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Fukushima Fish Still Radioactive

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the teenage-mutant-ninja-mackeral dept.

Japan 107

the_newsbeagle writes "Bottom-dwelling fish that live near the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant still show elevated radiation levels 19 months after the accident — and those radiation levels are not declining. Researcher Ken Buesseler says this indicates the seafloor sediments are contaminated (abstract), and will remain so for decades. He said, 'I was struck by how [the radiation levels] really haven’t changed over the last year. Since cesium doesn't bioaccumulate to a significant degree, and in fact is lost when fish move to a less contaminated area, this implies that the cesium source is still there'"

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107 comments

Fish (5, Funny)

AshFan (879808) | about a year and a half ago | (#41776945)

Simpsons already did it.

Re:Fish (2)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778463)

I was really hoping the thumbnail would be the iconic three-eyed fish.

FORGET ABOUT THIS! (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778867)

The real problem is Global Warming.

Don't be distracted by this attempt by radiation alarmists to take your eyes off-the-ball.

We need more reactors, people!

Re:FORGET ABOUT THIS! (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780075)

The real problem is people who think reactors are the only solution to global warming. Hint: Japan has just demonstrated how far energy efficiency alone can go, getting through the summer peak periods without any black/brownouts at all.

Re:FORGET ABOUT THIS! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41781031)

More like. Japan figured out how more efficient their coal & oil burning generators can be with pollution regulations suspended.

Re:FORGET ABOUT THIS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41781863)

The real problem is Global Warming.

Don't be distracted by this attempt by radiation alarmists to take your eyes off-the-ball.

We need more reactors, people!

News flash:

Today, scientists in over 12 countries have agreed that over a period of five days, the sun has stopped emitting radiation. The radiation on Earth is the result of Human-sparked nuclear fission. Oh, and the sky's getting hotter from it. More news when we detect more viewership.

Re:Fish (1, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778665)

Not just fish. Ever hear of Project Censored? [illinoistimes.com]

A plume of toxic fallout floated to the U.S. after Japanâ(TM)s tragic Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found radiation levels in air, water and milk that were hundreds of times higher than normal across the United States. One month later, the EPA announced that radiation levels had declined, and they would cease testing. But after making a Freedom of Information Act request, journalist Lucas Hixson published emails revealing that on March 24, 2011, the task of collecting nuclear data had been handed off from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a nuclear industry lobbying group. And in one study that got little attention, scientists Joseph Mangano and Jeanette Sherman found that in the period following the Fukushima meltdowns, 14,000 more deaths than average were reported in the U.S., mostly among infants. Later, Mangono and Sherman updated the number to 22,000.

This needs to be repeated again and again and aga. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41779237)

Japanese officials confronted with question wether people in Fukushima has the same rights as other people to protect themselves against radiation, and their surprising answer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rVuGwc9dlhQ [youtube.com]

VIDEO: Fukushima children forced to drink radioactive milk at school:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Aq4JG9ULVNE [youtube.com]

Fukushima-get up to date on repressed news:

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/much-of-northern-japan-uninhabitable-due-to-nuclear-radiation [endoftheam...ndream.com]
http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/media-2/fukushima-meltdown-caldicott-says-japan-may-become-uninhabitable-media-silent/ [independentaustralia.net]
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/06/10/japan-deal-radioactive-sewage-crisis-produce-cement-25231/ [alexanderhiggins.com]
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/remember-fukushima-its-back [zerohedge.com]

Secret pacts to NOT check for radiation in imported goods and foods from Japan (made after Fukushima started melting down):
http://www.nuclear-news.net/2011/08/20/hillary-clintons-pact-with-japan-to-downplay-fukushima-radiation-risks/ [nuclear-news.net]
http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/radiating-americans-with-fukushima-rain-food-secret-clinton-pact [examiner.com]

Experts: Fukushima 'off-scale' lethal radiation level infers 100 millions dying:
http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/experts-fukushima-off-scale-lethal-radiation-level-100s-millions-deaths [examiner.com]

Independent measurements (uncalibrated, non-discriminatory - but shows no "need" for global mass-panic yet):
http://www.radiationnetwork.com/Message.htm [radiationnetwork.com]

Independent news (only ones still covering Fukushima):
http://www.fairewinds.com/ [fairewinds.com]
http://enenews.com/ [enenews.com]

Japanese government changing the "safe health standards" just moments after disaster struck. Now includes absurd amounts of radiation 20-30 times more than previously, which were already 2-10 times more than most Western countries'. The change document is of course provided, also with a "safe" limit of "plutonium and other ALPHA emitters". Plutonium! The most toxic substance known to life!

Raising the exposure limits were allegedly done to increase safety for citizens, something you'd expect in a Hitchcock movie..

"Becquerels" and Japan's changing "safety" standards for radiation in food and water
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc6FPIK1VaY [youtube.com]

"Detoxify or Die: Natural Radiation Protection Therapies for Coping With the Fallout of the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown":

http://www.health-matrix.net/2011/03/19/detoxify-or-die-natural-radiation-protection-therapies-for-coping-with-the-fallout-of-the-fukushima-nuclear-meltdown/ [health-matrix.net]

Experiences after Chernobyl and the multitudes of diseases, chronic fatigue and lessened immune disorders inflicted upon Europeans, and how Fukushima can learn from history.

