REPORTING · 14th April 2011
More radiation testing results were returned today to the Village of Old Massett from a radiochemistry lab, SRC Analytical Laboratories, in Saskatchewan. The results continue to show levels of radiation falling from the Japanese Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdowns.
”We are seeing an increased presence of one radiation component (Iodine -131) in RAIN WATER. However, the Iodine-131 reading has decreased since April 8th and is now at a low level again. As expected this reading fluctuates with the weather and events in Japan. As this reading can very quickly increase, the following notice remains in effect for now:
WE ARE ADVISING COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO STOP DRINKING RAIN WATER.”
John Disney, the acting Band manager at Old Massett, has taken on the task of testing his communities water on his own. Everywhere he turned at the beginning of this crisis he was disregarded; that is until the results came in. Health Canada, though originally telling him the stop and then telling him he was reading the results wrong, finally accepted the laboratory results and agreed to pay for the analysis. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is still ignoring this situation according to Disney. He is still now, more than a month after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, the only Government body taking an active role in testing to determine the seriousness of the situation.
“Things are settling down with the radiation contamination monitoring this week. Our test results are showing all levels are dropping. We will continue to test twice/week and if the levels rise again we'll ramp up the testing.” wrote Disney in an email this morning, “Interesting communications with Health Canada and INAC - they're both saying the responsibility of First Nations health is with the other. However, HC has stepped up to the plate and is going to cover the lab costs for Old Massett and so they are winning this debate in our books. INAC continues to refuse to provide any help at this time.”
When a new batch of test results are returned the Village Old Massett posts and circulates the results to many other organizations including the media.
Nathan Cullen explained how he raised this issue with Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission directly after the accident, just before the election was called. He described the group as a 'War Room' comprised of agencies such as Health Canada and the Environment Ministries. He has asked specifically about testing the water as this is where he expects the highest concerns to be; with the food sources for the region.
“To this point Health Canada hasn’t shown up,” he stated today, “They’ve said that they’re going to continue the air testing but that’s it, and that’s not on. We need more, we need a base line. We need to look at the food sources.”
Disney has advised his community that they will do just that, writing in their latest bulletin “We are testing seaweed at this time and will post the results as soon as we receive them. We are planning to monitor home grown vegetables and fish products too very soon. We will also post these results.”
Cullen acknowledged the efforts of Disney and expressed his disappointment with the lack of response from the government.
“It feels like they’re missing the point of people that live right with the ocean, with their food coming from, directly from, the ocean. It’s obvious when they say they’re not concerned.
“Well if food in their Safeway in Ottawa, in Toronto, was contaminated with this you’d better believe they’d be doing some base line testing.” added Cullen
Radioactive decay- Food for thought
Comment by A Heidl on 14th April 2011
It is noted that the Iodine-131 has a half life of 8 days. But that means that it will take 80 days to fully disintegrate.
As well cesium-137 has a half life of thirty years.
Add that up and it is going to take 300 years for the cesium released from the Fukushima explosions to disintegrate.
FYI: French provide information re. food contamination
Comment by Salaut on 14th April 2011
Published: 11 April 2011 Updated: 12 April 2011
The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer "negligible," according to CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity.
After the radioactive cloud emanating from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant reached Europe in late March, CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity, an NGO, said it had detected radioactive iodine-131 in rainwater in south-eastern France.
In parallel testing, the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the national public institution monitoring nuclear and radiological risks, found iodine 131 in milk.
In normal times, no trace of iodine-131 should be detectable in rainwater or milk.
In response to thousands of inquiries from citizens concerned about fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Europe, CRIIRAD has compiled an information package on the risks of radioactive iodine-131 contamination in Europe.
The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese.
The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered "negligible" and it is now necessary to avoid "risky behaviour," CRIIRAD claimed.
However, the institute underlines that there is absolutely no need to lock oneself indoors or take iodine tablets.
CRIIRAD says its information note is not limited to the situation in France and is applicable to other European countries, as the level of air contamination is currently the same in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, for instance.
Data for the west coast of the United States, which received the Fukushima radioactive fallout 6-10 days before France, reveals that levels of radioactive iodine-131 concentration are 8-10 times higher there, the institute says.
Rain water and tap water
According to CRIIRAD, a huge proportion of the inquiries it has received concern the risks associated with rainwater and drinking tap water.
The institute stresses that there is no risk whatsoever, even for children, of standing in the rain without protection. But consumption of rainwater as a primary source of drinking water should be avoided, particularly among children, it said.
