Strontium-90 in the Pacific.

There is a new study out with strontium-90 (and strontium-89) levels measured in the Pacific ocean. (It is available here in pdf form.) These measurements were taken in May-June 2011. They found that most of the Sr-90 came from direct discharge into the ocean at that time, rather than by atmospheric deposition.

They found that the amount of Sr-90 came to 2.65% to that of cesium-137. They remarked that Tepco found that this ratio was 0.01% Sr-90 to Cs-137 in topsoil (Tepco is lying, of course). But then they said that there was an accidental discharge of Sr-90 into the ocean in December 2011, and these results only apply to the time before that.

MEXT published a study of strontium and cesium in seawater for the period Oct. 24 – Nov. 9, 2012. There are 5 measurements which contain both Sr-90 and Cs-137. The average ratio here is 44%. This is much higher than the 2.65% found in June 2011.

Tepco has been attempting to purify contaminated water. The decontamination system does not remove Sr-90. Guess where it’s going? Also, strontium volatilizes at 1400 degrees C, and the underground coriums and spent fuel pools may have risen to this temperature since the initial melt-throughs, due to criticalities or cooling system failures. Tepco is planning to dump contaminated groundwater into the ocean, so plan on seeing this rise still further.

Also, the authors found strontium-89 levels to be no more than 4.3 times those of Sr-90. But Dr. Saji estimated that the inventory of Sr-89 was 15 times that of Sr-90. Something is not right. Sr-89 is a highly energetic radioisotope with a half-life of 50 days. It is more dangerous in the short term than Sr-90, and typically there is much more of it. The Sr-89 from the initial meltdowns has decayed, but the damage has already been done to our bone marrow, and its ability to produce T-cells to fight infections and regulate our immune systems. Inflammation, leukemia, bone cancer, and autoimmune diseases like atherosclerosis may result.

14 thoughts on “Strontium-90 in the Pacific.

    • Thanks, Gail. The uranium and its decay products like radium, radon and radioactive lead is indeed a problem in burning coal. But the idea that “it is more radioactive than nuclear waste” is absurd. It is the same thing as saying eating bananas is no different from eating plutonium.

      There is no meaning to the idea that “X has more radiation than Y.” The health consequences of radioisotopes differ from one to another, some are gamma emitters like cesium-137, some are beta emitters like strontium-90, some are alpha emitters like uranium, some are neutron emitters like curium. A becquerel is not a becquerel.

      If there is a massive radiation crisis like today, the uranium and mercury released by coal-firing power plants is a big deal. This is because these are heavy metals that bind to DNA. This creates a focusing effect, where the gamma radiation in the body and outside of it is directly focused like a magnifying glass on to the DNA strands. This occurs whether these metals are radioactive or not. Of course, these substances are chemically poisonous too.

  1. Cesium, iodine and tritium in NW Pacific waters – a comparison of the Fukushima impact with global fallout

    The 137Cs inventory in the water column (the area from 34 to 37° N, and from 142 to 147° E) due to the Fukushima accident is estimated to be about 2.2 PBq. The amount of 129I and 3H released and deposited on the NW Pacific Ocean after the Fukushima accident was estimated to be about 7 GBq and 0.1 PBq, respectively.

    We finally have a discussion of tritium (3H). I-129 will be around for 157 million years. Since it is mostly gas, it will have no problem escaping from the ocean into the atmosphere and rain.

    “We don’t need no stinkin’ thyroids”

  2. There is now 10 times more strontium-90 than cesium-137 in the water intake at Daiichi 1-4:

    Sr-90 in Fukushima nuclear plant significantly increasing, Max as 127 times much within 8 months in 2012

    Leaking water from underground reservoir #2 is all beta radionuclides… think strontium, iodine, tritium:

    Plutonium in Fukushima nuclear plant significantly increasing ,Max as 632% within 8 months of 2012

    Cesium detected in plankton at 10 locations in Pacific… plankton are at the bottom of the food chain, and give off oxygen:

    The iodine coming out now is probably almost all iodine-129, it doesn’t decay away in 80 days like iodine-131 does.

  3. Strontium-90 levels spike alarmingly at Fukushima No. 1 plant

    The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Sunday that an alarm went off at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant signaling high radioactivity levels in drainage ditches.

    According to the NRA and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., the first alarm sounded at around 10 a.m., and another alarm 10 minutes later indicated much higher levels. Officials said contaminated water may have been discharged into the ditches.

    The levels of beta ray-emitting substances, such as strontium-90, measured 5,050 to 7,230 becquerels per liter of water between 10:20 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Tepco requires radioactivity levels of groundwater at the plant discharged into the sea to remain below 5 becquerels.

    Since the drainage ditches are connected to the port of the No. 1 plant, the NRA has instructed Tepco to shut the gates there, officials said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *