You are reading from a free online WORK-IN-PROGRESS e-book titled 'Deception, Cover-up and Murder in the Nuclear Age.' Visit the Table of Contents to access the links to this free content. Footnotes are located at the end of each chapter.
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|Chapter 12 -Fukushima Daiichi|
Our Daily Posts (and thus a chronology) Early-on About Fukushima -
March 26 - permalink
March 27-29 - permalink
March 30- permalink
March 30 - Radioactive iodine found in seaweed in B.C., Canada - The Canadian Press
March 31 - Radioactive iodine detected in milk (March 25) in Spokane, Wash. by EPA - level at 0.8 pCi/L permalink
April 1 - Incredibly high iodine-131 in Michigan is April Fool's Joke or Typo - permalink
April 3 - IAEA data from March 31- April 1 permalink
Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology revealed on Sept. 30, 2011 the results of an advanced soil survey conducted in areas located tens of kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi. (report here) The peak values in the survey of radiostrontiums detected in soils - at 45 out of 100 total sampling locations - were 22,000 Bq/m2 of strontium-89 in Namie soils and 5,700 Bq/m2 of strontium-90 in soil in Futaba. It is important to note that the levels of strontium-89 detected at all locations from the Ministry's June and July soil survey are 1/3 to 1/2 of the levels of this radioisotope that were originally deposited in March. This was not mentioned in any of the news articles on the matter.
Regarding strontium-89 (half-life of 50.6 days)
According to the 1964 Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) 135 mCi/km2, in the year 1962, and 103 mCi/km2, in the year 1963, of strontium-89 were deposited in soils as the result of global nuclear weapons testing fallout in the 40-50 latitude band, equivalent to about 3,811 Bq/m2 (for 1963) and 5,000 Bq/m2 (for 1962). The above-mentioned peak value of strontium-89 in Namie soil is therefore between 4 and 5.2 times the estimated one year deposits for the 40-50 degree latitude in 1963 and 1962, respectively, which were the two worst years of global fallout. Because original deposition levels in March of strontium-89 were two to three times the levels noted in the survey (mid-March to June/July = 2-3 half-lives of Sr89), we can expect that the original depositions in hotspots like Namie in Fukushima Prefecture were probably more than 10 to 15 times higher than single-year early 1960s levels in the 40-50 latitude band. (Table XI, UNSCEAR1964). Namie is 24 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi.
It is important to note that the ratio of strontium 89 (sr-89) to strontium 90 (sr-90) found in fallout is a function of fission yield, specific activity and radioactive decay. Basically, in fission a slightly greater mass of strontium-90 is created ('yielded') than strontium-89, yet we express environmental pollution using terms of radioactivity (i.e. becquerels) and rarely strictly in units of mass (i.e. grams). So, because strontium-89 is 200 times more radioactive per gram than strontium-90 (owing to its higher 'specific activity'), the level of radioactivity - the number of becquerels - in the environment of strontium-89 following a 'nuclear event' always far exceeds that of strontium-90 in the short-term. The ratio of the two sister isotopes found in the environment is largely dependent on the factor of time. The closer to the time of fission that the environmental release occurs the more likely there is a huge disparity in the radioactive quantities of the two isotopes; over time (about 7 half-lives of sr-89 from fission creation) the environmental ratio of the two tends to reach a level of parity.
According to Japan's NISA, the ratio of environmental releases of strontium-89 to strontium-90 from reactors 1-3 in March was about 13-14 to 1. This means that the strontium-89 in the reactors underwent on average around 3 to 4 half-lives by the time of the mid-March 2011 releases. Of course, some of the radiostrontiums released were 1 day (even 1 minute) fresh, and other radiostrontiums were years old.
The data provided in the Ministry's study show a ratio of strontium-89 to -90 in soil samples of about 3-4.5 to 1 (from sampling in June-July); the Namie soils had 22,000 Bq/m2 of sr-89 and 4,800 Bq/m2 of sr-90. If we decay-correct the strontium-89 values to March deposition levels in Namie (to 'undo' two half-lives), then we have 88,000 Bq/m2, which indicates a ratio of 18.3 to 1. (Without knowing the exact lab-testing dates of the samples and prior sr-90 background levels, we cannot render an accurate ratio or decay-correction.) The failure of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to make mention of the need for decay-correction for the strontium-89 values is either an oversight or a deceptive means to downplay the fact that there were very high environmental levels of strontium-89 in the spring around Fukushima.
