Yesterday I had hear about the Plutonium found in the mountains and soil in Japan, and thought that I would offer a brief and simple explanation as to a likely cause. Believe it or not Plutonium, if one looks hard enough, may be able to be found worldwide! It is possible that some is from the stricken reactor Number 3, however there is another possible source.
The radiation detection equipment that is being used to find Plutonium is extremely high tech. It is many thousands of times more sensitive than a geiger counter, or even my scintillators. This is very notable in the detection that is taking place in the US. In Japan they are picking up very minute trace amounts.
Where did the trace amounts come from? Some may be from the reactor, although a more likely source put the Plutonium in the soil long before the reactor vented. This is where a little knowledge of history is helpful. What happened in Japan in 1945? What happened in the Pacific from 1946 until 1962? From 1946 until 1962 there where 105 above ground nuclear tests! These took place in the Marshall Islands, in the near vicinity of Japan. This is just a fraction of all the nuclear tests. The US has detonated 1,054 nuclear weapons, 331 of those where above ground. The Soviet Union, 715, 219 of those above ground. The United Kingdom, 45 tests. France, 210 nuclear tests. China, 45 nuclear tests, 23 above ground. India, 6 tests, all underground. Pakistan has had 2 tests, both underground. Finally, North Korea with 2 tests, both underground. A total of 2,070 Nuclear tests, With more than 600 Nuclear tests above ground. Many of these devices used plutonium as the fissionable, or bomb material. An atomic bomb or a hydrogen bomb (which uses an atomic bomb as a trigger) at best is only 20 to 30% efficient. A majority of the Plutonium or Uranium is scattered or found in fallout. Is a nuclear war survivable? We are all still here!
See my blog on Plutonium . Also for a well written article on human exposure to plutonium, read The Human Plutonium Experiments.
Now for my 15 minute test results:
Situation normal! Note to self, if I ever hit the lotto I need a Super Cooled Germanium Gamma Spectroscope and a Ludlum Instruments Pocket Saver!
PM1703 M = 6 microRoentgen / hr; Geiger Counter Wristwatch .06 microSieverts per hour