Archive for March, 2012

Radiation from Fukushima in Northern Hemisphere

March 10, 2012

Fukushima Radiation detectable across northern hemisphere 15 days after disaster   Enformable  by Lucas W Hixson  March 9, 2012  From March to June 2011, the global radionuclide network of the CTBTO, detected radionuclides emitted from the Fukushima nuclear power plant for a period of more than 6 weeks at all of the monitoring stations in the northern hemisphere. Very high concentrations were observed which in some cases even exceeded the functional capabilities of the high sensitivity monitoring systems
Radioactivity is monitored on a global scale by the International Monitoring system (IMS) radionuclide network, which is being built for the Verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). This network consists of 80 particulate stations.  In the period from April to July 2011 , more than 40 stations detected radionuclides released from Fukushima NPP and more than 1600 samples contained radiation originating from this event.  The data obtained from all stations of the IMS network in the northern hemisphere showed an almost constant ratio of Cs-137 and Cs-134.

Data from the CTBTO network showed that radioactivity from Fukushima was first detected on 12 March at the Takasaki CTBTO monitoring station in Japan indicating that the radioactive plume initially travelled in a south westerly direction.  Several gaseous fission products like Cs-134, Cs-136, Cs-137, I-131, I-131, I-133, Te-132, Ba-136m and Xe-133 were detected.  Due to the early observation of Te-132 it can be concluded that the fuel in the reactor core was damaged shortly after the earthquake and tsunami

Within 2 weeks the whole northern atmosphere was affected.  The radioactive plume next travelled to eastern Russia (14 March) and then crossed the Pacific towards the North American continent to Europe and to Central Asia.  The dominant radionuclides were xenon isotopes and especially Xe-133 together with I-131, Cs-134, and Cs-137, and further short-lived radionuclides like Te-132 and I-132 were also detected.

Radioactive material released from Fukushima was detectable all across the northern hemisphere 12 to 15 days after the accident.  A CTBTO monitoring station in Iceland detected radioactive isotopes indicating that the plume had reached Europe on 20 March. This was confirmed by European monitoring networks (Masson, et al., 2011).  For the first four weeks, the radioactive materials remained confined to the northern hemisphere but by 13 April was detected at stations located in Australia, Fiji, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea indicating that it had reached the southern hemisphere (CTBTO, 2011).

Radiation from Fukushima in Ireland

March 10, 2012

Fukushima radiation measured in Ireland, The Irish Times – , March 9, 2012 DICK AHLSTROM, Science Editor  RADIOACTIVITY FROM the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident in Japan reached Ireland in the weeks after the event. It arrived at such low levels, however, that it had no significance for either public health or food safety, according to a report on the incident from the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland. “The levels that we have detected were very low,” Dr Ciara McMahon, the institute’s director of environmental surveillance and assessment, said yesterday….
“Fukushima couldn’t be much further away from Ireland, but we still must be able to monitor for accidents. We have to be ready to respond.”

The incident, triggered by the impact of an earthquake and tsunami, showed the need for nuclear authorities worldwide to re-evaluate their safety procedures, said the institute’s chief executive, Dr Ann McGarry.

There was “no room for complacency within the international nuclear industry”. “A nuclear accident anywhere has potential to be a nuclear accident everywhere.” The radioactive particles that reached Ireland were similar to those arriving as nuclear fallout here after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986, according to data from the institute. The monitoring stations detected radioactive Iodine-131 and two forms of radioactive Caesium, Cs-137 and Cs-134.

Fukushima the prelude to extraordinary scientific changes

March 10, 2012

The World is Powerless Against Fukushima Fallout, Hyphen Submitted by New America Media, March 8, 2012 by Yoichi Shimatsu ”………Previously unknown types of explosive nuclear reactions occurring midair or underground, which have been misrepresented as “hydrogen blasts”
Expansion of a vast ozone hole over the Arctic Circle, now equal in area to the damaged upper atmosphere over the Antarctic, caused by radioactive iodine and xenon gas caught in the jet stream, leaving the Earth’s air supply unprotected and heightening the threat of skin carcinoma
High-energy interactions of xenon gas (which decays into cesium) with incoming solar flares and artificial electromagnetic belts created by US, NATO and Russian missile-defense shields (this synergy is visible in the northern lights that emit a deep green color due to the excitation of xenon, and it is no coincidence that three American nuclear power plants were incapacitated during the recent solar flare)

The growing possibility of mass extinction of marine life in the Pacific Ocean due to the nuclear contamination of major spawning waters for plankton and fish, the bottom of the food chain for higher life-forms, including whales and humans A rising threat to human reproductive health from ingestion of radioactive isotopes through food, drinking water and respiration, resulting in mass abortions and population decline for Japan, a trend that will extend worldwide
Mutations of contagious pathogens, such as bird flu, due to genetic disorders in both microorganism and host species, including domesticated animals and wildlife….. …. .

