One of my favorite academic pursuits is historical analysis of forgotten questions. Today I'm pursuing questions about the climate impacts of atmospheric testing, nuclear accidents (Fukushima) and nuclear reprocessing:
The CTBO reports:
"The National Resources Defense Council estimated the total yield of all nuclear tests conducted between 1945 and 1980 at 510 megatons (Mt). Atmospheric tests alone accounted for 428 mt, equivalent to over 29,000 Hiroshima size bombs. (CTBO General overview of the effects of nuclear testing https://www.ctbto.org/nuclear-testing/the-effects-of-nuclear-testing/general-overview-of-theeffects-of-nuclear-testing/)What were the effects of all that "pollution" on Earth. How much has Chernobyl added? How much have routine operations from mining and processing contributed? How much has Fukushima contributed?
Although there is a vast body of literature on dispersion, bioaccumulation and health effects of radionulcides, there is relatively little research that I can find anywhere on climate.
There are plenty of studies that look at the circulation and dispersion of radionuclides. What doesn't get studied much is the effect on weather itself (based on my review of JSTOR and Google Scholar searches).
In 2012 I also searched and summarized results on atmospheric testing and climate here):
I reported than on findings suggesting testing in Utah may have contributed to drought in the US.
Krypton levels increased substantially in the atmosphere during testing:
Anthony Turkevich, Lester Winsberg, Howard Flotow, and Richard M. Adams (1997, April 10). The radioactivity of atmospheric krypton in 1949–1950. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 94, pp. 7807–7810, July 1997
ABSTRACT The chemical element krypton, whose principal source is the atmosphere, had a long-lived radioactive content, in the mid-1940s, of less than 5 dpm per liter of krypton.
In the late 1940s, this content had risen to values in the range of 100 dpm per liter. It is now some hundred times higher than the late 1940 values.
KRYPTON 85 appears to link nuclear with climate change.
Krypton85 issued from nuclear reprocessing and fission could have environmental effects but finding research is challenging.
Here is the EPA's 1972 review of Krypton hazards. It only addresses health implications http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/9100O6VD.PDF?Dockey=9100O6VD.PDF
Here is a good recent review of the potential atmospheric effects of Krypton 85 from The Seneca Effect https://thesenecaeffect.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/krypton-85-how-nuclear-power-plants-cause-climate-change/
Krypton-85 generates tropospheric ozone, during the day as well as during the night. Normally, Ozone concentrations in the troposphere drop to near zero during the night.3 In the presence of Krypton-85 however, ozone can be created at night as well.
What are the effect of this? Not a lot is known yet, unfortunately, despite the estimated eight orders of magnitude increase of ozone in our atmosphere. What is know about ozone however, reveals a cause of concern. Besides the fact that tropospheric ozone functions as a greenhouse gas, ozone damages plants. It is believed that ozone causes relatively more damage when trees are exposed to it at night, when concentrations are normally very low due to the absence of sunlight.4 Other worrisome effects of Krypton-85 are expected as well. In a 1994 study it was suggested that “there are unforeseeable effects for weather and climate if the krypton-85 content of the earth atmosphere continues to rise”.5 In its global atmosphere watch measurement guide, the World Meteorological Organization warned:
You can also read the research cited below supporting the conclusions about climate effects:If 85Kr continues to increase, changes in such atmospheric processes and properties as atmospheric electric conductivity, ion current, the Earth’s magnetic field, formation of cloud condensation nuclei and aerosols, and frequency of lightning may result and thus disturb the Earth’s heat balance and precipitation patterns. These 85Kr-induced consequences call for 85Kr monitoring.6
Climate risks by radioactive krypton-85 from nuclear fission. Atmospheric-electrical and air-chemical effects of ionizing radiation in the atmosphere
Kollert, R. (Kollert und Donderer, Bremen (Germany)); Bund fuer Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V., Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany). Landesverband Baden-Wuerttemberg; Gewaltfreie Aktion Kaiseraugst, Liestal (Switzerland); Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e.V., Muenchen (Germany)
The study shows that krypton-85 from nuclear fission enhances air ionization and, thus, interferes with the atmospheric-electrical system and the water balance of the earth atmosphere. This is reason for concern: There are unforeseeable effects for weather and climate if the krypton-85 content of the earth atmosphere continues to rise. There may be a krypton-specific greenhouse effect and a collapse of the natural atmospheric-electrical field. In addition, human well-being may be expected to be impaired as a result of the diminished atmospheric-electrical field.
There is also the risk of radiochemical actions and effects caused-by krypton-85-containing plumes in other air-borne pollutants like the latters' transformation to aggressive oxidants. This implies radiation smog and more acid rain in the countries exposed. This study summarizes findings gained in these issues by various sciences, analyses them and elaborates hypotheses on the actions and effects of krypton-85 on the air, the atmosphere and the climate. (orig./HP) https://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:26044629
Majia here: Oxidation leads to Acidification http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/Fundamentals/SFMGOxidnAcidn08.pdf
I don't have a figure on how much Krypton-85 was released by Fukushima. I know that Stohl et al found a complete release of all xenon-133, another noble gas:
Stohl A1, Seibert P, Wotawa G The total release of xenon-133 from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident. J Environ Radioact. 2012 Oct;112:155-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jul 7.
The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (FD-NPP) on 11 March 2011 released large amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere. We determine the total emission of the noble gas xenon-133 ((133)Xe) using global atmospheric concentration measurements. For estimating the emissions, we used three different methods: (i) using a purely observation-based multi-box model, (ii) comparisons of dispersion model results driven with GFS meteorological data with the observation data, and (iii) such comparisons with the dispersion model driven by ECMWF data. From these three methods, we have obtained total (133)Xe releases from FD-NPP of (i) 16.7 ± 1.9 EBq, (ii) 14.2 ± 0.8 EBq, and (iii) 19.0 ± 3.4 EBq, respectively.
These values are substantially larger than the entire (133)Xe inventory of FD-NPP of about 12.2 EBq derived from calculations of nuclear fuel burn-up. Complete release of the entire (133)Xe inventory of FD-NPP and additional release of (133)Xe due to the decay of iodine-133 ((133)I), which can add another 2 EBq to the (133)Xe FD-NPP inventory, is required to explain the atmospheric observations. Two of our three methods indicate even higher emissions, but this may not be a robust finding given the differences between our estimates.I wonder what impact all that Krypton-85 that must have been released is having on tropospheric ozone?
I wonder whether the initial and ongoing noble gas emissions, among other radionuclides being released (e.g., tritium, iodine-131), are killing the ocean through oxidizing precipitation in addition to the plume of contaminated water?
Red tide algae has been proven to adapt to greater ocean acidification in at least one study I could find http://www.biogeosciences.net/11/4829/2014/bg-11-4829-2014.pdf
Drought conditions in North America could also be exacerbated by Fukushima's noble gas releases.