The Use of Potassium to reduce Cs137 contamination in test crops by USA in the Marshall Islands.

October 26, 2018
From March 2011 until the present time, nuclear industry and its advocates have repeated that the Cs contamination of Japanese farmland is of no consequence.

I refer to the following previous post: https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/attempted-decontamination-of-farmland-in-japan-by-ploughing-farmers-of-the-world-skill-up/

While it is now 7 years later, and while cleanup of the contaminated has progressed and remains ongoing, and while approved and acceptable food stuffs are available in Japan, many Japanese people remain firm in their diverse and freely chosen views on the matter. Much to the dismay of the nuclear industry.
(Source: B. Heard, Channel 9 Australia, Sixty Minutes, episode 34). Ben laments what he implies is the irrational choices and actions taken by the Japanese people and Japanese authorities. See previous posts. I have shown that the eating of traditional food hunted and gathered from traditional hunting and collection lands (which now form parts of the radiological exclusion zones for very good reasons, which Ben Heard failed to discuss on air). Thus, Japanese medical science, via routine and regular internal scanning of people, has published data showing that the radiological burden (mainly cesium previously owned by a nuclear electricity company) borne by people who continue to hunt and collect food in their traditional lands is significantly higher than those people who live in the same place but who obtain their food from what is stated to be “approved sources” in that scientific paper. It is no longer safe to fill or partially fill ones dietary needs by hunting and gathering in hunting grounds which are part of the exclusion zone and which are otherwise not decontaminated still. This is covered in recent previous posts. Hunting wild pigs and picking wild mushrooms is not my cup of tea. But then again I am not a Japanese person who owns a family heritage and culture which extends back thousands of years. The Japanese people are indigenous to their land and as with all such peoples, they have a very highly developed relationship with their land and through it, a finely tuned sense of proper individual, family and social behaviour. Imagine being the first head of a family not to carry out the regular duty of obtaining food by hunting and collecting. The death of a thousand year rite and duty. And so, free people continue the duty even though they know via the routine screening, what the new nuclear industry imposed Cesium tariff is as imposed upon their soft tissues. The paper I am referring to is now a couple of years old. It will be about 2041 before the amount of Cs 137 deposited in the hunting and collecting ground halves by decay. Perhaps the amount will go down sooner if the government decides it can afford to clean up what is now determined to be “low value land”, such as the exclusion zones are deemed to be. Then again the complete decay chain of the fission cesium isotopes is complex when taken together. The radiological question is sociological in nature at the same time, but the unqualified advocate and industry employed metal benders have idea of such things.

So the problem of attenuating dose from fission isotopes of cesium is a critical one. Luckily, due to the continual attempts by the USA to render the primary and heavily contaminated islands of the Marshall Islands habitable and food self sufficient again, we have learned some salient things. Much to the dismay of those who have equated fission cesium in potatoes, wheat, meat, milk and so on, from the early days post 3/11 with the lack of consequence of the presence of that 0.01% of natural potassium in bananas (and potatoes etc – the potassium rich foods). Oh well, that only a banana’s worth. Whereas if that is in fact the amount of cesium taken in, it doubles the dose to the same tissues for no reasons. The total dose absorbed from all sources is not found by comparative subtraction. Plants do not discriminate against cesium uptake. A potassium rich plant will absorb both potassium and cesium. The issue here is the presence of fission cesium in soil and therefore diet and therefore human tissue. If reactors were able to contain their effluent in Japan and elsewhere, there would not be any reactor sourced fission cesium present in any Japanese soil, wild plants or wild animals. But there is. The conclusion is plain. If I grew bananas in the contaminated soil of the exclusion zone and other un remediated areas contained by the nuclear industry, I would produce cesium contaminated banana. I eat it it would present me with a banana dose of K40 PLUS the dose resultant from the presence of the banana’s cesium load. 1 banana = 1 banana. That is self evident. But like potatoes grown in the same contaminated soil, as cesium is a potassium analogue biochemically, the banana would be rich in fission cesium as well in potassium. One is a nutrient, the other is a chemical toxin which delivers also an additional dose.

Dose to soft tissue which use potassium = potassium uptake plus radio cesium uptake, whereas prior to the contaminating event, the total dose = the K40 dose alone. And yes, bananas are grown in Japan and I have wondered how many banana equivalent doses a Japanese banana represents compared to itself. Um, one. But that is K40 dose + the nuker’s fission cesium dose. This is assuming ( a big assumption for the sake of illustration) that Japanese bananas are contaminated with radio cesium. They would be if grown in an area of contaminated land such as the un remediated Exclusion Zones. But they probably aren’t. I hope this is all clear to the reader. You have to eat potassium rich food to stay alive. If all the potassium in the world was magically made to disappear, we would be absorbing more cesium and life on the planet would cease. Due to lack of potassium, due to the accumulated internal dose of cesium. Most I imagine would die from lack of potassium before cesium toxicity got them. I think. Its moot.

