New Scientist: “Plutonium from Fukushima was expected to rapidly disperse in the Pacific Ocean — Instead, it seems that the levels remain high”

Published: October 2nd, 2011 at 7:22 am ET


Fukushima’s radioactive sea contamination lingers – environment, New Scientist, September 30, 2011:

Levels of radiation in the sea off the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant remain stubbornly high […]

[M]uch of the radioactive iodine, caesium and plutonium from Fukushima was expected to rapidly disperse in the Pacific Ocean.

Instead, it seems that the levels remain high. […]

How Come?

That could be because contaminated water is still leaking into the sea from the nuclear plant, because currents are trapping the material that’s already there, or both.

h/t Anonymous tip

Published: October 2nd, 2011 at 7:22 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Researchers: Kuroshio Current “could rapidly carry the radioactivity into the interior of the Pacific Ocean” June 8, 2011
  2. Gov’t: Plutonium dose at 27 microsieverts in Namiemachi — Will remain “for about 50 years” (MAP) October 2, 2011
  3. Study: Plutonium from Fukushima went further than Chernobyl — Researchers ‘surprised’ their most plutonium-contaminated sample was from site farthest from Fukushima plant — Concern material is flowing into Pacific Ocean from land August 4, 2014
  4. Plutonium detected underground near Fukushima reactor — Test results not revealed publicly for almost a year after sampling date — Officials plan to pump up groundwater from same well it was found in and dump it into Pacific Ocean (PHOTO) August 13, 2014
  5. Nuclear Expert: We found ‘mystery’ Fukushima plutonium; Why it’s there is yet to be understood, this was not expected — US Gov’t Expert: I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole too far… There’s speculation about plutonium fuel and about what other fuel they were using (VIDEO) September 26, 2014

48 comments to New Scientist: “Plutonium from Fukushima was expected to rapidly disperse in the Pacific Ocean — Instead, it seems that the levels remain high”

  • arclight arclight

    🙂 I`LL BE BACK!!

    • arclight arclight

      Richard wakefield who has no clue and is clearly biased in favour of nuclear everything!!

      “”It wouldn’t surprise me if there is still caesium entering the sea off Fukushima, but it can’t be as bad as in March and April,” says Richard Wakeford of the University of Manchester, UK.

      “The important thing is to keep monitoring to understand what’s happening, and particularly to keep an eye on levels in seafood,” he says. “The reports I’ve seen suggest that there isn’t an immediate problem with seafood contamination,………”

      Oh and this quote

      “He said that although the radiation was considerably higher than typical annual natural doses of around 1 millisievert, the levels shouldn’t pose too much of a hazard provided the amounts begin to fall in coming months.
      “These sort of levels pose a pretty small additional risk,” he says.”

      Now ken and his team went out and sampled the marine life! So still no results! A spectrometer reading takes 24hrs and the ship was a fully equiped scientific vessel…add to that the universities and labs of the countries involved…why the need for simons input? Hes a climate change scientist not a radiation expert? Was he on the expedition? … why not give us the preliminary results on shellfish etc then??

      “Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, has told The New York Times that he has received samples of seawater taken in July from near the plant that contained 10,000 becquerels per cubic metre. The corresponding level last year, only months before the disaster, was just 1.5 becquerels, he says.
      Simon Boxall, an oceanographer at the University of Southampton, UK, says that much of the radioactive material will still be sinking down to the seabed and being absorbed by marine life.”

      Errr thamks for that simon!!

      “In June, Buesseler took his own samples off the coast of Japan. He wants to have his findings analysed before publishing them”

      His findings? What about all the other scientists findings?? Whats the hold up bud!!

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        Caught red handed LYING! Good memory Arc!

        • Whoopie Whoopie

          Or covering up. Same thing.
          Where ARE all the scientists TODAY. They know the truth but remain silent. I just dont understand how a human, any human can remain silent about this catastrophe! It’s beyond anything imaginable!

  • StillJill StillJill

    Yeah TEPCO,…I guess you are learning that isotopes, like the TRUTH,…bubbles up and gets exposed!

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    From the article:
    “.. a strong ocean current called the kuroshio – the Japanese equivalent of the Atlantic Gulf Stream – may be responsible for the persistence of the radiation.

    The kuroshio skirts the Japanese seaboard, sweeping material into the deep ocean. But closer to shore, it creates huge eddies 80 to 100 kilometres across, which may send the material back towards the shore instead of dispersing it.”

    “And TEPCO said last week that Fukushima-Daiichi may still be leaking as much as 500 tonnes of contaminated water into the sea every day.”

    What goes around comes around. Trip to the beach anyone?

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    What horrible news to wake up to. They are criminals and should be tried for the biggest crime against humanity!!
    Posted here

  • Steven Steven

    Can anyone think of a single blasted thing that they expected to happen, that actually happened?

  • StillJill StillJill

    Yes,..but only one,…when Kan apparently told his closest staffers EARLY on,…that parts of Japan were HISTORY! “Actually happenING!”

    • The Japanese people may have to wait a long time for truths !

      … During the 1980s, the Marshall Islands signed a “Compact of Free Association” with the United States and became the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Based on that agreement, since 1986, the United States has paid compensation to the inhabitants of Bikini, Rongelap, Enewetak and Utirik atolls, to which it caused direct damage through nuclear testing.

      However, the U.S. government and the islanders have been at loggerheads over the “truth about Bikini.”

      U.S.: The exposure of the inhabitants of Rongelap, which was outside the danger zone to radioactive material, was caused by an unexpected shift in the winds.

      Islanders: The United States knew beforehand that the winds were changing. Despite this knowledge, it did not immediately evacuate residents on the leeward and failed to meet its obligation of trusteeship, which requires it to protect residents under its administration. …

      see post below …. Bikini Atoll …

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    “TEPCO finds own nuclear accident manual useless”

    Oh really? Why is that?

  • catweazel

    [M]uch of the radioactive iodine, caesium and plutonium from Fukushima was expected to rapidly disperse in the Pacific Ocean

    plutonium dispersal …..
    what a elaborate technic, so gentle and lean,,,,

    in the sea where we get our food and our rain from, geniuous invention, plz give names of persons which “expected that” and said no word openly.

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      We’re screwed. This only reafirms my ANGER at the Nuclear Cheerleaders. F*** THEM!

    • lam335 lam335


      Can you explain how our rain comes from the ocean?

      I thought precipitation just formed up in the clouds, but I have never studied meteorology.

      • Steven Steven

        @ lam335

        The oceans of the world give up water in the form of vapour through evaporation, which forms the clouds which (hopefully) travel on the wind to release their life giving bounty onto our fair lands. There are other sources of water vapour, in fact you can sometimes see it coming up from the road after rain on a warm day so anything wet can contribute to forming the next cloud, but the main source of water vapour are the oceans. Unfortunately evaporation doesn’t filter out radioactivity, as far as I am aware (anyone have a proof link for this?).

  • arclight arclight

    interesting! looks like another apologist

    Mar 29, 2011

    “However, the contamination from iodine 131 is short-lived because the element has a half life — the pace at which it loses half of its radioactivity — of only eight days.

    “This means that after a few months, it will be harmless, basically,” said Simon Boxall, a lecturer at Britain’s National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, southern England, who praised early measures to stop fishing around the plant after the March 11 disaster.

    “What worries me more is if caesium and plutonium get into the system,” he said, referring to two radioactive heavy metals whose half-lives are around 30 years and potentially thousands of years respectively.

    “That’s more concerning, because that can build up in the sediments” of the sea bed at Fukushima, said Boxall.

    At high levels, this could lead to the imposition of an exclusion zone of catches of fish and seafood, a measure that could last “years and years,” he said.

    “It’s hard to know (how long) until they start taking measurements and determine how extensive the pollution is.

    “You would basically not fish in an exclusion zone, period. And beyond the exclusion zone there would be an additional zone where you would come from time to time and see if there’s any radioactivity.”

    Fukushima’s plant operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), reported on Saturday that levels of caesium were almost 80 times the legal maximum. On Monday it also said that plutonium, at very low and harmless levels, had been found at five locations in soil at the plant.

    Given the scale of the Pacific — the world’s vastest body of water — radioactivity in the sea at Fukushima will be flushed out beyond the local area by tides and currents and dilute to very low levels, Boxall said.

