Radiation Contamination Thread re Fukushima

  • Fukushima
  • Thread starter Joe Neubarth
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  • #1
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I decided we needed a thread just to track radioactive contamination. I will start it with my hometown of San Diego, but reports from anywhere are appreaciated, especially if they show the degree of contamination of the Japanese countryside and the ocean.

In San Diego we have seen only a very small increase in Beta radiation, which means we have Beta Emitters blowing across the ocean from somewhere. Otherwise, only very small increases in radiation lately. Essentially of no concern unless you are breathing a lot of beta emitters.

http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-sandiego-bg.html [Broken]

All of the USA from the EPA. Click on the site and you will get the readings for the past few weeks.

Sadly, for you in Wyoming, that state is not covered.

http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-data-map.html [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I decided we needed a thread just to track radioactive contamination. I will start it with my hometown of San Diego, but reports from anywhere are appreaciated, especially if they show the degree of contamination of the Japanese countryside and the ocean.

In San Diego we have seen only a very small increase in Beta radiation, which means we have Beta Emitters blowing across the ocean from somewhere. Otherwise, only very small increases in radiation lately. Essentially of no concern unless you are breathing a lot of beta emitters.

http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-sandiego-bg.html [Broken]

All of the USA from the EPA. Click on the site and you will get the readings for the past few weeks.

Sadly, for you in Wyoming, that state is not covered.

http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-data-map.html [Broken]

Joe wouldn't it be necessary to correlate the data in order to filter out industrial, regional and natural background radiation?

You would all have to attempt to determine the flow of radioactive material with respect to time, dilution etc. and compare peaks that correspond after factoring out regional normal levels.

Just a measure of radiation (like on the west coast) wouldn't really reveal anything significant, unless your suggesting that significant levels of radiation are likely to be observed in the US, which seems very unlikely.

Now if you were measuring specific isotopes you might get an idea of how little radiation is reaching the US.
 
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  • #3
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Looking at several of the fixed monitoring stations for the west coast including Alaska and Hawiia that have a record extending several days prior to the quake (so we can get an idea of normal background) I see no sign of elevation in total gamma or beta counts in the days following events in Japan.

That is at least good news.
 
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  • #4
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Joe wouldn't it be necessary to correlate the data in order to filter out industrial, regional and natural background radiation?

You would all have to attempt to determine the flow of radioactive material with respect to time, dilution etc. and compare peaks that correspond after factoring out regional normal levels.

Just a measure of radiation (like on the west coast) wouldn't really reveal anything significant, unless your suggesting that significant levels of radiation are likely to be observed in the US, which seems very unlikely.

Now if you were measuring specific isotopes you might get an idea of how little radiation is reaching the US.

Pre Fuku radiation levels are available at the site I listed. The reality is very little change.

I felt this was in order as a thread because we are not seeing any significant increase in radiation above background in the United States. Everything is, at worst only slightly above normal; at best, fairly normal.
 
  • #5
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Pre Fuku radiation levels are available at the site I listed. The reality is very little change.

I felt this was in order as a thread because we are not seeing any significant increase in radiation above background in the United States. Everything is, at worst only slightly above normal; at best, fairly normal.
OK, but there's at least 3 independent groups monitoring radiation in and around Japan, as well as motoring of key isotopes and links to these can be found in other threads here and elsewhere. Which explains my confusion about the need for another thread, or am I missing something?
 
  • #6
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OK,.... am I missing something?


The only thing that facilitates this is the title. I noticed that there were several threads about the individual surveys that were specifically titled. Since we are at the stage in this crisis that the major concern is radioactive contamination, we should have one thread with a topic that all can understand. Or, are you suggesting that we should have numerous threads dedicated to individual surveys. If the majority want that, then that is what it will be. I am easy. In the meantime, we have extreme position people who are attacking the EPA decisions and even have a site dedicated to those attacks. Here is a link for anybody who wants to see the EPA from the outside.

http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/item/723-fallout
 
  • #7
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http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/28/us-radioactive-water-idUSTRE72R3HM20110328

Environmental group Greenpeace said it had detected high levels of radiation outside an exclusion zone.

A partial meltdown of fuel rods inside the reactor vessel was responsible for the high levels of radiation at that reactor although Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the radiation had mainly been contained in the reactor building.

TEPCO later said radiation above 1,000 millisieverts per hour was found in water in tunnels used for piping outside the reactor.

That is the same as the level discovered on Sunday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a single dose of 1,000 millisieverts (one sievert) is enough to cause hemorrhaging.

TEPCO officials said the underground tunnels did not flow into the sea but the possibility of radioactive water seeping into the ground could not be ruled out.

