Are radioactive insects spreading Fukushima contamination from lake bottoms across the land? Scientist: They grow underwater then fly out & die everywhere

Published: November 21st, 2012 at 3:48 pm ET
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Title: Fukushima Update: Radioactive Fish, Conflicts of Interest, and Filtered Vents
Source: ScienceBlogs (A National Geographic partner)
Author: Greg Laden
Date: Nov. 21, 2012

Highly Radioactive Fish Have Been Found

[...]

I have a hypothesis that explains many of these observations. Fish like trout, salmon, and char eat, among other things, insects on the surface, gorging on hatches. A hatch is a large number of insects flying around and spending time over water, or often, just falling into the water, after emerging from a body of water where they spent an aquatic phase. I’ve written before about the role that insects such as dragonflies and lake flies serve the role of moving nutrients from their “final” resting place at the bottom of ponds and lakes, out across the landscape. These animals start off as an egg, and then turn into their adult form underwater, accumulating nutrients …. and cesium? …. as they grow. Then they fly out of the water and die everywhere. Or, are eaten by selected species of fish. From clay-rich lake bottom, where radioactive cesium can accumulate in sufficient density to disqualify bottom feeders from human consumption, to the mouths of trout, salmon and char. I don’t know if the Japanese researchers are thinking about it this way, but I hope it is given some thought.

See also: Japan Times: Time bomb in Tokyo metropolitan area -- Experts warn of accumulating Fukushima contamination -- Potential disaster at Japan's 2nd largest lake

Published: November 21st, 2012 at 3:48 pm ET
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20 comments to Are radioactive insects spreading Fukushima contamination from lake bottoms across the land? Scientist: They grow underwater then fly out & die everywhere

  • Sickputer

    Mr. Laden is deluded in thinking insects are the cause for high cesium levels in fish. He also advocates the dumping of dammed up fresh water into the sea which is not much help in the long run becayse of continued aerial fallout and spring runoff into streams.

    He also presumably subscribes to this idiocy: " The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is poised to recommend that filtered vents be installed on all US based plants. Here’s what is interesting about this: Using their own method of determining cost benefit ratios, adding a $16 million dollar plus filtered vent to each plant is way more expensive than the estimated cost of cleaning up after a release from an unfiltered event"

    SP: Better add a few more zeros to those cleanup estimates. Living in nucleocrat fantasy land. I need to see his sources for that ridiculous statement.


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      Here's another of Mr. Laden's questionable statements: "It took about a year for the plant to reach a condition that was stable enough that we stopped checking it every day to see if new bad things were happening." He may have stopped checking…we've haven't…

      Continuing on with another of Mr. Laden's 'insights': "Basically, the plant just cooled down and stopped being as dangerous because the nuclear material in the plant escaped into the environment or just settled down to a less reactive level over time." REALLY?! Perhaps they're now 'cool' enough to send Mr. Laden into one of them with a camera and scribble pad? I'm sure he'll return with more reassuring words…

      His statements on conflict of interest ("…between the regulators and the regulatees…") are valid. He is correct in his conclusion about the "cult-like adherence to untenable pseudoscience regarding nuclear safety."

      I do agree with the 'bio-cycle' explanation in how radiation moves through the food chain. I disagree that insects can be used as a valid explanation to why fish are showing high levels of rad-contamination. We could accept the insect 'vector' as one part of the process, but only a small part. It's likely a combination of dispersed radionuclides and incinerator run-off is the major culprit behind this increasing contamination…

      As usual, good catch Sickputer…


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  • Sickputer

    OK… I see where Mr. Laden came up with the filtering vs. accident cleanup cost analysis:

    "The commission usually applies a cost/benefit analysis, calculating the potential damage to be avoided by a hardware improvement by taking into account the severity of an accident and the probability of the accident’s occurring. But through a technique called probabilistic risk assessment, it calculates the probability of an accident in which a vent would be useful as very low.

    On that basis, the filtered vents cannot be justified, the staff said on Thursday as it presented its position to a committee of senior nuclear experts. But installing filtered vents does fit in with the commission’s philosophy of “defense in depth,” meaning several layers of protection, the staff said. It is due to report to the five-member commission at the end of November."

