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The following is a brief post to describe how radionuclides are measured in seawater so that the methodology being applied to the monitoring of Fukushima derived radionuclides in the ocean can be better understood.  

The primary goal of the post is to answer basic questions like:

Why are most up to date reports in the scientific literature talking about samples collected in 2012 or early 2013 when we know release of radionuclides from the accident site are ongoing?

Why are researchers only reporting values for isotopes like cesium-134 (Cs-134), cesium-137 (Cs-137) but rarely for potentially more harmful isotopes like strontium-90 (Sr-90)?

I will focus on how the Cs isotopes are measured and contrast this approach with the detection of Sr-90 in seawater.  These elements are selected here because Cs isotopes were released in large amounts and can be used to trace the impact in the environment and the potential for Sr-90 to have significant impact on organisms makes it an isotope of interest. This focus on Cs and Sr should not be interpreted to imply that these are the only radionuclides to have been released from Fukushima.

To begin with the Cs isotopes are detected primarily through the release of gamma radiation while Sr-90 is detected by beta radiation released during decay.

Measurement of Cs-134 and Cs-137 in seawater
Example study using this methodology here

Large volume seawater samples (~20 – 100 liters or ~ 5 – 20 US gallons) are collected using pumps for surface waters or sampling bottles on a frame deployed from the ship on a hydrowire for sampling deeper waters. On return to the ship these samples are filtered through 1 micron (10^-6 meter) filter capsules to remove particulate material with >99% of the Cs passing through the filter as Cs is present primarily in the dissolved phase.  A known amount of stable Cs is added to monitor the recovery of Cs in the chemical separation and concentration steps that lead up to counting the gamma radiation given off by Cs-134 and Cs-137.  The seawater is allowed to flow across plastic beads that have been modified to be chemically “sticky” for Cs.  At a rate of ~30 – 300 milliliter per minute each sample is passed through a cartridge containing the plastic beads and anywhere from 85 – 99% of Cs isotopes are retained in the cartridge. These cartridges are dried, placed in plastic containers and transferred to the gamma radiation spectrometer to determine Cs isotopes.  Investigators generally use either coaxial or well-type high purity germanium detectors. These detectors are ~40% efficient with respect to measuring gamma decay events and have a resolution of ~1.5 kilo electron volts.  Gamma spectra are integrated and quantified.  Counting times for such samples are usually days to a week depending on the Cs activity with resulting uncertainties in Cs isotope activities between 5 – 12% largely from counting statistics.

Measurement of Sr-90 in seawater
Example of a study using this methodology.

The measurement of Sr-90 is a little more complicated given its lower levels in the environment and the presence of other beta radiation emitters that it must be separated from to obtain accurate data.  For each measurement an additional 20 L of seawater is collected.  This seawater is acidified and then stable Sr and yttrium (Y) are added to monitor yield of subsequent purification steps along with high concentrations of iron (Fe3+).  Strontium-90 concentrations are actually determined by monitoring its daughter product Y-90 (half-life = 64 hours) using beta counting.  The large volumes of amended seawater are left to equilibrate overnight and then the pH is adjusted up to >8 to precipitate Fe-oxides that the Y-90 sticks to and settles out of solution as a solid. This precipitate is filtered out onto a nitrocellulose filter and completely dissolved in 20 milliliters of nitric acid (8 mole per liter).  The Y-90 is purified from this solution by a two step ion-exchange column process to separate Y-90 from other beta emitters.  After the final purification step the Y-90 is recovered onto another filter and then is ready for beta counting.  Recovery of yttrium ranges from 10 to 85% through this process. Counting is carried out over and initial period of 2 to 2.5 days.  Samples are remeasured for a similar duration 1 week and again at 3 weeks to determine that the half-life of beta decay in the samples is the result of Y-90.

So for paired measurements of the Cs isotopes 134 and 137 and the determination of Sr-90 up to 120 L of seawater must be processed as described above.  Counting of an individual sample can take on the order of a week for Cs and days for Sr with the Sr samples requiring multiple analysis over a period of at least 3 weeks to provide data with appropriate accuracy and precision.

The data are hard won and require significant amounts of skilled labor and expertise to carry out.

Originally posted to MarineChemist on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:13 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech, Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  most people don't (15+ / 0-)

    realize that science tends to take time.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:46:29 PM PST

    •  Most people haven't had science really (10+ / 0-)

      explained to them in a way that makes sense. Add that to the corporate science establishment that gets paid to lie and you go a long way in explaining why people trust science less and less. That and the clear connection between science and industry, and the obvious corrupting effect industry has on other institutions connected to it, are why so many people are willing to believe nonsense like the Anti-vax movement.

      For literally every single generation of nuclear power plant the public has been told that there is no chance of a melt down or contamination. Why is anyone surprised when they don't believe that it's true this time?

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:21:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not on television. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, AoT, LilithGardener, jilikins, raincrow

      Heck, the crime scene people there get their DNA matches in moments, identifications in instants.

      "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

      by CitizenJoe on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 06:02:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  socalled "CSI effect" allegedly influencing juries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raincrow

        Supposedly juries are placing more weight on physical evidence and are becoming inclined to treat its absence as reasonable doubt.  Cases that would have been open and shut a decade ago are now harder to prosecute because juries are expecting types and quantity of evidence that are not normally collected or not realistic to collect.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 02:47:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very helpful - thanks. Republished - (8+ / 0-)



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:01:26 PM PST

  •  But, but (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    codairem, Mike Kahlow, Joieau, jilikins

    That is 3 weeks to get results if I read this correctly and results are from 2012 and early 2013.  Seems they can be more current. I guess what I want to know is are Pacific fish safe to eat and how close to a danger point are we?

    •  Looks like more than three weeks to me. (10+ / 0-)

      From the strontium article linked:

      The water acquired June 2011 (experimental section).

      Samples were stored in Barcelona and then processed. Processing involved sending some of the sample to another university to double-check after the three-week process. From the experimental section:

      The supernatants from the first separation of iron hydroxides described in Sect. 2.2 were stored and sent to Universidad de Sevilla to proceed with an alternative direct determination of 90 Sr in the same samples. The initial objective was to perform these measurements as a quality control exercise to validate the results obtained by the method described previously
      in Sect. 2.2.

