Why minimum detection limits for radionuclides are misleading or wrong.

In reports of levels of radioactive substances in air, water, food, or sludge, you will find the letters “ND” sometimes. This means “not detected”. This occurs when the measured level is less than a certain specified value. This value and its use are either (in the best case) misleading, and based on lab studies which have nothing to do with the risk to human health… or (worse) they are flat-out wrong and based on a mathematical error perpetuated in 1947, and still being used today in some places.

This table contains the latest measurements of I-131, Cs-134 and Cs-137 from Tokyo sludge. As you can see, under the column “Radioactive iodine 131″ and row “Hachioji” there is a value of 18. This means that I-131 was detected in sludge at Hachioji and there was 18 becquerels per kilogram of I-131 in it. Now, next to “Eastern sludge plant” it says “Not detected (<29)". That means that the measurement of I-131 was below the value of 29 which is the cutoff for detection of radioactive iodine.

But it does NOT mean that there was no I-131 in sludge at the Eastern plant. Lloyd A. Currie, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a leading expert on the measurement of chemicals and radionuclides. His work on measurement was adopted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1995. A description of his work on detection and quantification limits can be found here, and another version here.


In many cases the lay public believes, given sufficient effort or funding, that a concentration of zero may be detected and/or achieved. Not unlike the third law of thermodynamics, however, neither is possible, even in concept. A policy of reporting “zero” when L < LC, yielding the decision “not detected”, compounds this lack of understanding. These are issues of major national importance, especially in the context of legislation and regulation, where necessarily, and appropriately, many of the policy makers have critical sociopolitical expertise, but not necessarily scientific or technical expertise. The solution to this sociotechnical dilemma is, once again, very careful communication; and, beyond that, mutual understanding and education among the complementary disciplines.

Stating that a radionuclide is “not detected” does not mean that that isotope is not in the sample. This is both a practical and conceptual impossibility. There is no such thing as “zero plutonium” in a sample. The concept “not detected” is appropriate for lab work. It is not appropriate when human health is involved, except as a convenience.

1. There is no safe dose of radiation.
2. It is impossible to say there is no radiation in a sample of air, water, or food.

Point #2 is as important as point #1.

Kaiser developed a method for determining these radiation thresholds in 1947. It was in use for chemicals and radionuclides until 1995, when it was superceded by the Currie method. But the Kaiser method is still in use today in many areas. One slight problem. Kaiser ignored the problem of false negatives and based the entire method on false positives. In other words, he was totally dedicated to getting rid of results that showed there was radiation when there really wasn’t any. He completely ignored the situation where results showed there was no radiation when it was really there. This means that the probability of, say, plutonium in a sample is (a de facto value of) 50%, even when it is “not detected”!

I was gobsmacked when I read this. It is baffling that this could even be derived… I thought you would end up dividing by zero. It is an egregious error, one that a student in Statistics 101 would never make. And it is still being used today in many places.

This means that, for any study of samples of radionuclides or chemicals that depend on a “detected” or “not detected” decision that use the Kaiser method are WRONG. This error means that these detection thresholds are too high. All studies from 1947 to 1995 use this method. Environmental laws have been passed, policy decisions have been made, all based on invalid data due to a mathematical error.

It’s not just radiation. Whether dioxin is in cornflakes, whether arsenic is in chicken, everything like this has been affected.

What a coincidence that this error has served the interests of nuclear and chemical polluters for all those years.

I have seen output from reputable radiation labs that use the Currie method. Whether Tepco uses it, I doubt. They admitted to publishing false radiation data from Fukushima for two years.

Perhaps the most serious terminological trap has been the use of the expression “detection limit” (a) by some to indicate the critical value (LC ) of the estimated amount or concentration above which the decision “detected” is made; but (b) by others, to indicate the inherent “true” detection capability (LD) of the measurement process in question. The first, “signal/noise” school, explicitly recognizes only the false positive (α,
Type-1 error), which in effect makes the probability of the false negative (ß, Type-2 error) equal to 50%.> The second, “hypothesis testing” school employs independent values for α and ß, commonly each equal to 0.05 or perhaps 0.01.

The “signal/noise” school is the Kaiser method. The “hypothesis testing” school actually considers whether radiation is really there when “non detection” is made.


Note that the values of α , ß, and σQ given above are IUPAC recommended default values, which serve as a common basis for measurement process assessment. They may be adjusted appropriately in particular applications where detection or quantification needs are more or less stringent.

While the Currie method is correct, the default parameters are appropriate only for lab work. In the context of risk for human health, the values of α and ß need to be adjusted. False positives are much less to be feared than false negatives. Consider a glass of milk which is to be given to your child. Which is worse, being told that there is plutonium in the milk when there isn’t (false positive)… or being told there is no plutonium in the milk when there really is (false negative)?

So α and ß should not be equal. The precautionary principle states the the burden of proof is on polluters when environmental contamination is plausible (not necessarily proved). We are not looking for proof that plutonium is in the milk, we are looking for proof that plutonium ISN’T in the milk, during a radiation catastrophe like Fukushima (and WIPP).

A more appropriate value for ß would be .001, which means there is a one-tenth of one percent probability that plutonium is in the milk when the plutonium is “not detected”. A value of maybe .25 is appropriate for α, a 25% chance that plutonium is not there when it is “detected”. An even higher value might be better, but at 50% it becomes like the Kaiser method the other way.

These values can then be used to derive more appropriate minimum detection limits, by straightforward mathematical analysis, with the assumption of a normal distribution. Currie states that this is a special case. A distribution-free method like ODA would be even better.

Currie and IUPAC recommend that all measured radiation values and uncertainties should be published. This means that the table above, with the Tokyo sludge measurements, does not conform to current scientific protocols, since they omit the I-131 values below the “detection limit” and do not publish the uncertainties.

Japanese sludge & more health problems.

I’ve been sick with viruses twice since WIPP. Also became disabled for two days, unable to walk. The skin symptoms are worse than any point except May-June 2012. I’m putting this period in 3rd place after Fukushima in terms of health problems. The post-WIPP period is now ranked worse than the period of the initial Fukushima plume in 2011.

1. May-June 2012
2. Nov 2011-Jan 2012
3. Feb-Apr 2014
4. Apr-June 2011
5. Sept 2013

This latest virus has knocked me for a loop. My son had it a week and a half and he is still coughing. I’ve had it for a week. I think my strength is coming back some… my ears are still ringing though.

Prior to this, I had another bad bout with the flu a month ago. The skin eruption on my hands, which had been developing since January, and which got worse in February, got even worse with this virus. I did a little research and found that pomace (the seeds, stems and skins from grapevines) reduces the level of interleukin-6. IL-6 is inflammatory (usually), and works together with the cytokine TGF-β to differentiate raw T-cells into inflammatory Th17 cells, which is associated with psoriasis (and many other inflammatory disorders). IL-6 is produced when the immune system detects antigens (such as viruses and plutonium particles). Well, I purchased some Italian grappa, which is pomace brandy, and to my delight it cleared up the skin eruption of my hands around 90%. You see, almost nothing works, and to find something that helped is very welcome.

Well, along came the new virus. My son got sick. A funny thing happened at the time, the skin of my fingertips started puckering like I had gone for a dip in a swimming pool. This turns out to be a result of vasoconstriction of blood vessels in the fingers. Apparently my immune system was fighting something off. Then I came down with the illness.

Now, not only in the skin eruption back in my hands, but it spread to the rest of my body. I’ve got what looks like corns on every one of the 10 toes. And the grappa doesn’t work any more.

But what is most concerning is the red spots under the nail cuticles… and pitting and hardening of skin unaffected by the psoriasis. This is a new autoimmune disease process that wasn’t there before.

Systemic sclerosis or systemic scleroderma is an autoimmune or connective tissue disease. It is characterized by thickening of the skin caused by accumulation of collagen, and by injuries to the smallest arteries. There are two overlapping forms. Limited cutaneous scleroderma is limited to the skin on the face, hands and feet. Diffuse cutaneous scleroderma covers more of the skin, and is at risk of progressing to the visceral organs, including the kidneys, heart, lungs and gastrointestinal tract are affected.

Survival is determined by the severity of visceral disease. Prognosis is difficult to predict until the disease differentiates into recognizable subsets. Patients with limited cutaneous scleroderma have a good prognosis, with 10-year survival of 75%, although <10% develop pulmonary arterial hypertension after 10 to 20 years. Patients with diffuse cutaneous scleroderma have a 10-year survival of 55%. Death is most often from pulmonary, heart and kidney involvement, although survival has greatly improved with effective treatment for kidney failure. (link)

I am not saying I have systemic sclerosis (SSc), the symptoms are not all there that would meet the diagnostic criteria. But it is trending in that direction. It may be another condition related to it. But the important thing is that SSc is characterized by overproduction of the cytokine TGF-β. Earlier I mentioned that excessive IL-6 from foreign antigens (like plutonium) was causing TGF-β to differentiate too many inflammatory Th17 cells. Well, it appears that I now have excessive TGF-β too. It explains the massive skin breakout.

… it is possible that the psoriasis, or its treatment, may have triggered the development of SSc, presumably in a susceptible host. A variety of immunological changes have been well described in patients with psoriasis. Both psoriasis and SSC are predominantly characterized by skin involvement, and it could be hypothesized that the skin abnormalities in psoriasis may have altered the passage and processing of foreign antigen through the skin, thus triggering the development of scleroderma. (link)

The skin breakout changed the way that the antigens were passing through and out of my skin. In addition to the radioactive material, there are viruses coming out, and also apoptotic debris from all the carnage from the immune system. This has triggered a whole new disease process.

This whole thing started in January. I was getting thyroid symptoms then… and the December event at Fukushima had something to do with it. Then WIPP came along in February and it got much worse. The grappa helped but then influenza came along and settled the issue.

In a football analogy, the quarterback FUKUSHIMA starts running, pitches the ball to the running back WIPP, who gets stood up just before the goal line by the safety GRAPPA… but then the lineman INFLUENZA come up from behind and pushes the pile over the goal line. Disease 7, me 0.

I wanted to add some new results of iodine-131 in Japanese sludge. I-131 in Chiba has shown an uptick, but is still below the levels of December through February. This is consistent with the recent upturn in visible activity from the Fukushima webcams.

Tokyo iodine levels are still elevated, but below the peak in late January.

Revised WIPP map, Fuku event, skin eruptions.


Radioactive material continues to leak out of WIPP. There was an event on March 11, and another on March 13.


They sent a worker into the ventilation system to put foam in the dampers of the ducts, because they were not totally closed.


Plus, as I had mentioned before, tritium and a whole host of radioactive gases are not caught by the filters anyway.

It turns out that the original release that started late on Feb. 14 lasted for 15.5 hours. Then it rapidly dropped off.


The previous WIPP contamination map for tritium was based on a one-hour release. I re-ran the HYSPLIT model for the full 15.5 hours, and I got a significantly different result for the airborne contamination. Most of the eastern part of the country was affected. This map does not include a source term, so the different colors simply reflect amounts of radioactive concentrations relative to each other. Yellow is worst, dark blue second worst, then green, and light blue.

This is available in Google Maps format here. I have also included the kmz file for use in Google Earth.


Please bear with me. This is a learning experience.


Meanwhile, Fukushima is acting up. Dust was observed and measured coming out of Unit 2. I’m guessing this has to do with the #2 SFP.

For the high alarm generation of Unit 2 reactor building exhaust system outlet dust radiation monitor A system Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station… (March 20) 11:09, (※) indicated value of the outlet dust radiation monitor system A from 2.24 × 9.96 × 10 ^ -8Bq/cm3 2 Unit reactor building exhaust equipment Fukushima first nuclear power plant today It rose to 10 ^ -4Bq/cm3, “dust radiation monitor high” alarm has occurred.


An increase of cesium to 4,200 Bq/kg was detected in Edogawa sludge on March 11:


The amount of cesium in Fukushima City sewage sludge has tripled. There was an especially sharp increase on March 16.

http://financegreenwatch.org/jp/?p=42204 (Japanese)

Record cesium levels in the sea were found on March 16 also near the Unit 5-6 discharge channel:


So there is a new plume on the way, and it may already have arrived in the US. There are events under way at Unit 2, and possibly Units 5 or 6. Tepco has discontinued the ALPS decontamination system, so they are not bothering to filter it anymore. It is all going into the Pacific, except for atmospheric releases.


