Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This post was last updated on 10 June 2014. It continues here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/radioactive-reindeer-nuclear-guinea-pigs-part-xi-of-a-series/ It is a continuation of: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/radioactive-reindeer-nuclear-guinea-pigs-part-ix-of-a-series/
Caribou

Reindeer and Caribou for this series, is more than a metaphor, although it is that too. In general deer have served as biological sentinels, indicators, guinea pigs, of the dangerous nuclear industry. This is ongoing at Sellafield, in Cumbria, UK, where trapped Roe deer will be wildlife bioindicators, and has gone on throughout the USA. Reindeer and Caribou have been disproportionately impacted by fallout from both nuclear weapons testing and by Chernobyl. As such, they are very well studied. Those dependent upon Reindeer and Caribou for their livings have also been disproportionately impacted by nuclear fallout. However, the biggest reason that we have retained the name in the title is for name continuity in the series.

A major limitation to Reindeer, Caribou, and other deer as biological indicators for radionuclides is that they tend to get eaten at a young age and hence will not bioaccumulate long-lived radionuclides to the same extent as longer-lived animals, such as humans. This is especially true for domesticated reindeer. They have a lesser probability of developing those diseases related to ionizing radiation, which develop slowly, such as cancers. So, they have less exposure and less time to develop illness. The sick and weak Reindeer and Caribou, are eaten by predators, as well.

However, if they are to be biological indicators, it is an interesting coincidence, if coincidence it is, that Alaska’s largest caribou herd, has declined by almost 1/3rd since 2011 (Fukushima disaster) and that their mortality was especially high for 2011 to 2012.

Is this just a coincidence? A spurious correlation? Or has the Tepco-Fukushima disaster, in March 2011, contributed to an accelerated decline in Caribou numbers? According to a May 12, 2014 Alaska Dept. of Fisheries and Game Press Release: “Mortality was very high during 2011-2012, a year of deep snow… In addition to high adult cow mortality during 2011-2012, survival of calves born during 2011 and 2012 was relatively low.
See entire press release, following our comments, here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/alaska-caribou-herd-declined-by-28-from-2011-2013/

The press release suggests that more of the 28% decline occurred during the winter following Fukushima than the following winter. It says that the decline from 2011 to 2013 is “about” 27% but it is 27.69% which is 28% or “about” one third.

Over a ten year period this Caribou herd has decreased by 52% (from a 2003 high). But, 28%, i.e. over half, of this 52% decrease in population was in the two years right after the Tepco Fukushima accident.

The population decrease over the 8 years pre-Fukushima averaged 3% per year. But, in the two years right after the Fukushima accident the population decrease was 28%. Thus the population decrease was 14% per year. However, most of the population decline concentrated in the first year (2011-2012).
So, the rate of population loss sped from 3% per year to somewhere between 14% and 28% per year.

The impact of Fukushima could be both direct and indirect. Caribou numbers may fluctuate, as do Pacific sardines, but would numbers collapse at the same time? It is possible that decline in Pacific sea life, possibly related to Fukushima (which continues to leak radiation into the ocean), has caused bears to prey more upon Caribou than previously. Remember the sick Alaskan Seals and Walruses? They don’t know why they are sick. One researcher had suggested that it might be due to fallout from Fukushima on sea ice.
sick seals noaa http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/default.htm
Note that when the press release speaks of variation in the past, Alaska has taken many fallout hits prior to Fukushima: from weapons testing (air and water pollution), as well as Chernobyl. Short and medium term radionuclides will have decreased in the environment from historic fallout. Plutonium and other very long-lived radionuclides continue to accumulate in the environment, although they may work their way deeper into the soil and drop into waterways, where they still gradually move about. Thus has Sellafield radioactive sediment worked its way toward Norway.

Fukushima Fallout Over Alaska

Here is a video compilation of various governmental fallout models, which were made shortly after Fukushima, but have disappeared from official sources. It was done by a Finnish man. Finland has had far too much experience with nuclear fallout both from Russian (USSR) weapons testing and also from Chernobyl: http://youtu.be/AyODAieB51M (June 2011) He makes many good points, such as the importance of eating well, the importance of using good, logical sense, where information is lacking, and that the disappearance of the government fallout distribution models, in more than one country, looks suspicious.

NASA investigated Fukushima fallout in south central Alaska, shortly after Fukushima: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/fukushima-fallout-and-glaciochemistry-in-arctic-snow-pits-nasa/
Radiation Free Lakeland pointed to the use of deer for radionuclide monitoring: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/1988-the-establishment-of-wildlife-monitoring-schemes-to-provide-an-early-warning-of-radionuclide-accumulation/

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Steinhauser of the Vienna University of Technology, lead author of Steinhauser et. al. (2012) appears very pronuclear (oddly though nuclear energy is illegal in Austria they are still training people for the nuclear industry). Steinhauser and his colleagues decided to apply the long-used animals as bio-monitor scheme as a possible indicator for whether or not countries adhere to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The original abstract has a picture of a reindeer or elk with a yellow-black radioactive sign on its neck. They state: “In the course of the Fukushima nuclear accident large amounts of radionuclides relevant to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) were released and detected globally. We could show that the intake of environmental (131)I into the thyroids of animals can be used for verification of the CTBT. Due to continuous accumulation of (131)I, its apparent half-life in the thyroid biomonitor exceeds the physical one, thus making (131)I detectable three weeks longer than using conventional CTBT-grade high volume air samplers.” Excerpt from abstract of: “Using animal thyroids as ultra-sensitive biomonitors for environmental radioiodine“, by Steinhauser G, Merz S, Kübber-Heiss A, Katzlberger C. Environ Sci Technol, 2012 Dec 4;46(23):12890-4 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23098172
Iodine 131 has a half life of 8 days and Iodine 129 has a half life of 15.7 million years. In the event of nuclear accidents everyone is keen to tell us that Iodine 131 is dangerous but will go away shortly. But, they don’t tell us about Iodine 129. Both are emitted by Nuclear Power Plants, by the US EPA’s own admission, and this worsens as the power plants age. http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/iodine.html The US EPA only monitors and regulates Iodine 129 for nuclear power plants-reprocessing plants. According to the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute, there are about 430 nuclear power plants currently in operation around the world, many of which have inadequate filtration systems or none at all. They have developed a new filtration process for Iodine 131. http://www.psi.ch/media/retention-of-radioactive-iodine-in-serious-npp-accidents But, what about Iodine 129?

Probably almost everyone – at least those with a heart – wonder about those poor sick seals. When the EPA ask should only death (mortality) from cancer matter or if illness (morbidity) matters, think of this:

Healthy Ringed Seal Pup in 2009 (pre Tepco-Fukushima disaster)
Pusa hispida pup

Sick Seal, ca late 2011, post Tepco-Fukushima disaster
North Slope Borough Dept. Wildlife via NOAA, sick seal
Photo by North Slope Borough Dept. of Wildlife Management via NOAA https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/ume_factsheet0214.pdf

Pinnipeds, often generically called seals, are fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals. They include the Odobenidae family (walrus), the Otariidae family (the eared seals: sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (the earless, or true seals). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinniped

The Fukushima disaster was in March of 2011. Can this be a coincidence?
These reports are all from the US government (a government lead by a President who took a lot of campaign money from Exelon Energy, the largest nuclear operator in the US).
Beginning mid-July 2011, elevated numbers of sick or dead seals with skin lesions were discovered in the Arctic and Bering Strait regions of Alaska.http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/ume_factsheet0214.pdf
Beginning in July 2011, elevated numbers of sick or dead ice seals were reported across the North Slope and Bering Strait regions of Alaska. Most affected seals had skin lesions and patchy hair loss. Some also exhibited lethargy and labored breathing. In September, 2011, several walrus carcasses with unusual skin lesions were also reported at a walrus haulout site on the Chukchi Sea coast of Alaska near the community of Point Lay.” From: May 12, 2014 Andrea Medeiros, USFWS 907-786-3695 “Unusual Mortality Event closes for Pacific walruses due to lack of new cases Investigation remains open for Alaskan ice seals http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2014/ume051214.pdf
Nodules have been found on the skin of affected animals,… Findings from dead seals have shown significant lesions in the skin, respiratory system, liver, lymphoid system and heart.https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/umefactsheet031912.pdfDiseased seals–primarily ringed seals—exhibited the inability to properly regrow their annual new coat, a delay in the molting process, and skin ulcers. Some of these seals also exhibited lethargy, labored breathing, and internal issues such as a reduced thymus, hepatitis, etc. Similar cases were also reported in seals from western Canada, eastern Russia, and Japan. Spotted seals and bearded seals were also affected. In addition, reports of skin lesions in Pacific walruses were observed in Alaska, with some associated mortality. By December 2011, there were more than 100 cases of affected pinnipeds in northern and western Alaska…https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/ume_factsheet0214.pdf