VIDEO: "Evacuate Children!" Rally & Demo in Koriyama City, Fukushima Pref. on Oct. 15, 2011"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b6RAwEBxaa4 [youtube.com]

Re:This needs to be repeated again and again and a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41779403)

I couldn't find the video where independent japanese researchers found nuclear spikes in mountaintop lakes just as bad as not far away from the seafloor just outside Fukushima, which was most affected. The spikes where spread chaotically around in a much wider area than previously anticipated(!). However I found this:

HOT PARTICLES FROM JAPAN TO SEATTLE VIRTUALLY UNDETECTABLE WHEN INHALED OR
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9urTb3KAedo

Re:This needs to be repeated again and again and a (1)

doccus (2020662) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780045)

This comment is a wellspring of information.. Sadly, by continually raising the "safe" level of radiation faster than the increase in measured levels, it would appear to the uninformed that things are getting better. They've been unable to raise those levels here in Canada, what with our slow bureaucracy, so they have simply taken all the fallout detectors offline instead .. thinking what the public doesn't know, won't hurt them (except the "them" in this case is the officials in charge) Apparently Health Canada has a 404 on the page where it was mentioned, but here's an article about it before it happened: http://unhypnotize.com/weather-disasters-news/55853-epa-raise-limits-radiation-exposure-while-canada-turns-off-fallout-detectors.html [unhypnotize.com]

Re:Fish (3, Informative)

prehistoricman5 (1539099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779443)

Whoever upvoted your post needs to be more skeptical. First of all, they just give a number without stating over what period of time. Secondly, the total deaths aren't stated so for all we know the death increase could be statistically insignificant. Third, fallout doesn't kill you like that. You don't just keel over and die; you get cancer that later kills you. Lastly, the "mostly among infants" claim shows that this is pure FUD.

Oh and correlation != causation.

Re:Fish (2)

prehistoricman5 (1539099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41781017)

So I found the ignored article and I was none to surprised to find that there was some incredible extrapolation.

link: http://www.radiation.org/reading/pubs/HS42_1F.pdf [radiation.org]

"During weeks 12 to 25, total deaths in 119 U.S. cities increased from 148,395
(2010) to 155,015 (2011), or 4.46 percent. This was nearly double the 2.34 percent
rise in total deaths (142,006 to 145,324) in 104 cities for the prior 14 weeks,
significant at p 0.000001 (Table 2). This difference between actual and expected
changes of +2.12 percentage points (+4.46% – 2.34%) translates to 3,286 “excess”
deaths (155,015 × 0.0212) nationwide. Assuming a total of 2,450,000 U.S. deaths
will occur in 2011 (47,115 per week), then 23.5 percent of deaths are reported
(155,015/14 = 11,073, or 23.5% of 47,115). Dividing 3,286 by 23.5 percent
yields a projected 13,983 excess U.S. deaths in weeks 12 to 25 of 2011."

I would expect an article to be ignored when the authors pull numbers out of their ass like this.

Uh-oh... (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41776989)

I'm pretty sure that any of several dozen rubbery-and-poorly-dubbed monster movies can tell us what happens next...

Re:Uh-oh... (3, Funny)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777123)

Godz-eel-a?

Re:Uh-oh... (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777165)

History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men...

Re:Uh-oh... (-1)

LordNightwalker (256873) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777291)

If only I had mod points..

I agree...we should all have TerraPower reactors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777931)

I agree. Hindsight is 20/20 but looking at the big picture we should all have safe TerraPower reactors as soon as they are available. Continually wasting resources on low performing, land wasting, sight blotting, expensive solar and wind energy is folly a it's worst.

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

digitalmonkey2k1 (521301) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778109)

Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai!

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779313)

History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men...

Now I have to go home and play Guitar Hero :-)

Re:Uh-oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41779749)

"It's 'Gojira', you moron."

(Don't take offense, Google it.)

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780269)

Whooooooooosh!

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#41781895)

Godz-eel-a?

It's pronounced "Go-zheer-a' in poorly dubbed copies.

Aaaaand.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777023)

Que Godzilla jokes.

Re:Aaaaand.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777091)

That's "Cue". Que/Queue and Cue have completely different meanings.

Re:Aaaaand.... (3, Funny)

tigre (178245) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777349)

That's "Cue". Que/Queue and Cue have completely different meanings.

Maybe he meant "Qué Godzilla jokes!", a Spanglish exclamation roughly translated as "Such [wonderful/awful] Godzilla jokes [can be made/have been made]!"

Re:Aaaaand.... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778071)

I thought that Spanglish for Godzilla was Dioszilla?

What was the baseline? (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777033)

They've been monitoring the fish for a year and the radiation levels have remained constant. Makes me wonder what the radiation level was before the tsunami. I wouldn't want to eat bottom feeding fish downstream from a large city anyway.

Re:What was the baseline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777075)

the filet in their freezer.

Re:What was the baseline? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778173)

the filet in their freezer.

Which was where the fish relocated.

