Radiation Spikes and Nuclear Reactor Refueling Operations… & Other Random Puzzle Pieces

Disclaimer – Dec 25, 2014

Merry Christmas.

An image taken from the Nasa/ESA (European Space Agency) Hubble Space Telescope of galaxy IC 335 in front of a backdrop of distant galaxies. IC 335 is part of a galaxy group containing three other galaxies, and located in the Fornax Galaxy Cluster 60 million light-years away.Picture: EPA/ESA/HUBBLE AND NASA

An image taken from the Nasa/ESA (European Space Agency) Hubble Space Telescope of galaxy IC 335 in front of a backdrop of distant galaxies. IC 335 is part of a galaxy group containing three other galaxies, and located in the Fornax Galaxy Cluster 60 million light-years away.Picture: EPA/ESA/HUBBLE AND NASA

Just a couple random nuclear things:

SeeMoreRocks has a good Plume Gate overview as well, with videos and the late Mike Rupport’s comments about that @ http://robinwestenra.blogspot.com/p/plume-gate.html.    [My own blogposts related to that: (Dec. 2 2014) PLUME GATE – Internal NRC Communications Released under FOIA proof deliberate Cover-Up of Severity of global Fukushima Fallout in 2011.  Recent SFP4 News May Have Been Part of Cover-Up; and (April 18, 2014)  R.I.P. Michael C. “Tracker” Ruppert …]

!–>  When everything goes well during refueling of a nuclear fission reactor, apparently (see below) quite a bit of radioactive noble gasses are released, as well as some Carbon-14, Tritium (H3) and even Iodine-131.  Noble gas concentrations near a nuclear power plant reportedly spike during refueling to over 1,400,000 Bq/m^3 (Becquerel per cubic meter – See my Radiation Units & Conversions page).  That’s when all goes well.  It’s an interesting piece of information, I find, ’cause if it doesn’t go as hoped or anticipated and the reactor vessel needs to vent far more of such radioactive gasses and vapours, then perhaps it could be a large enough release that could set off monitors far away downwind?

That there was some kind of ‘radioactive cloud’ is clear from news reports in Romanian, but whether or not there’s a causal link between thát and the spikes seen on gamma radiation monitors is far from certain. A large part of my uncertainty about the causal link is that there would need to be gamma emitters in the mix too, ’cause the spikes and bumps seen on monitors were of gamma rays. Beta measurements of the EURDEP monitoring network is generally kept undisclosed.   Xe-133, Kr-85, C-14, H-3 all decay through Beta emissions.   Of the radioisotopes mentioned in regards to refueling, I-131, decays through both Beta and Gamma decay.  Moldova reportedly tested for that and didn’t find any.

Dr. Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment (UK), wrote in his Jan. 19, 2012 blogpost, “Radioactive Spikes at Nuclear Power Stations [my emphasis]:

“[…]   In September 2011, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Germany released a press notice (http://www.ippnw-europe.org/?expand=707&cHash=8752881e4a) which contained data on half-hourly releases of radioactive noble gases from an NPP for the very first time anywhere in the world.

This is shown in the chart below for 7 days in September 2011. 

These data were from Gundremmingen NPP – a BWR reactor in Bavaria in Southern Germany. The chart showed that the normal emission concentration (of noble gases) during the rest of the year was about 3 kBq/m³, but during refuelling on September 22 this sharply increased to ~700 kBq/m³ with a peak of 1,470 kBq/m³. In other words, a spike.

This data shows that NPPs emit much larger amounts of radioactive noble gases during refuelling than during normal power operation.  […]”  Read more.

After the Fukushima meltdowns Xe-133 concentrations in the first 500 meter near the ground rose to over 6 Bq/m^3 (Note: the graphs are in milliBecquerel) in the US and over 2 Bq/m^3 in Germany.  By the end of March the air of practically the entire Northern Hemisphere contained that Beta-decaying radioactive noble gas.  The document also shows how quickly most of this dissipated.   (Click on the image to see the full poster-style PDF.)

The data is all available, just not to the public.  A peek at the last months data for CTBTO’s monitors downwind from Zaporizhia would likely settle this question.   Oh well.  I’ll have to leave it at this.

While looking at some data from different isotopes on the EURDEP Public Map (See my page with easy access to Online Radiation Monitors).  They’re either barely testing or sharing almost nothing with the public.  Practically useless those online monitors.

  • Odd little blip of both I-131 and Cs-137 on a Cyprus monitor on Nov. 16, 2014, though.  Air analysis glitching for two isotopes at the same time?  Odd.  Yet… given their disclaimer, same is true here: absolutely nothing can be concluded from what they share anyhow.   Annotated Screenshot of that particular oddity:
  • One thing I learned from digging into this, though, is this:  If I get actually ‘concerned’ that something’s up, go hike first, then -after the hike- MAYBE sent an email, and -most importantly- only sent it to people you know are actually very interested in such things. (=Note to self).   …Which is almost nobody.
  • Nice weather…

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12 Responses to Radiation Spikes and Nuclear Reactor Refueling Operations… & Other Random Puzzle Pieces

  1. Pingback: Was there a causal link between the Nov 28 2014 Accident at the Zaporizhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and recent Radiation Spikes in Latvia and Romania? | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  2. femalefaust says:

    on your ‘note to self’ — ahem— (i fashioned my rather spirited response into a post, as i thought fitting, since the audio is key… Merry merry & all) —
    on your ‘note to self,’
    survey says…

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  9. Pingback: Additional Ponderings Re. Pacific Ocean Ecological Crisis. Wondering about Effects of a speculated Fukushima-induced Polonium-210 (Alpha-emitting) surge’s on Sea Life. Iodine-131, Cobalt-60, Cesium-134 & Neobium-95 detected in Europe (May 2015!)

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