) 1.1.7 ESC JAMSTEC (https://www.jamstec.go.jp/esc/research/Perception/vdvge.ja.html) and Adobe Illustrator CS5

 

The northeasterly wind accompanied by rain is often observed around the Tokyo metropolitan area during winter mornings27,28,29. The developed nocturnal meso-low is responsible for this precipitation. Consequently, it was reassuring that no rainfall was detected on 15 March 2011, when the highest air doses were observed (case 1 in Fig. 1). If rainfall had occurred, the serious contamination would have also caused in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

In the seven-year simulation with the constant emission of radioactive materials (CE run), a high deposition of 131I was simulated from Fukushima to the Tokyo metropolitan area in the morning, with increased deposition occurring the mountains located east of the Tokyo metropolitan area in the evening (see Supplementary Fig. S7 and Methods). The diurnal variation of the deposition could be explained by the movement of the radioactive plume corresponding to the diurnal wind field shown in Fig. 4. Thus, diurnal processes strongly influence the deposition distribution.

The amounts of radioactive materials deposited, especially 137Cs, depend strongly on the precipitation30. Generally, precipitation is difficult to simulate using a numerical model quantitatively with high accuracy because of the non-linearity of the precipitation process. Therefore, accurately estimating the deposition at a specific point without observations would be difficult. Therefore, using only the simulated deposition (exposure by groundshine), determining whether immediate evacuation should be enforced is problematic. Our new findings will be useful for determining the time to take shelter to avoid exposure to the radioactive plume (by cloudshine and/or intake) when a large-scale event is not predominant. Additionally, by applying the transport mechanism clarified here, we could potentially reduce the uncertainties relating to the deposition of radioactive materials. Therefore, we should continue improving existing numerical models to more accurately represent the local circulation caused by diurnal cycle processes. This finding could also useful to improve the local depositions simulated by a global circulation model31.

Generally, local circulation is not simple because various factors, such as land use, geographical features, and synoptic wind, strongly influence the local wind field12. The findings of this study indicate that when a severe nuclear power plant accident occurs, radioactive plumes could reach faraway places via multiple diurnal cycle processes. Therefore, establishing a detailed mechanism of local circulation in every area is necessary to make any progress in reducing the uncertainties related to exposure.

Yoshikane, T. et al. Long-distance transport of radioactive plume by nocturnal local winds. Sci. Rep. 6, 36584; doi: 10.1038/srep36584 (2016).

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep36584

 

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Solar energy now a bigger employer than Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas combined

text-relevantgreen-collarFlag-USA http://www.ecowatch.com/solar-job-growth-2197574131.html Lorraine Chow Jan. 17, 2017 U.S. solar employs more workers than any other energy industry, including coal, oil and natural gas combined, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

6.4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and the energy efficiency sector, which added more than 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, or 14 percent of the nation’s job growth.

“This report verifies the dynamic role that our energy technologies and infrastructure play in a 21st century economy,” said DOE Senior Advisor on Industrial and Economic Policy David Foster. “Whether producing natural gas or solar power at increasingly lower prices or reducing our consumption of energy through smart grids and fuel efficient vehicles, energy innovation is proving itself as the important driver of economic growth in America, producing 14 percent of the new jobs in 2016.”

The solar industry is particularly shining bright.

“Proportionally, solar employment accounts for the largest share of workers in the Electric Power Generation sector,” the report, released on Jan. 13, states. “This is largely due to the construction related to the significant buildout of new solar generation capacity.” Overall, the U.S. solar workforce increased 25 percent in 2016.

According to the report, solar—both photovoltaic and concentrated—employed almost 374,000 workers in 2016, or 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation workforce. This is followed by fossil fuels, which accounts for 22 percent of total Electric Power Generation employment, or 187,117 workers across coal, oil and natural gas generation technologies.

Wind generation is seeing growth in employment with a 32 percent increase since 2015. The wind industry provides the third largest share of Electric Power Generation employment with 102,000 workers at wind firms across the nation.

The reason behind this growth in the solar sector is due to the high capacity additions in both distributed and utility-scale photovoltaic solar, the report said. In fact, construction and installation projects represented the largest share of solar jobs, with almost four in ten workers doing this kind of work, followed by workers in solar wholesale trade, manufacturing and professional services.

In a sign of promise for the booming industry, solar employers reported that they expect to increase employment by 7 percent this year.

Solar is becoming the cheapest form of electricity production in the world, according to statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Last year was the first time that the renewable energy technology out-performed fossil fuels on a large scale.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | employment, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

As climate deniers move into White House – Guardian news focus on climate change

trump-worldGlobal warning: ominous signs for climate in Trump administration – live https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2017/jan/19/global-warning-live-from-the-climate-change-frontline-as-trump-becomes-president With climate change deniers moving into the White House, the Guardian is spending 24 hours focusing on the issue. Right now we’re focusing on how warming temperatures will affect the Asia-Pacific region

  • Our partner, Univision News, is hosting a parallel event in Spanish today. Follow it here
  • The Tumblr community is joining us with personal posts about climate change. See them here
  • Here in Australia, there’s been a toxic debate about renewable energy. The fossil fuel industry, conservative media and the coalition government have been trying to link blackouts in South Australia, which have been caused by extreme weather, to the high proportion of renewables in that state.

    They’ve also been arguing that rising power bills around the country are a result of increases in renewable energy in the grid.

    But today, just as another extreme storm causes a large blackout in South Australia, we have polling from GetUp showing Australians have not been swayed by these arguments.

    Just over 17% of voters said they thought renewable energy was to blame for rising power prices.

     

January 20, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Confusion in Donald Trump’s thinking about nuclear weapons

trump-worldDonald Trump’s very confusing thoughts on nuclear weapons, explained

January 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited – Chinese President Xi Jinping

xi-jinpingChina’s Xi calls for a world without nuclear weapons, SCMP, 19 Jan 17, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a world without nuclear weapons at the UN on Wednesday and urged a multilateral system based on equality among nations large and small.

His speech at the United Nations in Geneva came at the end of a diplomatic tour that included a landmark address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Some experts have seen Xi’s Swiss tour as a bid to capture the mantle of global leadership at a time when Washington is clouded by uncertainty with an unpredictable political novice about to take charge.

“Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons,” Xi said, according to an official translation.

China has been a nuclear power since 1964.

In an address that stretched beyond 45 minutes, Xi also sought to make the case for a global governance system that strives for a level playing field among countries where interventionist tendencies are resisted……..

While he made no mention of the incoming Republican administration, Xi’s message on nuclear weapons stood apart from Trump’s at times contradictory remarks on American nuclear power……http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2063383/chinas-xi-calls-world-without-nuclear-weapons

January 20, 2017 Posted by | China, weapons and war | 1 Comment