Re:What was the baseline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777237)

It's like no one reporting on this has any knowledge of how radiation decays. [amazon.com]

It's going to take a while (decades at minimum) to clean this mess up.

Re:What was the baseline? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777389)

They compare the radiation levels to fish found nearby. It's obvious that the Fukushima fish are highly elevated.

Re:What was the baseline? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777751)

Highly elevated? Somehow orders of magnitude below biologically harmful can be "highly elevated". More fun with math to scare the simple folk.

Re:What was the baseline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778251)

I'd say orders of magnitude above what's found nearby easily qualifies for "highly elevated".

Re:What was the baseline? (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777809)

That's OK. They'll just sell the fish to the US, and catch fish for local consumption somewhere else.

Re:What was the baseline? (4, Informative)

englishstudent (1638477) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778243)

No, they aren't smart enough to do that. They will just poison the local population. They've already made it legal to sell octopus and sea snails again. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201207230006 [asahi.com]

EVERYBODY WINS! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778771)

The US can just sell yummy pink (well, on the inside) Gulf shrimp to Japan and in turn buy slightly radioactive Japanese fish.

Re:EVERYBODY WINS! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779905)

The US can just sell yummy pink (well, on the inside) Gulf shrimp to Japan and in turn buy slightly radioactive Japanese fish.

Find a Fugushima sushi chef.

MOD PARENT DOWN!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41781841)

I see more and more logical fallacies each day by ACs, and the moderators just eat it up.

obvious

That's the red flag here. Look up the non sequitur [csun.edu] fallacy.

Were you people stoned in high school or what?

Re:What was the baseline? (4, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778841)

They've been monitoring the fish for a year and the radiation levels have remained constant. Makes me wonder what the radiation level was before the tsunami. I wouldn't want to eat bottom feeding fish downstream from a large city anyway.

Come on! As rationalizing goes that's a stretch. Are you saying there was no spike caused by the release of radiation? You'd be the first to make that claim. The point is it's unchanged. I realize it's ancient history to most but we're seen this before. Remember all those nuclear tests in the 50s? The claim was the radiation would quickly disperse. In that case it not only didn't disperse it increased. It's the old predator/prey issue. What's low levels in algae eaters becomes high levels in predator fish that eat the algae eaters. It happens with mercury too. My concern is that some of what they are talking about like cesium levels have to decrease because of the short half life. One of two things are happening. Either more cesium is being released or what's there is concentrating in the fish so the concentration is offsetting the decay. Being pro nuclear doesn't mean you have to bury your head in the sand when there's an accident. Ignoring data won't help explain what's happening. If it's just concentration of what's there it should reverse in a few years. If it's continuing to leak then there's a bigger problem. The source of the new cesium may be something very obvious. The land was badly contaminated so that cesium is slowly entering the oceans for the rain washing it out of the soil. If this is the source then the fish may be contaminated for decades to come.

Re:What was the baseline? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779021)

The point is that bottom feeding fish below Fukushima show abnormally high levels of radiation. Was it caused by the meltdown? Probably, at least in part, but they can't say for sure how much. Is it getting better or worse? They don't seem to know.

Re:What was the baseline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41781313)

It was obviously caused by the releases, related to the meltdown.

The meltdown is an ONGOING event.
Unit 1's core (and possibly 2 and 3) has burned through the bottom of containment, and is likely eating through the bedrock to the water-table. NONE of the cores has been examined since the accident! Nobody can get near them because the radiation is too high. It does not take a degree in nuclear physics to understand this.

At Chernobyl, they stopped this, by digging a tunnel underneath the reactor, and cooling it with liquid nitrogen. Thousands of workers died from radiation exposure. Japan did not do this - and it probably would not have succeeded, because in that time-frame, there were many aftershocks, and tunneling would have collapsed. The quality of the rock under Fukushima also doesn't permit tunneling in the same way; would have been much slower and more costly. (resulting in more deaths) - plus, there were 3 units to worry about.

These melted-down cores will be releasing cesium (and iodine) into the environment for decades.

The authorities are simply in denial.

Re:What was the baseline? (3, Interesting)

cjameshuff (624879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41783589)

Cesium doesn't bioaccumulate. It's not concentrated in any tissues, it's quickly excreted like sodium, potassium, etc. Strontium bioaccumulates, being treated like calcium and concentrating in bones, but at Fukushima it mostly stayed in the reactors...the stuff that escaped was mainly cesium and iodine (and the iodine has by now almost entirely decayed).

These fish are apparently maintaining a constant level by feeding in contaminated sediments that replace the cesium as fast as it is excreted. Predators will only have elevated levels while actively feeding on these bottom feeders. However, with a 30 year half life, there aren't many plausible sources for the cesium, it pretty clearly came from Fukushima. Given that a major tsunami had just happened, it's not surprising that there's a layer of sediment trapping the cesium. Possibly something could be done to free up the cesium so it can dilute more thoroughly, or cover it in uncontaminated sediments so bottom feeders don't get into it so much.

So long... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777073)

And Thanks for all the.... never mind.

Re:So long... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777295)

...radioactivity?

