Plutonium detected in soil outside Fukushima nuclear plant

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  • 2

    Mr. Bill

    Fukushima nuclear power plant which was crippled

    I am so sick of reading this word "crippled" It wasn't crippled at all! It went out of control! It went on a rampage! It melted down. It spewed. It did all sorts of things that something crippled simply could not do. So please remove that silly word from future articles please.

    So anyway, coming up on 7 months, they finally found plutonium outside the plant. The words that come to mind are incompetent and inept. Japan needs to stop playing around with nukes. They obviously can't handle it.

  • 1

    some14some

    They obviously can't handle it.

    true but Japan will argue they can handle it in 'japanese' way.

  • 1

    kurisupisu

    80 kilometres from the plant? How did the most deadly substance we know travel 80 kilometres

    And remember that people were told on television that Plutonium was to heavy to spread.

    The fact is that nobody knows how the contamination is spreading in Japan.

    But it is spreading and the people are being feed piecemeal information.

    And the official policy is to spread it more so by incineration

  • 0

    zichi

    This is a repost comment, but I think it's important.

    Independent observers may have claimed to have discovered plutonium previously, but the statement from MEXT, at least makes it official.

    This is the most significant piece in the information jigsaw puzzle since TEPCO admitted to the meltdowns of the central nuclear cores in reactors 1-3.

    I believe that when the hydrogen explosion happened inside reactor building No3, it was set off by a steam explosion from within the reactor itself. I thought at best the lid must have been blown off the reactor, and at worse there was severe damage to the reactor.

    The destruction was greater than in the other buildings. Looking at HD photo's of No3 buildings shows the spend fuel pool badly damaged. Most likely much of the 88 tons of spend fuel which was inside the pool is no longer there. The photo's also show fuel rods in the debris.

    No3 reactor contained about 25,000 fuel rods in 500+ fuel assemblies. 6% of them or about 1500 fuel rods in 32 assemblies were plutonium MOX fuel. There was no MOX fuel in the No3 spend fuel pool, or any where else on the site.

    The discovered plutonium could have only come from inside No3 reactor. Probably from the remains of the MOX fuel assemblies which hadn't melted.

    This admission by MEXT shows that the condition of No3 reactor is more serious than admitted by TEPCO.

    Plutonium 239 has a half life of 24,000 years.

  • 0

    beangry

    "The highest density of plutonium-239 and 240—4.0 becquerels per square meter—was registered in a town some 30 kilometres from the plant, the ministry said."

    Just today the announced ending the 30km exclusion advisory. Why???? There really is no safe or low level amount of this stuff.

    "presumably due to the nuclear accident, the education and science ministry said in a statement."

    They had the fall to claim there might be a link between nuke tests. Nonsense. They know full well this comes from the plant.

    WHY did they wait till now when they did these tests in June? Extremely dishonest people. I used to hold Japan in high esteem...

  • 1

    yildiray

    How did the most deadly substance we know travel 80 kilometres

    It might not have - as stated in the article, plutonium has been found before from atmospheric tests. The article also shows that the numbers are not even as high as what was previously discovered BEFORE the March 11th situation began (although it is 10x above the average!). The sentence important for context is this:

    In a village 45 kilometers away, the reading was 0.82 becquerels per square metre.

    As long as those numbers STAY low, at least there is something we can take as positive from this. If that starts creeping up, maybe it's time to start considering long-term options...

  • 0

    Konsta

    zichiOct. 01, 2011 - 08:20AM JST... Most likely much of the 88 tons of spend fuel which was inside the pool is no longer there

    Where is it? 88 tons?

  • 2

    ka_chan

    Hmmm.... that 80 kilometers...is that because they only looked up to 80 km from the plant? The plutonium may or may not have come from the plant since during the nuclear testing age, it was all over the atmosphere. But, the amount needs to be compare to a non-contaminated area upwind from the plant like Nagano or Niigata. Compare the background radiation and soil contamination to get a base line to what is normal. Since winds were blowing toward Tokyo for a while, they probably should test around the plane that includes Tokyo. I'm surprised that they don't have that information. They should have it on a continual basis since China and Russia did nuclear test, not to mention Chenobyl. Right now, Japan is getting hit by mercury from China... probably not look for it either. The US has monitoring stations all over and some detected an increase from Fukushima and that is some 10K miles away. They also detected the mercury.....

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    "A limited amount of plutonium has been detected in soil outside Japan’s troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant..."

    More likely a limited admittance to a lot more being found, or at the very least I'm sure it's simply been the testing that's limited, not the amount of plutonium.

    In any case, it's been found in six spots EIGHTY kilometers from the nuclear plant, and yet the government is assuring people it's safe to move back to areas within 20 - 30 km of said plant? Now, I'm no rocket scientist, to be sure, but is that perhaps not being cautious in the least?

  • 0

    Utrack

    “The plutonium density, which was detected this time, was within the range of past readings. So the dose of radiation is deemed very small,” the ministry said.

    That's the shocker, they say plutonium was detected within this range before the incident at Fukushima Daiichi. How did it get there BEFORE the incident and Why is it deemed safe.

  • 0

    YongYang

    To find Pu this far can only confirm that Reactor 3's explosion was NOT a or only a hydrogen explosion. There was a powerful exothermic one, that red flash confirmed it then, at the time, this underlines the energy released. So we have Pu at 45 km, also 80(?) up to now, NOW that they are actually checking for it.. And the government just lifted it's 20 to 30 km zone... it is beyond belief.

  • 1

    zichi

    YongYang,

    what would be the cause of an exothermic explosion?

  • 0

    yildiray

    How did it get there BEFORE the incident

    If you read the article, it says there.

  • -1

    yildiray

    Now, I'm no rocket scientist, to be sure, but is that perhaps not being cautious in the least?

    If the levels are within what people were already surrounded by, then what is the problem?

  • 0

    zichi

    Konsta,

    in the reactor building debris, around the plant, in the ocean. We really just don't know?

  • 1

    sf2k

    Oh wait, snap! they found it outside of the plant. No way! I guess they're only getting to this now

  • 1

    sf2k

    from wikipedia "When exposed to moist air, it forms oxides and hydrides that expand the sample up to 70% in volume, which in turn flake off as a powder that can spontaneously ignite. It is also radioactive and can accumulate in the bones. These properties make the improper handling of plutonium dangerous."

    yeah I'm sure TEPCO has that under control. I'm sure it's within the health parameters. And if not, they'll just change the parameters. Problem solved.

  • 2

    Samantha Zoe Aso

    Right, now I really am in the dark. Plutonium has been found outside the plant AND evacuation advisories have been lifted. Am Infeeble minded or is this a complete contradiction of what the hell is going on over there?

    @ Zichi. Thanks for the post and OMG! So the plutonium traces could possibly outlive the human race......at the rate we're going anyway!

  • 2

    BurakuminDes

    This is a very bad development, folks. The Japanese government probably knew about this and has covered it up for many months. What have you to say now, Noda? Your tenure as PM is starting to look shaky!

  • 2

    Farmboy

    Interesting that they have known about this since June. Nice that they are sharing info, but a little more rapid release of data would promote a greater feeling of trust.

  • 0

    Apsara

    Cover up? I thought we had already heard something along these lines months ago, so how can it be a cover up?

  • 2

    Serrano

    "in an area within 80km of Fukushima Daiichi"

    Guess the U.S. gov't's recommendation was reasonable.

  • 4

    Johannes Weber

    Plutonium from nuclear weapons and from nuclear plants can be distinguished. The reason is that the isotope distribution is different. For those who don't have nuclear science knowledge - isotope means same element but different mass (due to different numbers of neutrons). The different isotopes have different half-lives and they are create in different cnuclear processes. Those isotopes which are very neutron-rich can be created only in case of a criticality, which typically happens only in explosions of nuclear weapons (or the Tokaimura plant 12 years ago). Therefore, You can prove with the plutonium isotope distribution, whether it is weapon plutonium or not and whether there has been a criticality in reactor three or not. The method has been in use for a long time, so it is available here, too.

  • 2

    YongYang

    @Zichi. An excellent question. We've had reports, 'specific location' video footage, of spent fuel in storage pool 3 --it'S a massive structure, we got 15(?) seconds of video-- being, 'largely undamaged' --by TEPCO--, no outside experts have verified this, not ones who've let themselves be named anyway. Prompt criticality could be one very real possibility. Just look at that explosion again of No 3. This, along with TEPCOs now PROVEN record of disambiguation... well, who knows! But I am convinced, with the amount of energy released, in an exothermic explosion clearly going beyond subsonic expressions. If the corium is stopped before it melts though the basemat is based on these factors. 1. type of concrete and aggregate used in the structure 2. basemat thickness 3. cavity size and geometry 4. melt mass in the cavity 5. melt composition 6. Presence of overlying water

    The presence of an overlying water pool does not guarantee that the corium will be cooled. A crust may form over the melt, and heat transfer may be insufficient to remove all heat from the melt. A number of experiments have shown minimal effect of water on concrete ablation rates. However, overlying water can reduce fission product releases even if it does not cool the debris.

    What STILL is a very worrying theme:

    ...all the water at Fukushima may help keep the radiation releases down but may not be doing much to stop the corium from burning through structures. It was also noted that the big steam shows seen at Fukushima after earthquakes could be due to cracks in the crust over the corium due to the shaking.

  • 1

    YongYang

    Opps. What STILL is a very worrying theme: was meant to go prefix from

    If the corium is stopped...

  • 2

    Farmboy

  • 2

    Scrote

    The distribution of the detected plutonium, mainly to the north west of the power plants, suggests that it did indeed come from the power stations and was carried by the wind in that direction. High concentrations of other radioactive isotopes are also found in the same region.

  • 2

    CHAMADE

    Just one more terrifying bit of information that should prompt people who don't need to be in Japan to get the hell out - now.

  • 3

    Darren Brannan

    MEXT has sat on this for six months. Plutonium, Neptunium were found up there months ago. Same as Americium ( A by-product of plutonium or uranium) was found in a soil sample in Hachioji Tokyo recently. Monbusho and MEXT are consistent in one thing.. Releasing data months too late to help people. First they sat on fallout figures for three months, then sat on the projections of cesium and rainfall patterns until September and now they release this. Ministry of Education? You sure? They have also fessed up that The government and NISA 'forgot' to hand out Potassium Iodide pills to people living in the areas most affected. These pills could have saved kid's lives. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204010604576596321581004368.html

    The govt organs here have spent more energy saving face than saving their own citizens. I trust them not.

  • 0

    Darren Brannan

    Actually scribble out the Hachioji bit.. Just went back to the original article and it turns out the guy misinterpreted the German lab stats and only the usual cesiums were found.. No Americium. Sorry about that Tokyoites.

  • 0

    アメリ フセイン

    I'm in Tsukuba, this is bad but I have no option but to stay.

  • 0

    beangry

    Darren@,

    The article says "Iwaki residents were told to hold off until the government gave instructions, those in Miharu took the pills, leading late to a reprimand from prefectural officials"

    So those who waited for Tokyo to say "give them te pills" needlessly exposed their people to iodine without protection. Those that did the sensible and right thing were punished. Those brave locals who stood up and gave people the medicine get my respect, but those shameless cowards at the prefecture who punished them are a disgrace. Everyone knew Tokyo wanted to deny reality. People needed those pills, and when thyroid cancer spikes you will know why: "uh, we were just following orders. We learnt nothing from Nuremberg."

    Shame on those cowards for letting their people get exposed. Those who don't know about iodine have no excuse, this is Japan the site of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They HAD to know better.

  • 0

    Star-viking

    Here's the key points:

    The highest density of plutonium-239 and 240—4.0 becquerels per square meter—was registered in a town some 30 kilometres from the plant, the ministry said.

    So highest density = 4 bequerels per square metre.

    Plutonium has previously been detected in Japan following atmospheric nuclear tests, the ministry said.

    The average density of plutonium, which was detected in soil samples between 1999 and 2008 in Japan, was 0.498 becquerels, the ministry said. The highest reading before the Fukushima accident was 8.0 becquerels.

    Highest density in the past = 8 bequerels per square metre.

    So we've got less than half of the past maximum of plutonium. Hardly cause for concern.

  • 1

    Darren Brannan

    Yup! This blog should be required reading for anyone living in Japan. http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/ as the writer dissects the news in both Japanese and English and is right on the pulse. Interestingly enough the wall st journal article supposedly is 'watered down' in its Japanese publication. As this writer points out, the govt tests for plutonium and strontium were done in July and August, and as I have written previously, why did the govt. Release food safety guidelines to all prefectural governors for Uranium ( albeit very quietly) if they didn't believe they needed to? I get the ounce of prevention bit but it doesn't sit well with their actual actions to date, at least to my mind.