Circumpolar Ringed Seal researchers have noted:
Many different bacteria have been detected in the sick seals but no single bacterium or assemblies of bacteria have emerged consistently as being likely primary responsible candidate (s)… Other ongoing tissue and serum testing include levels of thyroid and cortisol (stress hormone) analysis and vitamins (A, B, E). Both hormones and these vitamins are important regulators in the seasonal moulting process of ice seals and in maintaining normal skin barrier function.” Among things being investigated is radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident and or legacy nuclear Arctic Ocean dumps (p.16) http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/id/195705/Rapport143.pdf
Kit M. Kovacs (ed.), “Circumpolar Ringed Seal (Pusa hispida) Monitoring, CAFF´s Ringed Seal Monitoring Network” (2014)

At the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on January 20-24 2014, Dr. Stimmelmayr et. al. reported that: “A variety of the observed pathological conditions (reproductive and endocrine lesions) are reported for the first time in Arctic Pinnipeds;…
Results: Incidental gross findings among the three species included: lesions of the reproductive system (adnexal cysts, uterine and penile melanosis, cliteromegaly, cryptorchism, retained placenta), endocrine system (thyroid cysts, adrenal nodules), musculoskeletal system (synovial cyst), integumentary system (panniculitis, epidermal molt (aka dreadlocks), skin sloughing) and digestive system (microdontia; chronic interstitial pancreatitis, hepatic cyst; cholestatic jaundice; geophagia)… NOTE: Case reports (type 1 alopecia/delayed molt; type II ulcerative dermatitis, delayed molt etc.) from the ongoing 2011 Northern Pinniped unusual mortality event disease investigation were not included and will be reported elsewhere.
” (Emphasis Added) p. 151 http://www.alaskamarinescience.org/documents/2014%20Abstract%20Book.pdf
Incidental Gross Necropsy Findings In Subsistence Harvested Ice Seals And Pacific Walrus“, by Dr.Raphaela Stimmelmayr of north-slope.org, Gay Sheffield of alaska.edu, Shane Eaton, Shaylin Storms, Cyd Hanns, Taqulik Hepa, all of north-slope.org

WARNING TO THE SENSITIVE!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Seal Thyroid and Renal Cysts Stimmelmayra et. al. Northslope.org
Examples of “incidental findings” as reported by Stimmelmayra et. al. found above, including a thyroid lesion. Even the pro-nuclear lobby recognizes that radio-iodine damages the thyroid, they just consider it no big deal if people take thyroid medication for life. Will the animals be given thyroid medication too?

Will the the animals have to enroll in a medical insurance program to get their medication? Is there an Obamacare program for Alaskan seals?

We have discussed at length in this series, the damage that can be done to the immune system by ionizing radiation. Weakened immunity opens people and animals up to any disease, as well as less able to fight off parasites.

It is known that inhalation of some radionuclides, particularly plutonium, causes lung cancer. Fukushima had a Mox reactor, which has extra plutonium. Or, do you think that seal was a six-pack a day smoker? The second image is a lung tumor as “incidental finding”:
Seal lung tumor Stimmelmayra et. al., northslope.org
The worst is that these poor animals don’t even know why they are suffering. Even if they knew that it was from human greed of various sorts, do you think that would make them feel better? Would they understand that they must suffer so that Tepco could make a better profit? Or the oil and gas companies on both the Russian and Alaskan side of the border? Or to make lives more comfortable for an over-prolific human species who thinks they have a “human right” to have more children than replacement (two children)? Meanwhile, as these greedy ones exercise their “rights” to pollute the environment for profit, for comfort, and their many children, they deny many others the right to have children because radionuclides lead to infertility too. They deny others quality of life. Ultimately these greedy, lazy ones will destroy all life very soon, if not stopped. Everyone needs to push for renewable energy.

Adnexal cyst or mass would be a cyst or mass of the ovary or Fallopian tube.
There is also a cyst of the liver (hepatic). All toxins settle in the liver, including plutonium, because it is the liver’s job to clean toxins from the body.
Seal Adnexal and Hepatic Cyst Stimmelmayra et. al. Northslope.org

More horrible pics of horrible “incidental” findings at link: http://www.north-slope.org/assets/images/uploads/AMSS2014_incidental_findings_final.pdf

Note that cases are not only Alaska, Canada, Russia, but also Japan!
sick seals noaa
North Slope Borough Dept. Wildlife via NOAA, sick seal
From the NOAA winter-spring 2013 newsletter:
How many ice seals appeared to be affected by UME symptoms in 2012 as compared to 2011? In 2011 over 200 ice seals were reported with UME symptoms. Most of the affected seals were ringed seals, but the unusual hair loss, delayed molt, skin lesions, and lethargy were also noted in spotted and bearded seals as well as one ribbon seal. Reports were received from northern Alaska, Canada (NWT), Russia (Chukotka), and Japan, with most ringed seal cases observed on the North Slope and bearded and spotted seal cases primarily observed from around the Bering Strait region.

In 2012, fewer cases were reported, with numbers declining as the year progressed. No new Canadian cases were observed in 2012. In Russia, fewer than 3 cases were identified in the spring with no new summer or fall cases. Similarly, less than 5 spring cases were received from northern Japan and no new reports received in the fall. In Alaska, there were fewer stranded seals on the North Slope with no live seals hauling out on local beaches (as observed during the summer of 2011); among the stranded seal carcasses no new cases were observed around Wainwright, Point Hope and Barrow. For subsistence harvested seals in Barrow, only 6 seals were found that had moderate patchy hair loss. The majority of reported cases (53) were from the Nome/Bering Strait region. Many of the cases reported in 2012, primarily adult bearded seals, did not appear to fit the 2011 case definitions as closely and it was also uncertain how many of these cases were ongoing (aka survivors) vs. new.

How many walrus appeared to be affected by UME symptoms in 2012 as compared to 2011? In 2011, coastal community members, active hunters and research teams reported walruses with unusual skin lesions at the Pt. Lay coastal haulout. Because the lesions were similar in appearance to those observed in stranded seals, walruses were included in the ongoing UME investigation. Although Russian researchers and hunters have previously observed walruses with similar skin lesions at coastal haulouts in Chukotka, the condition had not been previously reported in Alaska.

In 2012, persistent sea ice in the Chukchi Sea prevented significant attendance at coastal haulouts, with no walrus observed at the Pt. Lay coastal haulout in Alaska and fewer animals observed at the Chukotka haulout in Russia. Of those animals observed in Chukotka, no new UME cases were noted. Similarly, no UME cases were noted in walrus carcasses along the Chukchi Sea coast as part of North Slope Borough surveys. Within the Alaska hunting community, 6 out of more than 1300 landed animals were reported with unusual skin lesions in 2012, however none of the reported animals clearly fit the UME case definition for walruses.

Diagnostic testing of walrus tissue samples for known viral and bacterial agents have consistently returned negative results. The cause and significance of the unusual skin lesions observed in walruses remains unknown.” (Emphasis added) http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/strandings/newsletters/winter-spring13.pdf

Polar Bears who are apex predators who feed upon seals, have also been impacted by similar symptoms
Alaska Polar Bear hair loss event USGS ca 2012
Have polar bears been added as an affected species? Since the spring of 2012, a total of 23 polar bears from Barrow, Deadhorse and Kaktovik have been identified with variable degrees of hair loss/ thinning, inflamed and crusting skin, and oral lesions. The prevalence of these symptoms appears to be in about 28% of observed animals. Thus far, testing for endocrine abnormalities (thyroid function) and vitamin A and trace mineral imbalances in affected bears has been inconclusive, as have toxicity studies. Proposed testing includes genetic sequencing of tissue samples for new viruses.