      The conventional radiochemical procedure (Harvey et al., 1989) applied for isolation and purification of the 89 Sr and 90 Sr in the supplied supernatants was based in an initial oxalate precipitation, followed by a transformation of the oxalate precipitate into carbonate by calcination to 550 C. Subsequently, calcium was mostly eliminated by fuming acid precipitation, followed by the dissolution of the precipitate in water, its evaporation to dryness and its posterior re- dissolution in nitric acid.

      Barium was afterwards separated from strontium by for-
      mation of barium chromate precipitation, and yttrium was
      removed by two successive hydroxide precipitations. Strontium was finally purified by its precipitation with a saturated solution of sodium carbonate, subsequent conversion of the precipitate to strontium nitrate by adding concentrated HNO3, the dissolution of the precipitate with hot water, and the final precipitation of the Sr as SrCO3 by adding again a saturated solution of sodium carbonate. The final SrCO3 precipitate was homogeneously distributed over the counting planchet and dried until constant weight in a desiccator.

      That's a lot of chemistry for multiple samples. And you still have to find out how much of the strontium is radioactive.

      Then you have to write up the results & go through peer review. Looking again at the strontium publication:

      Publication Received: 27 December 2012 –
      Published in Biogeosciences Discuss.: 5 February 2013
      Revised: 25 April 2013 –
      Accepted: 2 May 2013 –
      Published: 3 June 2013

      The authors had to write the paper (probably took a couple of months), then submitted in December 2012. As a result of discussions/reviews, a revised version was submitted in April, it was accepted for publication in May, and then published in June 2013.

      All in all, this was probably pretty fast work. We'd like to be faster, but this is what's required for valid scientific measurements & publications.

      •  Amazingly enough, (6+ / 0-)

        nukes themselves - and the host of nuclear concerns/regulators all over the world - manage to obtain radiation readings several times a day of both airborne releases and water discharges (as well as in-plant and RCS levels) that are deemed accurate enough to log, tell them what's happening with their reactor chemistry, tell them how much of what is going out, etc., etc. Every day, no 6-9 month delays.

        Sure, when you're writing a paper for career credit you're feeling no real time pressures for anything but being first in print. So you can take all the time you want. One of the favorite methods of minimizing release figures at nuke plants even follows this scenario somewhat, in that samples and filters tend to get 'stored' or just plain 'lost' long enough for statistically significant decay to occur before they're processed and the readings logged. But they can - and do - obtain good readings in real-time regularly. Just so you know.

        Then again, that's applied science. Actual work. Not academic science, which tends to answer merely academic questions, and certainly not in real-time. I am now wondering what good answering these merely academic questions is actually doing anybody concerned about contamination from Daiichi. Especially since it's being used in a nuke industry PR campaign designed to dismiss those concerns because contamination from Daiichi is "no big deal."

        •  Hi Joieau (4+ / 0-)

          If you read the papers you will find that all measurements are decay corrected to the time of sample collection.

        •  Hi Joieau (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, Mike Kahlow, 6412093

          It is too bad that you have such a negative view of research carried out at academic institutions.  Much of what we have learned about the dangers of lead and mercury in the environment, for example, comes from studies carried out at public and private universities.  There are many other examples of fundamental research contributions coming from academic institutions. It would seem to me that this research is important towards efforts to understand contaminant transport and fate in the environment.  But admittedly it is difficult for me to be impartial in the matter given that I work at a research intensive, public university.

          •  I don't have a particularly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1, dharmasyd

            negative view of academic research. Why, I know and love quite a few people who are academic researchers (or have been). None of whom have ever tried to pass themselves off in public as experts in fields unrelated to their own.

            I do object to using this kind of research as part of a PR campaign by the world nuclear industry and its lobbying arms to minimize public concerns about the greatest incident of radiological pollution in the entire history of the world, that is as we speak getting worse every single day. And won't be 'over' in any of our lifetimes or our children's lifetimes.

            There are no mass suicides or violent rebellions going on that are caused by Fukushima's disaster. Here we all are two and a half years later, still wondering how bad it is, how bad it's going to get, and whether or not it's still safe (or will be safe in the future) to eat the seafood. Because not being total idiots, we care enough about our own health and the health of our loved ones not to take unwarranted risks.

            Our problem is that no one is being honest about the true risks or advising us rationally about them. We can't trust the figures coming from TEPCO/nukes in general, and we can't trust the analyses of data we're being spoon-fed like pablum.

            So all we can do is try to evaluate the risks upon the given unknowns and non-trustworthiness of data and analysis, decide for ourselves whether or not we'll eat the fish. If that threatens the Pacific seafood industries of the entire Pacific rim, then that's what we all get for being fooled into nukes in the first place. Hopefully that will finally put an end to the grand dreams of the most dishonest industry ever to have been created out of humanity's collective nightmares. If not, we'll deserve whatever comes next. No biggie, we all die in the end.

            Perhaps some of the Asian and Polynesian nations may decide they can force their populations to consume more seafood to keep their industries going. And like Japan, make laws against saying anything that might cause people to question its safety. But that's unlikely to happen here or in Canada. So for the time being, I will continue to do my own risk assessments and make my own decisions about eating high[est] level nuclear waste for dinner.

            •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mike Kahlow, 6412093
              Then again, that's applied science. Actual work. Not academic science, which tends to answer merely academic questions, and certainly not in real-time.
              Characterizing academic science as something that is not actual work seems somewhat negative from my point of view.  But my point of view, as I stated above, is not impartial.  Maybe I misinterpreted you.
      •  Hi Mike (3+ / 0-)

        I was trying to be conservative.  Cheers

      •  Why don't they just evaporate the water (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        measure the radiation in the vapor, and in the dust left over?

        •  Hi Social Contract (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike Kahlow, 6412093

          Good question.  For some elements, depending on what sort of decay they undergo, you must separate out the element of interest so that you are sure that the energy you measure is the result of the element you are interested in.  Other elements would interfere and give you a higher, and incorrect, concentration for the element you want to measure.

