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Water leaks indicate new damage at Fukushima nuclear plant

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

On nuclear power as climate solution, Bill Gates shows alarming ignorance

David Lowry’s Blog 16th Feb 2021 The multi-billionaire Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, in his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”, is sceptical of the Green New Deal.(Allen Lane/Penguin) published on 16 February. Gates secured much pre-publication publicity for his new tome, including an interview in the Guardian Weekend Magazine, which wrote “Of the Green New Deal, the proposal backed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [the Congresswoman who has promoted the merits of the GND in the US] that raises the goal of carbon neutrality in a decade, he is flatly dismissive, with Gates telling the interviewer. “Well, it’s a fairytale. It’s like saying vaccines don’t work – that’s a form of science denialism. Why peddle fantasies to people?”

Gates also opined: “I’m not a survivalist.” Instead his version of survivalism is to fund innovation, the reporter noted. “I’m putting money into carbon capture and nuclear fission” Gates told her. (Bill Gates: ‘Carbon neutrality in a decade is a fairytale. Why peddle fantasies?’, Guardian, 13 February 2021; https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/feb/15/bill-gates-carbon-neutrality-in-a-decade-is-a-fairytale-why-peddle-fantasies)

Indeed, his book is laced with positive, if inaccurate, mentions of nuclear power. For example, he asserts on page 84, in a section on “Making Carbon-Free Electricity”, uns der a sub-section titled ‘ Nuclear Fission’ he writes: “”Here’s the one sentence case for nuclear power: It’s the only carbon-free energy sources that can reliably deliver power day and night, through every season.”

Later on page 190, he repeats the fake fact, asserting “Nuclear is the only carbon-free energy source we can use almost anywhere. It is worrying that Gates can be so poorly informed he can believe such demonstable fake information, and repeat is, using it as a cornerstone for his pro-nuclear arguments. His editors at Allen Lane surely should have told him when he presented draft text that this information is incorrect, and should be removed. Gates should have known the following: Nuclear power will not provide any useful dent in curbing harmful emissions, when the carbon footprint of its full uranium ‘fuel chain’ is considered- from uranium mining, milling, enrichment ( which is highly energy intensive), fuel fabrication, irradiation, radioactive waste conditioning, storage, packaging to final disposal. Recent analysis by Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, in a detailed study “Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security (https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/ReviewSolGW09.pdf) demonstrates nuclear power’s CO2 emissions are between 10 to 18 times greater than those from renewable energy technologies.
Gates should read it pronto. Gates is not an energy specialist (evidently), but clearly cares hugely about the global threat of climate change. He is, however, an enormously wealthy philanthropist, and says in his new book (on pages 8-9 ) “I put several hundred million dollars into starting a company [ TerraPower] to design a next-generation nuclear plant that would generate clean electricity.” Beforehand, he says, he “met with experts” (unnamed). Clearly the wrong ones. For a man who must have the contact phone numbers of presidents and premiers on speed dial, it is a pity this commendable venture into solutions to the climate change challenge, is so poorly founded. On Gates’ Breakthrough Energy web site, he says that he has assembled “analysts, experts and advocates working to advance smart public policy.” On nuclear, Gates’ approach is just dumb!   http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.com/2021/02/green-new-deal-and-nuclear-politics.html

February 20, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, ENERGY, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

I am appalled at the idea of ”Mothers For Nuclear”

As a mother myself, I am appalled that such a group as ”Mothers For Nuclear” even exists.  Dont

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

they know about the effects of ionising radiation on women, especially pregnant women?   Don’t they know about the breast cancers, the birth deformities in irradiated areas such as Pacific atomic bomb sites, and Belarus-Ukraine, near the Chernobyl site.  No, they don’t seem to.  (Perhaps that ‘s the beauty of a narrowly S.T.E.M. education?)

Both Heather Hoff and Kristin Zaitz work at the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant.   Hoff worked as a plant operator, and now as a procedure writer.  Zaitz works as a civil engineer.

Hoff was inspired by none other than that top nuclear schill Michael Shellenberger, and by the glossy  nuclear advertising film ”Pandora’s Promise”.

They sound very sincere, but also very ignorant of the negative issues around the nuclear industry.

Why am I not surprised?   The nuclear industry is busting its guts trying to get women onside.  Their favourite thing is getting (preferably young and attractive) women into engineering, and at the top of nuclear companies.    (This is good in two ways  – good to promote the industry’s ‘gender equality’ image, and good if they muck up, as Leslie Dewan did, in her bogus claims for Transatomic’s molten salt reactor –  let a woman take the flak!)

The thing is – lots of women have expertise in biology, genetics – and an understanding of the effects of ionising radiation.  But the nuclear industry has got us all conned that these are ”soft”sciences.  So – if you’ve got ”hard” scienvce knowledge – like engineering, then you can be an authority on nuclear issues.

These two women sound very sincere – alarmingly so.

The Activists Who Embrace Nuclear Power, New Yorker, By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, February 19, 2021

“……… But Hoff and Zaitz work at a nuclear plant and have been flown to give talks at industry-sponsored events; Mothers for Nuclear has received small donations from others who work in the industry. There is no denying the conflict of interest posed by their employment; even within the pro-nuclear community, their industry ties provoke uneasiness. Nordhaus, the executive director of the Breakthrough Institute, wrote in an e-mail that, although he thinks Hoff and Zaitz are “well-intentioned,” nuclear advocacy should be independent of what he called “the legacy industry.” ……..
On the air, Hoff explained who they were. “Mothers for Nuclear offers a different voice,” she said. “Nuclear power plants are run by lots of men, and women have been more scared of nuclear energy. We’re here to offer the motherly side of nuclear—nuclear for the future, for our children, for the planet.”…….

To be fervently pro-nuclear, in the manner of Hoff and Zaitz, is to see in the peaceful splitting of the atom something almost miraculous. It is to see an energy source that has been steadily providing low-carbon electricity for decades—doing vastly more good than harm, saving vastly more lives than it has taken—but which has received little credit and instead been maligned. It is to believe that the most significant problem with nuclear power, by far, is public perception. ………..—the pro-nuclear world view can edge toward dogmatism. Hoff and Zaitz certainly seem readier to tout studies that confirm their views, and reluctant to acknowledge any flaws that nuclear energy may have. ……https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-activists-who-embrace-nuclear-power

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes, spinbuster, USA, Women | 3 Comments

Natural gas, not renewable energy, was most responsibe for Texas power failure in freezing conditions

Why is Texas suffering power blackouts during the winter freeze?

The oil- and gas-rich state is experiencing what officials call a ‘total failure’ of its electricity infrastructure  Guardian,  Lauren Aratani, Thu 18 Feb 2021…...Did renewable energy play a role in the grid’s malfunction?

While Republicans have been blaming frozen wind turbines for the state’s blackouts, officials and experts say that malfunctions in natural gas operations played the largest role in the power crisis.

Ercot said all of its sources of power, including those from renewable sources, were affected by the freezing temperatures. The state largely relies on natural gas for its power supply, though some comes from wind turbines and less from coal and nuclear sources.

Natural gas can handle the state’s high temperatures in the summer, but extreme cold weather makes it difficult for the gas to flow to power plants and heat homes. Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at the University of Texas Austin, told the Texas Tribune that “gas is failing in the most spectacular fashion right now”.

With the climate crisis likely to trigger more freak weather events like the one Texas is suffering it is noteworthy that there are places that experience frigidly cold weather that rely heavily on wind turbines and manage to have electricity in the winter. In Iowa, a state which sees freezing temperatures more often than Texas, nearly 40% of electricity is generated by wind turbines……. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/18/why-is-texas-suffering-power-blackouts-during-the-winter-freeze

February 20, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

In Texas freezing temperatures, the major power loss was from coal, gas, nuclear facilities, not renewables

BBC 18th Feb 2021, As freezing temperatures grip the southern United States, there have been
major power failures across Texas as increased demand for heating has overwhelmed the energy grid. Supplies of both electricity and gas have been intermittent, with the authorities saying they need to “safely manage the balance of supply and demand on the grid” to avoid another major power cut.
Republican representatives and media commentators have blamed green energy policies, in particular the increased use of wind turbines. The bitingly cold temperatures have caused major problems across the energy sector in Texas. Wind turbines froze, as well as vital equipment at gas wells and in the nuclear industry.
But because gas and other non-renewable energies contribute far more to the grid than wind power, particularly in winter, these shortages had a far greater impact on the system. So when critics pointed to a loss of nearly half of Texas’s wind-energy capacity as a result of frozen turbines, they failed to point out double that amount was being lost from gas and other non-renewable supplies such as coal and nuclear.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-56085733

