Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fukushima's radioactive ocean plume due to reach US waters in 2014

A radioactive plume of water in the Pacific Ocean from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, which was crippled in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, will likely reach U.S. coastal waters starting in 2014, according to a new study. The long journey of the radioactive particles could help researchers better understand how the ocean’s currents circulate around the world.

TEPCO estimated that between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels (units of radioactivity representing decay per second) of radioactive tritium have leaked into the ocean since the disaster, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. The Fukushima plant is still leaking about 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean every day, according to Japanese government officials.

The Fukushima plant is leaking much less contaminated water today compared with the immediate aftermath of the nuclear meltdown in June 2011 — a period when scientists measured 5,000 to 15,000 trillion becquerels of radioactive substances reaching the ocean.
The biggest threat in the contaminated water that flowed directly from Fukushima's reactors into the sea in June 2011 was huge quantities of the radionuclide called cesium. But the danger has changed over time as groundwater became the main source for leaks into the ocean. Soil can naturally absorb the cesium in groundwater, but other radionuclides, such as strontium and tritium, flow more freely through the soil into the ocean.

California’s coast may receive just 10 to 20 becquerels per cubic meter from 2016 to 2025

About 10 to 30 becquerels (units of radioactivity representing decay per second) per cubic meter of cesium-137 could reach U.S. and Canadian coastal waters north of Oregon between 2014 and 2020.
A large proportion of the radioactive plume from the initial Fukushima release won't even reach U.S. coastal waters anytime soon. Instead, the majority of the cesium-137 will remain in the North Pacific gyre — a region of ocean that circulates slowly clockwise and has trapped debris in its center to form the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” — and continue to be diluted for approximately a decade following the initial Fukushima release in 2011. (The water from the current power plant leak would be expected to take a similar long-term path to the initial plume released, Rossi said.)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aquatic Fukushima Radiation Plume to Reach West Coast in 2014 -- HIGHLY DILUTED

By March of 2014 a strongly diluted plume of ocean water containing radionuclides from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan will reach the west coast of North America

However, the plume, which contains cesium-137, is so diluted it will be harmless, according to the report, which cites the power of two energetic currents off the Japan coast

Study co-author Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said that a measurable increase in radioactive material will be observable on the west coast of the United States by the three-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear incident.

"However, people on those coastlines should not be concerned as the concentration of radioactive material quickly drops below World Health Organization safety levels as soon as it leaves Japanese waters," he said in a news release.

Oceanographer van Sebille said over time "the great majority of the radioactive material will stay in the North Pacific, with very little crossing south of the Equator in the first decade. Eventually over a number of decades, a measurable but otherwise harmless signature of the radiation will spread into other ocean basins, particularly the Indian and South Pacific oceans."

Radioactive ocean plume from Fukushima to reach U.S. coast in 2014

The researchers have created a website to track the path of the radiation.

According to new research, within 3 years of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, the resulting radioactive ocean plume will reach American shores. It is likely to be harmless. Atmospheric radiation was detected within days of the incident along the west coast, but ocean particles take considerably longer to travel the same distance...

Read more:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fukushima Meltdown Has Not Polluted the Entire Pacific, No Need to Panic!

That image is being widely misrepresented as radiation spread, when it was instead mapping the height of Tsunami waves.  The article went on to say
Does that mean we are all safe and can continue to live as though it is safe to eat anything in the ocean? Absolutely not, we have been dumping radiation into the environment for decades. Many species of fish travel this circle of ocean currents too, and will pick up increasing contamination with every swim by Japan. Little creatures that live in the ocean bottom near the reactor will stir up the sand and mud, and release some of the particles that are the worst, releasing those radioactive particles into the water and absorbing them at ever-increasing rates. Big fish eat little fish, and the problem escalates right up the food chain.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wrecked Fukushima storage tank leaking highly radioactive water

(Reuters) - Contaminated water with dangerously high levels of radiation is leaking from a storage tank at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the most serious setback to the cleanup of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

The storage tank breach of about 300 metric tons of water is separate from contaminated water leaks reported in recent weeks, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Tuesday.