The concurrent presence of hair loss in seals, walrus and polar bears has suggested a possible connection between the events. However, unlike the seals and walrus, the bears do not appear to exhibit behavioral changes or systemic involvement nor has mortality been observed in affected animals. A similar hair loss condition has also been observed in polar bears in the past. Consequently, evidence is insufficient to include polar bears as a UME species at this time, but monitoring for new or unusual cases will continue into the 2013 field season.” (Emphasis added) http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/strandings/newsletters/winter-spring13.pdf

Friday, 30 May 2014 (Warning again to the Sensitive)

Almost 1/3rd of polar bears were suffering from “hair loss/ thinning, inflamed and crusting skin, and oral lesions.” In 2012, 23 out of 82 bears or 28% had hair loss. The polar bears feed primarily upon seals, but also Caribou. Alaska fisheries say that the symptoms of the skin disorder differ between polar bears and seals. http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/strandings/newsletters/winter-spring13.pdf http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/ume_qa0612.pdf
Recall that between 2011 and 2013 there was a 28% drop in the largest Alaskan Caribou herd.

Apparently by 2012, NOAA-Alaska fisheries had done systematic evaluation of those animals with lesions. But, conspicuously lacking from the systematic testing of organs is the thyroid. From a common sense perspective, this should have been the first thing to check, considering both the symptoms and reported exposure to radioiodine in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.

What parts of seals/walruses are being tested?
Since we are not yet able to define the optimal specimen to be tested at any given stage of the illness the necropsy protocol for sample collection is extensive and highly detailed. The samples collected for testing include:
Hair Skin Skin lesions Nasal swabs Rectal swabs
Blubber Lymph nodes Tongue Brain Muscle
Chest fluid (if present) Thymus Blood Lung
Heart Bile Liver Spleen Kidney
Urine Stomach contents Feces

What tests for pathogens are being performed? What other tests are being done to understand the disease?
To date, numerous tests for viral, bacterial pathogens, and biotoxins have been performed. Despite extensive laboratory analysis, no specific disease agent or process has been identified. This may suggest that the underlying cause of this disease is most likely complex, involving a variety of factors.

The following disease agents, some of which cause ulcerative skin disease in marine animals, have been screened for and ruled out as possible causes: Calicivirus, Morbillivirus, Pan-Picornavirus, Herpesvirus, Papillomavirus, Poxvirus, Parapoxvirus, Vesicular Stomatitis Virus, Foot and Mouth Disease, Circovirus, Influenza A/B, Arterivirus, Adenovirus, Coronavirus, Enterovirus, Flavivirus, Orbivirus, Orthohepadnavirus, Paramyxovirus, Rhabdovirus, and Papovavirus…
Northern Pinnipeds (ice seals and walruses)  Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Q&A June 25, 2012 alaskafisheries-noaa
From: “Northern Pinnipeds (ice seals and walruses), Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Q&A June 25, 2012http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/ume_qa0612.pdf (Highlights to text added by us)

We haven’t wanted to let the oil and gas industry off the hook on this. There is a good chance that it is a combination of oil and gas, and mining impacts, in conjunction with the Fukushima disaster. Loss of ice will be a problem for long-term survival of arctic sea mammals, of course. As Alaska Fisheries so wisely note: “underlying cause of this disease is most likely complex, involving a variety of factors.” Still, the map below indicates that the sick seal(s) in Japan was on the western side, Japan Sea side, of Hokkaido (near Sapporo), whereas the oil and gas industry of Sakhalin is more concentrated on the eastern side, though there is a facility on the south side of Sakhalin either proposed or in existence. Some fallout was reported on the eastern, Pacific side of Hokkaido, and it may have at least dropped on mountains and run down with the rivers on the western, Japan Sea side. There is a nuclear power plant on the coast near Sapporo, as well. Is the more southerly Russia-Japanese group, indicated on the BOSS map, separate from the more northern Alaska-Russia group? If so, this would suggest that the disease agent traveled rather than the animals. We know that radionuclides have traveled first quickly in the air, and then more in the water, to Alaska and even throughout the world. The oil and gas industry and mining industries are very active in the Bering Sea near Alaska-Russia, as well. The island to the left in the second image is Sakhalin. Japan is not there. The map below seems to be for one seal only ca 2011 or 2012, whereas five seals or sea mammals were mentioned in the 2013 document from yesterday. So, we don’t know where in Japan the other 4 seals or sea mammals were found.

From a 2013 Power Point presentation by Stimmelmayr et. al (ref. below):
•Etiology and Epidemiology: Ulcerative dermatitis is an emerging disease of unknown etiology in ice seals, not observed prior to 2011.
•Geographic Range: Reports of a similar condition in ringed seals have come from Chukotka (Russia), NWT Canada, and northern Japan.
•Timing: The majority of cases were observed during the ice free period (June – October).

Trans-boundary collaboration on marine mammal health assessment
Trans-boundary collaboration on marine mammal health assessment
From: “The 2011 Alaska Northern Pinniped Unusual Mortality Event: A case study for Cross-Border Disease Surveillance and Baseline Marine Mammal Health Research“, by R. Stimmelmayr 1, S. Raverty2, T. Rowles3, J. Garlich-Miller4, 1North Slope Borough Dept. of Wildlife Management, AK, USA; Animal Health Center, British Columbia, CA; 3 National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources, 4 USFWS, AK, USA http://northslope.org/media/doc/2013/Jun/US_canada_2012_Stimmelmayretal..pptx

The following shows seal populations, as well as the complexities of even counting seals. It is obvious that it must take a lot of research monies. So, little is really known about seals! According to this article, there was no real pre-Fukushima, pre-illness, baseline. Due to Russia’s current dispute with the west we wonder if there will be the follow-up study.
Bering Okhotsk Seal Surveys (BOSS) Joint U.S.-Russian Aerial Surveys for Ice-associated Seals, 2012-13:
Scientists at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) Polar Ecosystems Program (PEP) collaborated with colleagues from the State Research and Design Institute for Fishing Fleet (“Giprorybflot”) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to conduct synoptic aerial surveys of ice-associated seals in the Bering and Okhotsk Seas. Conducting spring-time surveys in those areas will yield abundance estimates for the entire population of ribbon seals, and all but a small fraction of the spotted seal population. For bearded seals, the surveys included the large and important fraction of the population that overwinters and breeds in the Bering and Okhotsk Seas. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management provided critical financial support in 2012 and 2013 to complete the U.S. surveys of the central and eastern Bering Sea. Surveys for the portions of the bearded and ringed seal populations that breed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas will require a separate and subsequent survey with different seasonal timing. Two years of survey effort were required to achieve adequate precision (CV= 0.1) for abundance estimates and to ensure that sufficient periods of suitable weather occurred during survey periods. Aerial surveys for bearded, spotted, ribbon, and ringed seals were conducted in spring 2012 and 2013. In the United States and Russia combined, the teams flew more than 47,000 nautical miles (nmi) (90,000 km) of survey track (Fig. 2). The completion of this project marks the largest survey of ice-associated seals ever completed and will provide the first comprehensive estimates of abundance for bearded, spotted, ribbon, and ringed seals in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk.

Survey Effort Surveys were conducted using digital cameras and thermal imagers mounted in the belly ports of two U.S. and one Russian fixed-wing aircraft from 6 April to 23 May 2012 and 4 April to 9 May 2013. In 2013, U.S. surveys consisted of flights origi-nating from airports in Nome, Bethel, and St. Paul Island, Alaska. The U.S. team also utilized an air-strip in Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island, to reach the most remote areas of sea ice in the central Bering Sea. The Russian team began Sea of Okhotsk surveys from Khabarovsk in Tatar Strait in early April 2013 and worked their way through Shelikhov Bay and into Karaginsky Bay. Surveys of the western Bering Sea began in mid-April from Ossora, Russia, on the Kamchatka Peninsula and worked their way north to the Bering Strait. The Russian aircraft carried a large, cooled thermal imager, Malakhit-M, which was paired with three fixed, digital, single-lens reflex (SLR) cam-eras fitted with 50-mm lenses (Fig. 3). Onboard observers also collected images with hand-held SLR cameras with zoom lenses. The Russian team completed 32 flights from 13 airports and flew more than 12,000 nmi (23,000 km).
Seal Range, The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) Quarterly Report is produced by the Center's Communications Program, nature of the findings provisional/study incomplete
Figure 2, BOSS 2012 (pink) and 2013 (green) survey track lines in the Bering and Okhotsk seas covering more than 90,000 km (56,000 miles) completed during the joint U .S .-Russian survey effort . The 500-m isobath is in light blue and April 2013 ice extent is in white .“(p.2)
BOSS image The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) Quarterly Report is produced by the Center's Communications
Advanced thermal-imaging technology was used on both the U.S. and Russian survey aircraft to detect the warm bodies of seals against the background of the cold sea ice. Pictured above are two adult bearded seals detected with thermal imagery.” “Quarterly Report July August September 2013, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center” (Emphasis added) http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/quarterly/jas2013/jas13featurelead.htm The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) Quarterly Report is produced by the Center’s Communications Program, their research is ongoing, so they want the provisional nature of the findings to be noted; Full Report here: http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/quarterly/jas2013/JAS13-Archive.pdf

Sunday 1 June 2014

The following is the most important summary presentation on the cause of the seal illness:
2011 Fukushima Fall Out: Aerial Deposition On To Sea Ice Scenario And Wildlife Health Implications To Ice-Associated Seals“, by Drs. Doug Dasher, John Kelley, Gay Sheffield Alaska.edu, Raphaela Stimmelmayr, North-slope.org

On March 11, 2011 off Japan’s west coast, an earthquake-generated tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resulting in a major nuclear accident that included a large release of airborne radionuclides into the environment. Within five days of the accident atmospheric air masses carrying Fukushima radiation were transiting into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas. During summer 2011 it became evident to coastal communities and wildlife management agencies that there was a novel disease outbreak occurring in several species of Arctic ice-associated seals. Gross symptoms associated with the disease included lethargy, no new hair growth, and skin lesions, with the majority of the outbreak reports occurring between the Nome and Barrow region. NOAA and USFWS declared an Alaska Northern Pinnipeds Usual Mortality Event (UME) in late winter of 2011. The ongoing Alaska 2011 Northern Pinnipeds UME investigation continues to explore a mix of potential etiologies (infectious, endocrine, toxins, nutritious etc.), including radioactivity. Currently, the underlying etiology remains undetermined. We present results on gamma analysis (cesium 134 and 137) of muscle tissue from control and diseased seals, and discuss wildlife health implications from different possible routes of exposure to Fukushima fallout to ice seals. Since the Fukushima fallout period occurred during the annual sea ice cover period from Nome to Barrow, a sea ice based fallout scenario in addition to a marine food web based one is of particular relevance for the Fukushima accident. Under a proposed sea ice fallout deposition scenario, radionuclides would have been settled onto sea ice. Sea ice and snow would have acted as a temporary refuge for deposited radionuclides; thus radionuclides would have only become available for migration during the melting season and would not have entered the regional food web in any appreciable manner until breakup (pulsed release). The cumulative on-ice exposure for ice seals would have occurred through external, inhalation, and non-equilibrium dietary pathways during the ice-based seasonal spring haulout period for molting/pupping/breeding activities. Additionally, ice seals would have been under dietary/metabolic constraints and experiencing hormonal changes associated with reproduction and molting.” (Emphasis added) http://www.alaskamarinescience.org/documents/2014%20Abstract%20Book.pdf
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Jan. 20-24, 2014

On their poster presentation, below, they point out that “Hot particles, nuclear fuel fragments were detected in air samples taken in Svalbard, Norway,” subsequent to the Tepco-Fukushima accident (which is even farther away from Japan than Alaska is!)
Dasher, et. al., 2014, Alaska.edu/N. Slope
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, January 20-24, 2014 http://www.north-slope.org/assets/images/uploads/AMSS2014_seaicescenario_Dasheretal_final.pdf

On the above poster from the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Jan, 2014 is stated: “Based on modeled radionuclide concentrations the dose to Northern Pinnipeds on ice was less than the ERICA risk assessment no-effects level of 10 microGy/hr with the following caveats: 1) Source terms for the Fukushima nuclear accident release vary greatly creating uncertainty in the models. 2) Knowledge gaps exist on extrapolating radiation dose to marine mammals. 3) Exposure to hot particles was not addressed. 4) Cannot rule out that increased radiological exposure in combination with a mixture of other contaminants represented an immunotoxic and thyroid disease risk during the period the animals were living on the ice. 5) Ionizing radiation associated risk for skin defects (i.e. epilation, skin lesions) due to contact and external exposure can also not be excluded“. They furthermore warn us that “Marine transported Fukushima radionuclides entering the Bering and Chukchi Seas in the future may represent a new stressor to the ecosystem.” (Emphasis added)

There seems to be some confusion as to the definition of hot particle, but it seems to mean any small intensive dose of radiation, either external, as to the skin, or internal:
A hot particle is a microscopic piece of radioactive material, which can become lodged in living tissue and deliver a concentrated dose of radiation to a small area
Due to their small size, hot particles may be swallowed, inhaled or enter the body by other means. Once lodged in the body, cells very near the hot particle may absorb much of its radiation, and be bombarded in a very sustained and concentrated fashion. By contrast, an external radioactive source delivering the same total amount of radiation over the whole body would give a relatively minute dose to any one cell.
“(Emphasis added) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_particle

Hot Particle High Energy Oleg Bondarenko http://wiki.urps.info/en/Alpha_spectrometry_using_solid_state_track_detectors
Track clusters that characterize a High Active Hot Particle by Oleg Bondarenko http://wiki.urps.info/en/Alpha_spectrometry_using_solid_state_track_detectors
Low  Energy Hot Particle by Oleg Bondarenko http://wiki.urps.info/en/Alpha_spectrometry_using_solid_state_track_detectors
Track Clusters that characterize a Low Active Hot Particle by Oleg Bondarenko http://wiki.urps.info/en/Alpha_spectrometry_using_solid_state_track_detectors

Arnie Gundersen at Fairewinds Associates, in a video dated June 12th posted online at their Fukushima Updates Section, delves into those devils in the details. He reports, based on air filter documentation gathered by independent scientists on the ground in Japan, that residents of Tokyo likely inhaled 10 hot particles from Fukushima daily during the month of April. Residents of Fukushima Prefecture, however, inhaled 300 to 400 hot particles daily. But even residents of Seattle, Washington, likely inhaled 5 hot particles per day during April, which had blown all the way across the Pacific Ocean. Once in the human lung, or other internal tissue, such hot particles cannot be detected by a simple gamma radiation monitor. But they are now in a place where they can do great damage to human health, such as initiate cancer.http://www.beyondnuclear.org/japan/2011/7/2/the-devils-in-the-details-with-radioactive-hot-particle-fall.html

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported re Japan that:
In March 2012, the government published the result of the first examination on children in 13 cities, and it showed over 35% of young people examined have thyroid cysts or nodules. Moreover, the result of the examination during the period between April 2012 and January 2013 shows 43.6% of young people examined have thyroid cysts or nodules.” (Further info-critique at web site: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CESCR/Shared%20Documents/JPN/INT_CESCR_NGO_JPN_13503_E.doc ) This suggests that some major impacts (cysts, nodules) could be seen surprisingly quickly. Recall that at least one seal had a thyroid cyst. It seems to be a finding of a Native Alaskan hunter. Unfortunately, and strangely, the thyroid was not studied by the US gov in most of the sick seals, which is very odd, considering that between the radioiodine exposure and the symptoms, it should be the first thing to consider. Very strange. In humans, thyroid problems have been considered even by the pro-nuclear lobby, for Chernobyl and Fukushima. They just think it is no big deal if you don’t die of it and take medication for life.

A local Alaskan newspaper, the Nome Nugget, informs us that right after the Fukushima accident, “62 percent of the air mass trajectories followed a northern route through the Bering and Chukchi Seas. With the sea ice long gone and melted, one will never know if the elevated levels of radiation were present or not“. Regarding the research-poster they state that “The authors conclude that knowledge gaps exist on radiation and its effects on molting seals“. Importantly they inform us that Dr. Dasher said that there had been “limited funding, capacity, equipment and time to process more than the four tissue samples.http://www.nomenugget.net/archives/2014/02.06.14%20NN.pdf The four tissue samples appear to be the muscle tissue testing for radiocesium in the seals.

