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Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Radioactive Groundwater Crisis Worsens - Fully Unsolvable

Politics / Environmental Issues Sep 01, 2013 - 10:35 PM GMT

By: Submissions


Tracy Turner submits: LATEST: The coriums are still hot enough to volatilize all sorts of isotopes, more proof now confirms: Evidence that Ag110m is still being volatilized by corium. It's not just radioactive silver. Per our conclusion to Chapter 12, strontium, cesium and plutonium are still being vaporized fairly effectively. Quote: 'Note that the temperatures of the corium at several of the reactors at Fukushima are probably still high enough to continue volatilizing strontium, plutonium and dozens of other isotopes for years; this corium won't cool down, or be properly contained, for years or decades.'

RECENT: TEPCO says they believe 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 (and also 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137) have leaked into the ocean from the crippled reactor complex since 3/11 May of 2011 (correction). (source). This is a ridiculously low estimate. Also, radioactive tritium levels in the sea (seaport) at Daiichi are creeping up and up and up (we knew that was gonna happen).

RECENT: In the latest mess at Fukushima, one or more of the hundreds of storage tanks at the nuclear complex holding EXTREMELY radioactive liquid waste are leaking. The radioactive liquid waste is flowing into the soil and standing puddles are 'hot,' measuring, at surface, about 10 Rem/Hr. UPDATE: THE LEVELS ARE NOW AT 180 REMS PER HOUR, which is getting close to the lethal dose. source. Even taken out of context of the ongoing 'level 7' Fukushima nuclear disaster, these disastrous spills are considered BAD. As it turns out, the leak crisis has received a distinct crisis categorization, classed 'a level 3' on an eight point international scale (INES).

RECENT: Onsite contaminated water at Fukushima contains 3x the cesium released by Chernobyl (and Mighty Oak) -- SOURCE

Recent disclosures by TECPO of severely contaminated groundwater at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex have been raising eyebrows in activist communities and beyond. TEPCO has recently been finding in boreholes drilled just meters from the ocean stratospheric quantities of radioactivity, including cesium-134, cesium-137, strontium-90 and tritium. At first, TEPCO said this radiation - near the shoreline, but below the surface - originated 'from initial leaks that have remained since earlier in the crisis' and that stayed near the plant inside the bay. BUT THEY WERE WRONG! This was from leaks. This was radiation that was bleeding from the reactors or the coriums and contaminated the groundwater, which has been flowing to sea all along. The most recent alarming news is that TEPCO found 2.35 *tuh* trillion becquerels of radioactive cesium per cubic meter of groundwater in a trench beside reactor 2.

Since early July 2013, measurements peaking into the hundreds of BILLIONs of becquerels per cubic meter (denoted as Bq/m3) of beta radiation have been found in groundwater at the plant! Beta radiation includes such radionuclide groups as cesium, strontium, tritium, and dozens of other isotopes of chemical elements formed by nuclear fission (look at a trilinear chart; the betas are in broken-lined boxes). TEPCO is reluctant to test for strontium-90. STRONTIUM-90 IS WORSE THAN CESIUM-134 OR CESIUM 137 OR TRITIUM to human health. That's why I focus on this radiochemical across many of the hundreds of pages on Read more about why Strontium-90 is a worse health threat than cesium.

Strontium-90 Findings at Fukushima Daiichi SEAWATER RESULTS: 5,800 Bq/m3 (157 pCi/L) | sample date: 6/26/13 | publish date: 7/31/13 | north side of units 5 & 6 water outlet
1,200 Bq/m3 | sample date: 7/15/13 | publish date: 8/29/13 | N side of reactor 5&6 water outlet
Recently, beta levels are increasing however GROUNDWATER RESULTS (SR-90): 8,300 Bq/m3 | sample date: na | publish date: 12/12/12 beside reactor3
850,000 Bq/m3 | sample date: 3/26/12++ | publish date: 6/7/13
1,000,000 Bq/m3 | sample date: 5/24/13 | publish date: 6/19/13
1,200,000 Bq/m3 | sample date: 6/07/13 | publish date: 7/11/13 boring no. 1
++During a four-hour leak event (into the ocean) in March 2012, TEPCO had measured - 10 minutes BEFORE finding the leak! - 17 million Bq/m3 of beta radiation in water and five percent of that was strontium-90.
Thanks Fukushima Diary for their work! It's helping us.
Maritime Safety Agency, 'Sr-90 and Cs-137 density in seawater became the highest in past 40 years'

TEPCO knows what they're doing. They are trying to keep people apathethic about this disaster and are being advised by the best spin-doctors in the world. For over 2 years now, TEPCO has done their informational 'drip drop' thing for all sorts of data, and now they're doing it with strontium-90 levels measured in groundwater. They're withholding most of this data and waiting, very carefully, to release this data until people no longer care or remember there was even data to be shared. Yet, we see from the few disclosures to date that strontium-90 levels keep increasing in groundwater with each sample; see chart in light blue color.

So, is strontium-90 going to be (or already is) a problem in the PACIFIC OCEAN from historic AND future groundwater releases at Fukushima? Strontium (even more than cesium) is WATER SOLUBLE, UNLIKE PLUTONIUM AND MANY OTHER RADIOCHEMICALS, so we can expect groundwater to be full of the stuff. And...THERE IS A LOT OF STRONTIUM LEFT TO BE LEACHED from the coriums, which are water-drenched, meaning they are slowly leaching radiation into the groundwater. The coriums at Fukushima contain MILLIONS OF TRILLIONS of becquerels of strontium-90 just waiting to be released...and since the corium's whereabouts are unknown, it's plausible that groundwater contamination could be getting worse, NOT BETTER! As the groundwater contamination worsens, there is only more bad news, because at Fukushima the groundwater will leak not only across the horizontal surface but also in the up-down dimension. Groundwater is flowing down a fault that runs under the nuclear complex hundreds of feet into an aquifer leading to the sea. That pathway to the sea CANNOT be plugged. TEPCO knows this. So, they're taking a page from the Hanford playbook and refusing to test for deep contamination.

So, let's say, soon, TEPCO finds 50 billion becquerels per cubic meter of strontium-90 in groundwater. That's 50,000,000,000 Bq/m3 of sr90. In a leak involving the volume of water in an Olympic sized swimming pool (which holds 2500 m3 of water), that's 125 TRILLION becqueruels of strontium-90! That's 125 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 in one big pool's worth of water !! Scientists are more or less in consensus - though this is a conservative estimate in my estimation - that Fukushima in 2011 released into the marine environment 1,000 TRILLION becquerels of strontium-90 (into the Pacific). So, over time, and we're talking just a few months from now, a volume of 10 (ten) Olympic pools of contaminated groundwater containing 50 billion bq/m3 of Sr90 would exceed the most conservative estimate of strontium-90 load put into the Pacific from the 2011 meltdowns (volatilized sr90), dumping and leaks combined! On July 12, 2013, a TEPCO worker said 450 tons of groundwater flow into the Pacific everyday; so it would take just 55 days for 10 volumes of Olympic swimming pools to meet this goal not taking into account the out-to-sea flow from fault line drainage! (1 ton of water equals about 1 cubic meter of water). Perhaps this has already happened, or has happened a few times, since TEPCO has confirmed underground leaks to the sea have been happening since 2011.

We have a real crap-fest on our hands. The main reason why is that no one CAN stop the groundwater flow. Although we hear worrisome news such as the August 5, 2013 story that tainted groundwater has breached a sort of chemical-liquid glass underground groundwater barrier at the Fukushima Daiichi plant's sea front, the real worrisome news is the fault line under Fukushima, which acts as a big drain for the complex's groundwater. As barriers are being built by TEPCO around its reactors, this idiotic brand of not-thinking-things-through engineering will simply back up the groundwater and result in the following: increase drainage into the fault, overflow scenarios (and faster flows of tainted water), thwarting or overwhelming of pumping AND STORAGE capability, and an increased potential that reactor structures will be crushed from the water pressure! If the entire REACTOR SITE becomes a type of 'soup' - if it is all turned into the quote unquote saturated zone - the reactors could lose their stability and move, or sink. In an earthquake, the moist ground could experience liquefaction: it could behave as water even though it (the soil) is a solid. This would be very bad.

