US Particulate and Xenon Measurements Made Following the Fukushima Reactor Accident

Please do not rely soley on models expressed as maps with artificial colors showing clouds and plumes, the actual data needs to be looked at as well.

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US Particulate and Xenon. Measurements Made Following the. Fukushima Reactor Accident. 1 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, …
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US Particulate and Xenon
Measurements Made Following the
Fukushima Reactor Accident

1 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
2 The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
INGE 2011 Yogyakarta Workshop,
Justin McIntyre1, Steve Biegalski2, Ted Bowyer1, Matt Copper1, Paul
Eslinger1, Jim Hayes1, Derek Haas1, Harry Miley1, J.P. Rishel1, Vincent

“Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the
opinion of the United States Government, the United
States Department of Energy, or the Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory.”

Atmospheric Transport
Isotopic Ratios
Material in this presentation is covered in more depth in the following journal submissions.
S. Biegalski, et al., US Particulate and Xenon Measurements Made Following the Fukushima Reactor Accident, accepted
for publication in Jour. of EnvirRadioactivity, 2011
T. Bowyer, et al., Elevated Radioxenon Detected Remotely Following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. Jour. of Envir.
Radioactivity 102 (7):681-687. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2011.04.009
P. Eslinger, et al., Source Term Estimation of Radioxenon Released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactors Using
Measured Air Concentrations and Atmospheric Transport Modeling, to be submitted in Jour. of Envir. Radioactivity, 2011

Page 4 skipped – it contains a representation of the NOAA data which is oceanographic, not radiological and which people confuse, so I am not putting it here.

Page 5 – a sectional view of GE Mk1 in which the illustrator failed to show the bottom up control rods.

Fukushima Radioactive Release Timeline

(authors forget to include the word “substances” – should read Fukushima Radioactive Substances Release Timeline)

Evidence of radionuclide
released reached the
Japanese IMS station
within 2-3 days

First evidence of the plume
hitting the United States
came to PNNL’s
experimental equipment
about 1 day later (March
(plus graph)

Page 7 map of US Radionuclide Stations.

First detection of radioxenon in US at Richland WA

Xenon-133 measurements
were x450,000 our detection
levels using a SAUNA-II
xenon measurement system
Noble gas does not “wash-
out,” and is the first emitted
from any possible fuel
Levels persisted for weeks
and isotopes were ultimately
detected across the northern
hemisphere and around the
U.S. IMS Station Detections

U.S. stations detected both
particulate and noble gas
emitted from the event.
Initial 133Xe detections in
Richland, WA (non-IMS
station) were on March 16,
Several volatile radio-isotopes
were detected
Missing were several
isotopes that were highly
indicative of a nuclear
(plus particulate radionuclide graph) ( (page 9 of 27)

Page 10 I131 concentrations: Sacramento, CA, Melbourne, FL, Upi, Guam, Charlotteville, VA.

Page 11 Activity Concentration graphic

Page 12 I131 Activity Concentration graph

SCALE6/ORIGEN-ARP models were conducted to model
predicted isotopic ratios (same models used for inventory
Comparisons were made between model and measurements.
Good comparison adds validity to models and to
Shows that all stations are measuring the same event.
Isotopic Ratios

Isotopic Ratios

SCALE6/ORIGEN-ARP models were conducted to model
predicted isotopic ratios (same models used for inventory
Comparisons were made between model and measurements.
Good comparison adds validity to models and to
Shows that all stations are measuring the same event. (page 13)

I 133 /I 131 Activity Ratios Graph (Indicative of gases releases) (page 14)

Cesium 134/ Cesium 137 Isotopic ratio graph (page 15)

Cesium 136/ Cesium 137 Isotopic activity ratio graph (page 16)

Xenon 134/ Xenon 131m Isotopic activity ratio graph (page 17)

Aerosol Observations/ Lessons Learned
Aerosol Network Take Away Points
Network worked as planned
Event was equivalent to a 20kT above-ground nuclear explosion
Indicates network is capable across at least 5 orders of magnitude for
measured concentrations
Sampling sites were able to report fission products without being overwhelmed,
site closest to accident had trouble because of extremely high activity and power
Radionuclide concentration analysis clearly indicated that this was a reactor
Isotopes measured are consistent with a nuclear reactor
Lack of short-lived refractory isotopes indicative of a reactor
Nearby stations had significant increases in MDC’s caused by this event, however
ATM allowed predictive plume hits and impact to down wind stations.
Not all of the network was affected all of the time
Need additional analysis to determine how impacted nearby stations were and
would they still be able to detect a 1kT above ground test
Aerosol Observations/ Lessons Learned
Aerosol Network Take Away Points (2)
Potential improvements
Initial RASA measurements were possible before the filter was measured
Detector may need additional shielding from environmental influences
Intermittent power loss was significant at RN-38
Improved mechanisms for recovery from power loss
Takes ~3 days to get sample counted and reported
Need “first look” early response systems with real time measurements (e.g.,
NaI, CsI) for high activity events
Suggest the need for a “emergency situation” software script or state to
reduce per-sample activity (sample for 6, 12, or 24 hours)
Potential to incorporate future accident measurements into existing radiological
safety protocols (discussed at ISS-11)
Not unlike the seismic network tie in after the 2005 Tsunami
Clearly outside of the original scope of the network

Radioxenon Network Take Away Points
Network worked as planned
Event was equivalent to a 1Mt below-ground nuclear explosion with
1% leakage
The xenon measurements made by IMS-like equipment were the
highest fidelity measurements made and far superior to what was
available post-Chernobyl
Radionuclide analysis clearly indicates that the plume was from a
nuclear reactor
2 of four radioxenon isotopes were easily detected from the
Fukushima event across the globe.
Xe-135 MDC was only slightly elevated by this event, providing key
indicator of nuclear explosion
Impacted stations are not blinded to underground nuclear

as Observations/ Lessons Learned
Radioxenon Take away points (2)
SAUNA dead time observed in samples with elevated count rate and was
significant with very high count rates
Sauna dead time corrections needed
Initial high Xe levels saturated the RN-38 detector so no spectral analysis was
Nuclear detector electronics needs to be updated to handle high count rate
The MDC of the detector was highly effected from high memory effect
Research and implementation on reduction of memory effect necessary (in
Inconsistencies with meta-stable ratios.
Need to re-analzyedata sets
Need better analysis methods (currently working on SDAT ).
Desire >2X improvement in conversion electron resolution
Xewas first observed at Richland WA which is not part of the IMS network
Need higher density of Xe systems

The IMS network demonstrated that it is capable of measuring
and reporting radionuclides from a single event across the
Measurements were significantly above the detection limits for
many systems.
Combination of atmospheric transport, radiation detection, and
reactor modeling were fused to provide a picture of the event.
Careful analysis mitigates source blinding
More data analysis is required to demonstrate and further
enhance second event detection.

Page 25 PNNL Aerosol Data

Page 26 I Cs 137 Activity Concentrations

Page 27 Unit 1, 2 and 3 Xenon Inventories

Combining atmospheric transport, ground measurements, and inventory
shows that between 85% and 103% of radioxenon inventory was released
from the three reactors.

End quote.

I cannot see how anyone can deny the significance of this event.
The US authorities state the event, from the perspective of the detector network,
is the equivalent of a 1 megaton underground nuclear bomb with a 1% release in terms
of radio xenon release.

The reference to underground testing is a rough one, made within the scope and purpose
of the US detection network. This network is not an environmental monitoring network, least
that is not the rationale for its existence. The network, as I understand it, exists
to detect nuclear detonations and other radiological events which may present military, political.
and health consequences to the United States.

However the mention of a large underground nuclear detonation with a 1% leakage does two things:
It remains one of the impact at the source of the detected emissions. It also reminds one of the impacts 3 underground tests had upon the beautiful island of Amchitka.

A few years ago I collected as much information as I could find on Armchikta’s nuclear experience
and aftermath. I will put one forlorn link here:

I think of Japan as a type of Amchitka, one where the consequences are hidden and distorted,
where people have to go about their daily lives amid the insidious backdrop of pollutants of a specific
and diabolical kind. The voyage of this Unlucky Dragon continues with children and mothers under threat, of families torn apart by an avoidable event. Of unknown health consequences and of new laws
being written right now to ensure the children of Fukushima are not out of pocket medically.

There is more concern for money than this for people. Why leave people in hot zones if money is a concern? Should not the unafflicted health of children come first. Children grow to adults. What will the governmental response to the people’s needs be when they are adults? Tough buddy?

Move them.

