Friday, November 4, 2011

Red Sky At Night: Solar Flares Spawn Fukushima's Deadly Delight

Back in April and June 2011 the Potrblog team predicted that Fukushima's Fallout would create unusual Northern Lights. We now further refine those predictions of when and where to expect these unusual Northern Lights. We also tie the current events back to similar events during ARPA's project ARGUS and its relation to the University of California Berkeley.


  1. how can Americans protect them selves againt's this radiation coming from Japan?

  2. Trying to answer that question for ourselves is one of the reasons we share our findings/data and the resultant conjectures/theories publicly.

    Given the levels of uncertainty, the most Darwinian action is cost effective risk mitigation. Namely, recognize the potential threat, attempt to quantify the threat in terms of impacts and likelihoods, and take risk mitigation actions that won't cause more damage if the threat matrix turns out incorrect.

    For us that means we have purchased everything on the shown in the Amazon widgets. Mostly that comes down to minimizing risk through controlling water and food sources (especially those food sources that concentrate radioactivity, like dairy products)

    Since our analysis indicates a likelihood of radioactive iodine, we try to monitor our bodies' iodine "thirst". We stay out of the rain. If we have to drive through the rain we turn the environmental controls to recirculate. Moreover, given the I-133 indications, we wear N-95 carbon filter masks if we have to drive through the rain.

    We make sure the cars are washed before we allow them to be pulled into the garage, and we attempt to do much the same with the rain gear. And, we have started using HEPA filters in the house in addition to high filtration HVAC filters.

    That is the limit of our current cost effective risk mitigation actions, however given what we believe is occurring those actions may be too minimal in the long term.

    And in regard to that last aspect, the biggest non-nuclear risk is that at some point enough people become aware of the risk that further risk mitigation actions become difficult to execute because of competition over limited resources

  3. Hi folks

    I've been following the Fukushima story since it first unfolded and I share your apparent disdain for the lack of global government response to what I believe is a human and environmental catastrophe on an immense scale silently unfolding.

    Thank you for sharing your personal research! I'm an engineer so I really enjoy "geeking out" over the science of it.

    Not sure if you've seen this video showing reactor 2 emitting steam or smoke on 10/22:

    On a personal note... when I was young there was a period of about a year when I would have mysterious frequent and fairly severe nosebleeds. It wasn't until I started to read about Fukushima... and inevitably about Chernobyl that I connected nosebleeds and radiation exposure.

    So a week ago I asked my mother how old I was when I got those nosebleeds. The year was 1979. I pulled up wikipedia and to my amazement that was the same year as the 3 mile island accident.


  5. JT, thanks for the link to the video. Its always hard to tell in the videos what percentage is blown in Fog and what is local generated; but that is something that will be much more clear when winter comes.

    What is interesting is that the blogosphere reported a similar video on May 8th 2011 as being a "fire" at Fukushima; now what makes that interesting is that the DOE had an airborne detection of Neptunium 239 on the same date 40 miles outside of Fukushima.

  6. Mauibrad, I don't know if I trust anything Busby says, but I base that SOLELY on the fact he always wears a funny hat

    However, I wager, there are people who likely could have a very good idea of what is going in the ground at Fukushima, if they had the real 'restricted access' data,. But most of them are probably 80 or 90 year old cold war physicists; and I doubt "management" would follow their advice anyways.

  7. JT - Where we you living in 1979?

    My family is from Eastern Pennsylvania, about 80 miles from Three Mile Island. In recent years I have come to the conclusion that my friends and neighbors suffered a very serious radiation exposure due to TMI.

  8. @Aaron -- sorry to hear about your friends and neighbors.

    The scary thing is that I was living in Houston at the time.

    High pressure systems like to camp out over the east coast... the clockwise winds could conceivably carry fallout in the lower atmosphere to the gulf coast.

    ...or a low pressure system could sling it over farmland and grazing areas to the west... eventually working its way into my school lunches.

    All of the US Fukushima fallout is being carried in the upper atmosphere... west to east. But locally in Japan it's going EVERYWHERE.

    In any event I'm sure with the lack of technology and experience in 79 the extent of the fallout was not fully understood.

  9. JT -

    Well, the TMI fallout track blew northeast, so actually that doesn't seem terrifically likely. Many things which seem unlikely are true, of course. There's a tremendous amount to be learned by digging, as the host of this site is doing so admirably.

    We've been irradiating ourselves basically constantly from a multitude of locations for more than 60 years. My favorite location for off-the-scale horrible disasters is the Rocky Flats site near Denver, which few people think about.


  10. Ms. X,

    This is a very good post. I'm sorry it took me a while to view it.

    Two questions:

    1. Argus placed fission fragments into the atmosphere in the southern latitudes. I'm unclear how this might have extended the range of the northern lights southward. Any comments?

