Illinois Emergency Mgmt. Agency testing air around Byron nuke plant — It’s a public duty to verify current radioactivity levels in area, says director

Published: January 31st, 2012 at 6:42 pm ET
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Title: Air tests being done near the Byron nuclear plant
Source: WREX
Author: By Mike Costello
Date: Jan 31, 2012

Illinois Emergency Management Agency personnel are collecting air samples [... and] testing the air for the presence of radioactive tritium, to make sure everything is safe around the plant. 

“While we don’t expect to find harmful levels of tritium from the steam release at Byron, I believe it’s prudent to collect these samples and verify what levels are present,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We have no reason to believe that harmful levels were released, but we have a duty to the public to ensure what, if any, tritium from the steam release is in the environment around the plant.” [...]

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Title: Ill. emergency management agency says it’s testing for tritium near stalled nuclear reactor
Source: AP
Date: January 31, 2012

Workers from Illinois’ Emergency Management Agency are collecting water and vegetation samples to check for radioactive tritium around a northern Illinois nuclear plant. 

Agency Director Jonathon Monken said Tuesday [...] it’s his agency’s public duty to verify current levels of tritium in the area, and results should be available within a few days. [...]

Read the report here

Published: January 31st, 2012 at 6:42 pm ET
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39 comments

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39 comments to Illinois Emergency Mgmt. Agency testing air around Byron nuke plant — It’s a public duty to verify current radioactivity levels in area, says director

  • James2

    Chicago folks are tough – it takes more than Tritium to get them…

    For everybody else, those samples might be necessary.


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    • Adults may indeed be tougher than kids, but a fetus is very sensitive to any radiation.. Mothers are no longer allowed to get even ONE XRAY while pregnant, because it causes documented harm to the fetus.. Same goes for alcohol, even one drink at the wrong time, and you end up with some defect.. Now why would tritium be any safer than either of these? Tritium is absorbed by the body, just like water is, and it circulates all over, including into the fetus, past the plancenta barrier.

      See post below to see what happens to a fetus exposed to ANY dose of tritium…


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  • jec jec

    More to rest for than just Tritium. Are there other radioactive particles in “reactor water” than just Tritium? Just saying….


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    • “Concerning the passage of tritium administered under the form of tritiated water from the mother through the placenta and into the foetus … several statistically significant effects were found at various HTO levels, in no apparent relationship with dose. These included microcephaly [shrunken heads, also observed at Hiroshima], sterility, stunting, reduction of the litter size, …” (UNSCEAR p.695 — these are, of course, animal studies).”


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      • This study looks only at tritium ingested in water, which passes out of the body. The side effects from tritiated water may be less severe (if you can call shrunken heads less severe) than the effects of Inhaled tritium, which enters the bloodstream through the lungs and moves throughout the body.

        OT: I grew up 25 miles upstream from Vermont Yankee. The Connecticut River was horribly polluted from all of the machines shops, paper mills, and other manufacturers of noxious chemicals. My parents refused to let my sisters and I swim in it – or even wade in the water.

        What didn’t become apparent to me until a random comment made by my sister was that we had a large percentage of kids in town in Special Education, far more than other school districts around the country. This isn’t special ed as in my kid has ADHD because he eats potato chips, 46 percent chicken McNuggets, and Pepsi while he parks his fat ass in front of a television/video screen for 9 hours a day, 16 on weekends. These kids had severe handicaps. There was incest and fetal alcoholism, but there was something else. I chalked a lot of it up to inbreeding. I don’t know why it too me so many years to understand that it was fetal poisoning from the paper mills. I remember as a young child watching the the water over the falls in various shades of red, orange, yellow, orange and brilliant green, depending on what color they were dyeing the paper that day.

        Many of the people living there still caught fish from the river and placed it on their dinner plates.

        This was only damage from chemicals. Nuclear materials are far worse.

        I hope expectant mothers can avoid contamination. It is a crime that this is a non-event according to the local media.


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        • GoFrodo

          “This was only damage from chemicals. Nuclear materials are far worse.”

          I agree nuclear is much worse, but there are a lot of people who don’t seem to get that. They go on and on about GMO foods, pesticides, mercury, etc., all very important things which I cared about before; but these thing are nothing compared to what’s been sliming us in the past 10 months.

          I’m not saying we should abandon the rest of the anti-poison cause, but the people dropping wisdom about chemicals like they’re so up on enviro stuff and like it really matters as much anymore need to stop the show and acknowledge the bigger danger that is dwarfing every other poison.

