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This is part of a continuing effort to communicate the findings of researchers investigating the fate of Fukushima derived radiation in the marine environment. A recently published study by Kanisch and Aust of the Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology in Hamburg reports that Fukushima sourced cesium (Cs) has been detected in fish collected in the north Atlantic Ocean. Like fish sampled thus far in the north Pacific the contribution of Cs to overall exposure of human consumers to radiation by consuming these fish is very small. In the Atlantic given that only modest atmospheric deposition of Cs has occurred radiation from Cs isotopes to human fish consumers is 26000-fold lower than the naturally occurring isotope polonium-210.  The authors conclude that the typical consumption of 10kg of affected fish per year:

" not expected to cause concern according to present guidelines for radiation protection."

The study is available online in the open-access, peer reviewed journal Biogeosciences of the European Geophysical Union.  As more of these studies become available to the public we can learn the extent to which Fukushima sourced radionuclides have impacted the marine food supply and the objective risk they pose to human consumers.

It is not necessarily surprising to note that only low levels of Cs from Fukushima are present in North Atlantic species of cod, redfish and whiting.  The Cs from Fukushima present in the study area was delivered by atmospheric fallout following the initial atmospheric release in mid-March 2011 which was estimated to be ~12-15 PBq (10^15 Bq) for each of Cs-134 and Cs-137.  Deposition of these isotopes were measured in the north Atlantic and estimates range between 0.1 to 100 Bq per square meter were deposited to the ocean surface.  

It is, however, interesting to compare the levels of Cs-137 measured in fish harvested from the Baltic Sea to the Cs-137 measured in tuna harvested from the North Pacific where the absolute contribution of Fukushima derived radionuclides is greater.  This is because north Pacific tuna have been exposed to radionuclides delivered from atmospheric fallout and those released to the ocean directly given efforts to cool the damaged reactors with coastal seawater.

In Table 1 of Fisher et al. (2013) PNAS the investigators report that Cs-137 levels in tuna harvested in 2011 off Japan and off California were found to range between 1.5 to 23 Bq per kilogram of wet weight.  Fish analyzed by Kanisch and Aust (2013) Biogeosciences (see Table 2), contained 0.2 to 8.2 Bq per kilogram wet weight from the presence of Cs-137.  In the case of the highest Cs-137 fish collected in the Baltic Sea in the North Atlantic 2% of the Cs-137 is the result of release from Fukushima while the rest reflects release from atmospheric nuclear tests and the Chernobyl disaster.

More and ongoing monitoring of the presence and levels of radionculides from Fukushima in the marine food web is necessary to determine risks to human consumers of seafood. At present the risk attributable to Fukushima sourced radionculides is very small to those on the west coast of North America but could change if conditions at the disaster site deteriorate and radionuclide release rates and, therefore, marine concentrations were to increase to levels seen in March and April of 2011.

Originally posted to MarineChemist on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:42 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (184+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, PaloAltoPixie, marina, pyegar, yet another liberal, T Maysle, betson08, Bob Love, wheresjim, Pakalolo, Simplify, offred, roses, political mutt, parse this, wilderness voice, tgypsy, zerelda, mookins, Steven D, flowerfarmer, pvasileff, kevinpdx, blueoasis, weck, Jim P, rb608, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, kurt, emal, laurak, northstarbarn, LamontCranston, kalmoth, worldlotus, SoCalSal, akmk, paradox, IndieGuy, janmtairy, nzanne, Mentatmark, mamooth, Thinking Fella, louisev, Munchkn, belinda ridgewood, copymark, Audri, rodentrancher, jadt65, Kombema, elfling, kbman, Mike Kahlow, bronte17, cotterperson, hangingchad, Kristina40, jan4insight, cailloux, marleycat, addisnana, SeekCa, harlinchi, majcmb1, Lujane, anodnhajo, Lily O Lady, timethief, JanL, Assaf, Chaddiwicker, CA Nana, NYmom, Jim R, tofumagoo, deepeco, susakinovember, humphrey, lavorare, terabytes, Mary Mike, PeteZerria, sexgenderbody, Larsstephens, gmats, devis1, BusyinCA, crose, duhban, Alfred E Newman, LI Mike, maybeeso in michigan, peachcreek, Miss Jones, Youffraita, olo, CJB2012, Agathena, WheninRome, chimene, 417els, walkshills, native, Glen The Plumber, 1BQ, outragedinSF, mauricehall, riverlover, Rosaura, pgm 01, translatorpro, eeff, ybruti, eztempo, Creosote, Grandma Susie, sngmama, StrayCat, Evoculture, RocketJSquirrel, DuzT, tobendaro, wylieSteve, tytalus, Eikyu Saha, 4Freedom, Desert Scientist, Ice Blue, escapee, Powered Grace, jrooth, Joieau, brooklynliberal, jamess, Villabolo, Sun Tzu, skywriter, Jakkalbessie, ladybug53, Teiresias70, doingbusinessas, RWood, Paragryne, Santa Susanna Kid, chrismorgan, LillithMc, linkage, emmasnacker, edsbrooklyn, Oh Mary Oh, jessical, seefleur, flumptytail, martini, SadieSue, bdop4, Ender, Rogneid, Liberal Lass, Bluesee, Loonesta, chuck utzman, Wee Mama, Neon Vincent, LNK, chuco35, Bud Fields, melvynny, melo, AoT, bsmechanic, itzadryheat, terrypinder, Nebraskablue, vahana, NoMoreLies, AaronInSanDiego, Missys Brother, sunsquared, Friend in Miami, davidwalters, KenBee
  •  The US Gov should fund more studies like this (18+ / 0-)

    thanks for sharing .

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:26:40 PM PST

    •  But... but... if they DID, it might mean people (17+ / 0-)

      would not eat as much seafood, and could harm that industry! Just like real studies and the blackout on media discussion of the continuing hydrocarbon and chemical dispersant pollution in the ecosystem from the Gulf BP oil spill would!

      Seriously, though, I do not trust the U.S. government or the American media to pursue the best interests of the public in this instance, as I did and do not in the latter.

      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Kombema on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:17:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  re "blackout on media" (12+ / 0-)

        The topic of radiation will -- I guarantee it -- be a prime target for Japan's new "secrecy law" which was forced through the legislature two days ago.  The law completely (completely!) removes accountability for the agencies, to the public or to each other, and essentially black-holes any information that one or another agency determines (unilaterally and arbitrarily) to be detrimental to the national interest.  

        It is a huge mistake for the Obama administration to be backing this law.  All they can think of at this point is stopping more of Snowden's leaks, and they can't spare a moment, it seems, to ask a history specialist about how closely similar laws were used in Japan prior to the end of WW2.   For godssake, can't they even read a fuckin' book about it?  

        Now is the time for Caroline Kennedy to stand up.  Will she?  

        •  Agreed. The disease-like contagion of the U.S. NSA (5+ / 0-)

          and USA PATRIOT Act-style state secrets and spying infrastructure is ruining democracies across the globe. Everybody's getting in on the act. History (if it's ever written by anyone other than the victors) will not be kind to this very UN-transparent abdication of democratic oaths and obligations.

          I'm not very optimistic about Caroline K. She will be a good soldier for the Democratic establishment. I hope I'm wrong, of course. Either way, this is quickly turning into a major intergovernmental conspiracy to coverup environmental catastrophe. Once again proving that Snowden's acts and instincts were spot-on.

          "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by Kombema on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:40:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  ANY (14+ / 0-)

    Word on salmon Jay? I consume a substantial amount, farmed as well as wild. Because of the fat content (LOVES ME SOME OMEGA 3) I prefer farmed for sushi; go figure.

  •  As someone who learned right here at DailyKos (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HarryTurtledove, Lujane, Knucklehead

    that a single molecule of radiation can kill, I find this to be quite alarming:

    were found to range between 1.5 to 23 Bq per kilogram of wet weight.
    (but just thank gawd they didn't put that into dry weight and up the ante by 3 or 4 fold, now  * that * would have been truly alarming)
  •  Is Cs-137 all bad? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know it's a poison and radioactive, but I also know that most things have both good and bad properties. Is it possible that cesium in small quantities is actually good for you?

    •  Hi doc2 (14+ / 0-)

      Cesium has no known biological function. I don't think anyone with any credibility would advocate for the purposeful intake of Cs-137 for therapeutic reasons.

    •  Well, cesium-137 in homeopathic (5+ / 0-)

      amounts won't be worse for you than distilled water, which is what a homeopathic bottle of cesium-137 would contain. Any cesium-137 supplement that actually contained "small quantities" of the isotope would have a pretty hard time getting past the FDA.

    •  Conservative Dreams (4+ / 0-)

      Maybe the meltdown's toxic fallout is good for you...

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 08:36:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not poison but it's certainly radioactive. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Small doses (e.g. radiation much less than background) will do nothing since, well, it's much less than background. Cesium itself (radiation aside) is non-toxic.

      •  Technicality tweak... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CharlieHipHop, Duckmg

        Small doses are considered "harmless" by those whose livelihoods or egos involve producing or absorbing radiation, but ionization of atoms of molecules in sensitive cells does not count as "nothing," thus ionizing radiation is considered hazardous even in low doses.

        Studies have demonstrated strong correlations between background dose rates and cancer rates, especially certain types of cancer. For instance, it is generally accepted that ~half of lung cancers are caused by radon exposure. Which is why testing for radon is now SOP for real estate exchanges, and so many people have those ventillation boxes attached to their basements... §;o)

        •  Except that radon exposure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          isn't 'much less than background'.

          For example:

          According to the US EPA, nearly 1 in 3 homes checked in seven states and on three Indian lands had screening levels over 4 pCi/L, the EPA's recommended action level for radon exposure.

          A family whose home has radon levels of 4 pCi/l is exposed to approximately 35 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow if that family was standing next to the fence of a radioactive waste site. (25 mrem limit, 800 mrem exposure)

          An example of 'much less than background' would be sleeping next to someone in bed, which yes, does expose you to excess radiation.
          •  My point was that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            radon IS considered background. No matter how high it is in your locality. It's all background. Including all the bomb testing fallout and all the nuclear accidents, and all the nuclear plants who dump every day of their operational existence. Only your medical exposures aren't considered background. And they go ahead and assign some of that to all of us every year as if it were background, even if you've never had a single x-ray or CT scan or radioisotope as some sort of 'treatment' (they love those) in your life. They put it all together, divvy it up per how many of us are alive on the planet at the time, and that is our averaged background dose.

            To get more specific than that, you've got to go looking for it.

            Nifty how that works, n'est ce pas?

            •  Well sure (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              they have to try to have some way to statistically average exposure as that's the only way to try and detect increased risk for cancer.

              But if actually have radon in your basement and don't deal with it properly, your exposure will be much, much higher than that average 'background' dose. So, I'm not sure what good it is to refer to it as 'background' in that case, since it's something that can, and should be mitigated.

              On the other hand, other background radiation sources, such as sleeping next to a partner, are probably risks that you would prefer not to mitigate, no?

              •  Do you think radon exposure (0+ / 0-)

                is something new? It's been around ever since humans have been living in caves (and is high enough in some places to make walking to the barn a regular hazard). When I was growing up there were no radon detectors. No big box-blowers attached to people's basements. Nobody knew about it, and nobody cared. People just lived and died, as they always have and always will.

                Now that we know about it, it's a regular industry. You can't statistically 'average' background exposures, because those vary to a large extent depending on all sorts of factors. Plus, we keep adding to it overall and locally with our atom-smashing obsession. It is what it is, whenever you look it up for today. Tomorrow it might be different.

                Beware of 'averages'. For instance, have you ever met a live human being with 2.3 children? What does three-tenths of a child look like? 'Average' IQ is 100. That doesn't mean most all people have an IQ of 100, it means half of people have higher IQs, and half have lower IQs. And remember what 'they' say...

                There's lies, damned lies, and statistics. §;o)

                •  I'm afraid I can't discern your point. (0+ / 0-)

                  Radon is as old as the earth, but concentrating radon in newly excavated basements is an exceedingly new phenomenon when it comes to the timeline of human existence.

                  'Walking to the barn' should not be hazardous unless you're walking through a poorly ventilated tunnel.

                  Is your point that we should ignore radon exposure, as it's just an overhyped way for industry to make money?

                  And again, I'm not sure what you're trying to say regarding the statistical averaging of background radiation. If you're saying that you 'can't do this', then how can you trust any of studies of things like the correlation between leukemia and background radiation, since that's exactly what they do?

                  If you throw out statistical averaging of background radiation, then we have no scientific basis to say that radon radiation does anything at all.

                  If you use averaging to say that every person has 2.3 kids, then obviously you're using statistics that what you think is being done?

                  Again, not quite sure what you're trying to say.

      •  It adds to the background radiation though (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This seems to be a point everyone misses. This radiation release is lower than the background radiation in that specific area, but pretty much every release has been on the other side of the earth. I mean, even Chernobyl was below background levels on the other side of the world. The other side of that is that every time there's one of these releases it increases the average. So the average keeps going up.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:07:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is a theory that small amounts of radiation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Roadbed Guy

      are good for you. More of a hypothesis really.

      Radiation hormesis

      I wish that we would do the research to prove whether such an effect actually exists.

      I thought that you could just go to one of those places underground where they study neutrinos and raise some rodents with a control group on the surface. As it turns out, most of your radiation exposure comes from the Potassium-40 in your food and some from Carbon-14 in your food. So you would have to create isotopically pure food. You can't just create food from off the shelf chemicals. Rabbit food pellets are made from ground up organisms. So I assume that you would have to raise hydroponic plants or something in a controlled environment with special CO2 and  fertilizer.

      Whatever you do, it's going to be expensive and time consuming which is probably why nobody has ever done it.

      I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

      by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:17:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deal is, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmasyd, CharlieHipHop

        the research itself would be unethical by WHO/NIH, et al. rules. Because the mechanisms of radiation damages to molecules and cells in biological tissues is extremely well-documented. Damage is done.

        The 'theory' on hormesis is that if you get "a little bit" of that harm, then your molecules and cells will somehow magically "learn" how to repair themselves. Or your immune system will "learn" how to repair the damage.

        The fact that we have ample scientific evidence at this point in time that 25-45% of the spontaneous cancer rate is attributable to background, nobody's gonna allow this sort of research off Dr. Moreau's island.

        If you are a believer, then you should be glad for our radioactive world. We've quite a bit of natural radiation, quite a bit of unnatural radiation in the past 70 years or so too. Our immune systems are getting a good workout already. Apparently, people whose immune systems aren't that buff eventually succumb. Already nearly half of us are going to be diagnosed with cancer at least once in our lifetimes.

        There's lots of radioactivity people can expose themselves to if that's what they want. Best bet: your doctor. A majority of the lifetime dose people in this modern age receive comes in medically-ordered radiological tests and treatments. Creative people can add to that significantly if they want.

        As for me, no thanks. I try to keep my doses to a minimum wherever I can.

        •  That made no sense whatsover (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          How is reducing an animal's exposure to radiation unethical?

          Show me the WHO/NIH rules that prohibit that!

          I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

          by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:31:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

            A "little bit" of exposure to radiation DOES NOT reduce exposure to radiation. It adds to the exposure to radiation. Radiation doses are cumulative. Look it up.

            This is why such research would be unethical. Hormesis, even if there were something besides glorifying nuclear backsides to it, IS NOT reducing exposure to radiation. It is itself exposure to radiation.

            Is this difficult to understand?

            •  Please, read the comment before you reply (0+ / 0-)

              Don't just start making up stuff.

              I was proposing insulating animals from radiation exposure. I was not proposing exposing animals to any radiation.

              Even so, animals are given tagged molecules all the time!

              Where do you get off claiming that this violates WHO/NIH rules?

              I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

              by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:51:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You were talking about hormesis. (0+ / 0-)

                At least, that's what you said. Hormesis is not about insulating anybody or anything from radiation. It's about exposing them to radiation so they (supposedly) develop immunity. Like a polio or smallpox vaccine.

                I see your isolation suggestion, sorry I didn't address it in that post, thinking it was snark. Your proposed system might work if the surface of this planet becomes uninhabitable. It's not there yet, but you could certainly study deep cave ecosystems, do the technical planning. But the problem isn't just the atmosphere and surface and radiation we've dumped there. The crust of this planet is also radioactive. So is the mantle. All the way to the core, which may be more radioactive than anything we can live through up here in the sunshine. Which is also radioactive.

                Our problem is that we've made our ecosystems here on the surface a lot more radioactive over the past three quarters of a century, for reasons of greed, thirst for power, and pretty much just because we could. We'll get our holes in the ground soon enough. No hurry.

                •  No, that's wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                  The radiation hormesis theory says that the amount of radiation that we are naturally exposed to is somehow good for us. "Hormesis" in general says that a little bit of a toxin is better than no toxin at all. So radiation hormesis says that organisms will be less healthy if they are exposed to no radiation at all.

                  It sounds crazy to me, but I can't disprove it. We have, after all, evolved in an environment with a bit of radiation, so maybe it would be unhealthy if we didn't have that level of radiation.

                  It just annoys me that we have not done the testing to determine if this "theory" is true or not true.

                  I don't care what the outcome is. I just want to know the truth.

                  As you go deeper underground, it gets warmer. The heat is due to radiation.

                  In order to study neutrinos, you have to find find places where there is very little natural radiation, such as abandoned coal mines and deep in the antarctic. This is why I suggested those places. Yes, as a general rule the deeper that you go the more radiation that you should detect.

                  I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

                  by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:47:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, since 25-45% (0+ / 0-)

                    (and 50% of some cancers) of the 'background' cancer rate is attributable to 'background' radiation, I'd have to conclude that the amount of radiation we are naturally exposed to is objectively harmful to 25-45/50% of people. We may not be able to escape it, but that doesn't make it safe, and it's sure not going to make us immune to any excess we encounter.

                    But as I said, you're free to try it on your own. Just go to your doctor with a nice laundry list of vague symptoms, demand s/he order the testing, and soak up the Rads you'll have sudden access to. Do let us know how that works out for you in the end, m'kay?

                    •  What does that that have to do with what I said? (0+ / 0-)

                      I proposed that more testing should be done and you throw out this emotional list of God knows what.

                      I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

                      by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:47:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  How do you know the cancer is due to radiation? (0+ / 0-)

                      Couldn't it be due to chemicals, like PCB's?

                      Or radiation due to inhaling radon from brick houses, etc.?

                      Or from eating bananas with all of their radioactive potassium?

                      Do you have a control group where subjects were not exposed to radioactive potassium?

                      I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

                      by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:02:01 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ender... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        I proposed that more testing should be done and you throw out this emotional list of God knows what.
                        All the 'testing' that needs doing on whether or not radiation magically makes biological tissues immune to radiation has already been done. Ionizing radiation is harmful to biological tissues.
                        Couldn't it ['background' cancer rate] be due to chemicals, like PCB's?
                        Sure. 50-75% of the background cancer rate not attributable to background radiation exposures is generally presumed to have different causes. Everything from DNA ("familial" cancers) to industrial chemicals to nuclear oopses, too much sunshine, whatever.
                        Or radiation due to inhaling radon from brick houses, etc.?
                        Again, cancer caused by exposure naturally occurring radon is attributable to 'background'. Which varies quite a bit depending on many factors, all over the planet.
                        Or from eating bananas with all of their radioactive potassium?
                        Bananas are a good dietary source of potassium, as are potatoes, swiss chard, lima beans and various other foods. 0.0117% of elemental potassium on this planet is radioactive K40. That percentage does not change, no matter where the potassium comes from.

                        As long as your body maintains an adequate level of potassium for use in metabolic functions, no amount of potassium in your diet (or in supplements) will change your constant 'background' dose of radiation given off by the 0.0117% of potassium in your body that is radioactive. Excess potassium goes right on through and is eliminated via the waste stream.

                        If your banana (or potato, or whatever) was grown in contaminated soil or exposed during growth to contaminated water, some of its uptaken and concentrated potassium will be replaced by cesium. Because plants can't tell the difference between potassium and cesium any better than our bodies can. Because only 0.0117% of natural potassium is radioactive, the cesium is overwhelmingly likely to be replacing a stable atom of potassium when it is uptaken. All the cesium coming from human nuclear endeavors and oopses is radioactive. Thus contamination ADDs to radiation exposures.

                        Do you have a control group where subjects were not exposed to radioactive potassium?
                        Nope. Because all plants/animals living on this planet are exposed to the 0.0117% of potassium that is radioactive. There is nowhere you can go on or under this planet where the available potassium won't contain 0.0117% K40.
        •  Cells do "magically" know how to repair (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          damage from radiation.  That magic is simply a result of life evolving for billions of years amid a (literal and figurative) sea of radioactivity.

          That is very, very well established scientifically.  Although the repair is NOT done by the immune system, so that all seems to be a huge distraction in your post.

          It is also very, very well established scientifically that there is a threshold for radiation exposure below which no change in cancer rates is observed.  Therefore the routine exposure that people are subject to (which can vary 10 -fold or more in different populations) really has not impact on cancer.

      •  Such research in essence comes (0+ / 0-)

        from populations exposed to different levels of natural radiation.

        e.g., from Wikipedia:

        Some areas have greater dosage than the country-wide averages.[13] In the world in general, exceptionally high natural background locales include Ramsar in Iran, Guarapari in Brazil, Karunagappalli in India,[14] Arkaroola, South Australia [15] and Yangjiang in China.[16]
        Basically, people in these high risk areas are as healthy as expected.   Not really supporting all the hysteria about Fukushima, etc.   Or conversely, not making the case either that our water supplies should be spiked with this stuff similar to fluorination or  maybe like iodine in salt.  
  •  A huge concern is the buildup of radioactive water (6+ / 0-)

    on the Fukushima site and what will happen to that??

    •  crickets, of course...... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Sandino

      “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

      by ozsea1 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:28:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a concern... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, ozsea1, dharmasyd, Evoculture, DuzT

        but this diary addresses how the radioactivity may or may not be spreading through the ecosystem, not what's happening at the site.

        Fukushima is undeniably a tragedy for people there, and is a case study for engineering arrogance. (Let's put the emergency generators in the tsunami floodplain - what could possibly happen?) I don't think anyone commenting here would deny that.

        •  Pretty good chance the water at the site is going (6+ / 0-)

          to end up in the ecosystem...was the point.

          •  Yes, but not everything is mobile. (4+ / 0-)

            Many materials don't move very far from their site. Others do.

            137-Cs is used as a tracer in these measurements because it's water soluble. Other components of radioactive waste are much less so, and will mostly stay nearby.

            Again, this does not minimize the tragedy at the site...

            •  Contaminated water is the issue. It's moving and (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau, CharlieHipHop

              going to move.

            •  Evidently, some things not mobile actually are. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              like the fuel pellets found more than a mile away from Unit #1. Or the coriums of Bldgs. 1,2 and 3 which are, as we speak, continuing their downward travel within the aquifer below the buildings--ground water, you know.

              I have never heard anyone support the notion that:

              A. Radiation in low doses goes away, or is some other wise mitigated by more radiation. That radiation is cumulative is pretty much scientific fact.

              B. Any amout of internalized radiation dosage is a positive trait humanoids should endeavor to realize.

              One general rule about radiation, especially of the types involved (or potentially released) at Fukushima, is that ANY measurable amount is a very bad thing for the humanoids concerned. One, even of the enormous status of my scientific ignorance on this subject en toto should be taking notes.

              Given the incredible time bomb sitting within, and near bldg. 4, the storage (and well, leaking) tanks, and the constant reintroduction, on a daily basis, into the Pacific Ocean of hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive waters they are supposed to hold, I would say that we humanoids should be seriously discussing ways to ameliorate ANY situation that involves ingestion within the human body.   That one can actually schematicize a truly and ultimate human extinction event at Fukushima (theoretic hypotheses, that is) is a new reality for our world. We should pay some serious attention to it.

              Right. Now.

              Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
              Left/Right: -7.75
              Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

              by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:26:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  It will all go into the Pacific (3+ / 0-)

      eventually. Where else are they going to put it?

    •  Filtering and ion exchange resins (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The stored water at the Fukushima site is being processed to filter out particulates and remove dissolved cesium and some other radioactive substances by several different pieces of equipment, many of them experimental one-off designs. A lot of the stored water, usually rainwater and ground water, is below the limits for contamination of bathing and drinking water but it's not yet fit to dispose of into the ocean as those limits are a lot tighter. Some other collected water, for example the water being circulated through the three reactor vessels in the ongoing cooling operation is much more contaminated and will take longer to process to the point where it is regarded as safe to discard.

  •  Crustaceans (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, Joieau, dharmasyd, Ice Blue

    At some point they might want to check crustaceans and other invertebrate animals.  As I recall they store radioactivity within their tissues more efficiently.

    •  At some point I'm hoping (4+ / 0-)

      they'll start reporting the strontium levels too, along with cesium.

    •  Based on ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, OregonWetDog

      ...Their lack of enthusiasm to do legitimate, scientific checking of radioactivity so far, I can't imagine their wanting to do the studies to reveal the truth now, soon, or for a long time, if ever.

      “...the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.” Eugene Debs

      by dharmasyd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 11:14:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that's certainly true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have noted their new version of NRC has been more forthcoming, that's how we learned about the hundreds of gallons of leakage to the ocean per day that's been going on since March of 2011.

        Now that people are becoming much more aware of the range of dangerous radionuclides in what's coming out, they may at some point connect dots and demand the real contamination levels for the full range. You never know...

    •  Or the native kelp, which would more (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, AoT

      accurately evaluate a more reasonable introduction into the food chain.

      Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:27:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How are the fish fairing from exposure? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, Joieau, dharmasyd, Ice Blue

    Does that even matter?

    Also, what studies have been done on fish covering additional Fukushima-introduced elements such as Strontium-90, Plutonium, Barium-133, Cadmium-109, Cobalt-57, Cobalt-60, Manganese-54, Sodium-22, Zinc-65, Technetium-99, Tallium-204, Carbon-14, Tritium, Americium-241, Uranium-238, Uranium-235, Krypton-85, etc?

    If fish absorb either, or both, of the cesiums, does that prevent them from absorbing, say Strontium or Plutonium, etc?

    Is it sufficient to study just the cesiums in fish to come to any conclusion, or even an opinion, about what dangers they might pose, either to fish or humans?


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

    by Jim P on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:05:24 PM PST

  •  Interesting research. (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks for offering it.

    Now I'm trying to parse the technicalities of how they know how much of the cs137 is from Fukushima, versus bomb testing and Chernobyl. You mentioned the 2011 samples contained about equivalent amounts of 134 and 137. That contamination was also primarily from the original airborne releases, just much closer to the source. This makes the 134 a handy 'tag' because we know it had to come from Fukushima, since its half-life is just 2 years.

    But the ratio of 134 to 137 is quite different now, because more than half the 134 has decayed. Very nearly half the 137 from Chernobyl is gone now too, and close to three-quarters of the 137 from atmospheric bomb testing days. I'll take the time tomorrow to check out this paper, just asking if you know the answer off the top of your head because you've already read it. I'm sure they knew to double the 137 portion of the ratio for Fukushima contribution in these samples.

    I hope you will continue to stay on top of this avenue of research and let us know when findings released and available. Pretty soon we ought to see another study from the Pacific that will reflect the constant, ever-increasing waterborne releases of corium contaminated water over the entire term to-date, as well as bioaccumulation in life forms that have been continuously exposed for years instead of a single month.

    •  Hi Joieau (7+ / 0-)

      I am glad you are concerned with technicalities. We can calculate how much C-137 is from Fukushima in the North Atlantic.  That is what chemical oceanographers do.

      More to come.

      •  Yes, that is what I mentioned (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peglyn, dharmasyd

        on the 134 "tag." See, there is no difference whatsoever between cesium-137 from this source or that source. It's just cesium-137. So they're calculating Fuku contribution via the 134/137 ratio. Because the 134 HAS to have come from Fuku, there is miniscule to none still at large from Chernobyl or bomb testing. Just as iodine-131 is 'decayed away' in ~3 months (80 days, or 10 half-lives), cesium-134 is gone in 20 years.

        Deal is, fully half of it is gone in only 2 years, and it has been coming on 3 years since Fukushima. So I want assurance that the attributed 137 portion from the Atlantic has been calculated with that fact in mind.

      •  Am now reading the paper. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmasyd, CharlieHipHop

        Pardon me for slowness, company in and out all day. Samples were fillets (and/or 'pucks') of fish (no bones), all collected between July and December of 2011, 4 to 7 months after the meltdowns /fires /explosions at Fukushima. So it is reasonable to factor Fuku-originated cs137 by ratio to cs134. They didn't find strontium because in choosing to test just for cesium, they opted for gamma-only read.

        This (from the Abstract) is a bit concerning, though...

        ...The radionuclide 134Cs (half-life 2 yr) was indeed detected with quite small activities at about 0.0036 Bqkg-1 w.w. Existing box models describing the transport of Cs within seawater boxes of the northeast Atlantic allowed for estimation of 134Cs contributions from other sources, i.e. from the Chernobyl fallout and from discharges by the two major European nuclear reprocessing plants; both were negligible around Greenland, while for the Chernobyl fallout a small 134Cs background contribution to BS fish was estimated.
        There should have been no detectable 134 from Chernobyl even in 2011. In sediments, much less in fish (remember that 30-day biological half-life). So their estimate of 4% of the 134 in GC fish from Chernobyl merely serves to diminish the estimated Fuku contribution - worse, they increase the write-off on the amount of 137 by that (small, but potentially significant) measure. But since they did use the presence of ANY 134 as reason to prolong the counting of samples, the levels given can be presumed reasonably accurate if you go ahead and add 4% to the GC samples.

        Kinda curious about these reprocessing contributors. Guess I'll have to go looking now for just how filthy they've been found to be since their beginnings...

        At any rate, my concern is not so much scientific - I'm glad somebody checked the situation back in 2011. My concern is DeathCorp, Inc. Which is even better able to buy some science as ever Big Tobacco was. I am concerned that they'll try to diminish the Fukushima contributions to the contaminated food supply, and that they'll try to do that by 'normalizing' a contaminated food supply. While not accounting for the millions of curies of seriously radioactive garbage coming out of Fukushima 24-7 then, now, and for as far into the future as anybody can see. Neither of these studies are legitimately capable of 'reassuring' the population of Planet Earth that there is no danger and never will be.

        It may all work out in the end. Here I have just mentioned what leapt out on a quick perusal of the first few pages, and it seems to be as limited on those terms as the Fisher, et al. paper. Meanwhile, I'll encourage you - and all your colleagues - to keep on sampling, and keep on trying to quantify for us all what we honestly do need to know. Just beware of gnomes planting garbage in your minds while you're at it.

    •  Studies like these are very valuable, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, dharmasyd

      and much appreciated. However, being scientific they are necessarily very narrowly-focused, and cannot claim to evaluate the over-all impact of man-made nuclear radiation on human health.

    •  This was a difficult experiment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and the statistics are poor on the Cs-134 counts (~20-30% uncertainty for a 160-hour count).  The attribution of quantities of Cs-137 and 134 to Fukushima was made under the following assumptions:

      1) The Fukushima source term has equal activities of Cs-137 and 134;
      2) Non-Fukushima concentrations of Cs-134 are negligible;
      3) Decay was negligible at the time of the measurements, which occurred throughout 2011

      Therefore, on an activity basis, according to the authors' method (top of p. 5404):

      Cs-134 from Fukushima = Cs-134 measured
      Cs-137 from Fukushima = Cs-134 measured
      Cs-137 not from Fukushima = Cs-137 measured - Cs-134 measured

      The authors use this method to bound the contributions of Fukushima to the total Cs fish activity.  You are correct that assumption #3 is not too justified since Cs-134 decays quickly, but it's probably the authors' opinion that why bother with that when the other sources of experimental uncertainty swamp the correction.

      •  There is always uncertainty (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmasyd, CharlieHipHop, Bud Fields

        in radiation monitoring, quite a bit of it coming from the detector(s) and their various limitations. Even scintillators and big, expensive body-scanners aren't entirely accurate, but are the best we can do FAPP [For All Practical Purposes].

        The worst errors, however, are introduced by those doing the calculations per "what it means" and/or "where it comes from." We are used to hearing about chemical tagging of dangerous and/or explosive substances so origin can be pinpointed quickly. And the compounds used to produce fuel for bombs or isotopes for medical/industrial uses can even be traced to the particular reactor or fabrication plant that produced it.

        But that's not what they're doing here with calculations of how much (percentage) of the cesium-137 detected in the fish/water is attributable to Fukushima. Because there is still the handy-dandy 134 tag to work with.

        I dunno. Seems to me we should already have on file a wealth of data on cesium contamination of the world's oceans from bomb testing and Chernobyl. All of it easily scaled to present along the decay chain and time passed. This cesium still echoing from decades ago could simply be "zeroed out" along with the K40 and po210 and P239 (etc., etc., etc.). Automatically, by the sample processor itself (programmed-in, along with decay rates, since what the detectors are reading are decays, not quantities of element). So that all today's researchers would have to do is prepare the samples and run 'em through, the machinery spits out the numbers on just what you're looking for.

        Then again, how trustworthy would that be, if the machinery were provided by industry/government? Even body-scanners are programmable and must be calibrated, I've seen 'em calibrated to ignore certain isotopes (like iodine, cesium and strontium) purely for the purpose of allaying public concerns in relatively high-dose situations.

        Here we see that only one element's radioactive isotopes are being reported, even though we know for a fact that other dangerous isotopes are also present and known to bioaccumulate. The public is used to hearing about cesium. Its presence is not that alarming these days. Add strontium, americium, plutonium and such to the stew - and report overall contamination levels - and people will be alarmed.

        Nifty how that works, isn't it?

        •  The worst errors (4+ / 0-)

          I see routinely being made on the interpretive aspects are coming from people who don't have a functional familiarity with the physics, but who are nonetheless possessed of a curiously remarkable self-confidence in their own speculations, conspiracy theories, fear, etc.


          You mentioned "zeroing out" the Cs-137 concentrations known pre-Fukushima.  The reason that cannot be done with the measurements in this paper is simply because Cs-137 (measured) has too high of a statistical uncertainty (~4%) to see the difference by the method you mention.  That's the straightforward reason for the Cs-134 inferential approach.  

          You mentioned automating the measurements, which is easier said than done.  After all, custom cal sources must be made to model the custom samples' geometry and composition, a model of energy efficiency of one's own counting detector must be developed, one's own background must be collected and subtracted, a model of dead time and coincidence summing must be applied, and systematic errors like gain shift or microphonic noise must be noticed as they occur by human intelligence.  This is a demanding low-level counting experiment, not a portal monitor.  

          The assertion that government or industry could dishonestly program a radiological instrument is ridiculous on its face, barring of course a credible example of such occurrence.  For one thing, it would be easy to catch.  All of the physical data on which such automatic calculations might be predicated like peak detection software and fitting libraries is easily available from multiple sources, easily used to double-check an automated result.

          You mentioned measuring other "dangerous" isotopes.  Those others cannot be detected at the spectacularly low levels that Cs-137 and Cs-134 can, because they cannot be counted in massive samples by high-resolution gamma spectrometry.  So there is a fundamental reason why these data are less common and of poorer statistical quality.


          •  These people could choose (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peglyn, dharmasyd, CharlieHipHop

            to do scintillation-reads, even if they weren't willing to go with a small body scanner (for wet weight reads). Instead, they chose gamma-only reads. Maybe because even just a beta-gamma read would show too much beta, and they'd have to track that down [Hint: strontium].

            All of this kind of technology - including both the calibration abilities and the pre-programming abilities - existed 40 years ago. Bigger, clunkier, a whole lot less user-friendly, but certainly existent and available. They should have much better, sleeker, super-nerdy versions by now, that cost a whole lot less. Or maybe not, since the instrumentation cash flow is a regular big deal too. As for the detecting, I can get a plug-in and ap for my iPhone for less than a hundred dollars that reads beta-gamma more accurately than my multi-thousand dollar (but 35 year old) RM14. Go figure, technology marches on.

            I understand using cesium as the spotlight item for characterizing a contaminated food supply. Since I have known for decades that it almost always comes attached at the hip with strontium and iodine, just giving me a heads-up that cesium is present means I kick all the precautions into gear. The warning is useful. To me. It may be less useful to people who don't understand (and aren't being taught by those who should be doing the teaching) such things, have no idea what it means.

            Cesium is not and never was the only radioactive isotope of concern coming out of Daiichi into the world's food and water supplies as well as their lungs and other internal organs. Not even two different isotopes of cesium are all there is.

            So it can be the oceanographer's duty to inform people of what the cesium levels are in their seafood supply, I've no problem with that. I have a problem with how it's being spun by those with seriously vested interests.

            •  These are competent scientists (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and to be fair to such people, I think we should generally assume that they are doing the most they can with the resources they have.  In this case, the resources are extremely good, being that they can detect 0.005 Bq / kg Cs-134 with <20% uncertainty, a needle in a veritable haystack of the various natural activities competing for the detector's attention.  You cannot do that with a scintillator.  Or even come close!  You cannot do that with a body scanner (which is typically also a scintillator).  The folks know what they are doing, and they are doing it very competently.

              Sr-90 analysis would be approached by a different technique involving wet chemical prep and probably Cherenkov counting.  But the technique does not give the amazing needle-in-a-haystack resolving capability that obtains for gamma emitters with high-resolution gamma spectrometry illustrated in this paper.  Minimum detectable Sr-90 activity is probably a hundred times higher.  Note that this is still nowhere near what might be considered an action limit on account of biological hazard; for stuff that hot, you could expect 3 digits of significance from a routine Sr-90 analysis.  And that much Sr-90 would probably ruin the Cs-134 experiment done in the paper...all those beta particles and x-rays would cause a continuum to pile up over the regions of interest in the Cs hunt.

              •  I tried that argument on Joileau before (0+ / 0-)

                It didn't work. It went something like this:

                I think that our science has surpassed our wisdom

                We have the capability to measure infinitesimally small amounts. Does that mean that these amounts are a threat? No, it doesn't.

                We can detect small increases in radiation coming from outer space. Does that mean that the increase is a threat? No it doesn't.

                We can detect E. coli bacteria on every horizontal surface in your home. Does that mean that the bacteria are a threat to your health? No it doesn't.

                We can detect infinitesimally small amounts of radionuclides from Fukushima. Does that mean that these amount are a threat? No it doesn't.

                Alarmists will claim that every increase in radiation exposure increases your risk of cancer, but they cannot measure how much the risk increases. Is it more risk than smoking a cigarette or taking a coast to coast flight?

                I say that if you can't measure it, then then maybe it doesn't exist.

                If the increased risk is less than that from smoking half a cigarette, then why are we worrying about it?

                I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

                by Ender on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:04:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, come now. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                If the cesium in seafood is so damned difficult to detect, then how would there be any justification for trying to quantify depositions from sources 25 to 60 years ago so they could be zeroed out? Why even bother, since we've been eating cesium in our tuna sandwiches longer than we've been eating dangerous amounts of mercury in that same sandwich.

                Unless the point is to minimize the levels from Fukushima for public consumption (in more ways than one). If there's 10 Bq/kg cesium in my codfish post-Fukushima when there was 5 before due to previous human nuke-dumping, how is that supposed to make me feel better about codfish when I've no clue what a Becquerel is or what cesium is or why I should be concerned about either one? Most people don't give a shit. They just eat fish when they're hungry for it. Generally speaking, that's not very often.

                This kind of stuff appeals to the academic community, and apparently in this case to the nuclear PR community. I like accuracy in my academic science, though I do know most people will never even hear about it, much less try to parse it.

                Regular people - at least 999 out of 1000 - don't know, don't care, and don't care to know. I'm guessing the nukes aren't going to get their money's worth on this angle, but I see they're getting brownie points for trying. You know what they say about brownies... heckuva job and all that.

                By the way, strontium to cesium ratio from nuclear meltdowns or WMDs is easily calculable per inventory, always has been. Detect X amount of cesium from a given incident, and you may reasonably expect to find Y amount of strontium. If you're worried about strontium 'masking' cesium if they did a beta read along with the gamma, then there would be enough strontium in the sample to note. If you would not expect enough strontium to note, why would you worry about strontium masking the cesium?

                •  Too inaccurate for my taste (0+ / 0-)
                  Detect X amount of cesium from a given incident, and you may reasonably expect to find Y amount of strontium.
                  Cesium and strontium are different elements, and the circumstances of the release make a pivotal difference in what happens to each of them (i.e. how much are released and in what form).  Also for what it's worth, the yields of various nuclides vary depending on the source.  You will not find Cs-134 in the fallout from WMDs, for instance, but it is of course important in power reactor accidents.

                  I don't buy this pessimistic view about "regular" people being disinclined to care about or understand nuclear science.  On the contrary I think there is an unprecedented rise in avocational interest and competence in the subject.  There are Yahoo! groups for Geiger counter enthusiasts and gamma spectroscopy.  There are social groups of people who collect radioactive antiques.  Uranium ore is sold on Amazon.  Homemade uranium tetrafluoride is sold on eBay.  There are hobby neutron generators and hobby fusion experimenters and hobby x-ray photographers and hobby cosmic-ray telescopes.  And the free references (like Wikipedia) of first recourse to anyone interested in some aspect of the field are pretty high quality.  The subject may not have a proletarian reputation, but it is now more accessible to regular folks in my opinion than, say, modern car repair.  The "regular guy's" appetite for real understanding--not pseudo-expertise--should not be underestimated.

                •  I am that 1 in 1000. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Talk to me in terms I can understand, and help me learn. It's interesting to me that when data are reported, we all of a sudden hear about TEPCO, governmental blackouts, and rogue scientists on scare-mongering campaigns. But we don't hear much about the data, and what it is actually reporting regarding the current or possible future implications for us belly button babies.

                  I'm reading every word and commenting honestly as I can. I am communicating what I learn to a lot of people who, just like me, care very much about this issue. You are, at least in this case, NOT preaching only to the choir.

                  I deeply appreciate the work, honor those doing the work, and am desirous of reporting the honest work to as many as I can without starting some kind of derangement syndrome. There are CT's abounding, coming directly from those scientists who should, quite frankly, know better. Then you have complete info blackout from those who should be spilling the truth in the ultimate hopes of saving their people, and our planet.

                  I had a call from a Japanese friend begging me to find a documentary filmmaker with the ability to come to Fukushima and accurately report ("must be completely unbiased!") The data, the facts, and the realities surrounding Fukushima...yesterday! Coming from a completely ignorant, scientifically vacuous, simple-minded citizen of that nation, I confess it did have a deep impact on me.

                  Please keep this conversation going, with as much updated and relevant factual information as possible being the only result that matters.

                  Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
                  Left/Right: -7.75
                  Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

                  by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:48:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Basically, what we have here (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Bud Fields, dharmasyd

                    and in the last diary on testing in the Pacific is confirmation that shortly after the original meltdowns /fires /explosions at Daiichi, fallout from atmospheric plumes of radiation deposited radionuclides not just into the ocean offshore of Daiichi, but halfway across the world in the north Atlantic as well, and that cesium from that fallout did before the end of 2011 (the year of the disaster) concentrate in detectable amounts in fish.

                    Now, detectable amounts and dangerous amounts are two different things, and the amounts reported from fish in both oceans from 2011 are NOT considered dangerous. Just a few extra Becquerels, and only if you ate those fish. Which nobody did, because they were taken for testing purposes.

                    Neither of the research projects tested for or found any other radionuclides from Fukushima (or Chernobyl, or bomb testing) in the fish they tested. This does not mean no other radionuclides were released from Daiichi during and after the disaster of March, 2011. It just means we do not yet know if they are present in the food supply on land or in the oceans.

                    I do not know if scientists and other interested or responsible parties have been regularly testing the food supply in Japan or anywhere else for anything other than cesium. Or even for cesium, for that matter. Fishing off the northeastern Japanese coast has been halted, and some nations have banned import of Japanese seafood products from the area (and in some cases, rice). Including the U.S. government.

                    So we do not know what the current levels of contamination are after two more years' worth of hundreds of tonnes of corium contaminated water being dumped per day from Daiichi into the Pacific ocean. But it is certainly reasonable to presume that the contamination of the seawater is higher today than it was in 2011, and that radionuclides known to bioaccumulate in ocean life are still concentrating in ocean life. Particularly life forms that have spent two and a half years in constant exposure situations, as the plumes of waterborne contamination have made their way across the ocean with the currents.

                    •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                      All the measurements thus far show that the rate of radionuclide release to the ocean peaked in March-April 2011 and have not approached those levels since.  

                      •  So, about a million tons (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        of meltdown-level [given as >10 Sv/hr contact [1000 Rem/hr] emergency seawater coolant went into the Pacific off Fukushima in the first 6 weeks of the disaster? From where?

                        They managed to get fire hoses attached to exterior taps to still-sound inlet pipes for the reactors, pumping seawater in, but with the vessel bottoms melted-through, where were they recovering the water from in order to pump it out into the ocean? Neither the primary containment structures nor the basement suppression pools were designed to have any drain piping that leads outside the reactor/turbine buildings that could be tapped to remove the water building up in the containments and/or suppression pools, and take it to the seawater inlet/outlet areas.

                        When and how did they manage to drill through the containments or basement walls and install new piping from the containment bottoms or suppression pool drains - a feat that would involve considerable engineering and a considerable number of skilled workers who would die rather quickly in a particularly unpleasant way. I seem to recall reports that no one was getting inside the buildings in that time period. But TEPCO has been lying about everything all along, so you never know.

                        That's quite a spectacular feat. Why have we not heard about these heroes and had any opportunities to memorialize the dead in appreciation of their sacrifice? Where are the details about this heroic and amazing accomplishment - in not one, but three 100% melted down and out reactors, in less than a week! - that we can read?

                        Oh, that's a back of the envelope figure on total to the ocean in those two months, given how much of the fresh water coolant flow-through is now being recovered (presumably from those same amazing new piping systems), run through the various temporary filtration systems and then pumped through hose-piping to the ever-growing tank farm, while still "leaking" some ~450 tons to the ocean every day since. Hope your source documents have more reliable figures than that.

                        •  Hi Joieau, (0+ / 0-)

                          The concentrations in the ocean near the coast and offshore receive the contaminated water.  The concentrations of the radionuclides in question in the ocean don't support a flux that has increased over time but rather the opposite.

                          •  That doesn't answer my question. (0+ / 0-)

                            I see that you are trying to say that the bioaccumulation of cesium in tuna that spent one month of their lives in the contaminated environment will not rise if they spend years in that contaminated environment, because the biological half-life of cesium is about a month. And that might work pretty well for cesium. But this is absolutely not going to work for strontium or any other of the long biological half-life radionuclides coming out of Daiichi. Bioaccumulated levels of which will increase upon constant exposure - strontium, for instance, stays in the bone it was incorporated into until it decays or the bone decays, whichever comes first.

                            Even if your assumption of dilution being equal to the constant influx of more contamination, this research has said precisely nothing about the dangers of bioaccumulation of longer-lived radionuclides. Therefore you cannot authoritatively dismiss the dangers to human eaters of Pacific seafood by this research or its assumptions.

                          •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                            That is not how it works.  A sustained release at levels lower than the initial releases in spring 2011 will lead to sustained concentrations highest near the source that decrease with mixing and decay offshore.  The concentration determines how much ends up the marine biota.  Consider strontium as an example. The amount of cold, non-radioactive Sr-88 in seawater is about 90 micromolar (10^-6 mol/L).  Sr is taken up into organisms given its chemical similarity (+2 valence state and ionic radius) to calcium.  Increasing the amount of radioactive Sr-90 will increase the fractional amount of the fractional amount of mostly Sr-88 taken up by the biota. Given current release rates and concentrations the question then becomes: Does this lead to Sr-90 (for example) concentrations that are a high risk for human consumers?  

                            Concentrations given past and current release rates don't appear to lead to levels in marine organisms, that if you choose to eat them, which you do not have to of course, do not lead to exposure risks that approach the naturally occurring Po-210.

    •  It is my (extremely limited) understanding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, dharmasyd

      (and I apologize for my ignorance, but this is not one of my chosen fields of expertise)...

      that every nuclear "event" creates its own unique fingerprint. I also understand that the Fukushima fingerprint (tag?) contains a minimum of 3, and possibly 4 components (a first in history, which is why I remember it).