Pretty bad that the US gov couldn’t bother to fund this, all while throwing $6.5 billion for a new nuclear reactor (Vogtle). Good seal research could have been done for an iota of an iota of the cost, a minuscule fraction of a fraction of the cost. And, where did the sick seal thyroids go? That would have cost next to nothing to look and see if they had visible cysts.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Many of the seal symptoms look like symptoms of hypothyroidism, but could radiation induced hypothyroidism occur so quickly as a few months? In humans it can occur as early as 6 months or as late as 40 years. http://www.bioline.org.br/request?cn11048 Seals have shorter lives so perhaps they could be impacted more quickly than humans. Someone may have the answer for this, but if it’s there we haven’t seen it yet.

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism, via Wikimedia

In the January 2014 poster presentation, Dasher et. al. pointed to the probable inhalation of particulate and gaseous radionuclides, contamination of fur and skin, external exposure on ice, in water and sediment, ingestion of food. Furthermore, the time of year meant that dietary, metabolic and hormonal changes could make them more sensitive. They reported that “Hot particles, nuclear fuel fragments, were detected in air samples taken in Svalbard, Norway

We are reminded of information which we were sent by a US Veteran who cleaned the air planes and changed radiation test air filters from Atomic Bomb tests (the ones done by the USSR) who suffered burns to his face and ultimately skin cancer. The Veterans Administration apparently continues to give him and others the run around for not having the “right” cancer. Historically, the first “standard” for ionizing radiation was based on reddening, i.e. burning, of the skin.
Fukushima initial Cs 137 Dispersion by NOAA
The US govt’s NOAA model shows a concentration of about 5,000,000,000,000 Bq (5 trillion becquerel; 5 TeraBecquerel (TBq) of Cs 137 flew over Alaska from the first emissions of the Tepco’s Fukushima reactor accident. Although they claim high levels did not fly over the US, it clearly flew over and fell upon Alaska. Examining their video online in conjunction with their explanation that counterclockwise circulation is a low pressure system and more likely to drop radionuclides down to earth in the form of precipitation suggests that the coast of Alaska could have taken a big hit. Additionally, Cs 137 is but a small percentage of what flew over and fell. Although we can’t find the source-figure, we recall Cs 137 as having been only around 4 to 6% of the radionuclides emitted or in the core. Iodine 129 and 131 fell too. Many other radioactive elements which most of us have never heard of fell too. How much of these becquerels fell down on the seals would depend on when and where it rained and snowed. The Dasher presentation quotes estimates of various researchers. “One Bq is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becquerel Whereever these 5 trillion Bq of Cs 137 fell, Cs 137 has a half-life of about 30 years so it will be there a long time, though not in the 100s and 1000s and millions of years like some radionuclides.
Fukushima initial Cs 137 plume on May 23 2011

To quickly recap the seal symptoms – as early as July 2011, i.e. 3 1/2 to 4 months after exposure would have occurred – included skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy, labored breathing. While these sound like hypothyroidism, it also could be an acute reaction to the overall radiation. The September 2011 report said that Walrus had skin lesions. The seals had shown reproductive lesions, endocrine problems: thyroid cysts, adrenal nodules; synovial cysts (i.e. in the joints), skin and liver problems, and lung tumors. From Spring of 2012, 28% polar bears (who eat seals) had hair loss, thinning, inflamed crusting sores, oral lesions. Endocrine studies were inconclusive. A summary of seal symptoms given was BLOODY FLUID ACCUMULATION IN THE LUNGS, SOFTENED LIVERS, ENLARGED HEARTS, HEPATITIS-INFLAMMATION OF LIVER, ENLARGED LYMPH NODES, REDUCED SIZE THYMUS IN YOUNG ANIMALS. All in all suggestion of WIDESPREAD COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM.

The 2014 Dasher et. al. summary says that within 5 days air with Fukushima debris was transiting north across the Bering and Chukdu
Chukchi Sea
Map by Mohonu, Creative Commons, via wikimedia

Those who have followed this series know that radionuclides tend to accumulate in the liver and that both internal radionuclides and external radiation impacts the immune system and can even destroy it. It appears clear that inhalation of radionuclides could irritate the lungs, as well as eventually cause cancer. Although we haven’t discussed it yet, the heart and cardiovascular system could be damaged externally by sufficient irradiation, but also internally due to radiocesium replacing potassium and radiostrontium replacing calcium in the heart. Because cesium mimics potassium and strontium mimics calcium, they could cause heart dysfunction, but also would easily travel to the heart, where they can irradiate it internally.

But, thyroid dysfunction, which could be caused by radioiodine, has a diverse array of symptoms, in and of itself. And, even the nuclear lobby admits that radioiodine can damage the thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Fatigue Dry, coarse skin
Feeling cold Cool extremities
Poor memory and concentration Myxedema (mucopolysaccharide deposits in the skin) Constipation Hair loss
Weight gain with poor appetite Slow pulse rate
Shortness of breath Swelling of the limbs
Hoarse voice Delayed relaxation of tendon reflexes
Heavy periods (and later light periods) Carpal tunnel syndrome
Abnormal sensation Pleural effusion, ascites, pericardial effusion
Poor hearing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothyroidism

Pericardial effusion (“fluid around the heart”) is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pericardial cavity“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pericardial_effusion
Pleural effusion is excess fluid that accumulates in the pleural cavity, the fluid-filled space that surrounds the lungs. Excessive amounts of such fluid can impair breathing by mass effect, limiting the expansion of the lungs during ventilation. Various kinds of pleural effusion, depending on the nature of the fluid and what caused its entry into the pleural space, are hydrothorax (serous fluid), hemothorax (blood), chylothorax (chyle), or pyothorax (pus). Pneumothorax is the accumulation of air in the pleural space.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleural_effusion
Walrus skin ulcers, Alaska Fisheries NOAA June 2012 http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice/diseased/ume_qa0612.pdf

Acute Radiation Syndrome will have skin damage but skin damage can occur without Acute Radiation Syndrome:
Cutaneous Radiation Syndrome (CRS)
The concept of cutaneous radiation syndrome (CRS) was introduced in recent years to describe the complex pathological syndrome that results from acute radiation exposure to the skin.

ARS usually will be accompanied by some skin damage. It is also possible to receive a damaging dose to the skin without symptoms of ARS, especially with acute exposures to beta radiation or X-rays. Sometimes this occurs when radioactive materials contaminate a patient’s skin or clothes.

When the basal cell layer of the skin is damaged by radiation, inflammation, erythema, and dry or moist desquamation can occur. Also, hair follicles may be damaged, causing epilation. Within a few hours after irradiation, a transient and inconsistent erythema (associated with itching) can occur. Then, a latent phase may occur and last from a few days up to several weeks, when intense reddening, blistering, and ulceration of the irradiated site are visible.

In most cases, healing occurs by regenerative means; however, very large skin doses can cause permanent hair loss, damaged sebaceous and sweat glands, atrophy, fibrosis, decreased or increased skin pigmentation, and ulceration or necrosis of the exposed tissue.http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/arsphysicianfactsheet.asp

Acute radiation syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation poisoning, radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, is a collection of health effects which present within 24 hours of exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation. The radiation causes cellular degradation due to damage to DNA and other key molecular structures within the cells in various tissues; this destruction, particularly as it affects ability of cells to divide normally, in turn causes the symptoms. The symptoms can begin within one or two hours and may last for several months.[1][2] The terms refer to acute medical problems rather than ones that develop after a prolonged period.[3][4][5]

The onset and type of symptoms depends on the radiation exposure. Relatively smaller doses result in gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting and symptoms related to falling blood counts such as infection and bleeding. Relatively larger doses can result in neurological effects and rapid death. Treatment of acute radiation syndrome is generally supportive with blood transfusions and antibiotics, with some more exotic treatments such as bone marrow transfusions being required in extreme cases.[1]