          I’m starting to see that some of those misguided people, in official contexts, are being muzzled by their employers. That’s another story.


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  • jec jec

    More to TEST for than just Tritium.


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    • arclight arclight

      heres a good link with an in depth look at the type of isotopes likely to be released.. from page 5!

      http://www.isotopes.gov/outreach/reports/Reactor_Isotopes.pdf


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      • That list is a good start, but then those isotopes break down and decay into others, and so on..

        A more complete list….

        Very little has changed since Chernobyl blew up and radiated everyone, except that many more nuclear accidents, meltdowns, melt throughs and ‘accidental’ radiation releases happened, plus way more radioactive substances are now in the air, on the ground and in the ocean as well as inside all of us.

        How many radioactive elements and isotopes are released from something like Fukushima, some of which eventually end up inside all of us?

        According to Asahi: about 1,000 kinds of radioactive materials have been released from Fukushima reactors. http://enenews.com/asahi-sources-reveal-about-1000-kinds-of-radioactive-materials-released-from-fukushima/comment-page-1#comment-195658

        Let’s focus on just 93 out of the 1,000 total, shall we? There are 93 different long lived radioactive elements that hang around and pollute both the environment and us for at least 17,000 years and up to BILLIONS of years in total decay life. Want to see the list of all 93?

        http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/3069680

        This is what we can tell our kids that we left this all for them to clean up, once we are gone, because there is no way we can clean up this mess. The best we can do is shut down all of the nuclear reactors. But that does not clean up the mess we made.
        The Egyptian pyramids are only 5,000 years old, and the Bible is about 2,000 years old.

        How much sense does it make to heat water for only 30 years with radioactive ‘fuel’ that blows up and melts down (creating huge non livable zones for 50,000 years to 5 Billion years?

        Do we really want our future generations of kids and grandkids to have to deal with the radioactive leftovers from the spent fuel, laying around for billions of years, just so we can have hot water TODAY?

        Do we REALLY want our kids and grandkids for infinite future generations to pay for the storage and…


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        • Do we REALLY want our kids and grandkids for infinite future generations to pay for the storage and guarding of these dangerous, terrorist inviting waste products?
          More details on just 13 of the above long half life radioactive elements;

          Part I http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/3047473 Elements 1-9

          Part II http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/3048444 Elements 10-13


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          • I am working on a letter to Ron Paul addressing his desire to reduce regulations regarding utilities. As if the GOM wasn’t bad enough, we have Fukushima. What private enterprise is going to be around 100 years from now to take care of any problems? Who will bear the cost and the burden of maintaining these radioactive holding grounds for the next 50,000 years? Should the next trillion people born on this planet be responsible for cleaning up the mess made by a few greedy bastards in 21st century AD?

            This makes me think of Al Gore and his fake global warming scam. If he is so concerned about the environment, why isn’t he anti-nuke? Where is Al Gore’s voice now that the planet truly is imperiled by human greed? The greedy bastard keeps pimping the carbon trading scam in desperate hope that he, too, will become a billionaire like Ken Lay, who gifted a percentage of the exchange to Mr. Gore.


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            • GoFrodo

              There are a lot of fake environmentalists out there who take the term “green” to mean their idea of controlling people’s energy usage while ignoring the actual health of all life including the planet, humans, animals, the environment …

              Green must mean health-sustaining, as well. This energy obsession always seemed weird to me. While they sell us poison CFL light bulbs that I read take $2,000 to properly clean up the mercury if broken. Illogical stuff like that.

              Meanwhile, free energy ideas are suppressed like the government’s life depends on it. So we’re all made to believe there isn’t enough energy, so we have to settle for nuclear to make ends meet.


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        • GoFrodo

          “Do we REALLY want our kids and grandkids for infinite future generations to pay for the storage and guarding of these dangerous, terrorist inviting waste products?”

          What kids and grandkids? :( You mean the few that were born after the mass sterilization has taken place due to The Great Global MultiReactorFailure?

          I’m stuck seeing the dark side of this today.


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  • GoFrodo

    Does anyone know if any record shows that Illinois got a significant amount of fallout from Fukushima in the past 10 months, or at least as much as other states? Or from people’s experiences?

    I had read that the lower Midwest was was probably subject to less fallout than other regions of the country, compared to the West Coast, East Coast, and Upper Midwest.


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  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Why only choose Tritium? Hmm maybe because they didn’t expect us to be able to show any evidence about its dangers? And becasue they told us it was not harmful we would believe them?

