Sunday, May 20, 2012

Plutonium AND Fukushima

According to Arjun Makhijani and Scott Saleska in The Nuclear Power Deception: A Report of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research "the classification of plutonium according to grades is somewhat arbitrary" (p. 226)

Plutonium 239 is formed in military and civilian nuclear reactors from Uranium-238.

Plutonium 240 has absorbed an extra neutron (as compared to P-239).
All grades of plutonium can be used to make weapons, although plutonium with less than 7 percent P-240 is preferred for weapons production because the extra neutrons in P-240 make yields less predictable (p. 227).

The oxidation of plutonium poses the greatest health risk "since the resulting insoluble stable compound, plutonium dioxide is in a particular form that can easily be inhaled. It tends to stay in the lungs for long periods, and is also transported to other parts of the body"  (p. 224)

Arjun Makhijani and Scott Saleska explain that if plutonium is being produced for military purposes, then "the 'burn-up' is kept low so that the plutonium-239 produced is as pure as possible--that is, the formation of the higher isotopes, particularly plutonium 240, is kept to a minimum" (p. 226).

Majia here: We still do not know why an explosion occurred in the reactor 4 building and we do not know the nature of the explosion that occurred in 3.

There have never been clear explanations for these occurrences.

After reading about Japan's history with plutonium,
summarized here:

I wonder whether reactor 3 (or 4) weren't just using mox fuel, but may very well have been "enriching" fuel to produce plutonium-based fuel (to "close the fuel cycle") or, perhaps, for weapons.

The cold war with China has been heating up and Japan and China are historically entrenched antagonists.
Wall Street Journal: "Japan Lifts Decadeslong Ban on Export of Weapons" p. A8  Dec 28/2011

Tokai is the place where Japan historically enriched plutonium for their breeder reactor program

I have to wonder why all the secrecy and deception about reactor 4 and why reactor 3 has simply been dropped from the news entirely, despite having had a very severe, nuclear-looking explosion back in March 2011.

Irrespective of why it was being produced, it is clear that plutonium was produced (intentionally or not) and has been spread throughout parts of Japan (and maybe in the US and Canada as well) 

NHK reporting Plutonium detected "Plutonium detected again in Fukushima plant soil Tokyo Electric Power Company has again detected a very small volume of plutonium in soil samples from the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The operator of the plant collected samples from 4 locations at the compound of the plant on March 25th and 28th for analysis by an outside organization. The utility says the radioactive substance was detected on the soil about 500 meters west-northwest of the No.1 reactor and a site near a solid waste storage facility 500 meters north of the reactor. The first sample measured 0.26 becquerels of plutonium-238 per 1 kilogram of soil, down about 50 percent from the volume found earlier.

Ex-SKF Monday, August 15, 2011Neptunium-239 Detected from Soil in Iitate-mura in Fukushima???

[Excerpt] The information comes from a strange source - the husband and wife comedian couple cum independent journalists attending and reporting on TEPCO and the government press conferences when they are not on stage.

their blogpost on August 11 (in Japanese), they relate their talk with a researcher at the University of Tokyo who has submitted a scientific paper to a foreign academic society. This researcher, whom they say they cannot name because the paper is being reviewed right now, went to Fukushima and collected soil samples, rice hay samples, and water samples. He even went to the front of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and collected samples there.

He also went to Iitate-mura. And he tells the couple that
he found neptunium-239 in Iitate-mura, about 38 kilometers from the plant, in approximately the same amount as he found at the front gate of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. That is the topic of his paper. ...

Uranium-239, whose half life is about 24 minutes, decays into neptunium-239 through beta decay. Neptunium-239, gamma emitter whose half life is about 2.4 days, decays into plutonium-239 whose half life is 24,200 years.

If this Tokyo University researcher went to Iitate-mura after April 20 and he was still detecting neptunium-239 whose half life is only 2.4 days, I just abhor to think of the implications. The locations that he found neptunium-239, in Iitate-mura and in front of the plant, were never tested by the Ministry of Education and Science or by TEPCO, according to the post.

Evacuation of Iitate-mura wasn't completed till late May, but not all villagers evacuated. There are still old people living in the village, and the villagers regularly go back to the village to check up on things.

I don't know how much longer Japan can continue to "Extend and Pretend", but probably much longer than anyone outside expects. We'll find out when this paper gets published.

[end excerpt]


Ex-SKF Monday, September 12, 2011 Nikkan SPA Magazine: Researcher Says Large Amount of Neptunium-239 Also in Date City, Fukushima

[excerpted] "It's the same researcher who said several thousand becquerels/kg of neptunium-239 was found in the soil in Iitate-mura, about 35 km northwest of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. It seems it's not just Iitate-mura that got doused with neptunium, which decays into plutonium. Date City, about 25 km northwest from Iitate-mura and 60 km from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, also got a large amount of neptunium...." [END EXCERPT]


Understanding the Ongoing Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima: A “Two-Headed Dragon” Descends into the Earth’s Biosphere by Fujioka Atsushi Translated by Michael K. Bourdaghs 

[excerpted] March 21: A Second Massive Release of Radiation
On the morning of March 21 the wind was blowing from the north. In areas downwind from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant (including the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Plant and the cities of Kita Ibaraki, Takahagi and Mito), levels of airborne radiation suddenly spiked. What caused this abnormal jump? 

According to Tanabe Fumiya, an expert in nuclear power, at this same time the air pressure inside the pressure container of the No. 3 reactor, the one that used MOX (a mixed oxide fuel containing both plutonium and uranium), suddenly soared to 110 times the normal level. Because of this extremely high pressure, it was no longer possible to add cooling water from outside; as a result, the damaged fuel rods in the reactor once again went into meltdown, and the resulting build up of steam led to an explosion. 

The molten remnants of the fuel rods then breached the pressure container and leaked to the floor of the containment vessel. Tanabe concludes that the blast caused some of the radiation to escape the reactor, leading to contamination of the downwind region, an area extending from the interior of Fukushima prefecture to Kita Ibaraki.7.

On March 23, a new plume formed, moving southwest from the coastal areas of Ibaraki through Chiba prefecture. During this period, most of the Kantō region saw several days of rain, resulting in accumulations of radioactive materials on the ground across the region.8 ...

Majia here:  Here are more links on plutonium contamination

Study: Modeling Fukushima NPP P-239 and Np-239 Atmospheric Dispersion


Plutonium Found in Japan: Plutonium Keeps on Giving Even When You're Dead

Japan has a law, Article 15, that allows Japan to suppress news to prevent riots. What isn't Japan reporting?

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