Arnie Gunderson: Fukushima Data Confirming Hot Particles

November 1, 2011

Washington, DC – October 31, 2011 – Today Scientist Marco Kaltofen of Worchester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) presented his analysis of radioactive isotopic releases from the Fukushima accidents at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Mr. Kaltofen’s analysis confirms the detection of hot particles in the US and the extensive airborne and ground contamination in northern Japan due to the four nuclear power plant accidents at TEPCO’s Fukushima reactors. Fairewinds believes that this is a personal health issue in Japan and a public health issue in the United States and Canada.

Paper at website

23 Responses to “Arnie Gunderson: Fukushima Data Confirming Hot Particles”

  1. sinchiroca Says:

    My god, this is amateur hour stuff! The guy presents evidence that there are “hot particles” — what’s that supposed to mean? Methods for measuring and assessing the health impact of radioactivity have been around since the 1940s. First it was rads, then it was rems, and now sieverts are the preferred unit of measurement. Of course, there are many factors involved, and there are lots of ways to measure radioactive threat. Those measurements have been ongoing since the accident; I have not seen any recent data from Fukushima, but I’m expecting to see some sort of long-term assessment showing up sometime soon. The data we got at the time of the accident was not terribly reliable for a number of reasons; the best data is obtained by systematic surveys by independent sources. I have seen some fragmentary surveys, but nothing presenting the big picture. So far, the indications are that the total population dose was fairly small, but there are some loose ends that need to be tied up before we can be confident of those early indications.

    • igoddard Says:

      You’re not in a position to qualify this as “amateur hour stuff” given that you say you don’t even know what hot particles are. Google for example: “Hot particle dosimetry and radiobiology—past and present” for a paper in the Journal of Radiological Protection.

      That review notes that “The ‘hot particle problem’ came into prominent concern in the late 1960s.” It also emphasizes the paucity of data for characterizing the health impact of hot particles. But that certainly doesn’t make contemporary analysis of them “amateur hour stuff.” Obviously once inhaled they could deliver very high-doses to nearby tissues.

      There have to date been a few radiological surveys of Fukushima fallout peer-reviewed published by independent sources. The largest survey so far was conducted by Stohl et al, covered here : It’s also posted here for online academic peer review : It’s not yet formally published.

      • sinchiroca Says:

        My complaint isn’t that he used a technical term: I’m dismissive because he doesn’t specify anything. Sure, he found hot particles; I’m certain that you could find hot particles just about anywhere on the planet at just about any time. The statement that he found hot particles is by itself meaningless; to have any value, he has to specify what kind of hot particles he found and what kind of density he found. The LD50 dose of a hot particle of plutonium is one microgram, but I131 or Cs137 are much less dangerous because they’re beta emitters. And again, he presents no indication of their density. The only number he presents is the activity on a kid’s shoelace from “Japan” — not very specific location, that. His number is 80 becquerels — and he doesn’t even know enough to present the units. He calls this an ‘astronomically high’ value, which is utter bullshit. If it is beta radiation — the most likely case — then it can’t even penetrate the skin.

        Thanks for the link to the survey. I’ll read it.

        • BlueRock Says:

          > …I’m certain that you could find hot particles just about anywhere on the planet at just about any time.

          You further demonstrate your ignorance / dishonesty on this subject… although the nuke industry do seem to be working on making your dream come true.

          * “…cancer … risks are increased even with the smallest dose of radiation. The so-called permissible dose of radiation, for nuclear workers or for the public at large, represents only a legalized permit for the nuclear industry to commit random, premeditated murders upon the … population.”

    • BlueRock Says:

      > My god, this is amateur hour stuff!

      Let’s see who the “amateur” is.

      > First it was rads, then it was rems, and now sieverts are the preferred unit of measurement.

      Rad and rem are used as the plural as well as the singular – not “rads” and “rems”.

      Rad measures the amount of radiation energy absorbed by a mass of material.

