Around 3PM today, my thyroid started to swell up again. I took some Lugol’s iodine for it. This has happened several times the past few weeks. There was a steam release and apparent criticality in late December (see Unit 3 steaming and the latest plume). Others have reported thyroid problems also. My thyroid even swelled up after eating some Mexican tomato sauce. This is the first time I have found apparent radioactive iodine in a Mexican food product since 2011.
And the graph from CRIIRAD shows radiation levels in Rhône river water in Avignon, France. The energy range of these gamma radionuclides includes naturally occurring NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials) nuclides, and also iodine-131. CRIIRAD claims this spike and others like it are from NORM and NOT from Fukushima. But the spike on January 13 is interesting nonetheless. A crummy online translation:
Within minutes following with the first threshold exceeded alert, call personnel at CRIIRAD were remotely connected to the central management. The detailed examination of the data has to verify that the observed exceedances were most probably related to variations in the flow of the Rhone and its load of natural radioactive elements in the context of an intense rainfall episode.
So maybe iodine-131 is behind the spike or maybe not. (See Email exchange with Bruno Chareyron, head of CRIIRAD.)
Having said all this, the iodine behind the thyroid issue today was very likely NOT from Fukushima.
The reason is, after the snowstorm yesterday, a bitter cold front came through Maryland. Temperatures were down to 4 degrees this morning. This air originated from Siberia. (See the animation here.) This was an extremely cold pool of air, far from Fukushima. Cold air is dense and compressed, and does not mix with the relatively warm air off Japan. And, since the iodine-laden air would have had to make it to Siberia first, and then come all the way down to the east coast of the US, it would have taken a long time to do so. Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days. Whatever did get mixed in with the bitterly cold dome would have mostly decayed.
But where did the iodine come from? There was a leak at the Perry nuclear plant in Ohio on Monday, January 20. Radioactive tritium leaked into the groundwater outside the building where the leak occurred. (FirstEnergy, the owner of the plant, says the leak was fixed last night.) Maybe some of the tritium leaked into the air too, along with some iodine-131.
The graphs below show the wind direction and wind speed for yesterday and today in Baltimore. Around midnight last night, the winds started coming from the northwest, the direction that the Perry plant is located. They continued throughout today. I looked up the distance from Cleveland to Baltimore in air miles, it is slightly over 300 miles. If the wind was blowing a 20 miles an hour, the plume would have been here in 15 hours. At 3PM, when my thyroid was tweaking, it was 15 hours after the wind shifted.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich initiated congressional oversight over the Perry plant in 2007 after a shutdown of the plant.
In response to the emergency closure of FirstEnergy’s Perry Nuclear Power Plant, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today requesting a briefing on the findings of its special inspection of the facility.
The NRC was notified in the early morning of Wednesday, Nov. 28 that the Perry Nuclear Power Plant had automatically shut down and that two water cooling pumps malfunctioned and portions of the backup systems failed. The NRC today announced that it would conduct a special inspection of the plant.
Kucinich’s letter to the NRC detailed the history of poor management at the plant and requested a briefing a soon as is “reasonably practicable.” The NRC has stated that their inspection would be finished in seven days, with a report to follow in 45 days.
“I think the people of Ohio have reason to be concerned about FirstEnergy’s record in operating its nuclear power plants. I intend to get answers, to press the NRC to protect the safety to Ohio residents, and to hold FirstEnergy accountable,” Kucinich said.
Kucinich’s Subcommittee, which is part of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has oversight authority over the NRC. Earlier this year, FirstEnergy tried to escape the final two years of a required independent assessment of its Davis-Besse plant. However, after Kucinich wrote a letter expressing his concerns, FirstEnergy withdrew its request to avoid assessment.
FirstEnergy is the same company that was responsible for a massive power blackout, which forced parts of eight states and part of Canada into darkness in the summer of 2003…
Dear Mr. Klein:
Yesterday, FirstEnergy’s Perry nuclear power station experienced an unscheduled automatic shutdown and the failure of multiple equipment systems. Today, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that it would conduct a special inspection at the Perry plant to determine the causes of the shutdown, as well as the equipment failures.
As you know, NRC has over the years uncovered a number of serious management problems at the Perry facility. Namely,
On September 26, 2002, the NRC Office of Investigations concluded that FENOC’s application for access was falsified at Perry;
On October 6, 2003, the NRC Office of Investigations concluded that overtime records were deliberately falsified at Perry so as to appear to comply with technical specifications; and
On April 1, 2004, the NRC informed FirstEnergy that it found “creative timekeeping” at the Perry plant.
As you also know, FENOC has exhibited an inclination toward evading oversight. Thus, in March, 2007, I wrote to NRC out of concern that FENOC had requested to be relieved from independent oversight mandated by NRC after a near catastrophe at the Davis-Besse Nuclear facility in 2002. As you know, the mandated independent assessments followed NRC’s investigation into FirstEnergy’s efforts to deceive the government about safety violations at the Davis-Besse facility that resulted in a football-sized crater in the reactor vessel.
Only a slim steel liner stood in the way of radioactive release into the air, which would have jeopardized the safety of millions of residents of the state of Ohio.
The design of the reactor is similar to the GE-designed reactors at Fukushima.
With an elected official like Kucinich calling for a new review of nuclear power plants, especially the two Ohio plants owned by FirstEnergy, it’s no surprise that FirstEnergy has a different view. A FirstEnergy spokesman said that while there are similarities between The Fukushima nuclear power plant, now in serious trouble with four of its six reactors leaking radioactive materials, and its Perry plant in Lake County, there are differences, too. Todd Schneider told Dan Haggerty of WEWS news that both plants are boiling water nuclear reactors built by General Electric, with Perry being an evolution from the plants in Japan. Schneider also identified differences, saying the Perry plant has a larger containment unit and underground backup fuel tanks while the Fukushima reactors have above-ground backup fuel tanks, which rushing waters from the tsunami washed away.
The backup fuel tanks are underground rather than aboveground. Big deal. Sounds like a potential Fukushima to me.
This is just my opinion… a sensitive thyroid and a little bit of facts and logic.