      Can you tell me what the actual tag, or fingerprint for Fukushima actually is?

      Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:32:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In this research the 'tag' (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bud Fields, dharmasyd

        is given as cesium-134. Because it has a half-life of 2 years, and is presumed to have been released from Daiichi in the original plumes in basically equal amount to cesium-137. Which, because of its longer half-life (30 years), is still present from Chernobyl and a couple of European reprocessing plants that apparently have been operated in a filthy manner. 134 from Chernobyl is long since 'decayed away', which is expressed as being 10 half-lives - 20 years. It may still be coming out of the reprocessing plants, that is not made clear.

        I can find no indication in the research text that any other radionuclides were tested for or found.

  •  No place to run, no place to hide. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We'll be raising mutant children soon.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 08:13:07 PM PST

    •  If only (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, LNK, Lawrence

      Birth defects and stillbirths are definitely going to be much more common than super powers.

      Honestly, I don't know how the pro-nuke shills can sleep at night.  We get more power from the sun every single day than will be burned in the form of fossil fuels over the entire history of those fuels.  But let's boil rivers and create the deadliest, most enduring compounds on the planet instead of tapping that because... money. Sick.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

      by CharlieHipHop on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:15:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're already raising mutant children (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For example during childhood and development, 50,000 mutations accumulate in the brain until . . .

      every adult human brain harbors around 5 x 10^4 somatic mutations in its neurons. Of course, the number of cells carrying each of these mutations depends on when the mutations arise during development, with early-arising mutations populating much larger portions of the brain than later-arising mutations. Based on this rough calculation, the potential exists for every gene in the genome to be mutated in at least some neurons in each of our brains—we are all walking repositories of neuronal genomic diversity.

      Other tissues and organs are likely the same, more or less, and considering that the brain has about 1/10th of the body's cells, that means that everybody has about a a million mutations in their body.  Naturally.  And yet we survive (both as individuals and as a species).

  •  Cesium's good for you......right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:21:04 AM PST

    •  Compared to strontium, yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's why they're telling us about cesium, not strontium or the other terrible things.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

      by CharlieHipHop on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:16:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cesium's plenty bad for you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Deal is, it concentrates in your muscles (as potassium), while strontium concentrates in your bones (as calcium). Both have basically equivalent half-lives (28 vs. 30 years), and both are gnarly beta-emitters. 10-20 times more dangerous internally than the same energy level of gamma.

        They chose pure gamma-read for this study's readings. When any halfway decent radiation detector over the last 50 years can just as easily read beta too. And the math on beta-only is easy enough that a second-grader could do it. Mere subtraction.

        So why not beta? ...because it would have revealed the strontium, and they didn't care to know how much strontium was present or how much dose it was contributing. This is about allaying public fears, not about informing them of what hazards are in the food supply.

        •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northstarbarn, terrypinder

          The authors here use incredibly sensitive germanium detectors (x3) that are specific to gamma radiation. They had to count emissions for >13 days to get any sort of reasonable counting statistics on Cs-134 and Cs-137. They have to keep the detectors behind layers of lead, cadmium and plexiglass to get the background low enough to detect Cs. Given the relative release of Sr-90 was orders of magnitude lower the Cs isotopes (and lower still in the atmospheric release responsible for what is detected in the north Atlantic) there is virtually no Sr-90 to detect regardless of what type of detector, hybrid or not, used.


          I will write a primer on how these radionculides are measured at low levels in the environment.  Cheers.

        •  What SNR (0+ / 0-)

          do those beta detectors have?

          Why do you say they are 10-20 times more dangerous internally? Both gamma and beta radiation has a quality factor of 1. Alpha particles have a quality factor of 20, is that what you were thinking?

        •  But surely someone in the brain trust (0+ / 0-)

          is testing all three (Alpha, Gamma, and Beta), right? Is that info that should be widely disseminated to the populations of the planet?

          If I remember correctly from my Geography, there is some kind of land mass situated between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, isn't there? In fact, I think I live on it.

          I've heard CT's that want to say 14,000 Americans have been negatively affected by this disaster so far. While I suspect that "data", the reality of North Atlantic fish being found to have increased rates of Cs-137 makes me wonder what, among other things, I am breathing, or eating.

          Is this an unwarranted concern?

          Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
          Left/Right: -7.75
          Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

          by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:30:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Technical detail (0+ / 0-)

        by way of explanation - cesium emits both beta and gamma when it decays. Strontium overwhelmingly emits only beta.

  •  Action to prevent future problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Man-made substances......

    Nature cannot evolve fast enough to deal with man-made substances like these.........Ditto plastics, pesticides, etc.

    My late mother was a member of AAAS and was alarmed at how ignorant the physicists were of biology, and how cavalier their attitude was about the effects of radiation on living tissues.

    I remember the heroic efforts it took to stop above-ground testing of atom bombs (Strontium 90 was causing bone cancer in children; Ted Kennedy's son was probably one of the victims....cancer doesn't come with a tag naming the etiology, but the timing was right).

    Now we're getting the pollution from nuclear power plants? And if not today, then who knows where the next unexpected event could take place.....Sheesh.

    Action Link:

  •  OT, heavy reading from history (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Linus Pauling, JFK, Soviets. . . .

    Parallels with today......Who benefits? Who is sacrificed?
    Where is the democratic input and decision-making?

  •  I even see discussions of Thorium in the future. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I must honestly admit I'm having trouble seeing clearly a path to any future with the Fukushima realities before us. And, I'm looking. Hard.

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 01:50:18 AM PST

  •  For those concerned (0+ / 0-)

    about strontium levels, here is a paper from PLOS dated March 7 of this year on levels detected at selected hot spots in Japan (on land) prior to October of 2012.

    The researchers found concentrations of strontium to cesium at or lower than 1:10, or 10% strontium beta- activity to the gamma level of cesium-137. All of this was deposited by the airborne plumes, and does not speak to levels in the ocean from steady waterborne releases since March of 2011.

    Concentration of Strontium-90 at Selected Hot Spots in Japan -

    [from 'Conclusions'] The data set (though limited in terms of sample numbers) suggests an intrinsic coexistence of 137Cs and 90Sr in the contaminations caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident. This observation is of great importance for the current food monitoring campaigns, which currently rely on the assumption that the activity concentrations of ß--emitting 90Sr (which is relatively laborious to determine) is not higher than 10% of the level of y-emitting 137Cs (which can be measured quickly). This assumption could be confirmed for the samples investigated herein.
  •  excellent diary again (0+ / 0-)

    thank you.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:50:47 AM PST

  •  already reports of marine creatures in Alaska (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, dharmasyd

    showing signs of radiation poisoning. Honestly, I don't believe there is no danger...and the risk will increase with the steady increase of radiated waters dumped into the Pacific. Also, the EPA, after Fukushima, raised the allowable levels of radiation that we can be exposed to...go figure.

  •  We already can't eat too much fish for the mercury (0+ / 0-)

    so I suppose that guideline is still good, sigh

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 09:12:48 AM PST

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