As Radiation Now 400 Times Normal 40 km From Fukushima, A Closer Look At The Three Most Dangerous Radioactive Isotopes

Tyler Durden's picture

With much confusion over just which radioactive isotopes are considered dangerous following the Fukushima explosions, Reuters has compiled a handy overview of the key actors: iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137. For the time being only the far more inert and shorter half-life elements such as Xenon have been dispersed globally, while the more dangerous isotopes have been relatively localized, and their dispersion is limited to wind direction.  Furthermore, metrics such as halflife are relatively irrelevant for now since the release of radiation continues mostly unabated thereby producing a constant source of freshly radioactive substances. This is all the more validated by the just released NHK data indicating a surge in radioactivity as far away as 40 kms from the plant: "Japan's science ministry says radiation exceeding 400 times the normal level was detected in soil about 40 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The ministry surveyed radioactive substances in soil about 5 centimeters below the surface at roadsides on Monday. The ministry found 43,000 becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per kilogram of soil, and 4,700 becquerels of radioactive cesium-137 per kilogram about 40 kilometers west-northwest of the plant. Gunma University Professor Keigo Endo says radiation released by the iodine is 430 times the level normally detected in soil in Japan and that released by the cesium is 47 times the norm."

From Reuters:

Experts are most worried about three
radioactive substances -- iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 -- all
of which can cause various types of cancer years later.

Caesium-137 is of particular concern as it can stay in the environment
and potentially cause havoc for hundreds of years. It takes 30 years for
this contaminant to lose its power by half -- what experts refer to as a
"half life".

At this rate, it would take at least 240 years for the contaminant to exhaust all its radioactivity.

"Caesium-137 can last for hundreds of years. If exposed, one can get
spasms, involuntary muscular contractions and may lose the ability to
walk. It also causes infertility. High doses will also damage a person's
DNA and cause cancer later," said Lee Tin-lap, an associate professor
at the Chinese University's School of Biomedical Sciences in Hong Kong.

But a few experts stressed there was no need for panic yet.

Levels of caesium-137 detected in spinach in Japan over the weekend
stood at an average of 350 becquerels per kilogram, well below the
European Union's limit of 1,000 becquerels for dairy produce and 1,250
for all other food items.

"Becquerels are like atoms," said
Pradip Deb, senior lecturer in Medical Radiations at the School of
Medical Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.

"A litre of milk has billions and billions of atoms ... and this is just 350."

Caesium-134 has a half-life of 2 years, which will take about 20 years for it to become harmless.

The radioactive spill has prompted food checks in the Philippines, Hong
Kong, South Korea, China, Singapore and Malaysia, with Taiwan's
government extending surveillance to include even electronics and tech
items, chemicals and machinery. In addition to iodine and caesium,
Thailand is also looking out for Strontium 90.


Milk samples in Japan, however, have been found to contain an average
of 1,210 becquerels of iodine-131 per kilogram, well over the limit of
500 becquerels imposed in the EU.

Japanese spinach has also been
found with an average of 10,450 becquerels of iodine-131 per kilogram,
more than 5 times the EU limit.

One mitigating factor though is
that iodine-131 has a half life of 8 days, which means it will take 80
days to lose all its radioactivity -- assuming there is no fresh
radioactive spillage.

"You can't control radiation. It's already
there, but you can take preventive action (by not consuming any
radioactive food that is tainted with iodine-131 for 80 days)," Deb

Radioactive material is carried by tiny moisture droplets
in the air. It can then be directly inhaled into the lungs, get washed
down by rain into the sea and into soil and eventually contaminate
crops, marine life and drinking water.

Radioactive substances
are dangerous because they can cause changes or mutations in DNA, which
may then go on to cause cancer. While the human body can repair DNA
changes or damage, a person is only safe if the repair process happens
faster than the time it takes for the damaged or mutated DNA material to

Experts agree that children and fetuses are most at
risk because their cells divide at a faster rate than adults. They also
consume more milk, which puts them at greater risk.

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HamyWanger's picture

DOW +3% today to celebrate this. 


Harlequin001's picture

So what happens now then? Japan prints even more money, uses it to buy Western foods and rice etc and exports this glow-in-the-dark spinach to ...where?

The starving multitudes in ...?

That'll go down well...

AnAnonymous's picture

So what happens now then? Japan prints even more money, uses it to buy Western foods and rice etc and exports this glow-in-the-dark spinach to ...where?

The starving multitudes in ...?

That'll go down well...


From food against resources to contaminated food against resources... A normal evolution in this US world driven economics.

Gully Foyle's picture

For the time being only the far more inert and shorter half-life elements such as Xenon have been dispersed globally, while the more dangerous isotopes have been relatively localized, and their dispersion is limited to wind direction.

Cesium Detected In Washington State
Oh regional Indian's picture


It's over dude. Just like Deepwater Horizon, this will be stonewalled with distractions and false press and denials. But every indicator points to the fact that this is the Tipping point event. Entombment, I think they are implying that as a cruel joke for everyperson.

Doomers, gloomers, everyone got it right. We have been careenign out of conntrol for a long time now. Greed, hubris, rage, inequity..... these are the defining qualities of the collective.

Truth....surely stranger than any fiction one could dream up eh?

it's in the air and in the water already.


jus_lite_reading's picture


HOLY MOSES!!!!  Xenon gases almost circle the earth in a few days according to Norwegian scientists!

Yee Haw! Happy gas for everyone! And more reasons to rally!!!!!


prophet's picture

So where is RT with a "Has the Radiation Topped Out Yet" checklist and charts?

cossack55's picture

Two 6.6 EQs and a 6.4 off Honshu are not even news anymore, sorry, I mean MSM news.

ss123's picture

3 of the last 12 were over 6.0.


Are things starting to act up again?


cossack55's picture

They forgot FRN-100,000,000,000,000,000.00

Totally deadly globally.

bonddude's picture

And here on the left coast the car is still packed...w/food and water.

johnQpublic's picture

maybe its time to start that car....

a friend of mine in produce out there told me yesterday that broccoli,califlower and blueberries are showing radiation at higher than normal levels

Gully Foyle's picture




In broccoli,califlower and blueberries.

Alienated Serf's picture

the females in my office are currently discussing dancing with the stars.  in detail.  i want to eat a cesium 137 sandwhich right about now.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I would get up on my desk, fashion a noose, and hang my fucking self.

How do you put up with that shit?

ColonelCooper's picture

Thank God I work in an industry where I can still hit the people who work for me. 

Alienated Serf's picture

i wouldn't exactly say i put up with it.  they are outside my office door blabbing, not discussing with me.  i have fully informed them that they will drown in their own ignorance.  the best part is, they fully admit it is active denial.  "with all the bad stuff going on in the world, i just want to turn my brain off and be distracted."

this is what we are dealing with folks. 

there will be no pity from me when TSHTF

Oh regional Indian's picture

one day, when I was feeling really brave, I posted a link to an article on my blog (about world events) on a blog called It's about fashion for corporettes.

The responses were hilarious and chilling in equal measure.


Deepskyy's picture

ORI, do you have any highlights saved?  I'm sure we here at ZH could use the laugh considering the past 2 weeks.


Oh regional Indian's picture

Deep, they came on my Disqus account or were on their blog itself, so I did not keep.

Perhaps, just to see how much, if at all the world has changed int eh past two months, I'dd repost there and share the results here. Truth be told, I don't expect much of a change.

oh my god, who let this creature in? It looks like English, but.....

like that.


Rula Lenska's picture


You do grasp, I hope, the irony of your statement.  Go ahead and re-read it; I'll wait.

fuu's picture

In my office this morning they are talking about how good the current crop of American Idlers are and how hard it will be to wait to find out the winner.


They asked who my favorite was and I said Reactor 3.

Alienated Serf's picture

We shouldn't be surprised anymore should we?  Humanity has always been like this. Bread and Circus is all most will ever know or care about...

strenue's picture

Hey different strokes for different folks. While they're 'Dancing with the Stars' we're 'Dancing with the Disasters'.


Alienated Serf's picture

damn you and your reasonableness!!

Alienated Serf's picture

damn you and your reasonableness!!

cbxer55's picture


LOL!!  Did they look at you cross-eyed after that one?

Rula Lenska's picture



Zina's picture

I see a level of confusion here about the difference between "abnormal" and "harmful".

The "normal" level of radiation means the background radiation everyone is exposed to, at any place, at any time. Yes, we all are exposed to radiation, at any place, at any time.

The fact that the level of radiation is "abnormal", meaning it's above the normal background level, doesn't necessarily means that it's at a harmful level.

Take an example different from radiation: magnetic fields. The normal magnetic field we all are exposed all the time is a very tiny magnetic field. If we start to play with some strong neodymium magnets, the level of the magnetic field we will be exposed is thousands of times higher than the normal magnetic field we are exposed in the everyday life. But there are no reports that playing with neodymium magnets is harmful to the human health. A magnetic field thousands of times stronger than the "normal" is not harmful to our health.

Please note that I'm not saying that radiation 400 times above the background level is not harmful. I can't tell if it is harmful or not, because I'm not a specialist.

What I'm trying to say is: the fact the level of radiation is 20, 50, or 100 times above the normal background level of everyday life doesn't necessarily means it's in a harmful level. I simply can't tell you what is the level when it becomes harmful to human health, because I simply don't know.

bonddude's picture

Just one cesium cloud will ruin your whole day. Thanks to ZH for easy access to the info.

MSimon's picture

Just one cesium cloud will ruin your whole day.


Those things are really heavy. And they don't have to fall from far to really hurt you.


Dose my man. Dose. A little arsenic is good for you.  A lot is not.


Radiation hormesis.

prophet's picture

I think this article clearly delineates what is background normal, what is abnormal, and what is harmful.  Best and most balanced yet. 

