The Plutonium Report

On Sunday (27 March) I said in Tests Have Been Ordered, that if they were detecting Iodine 131 that they were also detecting any plutonium in the area. And if there was Iodine 131 there was plutonium. They knew. What I said was "we are checking" means "we will announce".

Well here is the announcement.

I was reading a thread (probably Zero Hedge) and someone asked what is to be done. A commenter said: do not panic large numbers of people but slowly "expand" the danger zone with news announcements. Let the easily panicked respond first. So what do we see today? A plutonium report. I expect plutonium finds further afield as time goes on.

The US government has suggested that any one within 80 km (50 mi) of the melt down leave the area. I expect that area or perhaps 100 km (60 mi) will be the final size of the exclusion zone.

My guess (based on what I think is going on) is that eventually Tokyo will be in part or wholly evacuated. They are lucky most of the junk is blowing out to sea. So far. The big problem is the pile of molten (possibly critical or recently critical) sludge melting into the water table. I believe that is the water for Tokyo. If the sludge is critical there is no way to get under it to provide a barrier. Too much radiation. Back in my Naval Nuke days we called this the China Syndrome accident. The idea wasn't that the molten pool of sludge would go to China but that it stopped when it wanted to not when we wanted it to.

There is another possibility for spreading the radiation around. If the sludge contacts enough water either from the earth or cool down water then there could be a steam explosion spreading radioactives high into the atmosphere. A wind blowing out to sea would be a good thing if that happens.

The lives this costs will not be Japanese (not many anyway). It will be those killed by a faltering economy as the broken Japanese production machine causes bottlenecks.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 03.28.11 at 11:56 PM



Plutonium was barely detected in samples from five places. The levels are so low that the soil is fit for playgrounds, farming, and the like. Three of the samples definitely came from atomic weapons testing decades ago (based upon isotope analysis); two might possible also include plutonium from one of the reactors.

If I were a betting man, I'd wager you $100 that Tokyo will not be evacuated in whole or in part because of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Check out the levels involved, look up the safety limits, and do a bit of radcon math: I think you'll agree that there does not appear to be a significant danger.

CBI   ·  March 29, 2011 10:08 AM


Based on what IS you are entirely correct. Based on what is coming you are off the mark.

Plutonium is just further confirmation of a melt down and a containment breech. And those suckers are still spewing radiation. And there is a possibility of a criticality accident (in my estimation a second one).

The crisis is expected to last months if not years.

We are only two weeks and change into this. Give it time to evolve.

M. Simon   ·  March 29, 2011 10:57 AM

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