Dr. Ken Buesseler: Fukushima Cesium Approaching California

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The good news is that is extremely diluted.  The bad news is that it is still being released at the source at Fukushima Daiichi.   Dr. Buesseler is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on radioactivity in the world’s oceans.  He shared the results of his findings today in a group conversation on Reddit, and there was a lively discussion that will undoubtedly continue.… Continue Reading →

Nuclear Arms Race Continues

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The top US General in South Korea claims that North Korea is now capable of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead and putting it on an ICBM.  See the NY Times story here.

Stars and Stripes Magazine reports on China’s growing nuclear weapons programs that bring a full triad of land, air and sea delivery capabilities here.

Foreign Policy says Putin has deployed nuclear weapons in Crimea, and may have violated the INF Treaty here.

NY Times covers the major renewal … Continue Reading →

Reflections on the Hiroshima Anniversary

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Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Today marks the 69th year since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.  The wisdom of the bombing will likely be debated for centuries to come.  This yearʻs commemorative ceremony will be attended by US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, according to The Japan Times.

 

DoomsdayClock_black_5mins_regmarkHow likely is such a horrific event to occur again, for whatever reason?   I occasionally check the “Doomsday Clock” created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  It is still standing at 5 minutes to midnight.  … Continue Reading →

Fukushima Daiichi Shadow Reveals Light in Quests for Safety and Transparency

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The National Academies of Sciences report on Fukushima, mandated by the US Congress, was released recently.  The focus of this report is on lessons learned that can improve safety at U.S. nuclear power plants. Among many recommendations  is one that the NRC and the U.S. nuclear industry must continuously monitor and maintain a strong safety culture and should examine opportunities to increase the transparency of and communication about their efforts to assess and improve nuclear safety.

Also addressed was the … Continue Reading →

Ocean Radiation Health

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Dr.Ken Buessler, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity, has launched a crowd funded project to assess ocean contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi event.  See information on this program here.

Safecast has compiled reports and assessments of impacts on the Pacific Ocean, and added some perspective here.

We are continuing to cover the Surferʻs Beach, Half Moon Bay analysis of radioactive sand.  We have determined it is not related to … Continue Reading →

Safecast Reports on Beach Radioactivity in Half Moon Bay

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Nonprofit Safecast is reporting that some beaches in California (and other places in the world) have natural sources of radiation from Thorium 232, Radium 226 and other NORM (Naturally Occurring Radiation Materials) sources.  See their report here.

Reports linking elevated radiation readings on a beach near Half Moon Bay have gone viral and frightened many people.  Analysis of the sand here.Continue Reading →

Markers in the Nuclear Age

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We have entered an age where everything has changed except our way of thinking, according to Albert Einstein.  “Thus we drift towards unparalleled disaster,” he went on to say.   Is that true?   Or can we manage risks in this age, through thoughtful behavior, sound public policy, prevention, continuous improvement, international cooperation?

The Japanese people of times past left a gift for their descendants in the form of stone markers.

Markers in the Nuclear Age

Beware of Tsunamis

This marker says:  “High dwellings are the peace … Continue Reading →

U.S. Involvement in Fukushima Daiichi Cleanup?

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U.S. Department of Energy Director Ernest Moniz toured Fukushima Daiichi on Nov. 1.  Secretary Moniz has extended an offer of U.S. help in the cleanup effort, especially with regard to water contamination issues.   A Bilateral Commission has been created to strengthen “strategic and practical engagement on civil nuclear R&D, Fukushima cleanup, emergency response, nuclear safety regulatory matters, and nuclear security and nonproliferation” and will meet next week in Washington, D.C.  Read Secretary Monizʻ statement at the Department of Energy website.Continue Reading →

Japan Nuclear News

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The Editorial Board of NY Times threw its weight behind Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumiʻs call for a national debate on nuclear energy in Japan in this Editorial.

Reuters is reporting on precautions being taken by Tokyo Electric as Typhoon Wipha moves through Japan here.

