WIPP: Drinking Water Officially 'Safe,' But Tests May Be Misleading


Near Brantley Lake, NM (Courtesy wheelsonfire, intrepid photographer)

Its official, from officials: No harm to human health!  
this and the next screenshots from this article, archived here (dropbox).

But wait...

...not so fast.  Let's have a look, shall we?  Since everything's  ...fine?  


So I says to my self, I says, 


"Gentle Self!  Now why would it take longer to get back the soil results?  Might they not want to make those results as public?"  

And is seems to me I remember seeing somewhere a video where a little cartoon character was eager to tell me -- in Japanese -- all about how Plutonium sinks quickly in freshwater and so is (virtually) harmless.
  

Well it seems that despite his agenda, Plutonium-boy's empirical observations are, in fact, quite factual.


Coincidence perhaps, but there is a context of which experts in the field ought to by now be aware, that remains unimplied, at least in the following report, and undermines the findings.

Perhaps we ought to hold our breath while they get back to us? Perhaps not. Here's why, with proof.


May I direct attention to the material in bold, below.  I have left passages in much of their original context, in case someone not so gentle were to object should it have been otherwise.


from
Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry
by Jan-Olov Liljenzin and Jan Rydberg 
2002
Chapter 22

Behavior of Radionuclides in the Environment

The majority of the plutonium from weapons testing was injected initially into the stratosphere. The plutonium originally in the weapon which survived the explosion would have been formed into high-fired oxide which would be expected to remain insoluble as it returned to earth. Such insoluble particles would have sunk in a rather short time into the bottom sediments of lakes, rivers, and oceans or would become incorporated in soils below the surface layer. However, in most nuclear weapon explosions a considerable amount of plutonium is generated in the explosion via U (n,() reactions and subsequent "-decay of the product U, 238 239 U, U, etc. In total, about two thirds of the plutonium released was generated in this way. 240 241 The nuclides from the (n,() reactions would exist as single atoms, and, hence, were never formed into high-fired oxides. The plutonium from this formation path would have been soluble and, as a result, more reactive and its behavior would be more similar to that of plutonium released from nuclear reactors, reprocessing plants and from nuclear waste repository sites. 

[snip]

Near test sites, reprocessing facilities, etc., the concentration of plutonium in the soil and water is much higher than in more distant locations. Generally, the great majority of plutonium is associated with sub-surface soils or sediments or with suspended particulates in water. For example, when vegetation, animals, litter and soils are compared, $99% of the plutonium is present in the soil. Similarly, in shallow bodies of water, more than 96% of the plutonium is found associated with the sediments. However, it is via the species that are soluble or attached to suspended colloids and/or particulate matter in water that plutonium is transported in the environment. Analysis of vertical plutonium migration in soils near Chernobyl and in eastern Europe from the Chernobyl accident has shown that most of the plutonium is still in the first 0.5 cm from the surface for soils with significant humic acid content. In these soils, the plutonium is mostly associated with the insoluble calcium-humate fraction. In non-humic, carbonate rich soils, the plutonium has moved several centimeters downward. Migration rates of #0.1 cm y is associated with the humic soils and of 1-10 cm y with the carbonate rich ones. Presumably, migration is retarded by the interaction with the immobilized humic material in soils . In subsurface oxic soil near Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA, plutonium is relatively mobile and has been transported primarily by colloids in the 25-450 µm size range. Moreover, the association with these colloids is strong and removal of Pu from them is very slow. By contrast, near Sellafield in wet anoxic soil, most of the Pu is quickly immobilized in the sediments although a small fraction remain mobile. Differences in oxidation state (Pu(V) vs. Pu(IV)) as well as in humic content of the soils may explain these differences in mobility. Table 22.7 lists the concentration of plutonium, after filtration (0.45 µm), in the surface layers of some natural waters. The higher concentration in the Okefenokee River is assumed to reflect the effect of complexing by humic materials.

[snip]

...A rather large amount of nuclear fission products and actinide elements have been released to the environment from nuclear weapons testing and from accidental and intentional discharges from nuclear reactor operations and fuel reprocessing. The research on the fate of these released radionuclides suggest that the long lived actinides form quite insoluble or strongly sorbed species while I and Tc have relatively high dissemination in natural systems. The 129 99 most active shorter-lived species ( Sr, Cs) also have more mobility in ecosystem.

Read more here (data encoded HTML) or here (PDF, Dropbox) or download source of html here (pastebin) or here (Dropbox)



So perhaps we best not hold our breath until CEMRC gets back to us. 

Because, you see:

Plutonium is not usually water soluble.  For this reason, most of whatever Plutonium was released would not be in the water of the reservoirs, but buried in the sediment below – just like most of it would not be in the the urine of the workers tested, but in their fatty tissue or fæces (and they were getting back to us with the outcome of those tests tests).

Now I am not saying that there will be appreciable contamination in the sediment.  Actully, I don't think so -- but I would like to know for sure.

I am just saying that the testing of the water is not as reassuring as they would like to make it seem, and it just seems like another one of those coincidences that there isn't even a date given for when they will be getting those sediment sample tests back.

So if they wanted to be reassuring, why not have the tests done, or a date when they will be done?  So often they don't even get back.  Let's see how it goes this time.  



What do you think?  I am especially interested in local opinions, although comments, if civil, are always welcome.  As I have said before, that is one of the main reasons I research, and publish. 


Good luck to us all.


from this fascinating post.
Be seeing you.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for tagging my photo and telling me you were using it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. you are so very welcome. i really like your sense of framing.

    ReplyDelete