Re:So long... and thanks for all the glowing fish? (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778075)

I personally use them as nightlights.

Something still smells Fishyyy (1, Informative)

oxnyx (653869) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777085)

They don't know if the reactor is still leaking, all they do know is that the fish are at the similar level as before. It seems to me that something is still reacting under all that water. The problem is that radioactivity is a pollutant at doesn't solve itself in a few years even if everything is cleaned up the waste is still creating reacting. The problem with earthquakes is that there is nothing to protect the fragile ..Do not shake stuff in our world.

The seafloor and Bikinis (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777153)

If the seafloor is contaminated with cesium and it behaves like it did in the sands of the Bikini Atoll, the radioactive substance is eventually buried so that the top sediments seem perfectly clean but the plant life attached to the seafloor raise the cesium back up and it returns to the food cycle. Then again, this is seafloor and the plant life is different.

Re:The seafloor and Bikinis (3, Insightful)

SiggyRadiation (628651) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777431)

Interesting point... that begs the question... How does Fukushima compare to Bikini Atoll or the other nuclear bomb testing in terms of radioactive materials released?

Re:The seafloor and Bikinis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41779067)

...that begs the question...

No, it doesn't. [wikipedia.org] How many times do we have to revisit this?!!

Re:The seafloor and Bikinis (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778815)

the plant life attached to the seafloor raise the cesium back up and it returns to the food cycle

So maybe we just need to kill the plant life on the seafloor with poison? I hear that plutonium is highly poisonous . . . maybe nuclear waste could do the job . . . ?

Maybe the radiation explains why sharks now want learn golf . . . ? http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-shark-golf-course-20121025,0,7711527.story [latimes.com]

Absolute numbers? (5, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777171)

I read both articles and the abstract, and couldn't find any actual numbers for how radioactive the fish are. And what I did find only made me want that answer more.

The only number that was being thrown around was "40%", in that 40% of fish caught in the Fukushima area exceed the limit for radiation, which is currently 100Bq/kg. But that's a rather low limit - before the accident, the limit was set to 500Bq/kg, but was tightened to reduce fears of contamination. And in the US (ever a paragon of strict food safety</sarcasm>), the limit is 1200Bq/kg.

So my question is, just how high *are* the radiation levels? Are the ones being rejected as unsafe doing so because the standards were tightened, or because they're genuinely highly radioactive?

Re:Absolute numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777299)

I have the same questions. What is the current typical measure of contamination of these fish, and why was the limit lowered anyway?

Do they exceed the "old" limit of 500Bq/kg?

Re:Absolute numbers? (3, Funny)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777325)

Citizen Gman,

how dare you ask factual questions? Resume making gozilla jokes like all good citizens!

Re:Absolute numbers? (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777473)

Fine.

Is the radiation level of these fish sufficient to produce atomic breath, or is it merely enough to cause laser vision?

Re:Absolute numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777909)

I assume with a lucky mutation you could have both at the same time.

Re:Absolute numbers? (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778889)

Fine.

Is the radiation level of these fish sufficient to produce atomic breath, or is it merely enough to cause laser vision?

If you eat beans with the fish it can cause a release of radioactive gas.

Re:Absolute numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777685)

From the full paper (which only Science subscribers can access): Public anxieties in Japan about seafood safety remain high, in part because the Japanese are among the world's highest per capita consumers of seafood. On 1 April 2012, regulators tightened restrictions for cesium-134 and cesium-137 in seafood from 500 to 100 becquerels per kilogram wet weight (Bq/kg wet) in an effort to bolster confidence in the domestic supply. In fact, this measure may have had the opposite effect, as the public now sees more products considered unfit for human consumption. ... The MAFF results show that total cesium levels in demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish, including many important commercial species, are highest off Fukushima and lower in four prefectures to the north and south (see the figure). Fishing for these species is currently banned off Fukushima, where 40% of fish are above the new regulatory limit of 100 Bq/kg wet (4).

Re:Absolute numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778093)

When is it dangerous? If they change the threshold arbitrarily then what is the point of having it? How can they know that 100 is small enough? I suspect it is not a significant danger, but there should be some sort of logic behind the number.

Re:Absolute numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41785053)

It's very likely that even 1000 Bq/kg is safe -- fortunately humans have this mechanism called regeneration that can remove damaged cells/tissue

Even exposure on the level of 200Sv will increase your chances of developing cancer only by about 1% (from base 30% you get by being alive)

They do not give them explicitely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778139)

Usually when somebody mention rised radioactivity without mentioning the levels, there is a good reason for that. Once you research a bit and compare the number to background radioactivity or even food activity limit, you usually find it is a non story. They mention numbers only when they are big and scary.

Re:Absolute numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41785605)

Well, just as a point of reference, a 70-kg human is walking around with about 116 Bq/kg of natural radioactivity from K-40 and C-14:

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/natural.htm (about 8100 Bq total, divided by 70 is 116)

So the 100 Bq/kg limit also bans cannibalism. You can interpret that as saying fish carrying 100 Bq/kg of Cs-137 are only about twice as radioactive as you already are, which ain't much.

