Xenon 133 Plume Map for April 4th-7th, 2011

If you are like most people concerned about the fallout in the U.S. from radiation then you are probably at a point where you are really tired of digging for news and information. Unfortunately the hardest part about this situation is the mere fact that TEPCO (Tokyo Energy and Power Co) has literally become silent while begging for international help for their crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

It’s a bit disheartening to hear how long TEPCO actually waited before literally crying to their neighbors, while the entire northern hemisphere was being gassed with numerous isotopes that will surely have an impact on human health for many years to come. There does seem to be a little bit of good news as a number of plume maps with Cesium 137 and Iodine 131 seemed to have been tapering off in the atmosphere before making it to the west coast and beyond. Unfortunately, we are still seeing large plumes of Xenon 133. With the focus being on Iodine 131 and Cesium 137, very little was discussed about Xenon 133. The half life of Xenon 133 is 5.2 days with an estimated 37 days before the isotope has eclipse 7 half lives and is less than 1% remaining in the atmosphere.

We’ve been scouring medical sites looking for additional information on the health effects of Xenon 133 and have learned that this specific isotope is used in medicine. There are some health effects noted, but the difficult part is comprehending the amount of exposure each of us will receive. The plume maps show Xenon 133 hovering over many parts of the U.S. this past week, but the question remains how much of this Xenon will make it to the ground and how does weather factor into particle exposure. Below is video from Arnie Gunderson that specifically talks about effects from gamma rays, alpha and beta emitting particles:

Here is the updated interactive map for the possible Xenon 133 exposure. These are potential releases and nothing can be deemed accurate until properly measured. At this point Xenon 133 has been below detectable levels throughout most of the country, but we expect that to change if these plume maps have any accuracy.

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American Airlines Diverts Plane after Illness with Passengers

As the story goes we’ll never know what radiation really does to our bodies, but we know it’s responsible for short term and long issues. It’s evident that something happened this morning on an American Airlines flight 547 bound for Chicago’s O’hare International from Reagan National in Washington D.C. The flight was diverted after more than a half dozen passengers complained of illness and one actually having an asthma attack on the plane and two others being treated at local hospitals in Dayton. The plane was diverted to the Dayton Airport in Ohio.

What are the chances that this is a result of a radioactive plume from Fukushima? That’s a great question, but it’s safe to say there is a good chance it is. These plumes are traveling in our upper atmosphere and a plane doesn’t stand in the way or deter these plumes. If you’ve seen any of the recent plume maps you’ll know that Xenon 133 was expected to be in larger quantities in the atmosphere above the area. As we learn more information we will update the story. This story is continuing to unfold. We hope that it’s nothing more than a few anxious people or a cabin pressure problem, but from initial reports that’s not the situation.

 

A plume map of Xenon 133 in the atmosphere: