absorbed energy, Antarctica, Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, climate change, cloud formation, clouds, dispersion, France, ice, Iodine, iodine 129, La Hague, melting ice, New Particle Formation, NPF, nuclear energy, nuclear fuel reprocessing, nuclear power, nuclear reactors, Nuclear Submarines, nuclear waste, nuclear weapons, nucleation, nucleation precursor, polar bears, radioactive iodine, radioactive iodine 129, sea ice, Sellafield, snow, UK
Nuclear subs also leak deadly radionuclides into the oceans during routine reactor operations, testing, and dismantlement. However, radionuclides from land-based nuclear reactors and other nuclear facilities eventually reach the Arctic
The Polar Bear Draft plan comment deadline is Saturday night. The US Fisheries and Wildlife Service needs to research and consider the chemical and radiological impacts that radioactive materials have on polar bears, both directly (health) and indirectly (climate-ice). These include radioactive iodine, (which also causes thyroid problems): https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/polar-bear-plan-must-include-impact-of-radionuclides-comment-deadline-sat-19-sept-1159-pm-et-dc-ny-us-fisheries-wildlife-service/
In a recently published article, J. D. Allan et. al. (2015) discuss the role that iodine has in cloud formation, and thus climate change. While radioactive iodine is not specifically mentioned, it would have the same chemical effects, combined with additional radiological effects (e.g. radiolysis; heat). The long-lived (half life 15.7 million years) radioactive iodine 129 is present, in ever-increasing quantities, in the Arctic. Radioactive iodine 129 and 131 are emitted from routine operations of nuclear reactors, accidents such as Fukushima, and historically from nuclear weapons (testing). Iodine 129 is also present in spent nuclear fuel and the nuclear fuel “reprocessing” facilities at Sellafield (UK) and La Hague (France) spew several hundred kilograms (2.2 lbs) of radioactive iodine 129 into the environment each year, about half of which ends up in the Arctic.
“Accurately accounting for new particle formation (NPF) is crucial to our ability to predict aerosol number concentrations in many environments and thus cloud properties, which is in turn vital in simulating radiative transfer and climate… we were able, for the first time, to detect iodine in the growing particles… Given the potency of iodine as a nucleation precursor, the results imply that iodine was responsible for the initial NPF,… The initial source of iodine in this instance is not clear, but it was associated with air originating approximately 1 day previously over melting coastal sea-ice. These results show that atmospheric models must consider iodine as a source of new particles in addition to established precursors such as sulfur compounds.” (See Allan et. al. below)
Gómez-Guzmán et. al. (2014) found higher levels of radioactive iodine 129 in sea ice, than in sea water. This suggests the mysterious source of the iodine.
“Atkinson et al. (2012) attributed NPF events observed in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica to iodine emissions from sea-ice.” (Allan et. al.) Atkinson et. al. also considered the origin of the iodine a mystery.
“In the Arctic, clouds are the dominant factor in the control of the incoming and outgoing energy balance at the Earth’s surface and, here and throughout the troposphere, the largest single source of uncertainty in climate predictions” (Allan et. al.)
The solar radiation that passes through Earth’s atmosphere is either reflected off snow, ice, or other surfaces or is absorbed by the Earth’s surface.
“Iodine-129 (129I) is a long-lived (half-life of 15.7 million years) radioactive form of iodine… It is highly soluble and mobile in the environment. The main present day sources of 129I are nuclear fuel reprocessing plants./ Two European plants are together thought to have discharged around 20 kilograms of 129I a year into sea between 1965 and the early 1990s…. More recently, releases have increased to around 300 kg per year, mainly from the French plant. Once in the seas, coastal currents can transport 129I through the North Sea and along the Norwegian coast to the Arctic Ocean./… The reasons for the higher levels of 129I in sea ice were not immediately clear. However, the scientists identified two possible sources. The first was nearby ocean water, which may release 129I into the air and deposit it onto the ice. The second was long-range atmospheric transport of 129I from European nuclear reprocessing plants…. they found there were at least five ‘air mass pathways’ that could carry airborne 129I, originating in the vicinities of the UK and French plants, to the examined area in the Arctic Ocean… a growing radiological environmental risk due to its long half-life and continued release from ongoing nuclear energy activities.” (See more of the EC review “Radioactive iodine in Arctic sea ice may have European origin” of the Gómez-Guzmán et. al. article (2014) after the Allan et. al. article.
“Atkinson, H. M., Huang, R.-J., Chance, R., Roscoe, H. K., Hughes, C., Davison, B., Schönhardt, A., Mahajan, A. S., Saiz-Lopez, A., Hoffmann, T., and Liss, P . S.: Iodine emissions from the sea ice of the Weddell Sea, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 11229–11244, doi:10.5194/acp-12-11229-2012, 2012. Read the rest of the references at the original: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/15/5599/2015/acp-15-5599-2015.pdf
“New insights on the role of sea ice in intercepting atmospheric pollutants using (129)I.” Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Dec 15;89(1-2):180-90. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.10.004. Epub 2014 Oct 23. Gómez-Guzmán JM1, Cámara-Mor P2, Suzuki T3, López-Gutiérrez JM4, Mas JL5, Masqué P6, Moran SB7, Smith JN8.
“…it is proposed that most of the (129)I inventory in the sea ice is derived from direct atmospheric transport from European nuclear fuel reprocessing plants at Sellafield and Cap La Hague. This hypothesis is supported by back trajectory simulations indicating that volume elements of air originating in the Sellafield/La Hague regions would have been present at arctic sampling stations coincident with sampling collection.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25457809
“The behaviour of ¹²⁹I released from nuclear fuel reprocessing factories in the North Atlantic Ocean and transport to the Arctic assessed from numerical modelling.“Mar Pollut Bull. 2015 Jan 15;90(1-2):15-24. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.11.039. Epub 2014 Dec 6. Villa M1, López-Gutiérrez JM2, Suh KS3, Min BI3, Periáñez R4. They estimate that 48% of cumulative discharge from Sellafield (UK) and 55% from La Hague (France) end up in the Arctic Ocean. So, “5.1 and 16.6 TBq of (129)I have been introduced in the Arctic from Sellafield and La Hague respectively from 1966 to 2012… Inventories in the North Atlantic, including shelf seas, are 4.4 and 13.8 TBq coming from Sellafield and La Hague respectively…. It has been found that mean ages for Sellafield releases are about 3.5 year larger than for La Hague releases.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25487086
TBq is terabecquerel (1 x 10 to the power of 12), So, 5,100,000,000,000 Bq from Sellafield in the Arctic from 1966 to 2012; 16,600,000,000,000 from La Hague in the same period. 13,800,000,000,000 Bq 13.8 TBq for La Hague. 4,400,000,000,000 4.4 TBq Sellafield in the North Atlantic. A becquerel is one radioactive emission-disintegration per second. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becquerel
The impacts of krypton on the climate and environment are discussed here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/climate-risks-from-nuclear-power-radioactive-krypton-85-atmospheric-electrical-and-air-chemical-effects-of-ionizing-radiation-in-the-atmosphere/