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More bad news from the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima continues to trickle in. Mitsure Obe, reports in the Wall Street Journal, today, that High Level of Toxins in Water at Japan Plant Raises Risks.

Mitsure Obe confirms that Strontium 89, and Strontium 90, have been found in high quantities in ground and seawater near the plant. Last week we read a report that Plutonium and Strontium 90 were detected over 60 kilometers from the plant. Strontium 90 has a half-live of 29 years, meaning it will remain dangerous for over 300 years. Some isotopes of Plutonium have a half life of 24,000 years, meaning they remain dangerous to living beings for over 250,000 years.

Strontium isotopes are called "bone-seekers," because our bodies absorb Strontium as if it were calcium, and then lodges itlself into human bone permanently, where it can cause fatal bone cancers up to many decades later. Some of the lethal brain tumors caused by the Hiroshima nuclear bombing of Japan in World War II, did not appear until 50 years later, leaving deep psychological scars on Japanese citizens, and causing much anxiety.  


TOKYO—Excessive levels of highly toxic strontium have been detected in seawater and groundwater at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, the plant operator said Monday, a development that suggests an increased risk of radioactive contamination further entering the food chain.

Also underscoring the difficulties of trying to stabilize the stricken facility, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said six more workers have received more than the permitted annual emergency levels of radiation exposure.

After facing severe domestic and international criticism for failing to comprehend, and to disclose the magnitude of this disaster, Tepco engineers were quick to announce a "possible connection" between the detection of Strontium 90 near the Fukushima nuclear reactors, and the reactors damaged over the last three months.  

The Strontium-89 and Strontium-90 isotopes are believed to have been released from the damaged reactors when the fuel cores overheated and melted after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Tokyo Electric, also known Tepco, said at a briefing.

This is certainly an encouraging sign of higher cognitive functioning, after several months of confusion, and apparent disingenuity. So, I for one, am happy to forgive these engineers for any appearance of showing off.

And, seriously, Ikuro Anzai, professor emeritus at Ritsumeikan University, deserves credit for publically mentioning the concerns of radiation accumulating, and concentrating in the food-chain. Sadly, we notice he is a professor emeritus. Does it not appear that much of the most candid, and intelligent assessments in this tragedy have come from those that have retired, or recently resigned?  I mean in contrast to the above press annoucement from Tepco officials that they suspect that this detected  Strontium 90 probably came from the reactor accident?'

"With the arrival of the rainy season, more and more radioactive fallout is being washed into groundwater and the sea, raising the levels of strontium contamination," said Ikuro Anzai, professor emeritus at Ritsumeikan University.

Strontium acts like calcium and accumulates in bones. Unlike other radioactive materials, such as cesium and iodine, strontium doesn't emit powerful gamma rays, and therefore, its harmful effects are limited unless it is ingested or inhaled. But once inside the body, it can cause bone cancer or leukemia.

"Japanese people often eat small fish, such as sardines, whole, including the bones and head. There is therefore a risk of consumers taking in strontium from contaminated small fish," Prof. Anzai said.

Prof. Anzai said there should be close monitoring for potential contamination because there is a risk of the radiation spreading through the food chain.

Mitsure Obe, also tells us six workers were also exposed to more than there annual limit of 250 milliseverts, which is the annual limit set for this emergency situation.  I am still waiting to here of an independent scientific study to follow residents and workers exposed to radiation, to better define the still controversial dose-response curves used by radiation epidemiologists to predict the health consequences of radiation exposure,

Where are the professional radiation epidemiologists evaluating the likely long-term health impacts of these extraordinary releases of radiation into the ecosystem of northern Japan?

Where are independent university professors, and independent public health officials around the world?  

Why are the ones who are speaking out, not getting more coverage from the traditional media?

Why are we not hearing more ongoing coverage form the traditional media, over what appears to be either the first, or second worst ongoing nuclear reactor accident in world history?

I ask Kossacks to join me in dropping quick emails to MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and other traditional media asking for better coverage of these highly consequential and heartbreaking developments.

But, back to our story.  

Good for Professor Anzai.  My opinion is we ought to have many teams of independent international epidemiologists, and other health experts on the ground, in Japan for monitoring, research and to establish the proper research protocols for long-term longitudinal studies.

This was not done during, or after, the Chernobyl accident, most likely because Ukrainian government officials did not want to embarrass themselves, or document potential liability claims.

We ought to set an international precedent that to avoid such conflict of interest, and appearance of conflict of interest, such monitoring and studies be conducted by independent academics from the international community.

Oh, which reminds me that last week the Wall Street Journal reported a controversy over the current head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is Japanese, and accused of being too tightly connected to the Japanese nuclear industry.  The Wall Street Journal, which is highly reliable, reports interviews with representatives from other member nations, have been scheduling meetings, when he is out of the country, to prevent him from suppressing their demands for greater transparency from Tepco, and the Japanese nuclear oversight agency.

But, as I am working to keep my diaries more pithy, succinct and focused on one article, or topic, so I will write up this WSJ article, and several others, in short articles in separate posts.  

Our hearts, and prayers, or secular best wishes are with the stoic people of Japan, who are still reeling, from this triple earthquake, tsunami, and triple nuclear "melt-through" of three months ago.

________________________

As always, for a comprehensive overview of developments at the Fukushima nuclear plans Please check out Boatsie's excellent Fukushima Rov 59.

Tue Jun 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM PT: Samer correctly pointed out that the previous version of these diary describes the Strontium isotopes as "bone-seekers" because they seek out, and lodge themselves into our bones.  

As inert molecules they have no volitionary aspirations.  More correctly I should have said our bodies absorb Stronium as if it were Calcium and deposits it in our bones where it is incorporated permenently.  

Thanks for catching this inaccuracy samer.

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 11:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK and Kosowatt.

Poll

Do you support the idea of establishing a precident that independent international experts should be invited in to do independent radiation epidemiological studies in nuclear accidents such as Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Hanford?

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| 81 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  HoundDog, there are several (10+ / 0-)

      ongoing, independent or semi-independent efforts on the ground in Japan to track (via registry) the evacuees, the daily fallout readings, the extension of the plume path(s), and such. All dependent upon voluntary participation, since the government isn't doing much along those lines. Still, Japan has universal health care, so as long as the incoming epidemiological data isn't 'classified', tracking can proceed.

      Some have also complained about remediation efforts being slow to non-existent, though there are also official and independent efforts to monitor the produce and such. Because the situation as it is and is admitted now to be requires extension of evacuation and exclusion zones, remediation can't even be begun in ernest. Until the facility stops spewing new contaminates into the air and water.

      More people must be moved. That is where most of the monitoring efforts are going at this point, though the baseline data and tracking systems are in place for follow-ups. Right now the single most important health statistic to be kept up with are the figures on miscarriage, stillbirth and infant mortality. Which would be expected to rise significantly among the exposed population (wherever they are now). But it takes some time to access and compile.

      I wouldn't necessarily trust any notable 'experts' in these matters, at this point in time. Because they aren't really "independent." The true independents are at work and have been at work for months to ensure the data is collectable and the right questions eventually get asked. That's the best anybody can do, far as I've ever seen. So I think your complaint is a bit premature.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:32:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for reminding me of this Joieau. Only (6+ / 0-)

        now do I remember you mentioned this to me before.

        But, how able are small "truly" independent groups going to be able to design, launch, and manage a major 5 decade long epidemiological study, that will be accepted a foundation for adjusting the parameters of the Linear Non-Threshhold Model?

        We are going to need a consortium of 5 or 6 world class department head epidemiologists, with 5 decades of funding and graduate students to follow up.

        Something like the Framington Heart Study, or the Hiroshima studies.

        Am, I wrong.  Do you thik ncoordinated volunteer groups taking radiation measurements, using different machines, protocals, or lack of them, etc. will  likely change the existing radiological epistimological dose response curves?  

        Academics will not touch that kind of data. So we will get lots of stories, and reports that are essentially ignored by our academic experts, as we have in Chernobyl.

        So, then you get the one fellow, everyone makes fun of estimated 1,000,000 excess cancer deaths from Chernobyl, based on data he's assembled form all these volunteer and randomn sources, contrasted unfavorably against estimate of 4,000 from others.  

        What am I missing?

        You make interesting comments about Japan universal health care, which is good.  Can you imagine if something like this happened here?

        But, when future Japanese resident develop any cancers, we will not have iron clad estimates of their exposures, for comparision.

        Other than some citizens saying they think they got a lot, versus a little.

        We need to be tracking down, and saving the exposure data in standard formats.

        Do you think Tepco, is saving the radiation badges of all these temporary workers?

        Do you remember the case last month where they didn't even give one of the temporary workers a radiation dosimeter until his forth day.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:49:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What in the world would (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rja, RWood, Tinfoil Hat

          make you think there aren't epidemiologists among the active organizers and designers? Along with nuclear engineers, health physicists, medical radiologists, community organizers, well-heeled activists and computer data-masters? Plus some journalists, bloggers and other such media/new media 'moles'...

          The Japanese people - who are the ones most affected by this mess - are finding that their confrontational nature hasn't been entirely subsumed by tradition. They're exerting it lately, and that will lead to much better participation in what will be the largest and most comprehensive health effects study ever launched. Governments and industries would never do that for themselves or their people. Only the people can do it, because we must. We have learned very well that the 'authorities' will lie their butts off.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 02:30:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Eyes on this please (13+ / 0-)

    Start viewing at 1:30 and note what's happening in the span of 1.5 minutes.  Do you note the flashes at 2:20 and 2:30 WTF is going on?

    They had an 5.0 eq 06:50 UTC and this is taken from 00:52 Japan time, seems close?

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:10:50 PM PDT

    •  Adept, what the hell? (5+ / 0-)

      What is that?  Is that Dai'ichi, and where did the tape come from?
      I haven't been following this closely since the source data stopped being published in English, and then was reduced to not very useful data.  Last I had seen, there was just the still camera on the plant (actually the beach and ocean near the plant).

      Seriously, what happened?  I was thinking it was just steam, until, well, it looked like much, much worse than steam.

      Give us some background, especially when this was taken, exactly (what time is it right now?) and this, with some explanation maybe should be added to the diary (if HoundDog's ok with that.)

      "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

      by middleagedhousewife on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:20:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A second thought, perhaps this warrants (5+ / 0-)

      its very own diary?  You up to that?  Has any explanation been offered, or has this been mentioned?
      I'll check Kyodo News and the other sources I've got bookmarked. Drat, I really needed to do some work today, though one of the things I needed to do today was order some animals from Fukushima Prefecture, no joke.  I need them not to be irradiated all to hell, not that in the grand scheme of things my animal needs are at all important in the face of whatever is going on.  The people who live there need to not be irradiated all to hell. :(
      Off to check the news.

      "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

      by middleagedhousewife on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:28:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Looks to me like (6+ / 0-)

      steam rising into the path of the lights during the last 30 seconds of the video. The building faces on the left half of the screen had been sharply lit up to that time, and then a well-lighted cloud (of steam?) seems to come between the light source and those walls, whose lighting becomes more diffuse at the same time that the steam cloud is being lit up by the light sources which seem to remain stationary during the whole rest of the video.

      I didn't get the impression of flashes so much as rapid changes in light transmission and reflection due to the motion of the cloud.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:29:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Look @ 1:03 to 1:08 for me (4+ / 0-)

        I'm catching flashes before the cloud display, and it appears like a vapor toots?  you know like steam whistle toots from what looks like the space between 3 and 4 so it could have been 3 or 4.  Currently the feed looks like there is a morning fog, but I can't get over the impression there is something also outgassing into the fog.
        Link to live feed

        Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

        by Adept2u on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:39:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I do see something like that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adept2u, middleagedhousewife, Joieau

          just to the right edge of the rightmost lit up building, is that what you are seeing? A few seconds before 1:08 right up to about 1:08.

          Almost like a valve was very suddenly opened. Hard to really see unless you are looking right at it.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:49:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wilco! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            middleagedhousewife, billmosby

            The steam toots that occur as if on the roofs of 3 and 4 make me go hmmm.  In my nightmare hunks of corium that are real hot but not real big drip into pools of water and make huge vapor events.

            Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

            by Adept2u on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:53:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, it does. But isn't that near building 4? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            4 wouldn't need venting, since there's no fuel in the reactor core itself. (Would something else in there need venting, and have a functioning vent?)
            I don't know.
            If there was a quake right then, could that be all we're seeing -- the light just moved?

            "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

            by middleagedhousewife on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:09:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's still putting out steam (7+ / 0-)

          I don't know why. I don't even know what's releasing the steam. However, the foreground isn't foggy and there's a source of steam and fog from a structure.

          I'll leave interpretation to someone who knows better what we are looking at.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

          by FishOutofWater on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:53:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My guess (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            middleagedhousewife, kafkananda

            Based on releases I've seen (not in a reactor), that was either a relief valve or bursting disk opening on a pressure vessel, or cold fluid hitting a hot mass and flashing to superheated steam.  The first would be very loud and obvious.

            •  Or a very hot (molten) mass hitting a colder, wet (0+ / 0-)

              fluid (water)?  

              Steam explosions would be very possible if this is one of the units where we have a melt-through core on walkabout somewhere - potentially in the dry-earth headed towards water table.  

              We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:29:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Coupled with the lack of breaking news, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adept2u, Magster, Joieau

          I think it's just fog.  From the other video, it looked, initially, like a fire, but there's no evidence of a fire in the live feed.  I think there would still be dark smoke if there had been such a large, sudden fire.
          I'm going to go with the fog explanation for now.  
          I'm not sure what to make of the flashes at 1:03 and 1:08 -- I see the 1:08 one clearly (looks like it's at the base of unit 4 maybe?); the 1:03 one, sorry, my eyes aren't catching it (they aren't as good as they once were).  Maybe there was a small gap in the fog right then?  If the light hadn't been there, and then there was a flash and the light remained, I'd worry more, but since it's always there, then just intensifies suddenly, then goes back to normal -- I don't know.  The last time there was a flash at that plant, a building had a radical alteration in its appearance. Once the fog lifts, we'll see more.
          I'll keep checking then news.

          "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

          by middleagedhousewife on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:58:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The video of the #3 (0+ / 0-)

        event from the other night (8th? 9th?) was clearer overall, though it was hard to see the black smoke cloud unless you watched the roofline right under the white steam release area at center. The flashes in that one are quite distinct (no fog) and coming from behind the unit (to the right) in what may be the turbine building.

        All I could think of when I saw it was that they don't have control enough of anything to be dumping in the dark deliberately. Yet we have been told the trenches are draining straight to the turbine buildings (hence the 1,000 R/hr trench water readings). If the corium were to melt below the containment vessel into the catacomb/trenches (where leaking water has been going for months now), any flash-radiolysis would send gases to the point of exit. Those gases would be hydrogen and oxygen, thus could be venting as blasts of fire in the turbine buildings. Do NOT know that those flashes are actual hot events or an illusion of the time-lapse.

        Now I've gotta go looking for the daytime feed, see if there's black smoke puffing...

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:57:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is that steam? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adept2u, middleagedhousewife, Joieau

      The flashes remind me of heat lighting in the summer, seemed to be in the distance....?

      The steam seems to be rising straight up, then it seems the wind shifts and blows the steam right at the camera.

      If I remember my High school science correctly at about 212 degrees F, water turns to steam vapor... no?

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:30:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I firmly believe and hope (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adept2u, middleagedhousewife, Joieau

      that that is just another fog bank rolling in, and that when the fog reaches the lighting around the plant, we are just seeing the lighting reflect off the mist.

      No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

      by Magster on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:30:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Steam release (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adept2u, middleagedhousewife, Joieau

      Small releases before 2:00, big-time afterwards.

    •  Put a diary up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      middleagedhousewife

      Let's Analyze this Fukushima footage

      Included I hope the entire sequence.

      Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

      by Adept2u on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:32:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I really think they're going to end up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, California06

    with a whole lot of Japan that's simply inhabitable -- if they're honest with people.

  •  As far as Strontium-90 is concerned (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Little, Joieau, bryfry, Wee Mama

    there are promising bioremediation approaches to clean that up (algae & fungi seem to love it!)

    And about the Chernobyl "coverup" - don't blame the Ukrainian government  - they were not in charge at the time (I say this as someone who is 3/8ths Ukranian, so am somewhat sympathetic to their position, yet do not much appreciate their unwarranted fearmongering in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union . . . .).

    •  Sorry, Roadbed Guy, I meant no disrespect to (5+ / 0-)

      Ukrainians.  I guess you are right, the U.S.S.R. was still in full power then.  

      But, doesn't this support my proposal that we establish a precident for automatic international supervised studies?

      Probably 90% of the world governments will be tempted not to study something that might embarass them, or lead to documented health claims that could led to liability suits.

      Don't you think?

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:42:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BTW, I wasn't aware of this article. But, this is (4+ / 0-)

      also why it is so dangerous.  It is rapidly, aborbed by biological organisms, so gets into the food chain quickly, and then tends to concentrate.

      Levels of DDT in the US, continued to rise in marine estuaries, for 10 years after it use was banned, due in large part to the delayed impact of concentrating up the food chain.

      Right now in the ocean you can bet your bottom dollar algae, fungi, shellfish, and small fish, are soaking up Strontium, Cesium, Plutonium, and many other radioactive isotopes.

      They will then be eaten by slightly bigger fish, who will be eaten by bigger fish.

      And, before we know it we will no longer be able to eat large game fish.

      Already, there are warnings on eating Tuna, Shark, Bluefish, and many other larger species more than a few times a month, due to similar concentrations of mercury, other heavy metals, and PCBs.

      How tragic.

      These radiactive molecules do not just happily dilute into nothingness in the vast oceans, to disappear in a magic dilution process, but instead, will be concentrating up the food chains for hundreds, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of years, depending on the half-lives.

      The rule of thumb for radiactive waste repositories is 10 to 13 times the half-lives of the isotopes in question.

      But, in controlled locations, where we can retrieve and isolate the contaminated algae, this is great news.

      Do you know how the spraying of the sticky stuff, on the plant grounds, to prevent rain, and wind run off is going?

      The rainy season is on the way.  

      We need to get that Unit 4 open spent fuel pond covered somehow as well, do we not?

      I meant to ask your opinion of what to do with these molten fuel cores if they have indeed melted though the plant floor.

      A month ago, I read one expert suggest if this occured the intervention strategy should shift, to digging a wide trench surrounding the plant down to the bedrock, and then build a think waterproof, cement wall, to contain any leakage into the ocean and adjacent ground water.

      But, this assumes the grounding bedrock is solid and will not leak out the bottom.  I do not have sufficient knowlege of the sub-plant geology to evaluate this proposal.

      One of the concerns is that if the fuel has already melted into the bedrock, pooring more water on it is somewhat pointless as this just creates more contanminated water and steam which can launch particulates into the air?  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:55:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, not exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Joieau

        there are indications that the uptake of radioisotopes by algae (aka seaweed) will sequester them locally, and depost them in sediment on the seafloor.

        Clearly, one would not want to eat seafood from that locale.

        OTOH, this outcome presents a fairly localized area that requires extensive clean up.

        •  Yes, I wish we could think of some way to isolate (3+ / 0-)

          this little segment of the ecosystem for a few thousand years.

          Like build some Holland like Dike a mile out to sea in a semicircle around the plant, and prevent current flows.

          How deep is the water there?

          I'm suspicious about this "sequestration" Roadbed Guy.

          If there is one thing we've learned about "Life On Earth" which was the name of my college biology text, is that evolution figures out how to use all protoplasm.

          So, even if most of that algae somehow avoid being eating by fish, and fall to the sea floor and dies, the acumulated "bottom soil" becomes nutruent stock for seaweed, and other marine flora.  

          Which is then eaten by grazing vegetarian fauna.

          Etc. etc.

          If we look at ecosystem life as a system, it's strategy is a constant compounding of previous protoplasm, carbon, nitrogen, and other elements organic chemestry can aborb and build upon.

          Nothing is wasted.

          Everything is recirculated, don't you think?

          I suppose if we build systems to immediately suck up all the organic mud on the sea floor in that area, and put it in the toxic waste repository, that might work.

          But, that's going to be a lot of wastes.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:35:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Different organisms are actually quite (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog, Tinfoil Hat, Wee Mama

            good at discriminating between different chemical species, and that can be exploited for the bioremediation strategies that you seem to be quite skeptical about.

            For example, here's another blurb about the strontium-scavenging algae, from Nature (a somewhat respected purveyor of scientific information) Algae holds promise for nuclear clean-up

            And here's a fun fact about Chernobyl: Radioactive boars in Germany a legacy of Chernobyl

            which, more seriously, goes to show that the forest of Germany where fallout from Chernobyl landed were not uniformly contaminated by the radioisotopes.  Instead, the isotopes are concentrated in the fungi, which are then eaten by boars.  In turn, by harvesting the radioactive boars and disposing of them appropriately, the forests are in essence being decontaminated rather cheaply (and moderately effectively).

            •  Well this is surprising and encourging. (0+ / 0-)

              I''ll read the Algae article tonight, as I have to run out for an errand.

              Thanks Roadbed Guy.  I learn something new every day.

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:58:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  HoundDog, you have good reason to be skeptical (0+ / 0-)

                about the bioremediation applicability of so-called strontium-eating algae (via Nature, March 20/11). Unfortunately, this recalls all the happy-talk about "oil-eating" microbes during the BP Oil Spill.

                Now, Roadbed Guy is talking about this algae like it's a magic bullet -- despite the fact that it is still in the developmental stage and has not yet been field tested in any real world situation. Here are some of the cited limitations at present:

                The scientists have not yet tested how well the algae survive in the presence of radioactivity...The organism mostly collects barium...enhancing the uptake of strontium will require tailoring the amount of barium in the algae's environment...and tinkering with sulphate levels in the environment...Once isolated by the algae, the strontium would need to be sequestered in high-level nuclear waste repositories...

                I want to see a LOT more science that conclusively determines whether introducing this organism into the ecosystem and "tinkering" and "tailoring" the surrounding environment will create more problems than it solves.

                •  The "oil eating microbes" DID do their (0+ / 0-)

                  job during the BP Oil Spill . . . .

                  so I don't really know what you're talking about

                  •  For example (0+ / 0-)

                    Scientists Find Oil-Eating Bacteria Plentiful in Deep Gulf Waters

                    Oil-eating bacteria exist in significant quantities even in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and may be breaking down submerged oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak faster than previously believed, scientists are reporting today.

                    The bacteria were found in a plume of microscopic oil droplets more than 3,000 feet below the surface, in the vicinity of BP’s blown-out well, by a group of scientists led by Terry Hazen, a senior ecologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Their presence may have been overlooked by other researchers because the variety found in the plume do not seem to be consuming much oxygen from the water column, unlike most oil-digesting bacteria, the scientists said.


                  •  BP funded Hazen's 'oil-eating microbe' research. (0+ / 0-)

                    And BP is also heavily invested in bioengineering bacteria to consume radioactive compounds. What could go wrong there?

                    Roadbed, did you read the actual full report, and the appendixes about the 'oil-eating microbes' in SCIENCE magazine. (It was only available by subscription when I read it last year) If so, did you see any limitations in the study? Or, did you just read about the microbes in other secondary articles?

                    Are you thoroughly well-acquainted with other science-based critiques of Terry Hazen's claims; and the peer-reviewed research that was subsequently done by other scientists on the allegedly disappearing oil?  If not, I can see why you don't know what I'm talking about.

                    I don't know it all by any means. But, if you believe that radioactivity-eating wild boars are bioremediating Germany's forest (as you've stated in another comment), I honestly don't even know where to begin with you.

                    •  You are just too clever by a half (0+ / 0-)

                      BP was order to fund research (or if you want to nitpick over the word "ordered" - they graciously agreed to fund research in the feel good $20 billion settlement worked out with the Obama Administration).

                      So, if they weren't funding research, you could damn them for that.  If they are, you ding them for that as well.

                      Anyways, the entire report was published in Science (which tends to have a fairly rigorous peer review system . .. )

                      Besides, about 10% as much oil as spilled by BP naturally leaks into the Gulf each year.  What do you think happens to it?

                      •  That's NOT how BP funded Hazen's research... (0+ / 0-)

                        Do your homework. Seriously, you could find that info in a matter of minutes.

                        Yes, I know Hazen's study was published online in Science. It was also published in the hard copy magazine. I've already read it in both places.

