Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | March 23, 2011

CTBTO in the News (21-23 March)

Below is a selection of articles published in the last few days reporting on CTBTO findings and analyses related to the nuclear emergency in Japan and on the technical capabilities of CTBTO’s global monitoring system. Excerpts are provided as well as external links to the full text.

Messstation für atmosphärische Radioaktivität Schauinsland (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz)

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection of Germany (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, BfS) has published on their website information originating from CTBTO’s daily supply of data and analyses.

Excerpt:

Eine Simulation der CTBTO (Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization) zeigt, wie sich radioaktive Stoffe verteilen und nach und nach verdünnen würden, wenn diese gleichmäßig aus den havarierten Reaktorblöcken in Fukushima freigesetzt würden. Ob das der Fall ist, kann derzeit noch nicht belastbar beurteilt werden. Die Simulation bezieht sich auf die derzeit bekannte bzw. vorhersagbare Wetterlage für den Zeitraum vom 12. März bis zum 23. März 2011.

Die CTBTO überwacht mit einem weltweiten Netzwerk von 60 Radionuklidmessstationen das Kernwaffenteststoppabkommen.

UPDATE 2-Tiny traces of Japan radiation spread to Iceland, by Fredrik Dahl and Alister Doyle (Reuters)

Excerpt:

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), a Vienna-based U.N. body for monitoring possible breaches of the atom bomb test ban, has 63 stations worldwide for observing such particles, including one in Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital.

The CTBTO continuously provides data to its member states, but does not make the details public.

Another source said about 15 CTBTO stations had so far detected particles believed to originate from Fukushima.

“Reykjavik is the first in Europe,” the source added.

Spuren der Strahlung (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Excerpt:

Dazu durchsuchen weltweit mehrere Dutzend hochempfindliche Radionuklid-Zähler die Atmosphäre kontinuierlich nach Spuren radioaktiver Substanzen. Sie werden von der Organisation zur Überwachung des Kernwaffenteststoppvertrags in Wien (CTBTO) koordiniert. Zwei dieser Messstationen befinden sich in Japan, eine davon etwa 200 Kilometer südwestlich des Atomkraftwerks Fukushima1.

Am 15. März wehte der Wind von den havarierten Reaktoren direkt über diese Messanlage. Das in Deutschland für das CTBTO-Netz zuständige Bundesamt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe spricht von einer “erheblichen Aktivitätskonzentration”. So wurden von dem radioaktiven Edelgas Xenon-133 mehrere tausend Becquerel pro Kubikmeter Luft gemessen. Diese Konzentration ist in den vergangenen Tagen wegen der Windrichtung wieder gesunken. Auch in Russland wurden am 14. März Spuren radioaktiver Partikel aus Fukushima gefunden: Die Konzentration betrug aber nur etwa ein Promille des japanischen Wertes.

First emission estimates (Weather Online)

Excerpt:

Accident in the Japanese NPP Fukushima: Spread of Radioactivity/first source estimates from CTBTO data show large source terms at the beginning of the accident/weather currently not favourable/low level radioactivity meanwhile observed over U.S. East Coast and Hawaii (Update: 22 March 2011 15:00)

Austrian authorities release detailed data on Japan radiation, by Cyrus Farivar (Deutsche Welle)

Excerpt:

Austrian scientists have released what appears to be the first clear, independent data concerning radiation levels in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima radiation leak.

By releasing data from two monitoring stations of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) from Japan and California, researchers from the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna have calculated backwards to estimate the true levels of radiation from Fukushima.

“The estimated source terms for iodine-131 are very constant, namely 1.3 x 10^17 becquerels per day for the first two days (US station) and 1.2 x 10^17 becquerels per day for the third day (Japan),” the institute said in a German-language statement posted on Wednesday on its website.

“For cesium-137 measurements, (the US station) measured 5 x 10^15 becquerels, close, while Japan had much more cesium in its air. On this day, we estimate a source term of about 4 x 10^16.”

日本気象変化放射性物質は23から太平洋上-ZAMG (Bloomberg)

Translated Summary:

Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) has used data from the CTBTO to predict that weather patterns will cause radioactive particles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants to be blown towards the Pacific Ocean and that rainfall could wash out the cloud near the plant.

Radiation Over U.S. Is Harmless, Officials Say, by William J. Broad (NYT)

Excerpt:

The global network of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, has detected the movements of the plume. The organization’s mandate is to monitor the global ban on the testing of nuclear arms, and it has more than 60 stations that sniff the air for radiation spikes.

The group has declined to make the recent findings public, but it shares its information with 120 member states, some of which have divulged the status of the plume’s movements.

On Friday, European officials said that network sensors in Sacramento had detected the radioactive plume, picking up traces of iodine 131 and cesium 137 — highly dangerous byproducts of reactor operation that in large amounts can cause cancer. The measured levels were judged to be many millions of times lower than concentrations that would pose a danger to human health.

Detectan niveles mínimos de radiación en EU y Canadá (El Universal)

Excerpt:

Las estaciones de medición de la Comisión del Tratado de Prohibición Total de Pruebas Nucleares (CTBTO) han registrado trazos de radiación supuestamente procedente de la central nuclear de Fukushima (Japón) en la costa este de Estados Unidos, según la central de meteorología de Austria (ZAMG).

La información de dicho centro austríaco se basa en datos proporcionados por la CTBTO.


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