Fukushima nuclear pollution in sea was world's worst: French institute

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  • -1

    ebisen

    Nuclear yes, but it certainly did not impact as strong as oil spills. Radiation is both strongly diluted and shielded by seawater. Except discussable local effects, we will see almost no long term problems.

  • 2

    SquidBert

    @ebisen,

    While the radioactive isotopes may be diluted and radiation may be shielded as you say, don't forget that the isotopes get concentrated again as they are first ingested by plankton and other small creatures in the ocean, then concentration goes up as we walk up the food chain. Same as can be seen for mercury in dolphins.

  • -1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    I guess you are a real optomist ebisen, me, I try to be but the hell if I am gonna be stupid enough to be eating any seafood from that area, not even if it is given away for free! IMHO. Viva la France!

  • -8

    NetNinja

    Japan's punishment should be to never let them use the sea again, especially for fishing.

  • -1

    realist

    Sorry, but I do not believe a word on this subject that comes from the Japanese Government, TEPCO, the IAEA or this French group of nuclear "experts." Why? Because they all have vested interests in trying to save nuclear energy, no matter what the consequenses for us all. Its sick.

  • 2

    ebisen

    Squid - but what matters here is the total volume of radioactive material that got spilled. It is to the order of few kg. Compare than to the many thousands of tons for mercury (by)products that are now poisoning the dolphins. I believe it takes more than the half-life time to see an accumulation to double, therefore my original remark. If the calculus is correct, the radiation levels will stay constant for some species (part of the foodchain affected by the radiation) and decrease in other. This strictly in that area.

    I still think this is way better than a major oil spill.

  • 3

    ebisen

    In other order of words, we are talking about peta Becquerels here, while even a small nuclear test produces yotta Becquerels. There were many underwater nuclear tests that affected surrounding seas way more than Fukushima.

  • 2

    Weasel

    ...was the greatest single nuclear contamination of the sea ever seen.

    Guess that's saying a lot coming from France - considering all of that activity at French Polynesia back in the late 90's.

  • 3

    zichi

    The single most radioactive contamination event that happened in the Pacific Ocean must surly be all the millions of tons of atomic bomb detonations mostly by America but also by France and Britain. America released vast amounts of radiation above the ocean and under it too. Biologically, I think the life of cesium is about 70 days.

    But none of this distracts from the very serious nuclear disaster at Fukushima and can only strengthen the argument for shutting down nuclear power plants and seeking to use more renewables.

  • -2

    SquidBert

    @ebisen

    I still think this is way better than a major oil spill. I am not going to argue with you about this, it is like choosing between pestilence and cholera. I'd rather have neither.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    "...and, except for near-shore species, posed no discernible threat."

    Ah... so those will be selected for elementary school lunches.

  • -1

    zichi

    Is the radiation in the sea from the Fukushima plant going further out into the ocean or because of currents it's still in the area just over the power plant, because the level of radiation there has not dropped?

  • 1

    SquidBert

    Biologically, I think the life of cesium is about 70 days.

    Yes you are correct, but it doesn't mean it has disappeared from the ecosystem, merely excreted from the body.

    Also, while Iodine and Cesium has been the major focus until now. Other more long-lived isotopes where released as well. Japanese sea food already have a large concentration of Polonium due to the tests that you and ebisen already mentioned.

    Still the article states that this was the largest single contamination event of the sea this far. Lets try to have less big contamination events in the future. Can we all agree on that much?

  • 0

    LockOn

    Everybody seems to be focusing their rage on Japan, who to blame, cover-ups and so on (which no doubt existed) but let's not forget that considering what lead to the Fukushima incident was:

    An earthquake (one of the biggest ever recorded!) Tsunami Nuclear disaster

    Seriously, considering the current situation, I think Japan did and is trying to do well to stem this problem. If this occurred elsewhere in the world, I wonder how well the accident would've been dealt with there?

  • 0

    nedinjapan

    Now the big question is: Will Godzilla Rise out of the Nuclear Mess in the Ocean? (And When? In 10~20 years?)

  • -1

    Boris Yarovoy

    From the ocean to rise no Gozo, and Cthulhu, who is also Chronos - an ancient dragon, guardian priest of life on Earth.

  • 3

    zichi

    LockOn,

    I think we can all agree, and certainly ex PM Kan does, because he stated so while still in office,

    That we can call both the earthquake and tsunami which happened on 3/11, a 100% natural disaster.

    But the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant was 100% manmade for a number of reasons, but like, building a nuclear power plant in the wrong location, not building it with the state-of-the-art safety standards or not even updating 600 important pieces of equipment for earthquake protection which was request by NISA in 2006.

    It would be impossible to avoid the earthquake and tsunami but the nuclear disaster could have been totally avoided.

    But I do understand, and accept that three mega disasters happened at the same time, and it would be very difficult for any government of any country to deal with that.

