Any Significance to Cobalt-60 in Fukushima Fallout?

 ♫ “…Big in Japan    ooh…  the eastern sea’s so blue” ♫

Colorado Rocky Mountains (USA) — Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 3:33 pm

[Disregard the above “blog post soundtrack”, this post was actually written while listening to Goa Trance mixes ;-)]

 — Notice ‘Expert opinions’ may diverge: DISCLAIMER —

This blogpost is not really intended as “mere entertainment,” though,  even if I’ld claim otherwise, otherwise.  Some of the dots that could be connected, are not per se (spelled-out-) connected for you.  This is an overview of aspects that I find ‘interesting‘.

The measurable presence in Fukushima fallout of artificial neutron-activation product, radioisotope Cobalt-60, is far more significant than has been stressed by researchers and commentators, I think.

(…It’s just a thought. 

Like clouds, thoughts come and go. 

It’s a cobalt blue cloud, though,

so captivating…

  with irridescent edges even,

More pink fog

and yellow rain

in the forecast…)

As you might already have noticed, ;-P …  I’ve been on a wee bit of a quest to better understand what really happened in March-April 2011, and beyond, on the Fukushima Coast, Japan, and what is currently happening inside the molten-down coriums underneath the Fukushima Cauldrons of Hell. 

Where exactly are all those coriums anyway, TEPCO / IAEA ? 

Where exactly in the Earth’s crust underneath Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe site (F1)… is information that has not been shared with the public yet, that I know of.

2_no_fuel.jpg

(echo) “…U2 ex-vessel, U4 zirc fire SFP, catastrophe…” (echo)

Now almost five years after the disaster began, the official line is that they still don’t know where exactly the coriums are.  All they claim to know is that, for the most part, they’re NOT in the containment vessels.  At least, that’s what muon photography revealed in regards to Reactor #2: it is EMPTY (Click on image for related article about this).

In this blogpost I will rehash some Co-60-related observations (just to put it all together in 1 blog post).  The Fukushima puzzle is likely to give any independent amateur researcher the cobalt blues at some point, I reckon…  Cobalt-60’s significance fits into the picture somehow.  How exactly I don’t know yet, but this compilation at least offers some clues.  At the end I offer some additional ponderings.

In short, in this blog post:

I start out with documenting the various detections of Co-60, with bits and pieces of its possible relevance, as well as the (somewhat strange) absence from scientific literature and common media narratives (which talk of Cs-134/137 and I-131 mainly, yet rarely mention all the other significant radiosiotopes):

  • Documenting Fukushima’s Cobalt Release(s):   Massive releases of Co-60, not like any other nuclear accident ever before
  • EURDEP: European Cobalt-60 Detections (in 2011 and beyond)
  • US EPA Radnet & Cobalt-60
  • Now get this:  US EPA:  Cobalt-60 much more associated with NUCLEAR BOMB Fallout…
  • TEPCO’s very own data show strangely large amounts of Cobalt-60 in Fukushima’s waste water and debris
  • More Fukushima Co-60 News, from all over
  • My Very Own Co-60 Data from a Japanese kelp sample’s Gamma Spectroscopy
  • Anything in my Lab-Analyzed June 2015 Colorado Rainwater.
  • Co-60, a RadioIsotope BEYOND ‘FORGOTTEN’ ?

I finish the blog post with additional information:

  • ADDITIONAL Cobalt-60 RELATED INFORMATION, particularly pertaining to Radiological Dispersion Devices and Extreme Neutron Flux

To offer my conclusive ponderings at the end @

  • Conclusion?

…  ROLLING …

PostTsunamiTree_blueannot

  • Documenting Fukushima’s Cobalt Release(s):   Massive releases of Co-60, not like any other nuclear accident ever before.

First, I’d like to put some folks (such as those few weird deniers, as well as belittlers, who claim that Co-60 is somehow not a, or not a significant aspect, of the Fukushima disaster’s early and continuing fallout, in their place with some solid data (from EURDEP, TEPCO themselves, Greenpeace, news reports, EPA info, academic papers, and even my own data of Japanese Kelps (2013)…

I had read in articles about Chernobyl that its fallout did not contain Co-60. (Such as found in The French IRSN (Institute de Radioprotection et de Sureté Nucléaire), “Cobalt-60 and the environment

“[…] The atmospheric fallout from nuclear weapons testing and the Chernobyl accident contains no Co-60. Consequently, this radionuclide is not responsible for any ‘environmental background’, unlike 90Sr, 137Cs and the plutonium isotopes. Its presence in the environment is therefore for the most part related to nuclear facilities. […]”)

That turned out to be incorrect. Co-60 was definitely a significant part of nuclear bomb testing.  And regardless of how small the trace concentrations were,  Mn-54, Nb-95 and Co-60 were in fact part of the fallout cloud from Chernobyl as well:

Following the April 26, 1986 Chornobyl disaster (about which, by the way, I had a premonition dream as an 11-year-old), Cobalt-60 was detected even in Japan and North America.  However, because it was such a trace of a trace and only detected here and there, it is often not even included in the list of radioisotopes that the Chernobyl accident sent into the air.

The main Chernobyl fallout radioisotopes consisted of varying concentrations of these wicked scorcerers’ brew’s ingredients, with the more famous ones in bold:

  • Krypton-85
  • Strontium-89, 90
  • Zirconium-95
  • Molybdenum-99
  • Ruthenium-103, 106
  • Iodine-131, 133, 135
  • Tellurium-132
  • Xenon-133
  • Cesium-134, 136, 137
  • Neptunium-139
  • Lanthanum-140
  • Barium-140
  • Cerium-141, 144
  • Plutonium-238, 239, 240, 241
  • Curium-242

SOURCE:  Many sources, including this table 1.5 from http://www.amfir.com/AmFirstInst/Symposia/Chernobyl/1986_Chernobyl_Nuclear_Catastrophe_index.html  Screenshot:

Chernobyl_primary_radioisotopes_emitted_1996

In the same document, however, it is also mentioned that in Eastern Canada, during a Chornobyl fallout whiff that came from over the Arctic, that however-tiny-trace upticks in Berylium-7, Iron-59, Niobium-95, Manganese-54, Cobalt-60 and Zink-65 were also detected as part of the Chernobyl fallout cloud:                NorthAmerica_Chernobyl1986_88_inclCo60 I find that interesting, because the fallout whiffs that have been detected in Finland, even as recent as 2015, contained Mn-54, Co-60 and Nb-95 as well.  They were releases “from somewhere” that can not be dismissed away as having something to do with “medical or resource exploitation” use.  Not in thát mixture.  They are indicative of NUCLEAR FALLOUT.  And around the same time Zr-97 was also detected in Germany a few times.  (See list of related blogposts shortly further below)

Regarding Berylium-7: I had assumed that upticks in Be-7 would suggest that it’s coming from higher up in the atmosphere (such as can occur during high pressure times when some air from higher up in the Be-7-rich stratosphere descends to ground level).  Higher up Be-7 is made naturally through interactions with cosmic rays, but… it can ALSO be added artificially (through the same proces of high-energy neutron bombardement), thus complicating figuring out where radioisotopes may have come from that coincide with Be-7 upticks.

Now, Cobalt-60 was detected shortly after the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster began.  This is solidly documented.  Scrutinizing the data a little more, however, reveals that Co-60 is a véry significant aspect of Fukushima fallout and environmental contamination.

Here are many examples that document Co-60 being part of the Fukushima-Japan fallout all the way as far as Europe:

  • EURDEP: European Cobalt-60 Detections

Sola, Norway You can see how data from this monitoring station is kept conceiled right after the accident until mid-April. Be-7 concentrations fluctuate normally, while Cs-134, Cs-137 and I-131 starting coming down from their pressumed late March-early April spikes:

SOLA_Norway_Cs134.137_3monthsAfter_March15_2011SOLA_Norway_I131.Be7_3monthsAfter_March15_2011

NOT coinciding with the peaks of Cesium or Iodine, Lead-210 (decay product of Radon / Uranium, detected April 14-15), neutron-activation product Cobalt-60 was solidly detected during an April 20-26 sampling period:

Pb210_Co60_3moPreJun2011

This detection of Co-60 comes shortly after the spike in Cs-134, Cs-137 & I-131, etc.

This interesting and somewhat strange detail is also apparent in the data from CERN, Switzerland, shared in the previous blogpost (repeated here):

CERNs_FUKUSHIMA_CO60_SmokingGun

The likely reason the detection limit spiked is a loss of precision due to more frequent sampling (see comments previous blogpost).   Regardless of the MDC spike, a solid quantifiable detection was made that spring 2011, shortly after the larger spikes in Cesium and Iodine.

–> A zoom-in on the days surrounding the quantifiable detection of Co-60 shows that right as Co-60 was detected, the most known fallout radioisotopes, (Cs-134, I-131, and even Cs-137) were NOT detected.  Hence the argument that,  “if it doesn’t contain Cs-134/Cs-137, then it has nothing to do with Fukushima”, simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, especially when studied within a multi-week or multiple months context.  Different isotopes move differently through different media (air, water, ground), and this make a case for Co-60 illustrating that:

comboCERNZoomin.jpg

As I’ve brought up before, it seems just purely logical that these particles and gasses do not all move the same through air,  water or ground layers.  There are distinct differences due to their distinct properties.   And thus, it is not surprising that a detection of Kobalt-60 is TIMED just slightly DIFFERENTLY compared to the detections of Cs-134, Cs-137 & I-131, which seem to move in a much more closely correlated pattern.

If it were just one or two isolated instances of Co-60 being detected in the month after, and far beyond the March 11, 2011 F1 catastrophe, perhaps a case could be made for “coincidence”, but the fact of the matter is that Co-60 was detected in many places all across the Northern Hemisphere.   In many cases, the peak time for Co-60 does not line up with peak times for radioCesiums, at least not in the data I’ve seen.    More examples:

Here’s our good ol’ monitor in HELSINKI, Finland, showing a significant uptick in Co-60 at the very end of March, begin of April 2011.  Right at that time Cs-137 is strangely not tested for, or data is kept undisclosed.  Yet when Cs-137 spikes again that following week in April, Co-60 is not detected in a quantifiable amount:

Helsinki_Cs137_Co60_1mo_April17_2011

Over a month later, disturbances are still drifting around the planet, showing upticks of various Fukushima radioisotopes.  Also @ Helsinki, in the weeks prior to June 15, 2011, we see detections of Co-60 amidst upticks of Cs-137, I-131 and Be-7:

Helsinki_Cs137_Co60_1mo_June17_2011Helsinki_I131_Be7_1mo_June17_2011

–> You can see how the peak value for Cs-137 does not coincide with the peak values for I-131 and Co-60, but it is also obvious that it is part of an apparent fallout cloud passing over during that week.  In this case, the correlation with a Be-7 uptick is strong.

Pay attention to both y and x-axis.  The y-axis is often adjusted to show more detail.  At the moment of the strongest Co-60 detection that week,  the concentrations of the other shown radioisotopes compare as such:

  • Co-60:  5.13E-07  (= 0.000000513) Bq/m^3
  • I-131:  7.94E-07  (= 0.000000794) Bq/m^3
  • Cs-137:  1.66E-06  (= 0.00000166) Bq/m^3
  • Be-7: 7.31E-03 (= 0.007.31 which is not unusual, as Be-7 is naturally just below 0.01 Bq/m^3 anyhow)

In other words, for that June 10-13, 2011 sample, the aerial concentration of Cobalt-60 was in the same order of magnitude as that of Iodine-131.   

They may be technically “trace amounts”, but they seem significant trace amounts: Adding to the fascinating details, the I-131 concentration at that sample time, was just a bit less than half of that of Cs-137.

Interestingly, also, is that Cs-134 was not detected in this time period, AT THIS LOCATION. (It was picked up during that period at other locations, example below).  The detection of  Cs-137 @  1.66E-06  (= 0.00000166) Bq/m^3 at the moment of the Co-60 detection is actually too low to be considered “part of the same fallout cloud”, because if we look at the Cs-137 levels at that location BEFORE Fukushima began, we see that these levels were reached quite often.

Before the Fukushima accident, in a 3-month period shortly before, Cs-137 concentrations stayed well below 0.00001 Bq/m^3:

Helsinki_Cs137_PREfukushima

The only significant Cs-137 detection that week, was the little spike that licked that red line in the above image, seen a couple data points before the Co-60 detection in the images before.

And what about that IODINE-131, thát late, still?

On a sidenote, one could of course also repeat the question, “what the hell was Iodine-131 still doing in the air in Europe a full 3 months after the accident began?”  (Well, of course…  pressuming these detections were from Fukushima…

sfp-4-zirc-fire-catastrophe-march-15th

March 15, 2011: “I couldn’t sleep again last night.  Michelle was doing a shift in the Ops center (protective measures team). She texted me “U2 ex-vessel, U4 zirc fire SFP, catastrophe”  Click screenshot for more in my Plume Gate post.

… then that can only be explained because one of more of the molten-down reactors and/or zirconium-inferno-destroyed spent fuel pools did not stop fissioning as hoped.  That’s why…

Even the IAEA folks have scratched their heads over that one; See the (bad audio, accessible via WHOI @ http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=108196&cl=87413&article=141569&tid=5122), but the ENEnews transcripts are correct) admission 3 full years after the facts: “[ENEnews, Oct. 27, 2014] – Watch: Nuclear experts confront Japanese scientists — IAEA says Fukushima reactors “might still be active” long after meltdowns — “Changes completely” our idea of what happened — “Very surprised… extremely high” Iodine-131 levelsMeans fission reactions lasted for weeks or months“.    Or years…?

If that concerns you, also check out my post, (Nov. 20, 2015)  Debunking the ‘Impossibility’ of Ongoing Criticalities at Fukushima-Daiichi, as well as my post, (May 29, 2015) Land of the Sinking Sun…

 To get almost as much Iodine-131 as Cobalt-60, on the other side of the planet no less, and no significant amount of Cs-134?  Hm…  That gived me the impression that Co-60 might be quite significant…  More examples:

Also in May-June 2011, at Kotka, Finland, just to the east of Helsinki:

Co60_I131_Cs137_Cs134_KOTKA_MayJune2011

–> Again, clear evidence that Co-60 was part of the Fukushima fallout clouds.  About half as much Co-60 as I-131, about 1/3rd Cs-134 as Cs-137…    After I-131 detections dropped down to “lower than lowest detectable”, whiffs with CO-60 in it, alongside (so-called) “Fukushima signature” Cesium-134 continued into summer 2011 at this location:

Kotka_JulyAugust2011_Co60_Cs134_Na22_Be7

Natrium-22, like Be-7, are activation products that can be natural or “enhanced natural”.

–> One of the things I gather from this is that to get insights on a moving fallout cloud, the more monitors you have, and all testing for as many specific radiosiotopes as possible, the better.  One monitor may not get the whiff of Cs-134, while another may only get the I-131, or only the Co-60.  Or one week will show a set of specific upticks, while the next week the mix looks distinctly different.  Taken together you get an idea of what’s moving overhead and only here and there touching ground monitors.

In spring 2013, Co-60 and Nb-95:

Kotka_Finland_Co60_Nb95_AprilMay2015

In late August 2014, also @ Kotka in Southern Finland, we see a detection of not only Co-60, but also Co-58 (!), at the same time as a Cs-137 uptick:

Kotka_Finland_Co60_Co58_AugSept2014Kotka_Finland_Cs137_Be7_AugSept2014

–> Co-58 is interesting as well, as its half-ife is only 77 days (about 2.5 months).  Its detection in the second half of August 2014 seems weird.  If it’s from Fukushima, it suggests ongoing intense neutron-activations.  Co-58 is normally created inside a nuclear reactor through neutron bombarment of natural Nickel.  If one were to want to create pure Co-58 on purpose, threshold side-reactions would give rise to impurities, including traces of Co-57, Co-59 & Co-60 (See Production of Co-58 in a nuclear reactor under particular consideration of interfering nuclear reactions, by H. J. Lincke, Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry  November 1984, Volume 87, Issue 5, pp 311-315).

But to get lots of Co-60, if not made intentionally through neutron activation of Ni-59, then it comes from the bombardment of Iron-58 (present in trace amounts in all steel), through a double neutron uptake.  This is why the RPVs (Reactor Pressure Vessel) steel structure will contain significant amounts of Co-60 after decades of use.

Side-note:   Co-59 can turn into Co-58 by a neutron activation reaction, followed by a double neutron release: “59Co (n,2n) 58Co”; as well as: Co-59 can turn into Co-60 by a neutron activation, followed by Co-60’s gamma decay: “59Co (n, γ ) 60Co” — Source: IAEA Activation data data @ http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/te_1285_prn/te_1285p1_prn.pdf .