With the recent breach of the underground glass-like 'barrier', TEPCO said that it was going to increase its testing for strontium-90 in seawater/groundwater despite an announcement by the utility in mid July 2013 that it was (a) reducing the frequency of analysis of Sr90 in sea samples and (b) was planning to cease reporting measurements (of Sr90) in becquerels, and instead in (erroneous) units of dose or other parameters meant to confuse and mislead, IMO. We shall see what happens. The fact remains that strontium-90 poses a greater danger, unit for unit, than tritium or cesium to human health and the environment, and strontium-90 will be entering the environment via groundwater flows in amounts many times that released by air during the meltdowns in 2011.

The real worrisome part is, as the coriums become fully immersed in the Earth's hydrosphere, we could soon be seeing radioactive measurements of strontium, cesium, tritium, and soon perhaps even plutonium, reaching record high levels as TEPCO admits the truth or throws up its hands and says it has no way or plan of dealing with UNCONTROLLED groundwater FLOWS containing RECORD LEVELS OF RADIATION for years or decades!



What TEPCO, marine mammal scientists, and the U.S. FDA are NOT TELLING YOU about radiation dangers to you and your family

The seals and polar bears who suffered external maladies in 2011 were likely BURNED by radiation

Commentor 'greens-5677457' noted on an April 8, 2012 article titled 'Fur loss, open sores seen in polar bears' on that:

'Despite what article states, these are OBVIOUS signs of Radiation Burn from the Fukushima meltdown. That is why they occur the same in similar species- Friends of mine in Hawaii have lost pets to the radiation within 2-3 months of the Tsunami (lymphoma, other cancers), don't believe this media blackout- these symptoms will start occurring in humans soon.'

Since the summer of 2011, U.S. scientists have observed several dozen living and dead Pacific Ocean marine mammals with a strangely similar condition of skin sores and hair loss. These animals may be suffering from 'beta burns,' which are caused by significant external exposure to 'beta emitters' such as radiostrontiums, which were released in copious quantities to the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011.

TEPCO workers too were burned

In early April 2011 three TEPCO workers received severe injuries from contaminated water, the suspected culprit: strontium-89. Although this was never acknowledged in the news media, we wrote as a daily post on April 7, 2011: "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." The TEPCO workers sustained radiation injuries to their feet while in standing water. Shamefully, TEPCO ignored the obvious culprit of these 'beta burns,' which were strontium-89 and/or strontium-90, both 'beta-emitters' commonly found in nuclear spent fuel.

Radiation burns externally and does worse internally

These beta-emitters have been released in staggering quantities into the Pacific and, upon contact with a victim, can cause external injuries including hair loss, sores and lesions. These are the symptoms of the struggling and dead seals and polar bears in the Arctic. Worse for us, strontiums and other radioactive isotopes throughout the Pacific Ocean are available for internal contamination because humans eat sea plants and animals. Consider that Alaska-caught fish and marine mammals in the late 1950s tested by scientists were found to be an order of magnitude more radioactive in strontium-90 content than most land-grown foods. (Source: 'Radiological Health Data,' January 1961, U.S. Public Health Service, p. 21 ('Strontium-90 Concentrations in Food Samples Taken in State of Alaska')) (In the 1950s, which was time when a similar nuke event to a 'Fukushima' occurred, these animals were swimming and feeding in radioactive water that originated from sources thousands of miles away.) This means that food from the ocean on our dinner plates in North America is going to be the most radioactive part of our diet. In 2012 and beyond, migratory fish will bring the radiation with them, and non-migratory fish, like halibut in Alaska, are becoming radioactive because air and water currents have brought radiation towards them. (Learn about radioactivity being found in Pacific fish after 3/11.) Our concern is that fish harvested over the next 20 years along North America's Pacific coastline may be contaminated with unsafe levels of radioactivity.

Further reading about beta emitters still being leaked at Fuku in spring 2012

Wikipedia says about radiation burns: 'Third and fourth degree beta burns result in deeper, wet ulcerated lesions...After the Trinity test, the fallout caused localized burns on the backs of cattle in the area downwind.[18] The fallout had the appearance of small flaky dust particles. The cattle showed temporary burns, bleeding, and loss of hair'

We're being scammed by promoters and promulgators of radiation protection standards

Don't confuse U.S. federal 'levels of (public health) concern' with 'safe levels.' They're not the same thing. The U.S. federal levels aren't safe. When thinking about 'what is safe,' consider the Rongelapese. Their beautiful Pacific island was ruined by the fallout of an America hydrogen bomb weapons test in 1954. Per a 1989-published study,1 the Rongelap Islanders were consuming each about 3,000 picocuries of cesium-137 in foodstuffs per day. That was the level after living on their atoll for nearly three decades as radiation levels were actually dropping.