    2. Do you have any quantitative estimates for the quantities of fission products in the atmosphere, for Argus vs. Fukushima?

    Solid reasoning and a great post. Thank you.


  11. Aaron Datesman,

    Two very good questions.

    The known parts of ARGUS which occurred in the Southern Hemisphere, could have such an effect in the Northern Hemisphere because those locations are on the opposite sides of the same geomagnetic dipole. HOWEVER, the public dates for ARGUS actually occurred AFTER the 2/11/58 Florida "northern lights"

    To assume ARGUS was involved in the Florida northern lights one would have to suspect that the 2/5/11 loss of a Nuke Bomb near Savannah, Ga was somehow involved (which interestingly enough was lost at a direct "conjugate point" in the Northern Hemisphere for the Southern Hemisphere ARGUS tests dipoles). Of course the loss need not have involved ARGUS, but it did raise as question of what happened to the material and where did it go?

    However, the key point of mentioning ARGUS was not to implicate ARGUS but rather to show the uninformed that nuclear fission does interact with the magnetosphere, and to also point out that the people at U.C. Berkeley could have done the subject A LOT more justice than abomination of an analysis they did. (they headed up ARGUS)

    We were trying to keep the video under 30 minutes so there were lots of things we did NOT mention, but two that would have bared mentioning were (one person on YouTube did catch one of the omissions) was the Russian Nuclear Accident in 1957 at Kyshtym and the 1957 Plutonium fire at Sellafield, UK, throw in all the above ground testing and there was a good amount of High Atomic Weight stuff floating around the upper atmosphere in 1958

    With respect to your second question quantities of fission products ARGUS vs Fukushima; There is not enough public data to quantify Fukushima, one would have to "amortize" the releases over the time period to figure it out. The two known shots of ARGUS were relatively small warheads taken off of the Genie air to air missile; The war head lost over Savannah, Ga was also a tactical nuke, roughly an order of magnitude greater in yield than the Genie warhead. The Soviet nuke accident was rated a 6 out of 7. It was a several orders of magnitude greater than the British accident.
    To quantify it better would require better data.

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  13. Published: November 11th, 2011 at 08:50 AM EDT

    JUST IN: Iodine-131 now detected in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary… other countries — An indicator of nuclear chain reaction — 10 days after criticality talk at Fukushima

    Traces of iodine-131 detected in Europe, Trend, November 11, 2011:

    “Low levels of a radioactive isotope have been detected in several European countries in the past days, but the source of the emission was unknown, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Friday, DPA reported.” [...]

    ‘”But it’s a concern because there is a source somewhere,” an offical close to the IAEA said, adding that atmospheric measurements were made in countries including Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.” [...]

    “People who take a transatlantic flight are exposed to a radiation dose 40,000 times as high as the one detected recently, the Vienna health ministry said.”

    From the International Atomic Energy Agency’s brief statement on the detection:

    “The IAEA has learned about similar measurements in other locations across Europe”
    “The IAEA believes the current trace levels of iodine-131 that have been measured do not pose a public health risk and are not caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan”
    “The IAEA is working with its counterparts to determine the cause and origin of the iodine-131.”
    The iodine-131 finding comes around 10 days after the announcement of xenon at Fukushima, which was suspected to be caused by a criticality.

    How long did it take for radioactive particles from Japan to reach Europe back in March?

    “The substances were blown eastward by a jet stream traveling at a speed of some 3,000 kilometres a day, arriving on the US West Coast on March 18, in Iceland on March 20, and many other European countries on March 22, the researchers said.” -DPA

    Because radioactive releases after the March 11 quake occurred almost immediately, the radioactive isotopes from Japan took about 10-11 days to reach Europe.

    UPDATE via BBC at 9:25am ET (h/t Bobby1):

    “The Czech nuclear security authority said it had been detecting radioactive iodine-131 at a number of monitoring stations since late October and had informed the IAEA to see if it could identify the source, Reuters reports.”

    “Czech nuclear safety chief Dana Drabova said the iodine could have leaked during production of radiopharmaceuticals.”

    “It was certainly not from a nuclear power plant, she said, adding that they were almost certain that the source was abroad.”

  14. Published: November 12th, 2011 at 02:52 PM EDT

    Now Poland and Denmark report “radioactive dust” — IAEA official: “We are a little concerned”

    Radioactive dust over Sweden, Stockholm News, November 12, 2011:

    ”The countries affected are Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, and Hungary”
    “The problem is that no one knows where the radioactive dust comes from”
    IAEA official: “We are a little concerned, because there must be a source somewhere”
    There are more countries affected than reported in this article. Here is the complete list to date:

    Czech Republic

  15. MauiBrad, the correlations to this blog post are obvious enough that the subject requires another blog post.

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