The physical half-life of Cs-137 is 30 years, but the biological half life in humans is only about 3 months. So after a year (4 half-lives), 94% (15/16) of any Cs-137 you ingest has been excreted.

After the Chernobyl accident, the Codex Secretariat calcualted the annual dose from ingesting 1 Bq of Cs-137 at 1.3 times 10^-5 (.000013) milliSieverts:

        http://www.fao.org/crisis/27242-0bfef658358a6ed53980a5eb5c80685ef.pdf

        Let's suppose you just love fish, and you eat 400 g every single day (almost a pound). Let's further suppose all of it contains 200 Bq/kg, twice the limit of 100 Bq/kg. You would eat (.4 * 365) = 146 kg annually, times 200 Bq, times .000013 = 0.4 milliSv annual dose.

        Your annual background from all sources is about 2.4 mSv, so this is about 1/6 of that -- roughly the same as spending six months of the year in Denver, CO at 5000 feet altitude.

        The risk may not be absolutely zero, but it is certainly negligible compared to risks we take casually every day.

For a more detailed argument why Fukushima shouldn't have caused Germany and Japan to swear off nuclear forever, look at:

            http://www.scribd.com/doc/54904454 "A Rational Environmentalist's Guide to Nuclear Power"

No more nukes from this generation (1, Flamebait)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777231)

Future nuclear tech holds promise but the generation of fission reactors deployed today requires an independent and transparent regulatory regime to watch over it. Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island tell us we don't have this today. Everyone of these disasters began with a coverup. Therefore we do not have the moral authority to run today's generation of fission nukes.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777363)

Why are you comparing 3 reactors in the different country with three different regulatory control?

I would argue the Three Mile Island shows us the regulatory system working, since exactly no one was harmed from that event.

That said, I think the government should build and Run Nuclear power plants. Sell the electricity at cost to energy companies who can make money through.
Remove bonus and person gain from how a nuclear plant is run.

" Everyone of these disasters began with a coverup"
Not true.

I would say:
  corporations do not have the moral authority to run today's generation of fission nukes.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778263)

That said, I think the government should build and Run Nuclear power plants.

I'd might willing to get behind the notion of turning it over to the US Navy; decades of reactor operation without any significant radioactive releases or (nuclear related) accidents. Not so sure that we want to see it turned over a civilian bureaucracy though.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41779113)

I have commented on similar ideas before. I am for a separate military structure though. But the most important part would be full military court martial to increase the penlites for misbehavior aka not a bureaucracy without any responsibility. Also, it would prevent people form getting jobs there because they're politically connected because they wouldn't want a job that came with a death sentence for complacency. I would also tie their retirement to the future profits of the plant which could only be transferred upon death of the individual receiving it. This would help them make discussions for the long term operation of the plant. I believe they should be payed above that of normal military personal. An other idea would be to run longer deployments or weekly shifts, we don't need them distracted by day to day occurrences like fights with the wife, etc. But remember the first nuclear reactor loss was mostly likely due to military personal sabotage.See SL-1 reactor, of course it did break containment but probably caused the USA to be more careful with future reactors.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41785247)

they have had many radioactive releases, just that the miltary can make them secret for "security reasons".

For instance, 500 gallons of nuclear coolant was spilled in a dry dock in 1978. The Navy claimed that is was only the same radiation levels as a radium dial wristwatch, which was an out and out lie.

http://oc.itgo.com/kitsap/nuclear/clymer.htm [itgo.com]

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778569)

>That said, I think the government should build and Run Nuclear power plants. Sell the electricity at cost to energy companies who can make money through.
>Remove bonus and person gain from how a nuclear plant is run.

I'm a government bureaucrat and what I just heard was that you want to move the personal gain from the owner of the plant to me. I thank you very much for your foresight and hope you will continue to vote for me in the next election. I will ensure that only the most deserving and worthy [my best friends] will head our nuclear power plants and that the only bonuses possible will go to the employees in the form of oversized salaries at your expense.

To ensure that companies don't overuse this limited resource I will set the rate at only 50% higher than the world's average price for electricity, after all, the others such as yourself were telling me the other day that I need to regulate how much industry we have lest we destroy the environment, and what better way to do that then to cater to my industrial friends that don't use a lot of electricity [Thanks forestry industry, that million dollar super PAC helped a lot! Yes, I really am enjoying my *cough* the party's limousine and chauffeur] while shutting down those that didn't want me in power [damn steel mills and their cheap ass contributions--thank God they're not in my electoral district or I'd have to give a shit about those votes]. This slightly above average price should work well to do that, and the best part is we'll collect sales tax on top of it, which will definitely help pad my pension. Oh damn, did I say that out loud?

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778657)

> I would argue the Three Mile Island shows us the regulatory system working, since exactly no one was harmed from that event.

It's good that no one was harmed, but to spin a partial core meltdown as a success for the regulatory system is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? Such an accident should never be allowed to occur in the first place.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (2)

Meeni (1815694) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778659)

TMI essentially ended up well by luck. The operators were clueless of what was going on for quite a while, and many procedures were unfit. We learnt a lot from this one exactly for that reason, there was so many mistakes to learn from. But essentially, the catastrophic outcome was averted because the conditions kind of resolved for themselves.

Cernobyl ended up bad by lack of luck. After the initial mistake (could have been averted with better procedures, but again, no design is perfect, so we should consider failure as something that will happen), there was little time for the operators to detect and correct conditions as the reactor self destructed almost immediately due to bad design and bad luck colluding. Everything that could go wrong happened simultaneously to make things catastrophic.

Fukujima is another animal. Its not luck or lack of luck, it's bean counting and greed. Proper procedures have been overlooked and regulatory measures ignored. Unlike TMI were "we didn't knew", Fukujima owners should have known better. The lack of emergency diesel to be deployed by helicopter is puzzling, most other nuke operating countries do have such a strategic reserve for "defense in depth". The reactor remained in critical but manageable condition for several hours, the operators knew what was going on and the risks they were facing, yet no help from outside the station reached. Had the owners prepared for the event, the operators would have had enough options to handle without going over a 2/3 on the scale, similar to TMI. Without external help, they were doomed. (I understand that offsite help was stuck in the consequence of the earthquake, but Japan is known for earthquakes and tsunamis, so such a scenario is not exactly a surprise. A procedure that relies on road delivery of help is clearly inadequate and the failure to double it with helicopter or boat delivery of help and supplies is inexcusable).

Re:No more nukes from this generation (2)

FirstOne (193462) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780191)

"The lack of emergency diesel to be deployed by helicopter is puzzling,"

Lack of electrical power was just the tip of iceberg.. Most of the electric motors driving the pumps, and their control systems located in Turbine Hall basements were flooded by salt water, thus requiring significant efforts(months worth) to restore. Backup Generators were onsite within 6 hours..

Re:No more nukes from this generation (4, Informative)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780573)

Purposefully deactivating all security mechanisms and automatic control of a reactor in order to try and get a chain reaction going despite Xenon poisoning of the core isn't lack of luck. Removing all but 12 control-rods from a reactor that needs at least 30 to maintain a negative void coefficient (which the automatic control doesn't allow) isn't lack of luck.

Chernobyl wasn't lack of luck.

In fact, after 1986, all RBMK reactors used somewhat higher enriched fuel (2.4% or so) with absorbers included into fuel rods to permanently give the reactors a negative void coefficient. A fact that is widely ignored by the public.

Also, as the WASH-1250 report pointed out in 1975 - before TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima - having a large containment with containment spray as was the case with all PWRs as opposed to BWRs built before the 1990ies isn't luck. But was credited back in 1975 with retaining a much larger amount of radionuclides compared to BWRs. That's because of larger retention times, as the larger volume has a much slower pressure build-up and containment spray can remove both iodine and caesium from the containment-air before venting. The accident in Fukushima proved this report to be accurate. (And unlike Japan, many European countries adopted counter-measures in the form of filtered containment vents that can remove 99.99% of Cs and 99% of iodine during venting.)

TMI wasn't luck.

As the WASH-1250 also pointed out, floods and tsunamis ('tidal waves') were known as a major risk that could lead to melt-downs and must be dealt with. Both Onagawa to the north of Fukushima and Tokai to the south of Fukushima were prepared for and hit by the tsunami, resulting in non-events, as the inlets for cooling water were sealed and no vital equipment was destroyed. Strangely enough, they were able to foresee what it takes to prepare for a tsunami, but the Fukushima power stations were not prepared.

Fukushima Daiichi and Daini weren't prepared. But out of ten reactors only five lost emergency power supply - those with Mark I Containments. All others had Mark II containments mong them only reactor #6 in Fukushima Daiichi (current generation BWRs would have a Mark IV or Mark V containment, if they hadn't stopped numbering after Mark III). Those retained at least one emergency generator. That wasn't luck either, but an advanced safety concept calling for two separate sections that could provide all functions necessary for the safety of the reactor. Including an air-cooled emergency generator. No additional air-cooled generators were supplied to any of the Mark I containments, even though the Mark II containment made it plonkingly obvious to anybody that they were needed. And those are cheap compared to a nuclear power plant.

What's worse is that the japanese regulator NISA specifically told plant operators that total station black-outs need not be included in safety drills. Personell could not properly deal with the situation, despite having the necessary equipment to mitigate it by using the firefighting equipment to pump cooling water into the reactor. Those had been equiped with the necessary joints to plug the pumps right in, as the (american) designers of the containment had the foresight to deal with this possibilty. Training would have included knowing how and when to properly vent the containment, without creating a backwash into the containment building and opening the blow-out panels to prevent hydrogen build-up in case of a meltdown - as was done in reactor #2 where no explosion occured.

Fukushima wasn't bad luck.It was lack of training, safety equipment and regulation that had been established decades ago in other countries.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780895)

I mixed up the reports, I meant the WASH-1400.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (1)

hubang (692671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780631)

I seem to remember that there was an offer to fly generators in from a US Aircraft Carrier (I believe the Enterprise) that was anchored off coast. I also seem to remember the offer being turned down by the Japanese government, since they had generators on trucks enroute. I think they also had a problem with all the coolant wiring being flooded.

