More fascinating revelations from Japan today. I can't help but express wonderment at the news that plutonium turns out to be perfectly safe! According to Bloomberg.com, the utility that owns the disabled reactors found some plutonium on site recently:
"Tokyo Electric Power Co. found plutonium in soil samples taken near the stricken Fukushima Dai- Ichi nuclear plant a week ago, the company said. The presence of plutonium outside the plant means there’s been degradation of the fuel in at least one of the six reactors, Denis Flory, deputy director general of safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said yesterday at a press briefing in Vienna. Tokyo Electric can’t determine which reactor emitted plutonium, Vice President Sakae Muto said in a briefing shown on a webcast. The contamination 'shouldn’t have any effect on human health,' Muto said."
They found plutonium in the soils a week ago and because plutonium is so safe, they didn't bother telling anyone for a week. Imagine the monumental paperwork back-up necessary to slow THAT disclosure! Then again, as they note, the plutonium shouldn't have any effect on human health. Right.
I assume the Japanese are taking simple comfort in the fact that it's not lead. I think it's obvious that plutonium is safe because it's not lead AND there is NO safe level for lead. It's elementary - no lead, no problemo. Just a little plutonium. Now I understand why the CPSIA doesn't make us test for plutonium, too.
Thank heavens for the CPSIA.