    “It will get into the (ocean) food chain but only in that vicinity,” he said. “Should people in Hawaii and California be concerned? The answer is no.”

  • catweazel

    i want to see the catastrphy manual appendix xy stating: in case containment broken just dispers the leftovers.

  • catweazel

    all the rescue efforts just as a game for wash-out time, nice trick.
    may pay back.

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      WHERE IS THE MSM on this?!?! Nowhere to be found. The only active thread at HP is about ALLOWING residents to go home. I’m going to send this article to them. WAKE UP!

  • kx kx

    so no bath in kamakura this new year, except if I get soo drunk I forget that lol.

  • many moons

    I can’t comprehend this “disperse” concept and Plutonium.

    Please help me understand!

    I understand when the oil was gushing from the Horizon well the idea was oil in smaller amounts will do less harm so dispersal is a tactic.

    I though a tiny amount of plutonium, half a pound can kill a million people if it’s correctly dispenced.

    Why would they want to dispere that? Even if containment isn’t possible, isn’t dispersing just making it available for a larger population?

    • Bobby1

      There is no safe dose of radiation. There is certainly no safe dose of plutonium.

      Dispersing or diluting it does nothing to reduce risk. There is absolutely no scientific justification for this idea.

      It just spreads it over a wider area so it’s harder to prove. Say, they didn’t dilute it, and X number of people died in a local area. If they diluted it, X number of people would still die, but over a population 100 times bigger.

      It is simply harder to prove when people ‘randomly’ die. It’s all about them NOT PAYING DAMAGES. ‘Dilution is the solution’ of them having to PAY.

  • catweazel

    the word Pu in the article and the phrase “in the sea” definitely is changing the beat. no way to get it out again. and still spilling after all those month.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi catweazel, yes, you’re right, it changes the beat…on the other hand I think it’s obvious that the Pu not only “flew” 40-60-80 miles in ONE direction to be found in the soil. If we remember the wind patterns mid-March it’s clear that a lot of it (if not most) must have come down over the ocean.
      What a mess.

  • catweazel

    someone has to kick tepco out, they will pump in water the next 1000 years, seems to be cheaper …..

    • Misitu

      I do occasionally remember to wonder about China heavy footing their own protection.

      Then I start to wonder if they already calculated the danger of setting foot on Japanese soil.

      After all, who would resist them? Nobody. Nobody is going to fight it out on deeply contaminated soil.

      The “international solution” won’t happen, I guess, because nobody wants to go and help.

      Just a bit of (glowing) blue sky thinking…

  • catweazel

    available for a larger population?

    yeah, indeed. but we have only to wait 35000 years to get rid off half of it.
    and it will have a pretty interesting effect on genetic diversity in the sea i once learned in simlife.

  • many moons

    For me the title of this ppoost reads….


  • many moons

    Seems the sheeple have little influence on this BIG power companies. So maybe our strategy should be to pin one big company against the other. Lets get together and stop drinking coke products to till power companies shut down the nuke plants…something along those lines.
    Perhaps coka-cola could do our lobying for us.

  • “remain stubbornly high” ?
    How could it taper off or stop while they continue to pour 500 tonnes of water a day into the reactors that concrete is shattered from earth quakes and explosion’s leaking/pouring through cracks and fissures into the grounds surroundings and into the ocean ?
    Steam will continue to spread heated waters gases to many parts of Japan on land as well and this will never subside in our life times even if they abandon the plant, water will continue to be contaminated and run into the sea from many underground water source’s that will become highly contaminated with every form of deadly radiation known and unknown to people throughout the world !

  • Want to know what Japan’s future is ???

    bikini atoll results after many years
    … The dose received from background radiation on the island was found to be between 2.4 mSv/year and 4.5 mSv/year (the lower rate is the same as natural background radiation) assuming that a diet of imported foods was available.[18] But it was because of these food risks that the group eventually did not recommend fully resettling the island. …

    A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands

    What About Radiation on Bikini Atoll ?
    … Permanent resettlement of Bikini Island under the present radiological conditions without remedial measures is not recommended in view of the radiation doses that could potentially be received by inhabitants with a diet of entirely locally produced foodstuffs.

