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Fukushima Radioactivity Reaches San Diego?

 

“Just how bad were things at Fukushima? So far, painting a clear picture is difficult, as all we know for sure is how much radioactivity has been spotted at specific sites of contamination.

Now, researchers have put together a largely independent estimate of the neutron flux that occurred during the meltdown, pieced together from an unlikely source: a long-term monitoring experiment being run in San Diego.

Nearly two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, some equipment on the Scripps Pier picked up a surge in radioactive sulfur that has enabled a rough estimate of the radioactivity released at Fukushima.

Normally, a radioactive form of sulfur (35S) is produced in the atmosphere when cosmic rays react with argon in the upper atmosphere. In San Diego, this produces fairly steady levels of 35SO2 and 35SO4-2, except during seasonal periods when winds shift more material down from the stratosphere, where cosmic ray exposures are highest.

But, on March 23rd of this year, levels of radioactive sulfur suddenly spiked, reaching over seven times normal background by the end of the month. With no indications of an atmospheric disturbance, the researchers focused across the Pacific, on Fukushima.”

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