To detect both at the same time, alongside a Cs-137 uptick suggests an unintentional release from a spewing meltdown site, no?  As in, “Somewhere”.   Fukushima?  I don’t know, but…  If it’s from Fukushima, this seems very serious.  If it’s not Fukushima, that seems very serious.

WHERE are this recurring upticks of highly concerning radiosiotope mixtures coming from, year after year, since 2011?  Not an unreasonable question to seek an answer to, in my opinion. 

Some more:

In Dec. 2014, a detection of Co-60 happens about a week apart from a Th-232 detection:

Kotka_Finland_Co60_TH232_NovDec2014

There more, some of which I’ve documented in these blogposts:

  • US EPA Radnet & Cobalt-60:

If you go to my Online Radiation Monitors page and pick United States, there’s a few options under EPA.  You can search the EnviroFacts database for different regions for different isotopes, via http://iaspub.epa.gov/enviro/erams_query_v2.simple_query

For Region 9 (which includes California and Hawai), the Cobalt-60 results show primarily data that suggests likely “detections,” yet of the kind than can’t be quantified with high-confidence, or even don’t qualify as a detection whatsoever (negative values, or negative values + margin of error below minimum detectable concentrations, etc.).  This is just a random snapshot, to give an idea:

EPA_Region9_1_2_3

–> You see that that some results  have values that even if you deduct the combined margin of error, the value’s in the positive.  325px-Standard_deviation_diagram.svgI interpret that as “a for-sure detection”.  However, due to the complexity of deducting background noise, what can be called a detection in part depend on the level of certainty you want for the given value of the measurement.   If you want  high certainty, you’ll need a very strong signal that stands out from background signals.

So, for instance, that last shown result above, 0.666  +/- 0.318 Bq/L Co-60 in precipitation in Berkeley, CA on Sept 15, 1985, seems like a very clear detection (on the tail end of an insane spate of nuclear bomb tests), but I’m not sure what level of certainty the margin of error delineates here.

In any case, likely trace remnants from the nuclear bomb testing era, trace detections continue to show up until the early 1990s.  For Berkeley, California, the testing gets sloppy, with many years of no testing, and even after March 2011, there’s nothing to be seen (no testing).  Other areas show post-2010 data:

EPA_Region9_4_5EPA_Region9_6

–> What you can see, however, is the widely fluctuating Minimum Detectable Concentration, with the highest MDCs in spring and summer 2011.  Rather than intentional concealment, this may again be due to shorter sampling periods giving rise to a more blurry background, which would require a stronger-than-usual specific decay energy signal to ‘detect’ (with a reasonable level of confidence) the specific radioisotope.

Now, what’s also interesting is how most results are ND, Non-Detect, from those early 1990s all the way until 2011, when values (positive or negative) begin to appear again amongst the NDs, suggesting “detections” that may be too weak to be quantified, but that give nevertheless the suggestion that slight upticks in gamma energies specific to Co-60 decay were being registered above background.  Why otherwise wouldn’t the result be described as ‘ND’?

EPA_Region9_7

–> As far as the negative values go, a simple good read:

“Reported sample results are sometimes  negative values. When a sample has little  radioactivity, the analytical results should  have a normal distribution of positive  and negative results around zero. When  a sample result is subtracted from that  of the system’s background and the sample value is less than that background,  the result is a negative value.  A  negative  result simply indicates that the radionuclide activity in the sample is low—so low  that it approaches that of the analytical  instrument’s system background.”

– From “Radiological Lab Results Don’t Have to Be Confusing @ http://www.phillywatersheds.org/doc/OpFlowRads.pdf

  • Now get this:  US EPA:  Cobalt-60 much more associated with NUCLEAR BOMB Fallout…

Far more interesting than the EPA EnviroFacts data above, are bits and pieces in more detailed studies from through searching the EPA Archives for ‘Cobalt-60 fukushima’:  one result I will quote from:

!-> Particle Transport of Radionuclides: a Literature Review and Summary http://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_file_download.cfm?p_downl…

“Take a deep breath”:  It takes small particles YEARS to settle down.  But more interestingly is the difference between fallout associated with a nuclear bomb versus fallout from a nuclear accident like Chernobyl.

So check out these excerpts (partial screenshot, annotated):

ParticleTransport

And re. a major nuclear accident, the main Chernobyl fallout compares as such:

ParticleTransport_2DepositionRatesNear_vs_far

So, to summerize the difference (my emphasis):

  • BOMB Fallout: Cs-137, I-129, Sr-90, Co-60, Eu-154, Eu-152, Pu-238/240, and Am-241
  • CHERNOBYL Fallout: Te-132, Cs-134, Cs-137, Mo-99, Ru-103, Ru-106, Ba-140, Zr-95, Ce-141, Ce-144, Sr-89, Sr-90

Isn’t that strange?  Co-60 is not a significant part of a normal meltdown.   Yet Co-60 is obviously a very significant aspect of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe…  How can this be?  Why?

(More data first.  It is important that the fact is estabished firmly with as much documentation as possible that the presence of CO-60 in Fukushima fallout is highly unusual.  Why that might be is a whole other matter.  I’ll get to that after establishing the facts more firmly first.   Hang in there, reader of this blog post.  You may the only person reading this.  ;-)   )

  • TEPCO’s very own data show strangely large amounts of Cobalt-60 in Fukushima’s waste water and debris:

Proof that Fukushima is releasing very significant quantities of Cobalt-60 is found throughout TEPCO’s frequent press releases.   But you have to search for “Co-60” (543 results), and not “cobalt-60” (1 result).   I used to think that one result was the only time TEPCO brought up Cobalt-60 and wondered if that data accidentally slipped in. (Ha.  Yeah… Seeking truth can be a humbling embarassing journey at times…   Joke’s on me.)

Anyhow, thát document does actually show véry high levels:

  • 1.2 Bq/cm^3 Co-60 , or about 1,200 Bq/L   =  1,200,000 Bq/m^3   of  Co-60
  • 1.9 Bq/cm^3  Mn-54
  • 71 Bq/cm^3   Sb-125

A spill of 300 tons of that processed waste water contained a whopping 1,200 Bq/L  Co-60. 

TEPCO_CO60_1result

The details of this press release: http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/water/13082101-e.html screenshot:CO60_WaterContaminationMeasured_Aug2013_TEPCO

100 Bq/cm3 Cs-137    +    46 Bq/cm3 Cs-134   +   1.2 Bq/cm3 Co-60

Anyhow, so…: in that one spill some 360,000,000 Bq Co-60 was spilled.  And that’s just one spill.  This does not give any idea about how much is being stored in the massive water tanks, how much has been flushed out into the Pacific, how much has escaped into the atmosphere, how much is in the ground on-site, where deposition hot spots may be, etc.  It’s just one tiny peek into what’s happening.

H4TankArea.gif

Do other tanks contain more Cobalt-60, or less, or is 1200 Bq/L a fairly average value for the Cobalt-60 water contamination concentration?  Some of the additional bits and pieces of data from news reports show that it’s “in that ballpark”, basically.

In any case, Co-60 is surely just a percent, or less, of all the Cesium, Strontium, and slough of other heavy metal decay products… But it is apparently, very much unlike Chernobyl, a very significant pollutant at Fukushima.  To get an idea of the mounting problem, here’s a look at the growing water tank farm:

F1WaterTanks

Asahi_Sept5_2015_700000tonsOnSIte

If those 300 tons offer any clue, then there would be, aside from Strontium and Cesium, also be unusually amounts of Co-60, Mn-54, Sb-125 and other lesser-known radioisotopes in the mix.

  • More Fukushima Co-60 News, from all over :

This is undoubtedly very incomplete, but I picked a few bits and pieces of news that caught my attention from here and there, including news aggregators.  I chose those that shed additional light on the fact that Cobalt-60, for reasons to be explored further, is a véry major component of Fukushima fallout.    In no particular order:

Example: Nearly 3 years after the disaster started,  contamination of undergound water reached record levels, @ 770 Bq/L Co-60, for instance, as relayed by ENEnews (Feb.19, 2014) “Record level of Cobalt-60 detected in groundwater at Fukushima — Hundreds of times above any measurement ever published for underground water“.  Also covered @ Nuclear News.

This and many other such reports give a basic idea of the widespread Cobalt-60 presence and strangely high concentrations of this specific activation product.