      Rem and sieverts measure the relative biological damage in the human body.

      So, you’ve got the terminology wrong and you’ve not understood that rad is a completely different measurement to rem / sieverts.

      Who’s the “amateur” again? 😉

      I think I’ll continue paying attention to the consistently excellent – from Day One of Fukushima – Arnie Gundersen… and not some bloviating internet troll.

      • sinchiroca Says:

        BlueRock, I’m just not going to bother responding to you any more. You’re not interested in discussion, you just want to fight.

        • BlueRock Says:

          That’s what the trolls usually say when their ignorance / dishonesty have been exposed for all to see….


          For the rational, honest audience:

          * Fukushima nuclear plant could take 30 years to clean up. “Fukushima city, 35 miles from the nuclear plant, contained enough radioactive waste to fill 10 baseball stadiums…”

          30 years according to the Japanese nuke industry… and because nuke industry years are like dog years that probably means somewhere between a century and [think of a number, double it, add 80].

  2. sailrick Says:

    mispelled word in first sentence,

    It’s Worcester Polythecnic Institute – not Worchester

    pronounced – woos-ter like Worcestershire Sauce

  3. Martin_Lack Says:

    Re: the air filters in cars – for how long were they driven around before checking for radiocative particles?

    I am sorry but, the hysteria over Fukushima is completely overblown (pun intended). Fukushima was not another Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. Furthermore, every year, more people are killed trying to put on the underpants than are killed by radioactivity.

    Finally, it is not Japan’s fault that it had little choice but to rely on nuclear power; and it should be given credit for designing its plants to withstand tsunamis and earthquakes (N.B. the only reason Fukushima’s defences failed is that the land on which it sits sank over a metre in the 30 minutes between the earthquake and the tsunami hitting it).

    However, none of the above changes the fact that it may well be time for Tokyo to shut down its nuclear plants before a masive earthquake occurs right beneath it. For Japan, there are alternatives and they should pursue them urgently. For the rest of us, new nuclear power stations are a lot less than desireable but, I do not think that we can do without them in the long run. Therefore, we might as well get on with building them.

  4. He’s lost the plot.

    His use of “enormous exposures” and “incredibly radioactive” and “astronomically high” here are just nutty. Seriously.

    If you ingest some caesium 137, you receive a dose of 0.013 microsieverts per becquerel.

    He’s talking about shoelaces with 80 disintegrations per second (80 becquerels). So even if the kids in Fukushima ATE THEIR SHOELACES, they’d recieve a does of 1 microsievert. Is this “astronomically high”? Honestly?

    Are these kids eating their shoelaces? No. Any dose they receive is far less than a microseivert. Is this a “severe personal health problem”? Is this a “statistically meaningful increase in cancers”?

    Come on.

    Peter, PLEASE look at what you’re posting before you post it. No good will come from misleading the public by posting stuff like this. It’s not hard to do, and for someone who’s taken on the role of highlighting the skewed work of others, it’s inexcusable not to take it seriously. Ok?

  5. For perspective, compare Gundersen’s “astronomically high” 80Bq shoelaces with, for example, the constant 5400Bq of potassium-40 in an average adult human body.

    (Is K-40 comparable to Cs-137? Yes. Both are beta & gamma emitters; the potassium has the higher energy per decay. Of the two, K-40 has slightly more potential for harm.)

    Compare, also, the most radioactive of the Japanese car filters in Marco Kaltofen’s report, which was 3nCi (=111 Bq).

    It’s obscene to make this out to be a “severe personal health problem”.

    And he asks for donations…
    Get real.

    • BlueRock Says:

      You’re trying for the ‘banana argument’, i.e. K-40:

      * Radioactive bananas! Geoff Meggitt, a retired health physicist, and former editor of the Journal of Radiological Protection: “Bananas are radioactive — but they aren’t a good way to explain radiation exposure. When you eat a banana, your body’s level of Potassium-40 doesn’t increase. You just get rid of some excess Potassium-40. The net dose of a banana is zero.”

      Therefore K-40 = harmless to humans.

      Your attempt to conflate this with CS-137 is as dumb / dishonest as it intuitively sounds:

      * “…exposure to radiation from cesium-137 results in increased risk of cancer. … Exposure to waste materials, from contaminated sites, or from nuclear accidents can result in cancer risks much higher than typical environmental exposures.”

      Time for a new sockpuppet? 😉

  6. Thanks BlueRock.

    Anyone with a brain care to comment?

    • BlueRock Says:

      Aww. You nuke trolls usually put up a little struggle before giving in. Did I go in too hard? Unlucky.

      * “Science tells us that there is no dose of radiation so low that it can be considered completely “safe” or “harmless.” We cannot afford to risk annihilation and continued environmental contamination; we must turn away from nuclear power and weapons.” Jeffrey Patterson, professor emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

      • Martin_Lack Says:

        For your sake, BlueRock, I hope you are agoraphobic and live in a 12-inch steel-lined basement with no windows. That should shield you from natural cosmic and/or solar radiation. However, you should double-check that your house is not in an area subject to high levels of gamma radiation from geological sources such as granite. Finally, you should exercise extreme caution while getting dressed each day (for the reason I previously stated). To me, you objection to nuclear power strikes me as ideological rather than intellectual but, hey, no-one’s perfect.

        • BlueRock Says:

          What were you just whining about in the other thread? Being “unduly argumentative”? Hypocrisy: alive and well.

          Any time you want to introduce some facts or rational argument, feel free.

          • Martin_Lack Says:

            Yes, sorry, I was indeed lowering myself to your level (I must admit it is fun).

            However, have you any answer to the point being made (that radiation is all around us)?

            Your position is one that is common to an awful lot of people who seem incapable of making dispassionate, objective, rational, reasonable, and/or correct judgements of decisions or judgements relating to risk (management and/or perception).

          • BlueRock Says:

            No, only you were tone trolling.

            > …radiation is all around us…

            You’ve just exposed your total ignorance of the very basics of this subject. Even a little common sense from someone of moderate intelligence could work out that natural background radiation is totally different to the type and toxicity of radioactive material released from nuclear fission plants.

            Why do you think the Japanese have evacuated a huge area of their country? Why do you think a huge area of the Ukraine is uninhabitable? Why do you think the Finns are digging a multi-billion $$$ hole in the ground to (hopefully) stop their radioactive waste from poisoning them?

            Focus on thinking, less on bloviated rhetoric.

          • alexsisxela Says:

            “natural background radiation is totally different to the type and toxicity of radioactive material released from nuclear fission plants.”

            Ah – I see – BlueRock is proposing a new theory of radioactivity!

            There’s the type we get in the background radiation sources (good type)
            and the type in artificial radiation sources (bad type)

            If that were true, then BlueRock’s arguments would make sense.

            Is that what you believe, BR?
            Where did you get that idea from?

          • Martin_Lack Says:

            Sinchiroca was right – he’s not worth the energy.

          • BlueRock Says:

            Just in case any lurkers think the Troll Sockpuppet Tag Team might be talking anything other than drivel:

   – just one of the cancer-causing radioactive materials that are only present in the environment due to anthropogenic nuclear fission.

            And this little thread is a great example of how unhinged the nuke cult are….

          • alexsisxela Says:

            Hmm. So who was saying that Cs-137 is harmless? Nobody is arguing that.

            If a radionuclide is present, you must
            1. find out how much there is (in Bq, for example)
            2. find out how much is harmful (in Bq),
            and then compare these two.

            If you don’t do this, you’re just barking away. The same applies to Gundersen, and anyone else.

            Please do this, for this specific case of shoelaces.

            Also, please tell me this: if someone put a thousand atoms of uranium in every single one of your trillion liver cells, what do you think would happen to you?

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