Environmental Scientist Marco Kaltofen PE – Interviewed About Global Fukushima Airborne Radiation Spread To US

Environmental Scientist; Marco Kaltofen PE, with Worcester Polytechnic Institute is studying airborne radiation spread, such as what is coming out of Fukushima and Hanford. He is studying how radiation spreads via airborne dust particles. He is researching how to track this radiation back to the source. 

HOT PARTICLE FOUND 300 MILES AWAY FROM FUKUSHIMA, VERY HIGH RADIATION

2014 – Fukushima Hot Particle (Fuel Flea) Found 300 Miles Away, Measured At 40 Quintillion Bq/kg; via @AGreenRoad 
If you know how big the particles are and how heavy they are you can predict how far they can go. At Fukushima we started taking air filter samples. We blow air through a filter and we capture all of the dust particles. We can weigh them and find out how much they weigh. We look at the particles and see what they are. We have a large crew, part of Safecast, who take samples. They use the same equipment that universities use in the USA. The collected samples get sent overseas and we look for things like cesium or uranium.
What we really want to know is if a dust particle is small enough to get into the lungs and cause cancer. Breathing in ‘hot’ particles is just like breathing in dust. 

THE LUNGS OF EVERY PERSON ARE EXACTLY LIKE A RADIATION DETECTION/FILTER AND ABSORPTION MACHINE

We all carry around a filter and it is called our lungs. We filter out particles in our lungs the same that a radiation collecting filter accumulates ‘hot’ particles. We have people sending us air filters from Japan, and we spread them out on photographic Xray film, and it blackens the film due to the radiation. Even samples in the US, there are 1 or 2 particles that blacken the film from a filter, so we know there are more that we are not testing or seeing.

ATOMIC BOMB TESTING RADIATION  FROM 2,400 OPEN AIR BOMB TESTS IS STILL IN THE AIR, FLOATING AROUND

There have been atomic bomb tests, and there are still particles floating around in the air from that time. Fukushima is unique and the particles it gave off are unique. So when you find the shorter lived isotopes, such as Cesium 134, it is from a relatively recent event, like Fukushima. Cesium 134 is a fingerprint for Fukushima, not from Chernobyl, or from the nuclear bomb tests.
Cesium 137 lasts about 30 years for a half life. We got plenty of samples that had plenty of Iodine 131 initially, but now we still find Iodine 134 and ruthenium for example, both of which last longer in terms of half lives.
What about hot particles showing up on the west coast?
We certainly do see hot particles in the US. The winds blow from west to east. We are east of Japan. If you take a big enough air sample, you find a lot more. After the first pulse, it was easy to detect them in the USA. We saw the first pulse show up in Boston, Mass.

DOWNWIND RAIN OUT EFFECT

We also have what is called a rain out effect. If a rain happens, then ‘hot’ particles come down in the rain, in a specific place. This can happen in Oregon or Washington, in certain small locations. The rain can create ‘hot’ spots on the ground. There is no way to find these isolated hot spots all over the US. It is impossible. The hot particle will do the same damage in the US or in japan.
We may never know who suffered health damage from Fukushima. We cannot track it. If someone went to Fukushima, or if you had radioactive dust in your house, you could say there is a cause. We have had radioactive dust here for weeks to a month, but we do not know the risk.
If you were in japan, close to the site, in some prefectures, they do this testing. In the US, you can get it tested, but would it be meaningful? The hot particles are few and far enough between, you cannot tell what your exposure was from Fukushima now.
It was hard to predict where it went, or who got the exposure. Should we move to Chile? That might be an over reaction. There is not much we can do about it. The horse got out the barn and took the barn door with it. There is nothing we can do about it now.
After Chernobyl, the reality was there was a rain out. A rain out also happened after atomic bomb testing. The largest wave of hot particles from Fukushima went through. The most likely way you would be exposed now is through the food chain. Much of the radiation went into the ocean, and ended up in fish and seaweed. That is where we should be testing.

RADIOACTIVE FOODS ARE A PROBLEM, IN RADIATION CONTAMINATED AREAS, OR WHERE FALLOUT RAINED OUT DOWNWIND

It is much easier to test food products than rain out events. Testing food is much easier but the FDA has decided to not test, and Japan testing is incomplete and ‘leaky’, allowing radioactive food products through their testing program that probably should not have gone through. There is a lot of that happening. This is where the biggest bang for our buck is, in preventative testing with food items.
We might want to test fish as a start, and we can test soils easily. Due to rain outs, some farms will show up with Cesium 134 and 137. There is no reason NOT to do the testing. If we are not testing the food, we are doing a lousy job. Just because you want to do the testing, does not make you anti nuclear. You just want to know what is in the food.
Back in May 2011, the federal government did test. We have 50 to 60 government labs that can test for radiation in food and soil. They have not found anything, (if they have been testing things). It costs a LOT of money to have these labs just sit there, doing nothing. Why aren’t they testing food and soils?
A couple of things have gone wrong in monitoring at the Fukushima Daichi site. The degree of damage is so severe that we have lost the ability to figure out what is going on. We do not have the basic information. Then it is easy to make big mistakes in figuring out how much radiation left the barn.

NO ONE IS REALLY DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO FIGURE OUT HOW BIG AND BAD FUKUSHIMA WAS, BASED ON ACTUAL EVIDENCE, RATHER THAN JUST COMPUTER MODELS WITH ASSUMPTIONS

We had a nuclear accident that was much bigger than we thought and it turned out to be much bigger than we ever modeled. This is new ground, and there are mistakes being made. We have to a LOT of testing to do to figure it all out, and we have not done that testing.
If I were in charge of testing, I would do enough work to say this is how much we lost, this is where it went, who was affected. You would not have to be dependent on someone like Arnie Gunderson to try and figure it out. We do not have that number, about how much left Fukushima.

TEPCO IS COMPLETELY LOST AND INCOMPETENT

The research community is stepping up. There is Safecast. There are many people in Japan going out and collecting the data. TEPCO is completely out of it’s depth. They put six nuclear plants in a tsunami danger zone. The government is looking at 5th prime minister in 6 years, and there is no continuity.

HUMAN RADIATION CONTAMINATION TESTING INSUFFICIENT IN THE US AS WELL AS IN JAPAN

I just got back from Hanford, where we did testing. At Hanford, the most contaminated site in US, we are going to be dealing with it for THOUSANDS of years. The place is a sieve, and radiation is spreading out into the environment. People doing the remediation work are getting contaminated with radioactive dust, which goes home with them. We are documenting things that go on there, and working with whistleblowers and doing testing and safety issue related things.
Why wouldn’t testing apply to the Dept of Energy as far as safety and testing? How much radiation are families being exposed to? How much are 1st Nation families being exposed to when they eat the fish coming up the Columbia river? There are so many things that could be done to improve the situation around Hanford. The community is living with Hanford and are knowledgeable and have a good understanding. They want to do positive things to improve the situation there, rather than just being anti.
When I do testing, sure I can find things that have to do with Fukushima. What we need to do is re-examine if nuclear power is safe and reliable. Can we clean up Hanford without sacrificing worker health?
We need to remember why we are doing this.
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Environmental Scientist Marco Kaltofen PE – Interviewed About Global Fukushima Airborne Radiation Spread; via @AGreenRoad
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