  • Greenpeace in August 2011 reported 0.83 Bq/kg of Co-60 found in a seaweed that originated only 30 km from Fukushima. See these  Greenpeace Sample data, Page 5/6, of which this is a screenshot from Scribd mirror:

CO60_Greenpeace_Seaweed_August2011.gif

–> Manganese-54 & Cobalt-60, in an activity that is just less than 1% of the activity of the always-mentioned radioCesiums 134 & 137.   No Iodine-131 was detected (<MDC) in that sample, while the reverse is true the sample 2 columns to the right (I-131 detected, while Cesium levels were actually lower, and neither Mn-54 nor Co-60 detected (<MDC).

June20_2011_ExSKF

Excerpt from the translation:   “[…] Another thing that the survey team paid attention to was the types of nuclides that were detected in the park. They detected cesium-134, cesium-137, and cobalt-60.

Professor Kazuhiko Kudo of Kyushu University (nuclear engineering) says, “Cobalt-60 does not exist in nature. It has a half-life of 5.3 years. That cobalt-60 was detected in Fukushima City, 60 kilometers from the plant, proves that a certain amount of cobalt-60 was released from the reactor meltdown. […]”

The blogger was obviously surprised by this finding.  The RPV (Reactor Pressure Vessel), made of steel, will always contain some Cobalt-60.  If the RPV were blown to smithereeens, fragements would show elevated Co-60 levels.

But was it from the RPV?  You’d have to turn solid steel into rather tiny particles for them to fly 60 kilometers…

  • Marco Kaltofen of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA., noted in APHA (Oct 31, 2011) that, “[…] Soils and settled dusts were collected from outdoor surfaces, interior surfaces, and from used children’s shoes. The Japanese filters contained cesium 134 and 137, as well as cobalt 60 at levels as high as 3 nCi total activity per sample. […]”[3 nCi/sample = 111 Bq/sample]

Clearly not from an exploded RPV in this case, is it?

3000Bq.L_AsahiShimbun_July20_2014.gif

  • Iori Mochizuki’s Fukushima Diary has a couple interesting ones (he often does):

Fukushima Diary, Dec. 14, 2013:   Water leakage from air-conditioning duct of reactor4, Tepco: “It’s rain water, not from SFP”,  contains this: “Tepco immediately denied the possibility that the water is from SFP because it doesn’t include cobalt-60 and hydrazine.  In SFP of reactor4, 2.5E+5 Bq/m3 of cobalt-60 and 3ppm of hydrazine are supposed to be contained. […]”   –> 250,000 Bq/m^3 Co-60

A search for Co-60 @  Fukushima Diary resulted in 10 articles.  I picked these to highlight some more peculiar data:

“According to Tepco, significantly high level of Co-60 was measured from the piece of debris taken from SFP4.  They measured 1,400,000,000 Bq/Kg of Co-60 (half-life 5.3 years).  The surface dose was 1 mSv/h.   The sample was 4g. It was taken when they washed the new fuel assembly removed from the spent fuel pool in reactor 4. (8/29/2012)   Tepco states it felt like grit. Some parts were broken into sand, which couldn’t be collected.

They also collected debris from between the fuel assemblies when they removed the channel box of the new fuel from SFP4.   They measured 830 million Bq/Kg of Co-60 from the piece of sample as well. […]”

Related to this article… (my emphasis and commentary)  “Ag-110m [radioactive Silver] detected from gas sample of reactor1 and 3, “The boiling point is 2,164℃” [URL]   According to Tepco, they also detected Co-60 from the gas samples of reactor 1, 2 and 3. 

They state it’s “a main corrosion product made from activation of structure material”.

[Yes… but every nuclear reactor has a general similar structure as far as materials go (concrete, steel, lead, zirconium cladding, etc …), so why these extremely high levels of Co-60 at Fukushima leaking out in the water, in on-site off-gassing and carried far away through the atmosphere? ]

“From the concentrated water of reactor3, they also measured 98,000 Bq/m3 of Mn-54 (Half-life : 312 days), which is also a corrosion product. Tepco announced the corrosion products from structural material activation, Co-60 and Mn-54 are detected from retained water as well.    Data:

  • Reactor 1 : Co-60, 0.57 Bq/m3 from particulates filter
  • Reactor 2 : Co-60, 68,000 Bq/m3 from concentrated water
  • Reactor 3 : Co-60, 420,000 Bq/m3 from concentrated water
  • Mn-54, 98,000 Bq/m3 from concentrated water […]”

–> The closer to the Reactor 3 / SFP 4, the higher the Co-60 concentrations???  (Just wondering…)

This next one is quite telling in regards to the importance of Co-60 at F1:

“5 sorts of nuclide density reached the highest readings in a boring hole located in the seaside of Reactor 2 again. […]  Those 5 sorts of nuclides are all that Tepco reports about to consist of Cs-134, Cs-137, Mn-54, Co-60 and all β nuclides

[Note: “all β nuclides” is believed to consist to a large extent of Strontium-90 and  Tritium].

!!!->  Regarding Strontium-90, see also my post (Sept. 25, 2014), Strontium-90 skyrocketing in Fukushima’s On-Site Groundwater. German meltdown model that predicted this suggests worst is yet to come.

!!!-> The US EPA suspended all testing from Tritium in precipitation in 2012!  Included in my post (April 10, 2015)  Fingerprints of an ongoing Cover-Up? EPA data makes Fukushima look over 1000% less serious than Chernobyl…

“Variety sorts of nuclides marked the highest density on 10/9/2014. (cf, Various nuclides density marked the highest level in groundwater from multiple locations of Fukushima plant [URL])  This is from the same boring hole and the record was already broken:

(10/9 → 10/13, Bq/m3)

  • Cs-134 : 17,000,000 → 61,000,000
  • Cs-137 : 51,000,000 → 190,000,000
  • Co-60 : 2,100,000 → 3,600,000
  • All β : 2,100,000,000 → 7,800,000,000   […]”
  • (Mn-54 data was not listed in that article)”

!–>  If that doesn’t drive home how extreme the Cobalt-60 aspect of the Fukushima disaster is, I don’t know what could.

What do Cobalt-60, Manganese-54 and Tritium have in common, if anything?  They are all three neutron-activation products. What do you need to create massive amounts of neutron activation products?  A steady stream of free neutrons. How do you get those?  From nuclear fission reactions (criticalities). Were all these activation products created in March-April 2011, or are they still being produced?  [crickets…]

– Related ponderings in my post (sorry for the repetition) (Nov. 20, 2015)  Debunking the ‘Impossibility’ of Ongoing Criticalities at Fukushima-Daiichi

http-:enenews.com:food-products-heavily-contaminated-fukushima-found-30000-pcikg-cesium-cobalt-60-antimony-124-seaweed-green-tea-10000-pcikg-fda-found-fukushima-contamination-food-supply-during-routine-monitoring.gif

Dr. Metzger’s presentation on the contamination of food imports in the early days of the Fukushima accident presented at the American Chemical Society Annual Meeting in New Orleans can be found here (a Powerpoint presentation; The Co-60 mention is on page 18).

On page 17, by the way, is another interesting piece:

The first observed food import that had observable contamination was found on March 30. One species of seafood in a Sushi import was found to be contaminated with 131I only.” 

–>  This adds weight to my impression that when a sample doesn’t test positive for Cs-134/Cs-137, that that DOES NOT automatically mean that “the detected radiosiotope didn’t come from the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster.”

And on that note…:

  • My Very Own Co-60 Data from a Japanese kelp sample’s Gamma Spectroscopy

!-> From my Jan. 19, 2014 report,  SUMMARY of my ‘Independent LAB TEST RESULTS’ (Hokkaido Kelp, etc.):, with added emphasis:

9samples_kelp_nori_tea_herring_emsl_overviewtable_k40included_mvb2014_annot2016

This independent scientific investigation of mine was not why I went to Japan.  It resulted from not knowing that seaweeds, and kelps more specifically, can contain véry high levels of Potassium, much higher than bananas or certain nuts.  (All natural Potassium (K)  contains a trace of K-40, to which Geiger Counters are apparently just as sensitive as to radioCesiums).  For more on that see, my original reports, as well as these two blog posts:

The only reason I spent the money on those lab tests I did was because I thought is would reveal contamination that was being suppressed.  I learned a lot from doing this.  Mainly about Potassium (see links above).  But perhaps my intuition was on to something after all.  Out of the 6 kelp samples, NONE contained Cesium-134 nor even Cesium-137.

