Mainichi has a report featuring radiochemical expert Michiaki Furukawa, professor emeritus at Nagoya University:
- He says that some reports about plutonium have been misleading.
- “When the disaster first happened, there were media reports saying ‘plutonium won’t make it far because it’s a large and heavy element,’ but no one who’s done serious research in environmental radioactivity would say such a thing.”
- “At the very least, plutonium-238 had to have come from the explosions (at the plant). The plutonium that had heated up inside the reactors turned into fine particles when it came in contact with water, and was dispersed with the water vapor released in the explosions.
Yet, Furukawa says, “Since the plutonium takes the form of particles — unlike the gaseous radioactive iodine — it probably didn’t fly 100 kilometers.”
Some previous reports, however, appear to refute Furakawa’s claim:
- Takashi: Plutonium evaporated and spread around as gas after Fukushima meltdowns
- "Very high concentrations" of hot particles in Pacific NW during April, May -- Includes plutonium and americium (AUDIO)
- Nuclear expert says Americium has been found in New England -- Element even heavier than Uranium (VIDEO)
- Neutron ray measured in Tokyo -- Uranium-235 found in Chiba -- Can't be detected by most geiger counters (PHOTO & VIDEO)
- Uranium-234 detected in Hawaii, Southern California, and Seattle
Also in the Mainichi article, Hiroshi Ishihara, who heads the Medical Treatment for the High Dose Exposure Research Group at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in Chiba, speaks about plutonium:]
- He says that “inhaling 910 becquerels or more of plutonium-238 is believed to slightly raise the possibility of cancer.”
- He adds that this will equal a cumulative radiation exposure of 100 millisieverts in 50 years… just from the plutonium-238.
- “Even if one were to have inhaled plutonium soon after the explosions took place, it’s hard to think that the amount was enough to have any effects health-wise.”
Even the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan disagrees, saying “We do not take the position that plutonium is safe in amounts up to 910 becquerels.”
h/t Anonymous tip
Published: October 31st, 2011 at 7:55 am ET