I know the trucks didn't get there until the next day, since the roads were a mess, and by then it was too late to do any good.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779511)

Ah, yes. Make operators of nuclear plants government employees. If you liked the service at the Post Office, then you'll love what we're going to do with radioactive material!

big differences between dotGOV and dotMIL (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780683)

in the UCMJ there are things that you will get SHOT for that are not actually criminal otherwise.

Go Ahead and track down the number of Nuclear Accidents in the Navy that were not the result of
1 navy ships getting shot at for some reason
2 deliberate acts of Stupid/Sabotage
3 Nuclear Materials going "missing"

 

Re:No more nukes from this generation (1)

samkass (174571) | about a year and a half ago | (#41781043)

Ah, yes. Make operators of nuclear plants government employees. If you liked the service at the Post Office, then you'll love what we're going to do with radioactive material!

Home delivery 6 days a week and web forms for everything you could need... I actually really like the service at the Post Office.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41780537)

"since exactly no one was harmed from that event"

How do you know no one was harmed in Three Mile Island? Do you have an alternate universe in your garden shed in which Three Mile Island didn't happen? That radiation 'might' (and I say 'might') have reduced the useful lifespans of several people by 5 years. Is that 'harm'?

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#41780871)

In Finland people receive 7.5mSv per year in natural radiation on average. Life expectation in Finland is 1.5 years above EU average and 0.8 years above EU median. US regulators demand that all areas must be evacuated after a nuclear accident, where people would receive in excess of 200mSV in 30 years.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41780805)

Why are you comparing 3 reactors in the different country with three different regulatory control?

maybe because it shows that it's neither the reactor design, nor the culture that runs it, but that it can happen with three different designs and cultures and thus seem to be a tricky problem?

that said, i'm not against nuclear power because of the danger of an accident, but rather because i have no clue how we will get rid of the nuclear waste so that it's not a risk for many many future generations to come.

Re:No more nukes from this generation (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778375)

Chernobyl : They experimented with a live reactor, turned off many of the safety systems, including many that cannot be disabled on most reactors

  Fukushima : Ran 6 reactors beyond their design lifetimes, ignored recommendations to increase the height of the tsunami defences, ignored safety inspection failures, ignored recommendations to protect backup generators. The reactors survived largely intact a massive earthquake and mostly intact after a huge tsunami (unlike all the conventional power stations on the coast) they had already started to shut down safely but were prevented from completing this due to flooding of their diesel generators used to pump coolant ....

Conclusion : If a reactor has a design lifetime don't overrun this, if a reactor fails a safety inspection shut it down until it passes, don't play with a live reactor .... not exactly rocket science ...?

Re:No more nukes from this generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41780291)

How your post got marked Flamebait I'll never know. It's a perfectly reasonable post. Corporations and Governments will always make mistakes and will always cut corners on safety and regulations out of indolence and greed/corruption.

Now when you're running a coal power plant that might be tolerable, but when one is running a nuclear power plant when the consequences of a meltdown are catastrophic it's entirely unacceptable behavior.

Therefore, knowing human behavior the only acceptable power sources are renewable energy (wind, solar, hydroelectric, and tidal) and fusion power, not fission. The aforementioned power sources are extremely safe even when accounting for standard expected human ineptitude and corruption.

Sushi (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777461)

So fugu (potentially lethal blowfish) sushi is insanely popular and expensive.... how long until we see Fukushima flounder sushi? The actual amount of cesium in two tiny pieces of fish can't be *that* harmful, can they?

Re:Sushi (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778279)

So fugu (potentially lethal blowfish) sushi is insanely popular and expensive.... how long until we see Fukushima flounder sushi? The actual amount of cesium in two tiny pieces of fish can't be *that* harmful, can they?

How much cesium does it take to clean your clock?

Re:Sushi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41780667)

A quick search shows

Animal studies indicate that cesium is of relatively low toxicity. Acute oral LD50 values for rats and mice
range from 800 to 2,000 mg Cs/kg, cesium hydroxide being more toxic than cesium iodide or cesium
chloride. Single oral doses of cesium chloride, administered to female mice at dose levels ranging from
125 to 500 mg/kg, have been shown to result in significant increases in chromosomal breaks in bone
marrow cells (Ghosh et al. 1990, 1991).

Scale up to human size. (The cesium itself would kill you long before the radioactivity).

Re:Sushi (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779061)

So fugu (potentially lethal blowfish) sushi is insanely popular and expensive.... how long until we see Fukushima flounder sushi? The actual amount of cesium in two tiny pieces of fish can't be *that* harmful, can they?

This is always the argument. How much of a toxic agent can I eat before I get sick? With lead there were "safe" levels given in the past but more recently it's been found there are no safe levels especially in children. The same with mercury. They say some levels are okay in fish because the figure the health benefits of the fish outweigh the damage of the mercury. A real devil's deal. Look there's no way to avoid radioactive materials. Every handful of dirt probably contains a tiny trace amount of Uranium just like gold and silver. It might be one particle but it's in there. The point isn't how much toxic waste can we handle, we get far too much already is the answer. The real point is trying to avoid it. Yes eating sushi from fish caught near the reactor won't make you throw up but that's a poor benchmark for safety! The real issue is if you eat it once a week for 20 years do you get cancer or at least does it increase your risk? My guess is the answer is yes. It may be less than a 1% increase or it might be a 20% or 30% increase. In that case look for another source for fish or consider giving up fish.

