Science Mag: Radioactive substances that wash up on beaches can enter water supply — Particles left on sand after high tide accumulate; ‘Important’ process with Fukushima releases?

Published: February 10th, 2014 at 4:48 pm ET


Science Magazine — American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), April 2011:

Excerpts from ‘Live Chat’ one month after 3/11 with William C. Burnett, director of FSU’s Environmental Radioactivity Measurement Facility; chair of working group on submarine groundwater discharge for the International Geophysical and Biophysical Program

Q: Do you believe this is worse than Chernobyl?

Dr. Burnett, expert on radioactivity in groundwater: I don’t think this crisis is anywhere close to being as bad as Chernobyl which was a global contamination event of an extremely serious nature. Many experts in the nuclear field are putting it at about the same level as Three Mile Island [For the most recent data, see: [intlink id=”marine-chemist-latest-figures-i-have-say-fukushima-released-80-quadrillion-bq-of-cesium-137-latest-chernobyl-estimate-is-70-quadrillion-the-radioactive-plume-itself-has-actually-arrived-it” type=”post”]Chemist: Latest I’ve seen is Fukushima released 80 Quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 (Chernobyl = 70 Quadrillion)[/intlink]]

Q: It took about a week for the radioactive materials released into the atmosphere to reach the US, how long will it take the material released into the ocean to reach the US coastline? Secondly, will it collect on the beaches, like an oil spill?

Burnett: it will take a long time for the radionuclides in the water to reach our west coast — perhaps months to years. […] These nuclides are in solution so they would not wash up on beaches.

Q: So a followup on your last answer, about nuclides washing up on the beach. Can’t they leak into freshwater supplies from there? And could they accumulate in the soil?

Burnett: You are correct — if there are soluble radionuclides in the water rushing up on the beach, some of that water could seep into the sand and into fresh groundwater supplies. In addition, some water left behind (as during high tide) would evaporate leaving a residue of the radioactive material behind. Again, I don’t feel that this is a likely scenario for North American beaches but that process could be important for closer areas to the plant in Japan.

See also: [intlink id=”nuclear-expert-fukushima-melted-fuel-is-migrating-out-of-containment-it-will-end-up-on-coastline-in-fine-particles-and-gets-blown-into-neighborhoods-health-harm-from-this-fuel-to-last-for-thous” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

And: [intlink id=”govt-report-concern-plutonium-uranium-being-deposited-concentrating-away-isotopes-transfer-sea-land-sea-spray-aerosols-flooding-human-exposure-inhalation-food-contact” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 10th, 2014 at 4:48 pm ET


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66 comments to Science Mag: Radioactive substances that wash up on beaches can enter water supply — Particles left on sand after high tide accumulate; ‘Important’ process with Fukushima releases?

  • Socrates

    Sea spray and mists are vectors… so are fog and precipitation depending… every breath you take.

  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    I live in South East New Mexico. In the late 1800's, there were artesian wells. They were let run as water for crops, cattle, or just as a novelty to watch them squirt into the air. They are gone now. With the loss of pressure, I suspect the radioactive materials can now leach into the ground water (that now has to be pumped out). Nature will try to replace the artesian water that took millions of years to build up.

    Ground water is used for crops that are cattle feed; corn and alfalfa. Add that to what radionuclides are blown in as dust, and what accumulates from rain, and we have some pretty radioactive cattle.

    All over the US, so much ground water has been pumped out that sink holes are common in many areas, LA, FL for example.

    • nedlifromvermont

      Hey Flap!

      SE NM is down gradient (hydrological) from Carlsbad …

      Elephant Butte on the Rio Grande … may intercept you groundwater …

      Are you ready for the new normal …. testing, growing leafy greens under hoop buildings, excavating a 600 year Disco Bunker?

      Get in touch … the northesat US may prove our last best hope … if we can shut down nuclear plants now … before they blow …

      Turkey Point just has to get shut down, doconned, and spent fuel moved to higher ground …

      What part of this do Barack and Co. not understand???????????

      peace, Bro!!!!!

  • For a list of early on lies and propaganda check this out…

    FORUM: Links to news articles, reports, and posts that contain false or misleading information

    One of the less visited forums, but perhaps one of the most important. It's an archive of historical 'evidence'.

    Everything from Berkeley 'experts' to President Obama.

    Like this one… 😉
    TV Special Report:

    I'll bet he will say the same thing the next time he speaks about Fukushima. If he says anything at all. 😉

    So far the POTUS has said nothing. Hmm…?

  • Alaskan Ice Alaskan Ice

    I shouldn't lay on the beach-sand.
    I shouldn't eat Pacific seafood.
    I shouldn't swim in the Pacific.
    I shouldn't go out in the rain.
    I shouldn't eat the snow.
    I shouldn't breathe in the fog or mist.

