IAEA On Fukushima Plutonium

Tyler Durden's picture

It appears the plutonium discovered earlier, which according to some Japanese reports was so safe it was borderline edible, may not be all that safe. Per the IAEA:

After taking soil samples at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese authorities today confirmed finding traces of plutonium that most likely resulted from the nuclear accident there. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told the IAEA that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) had found concentrations of plutonium in two of five soil samples.

Traces of plutonium are not uncommon in soil because they were deposited worldwide during the atmospheric nuclear testing era. However, the isotopic composition of the plutonium found at Fukushima Daiichi suggests the material came from the reactor site, according to TEPCO officials. Still, the quantity of plutonium found does not exceed background levels tracked by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology over the past 30 years.

Which update however must have come some hours ago, when the Plutonium was still concidered safe. The latest update from TEPCO, via Bloomberg, tells a slightly different story:


We only have one question: how can the situation be serious if the Plutonium is so safe Kan is preparing to eat it for breakfast with a side of three eyed tuna tomorrow on national TV.

Ironically refuting the IAEA optimism this time around is Japan itself:

But Japan's own nuclear safety agency was concerned at the plutonium samples, whose levels of radioactive decay ranged from 0.18 to 0.54 becquerels per kg.

"While it's not the level harmful to human health, I am not optimistic. This means the containment mechanism is being breached so I think the situation is worrisome," agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama was quoted as saying by Jiji news agency.

Workers at Fukushima are resigned to a struggle of weeks or months to re-start cooling systems vital to control the reactors and avert disaster. Their conditions are extremely dangerous, earning them sympathy and admiration round the world.

On Monday, highly contaminated water was found in concrete tunnels extending beyond one reactor, while at the weekend radiation hit 100,000 times over normal in water inside another.

That poses a major dilemma for TEPCO which wants to douse the reactors to cool them, but not worsen the radiation spread.

Fires, blasts, smoke and steam have posed other hazards.

Japan says a partial meltdown of fuel rods inside reactor No. 2 has contributed to the radiation levels.

The crisis, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, has contaminated vegetables and milk from the area, as well as the surrounding sea. U.S. experts said groundwater, reservoirs and the sea all faced "significant contamination."

With towns on the northeast coast reduced to apocalyptic landscapes of mud and debris, more than a quarter of a million people are homeless. The event may be the world's costliest natural disaster, with estimates of damage topping $300 billion.

The environmental group Greenpeace said its experts had confirmed dangerous radiation of up to 10 microsieverts per hour in Iitate village, 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the plant.

It called for the extension of a 20-km (12-mile) evacuation zone. "It is clearly not safe for people to remain in Iitate, especially children and pregnant women," Greenpeace said, urging Japan to "stop choosing politics over science".

In most countries the maximum permissible annual dose for radiation workers is 50 millisieverts, or 50,000 microsieverts, according to the World Nuclear Association Industry body.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from a 20-km (12 mile) radius around the plant. Those within a further 10-km radius have been told by the government to stay indoors or, better still, leave too.

Beyond the evacuation zone, traces of radiation have been found in tap water in Tokyo and as far away as Iceland.

Japanese officials and international experts have generally said the levels away from the plant were not dangerous for human beings, who in any case face higher radiation doses on a daily basis from natural sources, X-rays or flying.

In downtown Tokyo, a Reuters reading on Tuesday showed 0.20-0.22 microsieverts per hour, within the global average of natural ambient radiation of 0.17-0.39 microsieverts per hour given by the World Nuclear Association.

And while we are enjoying the Plut-On, Plut-Off show, here is Kyodo with the latest update on US radioactivity.

Trace amounts of radioactive material believed to have come from Japan's quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been detected in the atmosphere in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida, Reuters news service reported Monday, citing officials.

There is no current threat to public safety, the report said, quoting Drew Elliot, a spokesman for the power generation and distribution company Progress Energy Inc., which operates some of the power plants in the southern states.

Monitors at several nuclear plants in the three states picked up low levels of radioactive iodine-131, the report said.

''If there were radiation coming from one of our own sites, we would be seeing other types of radiation than iodine-131,'' Elliot was quoted as saying.

In the United States, radioactive materials believed to have come from the Fukushima nuclear plant have also been detected in several other states, including Hawaii, California, Nevada and Massachusetts.

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Number 156's picture

Ill take mine with Fries and a coke.

Im still trying to figure out how this was on par with three mile island in terms of severity.

Convolved Man's picture


We can super size that for you.  Just order a #3 special.

Number 156's picture

Yeah, I will take the supersievert size please.

Convolved Man's picture


OK.  Special orders don't upset us.

You will have to sign this release form though.

Harlequin001's picture

'Traces of plutonium are not uncommon in soil because they were deposited worldwide during the atmospheric nuclear testing era.'

Oh. well that's all right then...

Must be safe...


Bicycle Repairman's picture

Maybe it's just too early for predictions.  I wonder how things will look after this melodrama has played out over several months.  There'll be some shifts in wind patterns.  "Stuff" will accumulate in inconvenient and suprising places.  Rain will help distribute the stuff as well.  As we all learn the minutae of radioactivity and its dangers, we may find we end up concluding what we strongly suspected in the first place.  This is the greatest man-made disaster in the history of the planet, Japan is toast and everybody gets to share.

