Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cesium Rich Microparticles


PhyOrg is reporting on a study of "cesium-rich microparticles" produced by the Fukushima accident. Scientists studying Daiichi's fallout have distinguished:
1. Soluble cesium
2. Cesium microparticles

These are distinguished by their concentration of radioactivity, as noted by one of the researchers involved in the study:
August 14, 2018, Goldschmidt Conference (2018). First reliable estimates of highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by Fukushima disaster. PhysOrg. Available: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-reliable-highly-radioactive-cesium-rich-microparticles.html#jCp

Dr. Utsunomiya, "However, we realized that the cesium-rich microparticle has an extremely high radioactivity ~1011 Bq/g compared with the much lower radioactivity for cesium-sorbing clay particles, and this can be used to distinguish the two types. So we have established a novel procedure to quantify the cesium-rich microparticles by applying a quantitative autoradiography method"...

This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed—the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health"
The actual research study described by PhysOrg is available here:

Ikehara, R. et al (2018) Novel Method of Quantifying Radioactive Cesium-Rich Microparticles (CsMPs) in the Environment from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2018, 52 (11), pp 6390–6398 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06693 https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.7b06693
I don't have time to read it right now - classes start today but will follow up with discussion.


PREVIOUS POSTS ON CESIUM IN JAPAN


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This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed—the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health"

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-reliable-highly-radioactive-cesium-rich-microparticles.html#jCp



This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed—the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health"

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-reliable-highly-radioactive-cesium-rich-microparticles.html#jCp
This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed—the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health"

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-reliable-highly-radioactive-cesium-rich-microparticles.html#jCp
This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed—the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health"

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-reliable-highly-radioactive-cesium-rich-microparticles.html#jCp


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Missing Radioactive Materials




I read in The Asahi Shimbun today that Japan's Environmental Ministry reported losing a 10-kilogram sample of radioactive soil from Fukushima Daiichi:
Tsuyoshi Kawamura (2018, August 15). Ministry loses radioactive soil sent to Tokyo from Fukushima. The Asahi Shimbun http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201808150059.html
You would think governments would treat radioactive materials more carefully but it turns out they go missing with alarming regularity.


I imagine there are many reasons radioactive materials "go missing." Sometimes unwanted radioactive materials go missing conveniently as they are dumped somewhere. Remember the story of the Italian mafia dumping radioactive waste off of Italy's coast?

Other times radioactive material is stolen, especially when it can be used to make weapons.

The US has a clear record of missing radioactive materials:
US nuclear materials stolen last year are still missing - BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44852863
Jul 16, 2018 - A new report claims that nuclear materials stolen from US Department of Energy (DOE) employees last year in Texas are still missing.

Weapons grade plutonium goes missing from US university | The ...
https://www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas
May 5, 2018 - The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the university could not account for about a 30th of an ounce (one gram) of the material, which is ...

The US government has trouble keeping track of radioactive material ...
https://www.theverge.com/2018/.../radioactive-plutonium-cesium-car-san-antonio-stol...
Jul 17, 2018 - In March 2017, thieves made off with radiation detectors and small ... But the fact that the radiological materials could be stolen is a bad sign.

Plutonium is missing, but the government says nothing | Center for ...
https://www.publicintegrity.org/2018/.../plutonium-missing-government-says-nothing
Jul 16, 2018 - Losses of civilian nuclear material are usually disclosed, but when the government loses nuclear bomb ingredients it stays mum.

Stolen plutonium still missing after more than a year: report | TheHill
thehill.com/.../397247-plutonium-still-missing-after-being-stolen-from-security-expert...
Jul 16, 2018 - An unknown amount of radioactive nuclear material that was stolen from ... security experts in San Antonio more than a year ago is still missing, ...

Plutonium Stolen From Texas Last Year Eludes US Authorities ...
https://sputniknews.com/us/201807171066415782-nuclear-material-texas-stolen-pluto...
Jul 17, 2018 - The worst part of the news is that the stolen radioactive material is only a fraction of all nuclear material stolen or lost in the US. According to the ...

This alarming map shows dozens of radioactive materials thefts and ...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../this-alarming-map-shows-dozens-of-nuclear-mate...
Dec 6, 2013 - Nuclear material is stolen or lost dozens of times every year. This map shows where.

Small amount of nuclear material stolen last year: Police - ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/small-amount-nuclear-material-stolen-year.../story?id...Jul 17, 2018 - Federal watchdogs have previously flagged troubles tracking lost nuclear material overseas. Last year, the U.S. Government Accountability ...

The lesson from these stories is that radioactive materials are NEVER fully contained.


 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Fukushima Daiichi After Recent Earthquake


A recent earthquake off of Honshu did not result in any significant changes visible on the Fukushima Daiichi webcam, perhaps because the quake's epicenter was quite a ways south:

Magnitude 5.1 earthquake 8 miles from Isumi, Chiba Prefecture, Japan · 8:35 PM
 
However, the view of units 1 and 2 is rather strange looking. There is clearly stuff on the lens:
 
The view of units 3 and 4 is more sedate. New machinery can be seen in front of the white vent stack.
  

News on the plant is scarce unless one goes to the TEPCO website directly.
 
I read that a Japanese artist is facing censure for producing a statute of a girl wearing what looks like radioactive-protective clothing in Fukushima:
Kyodo (2018, August 13).Japanese artist faces backlash for ‘unscientific’ statue of child in protective gear in Fukushima.South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2159406/japanese-artist-faces-backlash-unscientific-statue-child
Yanobe apologised on his website Friday for “discomforting” some people with his artwork, which was created in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown and installed near JR Fukushima station in the city of Fukushima on August 3.
It is a strange world when reputational damage trumps frank discussions of hazards to children.