The mystery of the extra xenon-133.

Stohl et al. have recently published an article “The total release of xenon-133 from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident” (pdf) in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. They used xenon-133 measurements from a set of northern hemisphere monitoring stations of the CTBTO and compared it with estimates of xenon-133 inventory in rectors 1-3 of Daiichi. The amount of xenon in these reactors is known accurately, it is about 12.2 EBq (12.2E18 becquerels).

The total release of xenon was estimated from monitoring stations’ data in 3 ways. The first was a simple observation-based box model, and it yielded an estimate of 16.7 EBq. The other two ways were more sophisticated, they integrated results from the GFS (American) and ECMWF (European) meteorological reanalysis models. The GFS gave a figure of 14.2 EBq of Xe-133, while the ECMWF came up with 19.0 EBq. The authors chose the lowball figure of 14.2 EBq from the GFS, claiming it was a better fit.

This still leaves 2 EBq of Xe-133 unaccounted for. Since iodine-133 decays into xenon-133, they assumed that all the I-133 was released from these reactors. This equalled the missing 2 EBq.

The first problem is, why would all the I-133 be released? There is still I-131 being released, and it has been increasing over the past few months. It should be the same case with I-133.

The second problem is that the other two methods came up with higher amounts. The ECMWF in particular was 4.8 EBq higher than the GFS. It is strange that the authors would prefer the GFS over the ECMWF. It is well known, and can be demonstrated statistically, that the ECMWF is the superior model in forecasting. Every meteorologist and weather weenie knows this. The Capital Weather Gang noted this and quoted as to the American GFS model:

“It is patently unacceptable for the United States – given its extraordinary need for accurate weather and climate information across all sectors of society – to operate a global forecast system that lags well behind those of other nations…”

(This also extends to historical reanalysis, as studied in this pdf). It’s actually SHOCKING to see someone preferring the GFS over the ECMWF for anything.

So if you go with the ECMWF, you have 6.8 EBq (that is 6,800,000,000,000,000,000 becquerels) of Xe-133 unaccounted for. This is over 50% more than the inventory at reactors 1-3. Where did it come from? The spent fuel pools? Unlikely. They are emitting cesium and plutonium and the like, but you wouldn’t expect them to go critical. Reactors 5 and 6? Daini? It’s got to come from somewhere. And, in addition, there are isotopes like thallium-208 that were measured by the EPA, and in other papers, the existence of which suggest that it came from re-processing or fast breeding, which should not have been happening at Fukushima Daiichi. Where are the missing meltdowns?

6 thoughts on “The mystery of the extra xenon-133.

  1. Fuel rod container at Onagawa plant found damaged

    The operator of the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture has discovered damage to fuel rod containers at the facility’s No. 3 reactor.

    Japan’s nuclear safety agency has ordered Tohoku Electric Power Company to check and report on whether the damage was caused by the massive earthquake on March 11th last year.

    The utility recently used an underwater camera to inspect the 4.5-meter-high metal containers in a fuel rod storage pool.

    It found a 2-centimeter-long, several-millimeter-wide chip on one of the containers. It also found more than 12 places on other containers where pieces were missing.

    Such damage has never been reported at a nuclear plant in Japan.

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120710_36.html

    Decidedly, it seems that the tremors of 2011 have induced much more damage than had been originally announced: today is the operator Tohoku Electric informs that spotting ‘anomalies’ at several fuel assemblies stored in the spent fuel pool of unit #. 3 of Onagawa plant, located about 120 km north of that of Fukushima-Daiichi…

    The NISA / NSC ordered an investigation of the incident
    The Japanese nuclear safety agency immediately called the operator an explanation of this anomaly and in particular, contrary to what always declared that Tohoku, to quickly confirm or deny if this degradation could be induced by the events of March 2011 or by the strong aftershock of 7.1 that affected facilities Onagawa April 7, 2011.

    http://gen4.fr/ (French)

  2. The extra xenon probably came from the spent fuel pools. But Daiini, Tokai, and Onagawa probably contributed to it too.

    There was an Infowars report of somebody who was tested for toxic metals. He showed tests that he had excessive cesium. Natural nonradioactive cesium is rare. A doctor said it was cesium-137. But all that Xe-133 decays to stable cesium. Even stable cesium is harmful, it causes long QT heart syndrome. But the concentrations of stable cesium that are harmful are MUCH greater than that for Cs-137. But it is likely that these concentrations really ARE much greater.

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