AN0NYM0US's picture

meanwhile Walmart is busy reopening the stores that were affected by the quake and Tsunami


whatsinaname's picture

Did anybody read this Goldman story ? Bankers asked to stay put in Tokyo !

Apparently, GS, JPM & BAC bankers staying put - pity the banker's families and children (on the human side) but call it poetic justice on what they have done to the world in general.


macholatte's picture

Sounds like Lloyd has decided those folks are expendable one way or the other. Stay and risk serious illness or leave and be fired.  Sweet!

SMG's picture

Do not sell your soul to the eyeball triangle, do not listen to his lies.   The world can be a better place if we can reject Lucifer.

Harlequin001's picture

The price suppression mechanism as I understand it consists of the US, UK, France and Japan and others to a lesser degree. It is Japan that enable the US to manipulate derivatives positions before the market opens in New York.

You will remember Hank Paulson's nasty little habit of announcing market moving news before Japan opened on a Sunday night so as to manufacture a short squeeze in various markets before the US and Europe opened. It is very important that Tokyo does not shut down.

RmcAZ's picture

I would like mine with a side of iPad.

Harlequin001's picture

it tastes of chicken...

bankruptcylawyer's picture

thi sis going to be months tyler, and it's only going to be more of the same. these articles are getting boring. overposting updates of the same thing. 

Mae Kadoodie's picture

Yeah Tyler when do we get the good stuff... like blood spewing from every orifice?

Dr. Porkchop's picture

Try the new Sparticus series.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

this is todays' flyover video, called

FUKU 28th March latest video - smoke from every gaping orifice

if slewie gets radiation poisoning it will be from his computer monitor...

Golden monkey's picture

You should be OK if you don't drink tap water from Iceland...

Bicycle Repairman's picture

C'mon, Tyler, "Everybody gets lung cancer 20 years from now" won't cut it.  If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead.

Mae Kadoodie, Is that good enough for you?



TruthInSunshine's picture

Then don't read the articles, troll.

Some of us appreciate having a resource, out of thousands of useless ones, that provides outstanding information with a critical eye to peel away the bullshit and get to the truth that other media outlets are too ignorant/incompetent/corrupt to do.

I suppose that's why many ZeroHedge articles get in excess of 300, 500 and even 1000 comments in response to their content - something that The New York Slimes rarely achieves.

old naughty's picture

"Then don't read the articles..."


YouBetYourLife's picture

To break up the boredom:

Plutonium, Iodine, Tellurium, Xenon, Cesium, etc.   Throwing around the names of these elements reminded me of an amazing song by legendary satirist Tom Lehrer, from the 60's, called The Element Song.

If you've never heard this, prepare to have your jaw drop (at least a little).  Definitely worth 1:25 or so of your time, and might generate a few chuckles:


Nobody special's picture

Thanks... +1.  You were right.  Very worth the 1:25.  Not much light breaking the intensity these days.

YouBetYourLife's picture

Very good, and it illustrates Lehrer's brilliance - he actually included every damn one of 'em!

From his greatest hits, here's Lehrer's song about nuclear one-upmanship ("Who's Next?"):




Nobody special's picture

He has a few really good ones.  Here are two worth watching...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TytGOeiW0aE  <-- strictly entertainment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frAEmhqdLFs   <-- a fitting farewell


Glass Steagall's picture

Had to junk just for being too jewie.

Chumbadumba's picture

Thanks Jackie Puppet *haw haw haw!!*


trav7777's picture

that dude was en fuego...total geek appeal, love it

Number 156's picture

thi sis going to be months tyler, and it's only going to be more of the same. these articles are getting boring. overposting updates of the same thing.

I disagree.

Besides, in certain circles it is hoped that there will be more people who will become bored of the story, and go back to a life of gleefull ignorance watching worthless daytime television (CNBC).

"The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded" -Obi wan kenobi.

wisefool's picture

Mandy and Erin on Squawk on the street 'till thursday. Erin is not comfortable 'cause Mandy is the new girl in town, but she should not be. She is equally cute in her own way.

Also, if you are asked for interviews during this week and don't hold the Keynesian position, try to schedule thursday and after. Santelli and Leisman have promised to provide enough "in house" conflict to keep us happy.

New Survivalist's picture

Stick to raping the poor then, douchebag.

Prof Gulliver's picture

C'mon, how dangerous can it be? Just think of its namesake Pluto. What a cute little doggie!

Greater Fool's picture

You know, Rachel Ray was just on the Food Network saying a little Plutonium 238 is a great way to wake up your burgers. It also keeps them warm in your picnic basket!

Glass Steagall's picture

Little cancer induced weight loss and she actually be cute again.

InfinityZero's picture

Don't panic, a towel will solve this!

AN0NYM0US's picture

You would have to ask Mr. Soros


mediamatters  lol

MsCreant's picture

Did the bag come off and I didn't see?

Jim in MN's picture

It's fine, but the Meshugganeh reactor is acting a little kooky.

thedrickster's picture

Oh Marcy, Media Matters? Really? Do you honestly think that many at ZH give a flying fuck as to Fox take on any subject?

Now go slither back to the collectivist circle jerk from whence you came.

Bye bye.

Mark McGoldrick's picture

I know this might be slightly off topic, but let's talk about your mother:

Your mother is so fat, she has smaller fat people orbiting her. 




thedrickster's picture

Oh and it's been a couple of days.

Eat shit and die socialist pig.