Strontium** and Plutonium** in Japan – Andrew Kishner’s essay.

Sr89 values in latest Ministry study

By Andrew Kishner

Hi Paul,

I agree, with regards to your latest post, on the disgusting part. I was shellshocked last nite to read that news.

I thought of you when writing parts of this (following eassy), which I hope you may link to or copy on your fantastic blog. The formatted version of this essay is here (the version without links is below; I’m not sure which version comes out ‘cleaner’ on your end):

You may find the strontium-89 stuff interesting and I am presently trying to find more about 1960s-era env’l levels of soil-borne Sr-89, which is hard to find.

Best to you,
Andrew Kishner

Innumerable Airborne Plutonium-238 Atoms and Unprecedented ‘Nuclear Age’ Levels of Strontium-89 Pollution Caused by Fukushima Since 3/11 Points to Increased Lung Cancers and Diseased Food Chains Across Time Zones, September 30, 2011 – Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology revealed on Sept. 30, 2011 the results of an advanced soil survey conducted in areas located tens of kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi. The peak values in the survey, which detected radiostrontiums in soils at 45 out of 100 total sampling locations, were 22,000 Bq/m2 of strontium-89 in Namie soils and 5,700 Bq/m2 of strontium-90 in soil in Futaba were determined. It is important to note that, owing to radioactive decay, the levels of strontium-89 in all locations from the Ministry’s June and July soil survey are 1/3 to 1/2 of the levels of this radioisotope that were originally deposited in March. This was not mentioned in any of the news articles on the matter. (Paul’s note: excellent point Andrew. The immediate dose from S89 is most important. The danger to the individual does not diminish with time, it increases. As one’s culmulative lifetime dose from all sources never diminishes. People in the area in March were vulnerable to the fresh Sr89. From this perspective, from the perspective of the individual, the rapid decay of Sr89 does nothing to erase the actual dose recieve.)

Regarding strontium-89 (half-life of 50.6 days)

According to the 1964 Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) 135 mCi/km2, in the year 1962, and 103 mCi/km2, in the year 1963, of strontium-89 were deposited in soils as the result of global nuclear weapons testing fallout in the 40-50 latitude band, equivalent to about 3,811 Bq/m2 (for 1963) and 5,000 Bq/m2 (for 1962). The above-mentioned peak value of strontium-89 in Namie soil is therefore between 4 and 5.2 times the estimated levels deposited in worst years of global fallout for that same latitude. Because original deposition levels in March of strontium-89 were two to three times the levels noted in the survey (mid-March to June/July = 2-3 half-lives of Sr89), we can expect that the original depositions in hotspots like Namie in Fukushima prefecture were probably more than 10 to 15 times higher than single-year early 1960s levels in the 40-50 latitude band. (Table XI, UNSCEAR1964).

It is important to note that the ratio of sr-89 to sr-90 fallout differs between nuclear reactor catastrophic releases and open-air nuclear explosions. In nuclear (fission bomb) explosions, for every 1 part Strontium-89 there are 1.2 parts Strontium-90 in fallout. In nuclear reactors, for every part Strontium-90 there are between 10 and 25 parts Strontium-89 in the fallout. So, clearly, whereas more or less even quantities (in picocuries) of strontium-89 and strontium-90 plagued global milk and wheat and vegetables in the 1960s from global fallout, reactor accidents, including now Fukushima, produce 10 to 25 times more strontium-89 than what we were accustomed to in ‘global nuclear fallout.’ (Paul’s note: I will repost the comparison chart showing the rates of radioactivity of the various Strontium fission isotopes. Sr89 has much higher energy beta emission than Sr90.) (Figures on the creation rates of Sr90 and Sr89 from bombs quoted by Glassone’s “Effects of Nuclear Weapons” differ, howevr, reactors are much more effective producers of fission products. There is unlimited time to produce them. Bombs blew themselves apart, limiting the time available for fission product creation to fractions of a second rather than the decades available to the uninterrupted fission processes in nuclear reactors.)

Many, many collection stations reported higher values of one-year sr-89 deposition in 1962, such as, included as data in the UNSCEAR report, Westwood, NJ with 240 mCi/km2 and Houston, Texas with 180 mCi/km2.

103 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 3,811 Bq/m2

135 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 4,995 Bq/m2 (let’s round up to 5,000 Bq/m2)

Regarding strontium-90 (half-life of 28.5 years)

The UNSCEAR 2000 Annex C report indicates that the cumulative amount of strontium-90 from 1940s-1960s weapons testing deposited in the 40-50 latitude band was roughly 230 millicuries per square mile. Adjusting this value to correct for decay to reflect current levels – by simply taking a 1/4 of the original value (strontium-90 has experienced two half-lives in 60 years) – we can expect soils in this latitude band to have today about 55 mCi/mi2 or 791 Bq/m2.

55 mCi/mi2 X 1 mi2/2.575 km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 791 Bq/m2

So, the Futaba concentration of stronium-90 in soil is 7.2 times the average backgrounds concentrations of strontium-90 from weapons testing fallout expected at that location (or, rather, that latitude) at present. Futaba’s value is also roughly twice the estimated concentrations of strontium-90 in those soils during the mid to late 1960s.


The Ministry of Education and Science also found plutonium isotopes at six locations in the survey area and determined peak amounts of plutonium-238 of 4 becquerels per square meter (Bq/m2; in Namie soil) along with 15 Bq/m2 of plutonium-239+240 (soil in Minamisoma). Although Japanese authorities in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology aren’t sure if the Pu-239/240 levels were from Fukushima or global fallout, they do believe that plutonium-238 – which is extremely genotoxic, has a half-life of 88 years and readily binds with oxygen to form plutonium-oxide (pu238o2) – found at six locations is indeed from Fukushima. According to a document by the U.S. EPA produced in 1990 titled ‘Toxicology Profile for Plutonium: ‘Average fallout levels in soils in the United States are about 2 millicuries (mCi)/square kilometer (about 0.4 square miles) for plutonium-239 and 0.05 mCi/square kilometer for plutonium-238.’ This translates to 74 Bq/m2 for plutonium 239 and 1.85 Bq/m2 for plutonium 238.

2 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 74 Bq/m2

0.05 mCi/km2 X 1 km2/1,000,000 m2 X 1,000,000,000 picoCuries (pCi)/1 milliCurie (mCi) X 0.037 Becquerel (Bq)/1 pCi = 1.85 Bq/m2

Considering that Japan falls in the same latitude band for global fallout as the U.S., we can expect similar background levels of plutonium in Japan as these U.S. values. So, while the plutonium 239 values from the Ministry’s survey appear to be pointing to residual global fallout, the peak plutonium 238 value from the survey is clearly abnormal, or about 3 times expected background levels of plutonium-238 (taking account decay from 1990 to 2011).

Note that most of the pu-238 in our biosphere originated from nuclear satellite reentries. After this Thanksgiving, NASA, which decades ago took over the expansionistic desires of the U.S. to ‘nuclearize’ space from the U.S. military, will risk again polluting the Earth with plutonium-238 (over 10 pounds of it) when it launches a Mars-bound spacecraft powered unnecessarily by ‘nuclear batteries’. The U.S. has contributed the bulk of the environmental plutonium-238 on Earth from one accident – the 1964 reentry of a U.S. Navy navigation satellite; the U.S. has taken no responsibility for the global lung cancers induced by that accident.

We have calculated that a ground-concentration of 4 Bq/m2 of pu-238 means that 0.006 nanograms or about 15 billion atoms of pu-238 were deposited on that patch of Earth. This also means that literally trillions of trillions of trillions (or even more) of pu-238 atoms were airborne in March as the result of the meltdowns and lesser amounts in April through the present owing to continued Pu vaporization at Fukushima. This also means that Fukushima prefecture residents who spent time outdoors inhaled thousands or maybe millions of these plutonium-238 atoms, each atom emitting incredibly strong alpha rays (at millions of electron volts of energy aimed at cells and/or DNA). Theoretically, one plutonium atom can induce lung cancer.

If plutonium particles traveled via air several tens of kilometers from Fukushima, then lesser concentrations likely afflicted other parts of Earth and perhaps a few or maybe thousands of unfortunate Americans, Russians and Canadians likely inhaled several of these pu-238 atoms.

Finally, the Ministry’s statement that “The radiation levels of the plutonium are not high enough to affect human bodies” is clearly wrong. (‘Highly toxic plutonium detected in soil 45 km away from Fukushima nuclear complex,’ The Mainichi Daily News, 10.1.11). Inhaling just 1.176 nanograms of airborne Pu-238 would give an internal dose of 5 Rem. 1 nanogram of Pu238 contains 2,530,000,000,000 atoms and is about the weight of one skin cell. Humans shed 40,000 skins cell every minute so you can imagine how infinitely light a nanogram is.

Lies, Lies

The Japan Times article ‘Plutonium traces found in Iitate soil’ (10.1.11) illustrates the continuing level of deception on the part of TEPCO, enabled by the corrupt Japanese government and its sold-out and back-boneless scientific community. The article notes ‘”Because the fuels (in the reactors) melted down, plutonium may have been emitted with steam or other small particles and sent airborne,” a Tepco official said.’ However, TEPCO knows, as with all other nuclear experts in Japan and worldwide, that the primary cause of the plutonium and radiostrontium releases since March is none of the mechanisms mentioned in that quote. Plutonium – and virtually all non-noble gaseous radioisotopes – mostly didn’t leave Fukushima as lofted solid particles or on water-based steam but rather as steam itself: plutonium gas/vapor caused by the extreme heat of the melting cores or the overheated corium. Plutonium and strontium is still evaporating out of Fukushima and TEPCO continues to deceive the public with false statements and phony scientific explanations to cover up this truth.