Similar symptoms may appear months to years after exposure as chronic radiation syndrome when the dose rate is too low to cause the acute form.[6] Radiation exposure can also increase the probability of developing some other diseases, mainly different types of cancers. These diseases are sometimes referred to as radiation sickness, but they are never included in the term acute radiation syndrome.
….
Cutaneous radiation syndrome (CRS) refers to the skin symptoms of radiation exposure.[5] Within a few hours after irradiation, a transient and inconsistent redness (associated with itching) can occur. Then, a latent phase may occur and last from a few days up to several weeks, when intense reddening, blistering, and ulceration of the irradiated site are visible. In most cases, healing occurs by regenerative means; however, very large skin doses can cause permanent hair loss, damaged sebaceous and sweat glands, atrophy, fibrosis, decreased or increased skin pigmentation, and ulceration or necrosis of the exposed tissue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acute_radiation_syndrome (Emphasis added: references at link) Interesting information here: http://atomicbombmuseum.org/3_health.shtml

This sounds familiar: “Formally termed the Press Code, officially issued by the Occupation GHQ on September 19, 1945, it prohibited the publication of all reports and studies of A-bomb damages, including medical and scientific studies of all injuries and losses suffered by A-bomb victims in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whether in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, books, or other public means. Thus the A-bombed citizens struggled with ignorance of the many medical and social aspects of the decimated lives.http://atomicbombmuseum.org/3_social.shtml

One cannot forget the general stressors of mining, oil and gas drilling, other radioactive contamination, pollution, and melting ice upon the arctic animal population. The Fukushima disaster may have been the straw that broke the camels back or the drop that made the cup overflow: “The idiom the straw that broke the camel’s back is from an Arabic proverb about how a camel is loaded beyond its capacity to move or stand. This is a reference to any process by which cataclysmic failure (a broken back) is achieved by a seemingly inconsequential addition, a single straw. This also gives rise to the phrase “the last/final straw”, used when something is deemed to be the last in a line of unacceptable occurrences….

One of the earliest published usages of this phrase was in Charles Dickens’s Dombey and Son (1848), where he says “As the last straw breaks the laden camel’s back”, meaning that there is a limit to everyone’s endurance, or everyone has his breaking-point. Dickens was writing in the nineteenth century and he may have received his inspiration from an earlier proverb, recorded by Thomas Fuller in his Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs as “‘Tis the last feather that breaks the horse’s back”. Mark Twain also used a variation of this phrase in his book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), “this final feather broke the camel’s back” (Twain 71.). … The equivalent proverb in the following languages roughly translates to “the drop that made the cup overflow“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_that_broke_the_camel’s_back

Thursday, 5 June 2014

For those who would like to pontificate what happened to the radionuclides, by examining at what point they were circling counterclockwise and at what point they were circling clockwise, the dispersion, etc., here is the noaa video link:http://youtu.be/teV44bW30Z4 And, the video:

One gram of caesium-137 has an activity of 3.215 terabecquerel (TBq)“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137 That is, 1 gram of Caesium 137 emits radiation at the rate of 3.2 terabecquerels, which is 3.2 trillion radioactive emissions per second, i.e. 3,200,000,000,000 radioactive emissions per second! There are 453 grams in a pound (obviously 1,000 grams in a kilogram).

The US EPA tells us the impact of exposure to cesium 137 – acute or chronic, high or low dose:

How can cesium-137 affect people’s health?
Like all radionuclides, exposure to radiation from cesium-137 results in increased risk of cancer. Everyone is exposed to very small amounts of cesium-137 in soil and water as a result of atmospheric fallout. Exposure to waste materials, from contaminated sites, or from nuclear accidents can result in cancer risks much higher than typical environmental exposures.

If exposures are very high, serious burns, and even death, can result. Instances of such exposure are very rare. One example of a high-exposure situation would be the mishandling a strong industrial cesium-137 source. The magnitude of the health risk depends on exposure conditions. These include such factors as strength of the source, length of exposure, distance from the source, and whether there was shielding between you and the source (such as metal plating)“. http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/cesium.html#affecthealth

As for the amount of cesium found in seal meat, it must be noted that in a contaminated environment, it takes 2 years for the human body to build up radiocesium, according to Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Lab. That’s assuming the environmental contamination doesn’t continue to increase! The testing of the seals was done in 2011, but we don’t know when. It seems that first the fish, which the seals would eat, would become contaminated, and then the seals, so it might take even longer to bioaccumulate. About 75% of Finnish, and presumably Scandinavian, Reindeer are killed for food, within less than a year of life. So, their high contamination levels indicate how seriously that part of the world was, and is still, contaminated from Chernobyl and Nuclear Weapons testing. Not yet one half life of Cesium 137 has passed since Chernobyl, and not yet two half lives since most Atomic weapons testing. And Cesium 137 has a short half-life, compared to many radionuclides. A further consideration is that the seal meat was tested dry weight, rather than wet weight. Most reports of cesium seem to be done as wet weight. We feel that dry weight is probably better for measuring cesium, and most radionuclides, since water can have a shielding effect. However, wet weight would be better for tritium. Because the seals were tested dry weight, the levels of Cesium in the seals is actually lower than it appears, comparatively. On the other hand, it means that the tuna which travelled from Fukushima to California, and which had a wet weight Cs 137 of 4 Bq/kg, would have about 20 Bq/kg dry weight. Different plants and animals have different wet and dry weight conversion factors, which need to be looked up. Based on memory, the average for converting wet to dry weight for fish is a factor of 5. We did not find a conversion factor for seals.

Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Lab in California, USA, explains update and excretion of both Cesium and Plutonium in the Marshall Islands:
The largest dose contributions attributable to exposure to residual nuclear fallout contamination in the Marshall Islands result from either (1) internal exposure from intakes of radionuclides through ingestion, inhalation, and/or absorption through the skin, or (2) external exposure from radionuclides distributed in the soil. External exposure rates can be measured directly using instrument surveys of the radiation field. The assignment of dose to internally deposited radionuclides is much more complicated. Biokinectic and dosimetric models developed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) are used to convert whole body burdens (from whole body counting or from in vitro bioassay tests, such as urinalysis) into dose. In the case of a chronic exposure, organ and body burdens continue to build up over time until a steady state is reached where losses due to decay and excretion are balanced by intake and absorption. Cesium-137 has an effective half-life in an adult of about 110 days, and under chronic exposure conditions reaches a maximal dose contribution after about 2 years. By contrast, plutonium absorbed from the gastrointestinal or respiratory tract enters the blood stream and deposits in liver and bone with an effective half-life of 20 to 50 years. Only a small fraction of plutonium entering the blood stream is excreted in urine… Knowledge of excretion rates and time of exposure are important when interpreting urinalysis data. A more detailed discussion of the dose calculation methodology is given elsewhere (see under Daniels et al., 2007)“. https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/glossary.php

Again we recap the dangers and importance of radioactive iodine, in nuclear accidents, nuclear weapons and even day-to-day operations of nuclear facilities: “During the plume phase of a reactor-accident release, the thyroid might be exposed externally to gamma radiation from radionuclides in the plume or it might be exposed internally if radioiodine is present and inhaled. The thyroid can also be exposed internally through the intake of radioiodine by the consumption of contaminated milk, water or foods, such as leafy vegetables. Consideration of the ingestion of milk is particularly of concern because radioiodine deposited on pasture grass is reconcentrated in the milk of grazing animals (particularly cows, goats, sheep and reindeer). It takes a day or two for the radioiodine to appear in milk. To reduce exposure via the ingestion pathway, including thyroid exposure, officials would recommend that dairy animals be fed uncontaminated stored feed or recommend the interdiction of local milk supplies and contaminated foods (USNRC, 2002).
(“National Research Council. Distribution and Administration of Potassium Iodide in the Event of a Nuclear Incident. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004“. http://www.nap. edu/openbook.php?record_id=10868&page=41 )

Iodine-131 (131I), also called radioiodine, is an important radioisotope of iodine. It has a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days. It is associated with nuclear energy, medical diagnostic and treatment procedures, and natural gas production. It also plays a major role as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products, and was a significant contributor to the health hazards from open-air atomic bomb testing in the 1950s, and from the Chernobyl disaster, as well as being a large fraction of the contamination hazard in the first weeks in the Fukushima nuclear crisis. This is because I-131 is a major uranium, plutonium fission product, comprising nearly 3% of the total products of fission (by weight)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-131

Once again, these are but two, of many, radioactive elements, associated with the nuclear industry and nuclear weapons.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

A few weeks ago we posted an article on Chronic Cesium 137 contamination: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/chronic-cs-137-radioactive-caesium-incorporation-in-childrens-organs/ It is by Dr. Yury Bandazhevsky, who was persecuted by Alexander Lukashenko (president of Belarus for the last 20 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Belarus) Belarus took the worst hit from Chernobyl and they apparently have chosen the easy way to deal with it – pretend it doesn’t exist and suppress information which indicates otherwise, as well as persecuting the researchers. You can be certain that the next nuclear accident, where-ever it is, will be characterized by a clamp down on information (information outage), and destruction of free speech, because how else will they stop legitimate panic? It is the only way! There are two choices for the future: Bye-bye Nuclear Industry or Bye-bye Democracy, Free Speech, and, of course, Bye-bye Health and ultimately All Life. How many of you were notified by your governments and/or told to stay indoors when the radiation from Chernobyl or Fukushima went flying over or even raining down upon your heads? Not many.