    Did I miss something? At what point do I have to wear a gasmask anytime I'm outdoors?

    • Test everything.. Your meter will tell you if something is 'safe' or not. Test everything metal from Japan especially.

      No one can tell you what is safe or not. It is all about risk you are willing to take and cumulative dosage. People get xrays and radiation treatments, willingly.

      If your beach tests 30 CPM, (same as background) go lay on it. But if it tests 100 or 400, you may decide the risk is not worth it, especially if you have kids. But maybe your enjoyment of that beach is worth the risk of 100 CPM; only you can decide.

      Water is harder. But you can get some idea by boiling it off and measuring the salt (outside) with a meter and measuring the steam coming off too. Just don't breathe it in.

      If you do a 2 square foot, 10 minute swipe test of the rain/snow and it is normal background, go play in it. But if it tests 100 or higher, maybe not, but that is your choice, now that you know. One rain can be 'hot', another can be 'normal'. Usually the radon disappears in less than 24 hours in rainwater, so maybe snow is the same? Your meter will tell you. Maybe you take some precautions, like rainproof boots, clothing and an umbrella..

      Fog and mist near the ocean.. same as rain; do a swipe test and proceed after you get the result of your test.

      Use a high quality pancake detector.. With practice it gets easier and faster.

      Food and drinks are harder. Geiger counters are not designed to test food and drinks. But a pancake detector and dried foods,…

      • Most of the radiation 'load' after Chernobyl, once the initial plume was done, came through food and drinks (70%)..

        The main focus should be on testing body burdens of radiation being accumulated with food and drinks through internal whole body radiation scanners.

        High internal cesium loads can be reduced via chelation or changing to 'clean' food and drinks.

        Hopefully it will never get to that point in the US, but it very well may. No one will know until they get an internal scan.

        They test 300,000 kids in Belarus, and many of them tested really high, due to accumulated radiation over the years from low doses of radiation in food and drinks.

      • James Tekton James Tekton

        "If your beach tests 30 CPM, (same as background) go lay on it. But if it tests 100 or 400, you may decide the risk is not worth it, especially if you have kids. But maybe your enjoyment of that beach is worth the risk of 100 CPM; only you can decide."

        Hello Good Dr.

        If it gets this hot, like it is in South America, then one might not want to lay on the beach.

        150,000 CPM or maybe more?
        (min 1:37)

        Over 50 microsievets on the beach sand in South America?

        Thought about going to South America to escape the radiation from fukushima, but it is a heck of lot hotter down there, than it is in the USA at this time. Wowie!


        • bo bo

          Do you know why this is? Is Fukushima hitting their beaches more ?
          What is going on… ?

          • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

            bo…studies state Fukushima will be in every ocean around the world within 5 years.


            This is the NOAA model


            • bo bo

              Yes I've seen the duckies (horrifying)
              But why would it be more, than in N America?

              Is it the whole 'dust bunnies accumulating under the bed' theory, taken across the globe?

              • Radio Radio

                bo, there is a current that travels in a loop off the east coast of Japan. It goes right by Fukushima gathering anything there and circulating it round and round. Some of the accumulating radiation in this current breaks out into the cross ocean currents that go to Hawaii and to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

                As well, the heavier radioisotopes may remain closer to the source whether blow into the sky or leaked into the water and those that are not water soluble will have a tendency to collect and rebond locally making them ore likely to enter the food chain closer to the island. Hotspots. I think that there is no real question that Japan will be hardest hit since most of the radiation, even if it moves from there, will initially effect the area around its source before moving on. Belarus was one of the places hardest hit by Chernobyl because it just happened to be in the path of the plume, which tends to fall out heaviest closer to the source as it makes it way around the globe. The lighter the radioisotope, the farther it can travel, the heavier, the more it will tend to fall sooner if it gets the chance to latch onto dust particles which will collect as rain or snow or simply fall as dust. Radiation does not disperse evenly. That is a myth put our by the US military that studies radiation dispersion from nuclear testing. Anything spreads evenly from such an explosion, but, over time, it rebonds, falls sporadically depending on weather, etc.

    • James Tekton James Tekton

      "At what point do I have to wear a gasmask anytime I'm outdoors?"

      Maybe when it gets this hot?


      • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

        James T. great video….and great question… how will we know when we will need protective gear to go outside?

        • James Tekton James Tekton

          The choice comes down to, how much do you want to take in if you know it is there, and how much is out there? If it were say at .500 microsieverts, one could consider it a good idea to ware a mask if it is windy, or wet, or dusty.


          • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

            James a mask won't help with the bio-accumulation. Every report I ran at the EPA-radnet has evidence that all the milk, water, and air every quarter since 3/2011 in every state, is tainted.