Compared to Chernobyl

‘Some 10% of the area of Belarus has levels of Sr-90 soil contamination above 5.5 kBq/m2 [5,500 Bq/m2], covering an area of of 21,100 km2 (Figure 1.11). Soil contaminated by Pu-238, Pu-239, and Pu-240 at levels higher than 0.37 kBq/m2 [37 Bq/m2] was found in 4,000 km2, or nearly 2% of the country.’ – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, by ALEXEY V. YABLOKOV, VASSILY B. NESTERENKO, & ALEXEY V. NESTERENKO (pp.8-9)

‘The region (oblast) of Gomel was the area with highest fallout in Belarus. The strontium soil contamination in parts of Gomel oblast outside the 30-km exclusion zone exceeded 37,000 Bq/m² in 1986 (see Figure 11) whereas in Munich little strontium was determined in the Chernobyl fallout (210 Bq/m² Sr-90 compared to about 20,000 Bq/m² Cs-137, May 1986),…’ (p.235, Chernobyl: 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident, by EECR’)

What this all means

Parts of Fukushima prefecture experienced in the middle part of 2011 levels of soil-borne strontium-90 at about the same intensities as experienced at global fallout of the 1960s and strontium-89 fallout much worse than general ‘hotspots’ in the Northern Temperate Zone of the 1960s. Current oceanic, soil and food levels of strontium-89 may be posing graver biological harm on food chains (including humans) than currently assumed by scientists, the media and the Japanese government. Lastly, plutonium-238 fallout from Fukushima in Fukushima Prefecture at about the same intensities as global fallout from the plutonium residue of the late 1960s Transit-5BN-3 re-entry may mean plutonium atoms traversed the globe this spring and a spike in lung cancers in Japan and beyond will result.

NuclearCrimes believes that the effects on public health from exposure to 1960s levels of environmental strontium-89 and strontium-90 and plutonium 238 were unambiguously disastrous – learn more here.

Thanks Andrew for that excellent piece. The strontium fission products:


The radioactivity of Plutonium isotopes:

Table 4-3. Radiological Properties of Plutonium Isotopes is available on page 150 of the Toxicological Profile of Plutonium.

The table lists 9 isotopes of Plutonium.
Isotope of Pu Curies/gram
Pu 236……… 540
Pu 237… 12,000
Pu 238………… 17
Pu 239………….. 0.063
Pu 240………….. 0.23
Pu 241………. 100
Pu 242………….. 0.0040
Pu 243…………. 2.6 x 10 to the 6 power
Pu 244………….. 1.8 x 10 to the -5 power
There is a great variety of rates of radioactivity between the isotopes of Plutonium.

2 Responses to “Strontium** and Plutonium** in Japan – Andrew Kishner’s essay.”

  1. tawny Says:


    Thanks for the good info on your site.

    A question: do you or Andrew Kishner have any info on where would be a good place to move to, if one were able to afford to relocate? I live on Oahu and my son lives in the Seattle area – both getting a lot of radiation. We have been considering Ecuador. Not independently wealthy so not sure either of us will end up doing this but it is on my mind and he is thinking about it and planning a vacation to Ecuador to check it out.



    • nuclearhistory Says:

      Hi Tawny, well, I know the north of the US has coped a fair bit of past stuff. From Amchitka and the Soviet stuff. I dont know the answer to your question. Ive often half jokingly thought of Easter Island. I do know that the southern hemisphere copped about the fallout that the northern hemisphere did during the atomic test era. Though the amount of radio strontium in human bone samples studied by Project Sunshine showed that people in the southern hemisphere had more Sr90 in bone than expected.
      Still less than the northern hemisphere. I dont know that Andrew has a preferred place. You can contact him at his site. Patagonia might be fairly clean. I dont know about Ecuador. If it wasnt for the uranium mines down here and the contaminated test site here. South Australia would be OK. But could be better. I think. Chances of us getting some stuff at least from Fukushma are pretty good. There is some air mixing at the equator but we will be getting from Fukushima than the US. It is a sad situation. At first I thought, oh this stuff from Japan is on the ground, its going to be local, but my thoughts on that are wrong. There are reliable labs in Europe – eg Germany – reporting fission product arrival. So its not local. I dont feel confident enough nor do I know enough to recommend anywhere. Im in Australia, not the US, just to be clear. Perth in Western Australia never got any direct fallout from the British bombs down here. Its a feasible place to move to, but I dont know. I think it would get way from Fukushima than Seattle and Oahu. Its fairly civilised. The Aussies are a bit wierd though. Its taking me time to get used to them. I came out when I was five in 1959. From England. All the best , Paul

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