However, and perhaps this was ultimately worth all the trouble:  Spectacularly, one kelp sample from Southern Hokkaido did contain 1.4 Bq/kg Cobalt-60.  And, also not given any further thought at the time: Of the 3 samples I had additional tests done on, 1 of these 3 also contained an unknown Alpha-radiation source @ 132.2 Bq/Kg.

The fact remains:  The high strangeness of massive quantities of Co-60 in Fukushima’s fallout and water contamination is not being reported on much.  This is all the more reason to research it more.

  • Important remark:   WE KNOW that 1) Bomb Fallout contains more Co-60 than Nuclear Reactor Accident fallout.  So how does 1.4 Bq/kg (dry) compare to detections during the height to nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific Ocean (1960s-1970s)?

Answer:  It’s a relatively very significant level of contamination.

–> This document, Concentrations and Concentration Factors of Several Anthropogenic and Natural Radionuclides in Marine Vertebrates and Invertebrates from 1984 (revised, 1985), EPA 520-1-84-028, gives some specific values for liver tissues of salmon and tuna (my annotations added in red):

Nepis_EPA_co60_page73_page77

Which makes the following all the more odd…

  • Co-60, a RadioIsotope BEYOND ‘FORGOTTEN’ ?

In my last (July 11, 2015) correpondence with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine biologist Ken Buesseler – [originally shared in my post, (Nov. 8, 2015) Another Round of Looking into Recent Radiological Disturbaces.], I started out with a response to another top-scientist, Georg Steinhauser, author of (2014) Fukushima’s Forgotten Radionuclides: A Review of the Understudied Radioactive Emissions), an interesting document, for sure, which Dr. Ken Buesseler referred me to.

First, most of the letter (again), then the reason I bring this up.

  • Anything in my Lab-Analyzed June 2015 Colorado Rainwater?

Not really.

In another round of humbling learning rounds [hence, again, my DISCLAIMER, folks, seriously: I’m just a volunteer amateur “laptop-wielding mountain dweller” blogger, with zero academic credentials.   I beg you to think for yourselves.  I’ve been WRONG enough to have ‘gotten a clue’ about how complex this topic gets], what began with an admitedly overly alarmist (July 6, 2015), “Gamma-Spectroscopy Results of Colorado Radioactive Freak Rain: Fukushima’s Fissioning Mini-Sun on the Edge of the Pacific Ocean is COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL“, was nuanced just 4 days later with, “Upon further scrutiny of the raw data, some of the radioisotopes listed as “de facto detected” may need to be scrapped”, and resulted in a far less alarming post, (Aug. 1, 2015) “Synopsis / Improved Version: ‘Mainland USA June 14 2015 Radioactive Rain & Lichen Data Revisited’.

I my non-expert opinion, the MDC’s were simply too high to get the kind of precision data I was looking for.  Not the lab’s fault, I just had to learn some things the hard (expensive)  way. ;-/   I guess…

Side-note:  I was going to have Dr. George Steinhauser (also very kind and professional in our communications, and at that time just north of me and in the same area as the lab I worked with last, at the Ft. Collins branch of Colorado State University in in Northern Colorado) have the rainwater sample re-tested with much múch higher precision, but -alas- things got “a little delayed” at the lab.    (Otherwise… wouldn’t thát have been interesting? …)

But, as I said, ALAS:   First the extremely helpful and fast-responding assistant at the lab, who had sent me the raw data before the final results were in, emailed me that, “I have resigned my position with ALS” (no clue why, but I thought it was a little strange that a customer was given this information in the midst of a testing);  and then, by that time in direct correspondence with the very knowledgeable and also helpful lab manager, the sample-release delay was eventually explained to me (by the lab manager himself), when I asked why it was taking so long:   “I have this on my list, but I was out all last week on emergency leave (my house burned down)“.  

That was that.   Shit happens…   I guess.  :-/     Of course, an entire 2 months after, 1) getting the sample retested was no longer in the cards (as George had moved back to Germany), and 2) any short-lived radioisotope, like I-131, would have become undetectable anyhow.   End of story.  

The evidence for Cobalt-60 data in my rainwater sample was weak. Other hints of Cobalt radioisotopes are less weak, but still too weak for me to find significant.  The only truly notable data “of significance” (if that…) pertained mainly to Sb-124, also an activation product:   Repeated from (Aug. 1, 2015)  Synopsis / Improved Version: ‘Mainland USA June 14 2015 Radioactive Rain & Lichen Data Revisited’.  (EXCERPT):

Antimony-124 (Sb-124), half-life: 60.2 days, fission-activation product.  See it in its decay chain @ http://periodictable.com/Isotopes/051.124/index2.full.prod.html

Sb-124 in the rain sample:   Yes, near-certain:

Sb124_Rain_corr!–> One of the two measurement values is 2.5x higher than the Method Blank, outside the Method Blanks’s margin of error, ánd above MDC, and its margin of error does not go below the MDC.  (The average of the two measurement values is just above both MDCs too.)

Sb-124 in the lichen sample:   Yes, likely:

Sb124_Lichen_corr–> Both (uncertain) measurement values are higher than the Method Blank, one even more than 21x higher.  (The average of the two tests is also 11x more than the Method Blank.)

Sb-124 does not occur in nature, it is an activation product of Sb-123, created in heavy neutron bombardments, such as in an active nuclear reactor.  It’s been linked to releases from Fukushima, see here and here, but it is generally more associated with nuclear bomb fallout (caused by the sudden massive neutron bombardment of a nuclear detonation), see here.

See more in the original reports.

–> Interesting, not?  Sure, no Co-60 signal in the noise, and yet… isn’t it peculiar to detect a trace of Sb-124, which, like C0-60, is more associated with nuclear bomb fallout?

  • ADDITIONAL Cobalt-60 RELATED INFORMATION

  • Co-60 potential use in Radiological Dispersion Devices (RDDs, aka “Dirty Bombs”)

Since the medical trade is well-regulated and there is no shortage of this medically used radiosiotope, the only reason to build a ridiculously large stockpile of Cobalt-60 would be as part of a secret weapons program.

I don’t think this was the case at Fukushima (because I think the CO-60 was released through the massive SFP4 zirconium fire, mega-blast at Unit3, and through massive neutron flux bombardment of the Fe-58 in the rubble of one or more full-on-still-fissioning meltdowns), but the available literature on RDD’s does actually contain little bit of information that actuualy could be relevant for the dispersion of Cobalt-60:

CO-60 is listed as one of a handful of radioisotopes considered ideal for use in an RDD [Radiological Dispersal Device, a.k.a. Dirty Bomb] including Cesium-137, Strontium-90, Americium-241, and Cobalt-60.” ( CIA report: Terrorist CBRN: Materials and Effects)

The beforementioned EPA document (Particle Transport of Radionuclides: a Literature Review and Summary ) goes into some details about it, including some aspects that could apply to the Fukushima disaster.  Excerpts (with my emphasis):

RDD_1b

-> that excerpt just mentioned Co-60.  The below excerpts, however, contain some possible relevant information:

RDD_3

–> What if the explosion in Reactor 3 (the one that may have been a supercriticality, rather than a mere hydrogen explosion), what if it also caused ‘phase changes’, causing certain radioisotopes to remain airborne for longer periods?

fukushima-explosion-pic

KABOOM went Unit 3…   An unintentional RDD?

What if Fukushima, due to its large amounts of (Highly radioactive) Spent Fuel involved, as well as MOX-fuel in use (containing a higher amount of Plutonium) was in fact a combination of 1) multiple reactor meltdowns and 2) what essentially could be viewed as “a dirty bomb” (not by design, but by consequence)?

The typical “heterogeneous patterns” of such fallout dispersion could perhaps be part of why certain radioisotopes were detected without radioCesiums present.

Anyhow, thought thats an interesting possibility.

As I wrote in early 2014, “Was Fukushima also producing (highly profitable) medical Cobalt-60 in the reactor at the time of the explosions?  Was there that much neutron bombardement of steel happening in the rubble to create this much Co-60?  Had it already been made for medical applications and was it being stored on site (like spent fuel rods, piling up largely unprotected, in ridiculous quantities)?  Or – one never knows, right? (Fits the State Secrets Act narrative and Japan’s apparent re-militarization road map…) – could they have been researching, or even unlawfully and secretly building Cobalt Bombs?”

