Tritium in Us All

 

From Majia ‘s Blog:

Life on earth is becoming “tritiated” as the stable hydrogen in our water is replaced by an unstable isotope of hydrogen called Tritium:

Biello, David. (2014, February 7). Is Radioactive Hydrogen in Drinking Water a Cancer Threat? The EPA plans to reevaluate standards for tritium in water. Scientific American,

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-radioactive-hydrogen-in-drinking-water-a-cancer-threat/

Such leaks have prompted the EPA to announce on February 4 plans to revisit standards for tritium that has found its way into water—so-called tritiated water, or HTO—along with risk limits for individual exposure to radiation and nuclear waste storage, among other issues surrounding nuclear power.

The agency’s recent announcement in the Federal Register notes that tritium levels as high as 3.2 million picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in ground water have been reported to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at some nuclear facilities. (A curie is a unit of radiation emission; a picocurie is one trillionth of a curie.) That is 160 times higher than the standard set back in 1977 by the fledgling EPA—and the NRC has made measurements even higher at some nuclear facilities. “Because of these releases to groundwater at these sites, and related investigations, the agency considers it prudent to reexamine its initial assumption in 1977 that the water pathway is not a pathway of concern,” the EPA stated in its filing.

Tritium bioaccumulates in phytoplankton (which is composed of algae, protists and cyanobacteria) and has been consequently evaluated as posing a persistent and toxic contaminant with intergenerational effects. See the following source:

Jaeschke, B. C., & Bradshaw, C. (2013). Bioaccumulation of tritiated water in phytoplankton and trophic transfer of organically bound tritium to the blue mussel, mytilus edulis. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 115, 28-33. 

TEPCO is going to dump into the ocean 770,000 tons or so of highly tritiated water stored at Fukushima because the site has reached storage limits and yet still cannot filter tritium, among other elusive radionuclides, contaminating the 400 tons or so of radioactive water that is produced anew at the site every single day. 

Tepco has been struggling to de-contaminating the water it captures from injections and ground water influx. A wastewater treatment facility was built early in the disaster, but the various decontamination systems implemented have been unable to eliminate all radionuclides, especially tritium.[i] 

In 2013, TEPCO reported that filtered water measured 710 million Becquerels per liter while unfiltered water was reported as twice as radioactive.[ii] Tritium was believed to the major source of residual contamination in the filtered water.[iii] The filtration system has also accidentally dumped unfiltered water, contaminated with Cesium-134, Cesium-137, and Iodine-131, into the sea.[iv]

TEPCO admits it cannot manage the tritiated water stored at the site. No one talks at all about the tritiated fog produced every single night at Fukushima Daiichi:

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Japan and US nuclear “authorities” are saying there is no alternative to dumping tritiated water in the ocean:

Nagata, Kazuaki (2015, March 31) Ex-U.S. nuclear chief says tritium water at Fukushima No. 1 can be dumped safely. Japan Times, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/31/national/former-u-s-nuclear-chief-says-tritium-water-at-fukushima-no-1-can-safely-be-dumped-in-sea/#.VRqyleHWyDk

A former chief U.S. nuclear regulator asserted Tuesday that the massive volumes of tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant can be “safely” dumped into the sea after it is diluted to reduce the levels of radioactive tritium below the legal limit….   Tepco has said the level of tritium in the water is between 1 million and 5 million becquerels per liter. The legal limit for release to the sea is 60,000 becquerels.

Tritium has a half life of 12.3 years, so it would take decades to die down to permitted levels if left undiluted. The element is about one-thousandth as radioactive as the isotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137, according to Tepco.

TEPCO may have to dump because the tritiated water isn’t simply taking up space. Its also producing Bremsstrahlung Radiation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bremsstrahlung

Here is what the US Dept. of Health and Human Services has to say about this type of electro-magnetic radiation, which according to nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, among others, is being produced in Fukushima’s water tanks (see here http://podcast.gcnlive.com/podcast/power_hr/0116143.mp3:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (1999, September). TOXICOLOGICAL PROFILE FOR IONIZING RADIATION U.S. Division of Toxicology/Toxicology Information Branch 1600 Clifton Road NE, E-29 Atlanta, Georgia 30333 

Gamma radiation and x rays are types of electromagnetic radiations that behave identically but differ in their origin; gamma emissions originate in the nucleus while x rays originate in the orbital electron structure, or from the slowing down or stopping of highly energetic beta particles or electrons. The x rays that originate in the orbital structure are called characteristic x rays, and are useful in chemical analysis while those due to stopping high speed electrons are called bremsstrahlung. Page 41. 

GLOSSARY P. 337: Bremsstrahlung—Electromagnetic radiation (photons) produced by the acceleration that a fast charged particle (usually an electron) undergoes from the effect of an electric or magnetic field, for instance, from the field of another charged particle (usually a nucleus). Bremsstrahlung is emitted when beta particles or electrons are stopped by a shield.

Tritium is a beta emitter. The highly tritiated water stored at Fukushima Daiichi is decaying high energy electrons, or beta particles, whose interactions with shielding is producing a form of X-rays known as “breaking radiation” when translated from the German Bremsstrahlung.

The ocean and the atmosphere are becoming increasingly tritiated. Tritium was rare on earth before the atomic age according to Wikipedia, although found in the upper atmosphere.

What does it mean for the earth’s lower atmosphere and hydrology to become tritiated?

Tritium is entering the earth’s hydrological cycle according to this report by Canada’s Nuclear Regulator:

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Source: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada (2009, December). Investigation of the Environmental Fate of Tritium in the Atmosphere: Part of the Tritium Studies Project INFO-0792. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). ISBN 978-1-100-13928-9

LET US LEARN ABOUT TRITIUM FROM THE US Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/tritium.html

How are people exposed to tritium?

People are exposed to small amounts of tritium every day, since it is widely dispersed in the environment and in the food chain. People who live near or work in federal weapons facilities or nuclear fuel cycle facilities may have increased exposure. People working in research laboratories may also come in contact with tritium.

How does tritium get into the body?

Tritium primarily enters the body when people swallow tritiated water. People may also inhale tritium as a gas in the air, and absorb it through their skin.

What does tritium do once it gets into the body?

Tritium is almost always found as water, or “tritiated” water. Once tritium enters the body, it disperses quickly and is uniformly distributed throughout the body. Tritium is excreted through the urine within a month or so after ingestion. Organically bound tritium (tritium that is incorporated in organic compounds) can remain in the body for a longer period.

Tritium atoms can exchange with any hydrogen atoms. If the hydrogen atom is part of an organic molecule, the tritium becomes ‘organically bound’ and is transported with the molecule rather than moving freely like water.

 

Health Effects of Tritium

 

As with all ionizing radiation, exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer. However, because it emits very low energy radiation and leaves the body relatively quickly, for a given amount of activity ingested, tritium is one of the least dangerous radionuclides. Since tritium is almost always found as water, it goes directly into soft tissues and organs. The associated dose to these tissues are generally uniform and dependent on the tissues’ water content.

Tritium in us all….

RESOURCES

[i] Yoshida ‘Fukushima No. 1 Can’t Keep its Head Above Tainted Water.’ Japan Times, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/21/reference/fukushima-no-1-cant-keep-its-head-above-tainted-water/#.UZpke8oQNX9, date accessed 21 May 2013

[ii] S. Kimura (6 April 2013) ‘120 Tons of Contaminated Water Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant’, The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201304060038, date accessed 7 April 2013.

[iii] Yoshida ‘Fukushima No. 1 Can’t Keep its Head Above Tainted Water.’

[iv] R. Mackey and R. Somaiya (1 November 2011) ‘Japanese Official Drinks Water From Fukushima Reactor Buildings’, The New York Times, http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/japanese-official-drinks-water-from-fukushima-reactor-buildings/, date accessed 3 November 2011.

Source : http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/08/tritium-in-us-all.html

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Tritium at Fukushima: A Primer

There is much to be said about Tritium and Fukushima. I strongly recommend watching this interview with Kevin Kamps on Fukushima conditions, including and especially the huge volumes of tritiated water stored at the site:

 

Tritium is quite devious because its difficult to detect internally.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about tritium. My friend Clyde Stagner introduced me to the ubiquity and dangers of tritium in the environment. You can read his book (Hidden Tritium at Amazon) and my blog description of his work here.

Today I had lunch with a friend who is an atmospheric chemist and we discussed how tritium in fog, or tritiated fog, might differ from ordinary fog.

We had a great discussion that I will follow up on later with implications drawn for webcam watching.

Living downwind from the Palo Verde Nuclear Power plant, and swimming quite often in open water, I imagine that I bear a certain number of hydrogen atoms with two neutrons, an isotope of hydrogen called Tritium, found rarely on earth before the twentieth century, but common in the upper atmosphere. On earth, tritium finds oxygen and binds to create tritiated water.

How radioactive am I compared to my ancestors who lived before the nineteenth century?

Related posts:

LTR-13-0077 – Clyde Stagner Ltr. re: Concerns regarding tritium in …

https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1303/ML13030A330.pdf

Jan 29, 2013 – Clyde Stagner … Subject: Tritium in Phoenix & People of Phoenix … an AMERSHAM PLANT in Cardiff, Wales (Ref: Figure 3,”Hidden Tritium“.

Majia’s Blog: Tritium in Swimming Pools

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/tritium-in-swimming-pools.html

May 13, 2012 – Stagner has calculated the probable concentration of tritium in swimming … Clyde Stagner’s book, Hidden Tritium, can be found at Amazon.com.

Majia’s Blog: Tritium and Nuclear Power Plants: “Blowdown” Worsens …

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/tritium-and-nuclear-power-plants.html

Jan 22, 2013 – My friend Clyde Stagner studied tritium emissions and … Stagner is author of Hidden Tritium and has had a long, distinguished career, .

Majia’s Blog: Encanto Park and Radioactive Tritium

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/encanto-park-and-radioactive-tritium.html

Aug 14, 2012 – Capt Stagner is petitioning the NRC to resume tritium monitoring in …. Clyde Stagner’s book, Hidden Tritium, can be found at Amazon.com.

Majia’s Blog: Tritium Contaminating Our Environment: A Letter …

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/tritium-contaminating-our-environment.html

Jul 17, 2012 – Monitoring of tritium in the area stopped after 2010 despite rising levels …. Clyde Stagner’s book, Hidden Tritium, can be found at Amazon.com.

Related article:

Impact of low doses of tritium on the marine mussel, Mytilus edulis: genotoxic effects and tissue-specific bioconcentration.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16039156

Source :

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/08/tritium-at-fukushima-primer.html

 

 

Fukushima prognosis and how radioactivity affects the body: Medical facts from Dr. Helen Caldicott

 

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With specific information on Tritium, Strontium 90, Cesium 137, radioactive Iodine 131, and Plutonium.

By Helen Caldicott, Volume 4, Issue 2 2014, Australian Medical Student Journal

…Fukushima is now described as the greatest industrial accident in history.

The Japanese government was so concerned that they were considering plans to evacuate 35 million people from Tokyo, as other reactors including Fukushima Daiini on the east coast were also at risk. Thousands of people fleeing from the smoldering reactors were not notified where the radioactive plumes were travelling, despite the fact that there was a system in place to track the plumes. As a result, people fled directly into regions with the highest radiation concentrations, where they were exposed to high levels of whole-body external gamma radiation being emitted by the radioactive elements, inhaling radioactive air and swallowing radioactive elements. [2] Unfortunately, inert potassium iodide was not supplied, which would have blocked the uptake of radioactive iodine by their thyroid glands, except in the town of Miharu. Prophylactic iodine was eventually distributed to the staff of Fukushima Medical University in the days after the accident, after extremely high levels of radioactive iodine – 1.9 million becquerels/kg were found in leafy vegetables near the University. [3] Iodine contamination was widespread in leafy vegetables and milk, whilst other isotopic contamination from substances such as caesium is widespread in vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, rice and tea in many areas of Japan. [4]

The Fukushima meltdown disaster is not over and will never end. The radioactive fallout which remains toxic for hundreds to thousands of years covers large swathes of Japan and will never be “cleaned up.” It will contaminate food, humans and animals virtually forever. I predict that the three reactors which experienced total meltdowns will never be dissembled or decommissioned. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) – says it will take at least 30 to 40 years and the International Atomic Energy Agency predicts at least 40 years before they can make any progress because of the extremely high levels of radiation at these damaged reactors.

This accident is enormous in its medical implications. It will induce an epidemic of cancer as people inhale the radioactive elements, eat radioactive food and drink radioactive beverages. In 1986, a single meltdown and explosion at Chernobyl covered 40% of the European land mass with radioactive elements. Already, according to a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences, over one million people have already perished as a direct result of this catastrophe. This is just the tip of the iceberg, because large parts of Europe and the food grown there will remain radioactive for hundreds of years. [5]

Medical Implications of Radiation

Fact number one

No dose of radiation is safe. Each dose received by the body is cumulative and adds to the risk of developing malignancy or genetic disease.