The dose from the planet is a planetary equivalent dose. Which was very different in many parts of the world in 1928 to what it is today in those same parts. Well done Mr. Szilard. What was once fallout product contamination is now today part of normal background. It hasn’t been one half life of Cs 137 since 3/11 yet. When will the remains of the fission cesium be considered normal background? 1 x 30 years? 2 times? 100 times? Can’t turn back the clock. Back to the Future was just a movie franchise. Once the things are built that’s it. All technology has a life cycle. Fission was conceptually born in 1934. It’s 84 years old. It has not saved the planet yet though it claimed to from 1946 until the fall of the Berlin Wall. It now says it can do it’s saviour act again. I’m supposed to be pleased with that? How many reactors are there now? How much chaos have they created? Sure, let us build 55 reactors here, plus a Monju. We could see the high level nuclear to North Korea just to shut them up. Ben says it’s all perfectly safe, just like Titterton did in 1957.

“Around 11% of the world’s electricity is generated by about 450 nuclear power reactors. ” Source: Nuclear Power Today | Nuclear Energy – World Nuclear Association http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/…/nuclear-power-in-the-world-today.aspx 1934 – 2018 = 84 years. That’s an average of 5.3 reactors per year. 89% of global electricity is not generated by nuclear power.

“In 1973, the University of Delaware even built Solar One, one of the first solar powered residences. People began to see solar energy as a viable option for their homes.” https://rgsenergy.com/solar-panels-for-your-home/the-history-of-residential-solar-energy/ Solar panels have been used on homes since about 1973. That’s about 45 years.

“Globally, renewables made up 24 percent of electricity generation in 2014, much of it from hydropower (17 percent). Renewable ethanol and biodiesel transportation fuels made up over 22 percent of total U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2016, up from 12 percent in 2006. Renewable Energy — Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
https://www.c2es.org/content/renewable-energy/

As nuclear power faces more and more competition from alternative clean energy sources, it’s main claim to fame: very high energy density fuel will increasing be confronted by energy technologies which do not use fuel at all, or which create their own high energy density fuels – such as solar and wind created hydrogen.

If nuclear is to save the world by 2050, how many new nuclear plants need to be built? Another 450 would generate 22% of global power needs. A combined total of 1,350 would generate 33% of world energy needs. That’s still only about 1/3rd of global needs. Still renewables generate 24 percent already and nuclear is old technology. The newer technologies are at the start of their technological life cycle, not at the end. Should the world allow nuclear industry build around 1,500 new nuclear plants by 2050 in order to save the planet? Or is the promise of newer technology and new technology and technologies beyond the ken of nuclear fuel rod designers – the masters of zirconium (which ironically, generates hydrogen when over heated). I mean, its only going to take 30 new reactors per year from now until 2050 to build a nuclear fleet totally round about 1,500. Imagine the income at the Eyre Peninsular International spent fuel rod storage dump. Imagine all those spent fuel cores sailing the seven seas including the South China Sea, the Suez Canal and down past Somalia. What fun for our new Navy. Guarding that lot of loose canons.

We are moving into the area of “radio protection by displacement”. Which has its limits:

The Marshall Islands and the displacement of cesium by potassium from test crops with resultant lower dose readings in fruit and vegetables.

The experience and reports of Livermore National Labs in its attempts to remove radio cesium from food grown in the Bikini Atoll further reveal the nuclear lie. The main means of reducing radio cesium from food there involves the use of potassium fertilizer to displace cesium in the crops. It is of some, but limited success. As less than 1% of potassium is the radioactive isotopes of potassium and as the radioactive isotopes of potassium are much less radioactive per unit weight than radio cesium, there is an obvious radiological importance in using potassium to displace cesium from food.
see https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/bikini.php It gives the lie to the misapplication of the banana equivalent dose, which is used by nuclear advocates to falsely claim that radio cesium in soil is not threat to the plants and animals which depend upon such a cesium contaminated food chain. The total dose of a cesium contaminated banana is more than the 0.01% of radio potassium (K40) in all potassium. 100% of fission cesium is radio active cesium, which has a far different radiological impact that the small amount of K40. The following information from the above link shows this via the mechanism of cesium displacement by potassium added to cesium contaminated SANDY soil : “One key factor that helps explain why cesium-137 plays such a important role in contributing to radiation exposure in the Marshall Islands is that coral soils are known to contain little or no clay material and very low concentrations of naturally occurring potassium—an alkaline earth element that shares similar properties with cesium. These conditions result in increased uptake of cesium-137 from soil and incorporation into plants relative to the rate of cesium-137 uptake from continental soils. Consequently, the significance of dietary intakes of cesium-137 from eating locally grown foods was initially overlooked because early models in radioecology were based on continental type soils and exposure conditions. Knowledge of the unique behavior of cesium-137 in potassium-poor coral soil environments has also been instrumental in helping guide remediation experiments designed to reduce the dose delivered to resettled or resettling populations.