Safecast, an independent non profit organization, has mapped over 10 million radiation data points in Japan since the Daiichi incident.   They have won a prestigious Good Design Award under the category of Service and … Continue Reading →

Japan, Fukushima, U.S. Policy, Questions and More Questions.

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They call me the “Questions Girl.”   I wish I could say I donʻt know why.  But it wouldnʻt be authentic of me.   I really care about the planet.   I am insatiably curious about why things happen.  My teachers tell me that is good as long as I know when to stop.   Iʻm still learning about that.

The NY Times has been giving a lot of coverage to Fukushima these days.  I like to read the Times every day when I … Continue Reading →

BBC Article asks “What Have We Learned from Fukushima”

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“People were just told to head north west……..but that was exactly the same direction the radiation cloud was moving. Some people were evacuated to an area where the radiation was even higher than here.”

Numerous reports were published by Three Mile Island Public Health Fund after the nuclear accident on March 28, 1979.  Recommendations were made on emergency management, improvements in off-site monitoring, communications, and more.

On April 26, 1986 Chernobyl  presented another opportunity to learn about managing a nuclear … Continue Reading →

Getting Up-to-Date on Fukushima Daiichi

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Fukushima Well

A lot of news is breaking on Fukushima Daiichi.  While many sources point out worst-case scenarios, some of the pictures painted are clearly exaggerated.   Even if the worst-case scenario plays out, it will not be the end of life on the planet, as some in the blogosphere have claimed.   Humanity has survived the release of large volumes of nuclear radiation into the atmosphere during the days of nuclear weapons testing, and during the Chernobyl event.  Still, there is a lot … Continue Reading →

Is Fukushima Daiichi Emergency Over? Breaking News.

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Members of a Fukushima prefecture panel inspect the construction site of a shore barrier near the No.1 and No.2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Reports are coming in from a variety of sources that the ground water situation is getting out of hand at Fukushima Daiichi.  Some, including sources quoted by Wall Street Journal, are speculating that the saturation of the ground water could cause the reactor buildings to topple. A variety of solutions are being explored including the possibility of freezing the ground water around the reactor.  CNN is today quoting a top nuclear regulatory official as saying the situation is an … Continue Reading →

Former Chief of Fukushima Plant Dies

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Masao Yoshida led the effort to contain the incident at Fukushima Daiichi following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami.   Colleagues say he was “prepared to die” in responding to the incident, and credit him with preventing the situation from becoming much worse.  Our condolences to Yoshida-sanʻs family, friends, co-workers and associates.  Read more at Wall Street Journal.Continue Reading →

Stray Nuclear Materials an Ongoing Concern

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“Statistically speaking no reasonable person will say that this will never happen. The probability is there.”  Khamma Mrabit, a director of U.N.ʻs International Atomic Energy Agency is quoted as saying this last week referring to the risk of diverted nuclear materials being used as a weapon by terrorists.  150 to 200 cases of diversion of nuclear materials are reported annually.  Read the full Reuters article at Yahoo News.

 … Continue Reading →

Japan Receives First MOX Fuel Shipment Since Fukushima Incident

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Controversy and high security surrounded the first MOX fuel shipment from France since the Fukushima Daiʻichi incident.   Many Japanese, including ex Prime Minister Kan, are wanting to turn away from nuclear power.  The current Prime Minister Shinso Abe is pushing for restart of Japanʻs reactors.  Read more in this Bangkok Post article.Continue Reading →

Radioactive Iodine Release Map for Fukushima Published

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A map showing how radioactive iodine spread after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been published online by the journal of the American Health Physics Society.

Researchers from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the US Department of Energy analyzed radiation data they jointly gathered using aircraft in April 2011.  See the full NHK report and video.Continue Reading →

Hanford Leaking Tank in the News

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Elevated radiation levels are being investigated at Hanford Reservation, where materials for cold war nuclear weapons programs were developed.  The superfund site has several tanks filled with a mix of chemicals and radioactive materials in close proximity to the Columbia River.  Billions of dollars have been spent to clean up the site, and completion is not expected for decades to come. New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the site for the first time on Wednesday.   More at CNN.Continue Reading →