    This conclusion was reached on the basis that a diet made up entirely of locally produced food-which would contain some amount of residual radionuclides could lead the hypothetical resettling population to be exposed to radiation from residual radionuclides in the island, mainly from 137Cs, resulting in annual effective dose levels of about 15 mSv (if the dose due to natural background radiation were added, this would result in an annual effective dose of about 17.4 mSv). This level was judged to require intervention of some kind for radiation protection purposes. …

  • Background and history
    … Bikini Atoll is located 850 kilometers northwest of Majuro on the northern fringe of the Marshall Islands and is composed of more than 23 islands and islets. Four islands (Bikini, Eneu, Nam and Enidrik) account for over 70% of the land area. Bikini and Eneu are the only islands of the atoll that have had a permanent population.

    In 1946, Bikini Atoll was the first site in the Marshall Islands used for nuclear-weapon testing by the United States. In 1948, Enewetak Atoll, a neighboring atoll, replaced Bikini Atoll as the test site. In 1954, Bikini Atoll was reactivated as a test site until the US terminated nuclear-weapon testing in the Marshall Islands in 1958. … Additional radiological data were collected for evaluation in 1975, 1976, and 1978. In September 1978 it was decided to relocate the 139 Bikinians who had returned to Bikini Atoll back to Kili Island and to Ejit Island at Majuro Atoll.

    …In 1968 the United States declared Bikini habitable and started bringing a small group of Bikinians back to their homes in the early 1970s as a test. In 1978, however, the islanders were removed again when strontium-90 in their bodies reached dangerous levels after a French team of scientists did additional tests on the island.[10] It was not uncommon for women to experience faulty pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths and damage to their offspring as a result of the nuclear testing on Bikini.[11] The United States provided $150 million as a settlement for damages caused by the nuclear testing program.[12]…

    Interested in Visiting Historic Bikini Atoll?

  • A Short History of the People of Bikini Atoll
    … The population of islanders on Bikini slowly increased over the years until in June of 1975, during regular monitoring of Bikini, radiological tests discovered “higher levels of radioactivity than originally thought.” U.S. Department of Interior officials stated that “Bikini appears to be hotter or questionable as to safety” and an additional report pointed out that some water wells on Bikini Island were also too contaminated with radioactivity for drinking. A couple of months later the AEC, on review of the scientists’ data, decided that the local foods grown on Bikini Island, i.e., pandanus, breadfruit and coconut crabs, were also too radioactive for human consumption. Medical tests of urine samples from the 100 people living on Bikini detected the presence of low levels of plutonium 239 and 240. … In May of 1977 the level of radioactive strontium-90 in the well water on Bikini Island was found to exceed the U.S. maximum allowed limits. A month later a Department of Energy study stated that “All living patterns involving Bikini Island exceed Federal [radiation] guidelines for thirty year population doses.” Later in the same year, a group of U.S. scientists, while on Bikini, recorded an 11-fold increase in the cesium-137 body burdens of the more than 100 people residing on the island. Alarmed by these numbers, the DOE told the people living on Bikini to eat only one coconut per day and began to ship in food for consumption. …

  • hbjon hbjon

    The Japan nuke accident is a 7. But all the other accidents need to be revised down. tmi=1 Chernobyl=2. You can certainly add an exponent for additional aggravated circumstances.

  • dpl dpl

    The sea wall must have sprung a PR leak again.
    With a little luck it could float over and merge with the pacific garbage patch and form into a confined target. We are experts in problem solving if it requires explosives.

  • arclight arclight

    Nuclear radiation – theme for October 2011

    Ionising radiation is the most proven cause of cancer. The nuclear industry from uranium mining through nuclear power, nuclear weapons, nuclear waste. is the planet’s major source of ionising radiation. Even medical radiation has its cancer risk. Radioactive minerals left in the ground are a minor source.

    The myth of safe ionisng radiation

    “We are in the middle of a terrifying scientific experiment in which we and our children are the subjects. Let’s face the facts that mixing the profit motive with the most dangerous technology is a very bad idea, and that natural forces and human error are reason enough to admit nuclear power is a mistake. It’s time to move on.”

    • Misitu

      Again: Japan as a medical experiment in radioactivity and demographics.

      Sad, cynical and sad. Terrifying, cynical, and sad.