The first of a series of long-term field experiments was established on Bikini Island during the late 1980s to evaluate potential remediation techniques to reduce the uptake of cesium-137 into plants (Robison and Stone, 1998). Based on these experiments, the most effective and practical method for reducing the uptake of cesium-137 into food crop products was to treat agricultural areas with potassium fertilizer (KCl). The addition of potassium had the added benefit of increasing the growth rate and productivity of some food crops with essentially no adverse environmental impacts. One alternative is to excavate the top 30 to 40 cm of soil, but this type of remedial process would be much more expensive to implement over a large area. Furthermore, excavation carries away all the soil organic matter needed to maintain the water retention capacity of coral soils and supply essential nutrients to support plant growth. Soil excavation also necessitates a very long-term commitment to rebuild the soil and revegetate the land.

Large-scale field experiments on Bikini Island have been used to optimize the required amount and application rates of potassium (Figure 3). The results from these experiments show that a single application of 2000 kg per ha of potassium can be effective in reducing the cesium-137 uptake in coconut meat (and juice) to about 5% to 10% of the pretreatment level.” Source:

Marshall Islands dose assessment and radio ecology program , Bikini Atoll, Remediation Options, Global Security Directorate | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory , USA, 2015, at https://marshallislands.llnl.gov/bikini.php

The only reason any one with any knowledge would use the banana equivalent dose ethically would in the case where a patient, diagnosed to have a need for medical radiation either for diagnosis or treatment and who wanted to understand what “size” the dose to be administered would be. The answer might be 1/4 of a banana or 50 or more bananas. Its a rough volumetric comparison for those who need a reassuring means of picturing what actually is invisible energy interacting with tissue. It’s fair enough.

But what I object to to the pit of my being is the use to which nuclear advocates have used the BED against the people of Japan and the people of the world. In the process of doing claim x bananas equals the amount of cesium released into the Japanese biosphere, all such people do is distort the facts and ignore the need to explain that the daily requirement for potassium is mandatory for health and life and that the food most vulnerable to fission cesium contamination are those foods which are rich in potassium. Such foods mistake cesium potassium. And as I have shown, the radiology of cesium is very very different to that of the 0.1% of potassium which is naturally active K40. The amount of K40 in human tissue does not build up. It remains constant. However, the amount of radio cesium in the same tissue (for cesium is a potassium analogue) which is resident in tissue as result of a contaminated environment depends upon the degree of contamination in food, the unfilled need for potassium in tissue, and the length of time the person lives and consumes the contaminated biosphere. Including the wild pigs and mushrooms of the Fukushima Exclusion zones and other zones which are, at the present, deemed too low value to warrant the cost of decontamination.

As Japan’s farm land is not sandy soil, cesium has a chance to chemically bind to clay in that land. This means 1. the cesium in Japanese farmland will be resident there but 2. It will be easier for plants to absorb potassium in preference to the cesium. (not that plants can prefer, the biology of potassium uptake compared to t he biology cesium uptake in clay soil is good luck for the people of Japan and conversely an unmitigated tragedy for the people of the Marshall Islanders.

Not that I would be thrilled if I were a Japanese person who formerly lived and worked in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone.

Well might Mr Heard be so driven to sell reactor to Australians. To the extent that he fails to see most of us can imagine something of the loss and pain and anger felt by us if we were those Japanese people.

In the 1950s and 1960s some of us actually were. And some of us, those who owned the Maralinga lands, were carted off in the 1950s by army truck to a place on the coast and elsewhere, not able to return due to purely radiological facts until the late 1990s in part and fully only in this century.

So yea, keep showing us Japan Mr Heard. It helps some of remember what was done here. The lies of safety proven false in 1984, and finally corrected to the satisfaction of the ICRP in 2001.

Of course, in about another 30 years, independent Japanese researchers will at last be able to enter reactor No 1 at Fukushima, to see what the quake damage to the ECCS condenser actually was.

I wonder where the nuclear experts responsible will be on that day. Watching from heaven perhaps? Its mazing the truth that comes out when the head honchos have sprung their mortal coils.

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