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/a-hard-look-at-u-s-reactor-hardware-after-fukushima/

    SP: Chalk it up to the idiotic doublespeak of the misinformers at the NRC. Talking out of both sides of their mouth requires great practice. The nucleocrats are experts in Orwellian press releases.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    An area/ecosystem should be picked and air, land water,plant animal,.. should be tested.
    The results would show generalized contamination and hot spots.. deriving from the original explosion..accumulation..etc.
    NOT JUST BUGS.
    Japan is moving the debris all over the country.
    The contamination moves with life itself..as the wind blows..and the water flows…absorbed by plant and animal like.


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  • or-well

    HotR said – "The contamination moves with life itself…as the wind blows…and the water flows…absorbed by plant and animal alike."

    I don't think the majority of people yet grasp this.

    Or that the death of living things ends the contamination they carry.

    Will that be burial, cremation or dry casking then?


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  • Sickputer

    HotR. +311 ;-)

    I found some more gems of the braintrust known as the NRC. Here are some current and projected industrial applications for commercial radiation:

    "we may someday use radiation to disinfect our drinking water and kill the germs in our sewage. In fact, ultraviolet light (a form of radiation) is already used to disinfect drinking water in some homes.

    Similarly, radiation is used to help remove toxic pollutants, such as exhaust gases from coal-fired power stations and industry. For example, electron beam radiation can remove dangerous sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides from our environment. Closer to home, many of the fabrics used to make our clothing have been irradiated (treated with radiation) before being exposed to a soil-releasing or wrinkle-resistant chemical. This treatment makes the chemicals bind to the fabric, to keep our clothing fresh and wrinkle-free all day, yet our clothing does not become radioactive. Similarly, nonstick cookware is treated with gamma rays to keep food from sticking to the metal surface.

    The agricultural industry makes use of radiation to improve food production and packaging. Plant seeds, for example, have been exposed to radiation to bring about new and better types of plants. Besides making plants stronger, radiation can be used to control insect populations, thereby decreasing the use of dangerous pesticides."

    http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/uses-radiation.html


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  • jec jec

    Suppost all the burning of radioactive debris did not have anything to do with spread of radiation? (sarcasm) It is a "I TOLD YOU SO"…..


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  • Anthony Anthony

    Bitching or exasperating about insects carrying contamination from lake bottoms to the land ring hollow coming from a nation who burns and spreads contamination far and wide. Additionally Japan flows contamination endlessly into the sea and groundwater systems. I fail to see any important point this guy is making. Of course the goddamned lake bug are contaminated as is everything bloody else.


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  • garjackson

    "I fail to see any important point this guy is making"

    As do many from the all these comments.

    This shows a way for the fallout to get out of the sediment and into people.

    Just yesterday the government said the radiation is locked away in the sediment down there safe and sound.

    It is actually soem pretty interesting ideas. The circle of life spreads things around even where it look slike nothing lives…… no where is safe.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Radiation is leaking from the plant, and permeating Japan.


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  • dosdos dosdos

    I would agree that ephemeral aquatic insects are contributing to the radioactivity of the trout family and others in Japan which rely greatly on insects as a diet. I have been a fly fisherman and a fly tier for many years, and I know the food cycle pretty well. However, it being a significant percentage of the contamination of the fish remains to be seen.


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  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    PBS; Radioactive Wolves In Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Movie Review; via A Green Road
    http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/04/chernobyl-pbs-radioactive-wolves-in.html

    Radioactive Boars And Deer (Still) Unfit To Eat 950 Miles From Chernobyl; via A Green Road
    http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/04/radioactive-boars-and-deer-unfit-to-eat.html


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  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    The universal constant across all species is the concentration of radiation up the food chain.

    The further up the chain one goes, the more radiation and other toxins are concentrated.


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  • PurpleRain

    Blame all this terribly nasty radiation on the teeny-tiny insects. INSTEAD of on TEPCO! Gimme a break!


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  • irhologram

    Birds also eat insects. Many birds migrate to other areas. If a mosquito bit a bird, then the mosquito would carry radioactive particles? I was wondering…if radiation in the environment grows to a certain threshold, would the food chain begin to cross Contaminate and be a source of radioactive poisoning even in areas not as polluted by the jet stream and water currents?


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  • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

    Stupid insects!


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