February 20, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Advancing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons — IPPNW peace and health blog

There are many things to be done to build the legal, political and moral force of this historic treaty; grow its membership and implementation; and use it as effectively as possible to advance the eradication of nuclear weapons and reduce the likelihood and scale of their use in the meantime. Important work for all treaty supporters is increasing the number of states signing the treaty and converting those signatures to ratifications. A key moment will come when the first nuclear-armed or accomplice state chooses to get on the right of history and become part of the solution rather than the problem.

Advancing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons — IPPNW peace and health blog

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 19 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Lies, Damned Lies, And Greg Abbott” • While people were suffering and even dying in Texas, Governor Abbott was on Fox News talking to Sean Hannity about the situation. He said the Green New Deal would be a “deadly deal” for the US, and blamed renewables for the shortfall. But renewables aren’t to […]

February 19 Energy News — geoharvey

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Government Appointment of Coal Mine CEO to UK Nuke Dump Plans – Not Dodgy At All ?!! —

Letter sent today to MP Tim Farron from Radiation Free Lakeland first published on our dedicated campaign website Lakes Against Nuclear Dump Dear Tim, West Cumbria Mining is in Bed with BEIS (Dept of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) BEIS are Responsible for the “Delivery of a Geological Disposal Facility in the UK” . BEIS […]

Government Appointment of Coal Mine CEO to UK Nuke Dump Plans – Not Dodgy At All ?!! —

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Relief that Bradwell nuclear project has stalled

Essex Gazette 17th Feb 2021, A CAMPAIGN group has called the pausing of talks regarding a new nuclear power station a “silver lining” and hopes the proposal will be scrapped
altogether.
The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group reacted after it was
announced engagement and active project work on Bradwell B will be paused
for at least a year and says it indicates a “significant reversal” for
the project.
Talks between Maldon District Council and Bradwell B Power
Generation Company – a collaboration between China General Nuclear (CGN)
and EDF – have stalled. The Bradwell group said, in order to tightly
control expenditure, it needs to pause aspects of the project it is not yet
ready to progress. But BANNG chairman Prof Andy Blowers said: “Despite
urging the developer to suspend public engagement during the pandemic,
BANNG was told the national need was urgent and it was in the public
interest that the proposed development is not indefinitely or even
substantially delayed.

https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/19094101.baang-reacts-positively-bradwell-b-talks-paused/

February 20, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Israel expands Dimona nuclear facility previously used for weapons material

 

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The world came much closer to nuclear war than we realized in 1983.

Apocalypse Averted, The world came much closer to nuclear war than we realized in 1983.   https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/02/able-archer-nuclear-war-reagan.html-19 Feb  21, BY FRED KAPLAN

Newly declassified documents reveal that in November 1983, at the height of Cold War tensions, the United States and the Soviet Union came closer to nuclear war than historians—and even many officials at the time—have known until now.

The revelations aren’t mere details of history; they also hold relevant lessons for how leaders should think and act in ongoing crises in hot spots around the world today.

The documents, released this week by the State Department historian’s office, focus on a massive military training exercise known as Able Archer, in which NATO simulated the transition from conventional to nuclear conflict in the event of a war in Europe.

It turned out, top Soviet leaders thought that the war game was real—that the U.S. and NATO really were about to launch a nuclear first strike against the USSR—and top Soviet military commanders took steps to retaliate.

In one of those steps, the new documents reveal, the commander of the Soviet 4th Army Air Forces in Eastern Europe ordered all of his units to make “preparations for the immediate use of nuclear weapons.” As part of that order, crewmen loaded actual nuclear bombs onto several combat planes.

Much about the Able Archer war game was first made public just six years ago, when, after more than a decade of legal battles, the National Security Archive, a private research organization, obtained a lengthy, extremely classified U.S. intelligence report detailing exactly what NATO forces did, and how Soviet commanders responded, during the exercise.

But the fact that the Soviets armed their aircraft with nuclear bombs—a discovery based on U.S. and British intelligence intercepts of Soviet communications at the time—has not been declassified until now. The new fact elevates to a higher level the danger that the world briefly faced, even though—unlike with other nuclear near misses, such as the Cuban missile crisis—almost nobody knew it at the time.

The Able Archer crisis might not have been a near miss—it might easily have escalated to a shooting war—had it not been for a single American officer, Lt. Gen. Leonard Perroots, the intelligence chief for U.S. Air Forces in Europe, who saw the Soviet moves, interpreted them correctly, and stopped what might otherwise have been a deadly escalation.

Most U.S. officers viewed Able Archer as a typical war game, nothing that would throw Soviet officers into a panic. But Perroots saw that, in fact, it was something different. It was a lot bigger than most of these games, involving a fleet of cargo transport planes flying 19,000 soldiers in 170 sorties from the United States to bases in Europe. And it was more realistic as well. The cargo planes maintained radio silence. B-52 bomber crews taxied their planes to their runways and loaded them with dummy bombs that looked remarkably real. The Strategic Air Command raised its nuclear alert levels to the highest level. The Soviets were monitoring all of this, of course, as they generally did and as the U.S. commanders knew they would. But they reacted in ways that they never had before—in ways similar to how they might have acted if the U.S. were gearing up for a real attack—including, as we now know, loading nuclear bombs on aircraft in Eastern Europe.

Ordinarily, when the Soviets took such actions, U.S. intelligence agencies would notify senior military officers, either on the scene or back in Washington, who would respond with similar actions, if just to let the Soviets know that we were watching what they were doing and were ready to repel an attack.

When Perroots informed his boss, the commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Gen. Billy Minter, of the Soviets’ “unusual activity” at the start of Able Archer, Minter was about to respond in the usual way, but Perroots advised him to hold off. He recognized that the Soviets were probably reacting to what we were doing—and any further escalation on our part would worsen the situation, might even trigger war. Let’s wait and see what happens next, he suggested.

Ordinarily, when the Soviets took such actions, U.S. intelligence agencies would notify senior military officers, either on the scene or back in Washington, who would respond with similar actions, if just to let the Soviets know that we were watching what they were doing and were ready to repel an attack.

When Perroots informed his boss, the commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Gen. Billy Minter, of the Soviets’ “unusual activity” at the start of Able Archer, Minter was about to respond in the usual way, but Perroots advised him to hold off. He recognized that the Soviets were probably reacting to what we were doing—and any further escalation on our part would worsen the situation, might even trigger war. Let’s wait and see what happens next, he suggested.

And indeed, after Able Archer ended a few days later and the thousands of American troops flew home and SAC lowered its nuclear alert, the Soviets unloaded their bombs and canceled their nuclear alert as well.

One of the newly declassified documents is a memo that Perroots wrote in 1989, as he was retiring from his final career post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, detailing what he’d seen and done during Able Archer six years earlier. The National Security Archive has long been trying to obtain the Perroots memo; DIA officials have told the archive’s lawyers that the memo was lost. On their own initiative, State Department historians found it in a file at the CIA.

The Able Archer near miss did come to have consequences—in a good way. While the war game was unfolding, Oleg Gordievsky, a London-based KGB officer who had turned double agent, was providing his British handlers in MI6 with documents revealing that Soviet officials were viewing the exercise as a prelude to an attack by the United States and NATO. The British, as was customary, shared the intelligence with their American cousins. At first, and for more than a year after, the CIA’s top officials were skeptical, dismissing the Soviets’ “war scare” as “propaganda,” designed to inflame anti-American sentiment in Western Europe.

But President Ronald Reagan took the war scare seriously. Just days after the wrap-up of Able Archer, his national security adviser, Robert “Bud” McFarlane, showed him Gordievsky’s reports, which Reagan read with—as McFarlane recalled years later—“genuine anxiety.”

