Skip to comments.Radioactive Japan: Strange Case of 1,660 Bq/kg of Cesium from Ornamental Apple in Abiko City, Chiba
Posted on 09/25/2012 9:00:20 PM PDT by ransomnote
When I saw the tweet, I thought it was another prank. The tweet had a link to a PDF file about the high levels of radioactive cesium in one tree in the yard of a resident in Abiko City located on the west corridor of Chiba with relatively high radiation contamination. The web address of the link indicated it was from the city government, but there was no mention of the city in the document. So I went to the homepage of Abiko City, and see if I could find the same document from the links at the homepage.
Well I could. After 4 clicks, I landed on this particular page which has a link to the PDF: http://www.city.abiko.chiba.jp/index.cfm/18,101468,241,1019,html
The apple in question was brought by a city resident and tested on August 20, 2012 using the city's NaI scintillation survey meter. As the number was extraordinarily high, the city sent officials to the resident's home to collect more samples and tested them using the germanium semiconductor detector to be more precise. The result using the germanium detector was even higher.
The city says it was cautious in releasing the information, for fear that it might generate "baseless rumors". The amount of radioactive cesium in the apples, leaves and branches from the particular tree was extremely high, and couldn't be explained by comparing it to the samples taken in the same yard and in the neighborhood.
Here's what the city's undated document says:
The apple tree is an ornamental apple tree, though the fruit is edible. It was planted by the resident of the house about 6 years ago when the resident moved in. The resident brought the apple to the city's testing lab, and the test was conducted on August 20, 2012.
(Excerpt) Read more at ex-skf.blogspot.com ...
"The test results (radioactive cesium total):
Using the city's NaI scintillation survey meter: 1,500 Bq/kg
Using the survey meter at the Board of Education: 1,300 Bq/kg
Using the germanium semiconductor detector: 1,660 Bq/kg
Soil where the apple tree was planted
Using the survey meter at the Board of Education: 2,900 Bq/kg
Leaves and branches of the particular apple tree
City's test: over 10,000 Bq/kg "
What does this mean?
Don’t eat the apples!
Is this where Godzilla comes into the picture?
Hot apple pie coming right up!
As long as there’s no radiation leak from the core, it should be no problem.
Simpsons’ 3-eyed fish needed here.
Don’t sit under the apple tree...with anyone!
Actually, it is even better then that. Three of the cores have apparently vanished. No one can locate them. So nothing to worry about. /sarc
I wonder if Japan will even be fit for habitation.
Hiroshima is home to 5 million people...
An apple a day keeps your hair and teeth away!
I am more familiar with the Curie, which is a non-SI unit of measure.
1500 BQ/kg= .041 microcuries/kg.
10,000 Bq/kg= 0.27 microcuries/kg.
A typical banana has .5 g of radioactive potassium. A typical banana has a rate of 31 Bq/gram due to this (see ref below). Multiplying by 1000 grams/kg this gives a corresponding average banana a measurement of 31000 Bq/kg.
so: 31 Bq/g x 1000 g/kg = 31000 Bq/kg.
31000 Bq/kg banana / 1660 Bq/kg this apple = 18.67 bananas/this apple.
So the average banana can be expected to be 18 2/3 more than this apple. Which backs up what I’ve been saying all along - you can measure anything you want throughout Japan or near any other nuclear site - but without references on what is expected to be naturally occurring no one can tell if anything is really an issue or not. By the way just caculating the .5g of radioactive potassium in the banana gives you a dosage of ~.1 microseiverts. (5.02 nSv/Bq X 31 Bq/g X .5 g = 78nSv ~ .1 uSv)
For those who are more familiar with the older terms 1 mRem = 10 uSv so .1 uSv/banana X 1 mRem/10 uSv = .01 mRem/banana)
Natural expected background exposure is 360-880 mRem/year depending on altitude and location.
Brazil nuts by the way can be as much as as 4 times higher than the bananas due to natural radon.
Ref: http://health.phys.iit.edu/extended_archive/9503/msg00074.html (gary mansfield, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of California)
You can also go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose for additional information or
Your examples do not compare with Cesium contamination. It’s an apples to oranges comparison that is not relevant. If you want cold hard data relevant to Cesium contamination, check out the medical studies coming out of the Chernobyl region.
The comprehensive report published in 2007 by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and written by Russian Scientists Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko. is described by Wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl:_Consequences_of_the_Catastrophe_for_People_and_the_Environment
And the PDF of their report (400 plus pages) is here: http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book%20Index.pdf
Comparisons of nuclear wastes (Cesium, Strontium, Uranium) to very different sources of radiation like Potassium in bananas, radon or background radiation are scientifically unsound. Read the PDF listed and then ask yourself if you’ve ever heard of bananas or radon damaging the health of entire region. The public concern re nuclear contamination is not misplaced. The US has state of the art research on the effects of low level radiation which proves even small amounts are damaging to human health. To read the latest in the longitudinal studies the US has been conducting on the topic of radiation, read : Health Effects of Exposure to Low Level Radiation. It’s published by National Academies Press and can be located here: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=1224
According to the EPA, low energy radiation is, contrary to what one might reasonably expect, more damaging than high energy radiation. The EPA makes the point that body tissue is relatively transparent to high energy radiation (not completely but in comparison with low energy radiation) but is more severely damaged by low level radiation. (conceptually, this is like a high speed ping pong ball passing straight through the body at a high energy level or bouncing around inside the body at low energy levels - the low energy trajectories are more numerous and therefore more damaging.)
