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Old 30-03-2011, 05:25   #1
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Japan and the Ocean

The events in Japan are truly a tragedy. Like Katrina and the financial meltdown, we are learning that nuclear accidents happen, and when they happen they are cataclysmic. The probability distributions over catastrophes have much shorter and fatter tails than we assume when designing and planning for big events.

Anyway, I am struck by the cavalier reports by the media that run something like "... at least the radioactive smoke, water and water vapor are blowing out to sea." They say this as though the sea to which this stuff is being carried is on another planet or is a sealed container. The only difference between staying over land and blowing out to sea is the speed with which the radioactive affects other systems and the size of the population that is immediately affected. (Think mercury and PCBs that have found their way into the food chain.)

As users of the ocean we need to educate the public that the ocean is an exhaustible resource, nor does it have an inifinte carrying capacity for all the bad things that are being put into it.
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Old 30-03-2011, 07:12   #2
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

I think a bigger concern is what is going into the water in that area. I'm not so sure that Tokyo Electric is really telling all that has been going on. They have been dumping sea water into those reactors for weeks and I doubt that it is all still on site. Especially now that one of the reactors appears to have breached the containment. It will be flowing into the ocean and accumulating somewhere in the food chain. As I write this just I'm just listening to a report that radioactivity has indeed been found in the ocean around the plant. That's not good news.
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Old 30-03-2011, 07:40   #3
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

The cavalier reports of the media are just that, cavalier. Very little understanding of the problem and even less understanding of the press releases.
See hear for up to date information
Nuclear Energy Institute - Information on the Japan Earthquake and Reactors in That Region


I absolutely agree that we shouldn't use the sea as a dumping ground, but the nuclear incident in Japan is a minor problem, compared to over fishing and numerous other toxic wastes being dumped in the sea by the ship load.
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Old 30-03-2011, 08:08   #4
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Cavalier reporting or not, this is still going to be a problem:

"Measurements taken on Tuesday show levels of radioactive Iodine 131 at more than 3,300 times the legal limit in seawater a few hundred meters to the south of the plant. That is the highest it has been since the crisis began."

Voice of America: Situation at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant Still Serious
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Old 30-03-2011, 08:32   #5
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saucy Sailoress View Post
Cavalier reporting or not, this is still going to be a problem:

"Measurements taken on Tuesday show levels of radioactive Iodine 131 at more than 3,300 times the legal limit in seawater a few hundred meters to the south of the plant. That is the highest it has been since the crisis began."

Voice of America: Situation at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant Still Serious
Please read the link I supplied earlier about sea water contamination, the levels have dropped dramatically, however they will remain variable in the near future .
Try this link for more official info on the limits allowed in drinking water
http://nei.cachefly.net/newsandevent...iday-march-25/

Far less scary than the headlines will have you believe.
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Old 31-03-2011, 06:16   #6
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artif View Post
Please read the link I supplied earlier about sea water contamination, the levels have dropped dramatically, however they will remain variable in the near future .
Try this link for more official info on the limits allowed in drinking water
Nuclear Energy Institute - Japan Earthquake: NEI Updates for Friday, March 25

Far less scary than the headlines will have you believe.
Yet, the BBC World Service also reported that figure - yesterday. Today, they are reporting "in excess of 4 thousand". And I couldn't find anywhere that says the levels are dropping....
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Old 31-03-2011, 07:08   #7
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saucy Sailoress View Post
Yet, the BBC World Service also reported that figure - yesterday. Today, they are reporting "in excess of 4 thousand". And I couldn't find anywhere that says the levels are dropping....
4,000 picocuries is still a very low dose rate, not good but low.
As for the BBC, their reporting has left a lot to be desired throughout the terrible events in Japan.

As an example, coal is not allowed on U.K. nuclear power station sites because it has to be treated as radioactive waste, due to it's natural level of radioactivity. You don't have a problem with it in your front room, next to your fireplace though.

All the press reporting of radiation levels being 1000 x this and Million x that have to be taken in context, of which the general public have very little comprehension.
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Old 31-03-2011, 17:49   #8
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

As a downwinder and the last serviving member of my family for 11 years, I feel sorry for anyone or thing that has to go through the pain of death by cancer. We have no idea what we're doing to our ecosphere, and if we ever figure it out, it'll probably be too late.
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Old 31-03-2011, 20:05   #9
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

But seawater does contain radioactive elements everywhere.

It will be very bad for immediately adjacent area and then go off exponentially with time and distance.

I hope very much their efforts will limit the damage as far as possible.

I hope very much I am correct in my thinking on sea water, exponential decay, space geometry and human efforts.

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Old 31-03-2011, 20:43   #10
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saucy Sailoress View Post
Cavalier reporting or not, this is still going to be a problem:

"Measurements taken on Tuesday show levels of radioactive Iodine 131 at more than 3,300 times the legal limit in seawater a few hundred meters to the south of the plant. That is the highest it has been since the crisis began."
...and are you aware that the half-life of this iodine isotope is only 8 days?

Iodine-131 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

but hey, whatever sells newspapers.
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Old 31-03-2011, 22:11   #11
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Iodine 131 isn't the only stuff that's begin tossed out by that mess.

Cesium 137 has a half life of 30 years. How much of that has been put into the ocean and the air?

You might want to give this a look see. Interesting interview on the subject. The link starts you 10:33 into the segment so don't be surprised by it.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/3...al_a_debate_on


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Old 01-04-2011, 03:31   #12
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Re: Japan and the Ocean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artif View Post
Please read the link I supplied earlier about sea water contamination, the levels have dropped dramatically, however they will remain variable in the near future .
Try this link for more official info on the limits allowed in drinking water
Nuclear Energy Institute - Japan Earthquake: NEI Updates for Friday, March 25

Far less scary than the headlines will have you believe.
Thanks for that link Artif. I've been frustrated trying to find factual, authoritative information. The standard media outlets seem to just repeat each others' speculative and uninformed nonsense.
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