Polls show that Americans are not supportive of nuclear power

March 10, 2012

More than three out of four Americans (77 percent) would support “a shift of federal loan-guarantee support for energy away from nuclear reactors” in favor of wind and solar power.

Survey: Americans Not Warming Up to Nuclear Power One Year After Fukushima, Market Watch, WASHINGTON, March 7, 2012  Contrary to Industry Predictions, Reactor Disaster Seen As Having a”Lasting Chill” on Perceptions;

It’s Not All Fukushima: 3 in 5 Americans Less Supportive Due to Woes of U.S. Nuclear Industry in Last Year.

One year after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, Americans continue to want to keep the brakes on more nuclear power in the United States, according to a major new ORC International survey conducted for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI). (more…)

Ahmadinejad wrongly represented as talking of “wiping Israel off the map”

March 10, 2012

from Wikileaks: Translation controversy Many news sources repeated the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting statement by Ahmadinejad that “Israel must be wiped off the map”,[5][6] an English idiom which means to “cause a place to stop existing”,[7] or to “obliterate totally”,[8] or “destroy completely”.[9]

Ahmadinejad’s phrase was “بايد از صفحه روزگار محو شود” according to the text published on the President’s Office’s website.[10]

The translation presented by the official Islamic Republic News Agency has been challenged by Arash Norouzi, who says the statement “wiped off the map” was never made and that Ahmadinejad did not refer to the nation or land mass of Israel, but to the “regime occupying Jerusalem”. Norouzi translated the original Persian to English, with the result, “the Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”[11] Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, agrees that Ahmadinejad’s statement should be translated as, “the Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).[12] According to Cole, “Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ because no such idiom exists in Persian.” Instead, “he did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse.”[13] The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the phrase similarly, as “this regime” must be “eliminated from the pages of history.”[14]

Iranian government sources denied that Ahmadinejad issued any sort of threat. On 20 February 2006, Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference: “How is it possible to remove a country from the map? He is talking about the regime. We do not recognize legally this regime.”[15][16][17]

Radiation therapy and secondary cancers

March 10, 2012

Younger patients are especially susceptible to the effects of radiation, and the three cancers that have been most strongly associated with radiation are breast cancer, thyroid cancer and bone marrow cancers, including leukemia

Clinicians say the benefits of radiation treatment for many types of cancer far outweigh the potential risks of experiencing serious adverse effects years later, and say radiation is now a lot safer than it once was. …. ”We try to use radiation as sparingly as possible, but unfortunately, it is frequently part of the cure in a lot of cancers and it’s absolutely necessary,” 

Radiation Therapy Linked to Secondary Cancers   KBOI News, 7 March 12, (NEW YORK) – While the number of cancer survivors has tripled since the 1970s and continues to grow, the cost of that survival for many has been the development of secondary cancers and cardiovascular disease related to radiation treatment, according to an upcoming report by a scientific committee.  (more…)

UNSCEAR to report on radiation health risks in Japan

March 10, 2012

The committee, known as UNSCEAR, will publish a report in May 2013 that aims to give an analysis of radiation dosages among citizens and forecast health risks in the coming decades

Children Wait for UN Radiation Study After Fukushima Crisis, Bloomberg   By Yuriy Humber and Tsuyoshi Inajima  March 05, 2012 As five-year-olds charge through the corridors of a kindergarten in northeast Japan at lunchtime, teacher Junko Kamada says she is still unsure if their food is safe a year after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima plant, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the Sakuragi Hanazono kindergarten in Tagajo city, parents of the 198 children have been seeking assurances that the school lunches are free of radiation…..
wait at least another 14 months for a unified view on food contamination when the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation issues the first global and independent assessment of the Fukushima nuclear accident. (more…)

Radioactive waste in Japan

March 10, 2012

6,800 tons of radiation-tainted rice straw left lying in 8 prefectures, Mainichi Daily News, 5 Mar 12  Some 6,800 metric tons of rice straw contaminated with radioactive substances leaked from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant remains in eight prefectures with no immediate prospect of disposal, the Mainichi has learned.