I have psoriatic arthritis, and I have been experiencing a major psoriasis flare. It started in January… there was a Fuku release just before New Year’s. It has gotten much worse since WIPP, and it is the worst flare since 2012. I need to find a way to treat this without heavy drugs.

EGCG comes from green tea. Fermented grape marc is an ingredient in pomace brandy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen pomace brandy around here, but then, I never heard of it before.

In a mouse model of T-cell mediated inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, dietary intake of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin derivative, exerted a favorable effect, in part by increasing the Treg population in the spinal cord [47]. Furthermore, fermented grape marc (FGM) was found to promote Treg differentiation of human CD4 + T-cells [48].


Th17 cells are powerful tissue inflammation inducers associated with various experimental and human autoimmune diseases. However, the extreme importance of Th17 cells appears to be in host defense especially in clearing of invaded pathogens, which are not sufficiently handled by Th1 or Th2 cells… IL-17 also enhances the production of mucin in the airways, which traps pathogens in the lung mucosa(85).


For an invaded pathogen, think of plutonium particles. Th17 cells are extremely important in clearing them from the body. They also produce mucin, which traps the particles in the lung mucosa.

So severe autoimmune diseases like I have feature Th17 cells, which are working overtime to clear plutonium, etc. This is why I flare every time there is a Fuku event, or something like WIPP happens.

Regulatory T cells are the subset of T helper cells important in immune suppression and prevention of autoimmune diseases(169). It has been shown that IFN- γ and IL-4, produced by Th1 and Th2 respectively, inhibit the differentiation of Th17. Tregs has been shown clearly to suppress Th1 and Th2 cell immune responses(170)… During an immune response, antigen presenting cells (APCs) such as dendritic cells in responses to activation by microbial antigens produces IL-6. IL-6 acts in concert with TGF- β to inhibit adaptive Treg generation and to induce Th17 cell differentiation(63, 65, 67)

Interleukin-6 is generated as an immune response by antigen-presenting cells. These are the cells which are contaminated.


The IL-6 induces formation of Th17 cells and reduces Tregs. Since there is always new APCs coming, because Fuku will not stop, my inflammatory Th17 is always up and my immune-suppressing Treg is always down.

My skin eruptions are not going away as long as new radionuclides keep coming. Psoriasis has more to do with Th17, and little to do with Th1 & Th2. So I need to find substances, like EGCG and pomace brandy, that promote Treg differentiation, and reduce IL-6. None of the conventional treatments like Enbrel do this. I can’t take them anyway. I’ve got find something or my life will be permanently unlivable.

Homemade radionuclide concentration maps.

I’ve been sick for a couple weeks, and have been catching up with work and everything else, so I haven’t had much time to post lately.

I had downloaded the Windows HYSPLIT program, and finally got it working. The previous dispersion maps for WIPP posted here were made with the web version, which has fewer options, and only goes out to 72 hours. Now I can make much more useful maps by running it at home on my desktop.

Here is a link to a concentration map for tritium from the Feb. 14 release. It goes for a week after the WIPP event. It is in Google Maps format, so you can zoom in, and interact with it. Try clicking the contour levels at the upper right, to make the various concentration levels appear or disappear. It’s easier to see the city name under the plumes this way.

The kmz file for this map is available here. With this file, you can view it on Google Earth or other GPS visualizer software.

This is different from the prior maps. They were designed for generic pollutants. This one is for tritium specifically, and includes deposition. The Windows HYSPLIT program also has iodine-131 and cesium-137 built-in. It is also possible to define other nuclides like plutonium, by looking up physical parameters from chemistry books.

I am hoping to do this for Fukushima also. I can make Zardoz-type atmospheric dispersion maps now, for 2011, but also for the times of the various criticalities which have been discussed here.

Fuku+3. Voices from Japan.

For the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima catastrophe, I urge everyone to listen to Voices from Japan, presented by Libbe HaLevy, on the Nuclear Hotseat podcast.

These perspectives are given by:

- Hiroaki Koide, Asst. Professor, Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute
- Taro Yamamoto, actor and member of the Japanese Diet Upper House.
- Midori Kiuchi, popular television and movie actress Kaori Suzuki, Director of the Tarachine Citizens Radiation Monitoring Center
- Ruiko Muto, lead plaintiff of a large group of Fukushima residents who have filed a criminal complaint against TEPCO and the Japanese government.
- Setsuko Kida, nuclear refugee from five miles from Fukushima Daiichi and 2013 Green Party candidate for the Japanese Diet Upper House on an antinuclear platform.
- Seiichi Mizuno is a businessman, former president of Seibu Department Stores, and former member of the Japanese Diet Upper House.
- Kosuke Ito is a former citizen of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, who helped to start Frontier Minamisoma NPO.
- Laura Inoue of Komoro Homestay Programme for Mothers and Children.

The interviews are available both in Japanese and in English translations.

Continuing radioactive releases from WIPP.

The Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center (CEMRC) has conducted radiological analyses of filters from WIPP, for the period at and a week after the Feb. 14 plutonium release.

These filters consist of 47mm diameter, one micron pore size, paper filters that sample the air exiting the WIPP repository exhaust shaft at Station A (before air goes through HEPA filtration) and at Station B (after air goes through HEPA filtration). As stated by DOE officials, in the event of a radioactive detection in the underground, the ventilation system lowers the fan speed and automatically shifts to a “filtration” mode; whereby all of the exhaust shaft effluent passes through a large bank of High Efficiency Particulate Absorption (HEPA) filters designed to remove 99.97% of all radioactive particles from the air before exiting into the environment…

Additionally, it deserves noting that the engineered safety systems in place within the WIPP facility (i.e. HEPA filtration system) reduced the amount of 241Am exiting the exhaust ventilation system by 754 times and the amount of 239+240Pu by nearly 3,000 times. Lastly, it is also evident that in the days following the event, the levels of radioactivity both within the repository (pre-HEPA) and what was ultimately released (post-HEPA), have decreased considerably and appear to have stabilized at significantly reduced levels.

There were supposedly no workers underground at the time of the release, so the 13 workers who did test positive for americium and plutonium were exposed to levels corresponding to Station B.

If you look at the Station B section, under the column “241Am Bq/m3″, you will see 1.81 becquerels of americium-241 were found in this filter on Feb. 18. Subsequent days have much lower readings, as noted. But if you take the average of the subsequent days, you will find that WIPP is still releasing the same quantity of Am-241 every 13 days.

So according to this data, we are getting WIPPed every two weeks or so. Perhaps the levels have dropped further since then, but we don’t know that for sure.

This article by Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) has some good information.

As of March 4, there is much more that is unknown than known:
* What caused the leak?
* How much leaked into the underground salt mine?
* How much leaked into the environment?
* Where are those radioactive and toxic wastes now?
* To what amount of radiation were the workers exposed?
* What are the health effects for those workers?
* What decontamination is necessary in the underground mine?
* What decontamination is necessary on the WIPP site and surrounding area?
* If WIPP reopens, what changes in the operation, monitoring, and safety culture will be implemented?…

But it is likely that for at least some of the questions, precise information will never be available. For example, how much leaked into the environment may be only approximately determined. Although computer air dispersion models will be used to estimate the amount released, where those contaminants are is unknowable, since the wind can widely disperse the particles of plutonium (Pu)-239 and americium (Am)-241 that were detected. What precise health effects will occur in workers and others is also unknowable. But health dangers exist for a very long time, since Am-241 has a half-life of 432 years (half of the current radioactivity will be present in that many years), and Pu-239 has more than a 24,000-year half-life.

Multiply the half-life by 10 to get the approximate time that these leaked isotopes will be dangerous. For americium, it is 4,320 years. For plutonium, it is 240,000 years.

On February 26, the 13 WIPP employees who had been on the surface when the radiation was detected were notified that they tested positive for internal radiological contamination, “predominantly americium-241.” These workers will have additional bioassay (urine and fecal) analyses conducted. On Thursday, February 27, Farok Sharif, Nuclear Waste Partnership President, stated that other workers who came onsite on February 15 are having bioassay testing, and some additional workers are requesting to be tested. All workers who want to be tested will be tested. All workers who want to have lung and whole body counts at CEMRC also will be allowed to do so. Laboratory analysis of bioassay samples takes one to two weeks. Sharif also stated that no workers have received chelating drugs that could help excrete the internal contamination.

The 13 workers that were tested were a small fraction of those who may have been exposed. More workers want to be tested, but we haven’t heard of these results as yet. The workers were denied chelating drugs that would have helped excrete the plutonium. These should be administered within 24 hours. No matter, according to the Department of Energy, and its contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership. They say all the americium and plutonium went away from the workers’ bodies. I haven’t heard that one since the government said that all the oil in the Gulf of Mexico suddenly went away after the BP oil spill.

From Enenews:

WIPP radiation leak was never supposed to happen — No one knows yet how or why a waste drum leaked [...] setting off a cascade of events that could cripple the nation’s radioactive waste disposal system. [...] before WIPP opened, the [DOE] put the risk of such an accident at one chance in 10,000 to one in 1 million during any given year of WIPP operations [...] only two possible scenarios [...] an exploding waste drum or a waste disposal room roof collapse. [...] “You could have crapped up a whole lot of real estate down there,” [Bob Neill, a radiation safety expert] said. The underground drum fire scenario [...] hypothesized the “spontaneous combustion” of a drum’s contents, rupturing and spreading the radioactive waste inside [a] one chance in 10,000 in any given year of WIPP operations. The “roof fall” scenario [...] was calculated at one chance in a million during a given year [and] could leave a large number of waste drums crushed and leaking. [...] Cleaning up contamination [would] risk of further spreading the contamination. [...] In a formal legal notice, the New Mexico Environment Department said, “It is believed … that the WIPP will be unable to resume normal activities for a protracted period of time.”…

Container Fire — Contents of a drum in an underground disposal room spontaneously combusts prior to panel closure.
Roof Fall — A portion of a disposal room roof falls prior to panel closure, crushing drums and causing container breaches.

There are 100 oil wells within a mile of WIPP. Pumping oil out of the ground could cause subsidence, which could lead to a roof collapse, and the subsequent breaking of drums. Plutonium is dangerous for 240,000 years. But making a quick buck is more important.

The containers could burst open and leak or born also. Gases build up inside the drums. From this study of TRU waste drums in Los Alamos, headed for WIPP, a significant percentage of containers have too much hydrogen or pressure:

As of October, 1997, hydrogen concentrations measured by the DVS were obtained for 323 drums, from a total of approximately 2500 vented drums. Concentrations measured during drum venting have been as high as 23.97%. In one instance when EM&R/HazMat was called to remotely vent a visibly bulging drum, subsequent analysis of the headspace gas revealed a hydrogen concentration of 27.89%.

Hydrogen is, of course, explosive. Who knows how long it takes to build up hydrogen in the drums? This might be a continuing problem for thousands of years. Another study discusses the possibility of gas-driven hydrofractures occurring at WIPP:

Modeling and experiments performed by Sandia National Laboratories show that gas caused by the anoxic corrosion of iron and by biodegradation of organic materials will be generated within the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). A potential exists for several tens of million cubic meters (at atmospheric pressure and 30oC) of gas to be generated. A review of the WIPP Compliance Certification Application (CCA) calculations and associated literature has revealed inadequate consideration of gas-driven hydrofracture. This paper presents the results of both laboratory modeling and mathematical analysis of gas-driven hydrofracture at WIPP, with emphasis upon the behavior of a vertical hydrofracture. The results show that unless special care is taken to preclude the generation of gas or to properly vent gas, a gas-driven hydrofracture is likely. Our physical modeling reveals the development of both horizontally- and vertically oriented circular hydrofractures, even within a horizontally stratified solid. The behavior of a vertical hydrofracture is considered in this paper. It is shown that a vertical hydrofracture would be incapable of containing the gas volumes predicted.

And the waste at WIPP is not limited to americium and plutonium. The tables below (link) show a list of radionuclides in waste headed for WIPP. Cesium-137 and strontium-90 are well represented in here. Many of these nuclides are in gas or vapor form and exist as dissolved gases with the waste. These include tritium, carbon-14, radon-222, iodine-129 and others. The HEPA filters at WIPP only remove particles. They do not remove gases. Charcoal filters are needed to remove gases. Gas emissions continue unfiltered at WIPP.