  • 1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    So how are we supposed to get rid of plutonium??

  • 0

    zichi

    After the explosion in reactor building No3, photographs show a large amount of steam coming from the reactor.

    http://www.houseoffoust.com/fukushima/apr16/R3_over.jpg

  • 0

    zichi

    I'll try that again photo showing steam from No3 reactor

    http://www.houseoffoust.com/fukushima/apr16/R3_over.jpg

  • 1

    zichi

    Plutonium is weak emitter that registers low on radiation detectors, but it is an intensely radio-toxic material. If inhaled by humans even in microscopic quantities, it would likely cause fatal lung cancer within 18 to 20 years

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Statistics can be tricky.

    Many of the posters above have got their knickers in a twist because they didn't read the article properly. Other posters have had to come on and restate the facts which should have been obvious from the article.

    Yes, plutonium has been detected over the years throughout Japan, and yes, these newest Fukushima figures are still lower than the highest recorded 'in Japan' before.

    However, not mentioned in the article is what type of plutonium, from what type of source, as Johannes Weber says above.

    Also not mentioned in the article is that the high spikes of plutonium come not only from nuclear devices set off countless times in the atmosphere over China, drifting to Japan, but also from real nuclear bombs dropped only sixty-seven years ago on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I saw a documentary recently where a film crew examined the soil under traditional houses which had been built immediately after Hiroshima. Under the verandas, where covering soil has hardly been able to accumulate, they found pretty high readings.

    Out of a half-life of 24,000 years, 67 years means still pretty much brand new..

  • 1

    oberst

    Those pesky Russians, Chinese and North AND South Koreans must be conducting super-secret atmospheric nuclear tests again.

  • 0

    horrified

    @nandakandamanda- other news sources state it's been confirmed this plutonium is from Fukushima.

  • 0

    zichi

    Was weapons grade plutonium being produced at the power plant?

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    horrified, I have no doubt.

    zichi, why do you say that?

  • 0

    zichi

    If both TEPCO and the government revealed everything they know about the nuclear disaster, and equally, everything they don't know, maybe I could adjust some of my thinking. But until then I will go on trying to do the info jigsaw puzzle?

    According to the ministry, the levels of radiation in the plutonium detected fall below the levels of radiation in plutonium believed to have come from atmospheric nuclear tests conducted in the past. But because very little plutonium-238 had been detected before the outbreak of the nuclear crisis, the ministry concluded that it had come from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    The ministry also said it had detected radioactive strontium-89 in nearly half of the locations inspected. Strontium can easily builds up in bones.

    Junichi Matsumoto, a senior TEPCO official, said at a news conference on Sept. 30, "It is important to check what kinds of radioactive substances are in the areas in order to ensure evacuees can return home. TEPCO should not be part of the decision if and when evacuees could return home?

    They can't play with the health of people's lives by not taking proper precautions. Since radiation cancers likely take more than 20 years to develop.

  • 0

    zichi

    nandakandamanda,

    it's a question that needs to be asked, and answered.

  • 0

    Star-viking

    Serrano Oct. 01, 2011 - 11:27AM JST

    "in an area within 80km of Fukushima Daiichi"

    Guess the U.S. gov't's recommendation was reasonable.

    I herd the U.S. was recommending 80km because in case there was a further emergency they would not have to go to local evacuation centres and hospitals in the actual evacuation area and put a strain on the services there.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Ah, zichi. Very cryptic. Point taken.

  • 0

    wnagler1

    My company reported to our friends in Japan that there was no doubt that there was plutonium in the frou d in many p,aces in Japan. There is also Strontium which is similarly as bad for long term health as Plutonium.

    I am concerned by the daily contradictions about Fukushima by the government.

    Obe day they make it sound safer. Then they find more radioactove rice. Another day the temperature in the reactor cores is now supposedly 100 degrees. But that is the temperature at which water boils. So what is so great about that. Then they lift the ban on returning to that area for no good reason. Now plutonium is discovered 80 km away, because someone looked there.

