East Coast tests found iodine-131 from Japan in rainwater; California results due out in coming days.
Rain falling on the United States contains radioactive material from Japan at levels that exceed federal safety thresholds.
Federal officials on Tuesday urged calm in the wake of the discovery of iodine-131, which blew across the Pacific Ocean from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, in rainwater.
Test results for California have not yet been released, so it’s impossible to assess the exact dangers here. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to publish those results within the next day or so, according to Mike Bandrowski, chief of indoor air and radiation for the EPA’s Region 9, which includes California.
Even as the market has now apparently fully priced in Fukushima, the bad news continue coming:
- TOKYO ELECTRIC RADIOACTIVITY FOUND CONFIRMS FUEL DAMAGE: NHK
- TOKYO ELECTRIC DETECTS 5 TYPES OF RADIOACTIVITY, NHK SAYS
No surprise there: by now everyone is well aware that the fuel rods are if not completely then certainly partially destroyed. However, the real danger, and explains why we have been following atmospheric conditions over Japan so closely, is that as Kyodo just reported, the rain is now pouring radioactive cats and dogs. But the most troubling development is that instead of being proactive and finally warning its citizens about the dangers, the Japanese government has just raised the decontamination threshold by nearly 20 times from 6,000 cpm to a stunning 100,000 cpm. Is is rather safe to assume that this number was not picked arbitrarily.
Far greater amounts of radioactive iodine and cesium were found in rain, dust and particles in the air in some areas over a 24-hour period from Sunday morning due to rainfall, the science ministry said Monday.
”Considering the results of a separate test, radioactive materials in the air and drinking water are confined to levels that would not affect health,” an official of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said. ”The impact on agricultural crops needs to be examined mainly by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.”
In a notice to the nation’s 47 prefectures, the health ministry called on local governments on Monday to advise residents to stop giving babies water in forms such as baby formula if radioactive iodine is found in drinking water at levels greater than 100 becquerels per kiloliter.
”Babies can easily absorb radioactive iodine in their thyroid glands,” a ministry official said, explaining the reason for issuing the notice. The intake limit set by the central government is 300 becquerels per kiloliter of water.
The science ministry said separately traces of the substances were detected in drinking water sampled Sunday in nine prefectures but they were all below the intake limits set by the government.
The nationwide survey showed both radioactive iodine and cesium were found in Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, while iodine alone was found in Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Niigata and Yamanashi.
In Fukushima Prefecture, where the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located, the prefectural government said 23 becquerels of iodine was found per kiloliter of water.
Yamanashi appeared in the latest iodine list, after not being listed in the previous survey based on samples taken Saturday.
Rainwater banned at water plants
Airborne contaminants tainting tap water supplies, health ministry says
The health ministry has instructed water purification plants nationwide to temporarily stop taking in rainwater to prevent tap water being contaminated from radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, ministry officials said Sunday.
While calling on the plants to keep tap water supplies stable, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry also proposed covering the water pools at the plants with tarps to keep rainwater out or using powdered activated carbon to help get rid of radioactive materials. The instruction came after abnormal radiation levels were found in tap water at multiple purification plants in Fukushima, Tokyo and other prefectures.