Re:Sushi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41780657)


With lead there were "safe" levels given in the past but more recently it's been found there are no safe levels especially in children.

That's more than a little misleading. I'm sure what you'll find is that there's no evidence there's a threshold beyond which no harm can occur. You may say that's the same thing as saying "there's no safe level", but what you don't realize is that most people define the word safe in those ultra-precise definition meaning "absolutely zero potential for harm".

For instance, most people would consider taking a bath safe. But yet there's still potential to slip, hit your head, and die. But nobody is making the claim "there's no level at which taking a bath can be considered safe". Largely because that's a completely insane statement.

I think we probably agree on relative risk, but I just don't really like blanket statements like "there's no safe level of X", largely because people completely misinterpret what that actually means, and don't understand it's an entirely different usage of the word "safe" that 99% of the public actually uses.

how radioactive (1, Informative)

ssam (2723487) | about a year and a half ago | (#41777519)

bananas are radioactive. so is lots of stuff.

with a good gamma ray you can detect tiny traces of radioactivity. you can also identify the isotope it came from. if its potassium then its natural, if its caesium then its from a recent man made source. if the radiation from caesium is 1% the amount from the potassium you can still measure it, and write a scary headline.

probably the heavy metals in the fish will do you far more harm. and thats probably elevated with all the cars and junk that got washed into the sea. its a bit harder to measure though. whats the half-life of mercury or lead though?

Fukushima Fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41777721)

That's a good name for a band.

Caesium, not cesium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778025)

FTFY

Helpless people on subway trains (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about a year and a half ago | (#41778253)

Rinji news o moshiagemasu!
Rinji news o moshiagemasu!
Godzilla ga Ginza hoomen e mukatte imasu!
Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai!
Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai!

News at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41778255)

Shocking news revealed,i f you dump radioactive materials into the ocean (in violation of international laws, but since when do they apply to japan), plants and animals will be radioactive, and even more shocking, materials with a half-life time of 20'000 Years do not go away in 19 month. More at 11

Re:News at 11 (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41782525)

Cesium 135 has a long half-life, upwards of 2 Million years, but it's not produced much in nuclear reactions, It would be a real fluke if much of it had formed from this accident, because making it passes theough Xenon 135, and the Xenon is a great neutron capturer. Xenon 135 reaction poisoning, and its tendency to stop quickly as the resulting Xenon 136 decays (half-life less than 10 hours), made Chernoble really much worse on really dangerous decay products than otherwise, and if it had been present much at Fukashima, you would see lots of Cesium 135, but also the reactions would have died, flaired again and died back cyclicly for hours and hours in a distinctive pattern that's diagnostic for Xenon, and this cycling happens as people attempt to restart a damped reaction by pulling control rods, not continue shutting it down. (Yes, the Russians did that). I don't think anyone at Fukashima both had control of the rods and fought for hours to restart a damped reactor, from the existing accounts. There'd be a lot of other very hot decay products, much worse than what's being seen, to worry about. Right now, Cesium 137 is one of the most common products of many types of reactor criticalities, and it's a Gamma emitter, making it generally more worrysome than some alternatives. It has a half life of 30 years, so yes, 19 months is not enough to expect much difference, but by your 20,000 years, the stuff will be long, long gone.

Re:News at 11 (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#41783031)

There is also Cs-134 which has a half-life of 2 years, that's 1/15th that of Cs-137.

This means that the same amount of Cs-134 is 15 times as radioactive as Cs-137. It also happens to be the case that Cs-137 is 15 times more common than Cs-134 in fission product decay chains.

The result is that half the original radioactivty of Caesium basically disappears within 6 years along with 87.5% of the Cs-134. After that a 30 year half-life is a useful approximation. (Although this is not quite true for contamination, some of it is being washed away by rainwater and/or penetrates into the soil, where people are being shielded from part of its gamma radiation. Fortunately, Caesium doesn't accumulate in any part of the human body, so that there are no locally high doses as with Strontium, Radium or Iodine even after digestion. Which makes cancer formation much less likely, as the body has to deal with low levels of radiation anyway and can deal with it.)

How do they know? (1)

filmorris (2466940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779111)

They asked it and it said yes.

5 words: Glow-in-the-dark sushi. (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year and a half ago | (#41779709)

Seem unlikely? Remember we're talking about a country that has vending machine for schoolgirl panties. You could use an image of Godzilla in the ads for it.

Fukushima still spewing radiation out (1, Insightful)

1800maxim (702377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41781095)

Why does it surprise anyone that fish dwelling near the reactor are still radiactive 19 months later? 19 months after what? after the leak began, and has been only slightly reduced? the leak didn't stop, and it's still ongoing.

the mainstream media stopped dwelling on this, all the while people in North America consume products with high radiation.

Bioconcentration (0)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41785043)

This is the expected pattern, followed by a steady progression into the food chain as these fish are eaten by their predators.
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