          Evaporating that much water causes lots of problems where you can lose elements that are volatile and not recover a high percentage of your target. Initial methods to determine something as straightforward as the salinity of seawater used this approach and gave incorrect numbers for major ion content.

          That is why all of this column-chemistry is necessary.  Despite what you might hear it is not a trivial task to measure radioactivity in environmental samples at these low levels and then to attribute the radioactivity to natural and anthropogenic sources.

    •  Actually, all the samples (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, dharmasyd, ozsea1

      of fish both Pacific and Atlantic were all taken in 2011, within 6 months of the disaster. It has been two and a half years now, waterborne releases have been massive and increasing in severity every day since, and we are being told everything's hunky-dory because in 2011 they didn't find enough contamination in the fish for THEM to be concerned.

      I think that's positively deceptive. Good that academics are getting publishing creds out of the disaster, but it's not helping regular people much and was never designed to help us. I am a bit offended that the nuclear PR machine is using this material in that way, since it doesn't actually apply in that way.

      •  Hi Joieau (5+ / 0-)

        The papers I referenced here were used to show the methodologies commonly used and why it takes time to make measurements.  There are more recent measurements that I have linked to. I didn't go into how hard it is to find funding for these measurements or the time it takes to take seawater samples halfway between Hawaii and Japan.  

        Yes, the reason I am writing about these studies here at the DailyKos is because academics are all about getting publishing credits. Please don't imply that me and my colleagues are profiting in any way from this disaster.  It simply isn't true.

        •  I have implied nothing of the sort. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dharmasyd, ozsea1

          You do what you do for a living, just like the rest of us. We all understand that. I have simply pointed out that this kind of research, while no doubt 'important' in your field, is of very limited utility to those of us concerned about increasing contamination of our planet and food supplies.

          For addressing those concerns, there are ways to get FAPP accurate readings on both seawater levels and levels in sea plants/animals that form the ocean food chains. The equipment exists and is used daily in a number of applications measuring radiation levels and identifying isotopes present.

          Your field's contributions to that monitoring and dissemination of timely information has so far been minimal to fairly non-existent. Figures on cesium in fish from 2011 that spent just a month in the contamination field do NOT inform us that the tuna is fine to eat here in December of 2013. See how that works?

          It's not your job to do that monitoring and reporting for us, obviously. You are doing academic research to answer academic questions. Somebody ought to be doing that monitoring and reporting for us, but so far the nukes and their pet governments have declined the honors. So we're on our own and actively seeking data we can use.

          I'm sure you can see how presenting these academic researches as if they did offer us data we need can be considered deceptive, even if that was not the intention. I'm glad y'all are being so careful to get super-accurate levels in 2011 samples (the land-based levels from the fallout plumes too, though they answer entirely different academic questions, don't they?). It'll all be part of the historical record. I for one would like to see you and Buesseler et al. speak to the deceptive way this research is being presented to the public as if it somehow 'proves' there are no dangers ongoing from Fukushima and it's basically all over everything's fine and nearly normal.

          I haven't seen that coming from your end, though I don't think my position on that is hard to grok. That's... disappointing.

        •  you have an interest in promoting (0+ / 0-)

          and supporting the current nuclear  power business model.

          why? research grants, for example?

          “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

          by ozsea1 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:55:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sounds to me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            6412093

            like he has an interest in promoting sound science.

            I wish others in this thread were as committed to unbiased evaluation of data.

            And really? Calling him out on research grants?

            Is this the twilight zone? Did we just morph into a redstate thread on climate denialism?

            What is wrong with you? Shame on you.

            •  my question was sincere (0+ / 0-)

              and rather mild, actually.

              your response is both hysterical and rather sad.

              I almost feel sorry for you.

              “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

              by ozsea1 on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 06:33:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't doubt your sincerity. (0+ / 0-)

                But your response is calling into question his scientific integrity along with the accuracy and credibility of his research.

                That is anything but 'mild' as you claim.

                In fact, it's the exact same tactic used by AGW deniers when presented with academic research showing facts they find inconvenient. If you don't like this comparison, then perhaps you should respond with facts and research of your own instead of trying to impugn his character.

                So, please spare me your attempts at false concern, and consider trying to add something useful to the discussion instead.

                •  nope! (0+ / 0-)

                  didn't iImpugn his character; your ill-informed and unsolicited concern is rejected.

                  “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

                  by ozsea1 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:30:45 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Give me a break (0+ / 0-)

                    you directly claimed that he was supporting the 'nuclear power business model' (when he was doing no such thing) and then implied it was for the sake of getting grant money. Oh, excuse me, just 'asking questions'.

                    Your words are right there for everyone to see and evaluate on their own, regardless of your present denials.

                    Take responsibility for what you write.

                    And it's not 'concern' I felt towards your uncalled for attack, but rather a bit of exasperated outrage that such tactics would even show up here and not be HR-ed into oblivion.

          •  Hi ozsea1 (0+ / 0-)

            My CV is on my lab website listed in my signature.  If you care to look it lists all of my research grants...although having just checked I haven't updated it there since 2011.  Nothing has really changed.  While I have had new grants funded since then I haven't received funding from any new agencies.  It is a rather short list really:

            Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
            Leverhulme Trust
            Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
            Canada Foundation for Innovation

             

  •  Thanks for your diaries! (nt) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, LilithGardener
  •  Wow. Y'all really are (8+ / 0-)

    up against an equipment wall here, aren't you? Thanks for the explanation, and we're all glad care is being taken to get the most accurate readings possible.

    In that vein, I wonder if your fraternity of researchers might draft some serious requests to IAEA, the nuclear regulatory bodies of the prominent nuclear nations (including Japan), and any well-stocked universities worldwide that boast fine detection equipment (from liquid/gas scintillators for beta and alpha, to big Ge(Li)s for gamma (and high-energy beta, such as from yittrium-90). That way wherever the sampling is being done, there ought to be a facility relatively close by that can run the samples on their equipment and shorten the time frame considerably. Since timely data is of high importance and all.

