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View Diary: Fukushima: New Research Documents Biological Harm (100 comments)

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  •  Great diary, thank you! (20+ / 0-)

    I don't understand why there isn't a world council on this right now actively trying to find solutions to the unthinkable disasters that are ongoing all over the planet because of Fukushima.  And the disastrous results won't be over anytime soon.  How can anyone be in love with nuclear power at this moment?  How could anyone propose to build another reactor anywhere, ever?

    •  Thanks, Debs2. (16+ / 0-)

      Considering they've been promising for half a century that they'd figure out (surely, someday) something 'safe' to do with the waste they generate that's deadly for 10,000 to 100,000 years - but haven't yet and are never likely to - the love affair some people have with nuclear technology is obviously all about Big Power. Whether that's Big Power politically in terms of 'doomsday' weaponry or Big Power in terms of guaranteed publicly funded undreamed-of wealth, they all understand the bottom line is Death & Destruction writ large and never-ending.

      Or, since I used the Sith analogy, is definitely an over-fondness for the dark side of the Force... §;o)

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Sun May 18, 2014 at 12:57:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hi Joieau (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeterHug, Morgan Sandlin, nojay, Wee Mama

        Thanks for the diary.  You state the following:

        Tepco reported tritium readings from the in-port sampling stations at levels that went as high as 1,900 Bq per liter, along with 840 Bq/L of strontium-90.  Which is known to cause bone cancer and is considered 100 times more dangerous than cesium. We have heard from various scientists monitoring the Pacific for cesium that strontium is not considered an issue because it is produced at only 50% the rate that cesium is produced by nuclear reactors. But the biological damage factor renders such assurances moot.
        If you go to the original data you will note that Energy News and Japan Times mistakenly report, as you do, that 840 Bq/L of 90-Sr was sampled at the 1F, Between the water intake channel of Unit 1 and Unit 2 (lower layer).  90-Sr has not yet been quantified and the number refers to total beta activity.  You can find the number that Energy News and Japan Times mistakes for 90-Sr by searching for the "840" in the following document that reports the results. In past measurements of groundwater etc. 90-Sr activity has been about 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than total beta (e.g. results from Jan. 24, 2014).  It would be useful to wait to see what the actual 90-Sr numbers are in seawater.  

        You also mistakenly state that 90-Sr is produced at only 50% the rate of cesium in nuclear reactors.  The production ratio is about 1:1 with fission yields of 5.8% for 90-Sr and 6.2% for 137-Cs.  You can find this information in the following open access study by Smith and co-workers and references within.

        Measurements of air, rain, soil and seawater support that about 30-10,000 times less 90-Sr was released from Fukushima compared to 137-Cs. 90-Sr also does not bioconcentrate to the degree that 137-Cs does.  So given its lower activity in the environment and lower potential to bioconcentrate the relative risk posed by Fukushima 90-Sr is likely lower than the risk presented to organisms by 137-Cs.

        It is disappointing to see poor reporting (in this case attributing total beta counts to 90-Sr and activities offered without context) and misinformation on this important issue.  When Energy News publishes a highly redacted and misinterpreted story, very few readers go to the primary data and links in the story.

        •  And what, exactly, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino, Creosote, lunachickie

          is the nifty filtration method Daiichi has been using to keep strontium from being released along with all other radionuclides? Since you claim to know the details, and all.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Sun May 18, 2014 at 03:37:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nojay, Wee Mama

            It is just a bad, inaccurate, "news" story you rely on that reports "record high" "strontium-90" activities that are neither record high nor 90-Sr.  If you look in the column next to the 840 Bq/L total beta counts at IF in the lower layer in the original data report there are 1600 total beta at 1F, Between the water intake channel of Unit 1 and Unit 2 in the surface layer.  At the same site but at the surface roughly double the 840 record value. The value they latched onto in this particular data report was a record for that particular sampling point but not for Fukushima at all. Japan Times and Energy News are trying to grab headlines.

            And there is no special technology. The releases that occurred to the atmosphere in March-April 2011 to both the atmosphere and ocean were much much higher in 137-Cs activity compared to 90-Sr activity given that 90-Sr is much less volatile and mobile under the conditions that prevailed at that time.  

            Now, given that subterranean groundwater discharge is the dominant release term, the relative activity of 90-Sr to 137-Cs is likely to increase in the coastal ocean.  This is because 137-Cs is more likely to bind to particle surfaces in the soil than is 90-Sr especially in higher salinity conditions as seawater infiltrates groundwater near Fukushima.  However, because the release rates now are so small (10,000-100,000 times less now) when compared to rates in March and April 2011 the absolute activity of 90-Sr in coastal and open ocean seawater is likely to be very small (much lower in the North Pacific than post atmospheric weapons tests in the 20th century) and not likely to represent a significant radiological health risk.

            •  Volatility has nothing to do with (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino, Creosote, newpioneer, lunachickie

              the amount of strontium present to be released to water. To air, yes, if said releases don't involve exploding reactors or burning spent fuel pools. Where there's cesium, there's strontium. It's an industry adage for a reason.

              I haven't talked here about levels anywhere outside Fukushima province (for the leaves fed to the caterpillars in the research) or outside the 3 km sampling range (for tritium/strontium levels) cited herein.

              Hence you are attempting to argue things not topical to this diary.

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:19:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                Your diary does not cite any strontium levels at all which was my point.  I am not arguing but simply stating a fact if one goes to your primary data source and not a Energy News or Japan Times article.

                Your diary states that there was 840 Bq/L 90-Sr in the sample collected at 1F.  There was not.  I made that simple observation above and it is easy to edit your diary to fix it.

                If you read the links about 90-Sr released to the environment you will note that most of the terrestrial samples, that are directly relevant to your diary, were collected in Fukushima Prefecture (see Steinhauser et al. 2013 open access).  Because of its relatively low volatility the amount of 90-Sr deposited to land was up to 4 orders of magnitude lower than 137-Cs even at the gates of the nuclear power plant itself.

            •  You didn't answer the question, did you? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino, Joieau
              what is the nifty filtration method Daiichi has been using to keep strontium from being released along with all other radionuclides?
              Your word-salad is most unintelligible, even though it looks like it might be saying something....oh, I don't know, "important".

              "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

              by lunachickie on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:23:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Sr-90 offshore from Fukushima Daiichi (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, MarineChemist, Creosote

          The NRA and TEPCO have been testing seawater and sea bottom sediments (which they call "marine soil") for Sr-90 for some time now, usually a few weeks or months after they were taken. Testing seems to be prioritised for Cs-134 and Cs-137. I don't know what lab protocols are being used to determine Sr-90 levels in samples.

           Lessee, I was looking at some results (PDFs) a few weeks ago, here's one with samples taken close to the site.

           Sr-90 measurements close to the plant (north and south, on the coastline) as well as a few km out to sea. The samples were taken in mid-February this year, results reported at the end of March. Just north of the site the Sr-90 measurement is 0.03 Bq/litre, just south it's 0.017 Bq/litre. Further out from the coast the Sr-90 level is below detection, less than 0.009 Bq/litre.

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