            We can wear a mask, but can we stop drinking water?

            Check out your area…choose your state, and after you choose all the options make sure to run the report from 2011-2013

        • StPaulScout StPaulScout

          When politicians quit interviewing outside…..

      • That is the risk anyone takes when going to a 'hot' area like this.. one hot particle inhaled or ingested, and it is all done, like a time bomb.

        And since you can't see it, can't smell it, or see it coming, it seems insane to take that risk.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture


    As this nuclear disaster is never ending.

    The only nuclear experts with the balls to tell it how it is:

    Helen Caldicott

    Arnie Gundersen

    Chris Busby

    Leuren Moret

    • +10000

      You can safely add a few more activists and truthers.. 🙂

    • atomicistheword

      Atomic radiation power is proven UNSAFE, polluting and the biggest threat to human existence currently at this time.

      It seems that we possibly have failed to understand why previous civilisations have collapsed and failed?

      Does our race deserve to continue to exist?

      • Angela_R

        Hi atomicistheword, you ask "Does our race deserve to continue to exist?" Each and every one of us should examine that question. If we get through this, we will at some time again be confronted by yet another ELE event, unless WE change.

        btw we are not privy to what is occurring in space, there are changes taking place http;//

        A wise man once said "there will be changes in the sun, moon and stars…"

    • digitalaardvarks digitalaardvarks

      arnie and chirs downplay it and contradict themselves but they're better than the msn

  • Jebus Jebus

    Seems that Dr. Burnett was in need of a science advancement in 2011.

    I wonder how he feels now after his predictions of tidal action pumping the ground water will be fulfilled.

    He tried to keep one cat in the bag, while letting one loose.

    TMI, partial meltdown. Massive noble gas release.

    Fukushima 3 full meltdowns. One atmospheric injection. Plus open air fuel pool burns. Plus Massive noble gas releases.

    That cat's long gone.

    Fail… Again…

    Doctor, doctor, give me the news, I got a bad case of not trusting you…

    • AirSepTech AirSepTech

      Yes indeed, another MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) Scientist

      "Many experts in the nuclear field are putting it at about the same level as Three Mile Island"

      Did he have poor vision, or poor judgment, or both?

      Move along folks, nuclear 'experts' will have this pig up and running shortly.

      • StPaulScout StPaulScout

        Air asks, "Did he have poor vision, or poor judgment, or both?"

        No, the man is a liar and he is doing what he does best.

  • 3 full meltdowns compared to a partial one at TMI
    2 or 3 spent fuel pools melted down and caught fire more than once
    1 reactor with MOX blew it's plutonium load (#3)
    #4 melted out, pics available, open air melted fuel and fires
    #3 melted out, pics available, spent fuel pool fire
    3 reactors melted corium blobs through into ground, contaminating groundwater, which goes to ocean.
    3 160 TON coriums are burning out of control underground from 3/11 to now.
    Constant steaming of #3, never stopped, radioactive iodine levels spiking up as far south as Tokyo, even today.
    Cesium, strontium, iodine and other stuff spiking underground and going into ocean
    Doubling of radiation levels in forests above Fuku, from 2011 to 2013.

    yea, sure, Fuku is just like TMI..

    And the moon is made of swiss cheese, don't ya know?

    Go sing your song to the true believers, who will swallow pro nuclear propaganda hook line and sinker.

  • antipodes

    John B. Wells Gone from Coast to Coast late night radio one week after talking about and posting Red Alert concerning Fukushima at Caravan to Midnight web site. Thanks John for speaking truth to power. Will miss your show.

  • No Immediate Danger No Immediate Danger

    I'm not surprised by the lack of experts coming forward. If they were pro-nuclear before Fukushima — and most of them believe in nuclear technology, obviously — then they're pro-nuclear now. It would take quite a big shock to change their minds, don't you think? Is it any wonder why the authorities release the horrific details gradually, drop by drop?

    The same technique works for the energy crisis. And the economic crisis. And climate change. People don't even believe these things exist anymore, Fukushima crisis included. Mission accomplished.

    • Jebus Jebus

      The "experts", eat, drink, breathe, and have children too.

      Pandora's Promise is Fukushima Heart.

      She plays no favorites with her justice…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Institution for International Cooperative Environmental Research

    William C Burnett

    "We are proud of our partnerships and alliances with organizations around the world."


    No better than the dogs he lies with….

  • Arizonan Arizonan

    Plutonium from seaspray, 10 km inland:

  • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

    " if there are soluble radionuclides in the water "

    Should I be at all bothered when an expert on radioactivity in ground water doesn't mention tritium? Everything else I've read -including from the NRC regarding leaks at US nuke plants like the one last month- seem to indicate it's not good for your body…

  • Sickputer

    Science Mag asks this well-educated 68-year old radiochemistry professor:

    "how long will it take the material released into the ocean to reach the US coastline? Secondly, will it collect on the beaches, like an oil spill?