    There's some extremely excellent and highly accurate equipment all over the place in Japan, which not only produces some of the best detectors, but has 48 nuclear plants that are NOT at Daiichi with equipment just lying around unused at this point in time. Surely you could just hop some samples to the closest ones available, eh? Yeah, I know. Fat chance of nuke cooperation on finding truths they'd prefer remain forever publicly unknown.

    Oh... and if findings are of considerable health effects impact, perhaps those doing the work so they can later maybe publish papers (months down the road) should consider releasing that data AS pertinent data to concerned authorities and/or media when they have that data in-hand. The world's population would thank you for being socially responsible. Publishing the papers can wait awhile, but radiation - like rust - never sleeps. It really is pretty much a need-to-know situation.

    This time lag is an issue because things are getting worse every day. Even Buesseler admits strontium would be a big deal. Well, it IS a big deal, it IS present, and the levels are increasing. In June of this year TEPCO itself reported that strontium-90 in the groundwater had increased from 8.6 Bq/L to 1,000 Bq/L. It's now nearly 6 months later still.

    In fact, as of just a week ago Mainichi reported that strontium and 'other' beta-emitters (apparently a specifically beta-scanned sample - there's fine equipment on-site and they don't have to wait for results) from an observation well sample of groundwater east of unit-2 and 40 meters from the ocean, registered 1.1 million Bq/L.

    Neither you nor Buesseler nor anybody else who wants to keep up with this worsening situation and the dangers to our food supply can even begin to claim that more than a million becquerels per liter in water leaking to the ocean off Daiichi (to the tune of ~450 tons a DAY) is no big deal. Or is too miniscule to bother reading, or is of no concern for bioaccumulation in fish, shellfish, crustaceans or any other sea life forms humans eat on a regular or semi-regular basis.

    And just for some ironic humor on the matter of how TEPCO itself views all this, the utility did say that the levels of radioactivity in their cute little lagoon with the grossly inadequate seawalls hasn't shown any "major change." Because, of course, it isn't going into the lagoon. It's going into the ocean outside the lagoon...

    Noriyuki Imaizumi, acting manager of TEPCO's Nuclear Power and Plant Siting Division, told a news converence that the company needs to investigate the matter in relation to other radioactive substances that leaked before.
    A regular laugh riot, aren't they?
    •  Hi Joieau (10+ / 0-)

      I'll leave aside the attack on academic researchers.  We are doing the best with what we have.  If you think that we need more infrastructure and funding then lobby your local government representative.  I'll leave it to you to calculate what 1,000 Bq/L means for the ocean. It doesn't even approach what was released in 2011.

      I fully support your call to better equip those qualified to determine what the impact on the marine environment is.  Let me know what action you take.

      •  That one million one hundred thousand (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmasyd, radv005, ozsea1

        becquerels per liter coming out as of last week is just beta, MC. Primarily strontium-90. Which you have claimed isn't being tested for in the fish because it's too hard for you guys to test for beta-emitters. Which is itself kind of an odd assertion, as anybody's basic geiger counter or iPhone plug-in can measure both beta and gamma. But... whatever.

        This academic research is all fine and dandy for the academic research community and all its associates and acolytes wanting to do the same things someday. I imagine there will be hundreds of impressive-looking papers published about contamination from Fukushima over the next century, then more for as long as human science lasts into the dim future - when Daiichi will still be dumping contamination into the air and water by the tens and hundreds of tons a day.

        And if that were the way this research were being presented, no one would have a problem with it (though they might yawn). But that's not why it's being touted as Big Important Fuku News, is it? That bothers me. You'll have this when trying to sell these things as definitive assurance that everything's fine with Fuku-Dumping, because some of us know it's not.

        There is great potential for nice research grants and departmental donations and such from these pursuits. Go for it! But while you're at it, ask those friendly nukes to loan you some monitoring and measuring equipment - they have plenty, can spare you some. Why, they've even got darned good stuff you can carry with you on the boat! Then if you do happen to find something more alarming than you've been told is there, you can let the rest of us know about it. In real-time.

        •  Hi Joieau (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, Roadbed Guy, raincrow

          A million Bq/L does sound like a very large number.  We can compare this release to the initial estimates of total radionuclide release in the initial period after the disaster which are ~300 PBq (10^15 Bq).  

          Assume all of the 1.1 million Bq/L ends up in the ocean without any retention in soil or any other loss. A ton of seawater is about 1000 liters.  That is 450,000 L per day at 1.1 million Bq per liter.  That is about 5 x 10^11 Bq per day.  At that rate it would take 60,000 days or more than 1600 years for the amount of radiation to double what was released initially.

          •  Invalid comparison. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dharmasyd, radv005, ozsea1

            I am talking about the ~85% of gross beta contamination that is coming from strontium-90 plus the 15% that's coming from yittrium-90 and several other high-energy beta-emitters loose and increasing in the groundwater that's going out to the sea. You are talking about everything released to the atmosphere between March 11 and late December of 2011.

            All the releases then, now and well into the future beyond our lifetimes are of grave concern. Any one data set does not nullify or render moot any other data set. Never can, never will.

            There is still far, far more hard core nuclear crap still present at Daiichi than has been released so far via air and water. Plenty enough to share with all your academic colleagues and everybody else on the planet too. As in thousands of tons' worth of more, in three ~400+ ton masses of likely still molten corium lava and another 1700 tons of high level spent fuel in various states of disintegration and/or melt dangling 100 feet in the air in pools barely attached to utterly destroyed and seismically unstable ruins sitting in a giant mud-pit.

            I've thanked you several times for letting us know about work your colleagues have done since the disaster to enter isolated snapshots of conditions since the disaster's beginning to the historical record. It's great that such work is being done. But now I've just gotta ask...

            What, exactly, is your interest in attempting to minimize the current and future radiological dangers to this planet's ecosystems and life forms from this most dreadful nuclear disaster the world has ever seen?

            •  Hi Joieau (4+ / 0-)

              It is not about minimization but assessing risk.  I am not sure where you live but I live on the west coast.  It is important to me to understand what the risks are to my friends and family.  When I have concerns like this it is in my nature to determine risks based on factual information.  I attempt to answer questions like, for example, what is the expected concentration of radionuclides in seawater with time? Because how much radiation ends up in fish and other organisms depends on the concentration of radionuclides in the seawater in which they live.  We know this from a vast body of quality research. You continue to imply, without any data, that the concentrations are getting higher and higher in the north Pacific ocean.  That is not so.  As you point out again and again, and I do myself, that could change.