Greenpeace said its experts had confirmed radiation levels of up to 10 microsieverts per hour in Iitate, a village 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the plant. (One microsievert = one thousandth of a millisievert). It called for the extension of a 20-km (12-mile) evacuation zone.

"It is clearly not safe for people to remain in Iitate, especially children and pregnant women, when it could mean receiving the maximum allowed annual dose of radiation in only a few days," Greenpeace said in a statement.

.....

Japanese officials and international experts have generally said the levels away from the plant are not dangerous for humans, who anyway face higher radiation doses on a daily basis from natural substances, X-rays or flights.

But Greenpeace urged the government to acknowledge the danger: "The authorities must stop choosing politics over science."
 
  • #8
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Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant: TEPCO

TOKYO, March 28, Kyodo

Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday.

The operator of the nuclear complex said that the plutonium is believed to have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant, which was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

==Kyodo

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/81589.html
 
  • #9
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UN: High radiation outside Japan's exclusion zone

(AP) – 4 hours ago

VIENNA (AP) — Recent radiation readings outside the exclusion zone around Japan's nuclear disaster show radiation substantially higher than levels at which the U.N. nuclear agency would recommend evacuations, agency officials said Wednesday.

The comments could add to the debate over how far people need to stay away from Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, which was crippled in the country's March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Elena Buglova, an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the reading was 2 megabecquerels per square meter at the village of Iitate, adding that "as a ratio it was about two times higher" than levels at which the agency recommends evacuations.

Iitate is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Fukushima complex where emergency crews are battling to keep radioactivity from spreading.

Japanese officials have told residents to evacuate within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) zone and to stay indoors within 18 miles (30 kilometers) of the damaged complex, but U.S. officials have recommended citizens stay at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) away.....

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iygIs3YLbzP5Pins9eXYAT_ejgHg?docId=5ff62d348a984b2ea04a400c6204e423 [Broken]



Hummmmm???? Everybody is talking about this, but Nobody is doing anything about it. Meanwhile the people who stay in that town are risking cancer sometime in their future life.
 
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  • #10
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Radiation Levels Higher in Japan
http://wdef.com/news/radiation_levels_higher_in_japan/03/2011 [Broken]

Nearly three weeks after the earthquake and tsunami severely damaged a nuclear power plant in northern Japan... radiation levels are even higher. Government officials are now drawing up unorthodox plans to contain radiation. Randall Pinkston has the latest.

Seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi plant now contains more than 3000 times the legal amount of radio-active iodine. That's the highest level yet.

Japanese officials are considering new methods to contain the leaking radiation.
One involves covering some reactors at the plant with giant tent cloths. If the plan works - engineers would be able to spend more time fixing leaks in other parts of the complex Workers are also planning to spray resin in the soil around the plant prevent more radioactive water from seeping into the soil.
 
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  • #11
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From IAEA's daily briefing:

"On 5th April, measurements were made at 7 locations at distances of 16 to 41 km, South and South West to the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The dose rates ranged from 0.3 to 31 microsievert per hour. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.01 to 3.2 megabecquerel per square metre."
 
  • #12
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2. Radiation monitoring

On 9th April, deposition of both iodine-131 and cesium-137 was detected in 5 and 6 prefectures respectively. The values reported for iodine-131 ranged from 7.8 to 650 becquerel per square metre and for cesium-137 from 3.3 to 370 becquerel per square metre. The highest deposition was reported for both, iodine-131 and cesium-137, in the prefecture of Ibaraki.

Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures, the values tend to decrease. Dose rates are also reported daily for the Eastern part of the Fukushima prefecture, these values are decreasing as well. As of 9th April, the gamma dose rates, reported for distances of more than 30 km to Fukushima-Daiichi, ranged from 0.2 to 26 μSv/h.

In an additional monitoring programme, set up by MEXT in cooperation with local universities, measurements are made in 27 cities in 14 prefectures. As of 9th April, in 19 cities, the gamma dose rates were below 0.1 μSv/h. In 7 cities, gamma dose rates range from 0.13 to 0.21 μSv/h. In Fukushima City, a value of 0.46 μSv/h was observed. Typical normal background levels are in the range of 0.05 to 0.10 μSv/hr.

As of 7th April, iodine-131 and cesium-137 was detectable in drinking water in a few prefectures at levels far below those that would trigger recommendations for restrictions of drinking water. As of 7th April, one restriction for infants related to I-131 (100 Bq/l) is in place as a precautionary measure in only one village of the Fukushima prefecture.

On 9th April, the IAEA Team made measurements at 8 different locations in the Fukushima area at distances of 32 to 62 km, North and North West from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. At these locations, the dose rates ranged from 0.4 to 3.7 microsievert per hour. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.03 to 0.19 Megabecquerel per square metre.

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html
 
  • #13
http://www.radiationnetwork.com/" [Broken]
 
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  • #14
High volume of plutonium fuel is probably spread over Fukushima power plant. I have not exact details how much of plutonium is on that fuel. I think that depends how long this uranium fuel have been on reactor.

Anyway, that plutonium generates more or less heat and emits small particles.

a) How much are these particles generated?
b) As we know (aerosol physics), < 1um particles floats VERY long distances
c) 27ug particle of plutonium causes lungcancer of probability > 90%

As I have understood, plutonium is alfa radiator, so normal radiation meter (gamma + beta) is not decteing these "hot particles"

This is the real issue concernig fall out. Bequerells measured are less important.
 
  • #15
This Fukushima radiation contamination calculation seems to be VERY controversial issue. There is difference between ICRP and ECRR2010 risk valuations and that difference multiplication factor is about 1000!

ECRR2010 calculations can be found on fairewinds pages, ICRP calculations (probably) on IAEA pages.

This problem with alpha radiation measurement is real, and measuring just bequerells is very difficult to link real nuclide activity.

If I have understood correctly, iodine ja cesium are gamma radiators and easy to measure with Geiger-tube. Measuring highly radiating alpha particles needs complicated particle filters and "lead-chambers-or-what-ever-it-is" to measure activity accurate.

I suppose that many of the top nuclear physicist are reading this forum and this thread. Unfortunatelly they are mute, because this topic seems to be "hot potate" on nuclear science.
 
  • #16
NUCENG
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Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant: TEPCO

TOKYO, March 28, Kyodo

Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday.

The operator of the nuclear complex said that the plutonium is believed to have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant, which was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

==Kyodo

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/81589.html

The Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 was a plutonium fission device. Is it possible to tell the difference between plutonium from the two sources?
 
  • #17
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The Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 was a plutonium fission device. Is it possible to tell the difference between plutonium from the two sources?

Nice attempt at deflection of blame from nuclear power accident to intentional atomic bomb blast.

But, most likely not able to tell the difference. However, logic and common sense would state that by announcing these findings that the plutonium was not present before or this is on top of what was seen prior to the accident.

To kind of support your question, though - not much logic or common sense has been used by TEPCO in the past - before, during and after the accident.
 
  • #18
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Nice attempt at deflection of blame from nuclear power accident to intentional atomic bomb blast.

But, most likely not able to tell the difference. However, logic and common sense would state that by announcing these findings that the plutonium was not present before or this is on top of what was seen prior to the accident.

What the heck? Are you crazy? He didn't deflect anything. He just stated that we CAN'T be sure where this Plutonium comes from.
And TEPCO stated that as well. They thought that maybe two of five samples are connected to the accident.
Found measurements were below or at the same level, Plutonium was measured around japan BEFORE the nuclear accidents - nuclear bomb tests created several tons of Plutonium which can now be found nearly everywhere on the world. Even in your garden. If you have one.
Again, plutonium sol samples were around the same levels as before the accident.
 
  • #19
NUCENG
Science Advisor
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What the heck? Are you crazy? He didn't deflect anything. He just stated that we CAN'T be sure where this Plutonium comes from.
And TEPCO stated that as well. They thought that maybe two of five samples are connected to the accident.
Found measurements were below or at the same level, Plutonium was measured around japan BEFORE the nuclear accidents - nuclear bomb tests created several tons of Plutonium which can now be found nearly everywhere on the world. Even in your garden. If you have one.
Again, plutonium sol samples were around the same levels as before the accident.

I wasn't trying to make this a nuc weapon issue. Just wanted to be sure that we consider the possibility some of the samples might be contaminated from other sources. Can they distinguishe as new or old by the ratios of the long lived to the shorter lived isotopes? or by the ratios of some of the daughter products? Are the yields of fission products in a bomb different than fission in a reactor? That may be because the bomb is supercritical on fast neutrons and the reactor uses thermal neutrons.
 
  • #20
Plutonium have several isotopes, which have very different half times. If original amounts of different isotopes is known it is probably possible to identify source nuclide and time stamp for fission (I don't know how accurate this method is).

Identification should be easy in this case becouse of 50 years time difference.

so, answer is yes. How these isotopes are detected by alpha radiator I don't know that, either. Maybe gamma radiation spectrum componets are detectable.

Needs specialiced laboratory and some experties, anyway.
 

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