TimRiffat_Co60_ramble

–> On the issue of Cobalt-60 for military uses, Tim Rifat (a controversial figure desribed as “an expert on Remote Viewing, Influencing, & Psychic warfare, among other things“) discussed his take on the significance of Cobalt-60, pre-Fukushima-disaster (radio show from 2010!), on the (and take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt) Jeff Rense Show, Sept. 22, 2010.), calling it “the perfect weapon” for opponents of NATO to use, and making various claims along those lines, all without providing any evidence.  Is this just talk?    Maybe there’s something to it, I don’t know.   Worth a listen, though.

There’s an article, “The Never-Tested Doomsday Bomb, From Bill Hamilton, also on Rense, @ http://rense.com/general40/dooms.htm, that touches on the same idea:

“[…]  The Co-60 fallout hazard is greater than the fission products from a U-238 blanket because many fission-produced isotopes have half-lives that are very short, and thus decay before the fallout settles or can be protected against by short-term sheltering; many fission-produced isotopes have very long half-lives and thus do not produce very intense radiation;the fission products are not radioactive at all. The half-life of Co-60 on the other hand is long enough to settle out before significant decay has occurred, and to make it impractical to wait out in shelters, yet is short enough that intense radiation is produced. […]”

  • Massive Neutron Flux ?

Apart from the above speculation, perhaps far more likely is that Cobalt-60 was 1) released through vaporiation of the Co-60-containing reacture structure, and 2) created by massive neutron bombardment in the rubble.  

This is where the mathematics of key calculations get a bit over my head.  You have to be familiar with nuclear neutron cross sections (expressed in the unit, barns) and know some parameters to work with, such as:

  • the amount of steel targetted with neutrons (likely unintentionally as part of the still-fissioning meltdowns in march 2011, and perhaps even ongoing, as I’ve alleged off and on over the years), and
  • have an estimate of how much (total) Cobalt-60 was actually released,
  • –> to calculate the likely required neutron flux to have resulted in that amount of Co-60 created.

It’s one thing to create Co-60 intentionally through directing a neutron beam to pure (natural, stable) Cobalt-59, the likelihood of creating massive quantities of Co-60 through a DOUBLE neutron uptake by Iron-58 is significanly lower.  The main ingredient of steel, iron, consists of various iron isotopes, with Fe-58 only comprising 0.282% of regular iron.  Steel of reactor pressure vessels become realtively rich in Co-60 only due to LONG-TERM neutron exposure.  Given Co-60 was not a significant component of other nuclear accidents, my guess is that the Co-60 already present in the reactor structure is highy unlikely enough to explain the (above documented significant & global) detections of Co-60.

Therefor, a scientific case can likely be made for EXTREME neutron fluxes and extremely high heat to have occured to explain the creation of otherwise inexplicable Co-60 concentrations. 

Such a case would likely be similar to the calculations made that explain highly unusual extreme levels of Chlorine-38, data of which was later redacted to “<MDC”, as documented and explained well in this article, “What Caused the High Cl-38 Radioactivity in the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #1?  福島第一原発の1号機(タービン建屋)から検出された高濃度放射性塩素38の原因は何か

Screenshot of its opening (much more in artice itself):
APJ_Chlorine38_fukushima

Given Co-60’s association with Nuclear bombs, my guess is that supercriticalities truly did occur at Fukushima-Daiichi, and that this aspect is being covered-up, in part through ignoring smoking-gun evidence of this:  Extremely unusual Cobalt-60 releases.

And given that very peculiar fallout clouds CONTAINING COBALT-60, hitherto unexplained, have continued to drift over the few public monitors that report this sort of data (namely a couple European monitors, which also included tiny trace whiffs of Iodine-131, and even Zirconium-97 in Germany, within 2 weeks of the Co-60 + Cs-134/I-131, etc detections), this suggests having originated from a leaking reactor or disaster site with very recent fission.   If from Fukushima, still my #1 suspect due to lack of knowledge of any other major recent nuclear accident, that would mean “inadvertent transient criticalities”  happened as recent as 2015.

I’ve documented some of these odd detections in many blogposts, including these from 2015:

  • Conclusion?

Conclusion is too strong of a word.  There’s too many unknowns.   But these things I feel reasonably confident about:

  • fun-science-extrapolateFukushima’s Cobalt-60 releases, in 2011 near & distant airborne detections, as well as ground water, cooling water, debris fragments, soil and seaweed samples, go far beyond what could have resulted from an ordinary meltdown. 
  • Cobalt-60 is a significant tracer for Fukushima radiological pollution.  Its lack of mention and study in establishment scientific literature is suspect. 
  • Post-2011 atmospheric fallout detections that included Co-60, such as seen in the examples shown (including the 2 above links from 2015) suggest the possibility of ongoing criticalities at Fukushima-Daiichi.  If that’s the case, then that aspect is actively being coverd up as well.

Why does this matter?  Well, for starters, if it’s determined that fully-IAEA-approved, so-called “safe” reactor complexes can continue fissioning years after a meltdown, with no technology in existence to stop such a polluting mess, then ALL existing nuclear fission reactors would, as such, be proven UNSAFE.  Period.  My sense is that this is the case, and ALL new construction ought to be stopped immediately, and all existing still-operational reactors ought to be turned off immediately.

The nuclear cartel’s gamble’s odds may seem “reasonable”, but the worst-case scenario holds far too extreme consequences to be allowed.  Period.

SHUT THEM ALL DOWN NOW !

 

fiveworstcases_foia_fukushima

Click image for more: from the Freedom of Information Act – released documents…

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Last edited & updated:  Jan. 26, 2016

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78 Responses to Any Significance to Cobalt-60 in Fukushima Fallout?

  1. MVB says:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24352529

    Radiation-induced bystander effects in the Atlantic salmon (salmo salar L.) following mixed exposure to copper and aluminum combined with low-dose gamma radiation. Mothersill C1, Smith RW, Heier LS, Teien HC, Lind OC, Seymour CB, Oughton D, Salbu B.

    Erratum in Radiat Environ Biophys. 2014 Mar;53(1):115. Land, Ole Christian [corrected to Lind, Ole Christian].

    Abstract

    Very little is known about the combined effects of low doses of heavy metals and radiation. However, such “multiple stressor” exposure is the reality in the environment. In the work reported in this paper, fish were exposed to cobalt 60 gamma irradiation with or without copper or aluminum in the water. Doses of radiation ranged from 4 to 75 mGy delivered over 48 or 6 h. Copper doses ranged from 10 to 80 μg/L for the same time period. The aluminum dose was 250 μg/L. Gills and skin were removed from the fish after exposure and explanted in tissue culture flasks for investigation of bystander effects of the exposures using a stress signal reporter assay, which has been demonstrated to be a sensitive indicator of homeostatic perturbations in cells. The results show complex synergistic interactions of radiation and copper. Gills on the whole produce more toxic bystander signals than skin, but the additivity scores show highly variable results which depend on dose and time of exposure. The impacts of low doses of copper and low doses of radiation are greater than additive, medium levels of copper alone have a similar level of effect of bystander signal toxicity to the low dose. The addition of radiation stress, however, produces clear protective effects in the reporters treated with skin-derived medium. Gill-derived medium from the same fish did not show protective effects. Radiation exposure in the presence of 80 μg/L led to highly variable results, which due to animal variation were not significantly different from the effect of copper alone. The results are stressor type, stressor concentration and time dependent. Clearly co-exposure to radiation and heavy metals does not always lead to simple additive effects.

    PMID: 24352529 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

  2. MVB says:

    In the above blog post, I focussed on Cobalt-60, but this is of course only one of many Fukushima-released radioactive heavy metals (as well as no-longer-radioactive heavy metal end-decay products).