              There is so much misinformation out there that it is difficult for people who are rightly concerned to make decisions about how they live day to day.  I appreciate that most people don't want to spend their time reading scientific journals where most of the best measurements of these radionuclides in seawater and marine organisms are found.  Writing about this is my attempt to show what we know is happening while being as accurate as I can about uncertainties that obviously exist. Cheers.

          •  Another way to compare the 1.1 million Bq (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            raincrow

            per liter of seawater is how much of a dose of radioistopes somebody is given therapeutically (e.g., that they willing ingest for medical purposes).

            For example for thyroid disorders from 400 to 800 times that much (i.e., 400,000,000 to 800,000,000 Bq).

            If they were to obtain the dosage from drinking water at the level of contamination cited, they'd long since die from water toxicity (ala a Sacramento Radio Station prank gone awry) before getting the therapeutic dose of radioisotope.

            Which is probably why there are online petitions to ban water . . . ..

            •  Yet another way to compare (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ozsea1

              would be to note that there are ~450,000 liters of this water going out every 24 hours. Do check my math (just scribbling here, always a risk), but if my zeros are good and we say each liter contained a million becquerels of strontium-90, that would be 4 trillion 500 billion becquerels 'leaking' daily.

              37 billion becquerels of activity = 1 Curie. This means just over 121.6 Curies of strontium-90 exiting the facility into the ocean environment every day at Daiichi.

              In contrast, the 800 million becquerel dose of radioiodine is just over 21.6% of a Curie of radioiodine.

              No single sea life form is going to absorb even that much of a Curie of radiostrontium coming out of Daiichi, but to claim such amounts of this dangerous isotope going into the ocean every single day is not a very grave concern is just... wrong.

              Strontium-90, by the way, is never used to treat thyroid disorders.

            •  Post Script to that... (0+ / 0-)

              that 21.6% of a curie of radioiodine is NOT used to "treat" someone for a thyroid disorder, in the sense that treatment suggests control or cure. It is used to destroy the thyroid gland ["ablatement"] so that it doesn't function at all. Then its hormones are replaced with daily pills.

              •  Not necessarily true (0+ / 0-)

                The ablation of the thyroid gland can be somewhat 'controlled' by the dose given. Our cat had hyper-thyroidism, was treated with radioactive iodine, and her levels dropped to an acceptable range, no pills needed.

                This isn't always the case, but certainly your blanket statement is just wrong. In fact, a simple search would demonstrate how wrong your blanket statement is:

                http://www.webmd.com/...

                One wonders why you feel so compelled to state 'facts' that can be corrected with a 5 second Google search.

      •  " We are doing the best with what we have." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        Yes, we are all doing our best with what we have, as we each see it.  But the problem is "...with what we have."  The disagreement is, at least in part, whether or not we have believable, relatively accurate measurements.

        I hope you would agree that what we need is better data.  In the meantime, we all work with what we have.  

        “...the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.” Eugene Debs

        by dharmasyd on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:36:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for taking the time to write this up n/t (3+ / 0-)

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:47:21 PM PST

  •  Worth repeating... (7+ / 0-)

    ...that Tepco reported in June...

    that strontium-90 in the groundwater had increased from 8.6 Bq/L to 1,000 Bq/L.
    From 8.6 to 1,000  Bq / L.  That's a huge increase.

    I have more items to post, but it is very late; and I'll have to wait till tomorrow.

    On the other hand, at 80yo, having fought this nuclear battle since the 1950s, I'm very tired of trying to present information to....

    We will either get it and learn, or I'll just wish better luck and insight to the next evolving species.

    “...the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.” Eugene Debs

    by dharmasyd on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:47:32 PM PST

    •  Hi dharmasyd (4+ / 0-)

      I agree that 8.6 to 1,000 represents two orders of magnitude increase. How does that compare to March 2011...?  We have to put these numbers in perspective. Cheers.

      •  which we can't do for another decade, because all (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, dharmasyd, radv005

        that water needs to be stored, shipped, tested, stored, shipped, and tested,  In ten-twenty years, we might be able to say what things were like now.

        And you think Joieau was ATTACKING academics....

        I appreciate your ocean sciences, dude, but you can't erase Joieau's WORK EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING in RADIATION SCIENCES just 'cause you're a 'scientist' too.  Hell, the Time Cube guy says HE's a scientist and ALL his detractors are frauds.  So thanks for the science, but you're contributing to a mass of data, not refuting an opinion;  it doesn't make you special...and it certainly doesn't put you in charge.

        trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

        by chmood on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:27:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What 'perspective' (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmasyd, radv005, ozsea1

        would you offer about 1.1 MILLION bequerels per liter - of just beta-emitters, plus God only knows how much gamma and gnarly alpha-emitters - in the groundwater going out at a rate of 450 tons a day?

        •  What perspective? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, raincrow

          1.3 billion cubic kilometers of seawater on the earth which equates to 1.3e18 tons or 1.3e21 liters.

          So, take your 1.1e6 Bq/L, multiple by 450 tons/day * 1000 liters/ton = 5e11 Bq/day into the ocean

          Now, divide 5e11 Bq/day by 1e21 L and you get an increase of

          5e-10 Bq/day/liter of water.

          So, in 2e9 days (2 billion days, 5 million years) of a constant release of the numbers you're quoting, the average increase in ocean radioactivity will be 1 Bq/L, or roughly 1/15th that of a banana, or 1/10th the radiation that already exists in the ocean.

          So, to sum up, capitalizing MILLION doesn't actually make your argument for you because there are much bigger numbers in the ocean.