    Burnett: it will take a long time for the radionuclides in the water to reach our west coast — perhaps months to years. […] These nuclides are in solution so they would not wash up on beaches.

    SP: Excuse me? You work on the side as a technical (paid I assume) radiation consultant and this is the best answer you can offer? So what is it…months or years? Do you think everyone will swallow your baloney?

    ["Will not wash up"]:

    SP: The radionuclides leached from the damaged Japanese plant into the think they can't leach back onto land in North America?

    Bill Burnett ostensibly professor by day…works for these companies off the college clock:

    "Guest Instructor, Training Department, Canberra Industries, Inc
    Guest Instructor for Ortec Instruments, 2001-present.
    Technical Advisor for Radiochemistry, Environmental Physics, Inc., General Engineering Laboratories, Charleston, S.C.; 1991-present."


    SP: Canberra is an Areva radiation measuring company.

    The other company (EP, Inc) is actually and is a hazardous waste tester.

    Ortec: huge supplier of radiation detectors

  • Angela_R

    Sickputer, when the individual, not the system, in the toxic waste industry, the nuclear industry, the pharmaceutical industry or etc. face up to the reality of sickness then death, do you think they will chose – money?

    I have to backtrack decades to recall, and my recall is subject to correction:
    In some areas of the world, heavy beach sands contain a small quantity of monazite, which at times, not always, holds traces of uranium and thorium. However the extraction of uranium from sand has never been commercially viable.

    Man sought to extract from certain areas what nature over years had worked to balance. Afterwards man decided to utilise a very, very small percentage of uranium oxide,i.e. uranium 235, a highly fissile but unstable isotope. This was NOT done by a mining company.

    Uranium oxide, found naturally as a component of heavy mineral is only weakly radioactive; it generally has 99.3% Ur 238.
    And the thorium, how aptly named by a subconscious which clearly knew…Thor was known as the god of war.

    another recall, "they will throw their silver into the streets and the gold….."

  • Shaker1

    Well, the interview was April 2011…One does wonder what his opinion is now.

    But, com'n…

    "Many experts in the nuclear field are putting it at about the same level as Three Mile Island."

    What was he looking at? Did he really, as an expert, believe that? The absurdity of such statements, even as early as April 2011, is amazing. In light of today, he's not anyone's 'expert' anymore.

  • rogerthat

    You can tell Dr Burnett is an expert because he thinks one meltdown is bigger than three; because he thinks the vaporisation of four spent fuel pools doesn't count; because he thinks Chernobyl's 15 tonnes is deadlier than Fukushima's few thousand tonnes (give or take) of escaped corium; because he thinks containment of corium (as achieved by the Russians) is worse than total loss of containment. In view of which people walking on west coast beaches or swimming in west coast seas or eating west coast fish or breathing west coast air or eating west coast vegetables should feel happy and reassured and able to smile a lot, which will ward off radiation and what's more important keep harmful rumours at bay.

  • tpak tpak

    Well said Rogerthat. Most "experts" are paid to be "experts" by the organizations/corporations who produce what they are experts on. Everyone is tucked into bed nicely with one another. Cozy and warm. But I'm not telling u enewsers anything u don't already know. Unfortunately the people who need to know aren't reading this.

  • tpak tpak

    Same for GMOs, drugs, vaccines, pesticides, chemicals and products (flame retardants, plastic bottles and shower curtains, mattresses) we use every day are studied and found to be perfectly "safe" by the "experts". Meanwhile cancer rates are growing exponentially and so it goes….my question is are there any "experts" that ARE really experts? When will real science prove what we already know in our hearts to be true?

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      You pay me enough I'll be an expert at whatever you need at the moment. I've heard enough from 'experts' over the years to know most are fucking idiots at best….

  • Nick

    Radioactive particles are dispersed throughout the biosphere.

    We can debate all we want about that fact. But it will still be a fact.

    My only hope with the Fukushima situation is that many humans will realize that biology and chemistry and physics are crucial things to get up to speed on.

    When you realize that molecules act at a parts per quadrillion level, how can there be such a thing as a safe dose of radiation.

    TATAL= Toxic at the atomic level.

    We should all become TATAL tellers.

  • We Not They Finally

    Amazing. The above article managed to include "expert" and "I don't think" in the first ten words…

  • We Not They Finally

    Why is this being printed just NOW? It seems most UN-timely.

  • Untimely?

    Stay UnTuna-ed as Kevin would say.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Good one! 🙂