The type of particles involved in radioative decay also matter, and the percentage of each type of particle released matters when calculating damaging effects of radiation.
Then there is uptake. Cesium is taken into the muscles and unfortunately the heart is a muscle. Cesium will accumulate in the body at much higher, much more damaging levels than radon or radioactive potassium. While the EPA cautions about the damaging effects of radon, it’s concerns re cesium are far more strongly worded.
The calculations you provide, and those which nuclear lobbyists provide, do not take into consideration energy levels, particles released, effects on the body (concentrate in heart muscle?) and portray bananas and Cesium is somehow equivalent (if not favorable toward Cesium) but there is a mass of humanity living with the early death, genetic damage, and chronic diseases caused by the mismanagement of a nuclear power plant in the Ukraine (Chernobyl) and its wishful thinking that Japan will somehow have a radically different outcome among its human population - especially when you consider the Soviets tried to evacuate people from areas as contaminated as those which some Japanese communities have been told is safe to live in.
Hiroshima is home to 5 million people...
Ironically (to me, anyway), a nuclear bomb leaves behind a fraction of the amount of radioactive material found in the destruction of nuclear power plants like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Much of a nuclear bomb’s material is converted to energy- hence the massive release of heat/light.
Hiroshima has lasting legacy of genetic damage, illness, and death - there are reports out there and they don’t encourage those who hope that nuclear fuel is not harmful or is minimally harmful.
But the nuclear waste has gotten into the ground unlike Hiroshima which was detonated in the air.
“I wonder if Japan will even be fit for habitation.”
Take a breathe; it’s ok. Denver is more radioactive:
“I wonder if Japan will even be fit for habitation.”
Take a breath; it’s ok. Denver is more radioactive:
I am pasting Beppe’s response to you on the OT article website (Ex-skf.blogspot.com) here in case others have missed it. Beppe’s answer was just so much more precise than mine.
Bananas at 31,000 Bq/kg??? come on.
Let me try to redo the arithmetic:
As you say, 1 banana contains .5gr of K and 1gr of K emits 31 Bq.
1 banana therefore emits 15Bq.
1 banana weights 120gr, hence 1kg of bananas contains 125Bq
This contaminated apple contains 1660Bq/kg, hence this apple is 13 times more radioactive than bananas (per kg). A banana weights about half an apple, hence it takes 26 bananas to match this apple dose rate.
Furthermore, if we compare apples to apples, an apple contains .2gr of potassium and weights 250 gr so 1 kg of apples contains .2*1000/250*31 = 25Bq of potassum. It takes therefore 1660/25=66 clean apples to match the dose rate of the contaminated one.
But there is more: Cesium has a biological half life of 70 days whereas potassium is 30 days; the internal exposure caused by this apple is therefore 70/30*66=154 times larger than the exposure of a clean apple.
Your comparison describes clean bananas as 18 times higher than this apple; my comparison evaluates clean apple as 154 times lower than the contaminated apple so we are apart by nearly 2800 times.
Readers should also note that this kind of estimates are still very approximate (aside from any mistakes I might have made, I am not a professional in the field). Some discussion can be found under the Criticism section at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose.
Furthermore the above calculation does not take into account differences in terms of site of accumulation of cesium vs. potassium.
Baltimore, Baltimore, who gets the apple core?
I’ll have to go back and reply later - independent of the details the basis of my argument stands without being assaulted - they have no reference to determine if anything changed in the normal background from prior to the event.
While one still can.
Uhmmm....did you follow what Justa-HairyApe wrote? The Japanese say that the three fuel cores are no longer in the reactors. Is it likely that they...ahem...exited the reactors without dispersing the radiation? Tons of it?
Don’t you think a few people took a few measurements following Hiroshima? Ya know, radiation levels in Japan over time?
METI (Japanese govt. released survey results which indicated elevated radiation levels everywhere on the mainland (yes - I mean everywhere) As much as Japan/Tepco have been lying about all this- do you think they would have missed the opportunity to claim that the complete blanketing of the mainland with varying levels of radiation (the map they distributed was color coded to show the disappointing news that low level radiation contamination stretched from north to south - then was concentrated in fukushima with large hot spots north west) was there before the disaster? Uhmmm... no.
How about the hot spots? The exclusion zones? Chunks of fuel that prompted them to flag areas as impassible? Uhmmm...the photographs of the explosions blowing the domes off the power plants along with fuel assemblies? How about the oceanic surveys indicating high levels of radiation dispersed off the east coast (fukushima region?). The SPEEDI Data that METI withheld from the public showing the dispersal of radiation? No?
How about the power plant sensors that detected radiation at the start of the catastrophe? Before the tsunami hit, sensors detected radiation release - now that implies an elevation over background.
It’s spectacular how nuke pimps pretend all of the Ukraine contamination is a rumor, the medical studies are all hysterical old wives tales, and that Japan can blow tons of fuel out of three power plants (with water, air, and heat) and not elevate radiation in the environment. It’s just like magic! SELF SERVING TWO FACED LYING magic! You don’t have a ‘basis’ for your argument, you have PR magic.
Placemark for reading.