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FVCOM: Chen's Lab, UMassD

MEDM Assessment of Japan's Tsunami Event and Impacts of Radionuclides on the Pacific Ocean

March 11 2011 was a tragic day for Japan and the world. The earthquake in Tohoku, Japan caused a tsunami, and the resulting tsunami-induced inundation has placed Japan into crisis. The amount of radiation released in the nuclear accident has threatened the coastal environment with potential impacts on the Pacific Ocean. An international research team was established with the aim of studying the mechanism of the tsunami, simulating the inundation, and assessing the impact of radionuclides on the surrounding countries around the Pacific. The team members include Dr. Changsheng Chen (Physical Oceanographer), Dr. Zhigang Lai (Physical Oceanographer), and Ms. Huichan Lin (Physical Oceanographer) at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (UMASSD)-USA, Dr. Robert C. Beardsley(Physical Oceanographer), Dr. Jian Lin (Geologist) and Dr. Rubao Ji (Biologist) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)-USA, Dr. Jun Sasaki at Yokohama National University-Japan and Dr. Chunyan Li (Physical Oceanographer) at Louisiana State University. The ocean model used for this activity is the global-coastal nested FVCOM model system. FVCOM is an unstructured grid Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) developed originally by Chen et al. (2003) and is being upgraded by the UMASSD-WHOI joint FVCOM development team (Chen et al., 2006a,b). Dr. Sasaki successfully applied FVCOM to simulate the 2004 tsunami and inundation in Banda Aceh in the Indian Ocean.

The Unstructured Grid Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model [FVCOM] is a prognostic, unstructured-grid, finite-volume, free-surface, 3-D primitive equation coastal ocean circulation model developped by UMASSD-WHOI joint efforts. [See: MEDM Home for a full description.]

This impressive modeling tool has been produced an array of very nice graphic models - some with animation - of both the tsunami inundation of Fukushima Daiichi, but also particle tracking at eight depths from surface to 1200 meters for tracking contamination from Daiichi around the Pacific rim, and includes predictions for affects on the western coast of North America. The model projects out to seven years. There is a good explanation of how suspended particles move at the various depths which is worth absorbing before viewing the actual models for each level of currents, and suggest that radionuclides in the deep waters could be upwelled to the upper water column to then disperse over a broad region of the north Pacific. These are based on particle tracking experiments conducted by Z. Lai and C. Chen, Physical Oceanographers at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth; and R.C. Beardsley, Physical Oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The projection of upwelling from deeper currents is significant because of the presence of heavy particles in the waterborne releases from Daiichi, now estimated by TEPCO to be in the range of ~450 tons per day, exiting the facility outside the bounded 'lagoon'.

These heavy particles are not just suspended heavy metal isotopes like uranium and the actinides (such as Plutonium), but actual particles of fuel that used to be in the assembly fuel rods in the three 100% melted reactor cores and all of the spent fuel in all of the plants' SFPs, which were known in the first days of the disaster to have lost large volumes of cooling water and overheating of elements, to the point that zirconium fires were reported burning off and on in at least two SFPs.

The U.S. NRC has known about the problem of fuel fragmentation during LOCA accidents for a long, long time. The details were written up for NUREG-2121 in March of 2012 (one year after the meltdowns at Daiichi) in a document entitled Fuel Fragmentation, Relocation, and Dispersal During the Loss-of-Coolant Accident by the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. Under section 5.2.4, Radiological Effects of Dispersed Fuel Material, a not-happy consequence is described...

Even after a successfully terminated large-break LOCA, where all safeguard systems have worked as planned, a number of fuel rods will have failed (Ref. 61). Large amounts of radioactivity are assumed to have reached the containment in the form of volatile or noble gases, and also particulate aerosols, which would transport other radionuclides trapped in the fuel material. From a regulatory point of view, some of this radioactivity will leak out of the containment and reach the environment outside the nuclear plant, where it will cause a dose burden to the public. In the traditional design-basis regulatory calculation, it was assumed that the containment leak rate is the highest permissible rate stated in the technical specifications or license conditions of the plant.
[Emphasis mine]. What this means is that the NRC recognizes that in a large-break LOCA, it won't be just the volatiles and nobles that get out and expose the public, it will be these actual dust-size fuel particles as well. When your reactor plants actually blow sky high, as four of them did at Daiichi, all bets and estimates are off on how much of this crap gets out in the air to contaminate vast regions of land and all the people/animals living there, as well as into any water sources nearby - in this case, the Pacific Ocean.

The NRC in its "Conclusions" of course concludes that "more research and detailed analyses are required," which is of course their conclusion to every fatal flaw ever discovered and recorded with nuclear technology from its very beginnings. They know they can't actually "regulate" this sort of thing, because nobody can turn one of these beasts OFF in the midst of large-break LOCA events. The shit gets out, so the officials and regulators just get to lie about it with the requisite reassurance attached to All Things Nuclear - "No Immediate Danger To The General Public."

It's that gratuitously inserted modifier "immediate" you need to look out for. If you're not getting vaporized on the spot, radiation's worst effects take awhile...

The tendency for those little cylindrical fuel pellets in those zircalloy-clad fuel rods to "fail" by means of structural disintegration into fuel particulates has been a regular big deal issue in the industry since forever. The concurrent tendency for the zircalloy cladding to overheat, swell and develop leaks (usually along lousy welds) wherever individual pellets have disintegrated is also a long known issue for the industry's attempts to manage contaminant levels both inside the plants and what is released to atmosphere or water every single day of operation.

In fact, in our own investigation reports to Congress/NRC about the nature and consequences of the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, we traced causal factors well past the multiple-point failures of equipment that caused the initial system failures, but all the way back to the origin of the core itself and problems it had been causing in the few weeks following start-up (and before the accident) with increased contamination and leak rates the utility was years later convicted in criminal court for covering up. Warpage and deformation of the rods due to failed fuel and associated cladding failures in a technological engineering 'marvel' with control rod descent tolerances measured in microns (really), is what we concluded had prevented the control rods in the hottest central region of the core from descending properly to stop the fission reaction when loss of heat exchange feedwater signalled the initial scram. And that is what caused about half of the core to melt into a puddle of corium ooze on the bottom of the reactor vessel.

They've been not-quite "researching" the common fuel failure phenomenon ever since, apparently, and not reaching any conclusions other than that more research needs to be done. Ah, well. At least Kerr-McGee is no longer in the fuel fabrication/core manufacturing business. That's something, I guess.

In the months since Japan's new nuclear regulatory agency came into being and power, TEPCO has been forced to report a bit more regularly and honestly about conditions at Daiichi. In a press release on August 19 of this year detailing the water leak from the tank farm [follow-up 2], they did finally report that nuclear fuel material (not in the form of gas) was in that leakage from the tank[s]. It's in ALL the tanks. Which means that whatever filtration they may have said they've been using to remove cesium somehow missed filtering these actual chunks of reactor fuel. Surprise, surprise. It's going out to sea.

Now we have the above really nice models generated by serious oceanographers to predict the movement of everything from suspended light radionuclides (like tritium, cesium, strontium, etc.) as well as heavy particles of fuel material that will for awhile during transit be hovering in much deeper currents. These do not bode well for the amazing amount of 'reassurance' we are getting from the nuclear industry's current big-push propaganda campaign, about how it's all over, no harm done, everything's fine and dandy.

Do with the data and projections what you will, per any possible protections you may wish to institute for yourself and your loved ones based on reality instead of nuclear fairy fantasies. The dangers will be with us essentially forever, so people do need to take some things under consideration about how - and where - they will live their lives for the next 7-10 generations or more. There are effective ways to diminish exposures, avoid exposures, and even mitigate exposures. None of these things can be done if the fact that exposures are happening is denied in toto, or 'authoritatively' pronounced to be inconsiderable.

Best of luck to all of us, and Merry Christmas!

[H/T to EneNews aggregator]

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Comment Preferences

  •  The animations on these (29+ / 0-)

    are really nice. Now if we can just get TEPCO/Japan to pony up some real release figures and levels, we might have a chance to mitigate a chunk of the long-term effects on humans. Or at least try...

    No one can stop the crap from getting out, or recall a single isotope or fuel chunk from already being out there contaminating everything it touches. The world now needs to wake up to the dangers, and get together on doing what we can about them.

    •  Hi Joieau (11+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the diary.  These models are very useful.  Here they are modeling neutrally buoyant, suspended particles that have a density that matches seawater of around 1,030 g per litre.  It would be interesting to know what the density of spent fuel is in comparison or aerosols containing heavy radionculides.  Do you know these values? Settling velocities for particles with densities greater than water are 10's to hundreds of meters per day.  Most dense particulate matter spends less that two weeks in the ocean before settling to the sediments. It would also be useful to know what the relative loads of particles versus dissolved radionuclides are?  Particle inventories for most elements are orders of magnitude lower than dissolved inventories.  

      •  The values on density for (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, Sunspots, Deep Harm, terabytes

        disintegrated fuel pellets are all over the place, as it depends on just how much disintegrating the pellets have undergone and under what specified conditions for failure.

        Think of it in terms of how reactor fuel is fabricated from solvent solutions of isotopes concentrated via various technologies (like centrifuges) into what has the basic consistency of mud pies. The mud is very slowly (in small amounts slowly) concentrated and molded as the solvent is removed, pressed into those familiar little cylindrical pellets of metal. Which are then dropped into the zircalloy tubes to form a fuel rod.

        When they fail, they crumble into particles pretty much the same size they were as mud pies. Any failures of the cladding welds or cladding itself - including what they call "pin-sized holes" - allows an avenue of escape for these particles. It happens a lot in relatively small amounts in operating reactors, and is a constant headache for the HPs. The filtration systems used in the demineralizers do manage to trap quite a lot of it, and any particulate releases at all are strictly verboten from operating plants, either air or water. That doesn't mean they don't happen, it just means there's no particulate filtration systems attached to the release outlets...

        •  Hi Joieau (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ozy, duhban, Simplify

          Thanks for the reply.  Does this mean the density of crumbled or exploded fuel could be about 1,000 grams per litrer?  Most fissonable material has oxides that are 10 times more dense than seawater.  What does "all over the place" mean?  Cheers.

          •  My description is adequate (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim P, Just Bob, Deep Harm, maggid

            for describing what we're dealing with, I think. If you want micron-sized details on particle sizes for these oxides, you can go look for some of the voluminous material that used to be out there on fuels and fabrication. If they haven't fire-walled those along with so much other data that's been 'sequestered' since public access went All Paranoia All The Time with the several and forever-amended "Patriot" Acts.

            You have creds, see if you can use 'em.

            •  What you're describing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              are particles of high density which would settle out quickly, and not be modeled properly by neutrally buoyant tracers.

              UO2 has a density of ~10 g/cc no matter how much it crumbles. Similarly, the daughter products are also high density heavy metals.

              Since you claimed that the densities were 'all over the place' surely you have some range in mind without sending us to browse through hundreds of papers.

              •  That's very odd. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Harm, Just Bob

                Why, I recall just recently being informed here that all the radionuclides coming out of Daiichi are magically diluted by the entire volume of the Pacific Ocean the moment they touch it.

                Are you now telling me that's not true?

                •  Why is it (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  duhban, MarineChemist

                  when anyone tries to extract real information from your posts, they get deflected?

                  I'll answer your question for you, regardless of the snark.

                  There are soluble radionuclides, like Sr and Cs, that would be modeled well by the neutral buoyancy tracers, the actual purpose of the modeling linked above. One would of course have to validate the accuracy of the model using measurements, but that should be easy enough to do over the next several years.

                  However, unlike soluble radionuclides, UO2 fission fuel fragments and particle-reactive nuclides like Pu do not dissolve into the seawater, but generally settle into the sediment at the bottom due to their high densities.

                  However, in this diary, you conflated the neutral buoyancy study with fuel disintegration and dispersal, and when asked to justify this you talked about a 'whole range of densities' along the the Patriot Act.

                  Now, since I did respond to your inquiry, could you do me the courtesy and tell me how you can justify matching the neutral buoyancy study with fuel fragments? And what 'range of densities' you're talking about?

              •  Particles settle out (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau, Just Bob, Jim P, Simplify

                when the velocity of the water is insufficient to loft them. Water velocity varies considerably, especially offshore, where often there are currents capable of carrying off a full grown person.

                •  I'm getting the strong feeling (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Harm, Jim P

                  from these responses that their model hasn't accounted for any real-life variables. That's kinda disappointing, but hardly surprising.

                  •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

                    Their model is simply not designed to be used to answer the question 'what happens to dispersed fuel particles', at least using the neutral buoyancy test particles as they did. This isn't the fault of the model, it's just not the right tool for that job.

                    Assuming that their model withstands comparison to empirical data, it would be quite reasonable to use it to predict the dispersal pattern of the soluble radionuclides, such as Cs and Sr.

                    Fortunately, unlike climate modeling, it should be relatively easy to validate their model by sampling the ocean water at different locations.

                •  While somewhat true for upwellings (0+ / 0-)

                  depending on the water velocity, that's not generally true for lateral currents, especially if they are laminar, non-turbulent flow. Remember, even a 'full grown person' is pretty darn close to neutrally buoyant, especially in the ocean, which isn't even close to the case for high density particles.

                  When you're dealing with densities similar to that of lead, you will get settling. This is why most of the sand (silicon dioxide), with a density ~4 times lower than UO2 ends up on the bottom of the ocean instead of suspended and transported from Japan to the US. Particles with 4 times the density will have dramatically less mobility even than that with settling times ~6x faster for a similar geometry.

                  •  No, it's ALWAYS true (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Jim P, Joieau

                    It's scientific fact.

                    •  Obviously, any particulates (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Deep Harm

                      with mass greater than your basic light water molecule (NOT the 'heavy' tritiated ones) automatically fall straight to the bottom of whatever water container they're in, no matter what the flow dynamics may be. That's why at nuclear power plants they just scrape out the pipes during outages to get the mud out, never have to deal with particulate filtration of any kind for actual isotopes [i.e., atoms] or compounds including any isotopes of any elements that may have been loose in there somewhere at some point.

                      Of course, that doesn't go very far in explaining why the oceanographers are also insisting there's no considerable Fuku pollution even within the immediate vicinity of Daiichi, since by this reckoning it ALL ought to be right there, thick and screaming hot like one big corium mud pie (yum!). All ~1200 tons' worth of it, since nobody seems able to tell us where those three whole MIA cores went, or are now. All we do know is they aren't in the reactor vessels they were in when the Tohoku earthquake happened on March 11, 2011.

                      I mean, it's certainly not going anywhere else, they tell us. Because as duly certified nuclear physicists... er, oceanographers... they alone know these things and we do not. Or something like that.

                      /snark. Or maybe not...

                      •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                        If you think a physicist is capable of detecting these low levels of radionuclides in the ocean and its biota sign them up.  I haven't meant too many nuclear physicists capable of carrying out three separate column purification steps. Even nuclear physicists who study nucleosynthesis in stars rely on geochemists (even marine ones) to fact check their calculations on meteorites to see if they are on the mark. Cheers

                  •  yet sand transports (0+ / 0-)

                    from cliffs to beaches.

                    just takes energy to move it

            •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ozy, duhban

              It seems odd to challenge a reader of your diary to supply facts and information for you. I normally do my best to answer questions myself if a reader asks me.

              I think understanding the density and settling rates of particles you think might be being released or were released in the explosions and inundation of the reactors is very important to assessing how likely subsurface transport of particles across the Pacific may or may not be.

              UO2 has a density of 10,970 g/L and PuO2 has a density of 11,500 g/L.  The settling velocity of a spherical particle that is 10 microns (10^-6 meters) of a similar density is more than 40 meters a day.  Larger particles will sink more quickly and smaller particles more slowly.

              It should also be noted that no Plutonium contamination from Fukushima was detected after the disaster in the marine sediments along the coast of Japan as close as 30 km to the plants.  Work showing that was published in Biogeosciences special issue on Fukushima in April 2013 by Bu et al.

              Again, I'm just trying to determine how likely it would be for any of these particles that might have been released to be transported across the Pacific.  It seems unlikely.  Large volume pumps can be deployed from ships to determine the activity of radionuclides in particles >0.45 microns in size.  It would be useful to collect this data.

              •  Why is it odd (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Just Bob

                that I suggested you use your university researcher access and creds to get hold of data that isn't readily available to those of us who don't have such access and creds? You wish to assert that failed fuel particles won't be transported in ocean currents, even though you would presumably have some knowledge of not only the various currents at various levels of an ocean as deep as the Pacific, and the relative boyancy of particles with some mass at higher pressures than are found at the surface.

                These "fuel fleas" were transported widely over northern Japan, over the Pacific Ocean, and fell out mostly during the first few circumnavigations of the planetary atmosphere as far away as northern Europe and Siberia (reported). Yes, they are heavier than single isotopes, molecular-sized compounds and pure gases (that which is STILL falling out from the atmospheric releases two and a half years ago), so will tend to fall closer to the source depending on mass. But you are also a person who has been assuring us lately that there is no significant contamination in the vicinity of Fukushima, much less anywhere else in the world where Fukushima-derived radionuclides have been measured. Including and especially the 'heavy' ones.

                You want the data, go get it. You've got the access, I don't. I am only telling people what I know about these type of situations based on knowledge and experience of the physics and actual conduct of principals in this industry. Particularly in regards to their behaviors in serious accident type situations. I am confined just like everyone else to what data is released to the public, and must give it relative weight based on my knowledge and experience. They pulled my access long before the InterToobs were a gleam in anybody's eye...

                •  Since strong up welling was mentioned... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau, Deep Harm, Jim P

                  The particles will range widely in size and weight and most will settle out in a plume eventually and be incorporated into ocean bottom sediments. They will then be redistributed with every disturbance. Given that the area of the Kuroshio Current is well known for its volcanism and seismic activity, I would expect that distribution process to continue for millenia.

                  I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

                  by Just Bob on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 02:07:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  What does this mean? (0+ / 0-)
                  and the relative boyancy of particles with some mass at higher pressures than are found at the surface.
                  Are you suggesting that particles become significantly more buoyant as the pressure of the water increases?
                •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ozy, duhban

                  The model you talk about is looking at particles that behave as dissolved chemical constituents that are transported by water currents and don't settle under the influence of gravity.  This is modeler speak for looking at dissolved substances.  The MEDM web posting is functionally similar to published studies by Behrens et al. (2012) andRossi et al. (2013).  They are talking about the dispersion of radionuclides in the dissolved phase that entered the ocean at the surface by atmospheric deposition and runoff.  The concentration of these substances will be in the 0.001 - 0.020 Bq/L when they reach our west coast.

                  •  I think our main issue (0+ / 0-)

                    In these exchanges is that you want to think of me as one of your diverse 'colleagues' in the field(s) of your expertise. Believe me, I do know that science is, like law, an adversarial enterprise. But you are wrong if you believe I am willing to produce a CV for you that would serve to identify me in real life, apart from my analysis of what happened at Fukushima and what's been occurring since, for the benefit of any readers on this website who care enough to read and try to learn for themselves.

                    I am just another internet pseud, like most everybody else here. I have a name, and a particularized history with regards to All Things Nuclear, but I also have 60+ years of life and education and endeavors that have nothing to do with All Things Nuclear. And since my own parents weren't entirely sure of my name and the gub'mint is still arguing with me about it (hope it works out someday), even my name (which ones?) wouldn't do anybody any good for finding out my particulars apart from All Things Nuclear. I kind of like that, actually. Given what we now know about intensive surveillance and all.

                    I think it would be best if you were to just take my observations, questions and criticisms as if they came from any random member of the general public who "knows a little bit" about some things... just enough to be dangerous, if that kind of humor gets through your ego-wall. I do know enough not to trust the data coming out of nukes - any kind, anywhere - and anybody who has been enlisted into their PR campaign(s) designed to deceive the People Of Earth into accepting slow extinction in exchange for a few people's high profit margins.

                    This means I'm not an easy mark, and you should probably just accept that about me. Because I'm not an easy mark.

                    •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ozy, duhban

                      There is nothing personal in my response. I can appreciate your history with the nuclear industry and that you have strong opinions about this issue. I also appreciate humor and know that I know nothing about your struggles and pain with the nuclear industry.  My goal here is to provide accurate information to people who are very interested in what Fukushima means for the safety of their family and friends. There is to much uninformed opinion about what is happening in the ocean as a result of Fukushima. When you write pieces like you have done here using the output of model you think is talking about actual particles being transported across the Pacific Ocean over a time period of 7 years you give people erroneous information.  That matters. It is not remotely right. Whether you are a scientist or not is immaterial. What I do everyday is to work on figuring out how metals get into the ocean and what happens to them there.  Specifically, I look at how the chemical form metals take in seawater determines, or controls :), how available they are to marine organisms. I am concerned about the objective risk to people on the west coast from the metals released by Fukushima.  The most likely exposure of people living here now is either transport in ocean currents or the consumption of marine foods.  I don't care if you are an easy mark or not.  When you wrongly interpret the output of a physical oceanography model it is important that someone, anyone puts the record straight.  Cheers.  

                      •  How, exactly, have I wrongly interpreted (0+ / 0-)

                        the model(s) offered in this diary? Please be specific, and do try to limit yourself to things I have actually said. Thanks.

                        •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                          You interpret the following statement on Dr. Chen's website

                          100 neutral buoyant water particles were released at each depth at 00:00 GMT, March 12, 2011 and tracked at each fixed depth for 7 years
                          to mean particulate matter.  These are tracers of water mass movements, literally a tracer of dissolved substances.  Oceanographers use terms like water particle or water parcel to describe substances that are transported by ocean currents.  
                          •  So... (0+ / 0-)

                            What they released was dye?

                          •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                            Yes.  Just like in Behrens et al. (2012) and Rossi et al. (2013) studies that agree well with the distributions measured in the north Pacific.  For some reason they released a dye at depths greater than 100 meters when the inputs have been at the surface.  Cheers

                          •  Maybe they didn't trust (0+ / 0-)

                            the coastal mixing of their model (waves, wind, bottom boundary layer, etc...). This would provide a way of testing 'what if' the source was distributed throughout the water column at the coast, even though the entry point was at the surface.

                            If they're primarily interested in pelagic currents, it might not be an unreasonable way to test things out. Again, it's the comparisons against real world data that is important at the end.

                          •  Thanks. That certainly limits (0+ / 0-)

                            the real life applicability of the model, doesn't it?

                            Or maybe not, if you were to presume that there were no actual particulates among the isolated atoms of radioactive substances released from Fukushima. If you admit there were any of those at all, which I'm beginning to wonder about...

                            They did the same thing at TMI2. Because particulates are so strictly verboten that particulate filters on what's going out simply don't exist. Thus no particulate release figures ever got 'officially' recorded. Almost as if they never happened, apart from the fact that they did (and there were particulate filters in the release stack sampling system to prove it).

                            Reminds me yet again of that hilarious chain link fence around the perimeter of the Turkey Point facility down in the Everglades. Where there are serious-looking red and white signs declaring that no radiation is allowed beyond this point. You can look right through that fence into the swamp, see shiny 'gator eyes glaring right back at you. I'm sure they do a good job of enforcing the edict... §;o)

                      •  And just so you know, (0+ / 0-)

                        it hasn't been 7 years since Fukushima. Why would I be assumed to presume that it has been? That makes no rational sense. Duh.

                        •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                          I didn't say that you thought it had been 7 years since the disaster.  You presented the results like they suggested particles might stay suspended in the ocean for 7 years.  

                          •  "Like they..." (0+ / 0-)

                            I have asked before for you to stop reading-in to my words what you wish to be there. I'll reiterate that again here. Please stop.

                            If you want clarification, ask for it. I may or may not clarify, but at least you wouldn't be exposed on the misrepresentation front.

                          •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                            You said:

                            The projection of upwelling from deeper currents is significant because of the presence of heavy particles in the waterborne releases from Daiichi, now estimated by TEPCO to be in the range of ~450 tons per day, exiting the facility outside the bounded 'lagoon'.
                            That seems to say to me that you think that heavy (dense) particles from Fukushima will "upwelling" off the coast of North America.  Please clarify if I have misinterpreted this statement.  Cheers
          •  Are you familiar with "fuel fleas"? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, Deep Harm


            Given the containment failures and explosions, I suspect the particle sizes will be "all over the place" ranging from fuel pellets to atomic particles.



            But I suspect you already know that.

            I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

            by Just Bob on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:43:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

      On closer inspection the model is even less good at predicting the concentrations of radionuclides we can expect here on the west coast as it doesn't even mix or dilute the tracer.  It drastically overestimates impact on the west coast.  Good news.

  •  It is as if you read my comment in (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, Just Bob, Deep Harm, duhban

    Marine Chemist's diary and responded immediately.  Now I will read and learn!

    I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night. -Bishop G. Brewer

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:59:33 AM PST

  •  This is a fascinating tool, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, Just Bob

    according to the MEDM Tsunami assessment page:

    100 neutral buoyant water particles were released at each depth at 00:00 GMT, March 12, 2011 and tracked at each fixed depth for 7 years.
    I wonder how they got done so soon?

    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

    by Bisbonian on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 11:43:28 AM PST

    •  Hmmm... (4+ / 0-)

      Perhaps... prediction? Using the model, of course.

      •  Yes, I realized that later. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        From reading it the first time, it sounded like they actually placed little balls in the water and tracked them for seven years.

        "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

        by Bisbonian on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 07:12:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are now told it wasn't (0+ / 0-)

          any kind of material with mass, like some kind of 'balls'. It was just dye, your basic FDC Red-3 or something akin, maybe just in digital form (I declare dye released... here! [hit 'enter']). Hence entirely inapplicable to actual modeling of actual particulate radionuclides released from Fukushima via air or water.

          Why am I not surprised? ...though I do admit to being just a tad put-out that this [too] would be foisted upon us all as if it DID pertain to anything we might wish to know about what's coming out of Fukushima.

          Ah, well. We should probably be used to it by now, except that this phase of the PR campaign - Bring In The Clowns... er, Oceanographers - is just hitting the 'airwaves' in the past couple of months. Can't wait to see what else they've got up their Mickey Mouse-as-Sorcerer's-Apprentice sleeves.

  •  TEPCO does release figures (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, wu ming, Just Bob, Simplify

    Measurements from the lagoon inside the breakwall.

    To put those numbers in perspective, they would not meet the USA specs for allowable radioactive contamination in drinking water. But they are within a factor of 10 of meeting that spec. So, as of 12/2/2013, the lagoon isn't showing any catastrophic contamination.

    Based on that, I see 2 possibilities. Either

    1. There isn't any corium-tainted water pouring into the lagoon.

    Or ...

    2. TEPCO is fabricating the data.

    If anyone can think of another possibility, I'd like to hear it.

    There is one interesting thing seen in one of the groundwater sampling boreholes. Most of the borehole samples were pretty ho-hum, but borehole 1-16 was an eye-opener. Beta was 1.1 million Bq/L, and since it wasn't tritium, that means it was Sr-90. This report is in Japanese, but it's still understandable.

    Is that the corium location? Nope. Check the Ru-106 number. Nuthin'. Ru-106 is a fission product of limited mobility that would be all over if corium really was nearby. I'm not sure what borehole 1-16 is showing, but it's not corium nearby.

    •  Also yittrium, since that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P

      is what strontium decays to. Cesium is also represented in such measurements of beta-only, as it emits beta along with the gamma that makes it so supposedly "easy" to detect without having to account for any strontium.

      In a technology so chock full of details and exponentials as All Things Nuclear, crafting clever (and not so clever) deceptions is as easy as taking candy from a baby.

  •  We have two forces TEPCO saying "there is no (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Joieau, Jim P, Sunspots, Deep Harm

    danger to public heath and safety" together with people over here saying the dangers we face are CT and "hair on fire." What's a simple answer to these?

    I have read that we on the west coast could be facing hot rain in March 2014.

    What can I say to friends and family who live here on Vancouver Island about the dangers we face from the Fukushima disaster?

    And thank you for the diary I really appreciate it. I am going to reread to make sure I understand it.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 12:03:06 PM PST

    •  Panic at this point is certainly (4+ / 0-)

      unwarranted. That's why I wish we had much more reliable data from both 'there' and 'here' that we could honestly work with. The industry is terrified of letting We The Bill-Payers know that their toys are not anywhere near as harmless as they've been portrayed, hence the massive deception and well-financed propaganda campaigns. Everything's great, go back to sleep.

      On the other hand, there's a whole contingent of regular humans who have taken all the decades of government-sponsored nuclear terrorism too much to heart, and believe any miniscule amount of self-destructing matter is 100% deadly right now, We're All Gonna Die.

      Finding a happy medium and reasonable planning on what we DO about what's out there and coming our way is complicated by these extremes that want things to be all one way or the other, when reality is almost always somewhere in between. It's a conundrum for sure, but we aren't the ones doing the sifting and alterations in the actual real-life data that we have never had honest access to in the first place.

      If we can't trust the operational end to be reasonably accurate on data they do release, we've got zip to work with. Which means we're on our own to react as our own proclivities dictate, and they've got no business complaining about it.

  •  Thanks for covering this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, Simplify

    As a former nuclear emergency planner/geologist, I have long been frustrated by the government's unwillingness to look at how particle movement in water affects distribution of radionuclides in a nuclear disaster.

    One day, a contractor's report crossed my desk. It was a contractor's report for EPA on the effects of toxic contaminants in bodies of water. It wouldn't have received a passing grade in my first-year college biology class. Like most planners I encountered, the report envisioned bodies of water as homogeneous, unchanging entities, untroubled by phenomenon like stratification and turnover.

    At the time, I thought the contractors must have been pretty ignorant. Now, I think it's more likely that someone wanted the public to be ignorant.

    •  Thanks, DH. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Harm

      You'd think the very title of the NRC's NUREG linked in the diary would have clarified some of the feigned confusion about the "relocation" - as in movement - of failed fuel particulates in water. But then again, that kind of thinking would more than likely mark us as fools.

      One of our colleagues during the TMI2 investigation was covering entries to the aux building in the weeks after the meltdown. That meant he was the lucky HP who got to go in there on his own in a bubble suit with supplied air and wield a teletector looking for 'hotspots' in the World's Most Radiologically Hazardous Hot Zone. Not exactly a fun job, but certainly one capable of discovering data that couldn't be discovered any other way.

      His favorite tale about the conditions had to do with a quarter inch terminal gage line attached to a 3-inch pipe for a non-RCS related system, at the far end of the aux building from the containment airlock. It read 1,000R on contact. Which if you've ever experienced or imagined what a meltdown might look like from inside the facilities - even in a building where a million gallons of meltdown-level RCS water was steaming away on the basement floor - elicits a "Holy Shit!" (add exclamation points accordingly).

      Seriously Irradiated fuel plug. Can't be anything else.

      Yeah, this stuff moves just fine in water, don't even need strong enough flow vectors to try and calculate the hows, whys and wherefores. But we can't expect oceanographers to know these things. It's a bit of a shame that they're pretending they do, isn't it?

        •  Question (0+ / 0-)

          If UO2 fuel particles have enough transverse mobility to make it across the Pacific Ocean, riding suspended in ocean currents.

          What does that say about less dense material like sand and silt?

          If sand, silt, and other less dense materials like calcium carbonate don't 'settle' and remain generally stationary on the deep ocean floor, doesn't that completely invalidate the localization of ocean floor sediment core samples, and that entire branch of Paleoclimatology?

          •  Gold is heavy, too (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Gold has been found by dredges in marine sediments up to three miles offshore (roughly the limit of dredging equipment capabilities) in some areas. How do you suppose it got there?


            (As for explaining how heavy particles would be carried across the entire Pacific Ocean, you need to ask the person who proposed it. It wasn't me.)

            •  Three miles offshore (0+ / 0-)

              is still well within coastal sediment transport processes.

              We were talking about trans-oceanic currents. The topic of the diary was the combination of an ocean current modeling code and UO2 fuel dispersal from Fukushima.

              And while you were not the person who proposed it, you seemed to offer positive agreeing replies to that person and entered the discussion by critiquing the lack of government funding of the study of the dispersal of particle radionuclides, even though a google search will bring up a wealth of government funded research on both general sediment transport as well as specific studies regarding Pu and other non-soluble radionuclides.

              Nobody suggested that particles settle out immediately upon entry into the ocean with 0 dispersal, and I don't think anyone would take issue with a suggestion that particulates could migrate anywhere from a few to several km away from the accident site. If that's your claim, you certainly won't get an argument from me.

              So, please forgive me if I misinterpreted your posts as supporting the claims of the diarist.

              •  Your comment makes no sense to me nt (0+ / 0-)
                •  Which part? (0+ / 0-)

                  1) Evidence of gold 3 miles offshore is not indicative of trans-oceanic transport (the topic of this dairy) as coastal sediment transport processes primarily occur using different mechanisms (waves, tides, shallow beds)

                  2) This diary is predicated on a model of ocean currents that have been incorrectly applied to non-soluble, high density fuel fragments, and thus the conclusions drawn by the diarist are invalid.

                  3) Throughout the discussion, you've generally weighed in with positive supportive responses to the claims and assertions of the diarist, even though they are not supported by the data and models linked that were linked.

                  4) Your entry post seemed to indicate that you are upset that the government doesn't sponsor enough research regarding marine transport of radionuclides, when actually they've sponsored quite a bit, both general particle and soluble transport along with specific radionuclide transport.

                  5) If instead of my interpretation that you supported the diarists claims, you merely are claiming that fuel particulates could disperse ~several km from the point of marine entry, I am in complete agreement.

                  Hope that clears it up.

  •  I can't take it.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When is someone going to post clear information that makes sense to a layman, that doesn't take a degree in nuclear quantum physics to understand...

    example: You have this many days to evacuate the west coast because the beaches will start glowing on this day., based on this post chocked full of rather elementary clear to understand, indisputable facts..the end

    LOL... *sigh* ...anyway...

    Thanks for the informative to go track down all the information to interpret the hieroglyphics

    •  Oh, they're never going to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      tell you anything like that, brudda. They're just trying to ease your mind, because if you smile a lot - really, this is Japanese nuclear 'expert' wisdom - radiation can't hurt you.

      The truth - and, unfortunately, radiation - can hurt you. Best advice? Don't eat the fish unless you feel invincible, or are just sure they're finally telling the truth.

    •  You ask... (0+ / 0-)

      ...when will someone finally "post clear information that makes sense to a layman..."?   Well, I'm not terribly knowledgeable in this field, but I do believe that if we are going to deal with the awesome, primal energy of the universe, it behooves us to deal with that energy with a corresponding respect and care.

      With the splitting of the atom, everything changed save man's way of thinking; and thus we drift toward unimaginable peril.
      To me , this says that we are required to change our mode of thinking.  Our technology has evolved to an awesome, godlike state.  For balance, evolution requires that our thinking must likewise evolve.   It cannot  be used for war or for domination.  It cannot be used for profit, for the short term gains of capitalism.  Capitalism is anathema to a neclear world; the capitalistic need for short cuts, for cost cuts, to rush the product to market regardless of adequate tests is incompatable with these god-like powers.  The nuclear world mandates that we develop respect and care, that we grow up.

      That's my answer, bruddaone!

      “...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 13, 2013 at 10:42:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hi Joieau, Thank You Again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

        Been waiting for you to post.
        Recently at Scripps IOO, from the oceans mud they found a new streptomycin aminoglycoside that they are hoping will become the new drug resistant. The point from them, was that the ocean is so unexplored and unknown, this from Scripps IOO. I would love if someone from Scripps IOO would let the world know what they think is the fallout from Fukushima's waters into the ocean. They would say maybe. Point being, point being I wish you would answer all the technical comments in a new comment at the later part of your diaries as most like myself can not understand and it seems a bit off track in it's complexity to the simple questions WE would like to know. I.e., just a suggestion, a dairy, wadding through all the technical...
        Here's what I know. They found part of a fuel rod a mile from Fukushima, FM!
        I recently read somewhere that the radiation expected in the ocean water was to be 100 times less that the minimum dose allowed in water. Is that the case? Reassuring I'm sure. I don't mean to panic but I'm curious, dare I say ocean mist? Condensation? I'd live in an abandoned beach house for sure. Waves you know :)
        First though, though they will have 3 to go… How is the fuel rod removal going at Fukushima? Just that subconscious stress, i.e. not worrying about earthquake, will be VERY GOOD to me, though they will have three to go… I liked your hope that they would have multiple fuel removal operations going on. Shame on the world's leaders.
        Lastly, if the oceans are rising, I wonder if the weight of will cause less earthquake movement but larger when they happen. Maybe someone could add their weight to that?
        Cheers from someone born & raised in nuclear fallout. If they are studying me, KnownMostly(for)Apostrophe!
        Yes, I am feeling but mind over matter when known works for me. I.e. solutions.
        Truly, Thank You Joieau. In this time like no other I've seen in my entire 62 years, so much going on, you posting updates to what is truly a major attempted being swept under the rug. Truth is there are a lot of anti nuke realists, who are not giving up the god damned fight. We appreciate you :)

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:34:40 PM PST

    •  Aw, thanks 3rock. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm not worried about increase in overall exterior dose from seawater in the Pacific, and I don't think people who do live on/in the Pacific ought to be too concerned about it either. Doses in the first couple of months after the big airborne releases were much more of a concern for us land-dwellers.

      I wouldn't be eating the fish until it was clear to me what the real impacts from continuing and increasing Fuku releases are/will be. But then, I quit eating meat more than 40 years ago, haven't missed it. There's plenty of other stuff to eat. If I lived in the Pacific northwest I'd be more concerned with what's wrong with the waters right now to be causing all this weird sea critter behavior and mass death. Whatever it is (and it's very, very unlikely to be Fukushima), if it's making the fish and seals and sea birds sick and dissolving starfish, I sure wouldn't want to eat what they're eating or spend considerable time in their environment.

      At the same time, I don't think the issue needs to be denied or diminished. People are capable of accepting Fukushima as the utter disaster it is, and would act to protect themselves when warranted if the authorities would just be honest with them. There's no reason to panic about ocean pollution - Fuku will do to that environment whatever it does... there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. Problem is, nukes can't be trusted for truth - as we already learned from the airborne releases. Meanwhile our civilization is still using the oceans as sewers for lots of other nasty waste, and we ought to be cleaning up our act on that as well.

      It's difficult to tell in the midst of the past few months' worth of active nuke-sponsored PR blitz what, exactly, it's designed to accomplish. If they're trying to save their electricity generating industry, it was too late for that back in 1979 and they've lost more ground than they can reclaim. The world simply can't afford it anyway - in more ways than one - so they're never going to have a starring role in the global warming dramas. If they're just trying to salvage the Pacific seafood industry of so many nations, it's callous but also pointless. That will take care of itself in time too.

      I'll keep trying to parse whatever truths are hidden amongst the deceptions, and I'll keep on speaking out about it too. They already know that about me, can't be too concerned about it at this point. Individuals will decide for themselves, and that's just as it should be.

      •  Ditto (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

            Ditto, Ditto. It's the subterfuge of our right to know, then make choices and find solutions. This all predicated by a President with (or without) "all of the above." I thought well he's just saying that because that was over in 1979.
            I one time met an elder lady outside a health food store, conversation, I said I've been a vegetarian 15 years, she said 50 for me. I was stunned in such reverence and expressed so, she said, "Eh, TIME goes bye…" This Jan. 44 years for me.
            Edit in above: I meant to say maximum (ya right) allowed in water and diary instead of dairy. I'm non judgmental.
            From my tin foil hat experience. Radiation causes this weird kind of anger, that isn't part of a persons regular thinking or normal anger mode, so when noticed, mentally grab ahold of it as radiation induced & mentally trash it. Then eat a healthy meal :)
            I'm optimistic like no other time in my entire life at the same time. The younger gens understand what's going on. Change will happen.
            Six degrees of separation. The nukies seem a bit "angry."
            Strange times indeed. The sad thing is I don't think super earthquakes or typhoons are over and third times the charm (?), Japan, whom I love, who miraculously (still pending:) Fuku wasn't worse, IMO fall on the sword one more time for the rest of the world to get it. But the "world of the 1%" will have their Olympics there in 2020. Interesting times ahead.
            A hug & Thank You :)

        March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

        by 3rock on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 08:34:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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