                        BTW, if you click on your own link you will see that the Hazen article is still only available to paying subscribers. -- only the abstract is free. Which sucks for non-subscribers. Still, you can purchase the individual article and the appendixes online at Science for $15.

                        Maybe we can talk again after you do that.

            •  Roadbed, you're misrepresenting (0+ / 0-)

              the situation. You said:

              [In] the forest of Germany where fallout from Chernobyl landed...radioisotopes are concentrated in the fungi, which are then eaten by boars. In turn, by harvesting the radioactive boars and disposing of them appropriately, the forests are in essence being decontaminated rather cheaply (and moderately effectively).

              Your conclusions are erroneous and not supported by the story in the Christian Science Monitor, Radioactive boars in Germany a legacy of Chernobyl. This is what the article actually says on the subject:

              Cesium also accumulates over time in the soil, which makes boars most susceptible. They snuffle through forest soil with their snouts and feed on the kinds of mushroom that tend to store radioactivity...The problem is so common that now all wild boars bagged by hunters in the affected regions have to be checked for radiation...Anything beyond 600 becquerels per kilogram isn't recommended...About 2 percent of the 50,000 boars hunted are above the legal radioactivity limit.

              "We assume that wild game will still be similarly affected until 2025 and then very slowly recede," said Reddemann, of Bavaria's hunting association. "The problem will certainly still be around for the next 100 years, and Chernobyl will still be an issue for our children and grandchildren."

              Germany's experience shows what could await Japan — if the problems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant get any worse.

              So, to be clear: Wild boars ARE NOT "cheaply" and "effectively" being dispatched and "harvested" as a means of "decontaminating" forests that were rendered radioactive by Chernobyl fallout 25 years ago.

          •  off the coast is the mariana trench (0+ / 0-)
            How deep is the water there?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            so, very deep.

        •  Remediation is possible (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Russgirl

          for some areas, surely. But not until they're done melting and dumping. What would be the point of starting before then? Nature itself will "bioremediate" without our help in the sea and in the exclusion zone. What we could do is hurry it up. Or waste our time and get bigger doses while we're at it.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 02:03:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dunno . . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            but if I recall the response to BP's gulf oil gusher, there didn't seem to be a lot of traction behind the idea "oh gee, let's wait until they get it stopped before we attempt to protect the beaches . . .. .

            •  Good point. (0+ / 0-)

              But with radioactive contamination at the levels being released from Fukushima, evacuation is the preeminent answer. They need to go 100 km, extra in the plume path. Now, BEFORE the entire reservation blows sky high.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 04:53:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  my brother came back from his trip to Japan (12+ / 0-)

    he was in the Osaka/Kyoto area. he said that the people where he was were for the most part concerned but not specifically worried for themselves.  but he said in Tokyo people were starting to freak out because they are beginning to realize how far the radiation is spreading.  he said that they are very angry with the government and don't think they are getting the honest answer from the government. he said that the people he spoke with feel that they are being thrown under the bus - particularly about their children.  

    compassion for things i'll never know ~ david byrne

    by little lion on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 01:07:29 PM PDT

  •  Automatic audio on this page? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    Does anyonne know where the auto audio is coming from?

    •  Thanks Hounddog (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      Didn't mean to jump in off topic...

      •  No problem Little. You had me worried there for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Little, Joieau

        a second.

        Now I see you are talking about Pandas.

        The advertisors are getting agressive and clever, as I am experiencing many times a day now, audio ads, after clicking on varios pages.

        I can't find where some of them are coming from, or stop them.

        I've promised myself that I will not buy any product that harrasses me in this way.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 02:01:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  More mobile long lived crap for my children, (4+ / 0-)

    children's children and children's children's children to deal with. If they should be so lucky.
    This is already part of the food chain. It's not sequestered in algae. It's food.
    Anytime radionuclides have been released into the environment very little is recovered. 4 fucking kilograms of plutonium escaped from Rocky Flats in a fire and next to nothing was recovered - and the DoE lied its ass off for years about the amounts in question. And that was heavy heavy plutonium on open ground, not strontium in the sea.
    Guess what happens if/when Cook Nuclear on Lake Michigan goes belly up. Or pick your own friendly neighborhood nuke plant to dream about.

    "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

    by Andhakari on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 02:10:52 PM PDT

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