          •  No, Ozy. It is scientifically invalid (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dharmasyd, radv005, ozsea1

            to assert dilution of gross radioisotope releases by the total volume of water in the ocean, at the time of release and at the point of release. Anyone can reason this out for themselves. It will take many decades - even centuries - for the bulk of light elements to dispurse, the heaviest isotopes in compounds and particulate-sized aggregates won't dispurse widely apart from those eaten and transported away by sea critters, and the suspended isotopes/compounds quickly uptaken and bioconcentrated by the teeming life in the ocean off northeastern Japan will never dispurse in the manner you so deceptively suggest here.

            I capitalized 'million' because million - not thousand - is the current highest level of gross beta measured in the seaside groundwater. Latest figures from the 2-3 observation 'hole' on December 3-4 is 110,000 Bq/L gross beta, so the rise in contamination levels is general. They have lots and lots of holes, the levels are going up in all of them because the groundwater level is again going up, and the coriums are sitting in the groundwater.

            These are just gross beta figures, do not include gamma - which accounts for most of the radioactivity from the collection of contaminates - or alpha. Thus not anywhere near total contamination levels. The beta figures are relevant because strontium - a notorious bioaccumulating radioisotope - and its ugly daughter yittrium - are both dangerous beta-emitters.

            Per TEPCO's own reckoning, strontium-90 comprises a very high percentage of overall gross beta in those measurements. Here's just a couple of 'hole' examples (from November measurements):

            1T-4: 79% of 9,500 Bq/L sr90
            1T-5: 91% of 3,200 Bq/L sr90

            So what we have here is a whole heckuva lot of dangerous strontium-90 going into the ocean off the Daiichi reservation. With much, much more to come. Since the biological half-life of strontium-90 can be even longer than its on-its-own half-life, this is of serious concern to consumers of Pacific seafood.

            •  If it's not going to disperse (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raincrow

              then what danger is it to consumers of Pacific seafood, unless you're positing that the fish in the Pacific preferentially eat off the shore of Fukishima. If you're indeed suggesting that the radiation will be contained by the local biology, than it would seem that excluding fishing from a zone around the ocean entry is the solution, and bioaccumulation outside of that zone should be even less than the dispersed case.

              If, on the other hand, it is going to disperse, then it is again subject to the effects of dilution, which will put the levels well below what already exists and is eaten.

              You throw out phrases, like 'heckuva lot', which don't actually provide any information.

              Can you tell me, with the information that you have, what the actual risk to the consumer of Pacific salmon will be for the next 1, 5, and 10 years?

              If I eat 1lb of salmon a month for the forseeable future, how much extra radiation dose will I receive? And how does this risk compare to the risk from the bioaccumulated heavy metals from the output of fossil fuel plants?

              I don't see how one can actually make informed choices based on the data you've provided so far.

      •  It's not this or that... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, radv005, ozsea1

        ...either - or.  It's not a comparative situation.  Radiation dosage is cumulative.  Not linearly cumulative due to decay rates, but it is cumulative nonetheless.

        “...the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.” Eugene Debs

        by dharmasyd on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:09:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for that pertinent observation, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dharmasyd, radv005, ozsea1

          dharmasyd. I'd add only that biological damage caused by radiation is also cumulative (hence the cumulative nature of additional dosage). A microgram-size particle of plutonium in your lung doesn't make the damage to your thyroid from iodine exposure go away, even though the iodine's been gone for years... §;o)

  •  I see scare stories on FB about Fukushima (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, Joieau, dharmasyd, raincrow

    and, not being a scientist, wonder how I can get accurate information and analysis - not just data - about the various threats posed.

    I appreciate this diary, but wish someone could tell us what these numbers mean in concrete terms.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:33:51 AM PST

    •  All I can tell you is that the numbers tell us (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Bob Love, dharmasyd

      NOTHING about what's going on NOW.  They tell us nothing about what's happened in the last 2 years.  They tell us nothing about what we may expect in one, five, or twenty years.

      They are a two-year old snapshot of a small piece of something that has moved and grown non-stop ever since the picture was taken.  A small glimpse of a spot way back in the data stream.

      We'll need another twenty or more years of similarly out-of-sync data reports for them to provide any aggregate hindsight perspective.

      It's science, it needs to happen, I'm sure it's being done well and thoroughly.  Low situational utility, I'm afraid.

      trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

      by chmood on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:34:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hi, Bob. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, dharmasyd, radv005, ozsea1

      You need not be a scientist to look at what's happening and decide for yourself that actions need taking based on data you do think is fairly accurate, and data you suspect is being manipulated or hidden entirely. Once you understand that this sort of thing is SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] for this industry, it can help you parse the import of things you are being told.

      Dangerous radionuclides like cesium and strontium are not magically diluted by the entire volume of water in the ocean the moment they are dumped out into the sea. They readily bioaccumulate up the food chains and are transported far from the scene of the crime by migratory sea critters who don't care one bit for human-drawn lines on a map.

      The higher you go on the food chain, the more concentrated the levels of contamination. Predator fish like tuna and salmon are of high concern because humans eat them so regularly. These will concentrate the overall water level (at its highest points of concentration) 100-fold. Seals and sea lions have been showing concentrations 1000 times higher than the water levels (and are showing some ugly health effects). They're at the top end of their food chain.

      We know that huge amounts of meltdown-level nuclear garbage is going into the ocean off Daiichi to the tune of nearly 500 tons a day. And that's most likely a seriously doctored figure, given that TEPCO lied about it wholesale for two years before we even found out about it. We know there are large inventories of cesium and strontium (and strontium's nasty beta-emitting offspring yittrium) going out in ever increasing amounts as well, available to be bioaccumulated in ocean plankton, algae, plants and animals. And we know we are not getting accurate, up-to-date figures on just how much radiation has been bioaccumulated into our favorite Pacific seafoods.

      Add all this up and decide for yourself whether or not you wish to ignore the whole thing and keep on consuming as you always have. Or to pass up the seafood and opt for something else for lunch or dinner. No one else can dictate your decision, so trust yourself with that responsibility. Lord knows you can't trust the 'authorities' pretending they can waive it all away for you! §;o)

      •  Hi Joieau (4+ / 0-)
        Seals and sea lions have been showing concentrations 1000 times higher than the water levels (and are showing some ugly health effects). They're at the top end of their food chain.
        In what study was this reported? It would be useful to have a link so we can read the study and see the data.
        •  Here you go... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dharmasyd, ozsea1

          Sediment Distribution Coefficients and Concentration Factors for Biota in the Marine Environment, IAEA, 2004. Table X. Concentration Factors for Pinnipeds, page 67.