Re: West Coast of North America to Be Hit Hard by Fukushima Radiation

Radiation levels in the ocean are expected to concentrate in pockets.  That's because ocean currents will ensure the radioactive water doesn't disperse evenly, but the dispersion will be based on where the currents go.

The people on Washington's Blog are rightfully concerned about the situation, but are presenting the negative portion of results from a study of probable dispersion into the ocean

The way they portray it is by saying "The paper shows that the West Coast of North American could end up with 10 times more radioactive cesium 137 than the coastal waters off of Japan itself."

It does say that, and it also says the radiation should be homogeneous across the North Pacific, but it also says: "The magnitude of additional peak radioactivity should drop to values comparable to the pre-Fukushima levels after 6–9 years (i.e. total peak concentrations would then have declined below twice pre-Fukushima levels)."

Is that so bad?

Here's the entire quote.
In the following years, the tracer cloud continuously expands laterally, with maximum concentrations in its central part heading east. While the northern portion is gradually invading the Bering Sea, the main tracer patch reaches the coastal waters of North America after 5–6 years, with maximum relative concentrations ( > 1 × 10−4) covering a broad swath of the eastern North Pacific between Vancouver Island and Baja California. Simultaneously some fraction of the southern rim of the tracer cloud becomes entrained in the North Equatorial Current (NEC), resulting in a westward extending wedge around 20°N that skirts the northern shores of the Hawaiian Archipelago. After 10 years the concentrations become nearly homogeneous over the whole Pacific, with higher values in the east, extending along the North American coast with a maximum (~1 × 10−4) off Baja California. The southern portion of the tracer cloud is carried westward by the NEC across the subtropical Pacific, leading to increasing concentrations in the Kuroshio regime again.
With caution given to the various idealizations (unknown actual oceanic state during release, unknown release area, no biological effects included, see section 3.4), the following conclusions may be drawn. (i) Dilution due to swift horizontal and vertical dispersion in the vicinity of the energetic Kuroshio regime leads to a rapid decrease of radioactivity levels during the first 2 years, with a decline of near-surface peak concentrations to values around 10 Bq m−3 (based on a total input of 10 PBq). The strong lateral dispersion, related to the vigorous eddy fields in the mid-latitude western Pacific, appears significantly under-estimated in the non-eddying (0.5°) model version. (ii) The subsequent pace of dilution is strongly reduced, owing to the eastward advection of the main tracer cloud towards the much less energetic areas of the central and eastern North Pacific. (iii) The magnitude of additional peak radioactivity should drop to values comparable to the pre-Fukushima levels after 6–9 years (i.e. total peak concentrations would then have declined below twice pre-Fukushima levels). (iv) By then the tracer cloud will span almost the entire North Pacific, with peak concentrations off the North American coast an order-of-magnitude higher than in the western Pacific.

Source: West Coast of North America to Be Hit Hard by Fukushima Radiation

Friday, August 9, 2013

Breaking News: Fukushima Radiation Affecting Americans And There’s No Way To Stop It

Overly alarmist and maybe even inaccurate reporting on the radiation risk.

It includes information claiming the debris in the ocean heading towards the US is radioactive - when there's no way for that to be true.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Japan says Fukushima leak worse than thought, government joins clean-up

(Reuters) - Highly radioactive water from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is pouring out at a rate of 300 tons a day, officials said on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to step in and help in the clean-up.

The revelation amounted to an acknowledgement that plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has yet to come to grips with the scale of the catastrophe, 2 1/2 years after the plant was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami. Tepco only recently admitted water had leaked at all.

As early as January this year, Tepco found fish contaminated with high levels of radiation inside a port at the plant. Local fishermen and independent researchers had already suspected a leak of radioactive water, but Tepco denied the claims.

"We think that the volume of water (leaking into the Pacific) is about 300 tons a day," said Yushi Yoneyama, an official with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees energy policy.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an 'emergency'

(Reuters) - Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an "emergency" that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country's nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Radioactive Fukushima groundwater rises above barrier: media

TEPCO has been trying to build an underground wall to contain Radioactive groundwater, preventing it from getting into the ocean.  But the water seeps over the top of the barrier and gets into the ocean anyway.