Fact number two

Children are ten to twenty times more vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults. Females tend to be more sensitive compared to males, whilst foetuses and immuno-compromised patients are also extremely sensitive.

Fact number three

High doses of radiation received from a nuclear meltdown or from a nuclear weapon explosion can cause acute radiation sickness, with alopecia, severe nausea, diarrhea and thrombocytopenia. Reports of such illnesses, particularly in children, appeared within the first few months after the Fukushima accident.

Fact number four

Ionizing radiation from radioactive elements and radiation emitted from X-ray machines and CT scanners can be carcinogenic. The latent period of carcinogenesis for leukemia is 5-10 years and solid cancers 15-80 years. It has been shown that all modes of cancer can be induced by radiation, as well as over 6000 genetic diseases now described in the medical literature.

But, as we increase the level of background radiation in our environment from medical procedures, X-ray scanning machines at airports, or radioactive materials continually escaping from nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps, we will inevitably increase the incidence of cancer as well as the incidence of genetic disease in future generations.

Types of ionizing radiation

  1. X-rays are electromagnetic, and cause mutations the instant they pass through the body.
  2. Similarly, gamma radiation is also electromagnetic, being emitted by radioactive materials generated in nuclear reactors and from some naturally occurring radioactive elements in the soil.
  3. Alpha radiation is particulate and is composed of two protons and two neutrons emitted from uranium atoms and other dangerous elements generated in reactors (such as plutonium, americium, curium, einsteinium, etc – all which are known as alpha emitters and have an atomic weight greater than uranium). Alpha particles travel a very short distance in the human body. They cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin in the epidermis to damage living skin cells. But when these radioactive elements enter the lung, liver, bone or other organs, they transfer a large dose of radiation over a long period of time to a very small volume of cells. Most of these cells are killed; however, some on the edge of the radiation field remain viable to be mutated, and cancer may later develop. Alpha emitters are among the most carcinogenic materials known.
  4. Beta radiation, like alpha radiation, is also particulate. It is a charged electron emitted from radioactive elements such as strontium 90, cesium 137 and iodine 131. The beta particle is light in mass, travels further than an alpha particle and is also mutagenic.
  5. Neutron radiation is released during the fission process in a reactor or a bomb. Reactor 1 at Fukushima has been periodically emitting neutron radiation as sections of the molten core become intermittently critical. Neutrons are large radioactive particles that travel many kilometers, and they pass through everything including concrete and steel. There is no way to hide from them and they are extremely mutagenic.

So, let’s describe just five of the radioactive elements that are continually being released into the air and water at Fukushima. Remember, though, there are over 200 such elements each with its own half-life, biological characteristic and pathway in the food chain and the human body. Most have never had their biological pathways examined. They are invisible, tasteless and odourless. When the cancer manifests it is impossible to determine its aetiology, but there is a large body of literature proving that radiation causes cancer, including the data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  1. Tritium is radioactive hydrogen H3 and there is no way to separate tritium from contaminated water as it combines with oxygen to form H3O. There is no material that can prevent the escape of tritium except gold, so all reactors continuously emit tritium into the air and cooling water as they operate. It concentrates in aquatic organisms, including algae, seaweed, crustaceans and fish, and also in terrestrial food. Like all radioactive elements, it is tasteless, odorless and invisible, and will therefore inevitably be ingested in food, including seafood, for many decades. It passes unhindered through the skin if a person is immersed in fog containing tritiated water near a reactor, and also enters the body via inhalation and ingestion. It causes brain tumors, birth deformities and cancers of many organs.
  2. Cesium 137 is a beta and gamma emitter with a half-life of 30 years. That means in 30 years only half of its radioactive energy has decayed, so it is detectable as a radioactive hazard for over 300 years. Cesium, like all radioactive elements, bio-concentrates at each level of the food chain. The human body stands atop the food chain. As an analogue of potassium, cesium becomes ubiquitous in all cells. It concentrates in the myocardium where it induces cardiac irregularities, and in the endocrine organs where it can cause diabetes, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. It can also induce brain cancer, rhabdomyosarcomas, ovarian or testicular cancer and genetic disease.
  3. Strontium 90 is a high-energy beta emitter with a half-life of 28 years. As a calcium analogue, it is a bone-seeker. It concentrates in the food chain, specifically milk (including breast milk), and is laid down in bones and teeth in the human body. It can lead to carcinomas of the bone and leukaemia.
  4. Radioactive iodine 131 is a beta and gamma emitter. It has a half-life of eight days and is hazardous for ten weeks. It bio-concentrates in the food chain, in vegetables and milk, then in the the human thyroid gland where it is a potent carcinogen, inducing thyroid disease and/or thyroid cancer. It is important to note that of 174,376 children under the age of 18 that have been examined by thyroid ultrasound in the Fukushima Prefecture, 12 have been definitively diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 15 more are suspected to have the disease. Almost 200,000 more children are yet to be examined. Of these 174,367 children, 43.2% have either thyroid cysts and/or nodules.In Chernobyl, thyroid cancers were not diagnosed until four years post-accident. This early presentation indicates that these Japanese children almost certainly received a high dose of radioactive iodine. High doses of other radioactive elements released during the meltdowns were received by the exposed population so the rate of cancer is almost certain to rise.
  5. Plutonium, one of the most deadly radioactive substances, is an alpha emitter. It is highly toxic, and one millionth of a gram will induce cancer if inhaled into the lung. As an iron analogue, it combines with transferrin. It causes liver cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, or multiple myeloma. It concentrates in the testicles and ovaries where it can induce testicular or ovarian cancer, or genetic diseases in future generations. It also crosses the placenta where it is teratogenic, like thalidomide. There are medical homes near Chernobyl full of grossly deformed children, the deformities of which have never before been seen in the history of medicine.The half-life of plutonium is 24,400 years, and thus it is radioactive for 250,000 years. It will induce cancers, congenital deformities, and genetic diseases for virtually the rest of time.Plutonium is also fuel for atomic bombs. Five kilos is fuel for a weapon which would vaporize a city. Each reactor makes 250 kg of plutonium a year. It is postulated that less than one kilo of plutonium, if adequately distributed, could induce lung cancer in every person on earth.