          •  Hi Joieau (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LilithGardener, raincrow, Ozy

            I have no doubt that radionculides are higher in these organisms than in the seawater.  You implied above that seals and sealions are showing some ugly health effects from these radionuclides.

          •  WTF (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            raincrow

            1) from the report itself:

            "The biological data compiled in this study are likely to be of limited value for predicting radiological effects on biota."

            2) the report is from 2004, and I'm pretty sure doesn't included information from the Fukishima incident

            What are you trying to pull here?

            •  To "pull?" (0+ / 0-)

              That seems a bit rude for a civil conversation. Why don't you just come out and say what it is you mean here? I can take it.

              I have said that radioisotopes are known to bioconcentrate up to 1000 times the levels in surrounding water. This is true even according to IAEA, years before the Fukushima disaster. Do you think that has changed due to Fukushima? That radioisotopes don't concentrate up food chains anymore because that would be inconvenient to nukes?

              There are nasty health effects and very odd behaviors showing up in sea life up and down the western coast of North America. I have not specified they are directly related to Fukushima, but that is one factor in the various things we know to be 'wrong' with the ocean. The main plumes haven't even reached shorelines yet, have they? Which means the crap dumped at Fukushima isn't magically diluted by all the water in the ocean at point of entry.

              Seals, sea lions and walruses are bleeding from their eyeballs, have crusty, hairless patches on their skin and open lesions. Fish are dying, rare deep-sea animals are surfacing, whales are behaving strangely. Sea stars are dissolving in place by the millions, massive walls of fish are hiding in sheltered bays... it could be a number of things, it could be a combination of a number of things. Fukushima isn't humanity's first attempt to kill this planet's oceans, you know. It's just one in a long line of attempts to kill this planet's oceans.

              •  Hi Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                This "I'm not saying it is Fukushima but..." business is growing tiresome.  There is no evidence to link any of the various reports on websites and news organizations of dubious quality that you throw out above to radionuclides at all.  That type of speculation is a disservice to evidence based inquiry and decision making.

                Please do recall that the concentration of radionuclides in seawater will be on the order of 10 milliBq/L in the heart of the plume when it arrives next year.  That peak concentration is almost an order of magnitude lower than concentrations along the west coast in the 60's.

                •  Since I never said it was (0+ / 0-)

                  Fukushima, you have to basis for the insinuation. You may wish to try and keep yourself confined to responding to what is actually said, as opposed to all this "reading-in" misrepresentation stuff. It'll help you come across as less of a salesman and more of a duly concerned ocean-keeper. Just so you know, and all.

                  •  You are arguing deceptively (0+ / 0-)

                    If you claim multiple people are 'misunderstanding' what you are saying, then perhaps the fault doesn't lie with your readers.

                    We are discussing release and dispersal of radionuclides from Fukushima, and you state in this discussion that there is evidence of health effects on seals/sea lions.

                    When asked for evidence to support this claim, you link to a study that explicitly says that relevance to biota health is limited, and has no relevance to Fukushima.

                    Then, when challenged, you repeat your claim and, once again, provide no evidence to back yourself up.

                    That said, I have looked into previous 'events' regarding unusual die-offs of seals/sea lions along the western coast:

                    http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/...

                    The cause of the present 2013 UME is not yet determined, but here's some info about previous UMEs:

                    Q: How many sea lion Unusual Mortality Events have previously occurred in California?

                    A: This is the sixth UME involving California sea lions that has occurred in California. Prior UMEs were declared in 1991, 1992, 1998, 2000 and 2002. Previous UMEs were caused by leptospirosis (1991), El Niño conditions (1992) and domoic acid toxicity (1998, 2000, 2002). To date, 57 UMEs have been formally declared in U.S. waters since 1991 (including the current UME).

                    Now, it's pretty clear that humans aren't responsible for the El Nino UME, do you have evidence that we caused any or all of the others?

                    Some more info on leptospirosis:

                    http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/...

                    and domioc acid toxicity:

                    http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/...

                    with plenty of references (academic work, no less).

                    Your accusation of 'sales-man' is pretty ironic considering you rely on hand-waving and 'facts' that break down under the harsh light of research.

  •  Thank you for this information. I appreciate it. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, Joieau, LilithGardener, dharmasyd

    I have a couple of questions:

    1. Any hypotheses as to what caused the increase, theoretical or otherwise? I'm not talking about fear points per se, but I would suspect fear could well result from the answers. I've got my big boy pants on.

    2. Anything you might be able to tell us about the hypothetical outcomes of 1.1 million Bq into air, earth, or water environments short, mid and long term for the affected areas and populations? Can you guess as to who those populations might be? For how long?

    Thanks for the info.

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Economic
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:56:34 AM PST

  •  recced simply for the correct use of (5+ / 0-)

    "the data are" alone.

    :)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 04:34:22 AM PST

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, LilithGardener, dharmasyd

    It is highly disconcerting about the lack of coverage these three meltdowns are receiving.  It is even more troubling when agencies like the IAEA gives props to the Japanese government for handling this so well.  The new 'secrecy' rules in Japan don't bode so well either.

  •  Because delaying the release of information (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, dharmasyd, ozsea1

    adds plausible deniability to people who don't want to deal with the impending concern and even outrage over this matter.

    My question is why would anyone believe that the levels would be low or that the particles would take so long to get here?

    We have already had docks wash ashore on the West Coast of the US--do they really think that contaminated water didn't follow those same currents?

    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

    by GreenMother on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:44:10 AM PST

    •  Here are some links: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, ozsea1

      http://videos.huffingtonpost.com/...

      This page holds several videos, including one involving a Dock that came ashore in California. Some of it came ashore in Hawaii as well.