Harlequin001's picture

'I can't tell if it is harmful or not, because I'm not a specialist.' Should we wait till our hair falls out and our teeth start to glow in the dark before we complain?

As a life form I am the result of two billion years of evolution albeit with constant exposure to nominal background radiation and magnetism. I did not evolve to live in this irradiated bullshit no matter who or what says it is 'safe'. It is not normal, I have not evolved to tolerate it and I am not happy with my inability to avoid it.

Gully Foyle's picture


Which is the level of either radiation or magnetism which results in two Kirks? (Shatner turns 80 today)

ColonelCooper's picture

The Japanese and American governments in an effort to downplay this from the outse,t have simply lost credibility with anyone who pays attention beyond Katie Couric.  We have gone from nothing to worry about, the radiation will never get here, to it's here but not harmful, to it's in the food but don't worry about it. Next up: Don't worry about that giant tittie growing on your forehead. 

As the situation escalates daily, the governmental and MSM efforts to downplay this have increased proportionately.  I am not sitting here in a positive pressure suit, crunching KI tablets by the handful while I write this; far from it.  What I want however, is for somebody besides alternative "moonbat" media to simply ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that my spinach isn't supposed to be radioactive.  You can't go out of your way to panic me in your headlines, with counts 1000x normal (whatever the Hell that is), and radiation in the drinking water etc.. and then put your chief medical correspondant on camera to tell me not to worry, and maintain any credibility.

I really don't think most people are all that worried.  They are just being purposefully misled, and kept in the dark.  They are confused. 

This whole thing is an epic failure, on every level, from its start to whenever it finishes.


MSimon's picture

The situation is serious in Japan. For the rest of the world? Not so much.


You can make up for the added risk (in the rest of the world) by being extra careful crossing the street.

ColonelCooper's picture

I don't disagree with you.  But I am disagreeable with the way this is being handled.  Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining, and I won't assume everything you tell me is a lie.

MSimon's picture

The people of Japan are screwed. No doubt. But in the US? No serious worries. If one of our nukes go up - then I'll worry. But Japan is a long ways away. Distance dilutes. Even a plume.

ColonelCooper's picture

You seem to be either missing the point, or you work for the FOX Medical A Team.  We aren't worrying about the earlier referenced "tittie on the forehead". 

What I am complaining about is that as the situation has deteriorated, the MSM has doubled down, and the more radiation released in Japan, the safer it is.  Give this shit another week, and CNN will be downloading Ann Coulter's "Radiation is Good for You" column into their teleprompters.

If I put two bowls of spinach in front of you, told you the one on the left was truly organic, and the one on the right had been dusted with a "safe" level of radioactive iodine, can you look me in the eye and tell me you'd pick the one on the right? 

When I watch some stupid bitch on the news say that she'd be happy to eat that spinach, I think, "Go ahead.  Toss a salad." (pun intended)  I on the other hand am firmly planted in the camp that radiation on vegetables is bad.

I'm not panicked.  I'm pissed. And when I'm pissed, being lied to only exascerbates said pissed. Do you understand the difference?


ColonelCooper's picture

I'm not the one junking you, BTW.

Life of Illusion's picture

How about this one...

WTF,,,It will not harm human health,,,,but but but ,,a aircraft carrier could get destroyed! UNreal

“Moving the USS George Washington is a precaution given the capabilities of the vessel and the complex nature of the disaster,” the 7th Fleet said in a press release. “The forward deployed carrier is scheduled to remain in the local waters off Japan.”


“We’ve seen nothing that rises to the level that would be harmful to human health,” Commander Jeff Davis, a

ColonelCooper's picture

Thank you for helping to drive it home.  If you won't tell me a number at the plant, all of the reported numbers surrounding the plant are ridiculously on the low side of normal, AND you are repositioning fucking aircraft carriers the sparks start flying from my newly fashioned lead helmet.


Unlawful Justice's picture

Pay attention to what they do not what they say.  This is an exponential crisis that looks to be in free fall.   FrankenBenny can't QE his way out of this one.  Has Reality crossed the threshold of human Narcissism?  Radiation can't be spun with doublespeak to go away with a 30 year half life.  As the gravity of this becomes ever increasing, expect denial to increase right along with it.  Excuse me wile I go puke.

KevinB's picture

The following article in Canada's National Post addresses this issue:

For those too lazy to click the link, long term studies of survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki show that those who were exposed to moderate amounts of radiation in those events, which were orders of magnitude larger than the current exposure, actually lived longer than those who were not exposed at all. In some cases, there were slightly higher incidences of cancer, but there was much lower chance of cardiac disease and other mortality causes. 

The knee-jerk assumption that ANY exposure to higher levels of radiation is necessarily bad is, at the very least, cast into doubt by this very large study (over 80,000 survivors surveyed twice a year, yielding over 2.5 million data points).

People who junked Zina should at least examine the facts before leaping to conclusions.