The majority of the Highlanders were cleared from the land, so as to make room for sheep, or so we are told. One might suspect, however, that as in the Black Hills of South Dakota, it was to make way for mining. Finally the clearing of the Highlanders from the land, made way for the UK’s nuclear projects. At Dounreay, in the Highlands, “Tens of thousands of radioactive fuel fragments (so called ‘particles’) escaped from the Dounreay plant between 1963 and 1984, polluting local beaches, the coastline and the seabed. Fishing has been banned within a two-kilometer radius of the plant since 1997.

The most radioactive of the particles are regarded by experts as potentially lethal if ingested. Similar in size to grains of sand, they contain caesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years, but they can also incorporate traces of plutonium-239, which has a half-life of over 24,000 years. The particles are milled shards from the reprocessing of irradiated uranium and plutonium fuel from two long-defunct reactors. They are thought to have drained into the sea with discharges from cooling ponds.http://www.wiseinternational.org/node/3789 (Emphasis added)

Dr. Dasher, participated in an earlier study of Caribou contamination during a “mortality event” about 20 years ago (1995-96), near the location of a radiotracer experiment in northwestern Alaska (Project Chariot site). The high levels of alpha activity, which they found in Caribou bones, are frightening, especially contrasted to lower levels of cesium in muscles. The cesium and strontium levels had dropped off, since most above ground Nuclear Weapons testing stopped. Obviously, long-lived alpha emitters like plutonium and americium would not have declined. It is easy to see how eating the bones of sardines or other small fish could constitute a problem. And, checking for Cesium will no longer give a clear idea of the presence of long lived radionuclides, as it could have at the beginning of the Atomic Age. Although the cesium levels had lowered over time, the long lived alphas were (and are) still around. Unfortunately, they didn’t study individual types of alpha emitters, but measured only gross alpha emissions. Bone gross alpha activity, in Caribou, had a mean of 130.0 Bq/kg, and varied from 33.3 to 307 Bq/kg. The mean activity of Strontium-90 in bone was 137.8 Bq/ kg with a range of 5.93 to 244.8 Bq/kg. The Cesium-137 mean activity, in muscle, was 6.67 Bq/kg with a range of 0.74 to 25.6 Bq/kg by location. Strontium-90, in muscle, averaged 13.7 (mean) with a range from 0 to 108.1 Bq/kg. These were all “wet weight”, as opposed to “dry weight”. Radionuclide concentrations were considered “at expected levels“, (given the history of Atomic Fallout and Chernobyl). They note that “In some cases, they were low compared to those in Canadian caribou studies.” (We chose to use the numbers from the charts in the document text, which do not seem match the abstract). (http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic52-3-279.pdf, ARCTIC VOL. 52, NO. 3, Sept. 1999, pp. 279–288 “Radionuclide Levels in Caribou of Northern Alaska in 1995–96, by Todd M. O’Hara, Doug Dasher, John C. George, and Victoria Woshner)

Shortly after Chernobyl, there was a study called: “Radiocesium concentrations in the lichen-reindeer/caribou food chain: Before and after Chernobyl,” by Robert G. White, Dan F. Holleman and Ann C. Allaye-Chan, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, Rangifer, 1986, No. 1. Appendix, which noted that the highest amount of radiocesium (presumably short-lived Cs 134, as well as Cs 137) in Caribou was 1,800 Bq/kg wet weight, ca 1963 to 64, (a year or two after the year of the most intensive above ground nuclear weapons testing, 1962, which predated the partial nuclear weapons test ban agreement in 1963, where most above ground testing stopped). They note that “The level of radiocesium in reindeer meat in Kautokeino (Norway) has declined exponentially from 3-4000 Bq/kg in 1968 to approximately 300 Bq/kg in 1981, with a pre-Chernobyl level predicted at 150-180 Bq/kg. This level is similar to that for caribou muscle in Alaska.http://septentrio.uit.no/index.php/rangifer/article/view/579
Either the above is dry weight or reindeer in parts of Norway received over three times more radiation from Chernobyl (up to 13,000 Bq/kg) than from the nuclear tests (or the historical measures underreported).

The radiation level in wolves and other reindeer predators may be 4 to 10 times that of Caribou! According to White et. al., above, “In addition to caribou, wolves predating on caribou also become contaminated and the body burden of wolves may be 4 to 10 times that of caribou. However, a radiocesium body burden much lower than that of caribou is common when the principal food is not caribou… Therefore, unless precautions are taken to prevent the absorption of radiocesium, the body burden of animals fed contaminated reindeer/caribou flesh and offal could reach levels up to 10 times that in the food.http://septentrio.uit.no/index.php/rangifer/article/view/579

There were high levels of Cesium in parts of Norway, subsequent to Chernobyl, with up to 13,000 Bq/kg of Cesium 137 found in reindeer! In Central Norway, the amount in reindeer had dropped down to about 590 Bq/kg in 2011, but appears to have spiked back up to 2558 Bq/kg in 2012, post Fukushima (wet weight). The Norwegian Radiological Protection agency notes that: “There has been little reduction in cesium-137 levels in the last decade, and the results show large variations from year to year and between different regions. The radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl accident was unevenly dispersed across the country, causing the variations between reindeer populations from different areas. The variations from year to year may be caused by their diet.
Cesium 137 Environment Norway http://www.environment.no/Goals-and-indicators/Goals-and-indicators/Radioactive-pollution/Limit-radiation/Geographical-distribution-of-caesium-137-in-soils-in-Norway-/Caesium-137-in-wild-reindeer-/ No mention is made of Fukushima, but it must have played some role in this spike, especially as fuel fragments were found in Svalbard, Norway, north of Norway’s mainland. High levels of Cesium which dropped on ice in Alaska, subsequent to Fukushima, could have melted off into the ocean, whereas any that dropped onto land would stay longer, before being absorbed by plants and animals, washed into the ground or downhill and downstream.

The Bristol Bay Native Association Newsletter from this March added details to the symptoms of the seals. Excerpted from the newsletter:
WHAT’S NEXT? • Coastal community members should remain vigilant and continue to report sick animals. Stay tuned!
UME symptoms in seals include: • Easily approachable • Hair loss • Sores on the body, flippers, and/or head • Bloody nose / eyes • Difficulty breathing / diving
We still do not understand the cause of the illness.
• There is NO evidence that this disease is passed to humans or dogs.
• Virus, bacteria, and infectious disease testing: Negative – with some test results still pending. Radiation testing: Cesium 137 levels similar to levels from the mid-1990s. Some test results still pending.
• Bio-toxins / Algal bloom testing: Negative – with some test results still pending.
2012-13: The Bering Strait region reported ~70 sick seals, primarily ringed and bearded seals. All reports from 2012-2013 were of seal “survivors” that had survived the 2011 winter. Many healthy ringed, bearded, and spotted seals were successfully harvested during 2012 and 2013.
2011: Over 175 reports of sick seals were received in northern and western Alaska. No one has seen this type of sickness in the Bering Strait or North Slope region before. Sick seals in these regions included ringed, bearded, and spotted seals.
” (Emphasis added) http://www.bbna. com/NewsLetters/March%202014%20NewsletterWEB.pdf
They tell their readers:
PLEASE CONTINUE TO REPORT SICK SEALS!http://www.bbna. com/NewsLetters/March%202014%20NewsletterWEB.pdf

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Beware of Wikipedia, when it comes to nuclear topics. The English wikipedia appears, for some time, as though the nuclear lobby is tampering with it full time. Whatever you find that is bad about radiation on it, is probably at least that bad and probably much worse. The safest is older, real printed books, if you have access to them at home or in a library. At the beginning of the computer age, I feared that it would facilitate an Orwellian world, where books and history would be re-written, but have also been lulled into complacency and the ease of computers. History was re-written in real books, but it required new printings.

