"I apologize for making people worried."
Sakae Muto, a Tokyo Electric vice-president, after plutonium was discovered in March. According to Muto, the plutonium ratios were in keeping with
levels expected from past nuclear testing abroad, and there was nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, two of the samples he is referring to, taken on
the 21st and 22nd of March, showed the opposite, that the plutonium came from Dai-ichi.
When Muto stated the above, he knew it was a lie.
On June 6th the Japanese government estimated that >1.2 trillion Bqs of plutonium were released in just the first 5 days of the disaster alone.
Experts consider this a significant underestimate as most early testing excluded alpha detection, the decay path for plutonium 238, 239 and 240.
Now you can worry.
March of the Transuranics
Transuranics. I had never heard the term until Fukushima. Or I had heard it and thought it was a shipping company from Mexico.
Transuranics means beyond uranium. Elements that are literally off the charts. Things that didn't exist until we created them in nuclear reactions.
Beasts that should never have been let out of their cage.
They are the fire in the dragon's breath. And because they add a fearful specter to an already scary situation, they have been downplayed by Tepco and
the nuke industry like all the other concerns presented by Fukushima.
We are exposed to these radioactive man-made elements from the day we are born, (if you were born after WWII), till the day we die. It is now reality
for all future generations. And the only reason transuranics exist is because of a sickness inherent in the human race, a sickness that materializes
itself in our need to produce pain and death. The Bomb. Total annihilation for all living things if ever used as intended.
And the nuclear power industry is simply an offshoot of the military weapons industry. So much so that the US Department of Defense (DOD) doesn't even
make their own nuclear weapons. All stages of weapons production, including both research and testing, are carried out by the Dept of Energy (DOE)
costing them billions each year. And these bombs have to be delivered whether funding exists or not, causing serious problems. The following is from a
DOE report entitled, "The Nuclear Weapons Complex: Management for Health, Safety, and the Environment";
"In an important respect, the need for change clearly extends far beyond DOE. The demand for production arises from requirements for weapons that are
established through a decisionmaking process in which the Department of Defense (DOD) plays a dominant role. DOE is obligated to meet DOD demands
regardless of whether sufficient funds are available. In the past, when cuts in
expenditures were necessary, it was health, safety, and environmental programs as well as maintenance that suffered rather than
So forget any propaganda you have heard about the importance of nuclear power. It exists because military's demand it. Had the bomb not been invented,
and nuclear energy was only used for making electricity, it would have been thrown out the door years ago.
It is the single most expensive form of technology to come out of the industrial revolution many times removed. In fact, to clean up already
contaminated ground, groundwater and ocean, (i.e. Hanford, Chernobyl, Fukushima, South Pacific islands, etc etc etc etc) and return these areas to a
normal state would take every penny the world could produce.......and still not be enough. If you add decommissioning, storage and clean up of all
power plants, weapons labs, waste sites, testing grounds, spent fuel etc etc etc etc, we will have to rob many future generations of their wealth as
well. Of course, since we have already assured them a far lower quality of life due to all the toxic substances we have created and released, robbing
their piggy banks shouldn't matter much.
Was Plutonium Named after Mickey Mouse's Dog?
The most common transuranics monitored after a nuclear accident are neptunium, plutonium and americium, with plutonium getting the most attention. The
most likely form of plutonium to be seen will be plutonium(IV) oxide with the formula PuO2, which varies in color from yellow to olive green.
Plutonium metal spontaneously oxidizes to PuO2, which would occur if exposed at high temperature to air, water or steam. PuO2 is also mixed with UO2
to make MOX fuel.
The boiling point of PuO2 is 2800 C, the same temperature reached during core melt, assuring at least partial vaporization during meltdown. The
temperature in a high explosion detonation, like a non-nuclear weapons accident, will also release vaporized plutonium, as well 20-50% of the
plutonium present in particles no bigger than 1 to 3 microns.
Powdered plutonium and uranium are also highly pyrophoric, meaning they will ignite spontaneously in air. Pu spontaneously ignites at about 150 C for
particles with a diameter of 1 millimeter or less.
Plutonium is insoluble in the natural environment. Once vaporized or powdered and ejected into the atmosphere, it will eventually come down, either
when it cools (for larger particles) or vectored by precipitation, and adsorb to whatever solids it comes in contact with. In fact, plutonium is one
of the most reactive substances ever created, attaching to anything and everything, forming new compounds, that, like the transuranics themselves,
never before existed in life.
In aquatic systems, depending on particle size, it will either stay in suspension indefinitely, attach to something heading towards the bottom or be
heavy enough to carry itself down without any help. The very smallest particles will be buoyant and float around for sometime.
Once in the soil, or seabed, it will stay in the top 2 inches for many years, unless physical properties take it deeper, or re-release into the
atmosphere or water column occurs. The bulk of plutonium from nuclear weapons testing is still found in the top 2 inches of undisturbed soil to this
This is good news because it means that the plutonium won't ever percolate and contaminate groundwater. It's bad news because it means it can be
easily disturbed. Disturbed soil, especially tilled or excavated soil, will re-release plutonium particles to the atmosphere that are attached to
fugitive dust. And this is one of the most dangerous forms of delivery for plutonium, as dust particles can be easily inhaled.
Dancing in the Rain
Chernobyl should have taught the human race many things, including the many different dangers and routes of exposure that could be encountered after a
nuclear power plant accident. It should have also taught us that governmental regulators will protect the image of nuclear power at all costs, even if
it means genocide of the local population.
One of the prime examples of this callous attitude and criminal behavior by government regulators could be seen in one particular picture from the
Chernobyl disaster. It was a picture of some kids playing in a rain puddle that was tinted yellow from yellow rain that fell shortly after the
accident began. The authorities at the time claimed it was just pollen and not to worry. Later analysis showed it to be fall out from Chernobyl's
fires and explosion, and included high levels of cesium and plutonium. And the children were soaking wet, laughing and splashing as children do.
In March, numerous areas around Japan received a dusting of a yellow/green powder during the second week of the Fukushima disaster. Slightly grittier
then pollen, it fell especially heavy in the Kanto region. Below are pictures of this yellow pollen/sand. Yellow/green particles like this had never
been seen by locals before. What this material is was never disclosed.
The Japan Meteorological Agency received over 280 calls from concerned residents in the Kanto region after this yellow powder was left by the rains on
the nights of March 21 and 22. The authorities responded to this by saying “The JMA believes the yellow patches are pollen, but has yet to confirm
Authorities also claimed the substance found in the Kanto region was sand from China via sand storms. But it didn't have the texture of previous sand
storm fall out from China, according to locals. And both sand from China and local pollen are in the air every year, while this new substance had
never been seen before.
The above yellow/green substance could be alot of things. It could be pollen. It could be a fine sand/dust. It could be something left from the
destruction caused by the EQ and tsunami.
Since it happened while Fukushima was still belching radioactivity, it could be uranium, cesium, or powdered plutonium that has undergone oxidation.
Or any combination of radionuclides is possible. The picture below is from the corium mass left behind at Three Mile Island. Something has oxidized to
a similar color as the Kanto dust.
Irrespective whatever one guesses the Kanto dust might be, the fact that it could have been something from Fukushima Dai-ichi in March demands that it
be properly analyzed for radioactivity in the interest of protecting the public.
Unfortunately, this task was left to the government, and they couldn't be bothered. To this day they refuse to release analysis of this substance,
while claiming there is nothing to worry about.
This is criminal.
Especially when one considers that occurring simultaneously with the yellow rain in Kanto were radiation spikes recorded by SPEEDI throughout the
Kanto region on March 21-22. These include the following prefecture city readings from MEXT. These go from 9:00 the date listed to 9:00 the next day.
The highest reading was 95,000 early morning on the 21st in Ibaraki, (not shown here) as the plume first moved south.
Since these are single source points for each prefecture, there is no way of knowing if these are peak readings for each prefecture or merely
indicators of a trend. By the 24th things had gone back to readings similar to the 18th and 19th.
CTBTO data corroborated the above readings. At their Kanto region Takasaki monitoring station in Gunma prefecture, 200km southwest from Dai-ichi, they
registered a spike of radionuclides on March 21st that included the highest reading for Xenon-133 detected by them during the accident, possibly
indicating ongoing fission. Concerning the spike CTBTO stated "High figures of the particulate radionuclides on March 20-21 seem due to the rain
The fact that a Kanto region was bombarded by an I-131 and Cs-137 spike during this period, and a Kanto region monitoring post recorded it's highest
levels from the accident of a noble gas on March 21, and the Fukushima NPP looked like the below picture on the 21st, it doesn't seem like a great
leap of faith to consider the yellow rain falling throughout the Kanto region on that day as contaminated with Fukushima fall-out.
We will probably never know for sure what the Kanto yellow/green dust was, just as we may never know the true level of contamination from the
Fukushima disaster. To do either would take due diligence from both Tepco and the Japanese authorities, and it is now painfully obvious that that is
never going to happen.
Alpha and Beta and Gamma OH MY!
One would think that the yellow dust, if it were plutonium, would be off the charts radioactive and easily detected. This is only partly true. It
would indeed be off the charts radioactive, but it wouldn't be easily detected. That is because most of the Pu isotopes of greatest concern are alpha
emitters, all except Pu-241. And Pu-241 is an extreme low energy beta emitter, also very hard to detect.
The detection and measurement of alpha contamination is difficult at best. An alpha particle's characteristic high charge and large mass make it
highly interactive with surrounding matter, and the particle is often absorbed before its presence can be sensed with a detector. And if the detectors
are any distance from the source, or if the probe is covered in plastic for protection, then they won't function as alpha detectors at all.
One method of alpha monitoring that has extended the range of detection is a process developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory 20 years ago called
long-range alpha detection (LRAD). This technique depends on the detection of ion pairs generated by alpha particles losing energy in air rather than
on detection of the alpha particles themselves. Typical alpha particles generated by plutonium will travel less than 3 cm in air. In contrast, the
ions released from alpha decay have been successfully detected many inches or feet away from the contamination. Since the LRAD is sensitive to all
ions, it can monitor all contamination present on a large surface at one time.
However, even with LRAD, accurate measurements in the field are difficult at best. The following is from the US Dept of Defense's guidebook for
encountering radiation hotspots in the field.
"Quantitative measurements of radioactive contamination in the field are difficult to accomplish properly. Particles having short ranges, such as
alpha and low-energy beta radiation, are significantly and incalculably affected by minute amounts of overburden.....Generally speaking, a sheet of
paper, a thin layer (a few hundredths of a millimeter) of dust, any coating of water or less than 4 cm of air are sufficient to stop alpha radiation."
"As a result, alpha radiation is the most difficult to detect. Moreover, since even traces of such materials are sufficient to stop some of the alpha
particles and thus change detector readings, quantitative measurement of alpha radiation is impossible outside of a laboratory environment where
special care may be given to sample preparation and detector efficiency."
There are primarily two problems encountered with taking field measurements. One is damage that compromises the probe itself. The other is being close
enough to the source to get an accurate reading. Once again from the DOD;
"In demonstrations conducted in the laboratory, a sealed alpha source (Am-241) was monitored with a well maintained AN/PDR-60 alpha probe and meter.
Dust and water were sprinkled onto the source and changes noted. It was found that a drop of water, a heavy piece of lint, or a single thickness of
tissue paper totally eliminated all readings. A light spray of water, comparable to a light dew, reduced readings by 40 to 50 percent. A layer of dust
that was just visible on the shiny source had minimal effect on the count rate; however, a dust level that was only thick enough to show finger tracks
reduced readings by 25 percent. These simple demonstrations reinforced the knowledge that detecting alpha particles in any but the most ideal
situations is most problematic. The leaching or settling of contaminants into a grassy area or the dust stirred up by vehicular traffic on paved areas
significantly decreases or eliminates alpha detection."
"Because of the extremely low penetration of alpha particles, special techniques must be used to allow the particles to enter the active region of a
detector. In field instruments such as the AN/PDR-56, AN/PDR-77, and ADM-300, an extremely thin piece of aluminized Mylar® film is used on the face
of the detector probe to cover a thin layer of florescent material.....contact with literally any hard object, such as a blade of hard grass, may
puncture the film, allowing ambient light to enter the detection region and overwhelm the photomultiplier and meter. (Even sudden temperature changes
have been shown to introduce stresses that may destroy a film.) In addition, contact with a contaminated item might transfer contamination onto the
detector; thus, monitoring techniques must be used that keep the detector from contacting any surface (however, recall that the range of the alpha
radiation is less than 4 cm in air). This requirement to be within a few centimeters of monitored locations without ever touching one makes using such
detectors impractical except for special, controlled situations."
Low energy beta particles may be even harder to detect than alpha particles. For example, tritium emits a (maximum energy) 18.6-keV beta particle and
Pu-241 emits a (maximum energy) 21.1-keV beta particle. At this low an energy, beta particles are less penetrating than common alpha particles,
requiring very special techniques for detection.