Latest Fukushima event. Health effects from WIPP in TX and OK.

It looks like a new event has been under way at Fukushima the past week, and the radiation is starting to show up in the US. Thanks to Deb Reed from Facebook:

03/01/14, BLGS, MT, 10 hour overnight test, 10:00PM-8:00AM, total count 23.17, 38 CPM/.113 µSv/hr. ❆-11°F [total this Winter, snow 89"]

03/03/14, BLGS, MT, 10 hour overnight reading, 11:45PM-9:45AM [MST]
61.26 total counts, 102 CPM/.305 µSv/hr
bedroom, same testing place/wood chest current conditions, cloudy 12°F

03/04/14, 10 hour overnight reading, 10:45PM-8:45AM [MST]
43.53 total counts, 72 CPM/.215 µSv/hr
bedroom, same testing place/wood chest current conditions, partly sunny 35°F

The mid-level winds at 18,000 feet have been blowing from Fuku to Montana:

The Enenews webcam forum has been lighting up with discussions:

February 26, 2014 at 11:12 am Log in to Reply
The Tomioka camera is having heavy pixilation as well. First time I have really seen radiation hitting that camera……..

February 26, 2014 at 4:02 pm Log in to Reply
Still seeing frequent pixel flashes on tepsham north (nearest R1). Not seeing any on tepsham south (nearest R4), but the view is so blurry and apparently filtered that I wouldn’t be suprised if they’ve got filters enabled to remove/prevent pixel flashes, etc. But if they’ve got such a filter on tepsham south, why not tepsham north? Are they that sloppy that they can’t even consistently censor their webcams?

Given everything that I’ve seen… the smoke and pixel flashes, etc. etc., including this http://i.imgur.com/h8DjcIL.png (from earlier today) and this http://i.imgur.com/YE1IFGF.jpg (from just now — I added the red arrows):


I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND that anyone in southern Japan — or really ANYWHERE IN Japan — take precautions IMMEDIATELY. Run your HEPA air filters, do not allow anyone to wear their shoes into your home, avoid ANY outdoor activity, etc. This will eventually apply to other countries as well, but to a less grave extent. I know many of us have been taking these precautions since 3/11/11, but it is of PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE that people in Japan IMMEDIATELY take these precautions to avoid grave health effects. I think we can say with some confidence at this point that SOMETHING horrible is happening at the plant RIGHT NOW. Just a matter of time before hard evidence starts leaking out…


February 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm Log in to Reply
I have never before seen this much traffic on the Tomioka cam. More dump trucks, heavy equipment, speeding cars. Almost witnessed a collision awhile ago.

February 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm Log in to Reply
Guys in white radiation suits on futaba cam 10:15 JST

February 26, 2014 at 9:49 pm Log in to Reply
Do you have any screencaps? Ive never seen them wearing the tyvek suits on futaba, just the guards closing and opening the gate with the face mask.

I think that’s something if they are wearing full suits on futaba, that’s a good stretch from the plant and still getting decent amounts of traffic.

February 26, 2014 at 9:19 pm Log in to Reply
look at the smoke on tepco unit 4 cam 11:15 small structure on the right in front of the bottom of the crane thats dangling the smaller item looks like flames with smoke pouring out

February 26, 2014 at 9:45 pm Log in to Reply
5 cars pulled onto left side of road beyond the bridge. A bunch of workers got out, dressed in hazard vests,one in a white suit. They went to the area behind the grey building as if to look for something. 11:45 JST

February 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm Log in to Reply
Real time note: 2014-02-27 11:54 jst

Looks like fast moving translucent emissions and some brown puffs coming from the CSFP area to the far left. (west)

On full screen it can be seen.

It is blurry though.

Still going.
2014-02-27 11:59 jst

February 27, 2014 at 4:10 am Log in to Reply
heavy smoke on unit 4 cam on the right where i pointed out smoke earlier, where theres a glow on top of a structure that looked like fire earlier

February 27, 2014 at 10:41 am Log in to Reply
02-28-2014 00:39 TBS Webcam 1, North, shows emissions/smoke coming out of the right top side of Reactor 2. And, of course, ongoing emissions over Reactors 3 and 4. Nasty. Wish winds would blow from East to West…Permanently.

February 27, 2014 at 10:56 am Log in to Reply
I see the tiny flashes on R3.

Earlier at 00:33 jst I saw a white vertical fast flying bolt fly up from that same spot.

Maybe somethings cooking.

The cranes have been very active near that spot.

currently 00:56 jst

Johnny Blade
February 28, 2014 at 12:01 am Log in to Reply
tomioka cam displaying the most traffic I’ve seen in a LONG time!! many dump trucks filled with sand,cement trucks,buses filled with tyvek suited people,police vehicles and ambulances with lights flashing??!! something’s up(?)!! http://www.ntt-east.co.jp/fukushima/mado/detail/tomioka.html

February 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm Log in to Reply
around 2014-03-01 2:06 JST :

Tepsham south (nearest R4) showing the red flicker at the bottom center, near the bottom of the closest vent stack. Could be fire, emergency lights, or other…

Tepsham north (nearest R1) still appears to show venting from R3 or the vent stack with lots of “fog” above R3. Still seeing regular pixel flashes.

February 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm Log in to Reply
JNN has glowing hot spots..major one for the entire Reactor 3 covering..or going from Reactor 2 base all the way over to Reactor 4, behind the big vent stack for Reactor 3. Reactor 2 has a hot spot up by where the emissions are coming out of the roof, in JNN view that is on the left top side. On the TBS Webcam 1 view, looking from the North, its on the top of the roof, on the right side. JNN view also shows a hot spot, for the first time I have seen,midway up the left side. And a hot spot on the left side of the metal building/shelter in front of Reactor 4. Reactor 1 has more hot spots..the entire side facing Reactor 2 and the side facing the MainLand. Reactor 2, that ‘blue white light’ at the base we see also shows up as HOT. All in all, the new is the area of Reactor 4, and the increased area of encompassing Reactor 3. Its NOT heart warming to see..Date 03010214 2:30 AM JST TIME.

