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Japanese rivers unleash ‘perennial supply’ of radiation into Pacific Ocean


A study published in the Elsevier journal Anthropocene late last year has revealed that many of the rivers, streams and other waterways located throughout coastal Japan have inadvertently become delivery systems for transporting radioactive waste directly from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility into the Pacific Ocean.

Researchers from both France and Japan discovered this after conducting a thorough sediment and soil erosion analysis, which revealed the presence of cesium-137, cesium-134 and even radioactive silver in the runoff from coastal rivers. A total of 2,200 soil samples were collected as part of the study, which was originally designed to look at the normal biogeochemical cycles and dispersion of contaminants via rivers and waterways.

Since it is already known that rivers play a functional role in cleansing the natural environment of toxins, a team of scientists from the Laboratory for Climate Sciences and the Environment in France and the Center for Research in Isotopes and Environmental Dynamics in Japan decided to look at how this process works with respect to radiation distribution.

With Fukushima radiation as the source indicator, the team looked for the presence of radioactive isotopes in soil samples collected all along the coastal regions of Japan. By tracking radiation in this way, the team was able to monitor from where the soil and sediment came to gain a better understanding of the transport patterns of particulate matter — and what they found is telling.

Based on the behaviors of the catchments observed, as well as their relation to the rivers that connect them to nearby mountain ranges, the team determined that many coastal rivers in Japan are a constant source of Fukushima radiation that ends up flowing directly into the Pacific Ocean. Early speculation that radioactive isotopes were probably concentrating in the upper layer of nearby soils also proved to be true.

“Our findings show that [the] Fukushima accident produced original tracers to monitor particle-borne transfers across the affected area shortly after the catastrophe,” wrote the authors of the study in their abstract. “We thereby suggest that coastal rivers have become a perennial supply of contaminated sediment to the Pacific Ocean.”

Contaminated rivers also sending deadly radiation into lakes, water reservoirs

But it is not just the Pacific Ocean that is suffering as a result of constant contamination from Fukushima. A similar study published earlier in the year in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity found that irrigation waters, paddy fields and lakes are all being poisoned by the runoff from Fukushima.

After collecting soil samples from two small rivers located in the mountainous region of Fukushima Prefecture, scientists from the Japan-based Institute for Environmental Sciences learned that aerial deposits of nuclear contamination are occurring all across the region, and especially in the top layers of soil found in catchments.

“Our results are extremely important to quantitative assessment of the migration of radiocesium and decontamination of radiocesium in the watersheds impacted by fallout from the accident,” concluded the authors about their findings.

Accumulation of radioactive cesium has also been identified in over 20 woody plant species tested in Abiko, which is located some 125 miles southwest of Fukushima and just to the northeast of Tokyo. Researchers from the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, or CRIEPI, found that the leaves of both coniferous and deciduous tree species had become contaminated as a result of radioactive rainfall.

“Further and continuous investigations are necessary to determine how long and how much radiocesium accumulates in the canopy and under the woody plants,” the researchers wrote.

Natural News

16 Comments on "Japanese rivers unleash ‘perennial supply’ of radiation into Pacific Ocean"

  1. SilentRunning on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 5:59 am 

    >(Bold Headline) Contaminated rivers also sending deadly radiation into lakes, water reservoirs.

    How deadly is this radiation?

    Are the rivers tested biologically dead? Are all the trees examined deceased?

    The article doesn’t say – nor is there a single data point with numbers giving us the measured amounts of radioactivity.

    But I’d wager a good sum of money that they were fairly low – because if they were actually high the article would fairly scream the numbers. But they don’t.

    What the general public needs to understand is that we can *detect* radioactive substances at tiny levels that are safe. Of course, we can also detect the larger amounts that are unsafe.

    Cesium is an extremely chemically active substance that readily combines with water and travels through the environment. It would surprising if it didn’t turn up in the river runoffs. And over time, it will further diminish, because it will continue to be diluted further and further, and also because it is breaking down from Cs-137 to Barium-137.

  2. SilentRunning on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 6:14 am 

    The article also mentions radioactive Silver being measured, which must be Silver-105 (chemical symbol Ag-105)

    This is the longest half-life of any isotope of Silver, and it’s half-life is about 41 days. After 410 days, there would have been 10 half-lives – which according to the laws of exponential decay mean that the quantity of Ag-105 would be 1/1024th (less than 1 part in 1000).

    This means that if you started out with 1 ton of pure radioactive Ag-105 on day 1, then by day 410 you would have less than 2 pounds of radioactive material left.. On day 820, you’d have only 0.03 ounces. Another 410 days later, you’d only have 30 millionths of an ounce.

    So you’ve got to look fast for radioactive Silver.

  3. chilyb on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 6:49 am 

    its not enough radiation to sterilize the ocean.

  4. Meld on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 10:03 am 

    We must pump more into the ocean then. Not until the ocean is totally dead will I be happy.

  5. Kenz300 on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 1:25 pm 

    They once said “nuclear energy was too cheap to meter”……………….

    Now it is “too costly to clean up”…………….

  6. robertinget on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 4:14 pm 

    If most here believe Fukushima is a game changer, why are so many nations still building or planning to build expensive ‘conventional’ nuclear power generating plants?

    Is it because there are no viable survivability alternatives available?

    WE don’t really know how much permanent
    damage is being done to Japan or a Pacific ocean for that matter.
    Then, we may need to redefine ‘permanent’.

  7. Stilgar Wilcox on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 6:27 pm 

    The most fascinating thing to me about nuclear waste/disposal/release is the diametric interpretations people have. They are almost always in one of two camps; 1) It’s minor, negligible, tiny, insignificant, can’t hurt you, or 2) dangerously high, cancer causing, gene altering, great cause for concern.

    1) would have us believe the releases by Fukushima are insignificant, whereas 2) would have us greatly concerned for what may be happening to wildlife in the Pacific, people on the west coast and possibly all animals and people worldwide given enough time and ‘accidental’ ongoing releases of nuclear contaminated water.

    1) throw caution to the wind, or
    2) be greatly alarmed.

    You make the call as to what camp to place your Coleman lamp.

  8. surf on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 6:45 pm 

    You can find the full study at the link below. Based on the two smal photogrphs shown the area is lush and green and the river is clear. The radiation levels they measured were very very low in the rivers and higher in the soil. Data presented was fron July through Septemer of 2011.

  9. GregT on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 6:52 pm 

    I’m going with the scientific community on this one.

    I believe that we should be greatly alarmed, that we should permanently evacuate thousands of people from their homes, and that we should spend decades, and tens of billions of dollars in a futile attempt to clean this mess up. Then in another 50 years or so, our kids can do it all over again. And their kids, and their kids………..if they can still produce viable offspring, or we haven’t destroyed their lives in some other way.

  10. SilentRunning on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 8:01 pm 

    Stilgar Wilcox wrote:
    >The most fascinating thing to me about nuclear waste/disposal/release is the diametric interpretations people have. They are almost always in one of two camps; 1) It’s minor, negligible, tiny, insignificant, can’t hurt you, or 2) dangerously high, cancer causing, gene altering, great cause for concern.

    Put me in camp “1.5” – where I say “Actual radiation levels need to be measured. Areas where the radiation is too high need to be sealed off and avoided, until cleanup efforts and/or decay levels reach safe levels are acheived. Borderline areas need to be monitored. Low level areas should receive sporadic measurements to be sure. Also, nuke plants need to inspected regularly, follow all safety regs, and learn from accidents that occur. When the plants reach their design lifetimes, they should be shut down and decommissioned.”

    >You make the call as to what camp to place your Coleman lamp.

    Interestingly, your old coleman propane lanterns used mantles that contained THORIUM, which is slightly radioactive. I remember when I was a kid my dad wouldn’t let me change the mantles in the lanterns, and said I should never, ever breath the dust that formed when the old mantles disintegrated. Little known fact.

  11. J-Gav on Sun, 19th Jan 2014 11:05 pm 

    I’m with Silent here – a 1.5.

    The greatest problem from Fukushima generated radioactive leaks is for the regional population. Soil contamination there is real. Thyroid disorders (and cancers, already) have begun to rise. This is tragic and it’s not over.

    As for Japanese rivers killing the Pacific Ocean, as this article almost seems to suggest, that’s BS. Doesn’t mean I favor nuclear power, I don’t, but let’s not scare ourselves unnecessarily. Another big tsunami or earthquake in that region could provide ample opportunities for more justified fears, why jump the gun? Meanwhile, let’s start a world-wide nuke dismantling movement so that, if we’re lucky, the next generation will be under less of a threat.

  12. KingM on Mon, 20th Jan 2014 2:28 am 

    ” Meanwhile, let’s start a world-wide nuke dismantling movement so that, if we’re lucky, the next generation will be under less of a threat.”

    And shivering in the dark. There’s no other realistic way to keep the lights on long-term.

  13. Norm on Mon, 20th Jan 2014 2:44 am 

    Nuclear power is cheap, safe, and efficient. We know this because it is written in the Bible, just ask any Republican.

  14. rollin on Mon, 20th Jan 2014 3:19 am 

    Soon little Godzillas will be wrecking Japanese fishing fleets. Surveys say 9 out of 10 fish are happy about this.

  15. Makati1 on Mon, 20th Jan 2014 9:05 am 

    Mention radioactivity and the mind switch trips for most people in the West. They either are full on or full off. I am not a nuclear expert (expert:drip under pressure.) but I know a poison when I see it. Arsenic is not poisonous in tiny doses, but eventually those tiny doses kill you. Slow poisons are the method of choice for many assassins over time. Hard to pin down the cause or the killer.

    As for nuclear power, that is the worse thing mankind ever ‘discovered’. Perhaps if it had happened in the far future when we had matured as a species, we could have handled it or made the decision that it was not rational to let it out of the bottle. But, we tripped over it in the process of war, our favorite sport, and couldn’t resist.

    Then it became a commodity that the greedy could use to bleed the workers dry. The promise of free power was too addictive to resist by the serfs.

    Now, we have soo much of it laying around and cannot think of a safe way to get rid of it that will not bankrupt the nations that have these beasts.

    Japan has 50 bulls eyes for China to take out with a few missiles. Game over, if they were stupid or forced to use them in self protection, damning all mankind to a slow, mutational death and all other life as well. The US has about 100 of them. Germany…ditto, and many other countries.

    Yes, Fukushima is slowly killing all of us … and they know it, but it would kill the Capitalist system if they admitted it, so it is BAU until it isn’t. Nuff said.

  16. Patrick on Tue, 21st Jan 2014 2:14 am 

    Agree with makati1, so-called safe levels are just made up by arrogant scientists. In fifty years from now other scientists, if they still exist, will look down at them saying poor little ones they were such ignorant…

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