[ RadSafe ] Fw: Radioactive contamination of the ocean

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 28 19:09:10 CDT 2011

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Jerry Cohen <jjc105 at yahoo.com>
To: shima <shima at piments.com>
Sent: Mon, March 28, 2011 4:57:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Radioactive contamination  of the ocean

 I am well aware that dispersion in the ocean is not instantaneous, but that 
really doesn't matter. In the case of the Japan leak, dispersion will occur well 
before there would be any  exposure to significant radioactivity levels. 
In the case of solidified nuclear HLW, unless we are dumb, we would dump it in 
ocean trenches (>10 km. deep) and hundreds of miles offshore where it would 
slowly dissolve over centuries or millennia decaying to innocuous  levels before 
reaching any area where it could be harmful. By then, the hazard would be less 
than that of the naturally occurring radioactivity in oceanic waters. 
In the Waste Management meeting at the U. of Arizona in 1980, a session on ocean 
disposal of rad waste was held at which this and much similar information was 
brought out. Of coarse, nobody seemed to care and the information had no 
apparent impact. I suspect that was because almost everyone there was making a 
good living researching geologic waste disposal. That research led to the Yucca 
Mountain debacle. Too bad more attention was not paid to ocean disposal. 
Interesting to note that the "NIMBY" syndrome would be unlikely since the middle 
of the Pacific Ocean is not really in anyone's  "backyard".
Jerry Cohen

From: shima <shima at piments.com>
To: Jerry Cohen <jjcohen at prodigy.net>; The International Radiation Protection 
(Health Physics) Mailing List <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Mon, March 28, 2011 3:43:58 PM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Radioactive contamination  of the ocean


The trouble with your idea is that you seem to be assuming quasi instantaneous 
even dispersion throughout the total volume of the worlds oceans.

That's as realistic as saying a tsunami isn't a problem because it's energy will 
soon be dispersed into the ocean.

this will not do much to reassure the japanese population , largely dependant on 
fish and seaweed.

But at least is should stop them needing to ram chinese fishing trawlers.

On 03/29/11 00:01, Jerry Cohen wrote:
> In todays news, we see alarming stories of radioactive contamination found in
> ocean waters near Japan. In a previous post, I cited the tendency of people to
> equate detectability with hazard, and our capability to readily detect
> radioactivity in miniscule concentrations.
> The capacity of the ocean to dilute any contaminant is almost infinite. It can
> readily be calculated that any amount of radioactivity  released to the ocean
> will be diluted to innocuous levels in a relatively short time. All of the
> nuclear waste conceivably produced by the most ambitious nuclear power
> production in the world would pose no significant health hazard if dispersed 
> the world's oceans  compared to the natural radioactivity (U, Ra, K-40, etc)
> that nature has already placed in the ocean. Actually, as I have previously
> discussed on radsafe, oceanic disposal is our best bet for disposal of
> all radioactive waste.
> Unfortunately, politics and hysteria will always trump science.
> Jerry Cohen
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