Fukuchima Daiiachi Berellium-7

Fukuchima Daiiachi Berellium-7

I’ve had the nasty flu that’s been going around so today’s post will be short. Today’s post is about beryllium-7, which is a proxy for measuring radioactive fallout.


One day, I started playing with data for airborne radioisotopes before and after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdowns. Why? Because I was sick and tired of looking at faked Fukushima data on the internet. It was and still is fake data that’s designed to scare and panic people. I know where to find real data and I’m not afraid to use it.

In the banner graphic, I have plotted data that I pulled off the internet from the US EPA. The data is for a short-lived radioisotope called Beryllium-7. Not only can you see a Be-7 spike in the month after the Fukushima disaster, you can also see the effect of EPA budget cuts starting in federal fiscal year 2010.

We lack what would have been truly significant data because of the early-Obama administration budget wars. The data that we did not collect as a nation had – and still has – implications for the health and safety of all citizens. It’s not that I’m saying all budget cuts are bad but I do opine that indiscriminate budget cuts or cuts aimed at an agency disliked by powerful special interests can hurt us. Not all regulation is bad and not all businesses act in the public interest, as that great Republican Teddy Roosevelt would have said if he were still alive today. Well, that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.

As a scientist, what I find really sad about this data is that clump of intense sampling for the month and a half just after Fukushima with no monthly sampling before or after. For a radioisotope like Be-7 which has well-known seasonal and solar-cycle variation cycles, the lack of before and after data makes that clump of post-Fukushima data almost useless because the signal of the Be-7 variation cycles now can not be accurately removed to show the magnitude of the Fukushima pulse. This means that we have no way to accurately measure the intensity of radioactive fallout US citizens were exposed to due to the Fukushima nuclear accident.

This is what happens when science-ignorant politicians let ideology trump science. The scientific data which was lost to budget cuts could have been used to benefit public health and welfare. I thought today was a good day to revisit this data set, given the current idiocy reigning in DC AGAIN over funding the operation of the government.

plot of berillium-7 from Fukushima Daiiachi

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