Cold weather and radiation.

With another bout of cold weather engulfing the US, it’s time to review a little meteorology and atmospheric chemistry. Enenews has posted an article that refers to how radiation increases in cold weather due to the air being compressed at the surface.

Our results illustrate that accidents… could have significant trans-boundary consequences. The risk estimate [shows] increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east… This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface…It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents [for] emergency response planning on national and international levels.

Fukushima blew up in early March 2011, when there was an anomalously cold weather pattern in the US. Places like Florida, which are usually warm, instead were hit pretty hard, especially with iodine-131.

I started writing this paper in February 2011, before Fukushima started. It dealt with how cold weather concentrates toxins in the air, and this affects symptoms of fibromyalgia sufferers. I subsequently discovered some research, mostly by Japanese scientists, who observed that fallout from the ’60s bomb tests increase in cold weather.

Actually it’s not just when it’s cold at the surface. It’s the average temperature between the surface and 18,000 feet. This is highly correlated with the 500 mb atmospheric height. When air cools down, it takes up less space. The 500 mb atmospheric height (HT500) is the point where the weight of the air from a certain altitude to the surface is constant.

When there is less space for the air, the concentration of toxins increases. This causes increased symptom ratings for fibromyalgia patients. This works for ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) too. I got a horrible relapse just before New Year’s when it got really cold, and it shows no signs of departing.

But when the air is hot, toxins increase also. This is because the air is stagnant, and local sources of pollution like chemical plant emissions and auto exhaust tend to linger, and descend to the ground. There is also a health effect in hot weather. This works for ME too.

It turns out that toxins that originate from distant sources (like Japan) tend to increase in cold weather, while locally produced toxins increase in hot weather. Which one affects your health depends on the individual.

Miyake et al. (1962): “It was found that the specific radioactivity in rain water or the air activity was much higher when there was a trough at the 500-mb level [low HT500] or above and the core of a jet stream was located above or a little south of Tokyo.”

Miyake et al. (1960): “There is little correlation between the surface weather conditions and fallout while a considerably higher correlation was found among a trough at 500 mb, position of jet stream and air activity… These facts will account for the increase of the concentration of radioactive debris in the air and the rain with the passage of a trough line at 500 mb across an observation point.”

Chen et al. (1970): ”The dates of occurrence of peak concentrations of fallout particles generally coincided with (a) the arrival times of air masses at 500 mb and/or 300 mb after completing a cycle around the world, and (b) the passage of 500 mb troughs at Fayetteville… All these peaks have a direct correlation with the passage of the 500 mb trough. The dynamic explanation of this process is that to the immediate west of the upper-level trough, we usually find low-level divergence and upper-level convergence with the descending motion. It is this descending motion that brings down upper air and thus tends to increase the particle concentration. Miyake et al. (1960) also reported that similar meteorological conditions play an important role in the transport of radioisotopes from the stratosphere to the troposphere. They noted that the Sr-90 concentration in the ground-level air showed an increase after the passage of a 500 mb trough.”

Here is the forecast for HT500 at 1 PM on Friday:

This means that HT500 500 mb heights at that time will be low (cold) for Pennsylvania & Maryland, and also southern California. They are high for Montana and South Dakota. See if you can correlate it to your own health.

This is really cool. It’s a novel kind of cluster analysis technique I invented for the occasion:

This means that there are 3 groups of symptoms that move in tandem with respect to the weather conditions.

1. Pain and stiffness
2. Fatigue, concentration problems, memory problems, and sleep issues
3. Anxiety, depression, and gastrointestinal problems

All 3 might get worse when it’s cold. Or pain & stiffness will get worse, while fatigue, etc. get better. Or anxiety etc. might be worse when it’s hot. It depends on the individual and the particular toxin he or she is sensitive to.

I later associated it with beta radiation levels from the EPA data.

So those strange symptoms you are dealing with might be a result of nuclear fallout, as well as a host of other toxins.