The danger to public health from a food supply tainted with high strontium-89 levels cannot be overstated. Internalized strontium-89 is far more dangerous than cesium-137. Cesium-137 pumps out a gamma ray of 661,000 electron volts whereas strontium-89 pumps out beta particles with an electron volt ranking of 1,495,000, or 2.25 times higher. Also, because beta rays travel about one-tenth the distance in cellular tissue than gamma rays the absorbed dose from betas by exposed tissues is significantly greater than for gamma and thus the damage potential is greater (for gammas, the exposure is 'diluted' across much more tissue than betas, or alphas). Furthermore, whereas cesium-137 pools in the muscle, strontium-89 pools in the bone, which is far more linked to vital processes (except the heart muscle, of course) and is a smaller organ than the 'muscle organ', so the impact from internalized strontium-89 is considerably greater than the same quantity of internalized cesium-137.
During the Cold War, 'global fallout' from open-air nuclear weapons tests was ongoing for nearly two decades and it was unusual to have a ratio (of sr-89 to sr-90) as high as 14, 15 or 16 to 1. It was also rare to have environmental values of strontium-89 nearly 89,000 Bq/m2 for one month or even one year! (Consider these peak Sr-89 deposition levels recorded in the U.S. Public Health Service's Radiological Health Data publication: In Nov. 1961, one-month sr-89 deposition in Italy was 29 nCi/m2 or 1,074 Bq/m2; the highest one-month sr-89 deposition in Canada in December 1962 was Vancouver at 51.2 nCi/m2 or 1,896 Bq/m2; in Oct. 1962 and March and April 1963 Montreal ranked highest and its April peak was 24.2 nCi/m2 or 896 Bq/m2; in May 1963 it was Winnepeg at 21.9 nCi/m2 or 811 Bq/m2; in June 1963 it was Calgary at 28.8 nCi/m2 or 1,037 Bq/m2. Note that Canada received worse global fallout depositions than the U.S.)
We are convinced that northeast Japanese residents experienced exposures in food, water and air to strontium-89 that were largely unprecedented in the nuclear age.
We are also deeply troubled by a pattern now evident whereby TEPCO and the Japanese government are blocking any acknowledgement or discussion on the strontium-89 issue. For instance, in early April, when three TEPCO workers received severe beta injuries from contaminated water, the suspected culprit - strontium-89 - was never acknowledged. We wrote as a daily post on April 7: "Dr. Genn Saji, the former Secretariat of Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission, who was daily commenting on the developments of the Fukushima crisis, believed that the beta-burn radiation injuries of the three TEPCO workers was the result of high concentrations of strontium-89 in water. He noted on a daily commentary on April 7th that "It is very strange that the radiation concentration data by TEPCO continue to ignore presence of Sr-89 and Sr-90 in spite of the...injuries...TEPCO's sampling data did not contain Sr-89 and Sr-90 in the contaminated water. Although, the Government instructed to fortify environmental monitoring of sea water, the Sr-89 and Sr-90 data have not been shown. These two species are essential for investigation of natural food chains of marine products." Although sampling around the reactors since April for radiostrontiums has occurred and thus improved, in mid-August 2011 another 3 TEPCO workers were 'blasted with beta radiation' (Mainichi Japan) yet TEPCO and the Japanese government again blocked mention of strontium-89, again the suspected culprit. Both Japan's government and TEPCO are repeatedly putting workers and Japanese residents in danger because, in our view, they value firstly their investments and the image and the future outlook related to all-things-nuclear.
103 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 3,811 Bq/m2
135 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 4,995 Bq/m2 (let's round up to 5,000 Bq/m2)
Regarding strontium-90 (half-life of 28.5 years)
The UNSCEAR 2000 Annex C report indicates that the cumulative amount of strontium-90 from 1940s-1960s weapons testing deposited in the 40-50 latitude band was roughly 230 millicuries per square mile. Adjusting this value to correct for decay to reflect current levels - by simply taking a 1/4 of the original value (strontium-90 has experienced about two half-lives in 60 years) - we can expect soils in this latitude band to have today about 55 mCi/mi2 or 791 Bq/m2.
