Iodine-131 detections in Finland and Norway preceded by detections in Japan.

The STUK radiation protection agency of Finland announced Tuesday that iodine-131 had been detected in the Lapland area of northern Finland, and that I-131 also had been detected in Norway, between May 4-11.

Also, cesium-134, niobium-95, and cobalt-60 were found in southeast Finland. These two types of detections may or may not be related.

These detections were not caused by the Chernobyl forest fire, since I-131 decays away in 80 days, and Cs-134 decays away in 20 years. The Chernobyl catastrophe occurred in 1986, 29 years ago.

Iodine-131 levels in Gunma prefecture sludge skyrocketed on their May 1 report to the highest readings since the huge Fukushima emissions of July 2013. These analyses were actually done in April 21-23. This area is to the southwest of the Fukushima plant.

Toyahashi sludge was also elevated on April 21. This area is to the west of Tokyo.

The lag time involved for the gaseous iodine to move from Japan to Scandinavia would allow the I-131 to decay by 50-75%, so the Finland and Norway detections are more robust than they look at first glance.

On May 12, I-131 was found in Chiba prefecture drinking water (not sludge). So it looks like the latest fission event is still going on.

I-131 was also (possibly) detected in river water in Avignon, France. But, as was explained here by the head of the CRIIRAD laboratory, this energy range measure also includes cesium and natural NORM radionuclides. They had to change the verbiage on their graphs due to this blog.

Chernobyl forest fire plume now on the US west coast.

The forest fire near Chernobyl that broke out a week ago has spread radionuclides, notably plutonium, over eastern Europe, Asia, Alaska, and is now moving in over the west coast of the US.

This image from the downloaded Windows HYSPLIT atmospheric dispersion model shows the spread of this plume, as of 2 PM Eastern time on May 7.

This simulation uses actual winds, not predicted winds.

It has moved over southern Alaska, where it is currently raining, and northern B.C. Some tendrils have moved over NW Washington, Salinas CA, Fresno CA, Santa Barbara CA, and Las Vegas NV.

For users of Google Earth or other visualization software, a KML file is available here.

As of Friday morning, the rain outside of Fresno has some measure of this smoke plume mixed in with it, and is falling as snow in the mountains to the northeast.

The plume should become entrained in a storm that is developing in this area. This image is a forecast for Saturday night. A snowstorm is moving over the Rockies, and the rain and snow will later move over the northern plains, the upper Great Lakes, into Canada.