February 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm Log in to Reply
Johnny Blade’s Tomioka Cam alert continues. I just saw a fire truck w/lights flashing head towards the plant, cement trucks, returning trucks filled with bulging black bags (looks like the pics of bags of decontaminated soil), others with debris, lots of buses, lots of minivans with slapped on magnetic signs on the doors–all heading towards the plant.

Thanks for the alert, Johnny. I agree: Something’s Up!

March 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm Log in to Reply
Sparky, this is the first time I have seen flashes and funny pixels on the Tomioka web cam. Near the road in front..and the sides.

March 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm Log in to Reply
03022014 02:36 JST time HEAVY EMISSIONS from Reactors 3 and 4. Bet we soon see WEBS again on TBS webcam South. The steam and emissions are building. And its just over the Reactors 3 and 4 as you can see NO FOG over other areas from TBS Webcam 1, North. Also, see the two lights on top of the roof of Reactor 3. TEPCO would not have human workers there..would they?

March 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm Log in to Reply
Yeah now it looks like the plasma energy is arcing on tepcam 1, starting to pop through on the left edge, loooks like its go time.

TBS is all blacked out for me, with no audio, so Im guessing its been turned off , and futaba shows a fairly bright skyline.

On Tepcam 2 you can see the fog or steam or smokergy or whatever the hell it is pushing out, there’s a crane behind it on the right hand side and at sunset last night you could barely see the gray smoke just starting to obscure the crane. No plasma arcing on tepcam 2 though.

And the CDC in its weekly influenza report for the week ending Feb. 22 shows high prevalence of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Texas and Oklahoma. These states were exposed to the WIPP release on the night of Feb. 14. (ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and cough and/or sore throat.)

Plutonium release from the WIPP radioactive waste facility.

On Feb. 5, a salt truck caught fire at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which is located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad. No radioactive release was reported on that day.

On Feb. 12, an alarm sounded, indicating high levels of alpha and beta radiation underground. This is consistent with the nature of the nuclear waste stored in the repository. Workers were evacuated. CEMRC (Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center) reported that they found 0.64 Bq of Americium 241 & 0.092 Bq of Plutonium 239+240 in the air filter 1/2 mi away from WIPP.

This repository started receiving nuclear waste in 1999 and is expected to hold 3.45 million curies of radioactivity after it is filled in 20 years or so.

I used HYSPLIT to generate a wind trajectory map from the Feb. 14 release. The release was modeled to occur at 8 PM local time on Feb. 14, at an altitude of 50 meters. Cities near the path of the plutonium include Roswell NM, Lubbock TX, Wichita Falls TX, San Angelo TX, and Elk City OK. Wichita Falls got it twice. Each red triangle is a 24-hour interval.

Here is the HYSPLIT plutonium dispersion map for the Feb. 14 WIPP radiation release, for the first 24 hours. It came in somewhat north of the trajectory map, not sure why.

At any rate, people who live in areas of southeastern New Mexico, northwest Texas, and western Oklahoma should all be concerned.

The WIPP repository contains transuranic waste shipped there from facilities like Hanford.

Trans-uranic (beyond-uranium) waste is waste contaminated by elements heavier than uranium (primarily plutonium) with half-lives greater than 20 years and radionuclide concentrations more than 100 nano-curies per gram of waste. Waste with lower concentrations is defined as low-level waste–LLW). Plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years which means that after 24,000 years, half of it will have decayed into other isotopes or elements. All transuranics are man-made alpha-emitters. Alpha particles are relatively large, positively charged particles which are easily stopped by a piece of paper or your skin, but which are extremely dangerous if inhaled. Because of its cancer causing properties, the “acceptable” body dose of plutonium is less than one millionth of a gram, an invisible particle. Yet, even this amount can cause cancer 10-30 years after it is inhaled. When filled, WIPP would contain about 13 metric tons of Plutonium-239…

Transuranic waste is divided into 2 main categories by the amount of radioactivity it carries– contact-handled (CH-TRU) and remote-handled (RH-TRU) waste. CH-TRU waste is limited to a maximum dose rate of less than 0.2 rem (200 millirem) per hour measured at the surface of the drums in which it is packed. CH-TRU accounts for most of the volume of waste going to WIPP. Most of the radioactive content of the CH-TRU waste is plutonium 238-241 and americium-241 and most of the radiation is made up of alpha particles. (Americium emits some gamma rays which penetrate the waste container walls and account for the 0.2 rem being emitted per hour.)

The RH-TRU waste contains much more penetrating radiation in the form of Beta particles and Gamma rays which is the reason it has to be handled by machine in special radiation-shielded rooms called Hot Cells. (An RH-TRU waste canister is shown at left. It is a single-shell vented steel container which will hold three 55-gallon drums.) Most of the radioactive content of this waste is made up of fission products and the radionuclides are more varied: Strontium-90, Ytrium-90, Cesium-137, Barium-137, Plutonium-241, Americium-241 and Cobolt-60. Ninety-five percent of the remote-handled waste can emit 100 rem per hour at the container surface and 5% can emit up to 1000 rem per hour. This is an enormous amount of radioactivity since a dose of 400 rem will kill 50% of all exposed people. Although RH-TRU waste accounts for only around 4% of the total waste by volume, it may account for 33-45% of the total radioactivity…

WIPP goes back to 1957 when the National Academy of Scientists recommended bedded salt formations as the best type of formation for underground disposal of radioactive waste. The actual impetus to go forward with the project came in 1969-1970 when a series of fires at the DOE Rocky Flats facility near Denver, Colorado caused airborne releases of plutonium over parts of the city. (link)

Here is some background on Rocky Flats, which contains some of the radioactive waste that shipped to WIPP, along with Hanford and other facilities:

Rocky Flats was a vital part of the U.S. nuclear weapons program located near Denver, Colorado. Few people knew it existed or what the plant produced.

From 1952 to 1989, the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant produced more than 70,000 plutonium pits or “triggers” for nuclear bombs. Each pit contained enough breathable particles of plutonium to kill every person on earth.

The plant was veiled in secrecy. Colorado residents were kept unaware of the plant’s activities. Workers were not allowed to talk about their work.

