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View Diary: Update on Fukushima Radionuclides in the North Pacific and Off the West Coast of North America (31 comments)

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  •  Thanks. Measures of Strontium, Plutonium, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, Joieau, Lujane, Creosote

    and the other radioactive elements released from Fukushima are still forthcoming, I presume.

    Do these studies also account for wind-borne radiation which reaches North America's West Coast?

    Has any research been done on bio-accumulation in sea life on this scale yet? It seems bigger fish live from 10-30 years, so I guess it'll be awhile before we know. From what I can find, there doesn't seem to have been much study on how radiation affects sea life in terms of their health. Might you know of any extensive studies on that topic?

    And given the half-life of the isotopes, what might the figures of Cs-137, Plutonium, etc be in the optimistic scenario of Fukushima remaining a source of new pollution for only another 30 or 40 years?

    Finally, just an observation: humanity has added 7% radioactivity to an Ocean after only 60 years or so! It took nature the life-span of earth to contribute 13 parts, and we've added 1 part in just my lifetime. Quite an amazing feat, when you consider it.

    Note that it's likely not just atmospheric testing of bombs which contribute to that 7%, as it seems everybody with a reactor has been dumping waste into the waters of the earth. Or have those not yet broken through their steel containers?


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 04:16:51 PM PST

    •  Hi Jim P (8+ / 0-)

      Based on measurements of their release at the reactor sites the concentration of Sr-90 is expected to be ~3% of Cs-137 (Casacuberta et al. 2013 Biogeosciences). Estimates based on isotope ratios of Pu in the environment following the disaster suggest that between 0.00002-0.002% of ~6kg of Pu in the reactors was released to the environment (Schneider et al. 2013 Nature).  Their concentrations will likely be near detection limits in the eastern Pacific. Measurements of Sr-90 and Pu are more analytically challenging than Cs isotopes and take more time to process especially at these levels.  

      A good place for information on actinides and other radionuclides in marine organisms is Dr. Nick Fisher's website and research group at SUNY-Stony Brook (link). There is a wealth of information about how concentrations and uptake of isotopes affect the growth and metabolism of marine organisms.

      If you read some of the articles in this very well put together, open-access edition of Biogeosciences on Fukushima (link) you will find numbers as to the contribution of waste dumping and fuel reprocessing to the 7% anthropogenic load.  Table 1 in Povinec et al. 2013 provides the following information:

      Cs-137 Total fallout in ocean/waste discharge = 15
      Sr-90   Total fallout in ocean/waste discharge = 54

      Cs-137 Fallout present in 2010/waste discharge = 6.5
      Sr-90   Fallout present in 2010/waste discharge = 35

      Many fold more background Cs and Sr radioisotopes are present in the ocean from atmospheric testing than is present from fuel reprocessing and waste discharge.

      •  Hi Marine Chemist (4+ / 0-)

        I deal with parts per million of air pollutants all day long, and I still have trouble with your explanations of radiation.

        Please dumb it down a little, if I'm barely getting it, other readers are suffering.

        Still, thanks for your diary.

        Do you have a reaction to the other diary about elevated radiation on the San Mateo coast?

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:55:03 PM PST

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