As for tap water, underground catchments or large rivers should not present any problem. But the institute suggests that the situation of water from reservoirs that collect rainwater from one or more watersheds, such as hillside lakes, should be examined more closely.
As for watering one's garden with collected rainwater, CRIIRAD advises watering only the earth and not the leaves of vegetables, as absorption is faster and more significant on leaf surfaces than through roots.
Spinach, salads, cabbage and other vegetables with large surface areas are among those food products that are particularly sensitive to iodine-131 contamination, if they are cultivated outside and exposed to rainwater. Washing vegetables does not help, as iodine-131 is quickly metabolised by the plants, CRIIRAD notes.
Fresh milk and creamy cheeses, as well as meat from cattle that have been outside eating grass, are categorised as foods that may have been indirectly contaminated and must also be monitored. Contamination of milk and cheese from goats and sheep may be of a greater magnitude than that of produce from cows.
Level of a risky dose
The Euratom Directive of 13 May 1996 establishes general principles and safety standards on radiation protection in Europe.
According to the directive, the impact of nuclear activity can be considered negligible if doses of radiation do not exceed ten micro sieverts (mSv) per year. Beyond this value, possible measures should be considered to reduce exposure, it says.
While radioactive iodine-131 is mostly present in the air in the form of gas, CRIIRAD notes that in the case of the Fukushima fallout, the main issue is to limit ingestion of iodine-131.
CRIIRAD notes that the amount of iodine-131 capable of delivering a dose of 10 mSv varies greatly depending on the age of consumers. Children up to two years old are the most vulnerable and ingestion of 50 becquerel (Bq) is enough to deliver to the body a dose of 10 mSv, according to the institute.
If the foods (leafy vegetables, milk etc.) contain between one and 10 Bq per kg or more, it is possible that the reference level of 10 mSv may be exceeded within two to three weeks, the institute added.
Comment by M Craven on 14th April 2011
Mr.Disney I commend you on your efforts. I have a lot of respect for what you are doing. As I have been warning this is much serious then has been reported. I tried again and again to tell Nathan information this before it was on the news. I have posted this on Nathan's facebook page and have yet to receive a response. Huge groups of 'islands' of trash floating across the north Pacific, everything from whole houses to cars to body parts. "WE" can do something before it is too late. "Contaminated water leaked From the Unit 2 may have gathered as a lump and drifted offshore," Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has said. Cesium-134 and -137has been released. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years. Japan also has been dumping tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. I believed this has been temporarily halted for now. Do you really think Canada I prepared? I am aware of what is happening here in Japan and I want to help our country. The Cesium-137 will be the problem Northern BC faces as well as the debris. If Nathan Cullen is serious about this issue he should look into replying to people who are warning him, like myself. I am trying to do something but it has fallen on deaf ears...
Politicians ignoring citizens and taking credit
Comment by A Heidl on 14th April 2011
I am happy to see that Health Canada and the government are starting to view this issue as with importance. The day following the Fukushima nuclear explosion, Michael Craven, who lives with his family of three small children in Tokyo began to alert Nathan Cullen on the disaster and what was predicted to come. For weeks Michael was volunteering with the Japanese government to translate scientific documents that highlighted the effects of the current situation and the long term effects to follow. Having access to this information Michael Craven tried to alert Canada by diligently updating Nathan Cullen on radioactive chemicals found in the atmosphere and water along with their health damages, in hope that he could start testing water and protecting the community.4 weeks later and still Nathan had yet to respond to any of Michael's warnings. Finally a concerned citizen John Disney took it upon himself to test the water, only to find it contaminated. Now I find Nathan boasting it was his idea? If it was his idea, then why has it taken almost 5 weeks for him to take action? And why did Health Canada ignore Mr.Disney when he first found Iodine-131 contamination in the water?
Why has he decided to not even acknowledge Michael Craven to thank him for sharing valuable information or just to show any concerns?
I had sent a message to Nathan a week ago asking if I would be able to get any counseling assistance from the government after what I have experienced in Japan.
Unfortunately I wasted my time as the response I got clearly showed me that he had not even read my mail but quickly sent "Thanks for the concern." and stating that he had no time to go over emails.
I guess I will have to wait a month or two before he decides if he wants to care about my email. And then boast about how it was his idea to get Canadians subsidized counseling that were affected by the Fukushima fallout and earthquakes.