There was extensive radioactive and toxic contamination in the air, water, and soil, both on-site and off-site. In addition to plutonium, off-site contaminants included tritium, beryllium, and dioxin, as well as between 1,100 and 5,400 tons of carbon tetrachloride…

There were more than 200 fires at Rocky Flats, the largest occurring in 1957 and 1969. These fires spread radioactive contamination in the Denver metropolitan area, particularly to areas south and east of the site… Elevated levels of plutonium have been found in the remains of cancer victims living near the Rocky Flats site, and many studies indicate ongoing health effects including cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, and other health issues in the surrounding population. (link)

Analyses of the geological and structural problems have found points of failure in a plutonium dump that is supposed to last for 10,000 years:

As noted by Brinster (1989, p. II-19), the Salado is not pure salt, but contains thin beds of anhydrite, polyhalite, glauberite, and mudstone. The salt was formerly believed to be so impermeable that the rooms would remain dry, but small brine seeps appeared soon after the first research rooms were opened, showing that DOE must contend with a wet waste environment. PA recognizes that waste could be carried to the surface along with cuttings from inadvertent oil wells, but all other scenarios involve radionuclides transported in flowing groundwater. The WIPP project might have been aborted if DOE had been more respectful of the historic problems of water in salt and potash mining…

The 13-ft. high by 33-ft. wide rooms will be short-lived. Large open fractures appear in the ceilings of all rooms within months of mining. Several roof-falls and floor heaves have already occurred at WIPP, so an extensive array of roof bolts has been installed to delay the failure of the remaining rooms long enough to fill them with drums. These and all future rooms will suffer collapse of major roof slabs bounded above by weak clay-bed partings. Such falls will crush the drums, and uncontained waste will enter the fractures… At the Canadian mines, the fractures sometimes breach the top of salt into an aquifer, causing inflows that flood the mine (Tofani, R., 1983, Van Sambeek, 1993). After shaft leakage, such roof breaching is the next most common cause of flooding of salt and potash mines, all of which ultimately flood because they lie below the water table. Already there is leakage occurring from the Dewey Lake Redbeds into one of the WIPP shafts, and thence into the repository. In European potash mining experience, such leakage has been irreparable. The first drop of water signals the eventual flooding of the mine. (link)

Radiolysis from the radioactive waste splits water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, increasing the likelihood of explosions and fires. Decay heat from the drums deforms the salt structure above the rooms.

There were record rains in the area last September, which may have caused seepage and flooding underground in the mine area.

Interestingly, an additional report came out of Russia, saying that Russian waste was (illegally) stored in WIPP and that an “experiment” was conducted on Feb. 5:

A grim “Of Special Importance” (highest classification level) report prepared by the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) circulating in the Kremlin warned that the “potentially catastrophic nuclear event” currently unfolding at the US atomic Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico has prompted the White House to begin pre-staging government forces and equipment in the event a large-scale evacuation is needed. According to this report, the United States Department of Energy WIPP is the world’s third deep geological repository (after closure of Germany’s Repository for radioactive waste Morsleben and the Schacht Asse II Salt Mine) licensed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste for 10,000 years that is left from the research and production of nuclear weapons, Whatdoesitmean.com reported. A “highly significant” portion of the nuclear waste being stored at the WIPP, this report continues, was the result of the recently completed 1993 HEU Purchase Agreement between the United States and Russia that saw 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from nuclear weapons down blended into low-enriched uranium and then sent to America where it was made into fuel for nuclear power plants, and of which US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stated, “For two decades, one in 10 light bulbs in America has been powered by nuclear material from Russian nuclear warheads.”

Critical to note, however, this report says, is that the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the private American corporation serving as executive agent for the HEU Purchase Agreement, was “deliberately targeted” for elimination by the Obama administration in early 2009 leading to its 16 December 2013 announcement that it had reached an agreement with a majority of its debt holders to file a prearranged and voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring in the first quarter of 2014. Federal Security Service (FSB) intelligence experts contributing to this report say the US wanted to eliminate USEC to divert HEU Purchase Agreement uranium for the purpose of reconstituting it to its highly dangerous U-235 level to conduct experiments at the WIPP on what is called nuclear salt-water rockets (NSWR), which is a proposed type of nuclear thermal rocket designed by Robert Zubrin that would be fueled by water bearing dissolved salts of plutonium or U-235. Under tight strictures put upon it by US law, this report says, the White House needed Russia’s HEU Purchase Agreement uranium for these NSWR experiments and which is not reportable. On 5 February, however, this report continues, these NSWR experiments at the WIPP went “horrifically wrong” leading to an explosion and fire at the underground facility, followed by the 14 February “radiological event” that prompted its full evacuation. Of the greatest concern to Russian nuclear experts, this report says, is the US conducting these NSWR experiments at the WIPP facility in the first place as nearly the entire Carlsbad, New Mexico region is in danger of collapsing due to the massive sink holes appearing over these areas vast underground salt domes. (link)

If true, this would mean that the Feb. 5 event at WIPP was a plutonium release also. A dispersion map was generated for Feb. 5. Cities affected include Las Cruces NM and Alamogordo NM.

What isotopic ratios from the Unit 3 debris fragments tell us about the explosion there.

EX-SKF is reporting that highly radioactive debris fragments have been discovered at the river mouth in Naraha-machi, around 9 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. These fragments very likely came from the explosion of Unit 3 in 2011, since the degree of contamination in them resembles that found in debris near the Unit 3 building.

Tepco has published a pdf which contains analyses of radioactive isotopes and minerals in 4 samples of this debris. These analyses can tell us a lot about what happened at the Unit 3 explosion, what the state of the corium was, where it was, if it had melted through the containment at this point.

This is very important because debris went sky-high, and likely entered the stratosphere and the jet stream, and made its way to North America. The spent fuel pool fires and other reactor meltdowns caused contamination to enter the jet stream also, but not to the degree that the Unit 3 explosion did.

The Tepco pdf indicates that the samples contain an enormous amount of radioactive cesium. They also contain antimony-125, silver-110m, cobalt-60, strontium-90, curium-244, americium-241, and various isotopes of plutonium, as well as other radionuclides. This makes it the most dangerous material found at Fukushima so far. We do know from the FOIA documents that fuel rod fragments are out there too. We will see that these samples are not from the fuel rods themselves, though.

The radionuclides found in these fragments match those found in the “black substance”, or black dust, that were found by a separate analysis. So now we have a good idea of what the source of the black substance is.

Page 42 of this pdf contains a table listing the radioisotope inventories of the Unit 3 reactor. This will tell us what the ratios between the different radioactive elements should be, for any sample of pure MOX fuel. The document also contains inventories for the Unit 3 spent fuel pool. But the two inventories are so similar that the reactor inventory will be used only. We can’t tell if the radioactive contamination came from the reactor or the pool here.

I calculated the expected ratios of radioactivity from the elements in this inventory, to amounts of cesium-137, that are listed in the Tepco document. Then I calculated the observed ratios of the averages of the 4 samples. For nuclides with short half-lives, I corrected the observed ratios to July 2013.

Radionuclide   Expected ratio   Observed ratio   Observed/Expected
------------   --------------   --------------   -----------------
Sb-125              0.04             0.0034            0.085
Ag-110m             0.002            0.0001            0.05
Co-60               0.00001          0.0002           20.0
Sr-90               0.75             0.0008            0.001
Cm-244              0.011            0.0000002         0.00002
Pu-238+Am-241       0.025            0.000001          0.00004
Pu-239+Pu-240       0.01             0.0000004         0.00004

If the samples were contaminated purely from the MOX fuel rods in Unit 3, the observed/expected ratios would all be close to 1. The first thing that strikes you is how this the ratio is for cobalt-60. Co-60 is a neutron activation product. It results from neutrons interacting with structural elements like steel. The neutrons might come from neutron-emitting radionuclides like curium and plutonium. Or they could come from a criticality. Since the ratio is 20 times higher than expected, we can safely say that the cobalt-60 resulted from a supercriticality. This is yet more evidence (if any more is needed) that Unit 3 blew up in a nuclear explosion.

Cesium and iodine are the most volatile elements from the nuclear fuel. That means they get released first with increasing heat. The other nuclides beside Co-60 all have ratios far below 1. So the debris that went into the jet stream was not the fuel rods themselves, though it was contaminated with it to some degree. If the explosion blew the MOX fuel to kingdom come, the debris would contain 25,000 times as much plutonium than was found in the fragments.

Another possibility would be that a molten corium/concrete reaction led to the nuclear explosion. Here molten corium burns through the steel containment, and interacts with the concrete of the drywell, and the floor of the building. The interaction between the molten fuel and the chemical elements and water in the concrete results in a bubbling stew, with gases escaping. This is how less volatile nuclides like strontium-90 gets released from the fuel. If the explosion occurred after this reaction was underway, a certain pattern of isotope ratios would follow.

We see from the graphic that the silver ratio would be 0.97, antimony would be 0.77, curium would be 0.003. The observed ratios are far less than this. So we can conclude that the dangerous corium/concrete reaction had not yet been underway to a significant extent.

The Tepco documents states the iron (FE) was found in the samples. The photo of the wreckage at Unit 3 indicates rust (iron oxide). This argues that melted steel was involved.

There was a nuclear explosion at Unit 3 in March 11. I believe that it was triggered by a hydrogen explosion. It occurred very early in the meltdown process, which is a fortunate thing for the northern hemisphere. The corium had melted steel, but not concrete in any significant way yet. Perhaps it happened as soon as it came into contact with the concrete.

If the explosion had happened later, it might have released 25,000 times more plutonium into the jet stream. This is not to say that it did not release a large amount of plutonium. The corium-concrete reaction probably occurred after the explosion. But it didn’t blow sky-high after this reaction, but before it.

Iodine-131 surge in Japan. Strontium-90 nightmare.

New sludge data from Japan shows recent increases in iodine-131. This suggests increases in fission, probably from Units #2 and #3. Certainly the plant has become more active in emissions lately. The CSFP has been emitting steam and smoke, but hopefully this is not the source of I-131. We would be in very bad trouble if that pool went critical.

Deposition of I-131 is dependent on wind direction and precipitation (rain and snow). This map below shows the locations of the prefectures in Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi plant is on the coast in the middle of Fukushima prefecture. Gunma is furthest west… winds seldom blow from east to west in winter. In spring and summer this prefecture has prevailing winds from this direction, and hence readings tend to be higher there in those months.

And Tepco has found a fault in their radiation measuring apparatus. It turns out that groundwater from the well at the seaside direction from Unit 2 has a lot more strontium-90 and all-beta radiation than they previously said. It used to be 900,000 Bq/liter, now it’s 5 million Bq Sr-90 and 10 million Bq all-beta. And this was from July. This same well had the incorrect analysis of all-beta going from 900,000 to 3,100,000. Applying this ratio yields over 17 million Bq/liter of strontium-90 in the most recent measurement.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. corrected its radioactivity readings for groundwater from a well at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to a record-high 5 million becquerels of strontium per liter.

TEPCO officials said the strontium levels were gauged again because the previous data was wrong. They also said radioactivity readings for water taken from other wells before September were also likely erroneous.

The company had said 900,000 becquerels of beta-ray sources, including strontium, were detected in water taken on July 5, 2013, from the observation well near a water intake for the No. 2 reactor turbine building.

The new strontium data indicates that the concentration of all beta-ray sources totals around 10 million becquerels per liter of water, according to the company.

TEPCO did not announce radioactivity levels of 140 samples of groundwater and seawater taken between June and November after it found strontium readings that were higher than measurements for all beta-ray sources.

The company attributed contradictory data to malfunctions of analytical equipment. (link)

How convenient that they had an equipment breakdown before the Olympics were awarded to Tokyo.

Regarding the delayed disclosure of data, Tepco stated they were taking time to investigate the cause of wrong analysis. However after all, they didn’t release the data, which strongly suggests the on-going sea contamination, before IOC selected Tokyo as the host city of Olympic 2020. (link)

Enenews had previously linked to this pdf, which was a simulation of three different radionuclides leaking from corium to groundwater. Strontium-90 doesn’t start leaking in significant quantities until 1,000 days after the meltdown, which was approximately the time frame from last July. Cesium-137 doesn’t really get going until after 10,000 days. This is consistent with the finding of large amounts of strontium and other beta, but very little cesium in the well. According to the graph, it keeps going for 297 years. After that, these radionuclides would have decayed. The graph doesn’t contain plutonium, which would keep going for centuries or millenia.