    Where else is it unsafe. I believe up to 175 km from Fukushima is not very safe, that includes sections of Tokyo. No one wants to hear this, never mind discuss it.

    From the 1960's song "to everything, turn, turn, turn" it says "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn??".

    I continue pray for and cry about the fate of the people of Japan... :-((

  • 1

    the_odeman

    If you want more details about the types of plutonium, check out this link http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111001p2a00m0na013000c.html

  • 0

    Aakmal999

    Feel sorry to Fukushima people but they must prepare facing reality their land will ended like Chernobyl city. Turned 'ghost 'city' and there no life at Chernobyl because it takes 200 years above to disappear radioactive substance in soil.

  • 1

    Utrack

    Was weapons grade plutonium being produced at the power plant?

    Excerpt: Many people may not realize that every nuclear power plant -- as a normal part of the fissioning process -- produces plutonium. Plutonium and/or highly-enriched uranium are essential ingredients of nuclear bombs.

    http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/plutbomb.htm

  • 1

    Utrack

    The Ministry maps stronium, plutonium fallout

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ2011100112896

  • 1

    alladin

    Plutonium detected in soil outside Fukushima nuclear plant and the Japanese government wants to lift the evacuation rule!! Is this a joke or what!! When will the people in Japan wake up!! They should all gather together as one huge group and demonstrate against the Japanese bureaucrats and TEPCO. And when I say huge, I mean in the millions, not thousands. Until they make a movement like that, the Japanese government will continually turn their heads and disregard the concerns of everyone.

  • 0

    PrettyPrettyGood

    http://australiancannonball.com/

    Check out the video/doc about two clicks down...in case everyone here hasn't seen it.

  • 1

    PrettyPrettyGood

  • 0

    Utrack

    @PrettyPrettyGood

    Excellent Link, about Fukushima nuclear news

  • 2

    Darren Brannan

    Not just Plutonium but strontium. People have no doubt been breathing these hot particles in. Plutonium 45 km away, Strontium 75 km away from Fukuichi? Very grim indeed. These 'heavy' isotopes did indeed travel far in the air. The horse has truly bolted here. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111001p2a00m0na013000c.html

  • 0

    Utrack

    Fukushima cesium leaks 'equal 168 Hiroshima bombs,' says report: JT National Aug. 26, 2011

    Just remembered this article from JT and the comments of why the comparison between the two events.

  • 1

    kurisupisu

    I saw some online articles that alluded to this.....

    It might explain why the J cops were assigned to patrol the Tokyo-Tohoku shinkansen.

    On the train and around the stations people were being warned not against looters but against terrorists

    Also, entering the contaminated zone without permission can lead to a fine or imprisonment.

    Workers at the plant cannot speak to the press without some sort of sanction.

    Up to 30 workers previously employed to work at the plants are unaccounted for-normally this would not be newsworthy but having been exposed to vast amounts of radiation it would be normal to monitor departing workers .

    All the above suggest that information is being hidden.

    It has been suggested that Tepco had a program to enrich nuclear material for a nuke(s) Cs-137 has been detected

    also see ........

    http://www.rense.com/general94/proof.htm

    and see below for fission release

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclearfissionproduct

    No doubt there has been a fair amount of clandestine activity going on as the facts above show..........

  • 0

    Utrack

    This article does not give any dates as to the Plutonium checks in the soil but I ran across and article from March 23rd that states the TEPCO had an inkling that Plutonium and Strontium was released from Daiichi.

    Neutron Beam Seen 13 Times at Japanese Nuclear Plant : By Helena Zhu, Epoch Times Staff Created: Mar 23, 2011 Last Updated: Mar 24, 2011

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/neutron-beam-seen-13-times-at-japanese-nuclear-plant-53454.html

    Excerpt: Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said Wednesday that it has observed a neutron beam 13 times at the plant, Kyodo News reported. The company detected a neutron beam, a type of radioactive ray, about 0.9 miles (1.5 kilometers) southwest of the earthquake-crippled plant’s No. 1 and 2 reactors between March 13 and 15. The beam was about 0.01 to 0.02 microsievert per hour, which is not a dangerous level of radiation.

    The neutron beam may be evidence that uranium and plutonium—used in the cores of the reactors for nuclear fission—have leaked.

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