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:47:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hi GreenMother (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, Ozy, raincrow
      My question is why would anyone believe that the levels would be low or that the particles would take so long to get here?
      I have been posting about what the oceanographic community has been measuring in the the north Pacific.  I am not posting about what I believe to be true.  Canadian monitoring has detected the leading edge of the seawater that contains radionculides from Fukushima. The levels of Cs-137 are about 2 milliBq/L.  This is a very small number compared to naturally occurring radionuclides.   Over the next 10 years waters might approach 20 mBq/L where the concentrations of Cs-137 will peak.

      Floating materials washed into the north Pacific from the tsunami that followed the earthquake actually arrived on the west coast more quickly than the currents carrying the radionuclides because they were affecting by wind.  They are not radioactive.

      •  I guess I am flashing back to Downwinders (0+ / 0-)

        stories.

        Perhaps you can explain to us why these radioactive particles are not being transported in these water columns to US and other shores?

        Do these isotopes act differently in salt water? Is there some chemistry there that makes underwater fallout, different from fallout in the air columns when nuclear material is released?

        As a rule, People are taught that Radioactive Waste is the worst of the worst stuff that you want to avoid if you want children or grandchildren with only one head. So you have the public at a disadvantage here. We are taught that these substances have ridiculously long half lives, which is why it's hard to imagine that these particles are not being transported in the water in some form, because they are not going to dissipate during our life times.

        Especially given the problems the public has been dealing with in terms of truthful reporting from incidents involving the flow of oil and use of corexit in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico by not only BP but our own government,  toxic waste that lead to law suits by locals because of illness such as the chat-kids in Oklahoma, or the people depicted in the movie Erin Brokovich affected by pollution caused by PG&E in California, or exposures such as Gulf War Vets and later, that lead to conditions known as TILT.

        So don't take it personally. Social trust of various institutions is low right now due to issues of corporate corruption. Or in the government's case, the desire also to avoid having to pay out for treatments and disability, and death benefits such as what happened to First Responders during 9-11.

        Conscientious Scientists are going to be paying for the proverbial sins of others for as long as these sorts of scenarios are allowed to happen, and their effects are ignored and downplayed to the public as if we are too stupid to understand the implications to us and our environment.

        Help me and others understand what makes these particles different than those docks and bits of trash and artifacts that are washing ashore here.

        I understand that initial items washed over here might not be radioactive, but what about stuff that hung around in Japanese waters longer before being carried in this general direction?

        Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

        by GreenMother on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:42:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I'd accept that the delay (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmasyd, ozsea1

      in these studies is purely a matter of getting the work done, then writing the paper and getting everyone to sign off on it, submitting it for publication, then review and more delays until it finally sees print. This is largely how academic science has always worked.

      At any rate, it's clear it wasn't the time required to read the samples that contributed much of anything to the delay-times here. The samples were taken in 2011. I doubt the authors - or, most of them - understood how their research would be used by the nuclear lobby to try and minimize current and lingering dangers from Fukushima. At least, I hope they didn't know.

      The Pacific currents bringing us the contamination plumes do take years to move a particular volume of water from Japan to the west coast of North America. Which, somewhat humorously, also manages to belie the assertions from these same people that contamination can't be a problem because there's so much water in the ocean. Dilution isn't the solution to this pollution, that's for sure!

      We are getting timely data from TEPCO, or at least they are releasing data on an almost daily basis. How accurate the data is can certainly be debatable, given their strong habit of lying about anything and everything. I just go ahead and assume they've knocked off a few factors of ten before typing it all up for public release. Problem is, I don't know how many factors of ten they've 'lost' along the chain of command. Ah, well. It's at least more timely and useful than anything we'll ever get from the academic community...

      •  wow, just wow (0+ / 0-)

        I have read all of the comments up to now to follow the conversation between you and MarineChemist.  I really do not understand why you are dumping on academic research in this way.  My 20yrs of experience in academic labs is now 20yrs ago, but back then we were rebuilding our old pumps to keep going - equipment that industrial concerns, like petro companies, discard.  In fact, we use to take their salvage to equip our labs!

        It looks like you're trolling to get a rise out of MC, for some unknown reason.  He/she has answered you civilly, and in much more detail than you deserve given your apparent animosity towards academic research.  Save your vitriol for the folks at TEPCO who are responsible for this mess.

        Thanks to MC for the in depth report on sampling methods.

        thanks, Rene

        Do the best you can.

        by home solar on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 03:19:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excuse me? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          Where have I "dumped on" academic research? It's a mistake to read-into someone else's words what you only imagine is there. I have been completely civil throughout the exchange with MC.

          I'm acknowledging that this type of finely-drawn academic research is not where the public needs to be looking for reliable information about the ongoing situation at Daiichi, the ever-worsening conditions there, or timely advice on how much danger this disaster presents now and in the future for contamination of the Pacific and its food chains.

          Every single bit of academic research that gets done and goes into the historical record related to the Fukushima disaster is and always will be as useful to others gathering data from the past as the voluminous research on record related to the Chernobyl disaster. Or the years of bomb testing and radiation experiments on unsuspecting civilians and troops during those years. And I have several times expressed my appreciation for the fact that researches have been done on the consequences of the initial airborne releases.

          Unless you think MC is claiming this research somehow does speak to the current and ongoing issues of ocean contamination from Fukushima, I do not see why you have a problem with my observations.

          •  Hi Joieau (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, Ozy

            I'll continue to provide updates as the data become available.  All the data up until 2013 are consistent with an initial release rate in Spring 2011 that was very high and where the risk, given the highest concentrations in seawater, was at a maximum.  Natural radionuclides still account for the vast majority of exposure to human seafood consumers in every sample that has been analyzed. Release rates from the site have dropped substantially compared to 2011.

            Again, I'll keep reporting data. Cheers.

  •  Thanks for this excellent tutorial (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarineChemist, raincrow

    Very well written and accessible.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:18:53 PM PST

  •  Thanks to all contributors here... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarineChemist, Joieau, raincrow

    ...for keeping this a relatively civilized, respectful discussion / disagreement.  This is what we need to be able to learn more.  This is what keeps me coming back, day after day, to the threads on this topic--I can read opposing opinion presented in a rational manner.  Keep it up!  TY!

    “...the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.” Eugene Debs

    by dharmasyd on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:41:38 PM PST

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