Reagan had been pushing hard against the Kremlin, hoping the pressure might bring down the Soviet system. In 1981, his first year in office, an armada of 83 U.S., British, Canadian, and Norwegian ships sailed near Soviet waters, undetected. In April 1983, seven months before Able Archer, 40 U.S. warships, including three aircraft carriers, approached Kamchatka Peninsula, off the USSR’s eastern coast, maintaining radio silence and jamming Soviet radar. As part of the operation, Navy combat planes simulated a bombing run over a military site 20 miles inside Soviet territory. An internal NSA history noted, “These actions were calculated to induce paranoia, and they did.”

Still, as Reagan read the Gordievsky report, “it did bother him,” McFarlane later recalled, that the Soviets would seriously entertain “the very idea” that he would launch a nuclear first strike. On Nov. 18, 1983, one week after Able Archer was over, he wrote in his diary, “I feel the Soviets are so defense minded, so paranoid about being attacked that without being in any way soft on them we ought to tell them no one here has any intention of doing anything like that.”

The same day, Reagan met with his secretary of state, George Shultz (who died this month at the age of 100), to discuss setting up a back channel of communication with Moscow. The next morning, 12 senior officials met for breakfast in Shultz’s dining room at the State Department to discuss reopening long-moribund talks with Moscow—a topic so sensitive at the time that Shultz told them not to tell anybody that the meeting had even taken place. Two months later, on Jan. 16, 1984, Reagan gave a televised speech. The key line—a dramatic departure from previous pronouncements on the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”—was this: “If the Soviet government wants peace, then there will be peace. … Let us begin now.”

He had to wait a little while. Two Soviet leaders, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, died while Reagan’s diplomats tried to arrange meetings. But then came Mikhail Gorbachev, a genuine reformer, looking for peace with the West so he could finance his politico-economic perestroika, and, soon enough, the Iron Curtain shattered and the Cold War ended.

This might not have happened if Reagan hadn’t realized, in the wake of Able Archer, that his belligerent rhetoric and aggressive actions had gone too far—that he had to dial things back and see if the two countries might get along, before their myriad causes for mutual distrust unleashed catastrophe.

In some ways, the world today is less fraught with ultimate danger than it was 38 years ago. There is no cause for fear of a massive nuclear attack by or against the United States, Russia, or, really, any other country. But at the same time, the world is more densely laced with hot spots that could erupt into war, and war zones that could spread like lethal firestorms, and there are fewer power blocs—no real “superpowers,” in the sense that the term once meant—that might contain the conflagration. Intelligence is scanty or ambiguous about many of these potential crisis areas. Assumptions about an adversary’s ambitions or odd actions can more easily harden into dogma.

February 20, 2021 Posted by | history, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA to join in multilateral talks with EU and Iran, on return to nuclear deal

Guardian 19th Feb 2021, The US has agreed to take part in multilateral talks with Iran hosted by the EU, with the aim of negotiating a return by both countries to the 2015
nuclear deal that is close to falling apart in the wake of the Trump
administration.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/19/iran-nuclear-deal-us-agrees-to-join-talks-brokered-by-eu

February 20, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics, USA | Leave a comment

RESIDENTS fear nuclear waste is buried beneath land being earmarked for development.

February 20, 2021 Posted by | environment, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

New documentary explores Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Her 18th Feb 2021, Channel 5 is releasing a new documentary about the Chernobyl disaster which will be hosted by adventurer Ben Fogle. This documentary will see Ben Fogle
explore the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant itself where the explosion
happened and live in the surrounding areas and danger zones that were
destroyed in the disaster and are still to this day radioactive. The plant
exploded on the 26th April 1986 sending massive amounts of radioactive
material across Europe. It is the worst nuclear accident in history, even
after over 30 years there’s still too much radioactivity in the area for
people to be there for long periods of time. Ben will live inside the
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for 7 days, they have even been granted access to
film in the power plant and the control room but they can only spend 5
minutes inside the control room, due to radiation safety restrictions.

https://www.her.ie/entertainment/inside-chernobyl-new-documentary-nuclear-disaster-gets-release-date-518329

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New study on highly radioactive particles emitted during Fukushima nuclear meltdown

Fukushima Continues To Supply Surprises  https://www.technologynetworks.com/applied-sciences/news/fukushima-continues-to-supply-surprises-345722   Feb 18, 2021 | Original story from the University of Helsinki

The 10 year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident occurs in March. Work just published in the Journal ‘Science of the Total Environment’ documents new, large (> 300 micrometers), highly radioactive particles that were released from one of the damaged Fukushima reactors.