55 mCi/mi2 X 1 mi2/2.575 km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 791 Bq/m2
So, the concentration of stronium-90 in soil in Futaba is 7.2 times the average background concentrations of strontium-90 from weapons testing fallout expected at that location (that latitude) at present. Futaba's value is also roughly twice the estimated concentration of strontium-90 in those soils in the mid to late 1960s.
Although Futaba is located just 3 km from Fukushima Daiichi, similar values of stronium-90 in soil were found tens of kilometers away; a value of 4,800 Bq/m2 was found NW of the complex just outside the 30 km zone; and one value of 2,400 Bq/m2 was found north of the complex at a distance of more than 40 km. Strontium-90 was detected in multiple locations on, and Strontium-89 detected in one location very near, the perimeter (79 km) of the survey area (to the north, west, and southwest), which should indicate that radiostronium depositions from Fukushima should be detectable at more distant locations, including Tokyo and beyond. (Note: strontium deposits were detected in Moscow and Hawaii last spring.) Curiously, the Ministry's survey area included no sampling stations along a 20-30 km section of coast beyond the the 30 kilometer zone around the nuclear complex extending towards Tokyo. In early October, the Ministry stated it has no plans to extend the survey area beyond the 79 km radius.
The Ministry also found plutonium isotopes at six locations in the survey area and determined peak amounts of plutonium-238 of 4 becquerels per square meter (Bq/m2; in Namie soil) along with 15 Bq/m2 of plutonium-239+240 (soil in Minamisoma). Although experts in the Ministry aren't sure if the Pu-239/240 levels in Minamisoma (~25 km from Fukushima Daiichi) were from Fukushima or global fallout, they do believe that plutonium-238 - which is extremely genotoxic, has a half-life of 88 years and readily binds with oxygen to form plutonium-oxide (pu238o2) - found at six locations is indeed from Fukushima. According to a document by the U.S. EPA produced in 1990 titled 'Toxicology Profile for Plutonium': 'Average fallout levels in soils in the United States are about 2 millicuries (mCi)/square kilometer (about 0.4 square miles) for plutonium-239 and 0.05 mCi/square kilometer for plutonium-238.' This translates to 74 Bq/m2 for plutonium 239 and 1.85 Bq/m2 for plutonium 238.
2 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 74 Bq/m2
0.05 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 1.85 Bq/m2
Considering that Japan falls in the same latitude band for global fallout as the U.S., we can expect similar background levels of plutonium in Japan as these U.S. values. So, while the plutonium 239(+240) values from the Ministry's survey appear to be pointing to residual global fallout, the peak plutonium 238 value from the survey is clearly abnormal, or about 3 times expected background levels of plutonium-238 (taking into account decay from 1990 to 2011).
[Note that most of the plutonium 238 (pu-238) in our biosphere originated from nuclear satellite reentries. After this Thanksgiving, NASA, which decades ago took over the expansionistic desires of the U.S. to 'nuclearize' space from the U.S. military, will risk again polluting the Earth with plutonium-238 (over 10 pounds of it) when it launches a Mars-bound spacecraft powered unnecessarily by 'nuclear batteries'. The U.S. has contributed the bulk of the environmental plutonium-238 on Earth from one accident - the 1964 reentry of a U.S. Navy navigation satellite; the U.S. has taken no responsibility for the global lung cancers induced by that accident.]
We have calculated that a ground-concentration of 4 Bq/m2 of pu-238 means that 0.006 nanograms or about 15 billion atoms of pu-238 were deposited on that patch of Earth sampled by the Ministry in Namie since March. This also means that literally a trillion trillion trillion (or even more) pu-238 atoms were airborne in March as the result of the meltdowns (and lesser amounts in April through the present owing to continued Pu vaporization at Fukushima). This also means that Fukushima prefecture residents who spent time outdoors inhaled thousands or maybe millions of these plutonium-238 atoms, each atom emitting incredibly strong alpha rays (at millions of electron volts of energy aimed at cells and/or DNA). Theoretically, one plutonium atom lodged in the lung can induce lung cancer.
If plutonium particles traveled via air several tens of kilometers from Fukushima (Namie is 24 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex), then lesser but still potentially dangerous concentrations likely affected other parts of Earth and perhaps a few or maybe thousands of unfortunate Americans, Russians and Canadians inhaled flecks of pu-238; the U.S. EPA failed to prove or disprove the presence of pu-238 from Fukushima in U.S. air.