Conclusion

In summary, the radioactive contamination and fallout from nuclear power plant accidents will have medical ramifications that will never cease, because the food will continue to concentrate the radioactive elements for hundreds to thousands of years. This will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease. Already we are seeing such pathology and abnormalities in birds and insects, and because they reproduce very fast it is possible to observe disease caused by radiation over many generations within a relatively short space of time.

Pioneering research conducted by Dr Tim Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist, has demonstrated high rates of tumors, cataracts, genetic mutations, sterility and reduced brain size amongst birds in the exclusion zones of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. What happens to animals will happen to human beings. [7]

The Japanese government is desperately trying to “clean up” radioactive contamination. But in reality all that can be done is collect it, place it in containers and transfer it to another location. It cannot be made neutral and it cannot be prevented from spreading in the future. Some contractors have allowed their workers to empty radioactive debris, soil and leaves into streams and other illegal places. The main question becomes: Where can they place the contaminated material to be stored safely away from the environment for thousands of years? There is no safe place in Japan for this to happen, let alone to store thousands of tons of high level radioactive waste which rests precariously at the 54 Japanese nuclear reactors.

Last but not least, Australian uranium fuelled the Fukushima reactors. Australia exports uranium for use in nuclear power plants to 12 countries, including the US, Japan, France, Britain, Finland, Sweden, South Korea, China, Belgium, Spain, Canada and Taiwan. 270,000 metric tons of deadly radioactive waste exists in the world today, with 12,000 metric tons being added yearly. (Each reactor manufactures 30 tons per year and there are over 400 reactors globally.)

This high-level waste must be isolated from the environment for one million years – but no container lasts longer than 100 years. The isotopes will inevitably leak, contaminating the food chain, inducing epidemics of cancer, leukemia, congenital deformities and genetic diseases for the rest of time.

This, then, is the legacy we leave to future generations so that we can turn on our lights and computers or make nuclear weapons. It was Einstein who said “the splitting of the atom changed everything save mans’ mode of thinking, thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”

The question now is: Have we, the human species, the ability to mature psychologically in time to avert these catastrophes, or, is it in fact, too late?

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and perspectives presented in this article are those of the author alone and does not reflect the views of the Australian Medical Student Journal. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors or omissions.

References

[1] Caldicott H. Helen Caldicott Foundation’s Fukushima Symposium. 2013; Available from: http://www.helencaldicott.com/2012/12/helen-caldicott-foundations-fukushima-symposium/.

[2] Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuke crisis. The Japan Times. 2012.

[3] Bagge E, Bjelle A, Eden S, Svanborg A. Osteoarthritis in the elderly: clinical and radiological findings in 79 and 85 year olds. Ann Rheum Dis. 1991;50(8):535-9. Epub 1991/08/01.

[4] Tests find cesium 172 times the limit in Miyagi Yacon tea. The Asahi Shimbun. 2012.

[5] Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB, Nesterenko AV, Sherman-Nevinger JD. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment: Wiley. com; 2010.

[6] Fukushima Health Management. Proceedings of the 11th Prefectural Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health Management Survey. Fukushima, Japan2013.

[7] Møller AP, Mousseau TA. The effects of low-dose radiation: Soviet science, the nuclear industry – and independence? Significance. 2013;10(1):14-9.
Originally published: http://www.amsj.org/archives/3487

http://www.helencaldicott.com/the-impact-of-the-nuclear-crisis-on-global-health/

Fukushima fishermen fight release of tainted water as tritium standoff continues

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On Feb. 25, against a clear sky, fishing boats bearing colorful banners used to signal a rich haul returned to their home port of Ukedo in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture. Cheers erupted as the boats, which had taken refuge in Minamisoma in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear crisis, made their way home for the first time in six years.

The Soma-Futaba fishing cooperative will soon resume fishing for konago (young lancefish), after the heads of fishing co-ops in the prefecture approved the start of experimental fishing operations 10 to 20 km from the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

Despite the steady recovery moves, however, local fishermen are not optimistic because their industry still faces “concern” that radioactive fish could tarnish their reputation.

Fukushima No. 1 currently has 950,000 tons of radioactive water in storage that has been desalinated and filtered to remove some of the radioactive elements, but the volume is increasing at a pace of 150,000 tons a year.

Of the 950,000 tons, 750,000 were further treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System, to remove most of the remaining isotopes. But even ALPS cannot remove tritium, and this has the fishing industry concerned that water tainted with tritium could ultimately be released into the ocean.

The debate over what to do about the tainted water has turned into a standoff. The central government set up a committee in September to discuss disposal and studied five options, including ocean release, underground burial and air release. But the committee could not agree on any of them because all had the potential to damage the reputation of Fukushima’s seafood.

Hiroshige Seko, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has jurisdiction over the issue but appears reluctant to bring the debate to a rapid conclusion.

We have not decided on the schedule, including when to conclude (the debate),” he said in a recent interview with the Fukushima Minpo.

Tritium is a common byproduct of normal nuclear power plant operations. Its release into the ocean is permitted worldwide as long as the concentration doesn’t exceed certain levels. In Japan, the legal threshold for tritium release is 60,000 becquerels per 1 liter.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has said “there is no solution than ocean release” for the tritium generated at Fukushima No. 1, noting that if the concentration is within legal limits, the government should go ahead with the release. Officials at related international institutions have expressed similar views.

But the prefectural association of fishing cooperatives remains opposed, worried that an ocean release could further damage the image of Fukushima’s fish and seafood.

A fisherman from Onahama in the city of Iwaki said, “The move could lead to a loss of trust in the prefecture’s seafood, which the fishermen have worked hard to build.”

On the other hand, if the disposal debate goes unresolved, the amount of tainted water at Fukushima No. 1 will continue to rise and delay the decommissioning of the plant.

Tepco has said it “will decide (on the fate of the water) in a responsible manner by watching the government debate and weighing the opinions of local residents.”

The fishery industry is watching how the central government balances the two jobs of revitalizing the industry and handling tritium-tainted water — and how it can thoroughly explain the decision in ways people both in Japan and abroad can understand, without leaving it entirely up to Tepco.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/19/national/fukushima-fishermen-fight-release-tainted-water-tritium-standoff-continues/#.WM7nfKKmnIU

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Toyama tritium researcher’s data targeted in cyberattacks

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Research data and personal information may have been stolen from a personal computer belonging to a researcher of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, at the University of Toyama’s Hydrogen Isotope Research Center, the university said.

In addition to research data, hackers may have stolen personal information such as email addresses on some 1,500 people, including other researchers, the school said Monday.

Most of the possibly affected research data were those that have already been published or were slated to be published, and no highly confidential information was compromised, it said.

According to the university, two staff members of the center received emails containing a virus in November 2015 and a PC of one of them, a member of the teaching staff, was infected. The PC continued questionable communications with an outside party for about six months.

The center learned of the virus infection in June following an alert from an outside organization.

The university, based in the city of Toyama, briefed the education ministry on the cyberattacks in mid-June. Earlier in October, it started informing researchers who may have been affected.

The center conducts research on hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, including their use for energy.

