Adak Island, Alaska, Amchitka Island, Amchitka underground site, Arctic, Arctic nuclear power plant, Arctic nuclear weapons dispersion, Caesium, Camp Century, cesium, Chernobyl, Denali National Park, fallout, Fukushima, Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Radiocesium fallout, Greenland, lichens, Marshall Islands, Mt. Hunter, NASA, North Pacific, nuclear testing, plutonium, Pu, Radiocesium, radioisotopes, Scandinavia, strontium, Summit Station Greenland, Thule accident, underground nuclear test Alaska, underground nuclear tests
Mt. Hunter Photo by Nomdeploom via Wikimedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hunter_(Alaska) Mt. Hunter is the source of one of the three NASA tests for radiocesium from Fukushima.
Further down is the research done by NASA. It was undertaken in June 2011, after the Fukushima disaster in March. NASA mentions radioactive Caesium isotopes. However, they leave us to guess whether the high levels of Strontium are radioisotopes, or not. By definition, the uranium has to be a radioisotope(s), but which one(s)? As is most often the case, plutonium is conspicuously absent from testing. We found a separate 2011, post-Fukushima, testing for plutonium in relation to historic underground nuclear tests on an Alaskan island. It is strange that Finland and Scandinavia have the technology to differentiate between fallout from weapons testing and fallout from Chernobyl, and again from Fukushima. [Update: Differentiation is based on ratios of radionuclides-isotopes, so no additional “technology” is needed.] Yet, this seems not the case for the rare post-Chernobyl US research, mentioning plutonium [Meaning they chose not to differentiate!]. What is odd in the abstract of the paper by Bu K, Cizdziel JV, Dasher D. (2013) (see below) is that “Lichen from Adak Island had higher Pu concentrations than Amchitka Island, the difference was likely the result of the higher precipitation at Adak compared to Amchitka…” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23639692 Based on research done in Scandinavia, and discussed at length in the Radioactive Reindeer series, higher precipitation seems to wash any older radioisotopes, including plutonium, from lichen more quickly and into the larger ecosystem. This suggests the possibility that some of the plutonium could be new. It is obvious that plenty of plutonium would be present in the environment from historic above ground weapons testing. Unfortunately, at least from the abstract, there appears no effort-ability to distinguish old fallout from new. Nonetheless, in the original presentation of the data, Cizdziel and Bu (2013) note:
“These observations provide supporting evidence that a large input of enriched Pu occurred into the North Pacific Ocean, likely from the Marshall Island high yield nuclear tests, but other potential sources such as the Amchitka underground site cannot be ruled out. Discharges from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant may represent a new source of enriched Pu to the North Pacific.” http://msacad.org/journal/2013/jan_2-5-13_final.pdf (bold added)
Not a mention of plutonium from NASA, although one test was done at Mt. Hunter, Alaska. Amchitka and Adak Islands ARE about half-way between Mt. Hunter and Fukushima, however. Still, one can but wonder. For instance, if NASA tested and found no Plutonium shouldn’t this have been in their report?
Area of NASA tests, 2011
“Fukushima Radiocesium Fallout and Glaciochemistry in Arctic Snow Pits” By NASA.
Abstract: Glaciochemical profiles of 134Cs and 137Cs concentrations, stable water isotopes (delta 18O and delta deuterium), and trace element concentrations (Sr, Cd, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Pb, Bi, U, As, Li, Al, S, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Na, Mg, Cu, Zn, K) from three Arctic locations:
1) Mt. Hunter summit plateau in Denali National Park (62.94 N, 151.09 W, 3900 m elevation), collected on June 7, 2011“;
Original NASA data, at link (below), has some additional elements (mentioned above).
“2) 2Barrel site near Camp Century on the NW Greenland Ice Sheet (76.93 N, 63.12 W, 1685 m elevation), collected on July 8, 2011; and”
Original NASA data, at link, has some additional elements
“3) Summit Station, Greenland (72.58 N, 38.45 W, 3200 m elevation), collected on July 21, 2011“.
Original NASA data, at link, has some additional elements
“Each snow pit spans more than 1 year of snow accumulation, and shows evidence of 134Cs and 137Cs deposition from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan on March 11-19, 2011.
The meltdown resulted from the March 11, 2011 M9.0 Tohoku megathrust earthquake and tsunami. Radiocesium was quantified using a Canberra 3523 Ge-detector at Dartmouth College. Radiocesium samples were processed using the ammonium phosphomolybdate (AMP) absorption method (Baskaran et al., 2009). 134Cs activities have been decay corrected to March 11, 2011. Trace element concentrations were measured on the University of Maine Climate Change Institute Finnigan ELEMENT2 ICP-MS, and stable water isotope ratios were measured on a Picarro L1102-i Liquid Water Analyzer in the Iowa State University Stable Isotope Laboratory“. http://gcmd.nasa.gov/KeywordSearch/Metadata.do?Portal=arctic&KeywordPath=%5BISO_Topic_Category%3D’INLAND+WATERS’%5D&OrigMetadataNode=GCMD&EntryId=fukushima_radiocesium_fallout_and_glaciochemistry_in_arctic_snow_pits&MetadataView=Full&MetadataType=0&lbnode=mdlb4
Full reference for 2011 Plutonium in Alaska article:
“Plutonium concentration and (240)Pu/(239)Pu atom ratio in biota collected from Amchitka Island, Alaska: recent measurements using ICP-SFMS” By Bu K, Cizdziel JV, Dasher D., J Environ Radioact. 2013 Oct;124:29-36.
From the abstract:
“Lichen from Adak Island had higher Pu concentrations than Amchitka Island, the difference was likely the result of the higher precipitation at Adak compared to Amchitka. The (240)Pu/(239)Pu atom ratios were significantly higher in marine samples compared to terrestrial and freshwater samples…”
Full abstract here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23639692
Abstract for Conference presentation of the same research by two of the authors:
“PLUTONIUM CONCENTRATION AND 240Pu/239Pu ATOM RATIO IN BIOTA COLLECTED FROM AMCHITKA ISLAND, ALASKA: RECENT MEASUREMENTS BY ICP-SFMS” By James Cizdziel, Kaixuan Bu, University of Mississippi, United States Minor Outlying Islands
“Three underground nuclear tests, including the United States largest, were conducted on Amchitka Island, Alaska. Monitoring the radiological environment around the island is challenging because of its remote location. In this study, we analyzed lichen (Cladonia spp.), freshwater moss (Fontinalis neomexicanus), kelp (Eualaria fistulosa) and horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus) collected from Amchitka Island and Adak Island (a control site). Plutonium concentration and 240Pu/239Pu ratios were measured using inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SFMS) after column chemistry to isolate the Pu. 239+240Pu levels (mBq/kg, dry weight) randed from 3.79-57.1 for lichen, 167-700 for kelp, 27.9-148 for horse mussel, and 560-573 for moss. Lichen from Adak Island had higher Pu levels than Amchitka Island, the difference likely due to higher precipitation levels on Adak. The 240Pu/239Pu ratio was significantly higher in marine samples compared to terrestrial and freshwater samples. These observations provide supporting evidence that a large input of enriched Pu occurred into the North Pacific Ocean, likely from the Marshall Island high yield nuclear tests, but other potential sources such as the Amchitka underground site cannot be ruled out. Discharges from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant may represent a new source of enriched Pu to the North Pacific“. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, Volume 58 January 2013 Number 1 (p. 67) http://msacad.org/journal/2013/jan_2-5-13_final.pdf (bold added for emphasis)
Summit Station, Greenland
Video describes construction of this US Arctic base in Greenland. A portable nuclear power plant was installed. In the video they explain that because the arctic cold makes the metal brittle, even a routine impact could cause metal to crack.
Very frightening considering that they were dealing with a nuclear reactor, and in the Arctic!
Nuclear Power Plant at Camp Century, via Wikimedia
Appears to be transportation of the component parts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Nuclear_Power_Program
Thule accident where a US airplane carrying nuclear weapons crashed in Greenland:
“Since the 239,240Pu/90Sr ratio was higher at Thule than in the other northern sampling stations at that time, it was concluded that this increased concentration
was caused by the accident.” http://www.risoe.dk/rispubl/NUK/nukpdf/ris-r-1321.pdf
“The American B-52 bomber that crashed near Thule in 1968 carried four nuclear weapons, the radioactive contents of which were dispersed as a result of the crash. Without going into detail about the function and quantities of these materials in the nuclear weapons, the most significant of the radioactive materials, are shown in Table 4.”
Additionally in Spain:
“In 1966, an American B-52 bomber crashed in Palomares following a collision with a tanker plane during mid-air refuelling. The plane carried four nuclear weapons of the same type as were involved in the Thule accident. The high explosive components in two of the bombs detonated, contaminating a 2.25 km2 area, including agricultural and urban areas.”
“The Thule Accident: Assessment of Radiation Doses from Terrestrial Radioactive Contamination” National Board of Health, 2011, Copenhagen, DK http://sundhedsstyrelsen.dk/publ/Publ2011/SIS/Thule/Thulerap_en.pdf