WIPP kitty litter theory takes another hit.

A story published today in the Albuquerque Journal says nitrates are now believed to be a part of the cause of the WIPP leak of americium and plutonium last February.

Before there was a cat litter problem in the packaging of waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory, there were nitrates.

The public focus on why a LANL waste drum popped open, causing a radioactive leak that shut down the nation’s nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad in February, has been on organic cat litter that shouldn’t have been combined with oxidizing nitrates. That apparently created a combustible mix that somehow ignited and breached the drum.

But it turns out a red flag should have been raised about any processing of waste containing nitrates, even without organic materials added in, before waste drums were shipped from Los Alamos for storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

About two years ago, a procedural change was made at Los Alamos, without the standard safety review, removing requirements to stop waste processing and inform management if “Class 1 oxidizers” like nitrates were encountered in the waste stream.

LANL self-reported the issue and it was disclosed last month in a brief public report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The Dec. 19 report says that personnel at LANL’s Waste Characterization, Reduction and Repackaging Facility recently indicated that “a procedural change” in waste processing was made without an adequate review called an “unresolved safety question determination.” “The procedural change,” says the safety board report, “was made over two years ago and removed the requirements to stop waste processing and inform management if, among other things, Class 1 oxidizers (such as nitrates), flammable metals or pyrophoric materials were encountered.”

The report goes on to add that the basis-for-operations plan for the Los Alamos waste facility “does not allow processing of these types of materials.”

So the organic litter, an idiotic choice of material of absorbent material, reacted to the nitates, which is a Class 1 oxidizer. But the nitrates shouldn’t have been there. Waste processing should have stopped and management should have been informed if nitrates were present in the nuclear waste. But a procedural change was made two years ago that relaxed this requirement.

But the procedural change did not only refer to nitrates. It also refers to flammable metals and pyrophoric materials. So these substances might have been in the drums too.

A pyrophoric substance (from Greek πυροφόρος, pyrophoros, “fire-bearing”) ignites spontaneously in air at or below 55°C (130°F).[1] Examples are iron sulfide and many reactive metals including uranium, when powdered or thinly sliced. Pyrophoric materials are often water-reactive as well and will ignite when they contact water or humid air. (Wikipedia)

Plutonium itself if pyrophoric. Why was the rule relaxed, and why were they putting known dangerous materials in the drums?

It was also revealed that WIPP will not be reopening until 2018.

While limited operations are expected to resume sometime in 2016, officials said a new ventilation system and an exhaust shaft would need to be installed before shipments of waste could be accepted again by the plant. That work could take until 2018 to complete…

Watchdog Don Hancock, who attended Wednesday’s meeting in Carlsbad, said officials confirmed that workers would have to wear protective clothing and use breathing equipment while sealing the bunker.

“The initial closure of Panel 6 was supposed to be one of the quick and easy things to be done. It’s not done. It’s not quick. It’s not easy. There are going to be risks to workers just to do that,” he said.

“This is in fact unprecedented and very hard and it’s taking longer and it’s going to cost more than what they’ve generally wanted to talk about,” Hancock said of the overall recovery effort.

Despite delays and added costs, Hancock said WIPP’s reopening shouldn’t be driven by any particular date. He said alternatives need to be considered and the public and technical experts should be part of that process.

A remote video camera is being installed. Supposedly, visual evidence as to how many and the extent of the damage to the waste drums will finally be obtained.

Crews are also using a video camera attached to a special mechanical arm to get a better look at the area where the drum from Los Alamos ruptured. That work is expected to be complete in about two weeks, clearing the way for investigators to finish their final accident report.

Health update: I developed a bad ME relapse just before New Year’s, around the time of the last post here. I have not been able to concentrate or remember anything longer than 10 seconds. That means, any thought or effort has to be formulated within 10 seconds before it goes away. I think the relapse had something to do with the very cold weather we have been having. It has gotten better today, and hopefully it will stay better.