Tritium is regarded as a candidate for fuel in nuclear fusion reactors, and is also one of the contaminants in the water building up at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/11/national/crime-legal/toyama-tritium-researchers-data-targeted-cyberattacks/#.WAJGziQzYU1

How Can Japan Settle The Issue Of Fukushima Daiichi Tritium? Drink It.

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Water tanks crowding the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant site

Here’s the problem in a nutshell—or rather a thimbleful—facing the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

There are over 1,100 large steel tanks brimming with filtered water—except for a low contaminant called tritium—clogging both the plant and an expanding area outside the site.

The water is a mix of tons of groundwater flowing into the plant’s basements and tons of contaminated water that have become radiated after draining down there through the three damaged reactors the water was injected into to keep the melted uranium cores cool. This lethal liquid mix is pumped out the basements and decontaminated before it overflows and seeps into the sea; some of it is recycled back as coolant into the reactors while the rest is pumped into the storage tanks.

This process continues hour after hour, day after day, year after year: a cunningly worthy punishment of the gods for the latter-day Sisyphus, TEPCO. Consequently, every week or two a new tank-full of treated water is added to the forest of steel now covering the area like giant alien mushrooms. The total amount of stored water exceeds 800,000 cubic tons and is inexorably heading for one million tons and more without an end in site.

The cost is enormous, and picking up the tab is the Japanese taxpayer—not TEPCO, which is undergoing a ten-year reconstruction since a government bail out saved it from bankruptcy.

So the million-ton-plus dilemma for the government has boiled down to three options: keep on with the endless and expensive tank building and filling; find a way to remove the tritium from the water; or have TEPCO discharge (dump) the water into the ocean.

The latter option is by far the easiest and least expensive method, except that the water is tritiated: that is the water has become radioactive.

Without context, that’s a scary word, until you remember that sunbathing and eating bananas are pleasant radioactive pastimes. The point being that the energy tritium gives off is so low as to be unmeasurable with a dosimeter. And the particles (not rays) tritium expels can be stopped by plastic wrap—as Shunichi Tanaka, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority, told the press recently.

That’s a fact, but it’s not the point, say environmentalist foes of the dumping method. Ingesting tritium is a concern for health they argue. And they have experts to back up such concerns, though they are mostly theoretical. Meanwhile, there are experts on the other side of the debate pooh-poohing such worries and asking to see some solid proof to back up the theory.

Conclusion: Those supportive of nuclear power tend to minimize the health risks of tritium, while those opposing the use of nuclear power tend to exaggerate its risks.

What is not debatable is the negative psychological impact releasing the water into the sea will have on Japan’s nervous neighbors, the suffering people of the northeast, the region’s fishing industry and the Japanese electorate.

Given such concerns and uncertainties, organizations like Greenpeace urge the government to err on the side of caution. The best option, says Greenpeace, is to continue storing the water while exploring all technical options for tritium separation.

On the face of it, that seems reasonable. But then experts opposing this stance, like Lake Barrett, a nuclear industry consultant advising TEPCO, point out that while it may be possible to create a method of separating the tritium, it hasn’t been found yet, despite much effort; and it would likely cost a couple of billion dollars to develop and perfect in any case. It’s no surprise that TEPCO and the government have reached the same conclusion.

“All that money could be better spent on schools, hospitals,” Barrett told me. “And you can’t go on building tanks forever.”

Besides, he adds, “The very low levels of tritium in the stored water are not a meaningful health risk. After verification that the radioactivity levels are within conservative Japanese health risks, I would not hesitate to drink it, bathe in it, or eat fish or shellfish harvested from it.”

Now there’s an idea. If the government is to discharge the tritiated water into the ocean without turning a large portion of the electorate against it, it needs to persuade a majority of citizens that it is safe within reason to do so. This will require a number of carefully thought out steps.

The government will have to clearly explain the pros and cons of its action and the reason for its decision; it must establish a mechanism to compensate the fisherman for the shortfall they will undergo following the release; an international panel of independent, knowledgeable people, including environmentalists of the non-hysterical variety, is required to verify the tritiated water does indeed fall well below internationally accepted standards for release; and the panel members must be granted access to monitor the process at any time they wish.