The banana producers need to hurry up and sue various parties (some academics, some parts of the US gov, others) who are trying to scare people away from eating bananas! The only good thing about the deception being run by the nuclear lobby and its minions about potassium is that it should help everyone to remember to eat bananas. Information about potassium and why it’s so important, the foods containing it, and the amounts needed, is found here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002413.htm

To even find some basics about radioactive potassium (K40) it was necessary to go to French wikipedia: One gram of potassium 40 has radioactivity of 265.2 kBq, http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_40 265.2 kBq is 265200 Bq. However, one gram of the regular, natural potassium (K), which everyone must eat in sufficient quantities or they get sick and can die, has only 0.0001117 g of potassium 40 (K40). Therefore, one gram of regular potassium (K) has 30 Bq of radiation. The great danger is that radioactive cesium, and rubidium (Ru) mimic potassium in the body. It is believed that plants preferentially choose potassium over cesium (and presumably rubidium) where given the chance. One can but hope that the same is true for humans (and animals). Hence, the nuclear lobby is committing a triple crime by discouraging people from eating food essential for life, and which may help protect from radioactive contamination (Note that too much potassium is also bad for you; therefore it needs to come from food and perhaps a small amount in a multi-vitamin, unless your doctor tells you otherwise).

While potassium has only 30 becquerels per gram, a gram of Cesium 137 has 3.2 trillion becquerels per gram, that is 3 200 000 000 000 radiative emissions per second! A gram of the potassium which is required for the life of humans, plants and animals, has only has 30 radioactive emissions per second. Thirty. It is clear that 3.2 trillion is a lot more than plain 30 Bq! Cesium 137 displaces essential potassium in the body and it emits over 100 billion times more radiation per second. And, yet the pro-nuclear jerks want to scare everyone out of eating life-giving potassium, the very potassium which may help protect us against radioactive cesium 134 and 137, as well as other potassium mimic radionuclides, such as rubidium (Ru). English wikipedia tells us that “One gram of caesium-137 has an activity of 3.215 terabecquerel (TBq)“. A Terabecquerel is 1 trillion Becquerel, i.e. 1000000000000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becquerel

Paul Frame of Oak Ridge Associated Universities in “General Information About K-40” informs us that “The human body maintains relatively tight homeostatic control over potassium levelsAs such, eating foods like bananas does NOT increase your annual radiation dose. If someone ingested potassium that had been enriched in K-40, that would be another story.” (bold and caps added) http://www.orau. org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/potassiumgeneralinfo.htm (Emphasis added) Radioactive cesium, on the other hand, continues to accumulate in the body in a contaminated environment, reaching steady-state in about 2 years, according to the US Lawrence Livermore lab Marshall Islands pages. (This assumes that the dose is not so great that the person dies.) So, there you have it straight from the mouths of two US nuclear labs – bananas are good for you; radioactive cesium is not. Not only is potassium at a fixed, homeostatic, amount in the body, but the 0.0001117 of a gram of potassium (K), which is radioactive (K40), is fixed and will not increase. In a gram of Cesium 137 or Cesium 134, the entire gram is radioactive.

Nuclear power plants, nuclear accidents and nuclear waste all contain radionuclides that are almost never discussed. Radioactive Rubidium is but one of many of these. Yttrium (Y) a calcium mimic, like Strontium, is another radionuclide rarely discussed.

Apparently, the additive impacts are not evaluated either. For instance, a researcher may study the toxicity of cesium 137 in animals, but in real life exposure would include other potassium mimics such as cesium 134, and rubidium, as well as mimics of other essential elements. So, this experiment was just useless torture of animals (in that case of dogs), which really tells us nothing much of use for seals or deer or anything else.

There is the whole issue of synergistic effects too, where one plus one may be greater than two. However, the researchers aren’t even adding the one plus one is two! They are pretending that the exposure is only to one radionuclide, and more rarely two. There are many! They are legion!

Shozugawa, et. al., (2012) noted that at Fukushima, after the venting operation and the hydrogen explosion, there was a “large radioactive nuclide emission from reactor container into the environment.” On April 10, 2011 they collected environmental samples such as soil, plants and water, both in front of the main gate of the power plant, as well as 35 miles away in Iitate village, and measured gamma radiation. They observed (neutron) activation products 239 Np (Neptunium) and 59 Fe (Iron), as well as the fission products 131 and 132 I (Iodine), 133, 134 and 137 Cs (Cesium), 110m Ag (radioactive silver) and 109 Ag (non-radioactive silver), 132 Te (Tellurium), 140 Ba (Barium), 140 La (Lanthanum), 91 Sr (Strontium), 91 Yttrium, 95 (Zirconium), and 95 Nb (Niobium). It is stated that 239 Neptunium is “evidently” an activation product of the 238 Uranium (U) in the nuclear fuel. They note that 239 Neptunium is the parent nuclide of 239 Plutonium (Pu). Furthermore, the 59 Fe (iron) is presumably an activation product of 58 Fe, from corrosion of cooling pipes. The abstract concludes that “The results show that these activation and fission products, diffused within a month of the accident.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22266366Deposition of fission and activation products after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident“, by Shozugawa K, Nogawa N, Matsuo M. “Environ Pollut, 2012 Apr, 163:243-7) Well, isn’t that the damndest thing, if this English abstract is accurate – they all just disappeared? The Neptunium 239 would indeed have become Plutonium 239 with a half life of 24,100 years. The 59 Fe (iron) with a half life of 44.5 days would still be there too! Iodine 131 and 132 would be gone but not 129 (which they don’t mention). Tellurium 132 would be gone, as well. However, we know that the Cesium 134 and 137 are still there. 140 Lanthanum would also be gone. 95 Zirconium has a half life of 64 days, so it would still be there one month later.

A study commissioned by the US Dept. of Energy, regarding Fukushima observed:
Seven of the twelve most active isotopes predicted to be residing within the environment after 300 d (including 85Kr, 103Ru, 91Y, 127mTe, 125Sb, 151Sm, and 129Te) have gone undetected thus far, possibly due to difficulties in their measurement or potential inaccuracies with the model presented here. Until these inconsistencies are addressed, we offer these isotopes as potential analytes of concern for future environmental surveys around the site.PNNL-20912, Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC05-76RL01830, “Analysis of a Nuclear Accident: Fission and Activation Product Release from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Facility as Remote Indicators of Source Identification, Extent of Release, and State of Damaged Spent Nuclear Fuel“, by JM Schwantes CR Orton RA Clark (Emphasis added) Yttrium 91 with a half life of 58 days was mentioned in the Shozugawa, et. al., (2012) study above, but it seems to have just magically disappeared after 30 days. Researchers have shown that radionuclides work their way into the soil slowly. It appears unlikely that they washed away from soil so quickly on their own.

THIS POST IS ONGOING AND SHOULD BE UPDATED FOR Thursday, 12 June 2014 UTC-GMT (barring unforeseen circumstances) or possibly a new post XI opened. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS GENERAL TOPIC OF RADIATION, RADIONUCLIDES, AND DISEASE, PLEASE COME BACK SOON. This is basically a learning, exploration, review series. There will be sometimes technical, sometimes not so technical things.

Due to the fierce urgency of educating the public about the dangers of nuclear power, before the nuclear lobby and its minions destroy humanity and the earth, we are currently unable to handle comments. Unlike the Queen we are short-staffed. So, we apologize not only for any errors found by our readers in the past or present, but we also apologize in advance for future errors. We try our best, but are mortals, unlike the nuclear lobby who think they are radiation-proof immortals. We are very behind in posting, so do not know when or if we will re-open comments. We seem to fall farther behind each day. When we say nuclear power, we include the dangers of mining and waste, as well. With no nuclear power there will be no new mining and no new waste. Then, in an intelligent, educated way, everyone must take care of the waste properly. It is NOT by denying the dangers and diluting and dumping the radioactive waste, that the problem is solved!