Finally, the Ministry's statement that "The radiation levels of the plutonium are not high enough to affect human bodies" is clearly wrong. ('Highly toxic plutonium detected in soil 45 km away from Fukushima nuclear complex,' The Mainichi Daily News, 10.1.11). Inhaling just 1.176 nanograms of airborne Pu-238 would give an internal dose of 5 Rem. 1 nanogram of Pu238 contains 2,530,000,000,000 atoms and is about the weight of one skin cell. Humans shed 40,000 skin cells every minute so you can imagine how miniscule a nanogram is. Thus, in just one breath you can unknowingly inhale one microscopic aggregated clump of plutonium-238 that would put you in a category of an 'overexposed' radiation victim, the same as if you ingested gallons and gallons of milk highly contaminated with radiocesiums or radioiodines. If that clump of plutonium (as isotope number 238 or 239/240) were 1000X larger, just a fleck to your eye (weighing just one microgram), that would be a lethal dose.
The Japan Times article 'Plutonium traces found in Iitate soil' (10.1.11) illustrates the continuing level of deception on the part of TEPCO, enabled by the corrupt Japanese government and its sold-out and back-boneless scientific community. The article notes '"Because the fuels (in the reactors) melted down, plutonium may have been emitted with steam or other small particles and sent airborne," a Tepco official said.' However, TEPCO knows, as with all other nuclear experts in Japan and worldwide, that the primary cause of the plutonium and radiostrontium releases since March is none of the mechanisms mentioned in that quote. Plutonium - and virtually all non-noble gaseous radioisotopes - mostly didn't leave Fukushima as lofted solid particles or on water-based steam but rather as steam itself: plutonium gas/vapor caused by the extreme heat of the melting cores or the overheated corium. Plutonium and strontium is still evaporating out of Fukushima and TEPCO continues to deceive the public with false statements and phony scientific explanations to cover up this truth.
Compared to Chernobyl
'Some 10% of the area of Belarus has levels of Sr-90 soil contamination above 5.5 kBq/m2 [5,500 Bq/m2], covering an area of of 21,100 km2 (Figure 1.11). Soil contaminated by Pu-238, Pu-239, and Pu-240 at levels higher than 0.37 kBq/m2 [37 Bq/m2] was found in 4,000 km2, or nearly 2% of the country.' - Chernobyl: Consequences of the catastrophe for people and the Environment, by Alexei Yablokov, Vasily Nesterenko and Alexei Nesterenko (pp.8-9)
'The region (oblast) of Gomel was the area with highest fallout in Belarus. The strontium soil contamination in parts of Gomel oblast outside the 30-km exclusion zone exceeded 37,000 Bq/m2 in 1986 (see Figure 11) whereas in Munich little strontium was determined in the Chernobyl fallout (210 Bq/m2 Sr-90 compared to about 20,000 Bq/m2 Cs-137, May 1986),...' (p.235, Chernobyl: 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident, by EECR')
What this all means
Parts of Fukushima prefecture experienced in the middle part of 2011 levels of soil-borne strontium-90 at about the same intensities as experienced at global fallout of the 1960s. The prefecture also likely experienced the highest recorded environmental depositions of strontium-89 on a monthly or annual basis for a nuclear contamination event. Current oceanic, soil and food levels of strontium-89 may be posing graver biological harm on food chains (including humans) than currently assumed by scientists, the media and the Japanese government. Lastly, elevated soil levels of plutonium-238 in Fukushima Prefecture suggest that innumerable atoms of this dangerous plutonium isotope traveled across Japan and other continents this spring, increasing the prospect of a spike of global lung cancers down the road.
NuclearCrimes believes that the effects on public health from exposure to 1960s levels of environmental strontium-89 and strontium-90 and plutonium 238 were unambiguously disastrous.
The case of the Japanese government's handling of Fukushima is the latest but not first example of how free governments across the Earth have become destructive...'destructive' in the sense that Thomas Jefferson, author of America's founding document - the Declaration of Independence, had meant. We must quickly regain deep and abiding faith in the reason for self-government, which is to - above all - safeguard our natural rights. We must quickly act upon this faith to reform or remove the diseased institutions that are literally, willfully and carelessly poisoning us and therefore violating our most fundamental natural right of a healthy life.
The biggest revolutions to occur in the West and East in hundreds of years will be soon and it will be over the health impacts of the destructive and willful nuclear poisoning by governments of their citizens. Read more in this book's conclusion.