What happened to the Rongelapese?: The Rongelapese were evacuated by the U.S. government on the third day of their 'fallout ordeal' in 1954 and returned to living on their contaminated island in 1957 after a three-year hiatus (to supposedly let the fallout dissipate). They returned home primarily because the U.S. government assured them the island was 'safe.'

The islanders were eating radioactive foods from their island for nearly three decades. Of the original group of islanders on Rongelap exposed to heavy fallout on the first three days of March in 1954, the population experienced different debilitating diseases - including leukemia and several cancers - as well as deformed newborns, stunted growth in children, etc... The islanders became so convinced that U.S. standards dictating 'safe' levels were wrong that they self-evacuated in 1985 - even though U.S. medical scientists suggested it was foolhardy to do so.

The experience of the Rongelapese, who now live in voluntary exile from their home island, is proof that a DIL (aka 'level of concern') is absurd. Consider that following an emergency event, for up to a year, the FDA will let Americans eat foods up to its FDA's DIL for cesium-137 (and/or cesium-134) of 32,000 picocuries. That's per a kilogram quantity. Although the DIL is probably not meant to be applied for over a year time span, we see that low-levels (in FDA terms) of cesium in foods can cause problems in the long-term because of the Rongelapese. They were ingesting 3,000 picocuries per day of radioactive cesium and that exposure was a contributing factor for them contracting many radiation-induced illnesses including leukemias and cancers at above-normal incidence rates for those diseases.

The Rongelapese did the right thing by disregarding U.S. scientists' advice to stay put on their island. And although the Rongelapese weren't experts in radiation, they saw with their own eyes that the island was harmful, that their cumulative intake of radiation (which was probably higher than any other population in history) was causing excess deaths and strange illnesses.

In America, we were spoon-fed deceptive statements about radiation exposure while nuclear bomb fallout poisoned our milk in the 1960s. We were told that (absurd) 'permissible' radiation standards made it okay to eat radioactive foods and this author believes 100% that a large amount of people (globally) suffered chronic effects, like cancer, from those overexposures.

With Fukushima, it's happening all over again. We're being more-or-less deliberately poisoned to save both the global economy and the perception of the 'atom.' In 2012 and beyond, the U.S. FDA is letting in very radioactive foods into the U.S. marketplace like it did in 1986-1988 when it SECRETLY tested the radioactive content of foods from Greece, Italy, Turkey and other nations hit hard by Chernobyl but never told Americans the astonishing contamination levels. The FDA was letting Americans eat foods that was hundreds of times more radioactive than normal and never told a soul. A FOIA request by a citizen that finally made the government-withheld radiation tabulations public revealed that Americans were eating imported foods contaminated by Chernobyl's cesium-134 and cesium-137 up to 10,000 picocuries or 370 becquerels per kilogram! The FDA only intervened (allegedly 'protecting Americans') on a dozen occasions during the 1986-1988 time period: 'According to U.S. federal regulations [at that time], imported foods containing more than 10,000 pCi of Cs-134 + Cs-137 must be seized and destroyed...The official documents obtained through the RADNET [FOIA] request (Section 9) shows that between 1986 and 1988 there were 12 such occasions.' ( 'Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,' by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko, 2011, p.293) The FDA tested 1,749 samples during that time period and over 100 of the samples tested above 1,000 pCi/kg.

Currently, the FDA is likely doing the same with U.S. wild caught seafood and imported Japanese foods - it is testing them for radiation and not telling us the whole story. Our great worry should be that the FDA has now in place a 'DIL' threshold over THREE TIMES HIGHER than what was used during Chernobyl, or 1,200 becquerels per kilogram (over 30,000 picocuries per kilogram) for combined cesium-134 and cesium-137. This is substantially HIGHER than the EMERGENCY guideline of 500 becquerels per kilogram of cesium-137 instituted by the Japanese government after Fukushima (which was later reduced to 100 Bq/kg). The FDA is poisoning Americans and is still closely guarding radiation test results that should be public info. Will those data stay secret for decades while we eat radioactive foods? Or will we take the path of the Rongelapese and disregard the illegitimate and dangerous guidelines of U.S. government agencies and the scientists who advise them?