    “Radiological research has found a correlation between tritium and cumulative genetic injury. (21) There was found in successive generations a reduction in relative brain weight, reduction in litter size, and increased reabsorption of embryos. (animal study) Correlations have been found in epidemiological research between tritium and Down’s’ Syndrome. Associations have also been found between low-level radiation and Down’s Syndrome.” http://www.ipsecinfo.org/Tritium.htm

    “Tritium is essential to the construction of boosted-fission nuclear weapons. A boosted weapon contains a mixture of deuterium and tritium, the gases being heated and compressed by the detonation of a plutonium or uranium device. The D-T mixture is heated to a temperature and pressure such that thermonuclear fusion occurs. This process releases a flood of 14 MeV neutrons which cause additional fissions in the device, greatly increasing its efficiency.” http://www.wcpeace.org/tritium.htm

    See they KNOW the dangers… from NASA…

    “Radioactive tritium became a perfect marker for tracking ocean water §. Scientists sampling North Atlantic water found that tritium released into the atmosphere before the 1962 nuclear test ban treaty, mixed downward by 1973. By 1980, the same tritium had moved into deep areas off Florida. The water had taken about 20 years to travel 3000 miles (4800 km) through the sea at an average speed of less than half a mile a day, about half the speed of a snail §.”
    http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/oceanography_currents_3.html


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  • pacific

    @JoyB: You mentioned last night that steam lasting beyond 12 hours would indicate they were having real trouble. What do you think at this point?

    — it took them til 3pm but apparently the steam/smoke is stopped, is that extra time needed significant?
    — what does it mean that the steam was/included smoke?
    — what isotopes would you expect would be worth testing for, tritium only, or Iodine-131, Cesium-134/137, etc?


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    • lam335 lam335

      Pacific,

      Did they stop at 3 pm today (Tuesday) or yesterday? Which article says that? I have been looking for information about WHEN and IF the venting has stopped.


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      • pacific

        I thought I just saw mention of 3pm today, but xdrfox noted 3AM in the general discussion thread. He’s surely right. Will post again if I find article stating time.


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      • pacific

        ConcernedMom’s photos of venting cooling tower are from this morning, 11am…


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        • ConcernedMom

          That’s the tower for Reactor No. 1, and the cooling tower is doing what it is supposed to. The tower for Reactor No. 2 is the one in the pictures that has no steam coming out of it. They were releasing it not from the tower, but from a location near the ground. When I drove by the plant at around 5pm tonight there was still no steam rising from No. 2 tower, meaning that it is still offline, so I would assume they will have to continue to release steam manually.


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      • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

        via xdrfox

        BYRON (WREX) – Updated: Jan 31, 2012 4:43 PM EST
        Illinois Emergency Management Agency personnel are collecting air samples following Monday’s power outage and shutdown of one of Byron nuclear plant’s towers.

        The plant experienced what’s classified as an “unusual event” Monday when the Unit 2 tower was shut down and steam had to be released. That process of releasing the steam ended around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday.

        IEMA is testing the air for the presence of radioactive tritium, to make sure everything is safe around the plant.

        “While we don’t expect to find harmful levels of tritium from the steam release at Byron, I believe it’s prudent to collect these samples and verify what levels are present,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We have no reason to believe that harmful levels were released, but we have a duty to the public to ensure what, if any, tritium from the steam release is in the environment around the plant.”

        On Tuesday, Byron Exelon released a statement saying Unit 2 will remain offline and there is still no public risk. Unit 1 will continue to handle the production load and service will not be interrupted.
        http://www.wrex.com/story/16643206/air-tests-being-done-near-the-byron-nuclear-plant


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      • pacific

        Iam335, I’m sorry for sloppiness, this is almost certainly the post I took 3pm from, but it says 3am. from the estimable xdrfox:

        steam ended around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday.

        BYRON (WREX) – Updated: Jan 31, 2012 4:43 PM EST
        Illinois Emergency Management Agency personnel are collecting air samples following Monday’s power outage and shutdown of one of Byron nuclear plant’s towers.

        The plant experienced what’s classified as an “unusual event” Monday when the Unit 2 tower was shut down and steam had to be released. That process of releasing the steam ended around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday.

        IEMA is testing the air for the presence of radioactive tritium, to make sure everything is safe around the plant.

        “While we don’t expect to find harmful levels of tritium from the steam release at Byron, I believe it’s prudent to collect these samples and verify what levels are present,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We have no reason to believe that harmful levels were released, but we have a duty to the public to ensure what, if any, tritium from the steam release is in the environment around the plant.”

