Friday, August 2, 2013

Tritium in Perspective: If Rokkasho Ever Becomes Operational, It Will Release 18,000 Trillion Becquerels of Tritium into the Pacific Ocean PER YEAR

While the amount of tritium released from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant since May 2011, 20 to 40 trillion becquerels which TEPCO finally told Nuclear Regulatory Authority on August 2, 2013, could be an order of magnitude lower than the amount if April 2011 were included, it would pale in comparison to what Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Aomori Prefecture would be releasing if (big IF) it ever becomes operational (the October 2013 target has been moved yet again).

According to Wikipedia on Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant (in Japanese):

Amount of tritium to be released to the Pacific Ocean in liquid:

  • 18,000 trillion becquerels (terabequerels) per year

Amount of tritium to be released into the atmosphere:

  • 1,900 trillion becquerels (terabequerels) per year

Bioconcentration of tritium is supposed to be non-existent. But my search found this paper titled "Bioaccumulation of tritiated water in phytoplankton and trophic transfer of organically bound tritium to the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis." Jaeschke BC, Bradshaw C (Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden), Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, January 2013.

18,000 trillion becquerels per year into the ocean which has 829,000 trillion becquerels of tritium (according to UNSCEAR 2000 report quoted by TEPCO). Rokkasho would be adding over 2% of the existing amount to the ocean every single year. That's rather big for comfort.


Anonymous said...

Concerned citizen Ace Hoffman, who was very active in the San Onofre opposition, wrote a good article on tritium in 2006:

Anonymous said...

Indeed a great article. Thanks for sharing and thanks to laprimavera for providing perspective and information on this subject.

Personally, I would love to see anyone who is involved in determining "safe" radiation standards go through a cancer diagnosis, treatment and/or death with someone. I would love for them to personally see and feel the affected person's pain, fears, and anguish. Maybe then they will finally understand that "only" 1 cancer in 10 million (or whatever the numbers) is little comfort to the sick person and his or her family. Maybe then they will see that even a statistically very low risk and number of deaths and suffering is anything but acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Coal and oil kill around 2 million a year though.

Anonymous said...

La Hague discharges 12,000 TBq/year of tritium in the sea. I did not check Sellafield.
Npps release 18,000 TBq/yr of tritium, worldwide.
The health effects of tritium are unknown/disputed (what a surprise).


Anonymous said...

At anon @ 6:34 am:
Of course coal and oil kill as well, and that is just as unacceptable. However, it appears that most tritium contamination could relatively easily be avoided, if the information in the article linked in the first comment above is correct: "Tritium releases could be significantly and relatively inexpensively reduced by oxidizing the tritium at the source, and then capturing the resulting water on a surfaces cooled with liquid nitrogen."
Apparently just the allowable releases of tritium need to be reduced and at least this one cause of human suffering would be no more. Hence my comment above.

Anonymous said...

For the nuclear plant we live 9 miles from, the company does not release any information on tritium or XXX releases. If asked, they point to EPA tests, and say they are below the "legal" limit, all is safe, etc etc. When you go ask EPA..they point to their website..good luck finding a specific test or data point there..and they only have old data, a year or so old because of the reporting requirements. I guess with the sequester, those reports will be 'delayed' if done at all. So good luck to determining what exposure we all have.

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