APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Monday, March 21, 2011

Seawater contamination

Not too surprisingly, fission products iodine and cesium are now being detected in seawater off the Fukushima prefecture coast near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear generating station. We say that this isn't surprising given the hundreds and hundreds of tons of water that have been discharged on the plants in order to cool the spent fuel pools; this has to go somewhere and it appears it's gone into the ocean, as one would expect. There may have been some contribution to this from the limited emissions, or plumes from the plants but we'd have to guess that the major contribution is from the seawater flushing given the reactor buildings.

This is on the wires now and as TEPCO has noted it's way too early to determine either the effects on fish or the effects on the fishing industry.

Like the discovery of radioactive contamination on some crops, and in some milk, this is exactly what you would expect with an accident scenario like we're seeing at Fukishima Daiichi. It's bad, but predictable and at the levels of contamination we're seeing for the moment should be manageable. Of course all this is preliminary and we'll keep an eye out to see what else turns up; particularly of interest will be seeing what the various kinds of local fish have ingested and the activity they exhibit in a radiological sense.

1:00 PM Eastern Monday 3/21

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