    In this paper, the bioaccumulation of various radioisotopes is studied. Cobalt-60 and Zinc-65 turned out to accumulate the most within just 20 days in the secies Furcellaria lumbricalis, an algae:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S007832341150017X

    Excerpt:

    Bioaccumulation of gamma emitting radionuclides in red algae from the Baltic Sea under laboratory conditions, by Tamara Zalewska, , Michał Saniewski doi:10.5697/oc.53-2.631

    Abstract

    The bioaccumulation ability of radionuclides 51Cr, 54Mn, 57Co, 60Co, 65Zn, 85Sr, 109Cd, 110mAg, 113Sn, 137Cs and 241Am in two red algae species from the southern Baltic Sea – Polysiphonia fucoides and Furcellaria lumbricalis – was determined under laboratory conditions. P. fucoides demonstrated better bioaccumulative properties towards most of the investigated radionuclides. As a result, P. fucoides can be recommended as a good bioindicator of radioactive environmental pollution. The bioaccumulation of radionuclides in F. lumbricalis was studied during an extended laboratory experiment. The initial extensive uptake of radioisotopes was followed by the rapid removal of cations; in general, concentrations tended to decrease with time. 137Cs displayed a different behaviour, its concentration in the algae increasing over time mainly due to its large ion radius; this is a factor that could be responsible for the stronger mechanical and chemical bonding of Cs+ and that could hamper the movement of ions in both directions.
    Keywords

    Radionuclides; Marine macroalgae; Bioaccumulation

    1. Introduction

    The bioaccumulative properties of marine organisms towards radionuclides may be very useful for potential application in monitoring and assessment procedures of the marine environment as such and especially in monitoring nuclear facility waste sites. Radionuclides can be used as radiotracers in studies of heavy metal and organic pollutant behaviour (uptake, distribution and retention) in marine flora (Wolterbeek et al. 1995, Boisson et al. 1997, Malea & Haritonidis 2000, Kleinschmidt 2009, Strezov & Nonova 2009) and fauna (Warnau et al. 1999, Fowler et al. 2004, Kumblad et al. 2005).

    It is to be anticipated that marine algae are the most suitable indicators of dissolved metal forms because, in contrast to animals, there is no dietary route involved in the uptake of the trace element (Szefer 2002a). Marine algae concentrate metals from seawater, and variations in metal concentrations in the thallus are often taken to reflect the metal concentration in the surrounding seawater (Szefer & Skwarzec 1988, Lobban & Harrison 1997). The other rationale for using macroalgae in basic investigations and for monitoring purposes is their widespread distribution, relatively easy accessibility and intensive physiological and growth processes, which take place within a relatively confined period of the year and which are accompanied by increased uptake and quick response to the contamination.

    Because heavy metals can have different influences on marine algae, it is important to recognize bioaccumulation as a means of assessing the potential risk arising from the presence of heavy metals in the environment. From the environmental pollution point of view, heavy metals can be classified into three groups: non-critical, toxic but very insoluble or very rare, and very toxic and relatively accessible (Lobban & Harrison 1997). Some heavy metals from the last category, e.g. manganese, iron, copper and zinc, are essential micronutrients, and their ultimate influence depends strongly on their concentrations found in algal organisms. They may limit algal growth if their concentrations are too low, but at the same time they can be very toxic at higher concentrations (Lobban & Harrison 1997).

    The concentration of heavy metals in algal thalli is a result of the efficiency of bioaccumulation, which in turn is a result of the combined bioaccumulation affinity of macroalgae for a particular metal, as well as the bioavailability and physical/chemical form of that metal. The tendency for macroalgae to bioaccumulate various substances depends strongly on their morphology and physiology, which in turn are closely related to the group of algae to which they belong. As shown for Baltic benthic plants, the concentrations of heavy metals (Bojanowski 1973, Szefer & Skwarzec 1988, Falandysz 1994) as well as radionuclides (Bojanowski & Pempkowiak 1977, Skwarzec & Bojanowski 1992) have changed over a wide range in species representing different divisions. Further toxic interaction (besides the elevated concentrations) may arise from the radiation if an unstable heavy metal isotope is accumulated. The radiation emitted can lead to mutagenic interactions of various kinds, affecting growth and metabolic processes.

    Metals are taken up by algae both passively and actively. Some, like strontium, are passively adsorbed by polysaccharides in the cell wall and intercellular matrix. Others, like Zn and Cd, are taken up actively against a large intracellular concentration gradient (Lobban & Harrison 1997). Metabolically controlled uptake mechanisms were proven in the case of 54Mn, 65Zn, 110mAg, 109Cd and 60Co by Boisson et al. (1997), who demonstrated the temperature-dependent uptake kinetics observed for these radionuclides.

    An understanding of the bioaccumulation of radionuclides and heavy metals in macroalgae can assist the development of environmental monitoring programmes (Burger et al. 2006, HELCOM 2009). Such information is also indispensable in the development of models and methodologies for assessing the impact of radioactivity originating from nuclear facilities, especially with regard to radioactivity in the marine environment and marine life (Lepicard et al. 2004, Brown et al. 2006, Kumblad et al. 2006).

    As far as applications based on monitoring systems are concerned, an essential step is to identify bioindicator organisms, among which marine plants play a very important role. This may be achieved by collecting basic information on the bioaccumulative properties of individual macroalgal species towards radionuclides or heavy metals.

    Information based on investigations into bioaccumulation processes can also be useful in assessing the potential application of benthic plants as biofertilizers (Filipkowska et al. 2008), as bioadsorbents for metal removal in wastewater treatment (Radway et al. 2001) and in heavy metal detoxification (Cobbett 2000).

    The present study aimed to evaluate the bioaccumulative properties of two red algae species – Polysiphonia fucoides and Furcellaria lumbricalis – towards gamma-emitting radionuclides. The reference solution used in the experiment contained eleven radionuclides: 51Cr, 54Mn, 57Co, 60Co, 65Zn, 85Sr, 109Cd, 110mAg, 113Sn, 137Cs and 241Am, all analogues of mainly very toxic and relatively accessible metals (Lobban & Harrison 1997), representing the most common radionuclides present in discharged radioactive waste.
    […]

  3. MVB says:

    Recall any ALGEA BLOOMS being mentioned as a possible factor in marine deaths? Might be more to it than just the algea bloom…

    Bioaccumulation of silver-110m, cobalt-60, cesium-137, and manganese-54 by the freshwater algae Scenedesmus obliquus and Cyclotella meneghiana and by suspended matter collected during a summer bloom event

    @ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/250392482_Bioaccumulation_of_silver-110m_cobalt-60_cesium-137_and_manganese-54_by_the_freshwater_algae_Scenedesmus_obliquus_and_Cyclotella_meneghiana_and_by_suspended_matter_collected_during_a_summer_bloom_even

    Limnology and Oceanography (Impact Factor: 3.79). 11/2003; 48(6):2303-2313. DOI: 10.4319/lo.2003.48.6.2303

    ABSTRACT
    Laboratory experiments were done to assess ${}^{110\text{m}}\text{Ag}$ , 60Co, 137Cs, and 54Mn uptake by two phytoplankton species, the chlorophyte Scenedesmus obliquus and the small diatom Cyclotella meneghiana. Mn and Co were characterized by similar uptake kinetic rates, 20-30 d-1, whatever the algal species, whereas depuration rates were 3-60 d-1 Silver uptake and depuration rates were very high (144-293 d-1). However, Cs accumulation and depuration were very slow, with kinetic constants of 0.6-5 d-1. Mn, Co, and Ag were more strongly accumulated by C. meneghiana than S. obliquus and vice versa for Cs. To evaluate the extrapolation of the kinetic rates fitted for S. obliquus and C. meneghiana to natural conditions, suspended solids were also collected during a bloom event and contaminated. Radionuclide exchange between three distinct compartments among the suspended solids was modeled: the kinetic rates fitted for S. obliquus and C. meneghiana were used to represent chlorophyte and bacillariophyte contamination, whereas kinetic rates describing a third compartment were estimated when possible. A third compartment was evidenced only for Mn and Co, whereas, for Ag, the chlorophyte and bacillariophyte compartments were sufficient to describe the particulate phase. For Cs, algae kinetic rates could not be used, so a single compartment was fitted. These experiments confirm the low affinity of Cs for phytoplankton and the high bioavailability of Ag. In the case of Co and Mn, several processes acting simultaneously govern the contamination of natural suspended solids.

    Bioaccumulation of silver-110m, cobalt-60, cesium-137, and manganese-54 by the freshwater algae Scenedesmus obliquus and Cyclotella meneghiana and by suspended matter collected during a summer bloom event. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/250392482_Bioaccumulation_of_silver-110m_cobalt-60_cesium-137_and_manganese-54_by_the_freshwater_algae_Scenedesmus_obliquus_and_Cyclotella_meneghiana_and_by_suspended_matter_collected_during_a_summer_bloom_even [accessed Jan 26, 2016].

