Monday, June 11, 2012


US Particulate and Xenon Measurements Made Following the Fukushima Reactor Accident
1 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
2 The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
Justin McIntyre1, Steve Biegalski2, Ted Bowyer1, Matt Copper1, Paul
Eslinger1, Jim Hayes1, Derek Haas1, Harry Miley1, J.P. Rishel1, Vincent

•    Xenon-133 measurements were x450,000 our detection levels using a SAUNA-II xenon measurement system in Pacific Northwest
•    Noble gas does not “washout,” and is the first emitted from any possible fuel damage
•    Levels persisted for weeks and isotopes were ultimately detected across the northern hemisphere

This research is the basis for the following articles, submitted for review:

•    S. Biegalski, et al., US Particulate and Xenon Measurements Made Following the Fukushima Reactor Accident, accepted for publication in Jour. of Envir Radioactivity, 2011
•    T. Bowyer, et al., Elevated Radioxenon Detected Remotely Following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. Jour. of Envir.Radioactivity 102 (7):681-687. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2011.04.009
•    P. Eslinger, et al., Source Term Estimation of Radioxenon Released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactors Using Measured Air Concentrations and Atmospheric Transport Modeling, to be submitted in Jour. of Envir. Radioactivity, 2011


Radioxenon levels were 40,000X Average Concentration In Pacific Northwest in Week Following Accident.  Bowyer, T. W. et al. (2011). Elevated Radioxenon Detected Remotely Following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 102, 681-687

Title: Canopy-Forming Kelps as California’s Coastal Dosimeter: 131I from Damaged Japanese Reactor Measured in Macrocystis pyrifera (ACS Publications) Source: Environmental Science & Technology Author: Steven L. Manley and Christopher G. Lowe, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University Publication Date (Web): March 6, 2012 Copyright © 2012 American Chemical Society.

•    Abstract: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, damaged by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 released large amounts of 131I into the atmosphere, which was assimilated into canopy blades of Macrocystis pyrifera sampled from coastal California. The specific activity calculated to the estimated date of deposition/assimilation ranged from 0.6 to 2.5 Bq gdwt–1, levels greater than those measured from kelps from Japan and Canada prior to the release. These 131I levels represent a significant input into the kelp forest ecosystem. Canopy-forming kelps are a natural coastal dosimeter that can measure the exposure of the coastal environment to 131I and perhaps other radioisotopes released from nuclear accidents. An organizational mechanism should be in place to ensure that they are sampled immediately and continuously after such releases.

•    Findinding: Southern California had 2,500 Bq/kg of iodine-131 in seaweed — Over 500% higher than other tests in U.S., Canada

Interview with the authors:
Title: Study Finds Radioactive Fallout in California Kelp Beds
Source: Everything Long Beach Date:April 5, 2012
•    “Radioactivity is taken up by the kelp and anything that feeds on the kelp will be exposed to this also,” [California State University, Long Beach marine biology professors Steven L. Manley] continued. “Even though we detected low levels, it still got into the environment and we don’t know anything about the other radioisotopes like cesium 137, which stays around much longer than iodine. In fact, the values that we reported for iodine probably underestimate what was probably in there. It could be two to three times more because we were just sampling the surface tissue; the biomass estimates were based on canopy tissue and a lot of kelp biomass is underneath. So, probably two or three times more was in the tissue at its height. Then it enters the coastal food web and gets dispersed over a variety of organisms. I would assume it’s there. It’s not a good thing, but whether it actually has a measureable [sic] detrimental effect is beyond my expertise.” [...]
•    “Chris and I are pretty happy with this study,” Manley said, “because it was just one of those spur of the moment things and it panned out really well.”


Fukushima Fallout in New Hampshire: Radioactive iodine at 12,000 atoms per square meter in sediment (STUDY) Surficial redistribution of fallout 131iodine in a small temperate catchment Joshua D. Landisa,1,     Nathan T. Hamma,     Carl E. Renshawa,     W. Brian Dadea,     Francis J. Magilliganb, and    John D. Gartnera. Edited by Mark H Thiemens, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved January 19, 2012 (received for review November 14, 2011) PNAS
•    ABSTRACT: Isotopes of iodine play significant environmental roles, including a limiting micronutrient (127I), an acute radiotoxin (131I), and a geochemical tracer (129I). But the cycling of iodine through terrestrial ecosystems is poorly understood, due to its complex environmental chemistry and low natural abundance. To better understand iodine transport and fate in a terrestrial ecosystem, we traced fallout 131iodine throughout a small temperate catchment following contamination by the 11 March 2011 failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. We find that radioiodine fallout is actively and efficiently scavenged by the soil system, where it is continuously focused to surface soils over a period of weeks following deposition. Mobilization of historic (pre-Fukushima) 137cesium observed concurrently in these soils suggests that the focusing of iodine to surface soils may be biologically mediated. Atmospherically deposited iodine is subsequently redistributed from the soil system via fluvial processes in a manner analogous to that of the particle-reactive tracer 7beryllium, a consequence of the radionuclides’ shared sorption affinity for fine, particulate organic matter. These processes of surficial redistribution create iodine hotspots in the terrestrial environment where fine, particulate organic matter accumulates, and in this manner regulate the delivery of iodine nutrients and toxins alike from small catchments to larger river systems, lakes and estuaries.


Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program—Wet Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8–April 5, 2011 By Gregory A. Wetherbee, Timothy M. Debey, Mark A. Nilles, Christopher M.B. Lehmann, and David A. Gay
Radioactive isotopes I-131, Cs-134, or Cs-137, products of uranium fission, were measured at approximately 20 percent of 167 sampled National Atmospheric Deposition Program monitoring sites in North America (primarily in the contiguous United States and Alaska) after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant incident on March 12, 2011. Samples from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program were analyzed for the period of March 8–April 5, 2011. Calculated 1- or 2-week radionuclide deposition fluxes at 35 sites from Alaska to Vermont ranged from 0.47 to 5,100 Becquerels per square meter during the sampling period of March 15–April 5, 2011. No fission-product isotopes were measured in National Atmospheric Deposition Program samples obtained during March 8–15, 2011, prior to the arrival of contaminated air in North America.
Finding: Portland-area had highest Iodine-131 deposition in US at 5,100 Bq/m² by April 5 -Gov’t Study


Washington Post: Mufson, S. (2012, Feb 7). “Messages show conflict within NRC after Japan’s earthquakes and tsunami” Washington Post

 “While assuring Americans publicly that there was no danger, the NRC did not disclose one worst-case scenario, which did not rule out the possibility of radiation exceeding safe levels for thyroid doses in Alaska, the e-mails show. “Because things were uncertain, we considered it but the data that was available . . . did not support that very pessimistic scenario so no, it was not discussed publicly at that point,” NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said. In the end, Alaska was not affected. “

Gov’t Report: Kansas detected Iodine-131 in grass at over 2,000 pCi/kg — “Attributed to Fukushima” —Report of Radiological Environmental Monitoring of the Environs Surrounding Wolf Creek Generating Station, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, July 2010-June 2011: Sample: WCFV-1-A-005-2.5 Location: Sharpe  \ Type: Pasturage  Date: April 5, 2011
•    “Sample contained 2072.0 ± 72 pCi/kg 131I and 503.0 ± 29 137Cs. This was not a result of WCGS operation, but is attributed to the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan.”


Marco Kaltofen has conducted air and soil samples in the Pacific Northwest. He has posted his air sampling samples here:

Conference Paper by Marco Kaltofen (2011, Oct. 31) “Radiation Exposure to the Population in Japan after the Earthquake. American Public Health Association.

His summary: My group measured soil, air filter and dust samples from Washington, Oregon, California, and British Columbia. This particular soil sample, with 8 pCi/g of radiocesium, was our highest North American result. It came from a site on the outskirts of Portland, OR. The next highest result came from a site near Boulder, CO. Except for followup samples near these two sites, no other US or Canadian samples came close to the levels of radiocesium in these “hot spots.” Given the nature of radioactive fallout, this is an expected result. Both hot spots are likely due to rainouts that took place during March or April 2011. A recent study by the USGS, “Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program—Wet Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8–April 5, 2011″, found remarkably similar results. The USGS study was more detailed, (and more with a much bigger budget), and found evidence of rainouts at Portland and Boulder. When you collect a lot of samples, some are bound to be much higher than the average.

“Radiation Levels in Northwest Rain Were Up to 131 Times Drinking Water Standards Following Fukushima, Japan Nuclear Reactor Explosion.” Heart of American Northwest. Press Release July 7: “Radiation Levels in Rain in WA and OR were high enough to be of concern despite news reports and officials stating that levels were ‘below any level of public health concern’”

Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gunderson Cesium has been detected in the pollen of California trees (Gundersen: Cesium-134 and -137 detected in Southern California pollen sample — “When you find them both together that’s a Fukushima signature” (VIDEO Title: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster – One Year Later. Source: Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Nuclear Expert. Uploaded by: ChrisNolandTV Upload Date: Apr. 18, 2012. Available:


Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater. PNAS. Christopher R. Armstronga,1, May Nymanb, Tatiana Shvarevaa, Ginger E. Sigmonc, Peter C. Burnsc,d, and Alexandra Navrotskya,2 Contributed by Alexandra Navrotsky, November 30, 2011 (sent for review October 31, 2011)

•    The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident brought together compromised irradiated fuel and large amounts of seawater in a high radiation field. Based on newly acquired thermochemical data for a series of uranyl peroxide compounds containing charge-balancing alkali cations, here we show that nanoscale cage clusters containing as many as 60 uranyl ions, bonded through peroxide and hydroxide bridges, are likely to form in solution or as precipitates under such conditions. These species will enhance the corrosion of the damaged fuel and, being thermodynamically stable and kinetically persistent in the absence of peroxide, they can potentially transport uranium over long distances.

Mangano, J. & Sherman, J. (2012). An Unexpected Mortality Increase in the United States Following Arrival of the Radioactive Plume from Fukushima: Is There a Correlation? International Journal of Health Services, 42(1): 47-62.

Excess mortality statistics by independent researcher Robert Soltysik

Hat Tip: Many of these citations were brought to my attention by the site administrator. Thank you.

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