We’re seeing reports about detection of low levels of I-131 in US rainwater, such as results discussed here by the Harvard Health Blog. But, what about other radioisotopes?

Given detection of plutonium near the reactor in Japan, it would be prudent to also test air and rainwater for plutonium, for example. (Note: Apparently, plutonium is far more dangerous when particles containing it are inhaled, than when  ingested.) The Health Physics Society does have a brief Q&A about plutonium in water and its presence from various sources such as above-ground nuclear testing, concluding that

The bottom line is that, with sufficiently sensitive measurements, you can find trace amounts of plutonium in water,

But now we have a new potential source of plutonium, some of which could indeed be wafting all over the globe in the upper atmosphere. This all implies a real need to at least look at for plutonium, even if at low concentrations, using state-of-the-art methods, if only to assure the public.  I’ll try to dig a bit more on this issue. Maybe the Harvard Health Blog will get on it, as well.


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