Particles containing radioactive cesium (134+137Cs) were released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) during the 2011 nuclear disaster. Small (micrometer-sized) particles (known as CsMPs) were widely distributed, reaching as far as Tokyo. CsMPs have been the subject of many studies in recent years. However, it recently became apparent that larger (>300 micrometers) Cs-containing particles, with much higher levels of activity (~ 105 Bq), were also released from reactor unit 1 that suffered a hydrogen explosion. These particles were deposited within a narrow zone that stretches ~8 km north-northwest of the reactor site. To date, little is known about the composition of these larger particles and their potential environmental and human health impacts.

Now, work just published in the journal Science of the Total Environment characterizes these larger particles at the atomic-scale and reports high levels of activity that exceed 105 Bq.

The particles, reported in the study, were found during a survey of surface soils 3.9 km north-northwest of reactor unit 1

From 31 Cs-particles collected during the sampling campaign, two have given the highest ever particle-associated 134+137Cs activities for materials emitted from the FDNPP (specifically: 6.1 × 105 and 2.5 × 106 Bq, respectively, for the particles, after decay-correction to the date of the FDNPP accident).

The study involved scientists from Japan, Finland, France, the UK, and USA, and was led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya and graduate student Kazuya Morooka (Department of Chemistry, Kyushu University). The team used a combination of advanced analytical techniques (synchrotron-based nano-focus X-ray analysis, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy) to fully characterize the particles. The particle with a 134+137Cs activity of 6.1 × 105 Bq was found to be an aggregate of smaller, flakey silicate nanoparticles, which had a glass like structure. This particle likely came from reactor building materials, which were damaged during the Unit 1 hydrogen explosion; then, as the particle formed, it likely adsorbed Cs that had had been volatized from the reactor fuel. The 134+137Cs activity of the other particle exceeded 106 Bq. This particle had a glassy carbon core and a surface that was embedded with other micro-particles, which included a Pb-Sn alloy, fibrous Al-silicate, Ca-carbonate / hydroxide, and quartz (Fig. 2).

The composition of the surface embedded micro-particles likely reflect the composition of airborne particles within the reactor building at the moment of the hydrogen explosion, thus providing a forensic window into the events of March 11th 2011 (Fig. 3). Utsunomiya added, “The new particles from regions close to the damaged reactor provide valuable forensic clues. They give snap-shots of the atmospheric conditions in the reactor building at the time of the hydrogen explosion, and of the physio-chemical phenomena that occurred during reactor meltdown.” He continued, “whilst nearly ten years have passed since the accident, the importance of scientific insights has never been more critical. Clean-up and repatriation of residents continues and a thorough understanding of the contamination forms and their distribution is important for risk assessment and public trust.

Professor Gareth Law (co-author, University of Helsinki) added, “clean-up and decommissioning efforts at the site face difficult challenges, particularly the removal and safe management of accident debris that has very high levels of radioactivity. Therein, prior knowledge of debris composition can help inform safe management approaches”.

Given the high radioactivity associated with the new particles, the project team were also interested in understanding their potential health / dose impacts.

Dr Utsunomiya stated, “Owing to their large size, the health effects of the new particles are likely limited to external radiation hazards during static contact with skin. As such, despite the very high level of activity, we expect that the particles would have negligible health impacts for humans as they would not easily adhere to the skin. However, we do need to consider possible effects on the other living creatures such as filter feeders in habitats surrounding Fukushima Daiichi. Even though ten years have nearly passed, the half-life of 137Cs is ~30 years. So, the activity in the newly found highly radioactive particles has not yet decayed significantly. As such, they will remain in the environment for many decades to come, and this type of particle could occasionally still be found in radiation hot spots.”

Professor Rod Ewing (co-author from Stanford University) stated “this paper is part of a series of publications that provide a detailed picture of the material emitted during the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns. This is exactly the type of work required for remediation and an understanding of long-term health effects”.

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact”.

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment