Municipalities near nuclear plants want say over restarts

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More than half of municipalities within a 30-kilometer radius of nuclear power plants insist their approval must be sought for restarts, but only 6 percent of local governments that host such facilities agree.

The finding that 53 percent of municipalities require prior consultations came in a survey by The Asahi Shimbun undertaken two years after a reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture went back online in August 2015, the first to do so under new, more stringent nuclear regulations adopted in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The mayor of Hitachiomiya, Ibaraki Prefecture, said local governments beyond host communities “need” to have a say over restarts as the central government revised its nuclear emergency guidelines in 2012 to require municipalities within the 30-km radius to have evacuation plans in place in the event of a serious accident.

Before the Fukushima accident, only local governments within 8-10 km of a nuclear power plant had to do so.

The mayor of Misato, Miyagi Prefecture, said his town’s approval should be sought for a restart because a “local government not receiving economic benefits can make a levelheaded judgment on the pros and cons of resumed operations.”

Host communities receive grants and subsidies from the central government, in addition to taxes and other revenue sources related to power generation.

In the survey, The Asahi Shimbun contacted the heads of 155 local governments that either host or are situated within a 30-km radius of the 16 nuclear plants across the nation, excluding the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The figure includes the prefectural government of Hokkaido and 20 other prefectural authorities that host plants.

As things stand, there are no legal steps that an operator of a nuclear facility must take, such as winning the consent of a host municipality or the prefectural government, before a plant’s restart.

The Sendai nuclear plant went back online after operator Kyushu Electric Power Co. got the go-ahead only from Satsuma-Sendai, which hosts the plant, and Kagoshima Prefecture for a resumption of operations.

The survey found that Mihama, home to Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear plant, was against the notion of asking nearby municipalities for their approval for a restart.

Only a host community has a history of contributing to the safe operation of a nuclear plant,” the mayor said.

Of all the local governments, 61 heads called for legal procedures to be adopted with respect to restarts. All these calls came from municipalities located in areas surrounding nuclear power plants, except for one.

As long as nuclear energy has been promoted as a state program, the central government should take responsibility for setting the legal framework for a restart,” said the mayor of Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The mayor of Imari, Saga Prefecture, echoed a similar view.

Things remain ambiguous because no legal procedures are in place,” the mayor said. “The government is reluctant to enshrine the steps into law because that will make restarts harder. However, the central government should also listen to what people in municipalities beyond host communities have to say.”

The survey also found that calls for plant operators to gain the consent of the municipalities within a 30-km radius of a proposed restart have somewhat abated among 35 local governments, where nuclear plants have resumed operations.

Ten heads sided with this view in the current survey, down from 13 in the previous survey in autumn 2014.

Another 10 leaders called for setting up legal procedures for restarts, compared with 14 in the last survey.

Apart from the Sendai nuclear plant, Ikata in Ehime Prefecture and Takahama in Fukui Prefecture are currently operating.

Municipalities situated close to facilities that are expected to go back online in the near future are now taking a more clear-cut stance on nuclear energy issues.

Representatives from cities around the Genkai nuclear plant in Genkai, Saga Prefecture, formed a group to present a united front against moves to resume its operations, which is expected this winter.

Although the mayors of Hirado and Matsuura, both in Nagasaki Prefecture, did not take a stance in the 2014 survey, they joined the municipalities against the restart in the latest poll, bringing municipalities opposed to the restart to four, or half of the eight local governments within a 30-km radius of the facility.

The Genkai town hall and the Saga prefectural government have already agreed to resuming plant operations.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708210035.html

Ionizing radiation: Radiation protection standards need to be improved

ionizing radiation.png

Translated by Hervé Courtois

Doctors and scientists are warning about the health risks of ionizing radiation.

Even small doses of about 1 millisievert (mSv) increase the risk of developing radiation-induced diseases.

There is no threshold below which radiation could be considered harmless.

Summary of a meeting of experts in Ulm (Germany) on 19 October 2013

On 19 October 2013, the German and Swiss members of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) invited doctors and scientists in the fields of radiobiology, epidemiology , statistics and physics at a meeting of experts in Ulm, Einstein’s hometown. Participants discussed current knowledge about the health effects of ionizing radiation, especially in the field of low doses.