Moreover, sludge generated from radiation-contaminated waste water as well as ash tainted with radioactive materials amounts to some 97,000 tons in 12 prefectures — 3.6 times the figure as of July last year, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. (more…)

Climate change and groundwater use

March 10, 2012

UN scientists warn of increased groundwater demands due to climate change, Eureka Alert,  Philip Riley, SAN FRANCISCO, March 1, 2012 –– Climate change has been studied extensively, but a new body of research guided by a San Francisco State University hydrologist looks beneath the surface of the phenomenon and finds that climate change will put particular strain on one of our most important natural resources: groundwater.

SF State Assistant Professor of Geosciences Jason Gurdak says that as precipitation becomes less frequent due to climate change, lake and reservoir levels will drop and people will increasingly turn to groundwater for agricultural, industrial, and drinking water needs. The resource accounts for nearly half of all drinking water worldwide, but recharges at a much slower rate than aboveground water sources and in many cases is nonrenewable.

“It is clear that groundwater will play a critical role in society’s adaption to climate change,” said Gurdak, who co-led a United Nations-sponsored group of scientists who are now urging policymakers to increase regulations and conservation measures on nonrenewable groundwater.

The scientists recently released a book of their research, titled “Climate Change Effects on Groundwater Resources,” that is the result of a global groundwater initiative by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They will soon make their case to international policymakers at the March 12-17 World Water Forum in Marseille, France.

The high-profile forum will allow the scientists for the first time to put the comprehensive groundwater findings before decision makers who have the power to enact regulatory changes. Gurdak will recommend closely monitoring or limiting groundwater pumping as well as renewing cooperation from communities to consume less water.

“In many ways, California is leading the way in developing solutions,” he said. “Artificial recharge, managed storage and recovery projects and low impact development around the state will become more important for many local water systems to bank excess water in aquifers.”

The World Water Forum will be held from March 12 to 17 in Marseille, France. ”Climate Change Effects on Groundwater Resources: A Global Synthesis of Findings and Recommendations,” was published in December 2011 by CRC Press. Selections from the book can be read here:

Japn puts stricter limits on radiation in food

March 10, 2012
Japan tightens limits on radiation in food , The New Age, Mar 4 2012 Japan is to place stricter limits on the amount of radiation in vegetables sold for human consumption from April 1. The new maximum limits of radioactive cesium will be between one-twentieth and one quarter of the provisional limits imposed after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant was crippled by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the gigantic tsunami that it triggered on March 11 last year.

Under the revised regulations, the upper limit on foods such as meat, vegetables and fish will be set at 100 becquerels per kilogram. The limit will be 50 becquerels per kg for milk and infant food and a maximum of 10 becquerels for drinking water.

At present, the levels are set at 500 becquerels per kg for the majority of foodstuffs and 200 becquerels for milk, dairy produce and water. There is presently no specific figure for infant food.

The new limits set by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare are a balancing act between food producers, who have argued they are too stringent and will destroy their businesses, and citizens’ groups that are demanding even tighter controls on the food that is eaten in Japan.

Many consumers — particularly those raising young children — say they are confused by the changing regulations and are being careful about what they purchase……

The biggest concerns revolve around the prefectures north of Tokyo, in particular Fukushima Prefecture.
In a report issued this week, France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety reported that while contamination levels in areas around the plant have fallen significantly since the accident, the impact will be “chronic and lasting” for many years. Didier Champion, crisis manager at IRSN, told reporters on February 29 that Japan must maintain vigilant monitoring of fruit, milk, mushrooms, game and fish.

“There are risks of chronic exposure at low dosage, and without care this can build up over time,” he said.

IRSN estimates that 408 peta-becquerels of radioactive iodine were emitted into the atmosphere after the explosions at the plant, although releases of cesium-137 were of greater concern as the element takes around 30 years to decay to half its level of radioactivity….. The Japanese government is attempting to reassure its trading partners that Japanese food is safe and a number of countries, including Canada and Malaysia, have relaxed controls on imports, although they are still monitoring the situation.

On February 24, the European Union announced that it was “reinforcing controls” on imports of food and feed from 12 prefectures in Japan. The EU is requiring that all produce from the affected areas be tested before being shipped out of Japan and says it will be subject to random testing within the EU. -Relaxnews