Because of the difficulties in detecting and measuring alpha and low energy beta emissions, the DOD states repeatedly in their guidebook;
"Detection rather than measurement is a more realistic goal for alpha-beta surveys".
They also state that once alpha particles are detected in the environment, samples must be taken instantly to a lab for proper measurement.
After Fukushima, they were taken instantly to a lab, wrapped up in plastic and buried in the back yard to avoid future reference.
The dangers of alpha radiation from plutonium are very serious, possibly more so than any other form of decay. A single particle of plutonium emits
enough alpha radiation to irradiate nearby cells and cell components, such as chromosomes, and damage them for as long as this particle is in the
body. The following is from MIT;
“Just knowing how much energy is absorbed by your body is not enough” to make meaningful estimates of the effects, explains Jacquelyn Yanch, a
senior lecturer in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering who specializes in the biological effects of radiation. “That’s because
energy that comes in very close together,” such as from alpha particles, is more difficult for the body to deal with than forms that come in
relatively far apart, such as from gamma rays or x-rays, she says.
Because x-rays and gamma rays are less damaging to tissue than neutrons or alpha particles, a conversion factor is used to translate the rad or gray
into other units such as rem (from Radiation Equivalent Man) or sieverts, which are used to express the biological impact.
It has been suggested that plutonium is the most dangerous substance ever created, and this is very true when all negative aspects are viewed as a
whole. It lasts thousands of years and can go supercritical in small amounts resulting in explosions that could bury earth in intense alpha particles
more or less forever. Hard to imagine something worse.
Nukies (nuclear power supporters) like to downplay plutonium by comparing it's toxicity to caffeine, and if only addressing non radioactive acute
toxicty, this may be a fair comparison. However, the toxicity of plutonium lies in it's radioactivity. High energy alpha particles that persist.
Comparing the toxicity of plutonium to caffeine without addressing plutonium's radioactivity is like comparing a loaded gun to a sharp knife and
claiming the knife more dangerous because the gun can't cut you.
If small particles of alpha emitters are inhaled, they can take up permanent residence in the lung and form a serious source of radiation exposure to
the lung tissue. A microcurie of alpha emitter deposited in the lungs produce an exposure of 3700 rems/yr to lung tissue, an extremely serious cancer
Another claim often heard is that it is expelled from the body unless taken deep into the lungs. This is also not true. Plutonium(IV) oxide resembles
iron and if absorbed into the circulatory system it has a high probability of being concentrated in tissues that contain iron, i.e. bone marrow (which
is highly sensitive to radiation), the liver and spleen.
In fact, uranium and the transuranic elements are all bone-seekers (with the exception of neptunium). If absorbed, they are deposited in the bone and
present a serious exposure risk to bone tissue and marrow. Plutonium has a biological half-life of 80-100 years when deposited in bone. In the liver
it has a biological half-life of 40 years.
There is no safe limit for exposure to alpha emitting hot particles like plutonium. It only takes one instance of one particle mutating one cell to
begin the cancer process. After that the process becomes self-perpetuating.
This is why it is important to know if a nuclear weapons factory is involved in the Fukushima disaster. The levels and types of radiation that people
will be exposed to will be different. One difference will be the release of large amounts of aerosolized unfissioned plutonium, similar to the high
explosion nuclear weapons accident mentioned above. This translates to high levels of alpha radiating particles 1 to 3 microns in size, as well as a
large percentage of vaporized radionuclides if the explosion was nuclear.
Isotopic ratios will also be different than what one would expect to find. Depending on which underground wing of the weapons complex the explosion
might have occurred in, and what type of explosion it was, there could be high levels of different radionuclides present. For instance, an explosion
in the area used for manufacturing the tritium component of the warheads would release massive amounts of tritium. A low yield non nuclear explosion
in a part of the complex where spent fuel is reprocessed would probably release large amounts of Pu-240 and 241, (24% and 10% of reactor grade fuel
respectively). The same explosion in an area with weapons grade plutonium would release very little Pu-240 and 241, as these and other impurities have
been refined out of the fuel.
It also changes the playing field considerably. The amount of radioactive materials at Dai-ichi is massive, especially when taking into account the
over 10,000 spent fuel rods with high levels of plutonium, typically found in spent fuel. If plutonium pits and other nuclear weapon components exist
underneath Dai-ichi, with the power to loft themselves and all of the power plant's fuel high into the atmosphere, we now face the danger of creating
a planet wide dead zone.
edit on 13-3-2012 by zworld because: (no reason given)