Then for the coup de grâce, Prime Minister Abe, his cabinet members along with TEPCO executives should visit Fukushima Daiichi, and while standing in front of one the giant tanks each drink a glass of the tritiated water. This won’t sway everyone, of course, but it would give the government the minimum moral authority required to make such a contentious decision.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jboyd/2016/05/01/how-can-japan-can-settle-the-fukushima-daiichi-tritium-issue-drink-it/#250de9662739

Japan Prepares for Release of Tritium From Fukushima Plant

Tritium may not penetrate plastic but goes everywhere H20 goes in the body. It can cross the blood brain barrier, the placental barrier, and is a known carcinogen. Just because they don’t know what to do with it doesn’t mean it’s ok to just release it. Something the nuclear industry is perfectly aware of.

Japan Prepares for Release of Tritium From Fukushima Plant

TOKYO — To dump or not to dump a little-discussed substance is the question brewing in Japan as it grapples with the aftermath of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima five years ago. The substance is tritium.

The radioactive material is nearly impossible to remove from the huge quantities of water used to cool melted-down reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which was wrecked by the massive tsunami in northeastern Japan in March 2011.

The water is still accumulating since 300 tons are needed every day to keep the reactors chilled. Some is leaking into the ocean.

Huge tanks lined up around the plant, at last count 1,000 of them, each hold hundreds of tons of water that have been cleansed of radioactive cesium and strontium but not of tritium.

Ridding water of tritium has been carried out in laboratories. But it’s an effort that would be extremely costly at the scale required for the Fukushima plant, which sits on the Pacific coast. Many scientists argue it isn’t worth it and say the risks of dumping the tritium-laced water into the sea are minimal.

Their calls to simply release the water into the Pacific Ocean are alarming many in Japan and elsewhere.

Rosa Yang, a nuclear expert at the Electric Power Research Institute, based in Palo Alto, California, who advises Japan on decommissioning reactors, believes the public angst is uncalled for. She says a Japanese government official should simply get up in public and drink water from one of the tanks to convince people it’s safe.

But the line between safe and unsafe radiation is murky, and children are more susceptible to radiation-linked illness. Tritium goes directly into soft tissues and organs of the human body, potentially increasing the risks of cancer and other sicknesses.

“Any exposure to tritium radiation could pose some health risk. This risk increases with prolonged exposure, and health risks include increased occurrence of cancer,” said Robert Daguillard, a spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The agency is trying to minimize the tritium from U.S. nuclear facilities that escapes into drinking water.

Right after the March 2011 disaster, many in Japan panicked, some even moving overseas although they lived hundreds of miles (kilometers) away from the Fukushima no-go zone. By now, concern has settled to the extent that some worry the lessons from the disaster are being forgotten.

Tritium may be the least of Japan’s worries. Much hazardous work remains to keep the plant stabilized, and new technology is needed for decommissioning the plant’s reactors and containing massive radioactive contamination.

The ranks of Japan’s anti-nuclear activists have been growing since the March 2011 accident, and many oppose releasing water with tritium into the sea. They argue that even if tritium’s radiation is weaker than strontium or cesium, it should be removed, and that good methods should be devised to do that.

Japan’s fisheries organization has repeatedly expressed concerns over the issue. News of a release of the water could devastate local fisheries just as communities in northeastern Japan struggle to recover from the 2011 disasters.

An isotope of hydrogen, or radioactive hydrogen, tritium exists in water form, and so like water can evaporate, although it is not known how much tritium escaped into the atmosphere from Fukushima as gas from explosions.

The amount of tritium in the contaminated water stored at Fukushima Dai-ichi is estimated at 3.4 peta becquerels, or 34 with a mind-boggling 14 zeros after it.

But theoretically collected in one place, it would amount to just 57 milliliters, or about the amount of liquid in a couple of espresso cups — a minuscule quantity in the overall masses of water.

To illustrate that point, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, showed reporters a small bottle half-filled with blue water that was the equivalent of 57 milliliters.

Public distrust is running so high after the Fukushima accident that Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, the utility that operates the Fukushima plant and oversees its decommissioning, has mostly kept quiet about the tritium, pending a political decision on releasing the water.

Privately, they say it will have to be released, but they can’t say that outright.

What will be released from Fukushima will be well below the global standard allowed for tritium in the water, say Tanaka and others favoring its release, which is likely to come gradually later this year, not all at once.

Proponents of releasing the tritium water argue that tritium already is in the natural environment, coming from the sun and from water containing tritium that is routinely released at nuclear plants around the world.

“Tritium is so weak in its radioactivity it won’t penetrate plastic wrapping,” said Tanaka.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/04/12/world/asia/ap-as-japan-nuclear-what-is-tritium.html?smid=li-share&_r=0