The panel concluded that a revision of current radiation protection standards is essential to reflect the current level of scientific knowledge. Ionizing radiation is capable of causing detrimental effects on health; Some can be predicted and quantified through the use of epidemiological models.

In the past, the identification of the health risks of ionizing radiation was based on studies of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. This reference group can no longer be considered appropriate in the light of the new statistical evidence. Even very low doses of radiation are likely to cause disease.

Here are the conclusions of the Ulm Symposium:

1. Even background natural radiation has detrimental effects that are measurable;

2. The use of radiation for medical diagnosis has measurable adverse health effects;

3. The use of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons tests have measurable adverse health effects;

4. The use of the collective dose concept in epidemiological studies can reliably predict and quantify the health risks of low radiation doses.

5- The use by the ICRP of basing the risk factors for low doses of radiation on the examination of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors should be considered outdated.

6. Improved radiation protection based on the notion of risk is necessary. It must be combined with the rigorous application of the minimization requirement of radiation exposure.

1. Even natural radiation has measurable adverse health effects.

Even low doses of natural radiation (terrestrial and cosmic radiation, inhaled radon and ingestion of natural radioisotopes) have adverse health effects that can be measured by epidemiological studies. It is therefore a deception to assert that exposure to radiation can be considered safe as long as it is at the level of the doses of “natural” background radiation. 1-17

2. The use of radiation for medical diagnosis has adverse health effects that are measurable

It has been shown that conventional CT scans and radiological examinations cause an increase in cancer cases (mainly breast cancer, leukemia, thyroid cancer and brain tumors). The risk is greater in children and adolescents than in adults and the embryo is the most vulnerable of all. 18-40

Limiting the use of diagnostic rays and the use of nuclear medicine to cases of absolute necessity is urgently recommended.It would be necessary to adhere to strict rules for the use of scanners and to use only CT scanners [Computed tomography = scanners called scanners -ndt] with low radiation emission. Whenever possible ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging should be preferred.

Some population groups have an increased risk of developing cancer due to exposure to radiation, for example women who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that women with such a risk not be included in X-ray screening. 41-45

3. The use of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons tests have measurable adverse health effects

Due to the use of nuclear weapons (over 2,000 tests) and serious nuclear accidents, large quantities of radionuclides have been released and widely dispersed; They expose a large part of the world’s population to increased exposure to radiation. The epidemiological studies carried out in the populations concerned, around the Nevada and Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test sites and in the areas affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters show an increase in morbidity and mortality. 46-54

Even the routine operations of nuclear power plants have adverse effects on the health of the surrounding population. Depending on the distance, an increase in cases of leukemia and other types of cancer has been observed in children under 5 years of age in the nuclear power plant environment. (Currently, the strongest evidence is in Germany, with concordant results in studies in Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom.) 55-59

In workers exposed to ionizing radiations, there is a significant increase in cancer cases compared with the other groups even though the official limit dose has not been exceeded.

The health of their children is more impaired than that of other children. 60-64

Among employees of uranium mining companies and atomic weapons production sites, there is an increase in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 65-68

Leukemias and many other types of cancers have been caused by low doses of ionizing radiation, in areas with increased background radiation due to nuclear weapons tests, nuclear accidents, or medical diagnostic examinations and occupational exposure. 69-92

Following exposure to low doses of radioactive iodine, thyroid diseases including cancers have been observed in children, adolescents and adults. 93-99

In addition, low doses of ionizing radiation cause serious non-malignant diseases such as meningiomas and other benign tumors, cardiac, cerebrovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and endocrine diseases or dysfunctions; And also psychiatric disorders and cataracts.100-113

Studies have shown that in utero and in children, brain exposure to ionizing radiation causes a decrease in cognitive development. Possible sources of radiation include, but are not limited to, diagnostic X-rays, radiotherapy and exposure to radiation due to nuclear accidents. 114-116

As a result of the nuclear accidents, teratogenic effects have been observed in both animals and humans, even in those exposed to low levels of radiation. 117-120

Some genetic effects can already be observed in the first generation of offsprings, others only appear in later generations. Late affections may be difficult to confirm.

Numerous studies have been carried out in the “dead zones” of Chernobyl and Fukushima on animals whose generations succeed one another rapidly; they showed severe genetic abnormalities related to the level of radiation in their habitat.

In humans, such abnormalities have been observed for a long time following exposure to low doses.

Transgenerational effects of radiation, that is to say genetically fixed, have often been documented, for example, in the children of the Chernobyl liquidators. 121-128. Many other studies also suggest that ionizing radiation causes long-term genetic or epigenetic damage. 129-146

4.The use of the concept of collective dose in epidemiological studies can reliably predict and quantify the health risks of low doses of radiation.

The concept of collective dose is, in the current state of knowledge, the surest way to quantitatively evaluate the stochastic risks of radiation. Significant new clinical studies confirm the linear no-threshold model; this model establishes that there is no threshold below which radiation would have no effect on health. 147,148

Using the concept of collective dose that takes into account current scientific studies, the following risk factors (excess absolute risk, EAR) should be applied:

A risk factor of 0.2 / Sv should be used to predict cancer mortality and 0.4 / Sv to predict the incidence of cancer. 149-151

The United Nations Scientific Committee for the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) still use low risk factors of 0.05 / Sv for cancer mortality and 0.1 / Sv for the incidence of cancers. However, in its 2013 assessment of health risks in Fukushima, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized that ICRP risk factors should be doubled. 152

The above risk factors apply to an exposed population whose ages have a standard distribution. However, according to the ICRP, the sensitivity to ionizing radiation of young children (less than 10 years) and fetuses is three times higher than that of adults. 153-155

Risk factors for the prediction of the incidence and mortality of non-malignant diseases (non-cancerous diseases), especially cardiovascular diseases, are of the same order as those of malignant diseases. 156-157

It would be desirable for WHO and national radiation protection institutions to adopt the risk factors mentioned above as a basis for risk assessment after nuclear accidents.

5. The use by the ICRP of studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors as a basis for determining the risks of low radiation doses should be considered an outdated practice.

In their studies, institutions such as the ICRP used as reference the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the prediction of the effects of radiation.

Risk prediction on this basis is not transferable to other populations exposed over a long period of time to increasing levels of radiation, for the following reasons:

The Japanese survivors were briefly exposed to high energy penetrating gamma radiation.

Radiobiological investigations have shown that such exposure is less harmful to tissues than an internal alpha or Beta irradiation following the incorporation of radionuclides.

The same applies to long-term exposure to x-rays or Gamma rays from natural or artificial sources at levels comparable to normal background radiation. 158-159

The radiation delivered by the nuclear bombs has an extremely high dose level.

Previously, it was accepted that the mutagenicity would therefore be higher in this case than for low doses. Currently, the ICRP claims that this assertion always holds and divides in its calculations the risk of developing cancers by a factor of 2.

Studies on occupationally exposed cohorts of workers contradict this assertion and WHO sees no justification for dividing this risk factor into two. 160-161

Radiation doses received due to radioactive fallout and neutron activation have not been taken into account by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), despite the fact that they have caused significant effects on the survivors of Hiroshima And Nagasaki. The actual effects of radiation have therefore been underestimated. 162

Because the RERF only began its work in 1950, there is a lack of important data on the first five years after the nuclear bombing. It should be recognized, therefore, that the assessment of teratogenic and genetic effects, as well as those of cancers with a short latency period, is incomplete.

Because of the catastrophic situation after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must admit to considering the survivors as a selected cohort of specially resistant people (“the survival of the fittest”). Therefore, these studies were not representative of a normal population. This selection bias caused an underestimation of about 30% of the radiation risk. 163

The survivors of the nuclear bombing were ostracized by the Japanese society. It is very likely that information about the origin of the family or the morbidity of the descendants has been hidden or falsified so as not to endanger, for example the chances of marriage and the social integration of children. 164

Editor’s Note:

Risk factors used in the concept of collective dose describe the likelihood that additional cases of disease, higher than rates of spontaneous cancers, occur, that carcinogenesis caused by radiation, cancer incidence or mortality, Increase above the baseline of a given population.

Usually this Excess Absolute Risk (EAR) is represented by unit 1 / Sv. A risk factor (EAR) of 0.2 / Sv for cancer mortality means that a 1Sv irradiation would cause an additional 20% risk of cancer death – in addition to the 25% base risk. An EAR of 0.2 / Sv corresponds to a relative risk excess (ERR) of 0.2 / 0.25 = 0.8 / Sv.

6. Improved radiation protection based on the notion of risk is necessary. It must be combined with the rigorous application of the minimization requirement of radiation exposure.

Determining the level of radiation health risk that is acceptable and reasonable can only be achieved at the societal level by listening to the voices of those involved. To protect populations, the risks of ionizing radiation should be determined as accurately as possible and presented in a comprehensible manner. In medicine, such radiation protection criteria are already becoming more and more important.

Assessing the dangers of ionizing radiation according to a risk-based concept can help to minimize their adverse effects even at low doses. Associated with the legal minimization requirements, a set of concrete measures using such a concept could serve to further reduce the harmful effects of radiation. The concept of risk acceptability for carcinogenic materials at work already existing in German legislation is, in broad outline, a good example to follow. 165-169

The highest priority should be given to the protection of life before birth and the integrity of future generations. Radiation protection must broaden its adult-based models and adapt them to the particular vulnerability of the embryo and children.

Speakers and participants in the Ulm expert meeting,
19 October 2013:

» » Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Hoffmann, MPH, Professor für
bevölkerungsbezogene Versorgungsepidemiologie und
Community Health, Institut für Community Medicine,
Universitätsmedizin in Greifswald

» » Dr. rer. nat. Alfred Körblein, Dipl. Phys., selbstständiger
Wissenschaftler in Nürnberg, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat
der IPPNW.de

» » Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Edmund Lengfelder, Professor
em. des Strahlenbiologisches Institutes an der Medizini-
schen Fakultät der LMU München, Leiter des Otto Hug
Strahleninstitutes für Gesundheit und Umwelt

» » Dr. rer. nat. Hagen Scherb, Dipl. Math., Helmholtz Zen-
trum, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und
Umwelt in München

» » Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake, Professorin
em. für experimentelle Physik an der Universität in Bre-
men, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Hartmut Heinz, Facharzt für Arbeitsmedizin,
ehem. leitender Werksarzt in Salzgitter, AK Atomenergie
der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Angelika Claußen, Fachärztin für Psychothe-
rapie in Bielefeld, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Winfrid Eisenberg, ehem. Chefarzt der Kin-
derklinik in Herford, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Claudio Knüsli, Leitender Arzt der Onkologie
im St. Claraspital in Basel, Vorstandsmitglied IPPNW.ch

» » Dr. med. Helmut Lohrer, Facharzt für Allgemeinmedizin
in Villingen, Int. Board der IPPNW, International Councillor
der IPPNW.de

» » Henrik Paulitz, Dipl.-Biol., Atomenergie-Referent der
IPPNW.de in Seeheim

» » Dr. med. Alex Rosen, Kinderarzt in Berlin, Stellv. Vorsit-
zender der IPPNW.de

» » Dr. med. Jörg Schmid, Facharzt für Psychotherapie in
Stuttgart, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

» » Reinhold Thiel, Facharzt für Allgemeinmedizin, Ulmer
Ärzteinitiative, AK Atomenergie der IPPNW.de

 

I add a reference: Risk of cancer in 680,000 people exposed to CT scans in childhood or adolescence: a study linking data from 11 million Australians

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2360

What is IPPNW?

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW), is a pacifist international organization of doctors committed to nuclear disarmament. Established in 1980, the organization was awarded the Unesco Prize for Peace Education in 1984 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its “important and competent information work”, which improved global awareness of the consequences of a nuclear war and acute radiation syndrome. The organization has close to 150,000 members in more than 50 countries.

The IPPNW website: http://ippnw.org/

Sources:

https://www.vivre-apres-fukushima.fr/radiations-ionisantes-les-normes-de-radioprotection-doivent-etre-ameliorees/

The text is complemented by a long list of references to download here

https://www.vivre-apres-fukushima.fr/gm-documents/ref-Ulmer_expertentreffen.pdf

https://www.ippnw.de/commonFiles/pdfs/Atomenergie/Health_effects_of_ionising_radiation.pdf

How a Harley-riding ex-ally of villains is leading a nuke revolt in Japan

àlllmmLawyer Hiroyuki Kawai posing with his Harley-Davidson Trike motorcycle inside a garage in Tokyo, on July 25, 2017.

 

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) – In the basement of a three-storey house in a leafy neighbourhood in Tokyo, about 40 lawyers crowded together, plotting against Japan’s massive nuclear power industry.

The host was 73-year-old Hiroyuki Kawai, one of Japan’s most colourful litigators. The end game? To close all of the country’s 42 reactors for good, a result that would be a major blow to the future of atomic energy across the world.

For the staunch anti-nuclear activist, the risk of a meltdown outweighs the benefits of the relatively clean source of power.

Countries from Germany to Taiwan have scaled back plans for nuclear power after Japanese utility Tepco’s 2011 Fukushima meltdown.

Mr Kawai is propelling the anti-nuclear movement forward with a 22 trillion yen (S$274 billion) shareholder lawsuit against the company, among the largest in damages ever sought. He wants to pressure the government and businesses to distance themselves from atomic power, and while his court cases have yielded mixed results, his bold tactics are garnering attention around the world.

“If we push them enough, one day they will crumble,” Mr Kawai said at an interview. “It’s a revolution.”

Mr Kawai stands out in a 300-strong anti-nuclear lawyer consortium, in both spirit and appearance.

On the day of the interview, Me Kawai is wearing a bright candy-pink suit-jacket, a black shirt, and a crystal encrusted snake brooch on his lapel. The father of three daughters and seven grandchildren rides his Harley-Davidson motorbike across the country on weekends, and hosts bimonthly meetings of lawyers at his residence to discuss strategies to shutter reactors.

“A number of countries and societies are influenced by trends in Japan,” said Professor Hitoshi Yoshioka at the graduate school of social and cultural studies at Kyushu University. “If he’s successful, the impact on the world will be great.”

While Mr Kawai now spends about 80 per cent of his time in legal battles against power providers and the government without pay, he started his career pursuing much more lucrative cases.

In the late 70s, he was an adviser to a witness linked to one of the country’s biggest financial scandals, propelling him into the spotlight. By his account, he was a winner, and made “a ton of money” along the way. Yet the cases in which he was involved were less than savoury and he began to question whether this was satisfying enough.

“I did so many bad things,” Mr Kawai said, recalling how in the 90s he turned his back on the corrupt businessmen and money-hungry upstarts he called clients. “I helped a lot of villains.”

In 1994, he began taking on anti-nuclear cases. He says the reason for his reincarnation is simple: He wanted to use the legal system to do good for society, and believed the growing use of atomic power was the biggest risk facing Japan, one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries.

For years, Mr Kawai lost. Anti-nuclear activists were seen as environmentalists that agitated Japan’s quest to become energy independent and cheaply power a sputtering economy. After embracing atomic energy in the 1960s, the number of reactors grew to 54 by 2009, and at its peak, nuclear provided about one-third of Japan’s power consumption.

“Fighting nuclear means turning all of Japan’s society against you,” Mr Kawai said. “It’s like being surrounded by enemies. It’s a very hard fight.”

Japan needs nuclear power to achieve energy security, economic growth and environmental conservation while placing top priority on safety, said Hiroyuki Honda, a spokesman for the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, the industry group consisting of top utility Tokyo Electric Power Holdings and nine other regional firms.

Japan should have diversified electricity generation sources, including nuclear power, while balancing energy security, economic growth and environmental conservation, said Tepco spokesman Jun Oshima.

Reactors are being allowed to restart after meeting stricter safety standards, and Japan cannot abandon nuclear power because of earthquakes, said a trade ministry official, who asked not to be identified because of internal policy.

Relying heavily on thermal power would lead to more carbon dioxide emissions and reliance on fossil fuel imports, he said. While the nation plans to boost renewable energy as much as possible, its growth has limits and needs to be supplemented by atomic and thermal power, according to the official.

Mr Kawai is currently directly involved in 24 atomic-related cases. The rest of his time is spent on corporate lawsuits which provide the funds to cover his anti-nuclear work, including directing a few documentary films.

Public perception has turned in favour of his ideals with 55 per cent of the population against nuclear restarts versus 26 per cent that are for, according to a Mainichi newspaper poll in March.

Mr Kawai’s legal attacks are counter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s post-Fukushima energy policy, which seeks to see nuclear power account for as much as 22 per cent of the country’s energy mix by 2030.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, an independent supervisory body set up by the government after Fukushima, has said 12 reactors are safe to restart after extensive checks, though just five of Japan’s 42 operable reactors have been allowed back online so far.

One of Mr Kawai’s biggest cases is a shareholder suit against Tepco. He argues the power provider did not take enough safety measures to prevent Fukushima. The amount of damages sought – currently 22 trillion yen – is the direct sum of the estimated costs to clean up the Fukushima disaster, he said.

He has had three favourable decisions since Fukushima, one of which has been overturned by a higher court, while most of the cases are still pending, he said.

“Nothing is an easy win,” Mr Kawai said. “But it’s not just about winning – it’s about changing society. There’s a good reason to keep fighting.”

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/how-a-harley-riding-ex-ally-of-villains-is-leading-a-nuke-revolt-in-japan

 

Highly radioactive water leak at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant

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In the background, from left, the No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are seen, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 31, 2016. In front are tanks used to store contaminated water.
Highly radioactive water has leaked from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 17.
The estimated 50 milliliters of contaminated water remained inside the station dike, and there was no leakage to the outer environment, plant operator TEPCO said. An analysis found that the tainted water contained 22 million becquerels per liter of beta-ray-emitting radioactive materials.
According to the utility, a worker from a company cooperating with TEPCO spotted water dripping from multi-nuclide removal equipment at the facility at around 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 16. After the worker mended the part with tape, the leakage stopped.

 

Iodine-129 waste used to track ocean currents for 15,000 km after discharge from nuclear plants

In connection to the article I wrote last August 3, 2017 “Radioactive Contamination of Oceans: Sellafield, La Hague, Fukushima” https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/radioactive-contamination-of-oceans-sellafield-la-hague-fukushima/

This study is about radioactive 129I travelling the equivalent of a third of the way round the globe, a 15,000 km journey, legally released since 20 years from nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in the UK and France. Of course as usual, in complete disregard of recent studies about the dangerosity of low dose,They emphasise that the radioactivity levels found in the North Atlantic are extremely low and not considered dangerous.

This study still is letting us envisage the travel of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant numerous radioactive contaminants which have been dispersed since March 2011, which still are being dispersed and will be additionally dispersed into the Pacific Ocean.

Radioactive 129I has travelled the equivalent of a third of the way round the globe, since being released from nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in the UK and France. The iodine’s 15,000 km journey begins in the nuclear plants at Sellafield and La Hague and continues via the Arctic Ocean and then southward via the Grand Banks towards Bermuda, where it is found at very low concentrations about 20 years later. This tracer has been used to provide the most complete up-to-date, high-accuracy mapping of the oceanic currents that transport CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to the abyssal depths of the deep North Atlantic Ocean. These results are being presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Paris.

artic loop of iodine 129 aug 16 2017.png

 

Radioactive contaminants have been legally released for more than half a century from the nuclear reprocessing plants at Sellafield (UK) and La Hague (France). Scientists have recently begun to use the radioactive 129iodine (129I) as a way of tracking the movement of ocean currents. They emphasise that the radioactivity levels found in the North Atlantic are extremely low and not considered dangerous.

“What we have found is that by tracing radioactive iodine released into the seas off the UK and France we have been able to confirm how the deep ocean currents flow in the North Atlantic. This is the first study to show precise and continuous tracking of Atlantic water flowing northward into the Arctic Ocean off Norway, circulating around the arctic basins and returning to the Nordic seas in what we call the “Arctic loop”, and then flowing southward down the continental slope of North America to Bermuda at depths below 3000 m” said lead researcher Dr John N. Smith (Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada).

The research is part of the international GEOTRACES project, which aims to use geochemical markers to follow ocean currents, and so provide precise estimates of transit times and mixing rates in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. So far the 129I has been measured as far south as Puerto Rico, but the researchers assume that it will continue to flow southward into the South Atlantic and eventually spread throughout the global ocean.

Dr Smith continued, “These currents have previously been studied using dissolved CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) – the molecules which used to be used in fridges until banned in 1989. However, CFCs undergo ocean-atmosphere exchange which means that surface water is continually replenished with CFCs during the arctic leg of the journey, whereas the 129I plume retains the initial imprint of its input history over a long period of years. Further, 129I is relatively easy to detect at extremely low levels using accelerator mass spectrometry methods which gives us a large measurement advantage in terms of the signal to noise ratio. Since we know exactly where the 129I comes from and when it entered the ocean, for the first time we can be absolutely sure that detecting an atom in a particular place is as a specific result of the currents”.

“In many ways this is a bit like the old ‘stick in a stream’ game we used to play as kids – what people call ‘Pooh sticks’ in England – where you would drop a buoyant object in the water and observe where it comes out. Of course, it would be much better if these markers were not in the ocean at all, but they are, and we can use them to do some important environmental science”.

Commenting, Dr Núria Casacuberta Arola (ETH, Zurich) said:

“The work performed by John Smith and colleagues in recent years has greatly contributed to the understanding of water circulation, especially in the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. The advantage of using 129I as a transient tracer in oceanography is the long half-life (15.7 My) of this isotope compared to the circulation times, and the fact that it is largely soluble in seawater. Now, major efforts are also devoted to find other artificial radionuclides with similar sources and behaviour than 129I (e.g. 236U, 237Np) so that the more tools we have, the better we will understand the ocean circulation. Recent advances in mass spectrometry (ICP-MS and AMS) allow today for very low detection limits so that we can measure very low concentrations of these isotopes in deep ocean waters”.
https://phys.org/news/2017-08-129i-track-ocean-currents-km.html#jCp

AIPRI Reports on 257 Tons of Corium and 180 Million Curies of Deadly Heavy Metal Poison and Radiation Released From Fukushima

From December 2011, reposting it today so that people won’t think that the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is behind us.

After 280 days of decaying, the 257 tons of lost corium from three of Fukushima’s reactors, which one assumes to have a burn rate of 14GWJ/t (14 kg fissioned per tonne), have produced a probable level of radioactivity of 180.37 million Curies, or 6.674E18 Becquerels (6673.6 PBq). […]

92.17% of this radioactivity is being emitted by fission products, and constitutes 28.07% of overall radiotoxicity. 7.83% of this radioactivity is made by activation products, and constitutes 71.93% of overall radiotoxicity. That is to say that here the radiotoxicity, which according to the eminently official ICRP’s dose factors equals 73.47 Billion potential lethal doses via inhalation and 15.53 Billion lethal doses via ingestion, results chiefly from the activation products, which by and large are alpha emitters.

On the other hand, the radioactivity in this case is produced primarily by fission products, which most often are beta (β− ) emitters. At the end of these 280 days of decaying, the radiation arises primarily from the following elements: Strontium 89 at 2.265%, Strontium 90 at 4.713%, Yttrium 90 at 4.713%, Yttrium 91 at 4.852%, …

…Yttrium 91 at 4.852%, Zirconium 95 at 8.067%, Ruthenium 106 at 9.297%, Caesium 134 at 4.737%, Cesium 137 at 6.209%, Barium 137 at 6.209%, Cerium 144 at 23.744%, Promethium 147 at 13.728%, Plutonium 241 at 5.505%, Cobalt 60 at 1.410%.

Consistent with the rate of decay of these 280 days, in 15 years the fuel will have lost 80.20% of its radioactivity, bringing it to 35.71 Curies – but its long-lived toxicity will be elevated by 13.35%, contrarily, to 83.28 Billion lethal doses. Without question, the overall radioactivity falls but the persistent radiotoxicity increases until 60 years or so later, it commences to decline ever-so slowly after 350 years! (This irrefutable augmentation of toxicity over time is largely due to the increase of Americium-241 – alpha – a daughter product far more toxic than its beta-emitting parent, Plutonium-241. Ultimately, it will take around 350 years for the radiotoxicity to return to its original level…”

 http://www.aipri.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/la-radioactivite-des-3-corium-de.html

Delicious Fukushima Peaches at the “konbeni” Checkout

Via Bruce Brinkman on August 16, 2017

 

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Don’t forget to pick up some delicious Fukushima peaches at the *konbeni* checkout

Never mind the “harmful rumors”

(a.k.a. measurements of cesium 137, cesium 134, strontium 90, americium, plutonium, uranium, and a splattering of other radionuclides)

 

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and as the next days those peaches just aren’t moving: ¥50 off to help sales !