Submitted by staff on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 6:37am
The animation shows the plume from the fire at Reactor 4 at 3 hourly intervals, 15-16 March. Fukushima is in the middle of the picture. To the right is the Pacific, left is inland, where restrictions have been applied to some foodstuffs.
In the USA radiation has reportedly been detected, but the consistent official response is reassuring. However, Environmental Protection Agency monitoring data has vanished from the web. In Canada there remains no official public statement about the risk to Canadians of inhaling the contaminants. Official advice about At what dose might health effects occur? is bland and misleading.
The real answer is that no dose is safe, and PlutoniumPlutonium, like most metals, has a bright silvery appearance at first, much
like nickel, but it oxidizes very quickly to a dull gray, although yellow and
olive green are also reported.
It is also a radioactive poison that accumulates in bone marrow. These and other
properties make the handling of plutonium dangerous.
and Uranium are very dangerous if inhaled or ingested, even though assessed "doses" might be very low. At present we have no way of knowing whether these elements are reaching the west coast of the Americas.
The emerging issue is official attempts to play down the radiological impact of this disaster. There appears to be no monitoring of alpha emitting radionuclides. Japanese nuclear regulators yesterday published this press release about dust sampling on site (20/03/2011). It refers only to gamma emitters, which are easy to detect and hard to deny.