1 Rongelap Reassessment Project Report, (reissue of May 5, 1990), administered by RMI; Henry I. Kohn as referee; more about the Rongelapese's experiences in Chapter 6 of 'Deception, Cover-up and Murder in the Nuclear Age'

More about fallout levels in the 1960s in Chapter 3 of the book

See a chart of the FDA's DILs

This fuzzy image is from a FOIA document acquired in 2008 (more, including the entire set of scanned pages, here) titled 'FDA Radionuclides in Foods Program - Imported Foods Findings - May 1986 Through December 1988'. The last column is for cesium-137.

New Study Suggests Huge Amounts of Strontium-90 Released to Sea from Fukushima, August 2012

A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology titled 'Radiostrontium in the Western North Pacific: Characteristics, Behavior, and the Fukushima Impact' looks at the question of leaks from Fukushima of strontium-89 and strontium-90 (also written as 89Sr and 90Sr) into the marine environment. But, why is strontium-90 (or its shorter-lived cousin strontium-89) such a concern? No one is talking about strontium-89 or strontium-90 levels in fish, or seafood in general, right? Is this 'radiostrontium' a problem with Fukushima? Well, the authors assert that '[Cesium-137 and Strontium-90] have been recognized radioecologically as the most important long-lived radionuclides...which are released from nuclear fission and accumulate in the marine environment... The 90Sr bioavailability and high range of concentration factors in marine food (from 5 to 10) require improvement of our understanding of its behavior in the marine environment...As the 90Sr levels measured in seawater offshore of the Fukushima NPP were within a factor of 10 of the 137Cs concentrations measured in the same areas, more attention should be given to the assessment of the 90Sr impact on the marine environment.'

In their study, the authors estimate that 'The total amount of 90Sr released to the marine environment [from Fukushima] in the form of highly radioactive wastewater could reach about 1 PBq.' If true, then the levels of strontium-89 might have been as high as 10-11.5 times this amount in March and April 2011 in the waters off Fukushima.

What's 1 PBq? P is for Peta and Bq is for becquerel. Peta is 10 to the power of 15, or 1,000 trillion. So, we have 1,000 trillion becquerels of 90Sr or strontium-90. This is about 1/171th of the Sr-90 reactor core source term of the 4 crippled reactors. Dr. Genn Saji of Japan had calculated (see 'April 7' post in purple boxed feature here) over a year ago that the accidental source term (the reactor core inventory at shut down, which could be released if all the reactors blew up) for Fukushima Daiichi units 1-3 was 2,649 PBq for strontium-89 and 171 PBq for strontium-90.

The plain truth is no one has the foggiest idea of how much wastewater was REALLY dumped and leaked - and will be leaked - from operations at Fukushima. We should assume that Fukushima injected STRONTIUM-90 into the Pacific Ocean at quantities probably very similar to Bravo. Flowing from this, we can expect what will be happening soon to fish, boats and marine ecology. View this graphic. Considering strontium-90's marine bioaccumulation and public health damage potential, the failure of governments to test wild Pacific seafood for this radioisotope in 2012 demonstrates either the effectiveness of government coverups of radiation dangers or the sheer idiocy of allegedly intelligent first-world peoples, or both.

Amount of strontium-90 released to sea by Fukushima reactors (not spent fuel) compared with H-Bomb Test (15 Megaton) Castle Bravo

Strontium-90 (becquerels)

Fukushima's Sr-90 releases to sea (low estimate by scientists) 1,000,000,000,000,000
Bravo (1954) Sr-90 releases to sea 1 37,000,000,000,000,000

More about DILs, Vital Choice's findings and the bluefin tuna study in 'Vital Information that U.S. Scientists and the U.S. Government Isn't Telling You about Pacific Seafood Tainted by Fukushima'. See chapters 3 ('Global fallout') and 12 ('Fukushima Daiichi') of our book for greater context. For our technical analysis explaining EPA RADNET's bizarre spikes and theories about the true extent of airborne fallout from Fukushima impacting Alaska's environment, visit chapter 16.

By Tracy Turner

© 2013 Copyright Tracy Turner - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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