  4. MVB says:

    RELATED – ’cause, you know… I’m a little tired of experts like Ken Buesseler providing not much more than Cesium 134 & Cesium 137 data on seawater… and continuing to claim that Fukushima has no noticeable effects on Pacific marine organisms…

    quote: “Plutonium (239,240Pu) concentrations in liver were several thousand times higher than levels found in seawater.”

    That’s from 2002: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242854360_Silver-110m_and_Cobalt-60_in_Oceanic_and_Coastal_Organisms

    (Large quantities of plutonium were released by Fukushima as well… Where are the liver data of various samples? Where’s the detailed data for various heavy metals, radioisotopes, decay prodcuts, ratios, etc. for liver tissue, intenstinal track, skin, etc. of the dead washed-ashore whales, sea lions, seals, multitude of dead sea birds, etc.?

    Anyhow… From 2002:

    “metabolism during a growth processes (Folsom et al., 1965). This finding is useful for 37 evaluating toxic metal elements and radionuclide pollution in marine environment (Folsom et 38 al., 1970). ”

    Article: Plutonium concentration and 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratio in liver of squid collected in the coastal sea areas of Japan
    Shinji Oikawa · Masayoshi Yamamoto

    ABSTRACT: Plutonium isotopes, 239Pu and 240Pu, were measured in liver samples from Surume squid using a sector-field high resolution ICP-MS after radiochemical purification. Surume squid samples were obtained from nine landing ports in Japanese inshore during fishery season from September to December 2002. Concentrations of 239Pu and 240Pu ranged from 1.5 to 28 mBq kg(-1) and 1.1 to 24 mBq kg(-1), respectively. Plutonium (239,240Pu) concentrations in liver were several thousand times higher than levels found in seawater. The concentration factor (CF) compared to seawater for 239,240Pu and 13 other elements ranged from 10(0) to 10(7). The CF values for 239,240Pu, V and Th were 10(2)-10(4). Pu had an intermediate CF between conservative and scavenged elements. 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratios in the squid liver ranged from 0.177 to 0.237 which were slightly higher than 0.178+/-0.014 for global fallout. The variations of 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratios in ocean currents with different source functions are important for interpreting high 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratios in Surume squid liver. It seems likely that Pu with high 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratio is continuously transported through the solubilization and seawater transport from the North Equatorial Current to Kuroshio and its branch, Tsushima Current. By assuming that Pu found in Surume squid liver is a mixture of global fallout Pu (0.178) and close-in fallout Pu with high 240Pu/239Pu atomic ratio (0.30-0.36) around Bikini Atoll, Pu contribution from Bikini close-in fallout Pu accounts for close to 35% of the whole plutonium in Surume squid liver. These results highlight that Surume squid is a useful organism for evaluating environmental Pu levels of larger sea area and facilitate the development of models to understand oceanic transport of close-in fallout Pu from Bikini Atoll.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

  5. MVB says:

    Or, HERE, “Radionuclides 134Cs, 137Cs and 40K in muscle tissues of cetaceans stranded on the coast of Hokkaido, in northern Japan, and * samples from 2 species caught 1000 km offshore”

    (excerpt, below. Study @ http://www.int-res.com/articles/feature/m535p001.pdf )

    Why just musscle tissue? WHy just radioCesiums? You look through the bomb testing era studies, and you see very detailed studies of a long list of radionuclides of various tissues, including LIVER tissues, for example. Why are such studies apparently NOT DONE post-Fukushima? What the hell is up with that?

    ABSTRACT:
    We analyzed radiocesium (134Cs and 137Cs) levels in the muscle tissue of several odontocetes and mysticetes stranded on the coast of Hokkaido (the northernmost island of Japan) in 2011 and 2012, following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident in March 2011. Since most of the radiocesium from the FDNPP was released into the western North Pacific Ocean and carried eastward from the Japan coast, there was little radiocesium contamination in the seawater around Hokkaido. Hokkaido is surrounded by the North Pacific Ocean, the Japan Sea, and the Okhotsk Sea, but radiocesium was predominantly detected in the cetaceans stranded along the North Pacific coast between June and October 2011. Among the stranded cetaceans, which included the Pacific white-sided dolphin, harbour porpoise and Dall’s porpoise (odontocetes) as well as the common minke whale and humpback whale (mysticetes), the highest level of contamination was found in a common minke whale. The radiocesium contamina-
    tion of these cetaceans suggests that they moved seasonally from the south of Hokkaido, particularly through the contaminated area of the western North
    Pacific Ocean. The radiocesium levels in the tissues of these animals is likely a result of the contamination level of the seawater along their travel route, rather than their trophic level, because of the sudden changes in radiocesium transport and diffusion in
    seawater that occurred in 2011.”

    […]

  6. flyingcuttlefish says:

    great post!
    Related (to algae topic) –
    http://flyingcuttlefish.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/both-hands/

  7. a remarkable and well researched piece Joseph B. Stone, PhD

  8. bo says:

    Hokkaido University is blacklisted as pronuke in Japan along with Tokyo, Fukushima, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo Institute of Technology.. (“more proNuke than others” is the technical way to say it, as all in Japan are blanketed under pro-nuke..)

    Do you remember Doug Dasher, the radioecologist from University of Alaska? He still has freezers filled to the brim with organs of sealions and other animals… waiting to be measured for radiation.. but he has no money to continue…

    Thanks for the massive research, Michaël ! I only skimmed just now – the research is massive – and as usual – filled with nuance… so I am treading softly.

    xo bo

  9. diemos says:

    “Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers”

    Really.

  10. MVB says:

    You’re welcome. Couldn’t find a spot where the Co-60 info had been brought together, so figured I’d give it a shot.

    I didn’t recall him, but found this article to refresh my memory: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/fukushima-radiation-may-making-alaska-seals-sick.html

    How are these universities you mentioned “blacklisted” if they’re “pro-nuke”? Blacklisted by whom? Or what do you mean? And which ones are still, to some extent, acting as *actual univesities* (rather than mere extensions of corporate interests) ?

  11. MVB says:

    I might get to that, some day… You’ve mentioned it before. It has some awful reviews (a lot of these types of books seem to…). http://www.amazon.com/Probability-Statistics-Engineers-Scientists-Edition/dp/0321629116

    Other possibilities I’v looked at were

    Probability, Random Variables and Stochastic Processes, by S. Unnikrishna Pillai & Athanasios Papoulis
    http://www.amazon.com/Probability-Random-Variables-Stochastic-Processes/dp/0071226613

    and

    Probability and Measure, by Patrick Billingsley (although that one may require me to first brush up on a lot of prerequisite math I forgot)
    http://www.amazon.com/Probability-Measure-Patrick-Billingsley/dp/1118122372

  12. flyingcuttlefish says:

    Dr. Leuren Moret says –
    “In the fission process of plutonium and uranium, used in nuclear technologies, they produce nearly 2000 different different radioactive isotopes of every element on the periodic chart. Cobalt 60 is one of them. “

  13. MVB says:

    Instead “in the fission process…”, more correct would be “as a consequence of the fission process…”, or really: as a consequence any strong enough neutron bombardment of Co-59 or Fe-58. I’m not going to dig for it now, but Leuren has said a number of things in the past that resulted in me not taking her seriously.

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  15. flyingcuttlefish says:

    her big expertise is in high altitude dust …. and fallout.

  16. MVB says:

    Got a link where I can assess her expertise on that matter that for myself?

  17. flyingcuttlefish says:

    A lot on this page –
    http://leurenmoret.info/archive/index.html
    2/3 down the page to “Populations Exposed to Environmental Uranium

    Increased Risk of Infertility and Reproductive Cancers” :
    “Even more surprising, the radiocesium reported in the paper had been measured by the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab (managed by the University of California), from the north end of San Francisco Bay to the coastal waters at the tip of Baja California, Mexico. By mapping the pattern of breast cancer in Marin County”
    and below that. She left Livermore for a big Hiroshima anniversary in Japan and and helped Japanese victims who were getting no aid from their gov’t in help for health effects of the blast years later. She helped produce the impact modles (maps) presented in court and for the first time ever they won in court.
    * * * * * *
    “International Radiation Distribution”
    http://leurenmoret.info/archive/international-radiation/index.html

  18. MVB says:

    tx., flyingcuttlefish –

    I’ll give it a fresh look.

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  22. MVB says:

    Nevada Test Site related Cobalt-60 fallout maps and other tidbits of relevant info:

    @ http://femalefaust.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/in-case-you-thought-cdc-wouldnt-lie-to.html

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