Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Fukushima radiation in the US

Official data shows U.S. hit with huge spike of ‘most dangerous’ radiation from Fukushima 

  • Levels far exceeded federal regulatory limits 
  • Alpha particles nearly 1,000 times normal; Includes plutonium 
  • Gov’t workers in “fear of radiation”

8 December, 2015

National Conference on Radiation Control (Joji Ortego, Los Angeles County Radiation Management, Principal Radiation Protection Specialist), Jul 2012 (emphasis added):
  • Los Angeles County’s Response to the Fukushima Incident
  • Public Concerns — Will radiation reach California?… Local produce exposed? Radiation in rain? Is water and milk safe?…
  • Delay in obtaining information from the federal agencies… Deployed ~20 telemetry radiation monitors… Deployed ~30 air samplers throughout the County…
  • LA County contacted the State’s Radiologic Health Branch (RHB) for assistance. Due to budgetary issues, RHB pulled the 3 RAM [Radiation Area Monitor?] inspectors
  • State lab results would not be able to report results in a timely manner – may take weeks… Local RAM manufacturer equipped with analyzer [was] contacted for assistance – 24‐hour turnaround time…
  • Problems Encountered… Environmental Health personnel’s fear of radiation
BBC: If the radioactive source is inside the body, perhaps after being swallowed or breathed in: Alpha radiation is the most dangerous because it is easily absorbed by cells. Beta and gamma radiation are not as dangerous because they are less likely to be absorbed by a cell and will usually just pass right through it.
Gross alpha activity of 300 fCi/m3 in Los Angeles seven weeks after releases from Fukushima began was 790 times normal levels in California:
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, Calif.), 2006: Gross alpha activity (annual median value) in 2006 was… Livermore site perimeter0.38 femtocurie per cubic meter [fCi/m3]); Livermore Valley stations0.38 fCi/m3Site 3000.38 fCi/m3
Gross alpha activity in Los Angeles seven weeks after releases from Fukushima began was 100 times the level that triggers an investigation at a U.S. nuclear lab:
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, 2014: Radiological Air Monitoring… If the gross alphaactivity in the filters is greater than 3 fCi/m3, then collect more samples in the vicinity, and project manager will review all detections above the limits… All values greater than the above-stated gross alpha/beta concentration shall trigger an investigation
Gross alpha activity in Los Angeles seven weeks after releases from Fukushima began was nearly 15 times U.S. government regulatory limits:
What radionuclides are included in gross alpha measurements?
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Hanford Site releases minor amounts of gross alpha-emitting radionuclides (e.g., plutonium isotopes)
  • Electric Power Research InstituteAlpha Radionuclide Distribution — The nuclide distribution of irradiated fuel has been thoroughly studied… of interest for radiation safety include isotopes of curium, plutonium, and americium.

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