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Radiation Medicine

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Radiation still leaking into nearby Japanese waters 18 months after quake, tsunami - October 25th, 2012 - Eryn Brown

More than 18 months after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, 40-foot tsunami and nuclear power plant woes that struck Japan starting March 11, 2011, levels of radioactive cesium 134 and cesium 137 originating from the crippled Fukushima-Daiichi plant remain elevated in some fish and seafood in nearby waters.

That suggests that radiation from the plant is still being released into the ocean, wrote Ken Buesseler, a marine of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., in a perspective article in Friday's edition of the journal Nature.

Buesseler reviewed data on radionuclides in fish and other seafood that have been compiled by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries since March 23, 2011.


After Fukushima: Managing the Consequences of a Radiological Release - Final Report - March 2012

submitted by Robert G. Ross

Center for Biosecurity of UPMC

“Outside the Fence” of a Nuclear Power Plant Accident

Offsite Planning to Reduce the Public’s Exposure to Radiation

MARCH 7, 2012—Baltimore, MD—In a report released today, researchers at the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC assess offsite policies and plans that can be put in place to reduce the exposure of the public to radiation in the event of a nuclear power plant accident.

Even amidst the devastation following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year that killed more than 20,000 people, it was the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that led the country’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, to fear for “the very existence of the Japanese nation.”

While such low-probability, high-consequence releases have been rare in the history of existing nuclear power plants, the growing number of plants worldwide increases the likelihood that such releases will occur in the future. Accidents far smaller in scale than the one in Fukushima could have major societal consequences.

Health Uncertainties Torment Japanese in Nuke Zone

submitted by Samuel Bendett


Japan Chair Platform: Reflections on Health Reconstruction in Japan after 3-11

submitted by Linton Wells

By J. Stephen Morrison

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

Dec 7, 2011



IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Status Report - Full Update - November 4, 2011


The IAEA has received new information regarding the detection of xenon-133 and xenon-135 gases on 1 November inside the Primary Containment Vessel (PCV) of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2.

Based on further analysis, Japanese authorities have concluded that the xenon concentrations are not due to a criticality event but rather from the spontaneous fission of curium-242 and 244. (Spontaneous fission is a form of radioactive decay that does not involve chain reactions and is characteristic of very heavy isotopes. Spontaneous fission occurs in low levels in all nuclear reactors.)

This conclusion is based on three key factors outlined and discussed in the report:

Xenon Means Recent Fission in Reactor 2



Graphic by The Asahi Shimbun


By KAZUAKI NAGATA and MIZUHO AOKI - The Japan Times - November 3, 2011

Tepco claims level in gas too small to affect shutdown effort

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that some of the melted fuel in reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have triggered a brief criticality event.

Although the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said there have been no drastic changes in the reactor's temperature and pressure level, and the reactor itself is stable overall, the discovery may mean the goal of Tepco and the government to achieve cold shutdown of all three crippled reactors by the end of the year may not be possible.

Suggesting that criticality, or a sustained nuclear chain reaction, may have occurred temporarily, or partially, Tepco said one hundred thousandth of a becquerel per cubic centimeter of xenon-133 and xenon-135 was detected in gas samples.

New fission suspected at Fukushima nuclear plant National

Nov. 02, 2011 - 03:00PM JST ( 38 ) TOKYO — The operator of Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant said Wednesday it feared nuclear fission had resumed inside one of the reactors. Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it had begun injecting water and boric acid into No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which began leaking radiation after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. “We cannot rule out the possibility of a small nuclear fission reaction,” TEPCO spokesman Hiroki Kawamata said, adding that the injection was a precautionary measure. He said there was no fresh danger at the plant, as the reactor’s temperature and pressure, as well as radiation levels at monitoring posts, showed no substantial changes. Fission is the process by which an operating nuclear reactor produces power. The reactor automatically shut down in the wake of the disaster but nuclear fuel is believed to have melted through its container onto the bottom of the outer vessel when the tsunami knocked out the plant’s cooling systems. The injection was ordered after preliminary analysis of gas samples from the reactor building showed the possible presence of xenon 133 and xenon 135, byproducts of a nuclear reaction. The two substances have short half-lives—five days for xenon 133 and just nine hours for xenon 135—indicating that any nuclear fission was a recent phenomenon.

Citizens’ Testing Finds 20 Hot Spots Around Tokyo

By Hiroko Tabuchi - The New York Times - October 14, 2011


Toshiyuki Hattori, who runs a sewage plant in Tokyo, surrounded by sacks of radioactive sludge.  Kazuhiro Yokozeki for The New York Times

TOKYO — Takeo Hayashida signed on with a citizens’ group to test for radiation near his son’s baseball field in Tokyo after government officials told him they had no plans to check for fallout from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Like Japan’s central government, local officials said there was nothing to fear in the capital, 160 miles from the disaster zone.

Then came the test result: the level of radioactive cesium in a patch of dirt just yards from where his 11-year-old son, Koshiro, played baseball was equal to those in some contaminated areas around Chernobyl.

The patch of ground was one of more than 20 spots in and around the nation’s capital that the citizens’ group, and the respected nuclear research center they worked with, found were contaminated with potentially harmful levels of radioactive cesium.

Residents Near Fukushima Mountains Face Nuclear Recontamination Every Rainfall

The Mainichi Daily News - October 12, 2011        


Workers decontaminate radiation from the roof of Yasawa Kindergarten in Minami-Soma, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) away from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, in Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.  Photo - Associated Press (AP)

As the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant drags on, worries are growing particularly among Fukushima Prefecture residents over drawn-out and in some cases apparently futile nuclear decontamination operations.

The unease is especially strong in areas in and around mountains that must be repeatedly decontaminated, as every rainfall brings a new batch of radioactive substance-contaminated leaves and soil washing down from the hills. Since some 70 percent of Fukushima Prefecture is mountainous, such instances of regular recontamination could occur over a broad area, while the same effect has also been observed in some undeveloped areas of cities.

IAEA Team in Japan; Fukushima Starts Thyroid Tests

by Eric Talmadge - Associated Press - - October 9, 2011

A boy is taken by his mother to Fukushima Medical University Hospital for a thyroid test in Fukushima, northern Japan, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Local doctors began a long-term survey of children for thyroid abnormalities, a problem associated with radiation exposure. Officials hope to test some 360,000 people who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear crisis began in March, and then provide follow-ups throughout their lifetimes. Japanese on the board reads: a thyroid test entrance. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

TOKYO—Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in the Japanese city of Fukushima on Sunday to observe the massive decontamination effort following the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Local doctors also began a long-term survey of children for thyroid abnormalities, a problem associated with radiation exposure. Officials hope to test some 360,000 people who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear crisis began in March, and then provide follow-ups throughout their lifetimes.


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