“I applaud you for your efforts to measure radiation and inform the public — this is definitely a needed service that you are providing,” Bandstra wrote May 15, 2011. “Basically, the levels in the rain and air from radionuclides in Japan cannot be reliably detected using your methods, and you are probably measuring natural radioactivity from radon progeny.”
The California Department of Health Services, as it was then called in 1999, conducted a yearlong investigation into the radon levels of 99 Santa Monica residences and released the results March 14 of that year. CDHS found that the radon readings were so minute that the department didn’t even suggest further testing of buildings or homes in the seaside town.
This was not news to the local officials who were well aware that the city sits in a structural depression filled with alluvium and didn’t have the geologic features that would produce radon. In addition, Santa Monica’s predominant wind direction, which dictates much of what will be in the wind, is from the ocean not from upwind land seeping radon gas.
A detailed “Radon Potential Zone Map for Southern Los Angeles County, California” created by the California Geological Survey in January 2005 confirms that Radiation Station Santa Monica doesn’t appear near any possible radon or radon daughters source.
Bandstra did not respond to a request for comment about these radon progeny-free findings.
HEPA filters may also be effective in capturing ‘buckyballs,’ geodesic dome-shaped structures which is spherical with multiple flat sides. Strong evidence suggests that these hearty radioactive Uranium-60 nanoparticles have spanned the Pacific quickly with their concentrations rising.
That evidence includes Radiation Station – Santa Monica’s hot HEPA filter readings and the EPA’s high beta readings in Los Angeles. Our radiation station is a little over a mile from the Pacific shoreline. Downtown Los Angeles is over 13 miles away from the sea.
The January 27, 2012 U.C. Davis report, “Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater,” is the first account to analyze what is happening to the gargantuan amount of seawater, as well as fresh water, that has been hosing down the melted reactor cores and flushing into the Pacific.
The study spells out a horrific scenario in which compromised irradiated fuel turned huge amounts of ocean water into a series of uranium-related peroxide compounds containing as many as 60 “uranyl ions” in hearty nanoscale cage clusters that can “potentially transport uranium over long distances.”
It also describes a similar phenomenon occurring for other isotopes of radiation adding further horror to the possibility that the tons of melted reactor fuel is being virtually weaponized on a nanoscale to withstand hostile environments and move quickly through water to deliver its virulent cargo of caged radiation.
The majority of the fuel matrix at the Fukushima reactor complex is made up of uranium-oxide “whose behavior will largely dictate release of matrix-incorporated plutonium and various other radionuclides into water used as a coolant,” according to a full copy of the report obtained by EnviroReporter.com from one of the study’s authors, Dr. Alexandra Navrotsky.
These U60 nano-cages of uranium not only can move fast through water, they last a long time according to the report persisting for “at least 294 days without detectable change.”
Not only does the seawater turn into peroxide-creating buckyball soup, the salt water corrodes the melted nuclear fuel stripping it of the most dangerous radionuclides on Earth which end up in the ocean, a process that has gone on unabated for nearly a year.
Buckyballs don’t need peroxide to continue to persist, according to the study, and can spread to exist in seawater out of the peroxide zone, dissolving or existing as nanoscale radioactive time bombs that will have the capability infuse the marine food chain.
How hot these nano-cage clusters of cancer-causing radiation are depends on what kind and ratio of uranium isotopes make up the 60 in each one.
“A given isotope has the same radioactivity (half-life) regardless of what chemical state it is in,” Dr. Navrotsky told EnviroReporter.com. “So the radioactivity for a constant number of U atoms depends on the proportion of different isotopes in the sample.”
“Reactor fuel is a tailored mixture of them,” she continued, explaining that the buckyball phenomena would affect and ‘cage’ each uranium isotope found in melted nuclear reactor fuel. “They all behave the same chemically, so yes to all of them.”
There is a strong possibility that these uranium peroxide buckeyballs are already sloshing around in the waters off of Southern California as this reporter and the EPA’s radiation readings appear to indicate.
It has been nearly a year since this disaster started, the only kind of disaster that gets worse as time goes on. Fukushima is no exception with the extreme temperature spikes and Unit 4’s spent fuel cooling pool’s potential to topple to the ground if and when the leaning building collapses.
If uranium-filled buckyballs, and perhaps other radionuclides, are offshore here and elsewhere on the Pacific Rim where high radiation of the sort we’ve sampled comes from ambient air not radon or precipitation, how do they get to our HEPA filter?
One strong possibility may be ominous for the 40% of humanity that live within 100 kilometers of a marine ecosystem according to United Nations Environment Programme.
Radioactive sea spray has been shown to blow hundreds of kilometers inland in tests conducted in the United Kingdom by British and European researchers. As one who has ever smelled the salty ocean air miles from the ocean might expect, salt in sea spray can travel a significant distance though it is far larger than what water molecules that it will precipitate around it before remobilization. The same holds true for radioactive particles floating in the sea even if it they aren’t of the U60 buckyballs variety.
In the 2008 report “Sea to land transfer of radionuclides in Cumbria and North Wales: updating of previous investigations” by the Westlakes Scientific Consulting Ltd., of Cumbria, United Kingdom, researchers looked at the inland deposition trends at Nethertown, a burgeoning hamlet 10 kilometers north of the highly contaminated nuclear reprocessing site Sellafield which sits on the east coast of the Irish Sea.
The Westlakes investigation found that the greatest average concentration of cesium-137 and plutonium-239 in soil at a depth of 0 to 15 centimeters was 10 kilometers from the coast. The highest average amounts found at 15 to 30 cm deep were 5 km away from the sea.
A 62-page UK study released in December 2011 by the Manchester-based Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is one of the most comprehensive analyses of the radiation problems plaguing the water body between the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The government-affiliated citizen activist group has been in existence for 31 years. Knowledge of the Irish Sea and its surrounding communities, combined with sharp science paints a picture of an americium, cesium and plutonium-filled sea that is not pretty.
Among the findings, sea spray and marine aerosols created from bubbles forming and popping when the sea is choppy or waves break have increased concentrations of radioactive “actinides.” Actinides are chemically alike radioactive metallic elements and include uranium and plutonium. One actinide infused the spray with 812 times greater concentration of americium 241 than normal amounts of Am-241 in ambient seawater.
“Research demonstrates that the magnitude of the effect is dependent on wind speed and the
volume of fine sediment particles (with their adsorbed radioactivity) ejected into the air in sea spray and aerosols,” the report reads.
What it doesn’t include are uranium-filled buckyballs that aren’t attached to fine sediment particles as is the case in the Pacific. Buckyballs, which, as noted, may make up the bulk of the Fukushima meltdown goo that poisons the Pacific, would be extra in the West Coast sea radiation exposure scenario.