3 types of plutonium detected at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant
Authorities hold a blue sheet over patients exposed to radiation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant last week.
March 28th, 2011
12:11 PM ET

3 types of plutonium detected at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant

Three types of plutonium have turned up amid the radioactive contamination on the grounds of the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, its owner reported Monday.

The plutonium is a byproduct of nuclear reactions that is also part of the fuel mix at the damaged No. 3 reactor.

It was found in soil at five different points inside the plant grounds, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said late Monday.

Plutonium can be a serious health hazard if inhaled or ingested, but external exposure poses little health risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Energy • Environment • Japan • Nuclear • World
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Hypershot

    And one of the polls said 71% of Americans still think Nuclear Energy is safe and clean. Are we really that blind in this country? Time to wake up America!

    March 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Come on, I could take a poll of 5 people and claim it represents all of America's views. Polls/Statistics should not be paid attention to unless the source is clearly stated.

      March 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rhino4362

    Modern technogly, what is the $20 blue tarp suppose to do, make me wonder where the educated people are, I guess like the U.S. they must of cut the budget when it came to science.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bearonweb

      The cheap, $20 blue tarp is supposed to keep the surface contamination on the poor guy from blowing into the wind. If it were only your typical fission products, i.e., Cesium-137, Strontium-90, Iodine-131 (which is actually a gas), then they wouldn't need the tarp. But because they're using it, I suspect this guy is covered with Plutonium. Not good.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Common Sense

    Lethel dosage for Plutonium .001 miligrams

    March 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoidberg

      Uh-oh. I shouldn't have had seconds.

      March 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joshua (Austin, TX)

    "External exposure poses little health risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency". Sure, so we can all just transport it in our pockets, as long as we don't sniff it or lick it!

    March 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Senor Ed

    BREAKING NEWS!!! A large fire breathing lizard has been spotted in the area of the Fukushima Daiichi plant! At last report he was heading south towards Tokyo!

    March 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yoda

      It's not FIRE you tool....it's an atomic heat ray. FFS

      March 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bearonweb

    There is no safe amount of Plutonium. Plutonium is an Alpha-emitter. Alpha particles are 20 times more ionizing than a Beta particle or a Gamma ray. Alpha particles cannot penetrate the skin, or even a thin sheet of paper. BUT, Plutonium is a bone-seeker so if you ingest Plutonium, it goes to your bones and bone marrow (just like calcium). And it stays there. And it gives off its extremely nasty Alpha particles right there in your bone marrow. And you WILL get bone cancer. It doesn't take very much Plutonium to do this, either. Ingesting Plutonium is, bascially, a death sentence.
    This is not a scare tactic. This is the truth. But, don't take my word for it. Look it up for yourself. Get educated!

    March 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bafflepitch

      Form Lenntech.com

      "Plutonium is sometimes described in media reports as the most toxic substance known to man, although there is general agreement among experts in the field that this is incorrect. As of 2003, there has yet to be a single human death officially attributed to plutonium exposure. Naturally-occurring radium is about 200 times more radiotoxic than plutonium, and some organic toxins like Botulism toxin are billions of times more toxic than plutonium."

      "Considerably larger amounts may cause acute radiation poisoning and death if ingested or inhaled; however, so far, no human is known to have died because of inhaling or ingesting plutonium and many people have measurable amounts of plutonium in their bodies."

      March 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Otbricki

      The human body doesn't adsorb plutonium in the digestive tract to any great degree – it doesn't pass the intestinal wall because of the size of the molecule.

      March 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andreas Moser

    No problem, because a serious incident can only happen every 14,000 years or so: https://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/risk-of-nuclear-technology/ – Haha.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. P

    Surprise Suprise the area is contaminated. I am sure more of the truth will come out in time.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaqalindsey

      Tha is so true!!! lol jk omg sikee :)

      March 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 12970

    Stop looking at this disaster through such narrow glasses. This is all the result of us being energy pigs.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • granite_burner

      RIGHT!!!!!

      ye reap what ye sow.

      March 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Why are they waiting to bury this reactors? They should have started weeks ago to incase these reactors into sand and concrete for the next few centuries.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • bearonweb

      They have to wait until the fuel stops BURNING! In the meantime, they dump water on it, to try and stop (or at least slow down) the melting and burning. This water ends up in the ocean. Not good.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jennifer

    This still can get much worse.. Remember the status keeps changing from stable to unknown and back again. They either still dont know what the heck is going on or they are deffinately hidding something big (a reactor melting down). I Dont know which one is worse.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • bearonweb

      Which is worse? Hard to say. They usually go hand-in-hand. Every time there's a melt or a massive release, you see the same thing. It's what the nuclear industry tends to do. Usually does. They've become quite good at it; and obviously comfortable, too. They only tell the truth when there's nothing dangerous to report.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ChulkChes

    Great...SO as long as we don't breath or eat will al be just fine.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ann

    I wonder what the remaing survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thinking?

    March 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      They say with their twisted monster mouth: "Relax, we have been there."

      March 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. edward

    i work at burger king and i know plutonium is deadly.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. skippits

    The blue tarp is to cover up the Island of Dr. Moreau radiation injuries.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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