Billions of Becquerels: New highs at Fukushima July 27, 2013

The Wall Street Journal reported  on July 27, 2013 that:

TOKYO—Extremely high concentrations of radiation have been detected in water from near one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant,   The levels recorded haven’t been seen since soon after the March 2011 disaster, it added.  The radiation is millions of times higher than Japan’s acceptable limit under normal circumstances.

Radiation of 750 million becquerels a liter of cesium-134 and 1.6 billion becquerels a liter of cesium-137 was recorded, Tepco said. The normal limits for the two potentially harmful isotopes are 60 and 90 becquerels, respectively. In April 2011 a combined 1.8 billion becquerels was recorded.

“The level of radioactivity is potentially serious but the impact would depend on where it is found,” a Tepco official said. The sample came from a trench near the No. 2 reactor turbine building, the utility said.

This level of Cesium 137 is 200 million times the “safe level.”   This article neglects to mention that if  levels of cesium are high, then so probably are the levels of some of the many other nuclear isotopes being produced.   The total becquerels in the water is probably much higher.  A recent  post about  Fukushima on July 23 talked about a cesium 137 being 22,000 becquerels, and the total count of 900,000 counting cesium 134, cesium 137, tritium, strontium 90, iodine, radon, and multiple other isotopes.  If the mixture is the same, and the  cesium  137 makes up about 2% of the total, then the total for the water would be on the order of 100 billion becquerels!   Something big is happening now at Fukushima that is not understood.   There is a source of these isotopes, the melted reactors, making a stew for the past several years, and this  radioactive water  is a vent to the outside.    Is this like a volcano, where vented gases are sometimes followed by much bigger events?   I hope we never know.

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One thought on “Billions of Becquerels: New highs at Fukushima July 27, 2013

  1. Pingback: Prime Minister Abe plans glacier for Fukushima, August 7, 2013 | Vernon Radiation Safety

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