        On Tuesday, Byron Exelon released a statement saying Unit 2 will remain offline and there is still no public risk. Unit 1 will continue to handle the production load and service will not be interrupted.
        http://www.wrex.com/story/16643206/air-tests-being-done-near-the-byron-nuclear-plant


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        • Ah. 3am is even better. Seems to be under control, we’ll find out more in the next few days per what it was all about.

          Meanwhile, anybody notice that North Anna had a 3.2 yesterday? Still chugging at 100%… Foreshock, aftershock, or entirely new fault shock?


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          • James2

            Totally missed that one. I’ll check it out.

            NA reactors were restarted pretty quickly. All NRC and company officials who requested the restart and approved it have been documented. If they knowingly restarted a damaged reactor they have committed a felony, and the next president may not be so willing to sweep all things nuclear under the rug.


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        • lam335 lam335

          Thank you very much for finding this article, Pacific. I’m glad to hear it stopped some time ago.

          I’m in northern Indiana, nearly a straight line to the east from the leaky plant. Unfortunately, I had to go out this evening and it was pouring rain as I headed to my car–I wonder how much tritium was in the rain/air.


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          • pacific

            Hi Iam335, Fixing my error about 3am vs 3pm was the least I could do — really sorry.

            Just had to retrace my reading here, xdrfox had posted the article in another thread. So, credit to xdr for finding and posting it!


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      • I cannot find confirmation that venting has stopped, but in pictures from today I don’t see steam coming out of either containment structure (I don’t know which is which in pictures). Only one cooling tower is in operation, which indicates the heat removal loop is still isolated. If the dump valves were still open at 3 pm and there wasn’t lots of visible steam going out, I’d suspect the situation is stable enough.

        Any word you’ve heard about when they might get the electricity back? Unit-1 is still at 100%, don’t they have an extension cord? §;o)


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        • ConcernedMom

          They are not saying how long it will be down. To my knowledge they are still on backup diesel generators.


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        • pacific

          Hm. I don’t know enough about reactor operations.

          @JoyB: ConcernedMom’s photo from 11 this morning showed a cooling tower venting a good amount of steam/smoke, maybe that’s just normal venting? I know a certain amount of venting of radioactive steam is built into normal operations.

          The article above uses the phrase “That process of releasing the steam ended around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday.” So, maybe the steam in CM’s pic this morning is a separate ‘process of releasing’.

          Feh. I’m out of my depth. Glad to hear you’re not alarmed. lol extension cord :)


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  • KONDY KONDY

    I am sitting here in S. Cal and just heard on my local news that one of the reactors (#3) at our local NPP – San Onofre just had an unplanned shutdown due to a leak detected in one of the steam generator tubes??? Holy shit!! Link to the only news I can find about it here in the local paper:

    http://sciencedude.ocregister.com/2012/01/31/unplanned-shutdown-of-san-onofre-reactor/167390/


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  • bmurr bmurr

    Here is some faces of the people that work or worked at Byron incase you wanted to add some human element to all of this.
    http://www.nukeworker.com/pictures/displayimage-116-949.html#top_display_media


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  • stopnp stopnp

    Crap! Most of my friends live there!


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  • Well, the other worst case option is that they ran out of water, and the reactor went dry, which means it is in melt down mode right now.

    It is now the 2nd, and still no Air Radiation readings from this Emergency Agency.. How long exactly does it take to take an air reading?

    When I look at a Geiger Counter, it takes about 15 seconds..

    It has been DAYS, and still NO RADIATION READINGS.

    What if something had seriously gone wrong (which is still possible by the way). The public as usual, is the LAST TO KNOW.

    Every nuclear accident and melt down I am aware of, NO RADIATION READINGS were ever released..

    It was usually days later or a week after a melt down that warnings went out that they advised people to evacuate… Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island; more or less all the same play book…

    If you want to know; get a digital Geiger Counter and plug it in, keep it running 24 hours a day, like a smoke alarm. NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO WARN YOU.


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  • Karli

    The Emergency Management Agency told me that they didn't have a way to measure for tritium which is beta wave, their devices only measured for alpha waves (plutonium?). They KNEW that nothing was amiss and waited until the day after to send someone in to test the Byron area, vegetation, ground water. If they didn't have the right machines, how could they have measured anything? And, it was going to take a week to get the lab results unless an initial reading registered high. Hmmmm. Now how long did that take? Perhaps there wasn't a dangerous release. But, if there had been, there was certainly no sense of urgency and I felt I was being given a party line by this Government agency, which says they are independent monitors of nuclear plants. Still no reports on what happened to the water pumps.


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