America again has had a flood of radionuclides and radioactive gas flood across its borders. It has happened before. Everytime a reactor is refuelled in the USA, and elsewhere, a flood of radioactive gas and some particulates are released. How, on the local level – the neighbourhood of the reactors – the Fukushima releases compare – at those specific locations – with emissions from each reactor at refueling is not known to me. No such graphs, for all US reactors exist. I would not be surprised to learn that in the east of the United States, the impact of the Fukushima fallout is akin to the emissions from a refueling reactor. Day in Day out. The impact of this is still being researched.

Do nuclear reactors affect health in this regard? Some say so. Research is ongoing. Will the addition of the Fukushima fallout within the USA produce additional disease, particularly in areas where nuclear reactors are close by? I think so, to what extent, I don’t know.

It is easy to see why nuclear authorities do not want to see a fully informed public vote on this issue. Or learn much about it.

Honest government is mandatory at this time. If credible government cannot lead the nations, the people will lead themselves.

Americans (and I am a British Australian of little consequence) know that open discussion is one of their abiding strengths. And so Americans with any brains in their head must be asking why it is that in the matter of the mass reactor facility failures and radionuclide emissions in Japan, that open discussion and constant reporting is so muted, neutered, discouraged and controlled in their country.

The life of the nation of the United States of America is not served by this silence. The only section of the US community which is served, in the short term, by this silence is that nation’s nuclear industry. Which must be enjoying the rantings of the likes of Rice and Curry. The promise of nuclear industry is that its sealed sources would never be wrenched open and dispersed. That is a promise which has has never been kept, it is a promise which is broken whenever a reactor is refueled. And in the USA, these routine emissions are now augmented by the radionuclide particulates which now circle the globe. People, including myself, needs to take to good look at the decay cascade of the xenon and krpton isotopes. For the gases don’t stay as that, they produce radioactive particulate fallout.

As it was with the big bombs, the fallout will take months and years to precipitate. There will be an accretion upon the earth. Even if emissions from Fukushima tomorrow.

Journalists need to ask themselves why it is that their reports in March 2011 were so far removed from the reality of events that those reports (“This is normal, its just hydrogen”) produce a kind of cognitive dissonance when one considers for example that the people who live with the US detection system suggest that higher capacity xenon detectors be installed in the network.

This is not normal. No rational person would happily live with this pollution. The industry has lied again. And apparently holds the American government hostage. It’s easy to prove me wrong. Sill the beans America. Tell the truth, and engage in open discussion as you used to do. In the meantime, as the wheels of government grind, I suspect that the people of most use in the USA are those who recall the bombs and the aftermath they wrought. There is a perspective. There is no need for the social chaos that silence and suppression risks bringing. If things are like this in the USA, well things are worse at the source. I turn again to Japan, the most afflicted of the nations, while watching America. Though not as well as Americans can do it themselves, if allowed to. I should not be telling them, they should be telling me. Some are, and they are privateers. The Eagle has a sock in its mouth.

(If I learnt Japanese, live would be easier, I would be able to understand Japan natively).


5 Responses to “US Particulate and Xenon Measurements Made Following the Fukushima Reactor Accident”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Thanks for your input; it seems obvious to me that not only the nuclear industry but the US Gov’t. is trying their best to downplay Japan’s Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster in order to protect the Nuclear Industry from the backlash of public outrage…

    • nuclearhistory Says:

      Yea, and invoking the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act etc in order to clamp debate on the false claim that only fruitloops want to discuss it, while facilitating the most rampant pro-nukers on the planet. And possibly feeding stuff into the impartial and accurate sites so as to encourage confusion. Beware. Information control. Valid concern becomes Radiophobia, crap like that. They cannot exactly call people who would speak out communists like they used to. Means nothing. As does radiophobia. The socalled radiophobes will in the eyes of history, be seen as canaries and merely people who reported what they saw. Better than be recorded as deluded fool who promoted their wares at the expense of millions and millions of people. Who aided, by their dishonesty of dissent, the suffering of people, especially in Japan.

  2. Douglas A. Yates Says:

    The source link is 404.

    • nuclearhistory Says:

      Thanks. Odd, it was working last night when I downloaded it. Please google the document title and see if you can download it from your browser.

  3. Study: Radioactive Xenon-133 In Washington Was 450,000 Times Above Detection Levels After Fukushima, Situation ‘Persisted For Weeks’ (Chart) Says:

    […] h/t Paul Langley’s Nuclear History Blog […]

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