    The first priority was the saving of lives.

  • 0

    The Munya Times

    Fukushima nuclear pollution in sea was world's worst:

    Why are they using past tense? Is it over and no more pollutant is released into the sea? Optimistic!

    Radiation is both strongly diluted and shielded by seawater.

    I am not an expert of this issue, my amateurish thoughts were, doesn't radioactive seawater evaporate up in the sky giving us radioactive clouds and rain, let alone the always high air humidity in Japan? I thought it is spreading more effectively from the ever-surging, fluctuating active huge sea surface.

    Japan's punishment should be to never let them use the sea again, especially for fishing.

    Japan has got her punishment by being allowed to use the sea for fishing and now all the polluted fishes are on the table. Can they have worse punishment than they are tasting their own medicine and eat all the mess they created?

  • 1

    SquidBert

    I had some suspicion and felt a need to check a few things up.

    A bit busy so someone else should check this more carefully.

    But the 70 day biological half life is for cesium in humans, other animals may show lower or higher numbers for biological half life. It also seems plant life such as algae( and perhaps simpler forms animal life) lacks the ability to excrete the cesium. Biological half life in these animals becomes a function of bio mass growth. Such that if e.g. a seaweed plant absorbs a certain amount of cesium, it has to grow to double size to decrease the amount of cesium in the organism to half. That is of course providing that no new cesium is being absorbed during this time.

    I also found some reference to fish here

    http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/fish_radiation.pdf

    Section about food chain accumulation, states 37 - 203 days depending on temperature and species. And I think things like shell fish has a notoriously high number on this scale, but have not checked. As they are filtrating animals the also absorb a whole lot more than many other species.

    The other thing is that whatever the biological half life is, the isotopes are excreted to the water where they are again reabsorbed by the lowest parts of the food chain where they again begin their travel to the top.

    This together with other effects means that we will most likely see cyclic concentration peaks of radio isotopes in seafood from affected areas.

  • 0

    SquidBert

    Line 5, Change

    Biological half life in these animals

    to

    Biological half life in these organisms

  • 0

    bogva

    Problem is there is no systematic or at least not enough for a larger scale monitoring of the ocean. Its not only close to Fukushima. If you read the so called [opinion] from the Oceanographic Society of Japan you will understand that Japanese scientist are also pressing the government to do more!

    http://www.kaiyo-gakkai.jp/sinsai_eng/2011/09/opinionon-marine-contamination-studies-relating-to-the-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-plant-acciden.html

  • 0

    ihavegreatlegs

    Well, I hope they are not pulling shellfish any where close by to that area. Migration paths of fish need to be monitored too.

  • 0

    SquidBert

    And interestingly enough this report

    http://darwin.bio.uci.edu/~sustain/suscoasts/mercuryinfish.htm

    States that the EPA number for biological half life of Mercury in humans is 70 days i.e the same as for cesium. So it seems that a comparison to Mercury in dolphins may not have been that far off.

  • 0

    ebisen

    squid - except mercury is released in way more dangerous levels (talking tons versus kilograms). Mercury will likely not leave the food chain (accumulating), but caesium's radioactivity will be halved in 30 years.

  • -3

    Star-viking

    Zichi,

    But the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant was 100% manmade for a number of reasons, but like, building a nuclear power plant in the wrong location, not building it with the state-of-the-art safety standards or not even updating 600 important pieces of equipment for earthquake protection which was request by NISA in 2006.

    In all fairness, they couldn't have known at the time of building about the problems with the location - the problem was discovered much later, and didn't seem to be taken seriously by either Tepco, the government, and those in the government responsible for disaster preparedness. That last point is the kicker - because 26,000 people died because the government either wouldn't or couldn't do its job. Fukushima Dai-ichi may seem bad - but no deaths have occurred because of the radioisotope releases, and may never occur.

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    This stinks! Why are we still using even using nuclear power? We don't need them, and that's a fact.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    No $hit IRSN. Of course deep water fish and mulluscs are going to be susceptible to cesium pollution. This was predicted months before by experts in Japan with lower than expected results from the Fishery Agency. Why is this news is beyond me except for the fact that the source is In English.

  • -3

    zichi

    2006-2008, there was debate and discussion about the possibility of mega earthquakes and tsunami's. Because of that, the height of the sea wall at the Tokai nuclear power was increased but not at the Fukushima, well the rest is history.......

  • -1

    Star-viking

    zichi Oct. 29, 2011 - 12:44PM JST

    2006-2008, there was debate and discussion about the possibility of mega earthquakes and tsunami's. Because of that, the height of the sea wall at the Tokai nuclear power was increased but not at the Fukushima, well the rest is history.......

    And I've lived in Tohoku since 2003 - no one here expected what happened on the 11th of March.

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