[Coral-List] Distressing News for the Whole Pacific

Keven Reed reedkc at comcast.net
Sun Sep 8 19:13:55 EDT 2013

Dear coral-listers,

Since Gene, our Bootstrap Geologist, brought up again the many atmospheric tests of the 1950s and early 1960's it may interest some to know that cosmogenic carbon 14, normally a trace radiocarbon in air, was significantly elevated in the environment from the early weapons testing so that there is now a 'bomb curve' for radiocarbon as it is known with a sudden rise and steep fall off that has been put to good use by a geochemist, Kevin Uno.  He was at University of Utah and is now in post-doc at Columbia U. I believe.  See:  http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/nuke-test-radiation-can-fight-poachers/

    Thus, poached elephant ivory can now be carbon dated to within + or - one year using accelerator mass spectrometry for ivory from the years of the bomb curve.  This was also publicized in respectable grey literature, the Science and technology section of The Economist, p 76 of the July 6th 2013 issue.  However, here is the citation from the PNAS if one prefers:  
Kevin T. Uno and six co-authors:
Bomb-curve radiocarbon measurement of recent biologic tissues and applications to wildlife forensics and stable isotope (paleo)ecology PNAS 2013 110 (29) 11736-11741

    Perhaps many of you were taught as I was that an ionizing isotope is generally considered safe after about ten half-lives have passed; e.g., Iodine-131 eight days x 10 = 80 days, Cesium-137 thirty years x 10 = 300 years,
and Cobalt-60 5.27 years x 10 = 53 years. 

    Here's another PNAS citation from Dec 2011 for interested coral-listers/Fukushima observers:  
Yasunari TJ et al:  Cesium-137 deposition and contamination of Japanese soils due to the Fukushima nuclear accident.  PNAS 108(49): 19530-19534.
I would love to see someone with access to the isotopes types in the Fukushima reactor do controlled aquarium studies with corals, testing for genetic mutations as well as gross effects on growth and life cycle.

Corals forever,

Dr. Keven C. Reed
Fleming Island, FL

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Eugene Shinn 
  To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov 
  Sent: Friday, September 06, 2013 3:35 PM
  Subject: [Coral-List] Distressing News for the Whole Pacific

  Steve Wood makes a good point. The atmospheric tests were a problem and 
  there is good evidence they did create cancer risks.  The American 
  Scientist article he provided for coral-list readers is excellent. Until 
  I read it I had no idea that  a total of 504 atomic devices had been 
  tested since the 1950s. There may be more because the  recent Pakistan 
  tests are not shown on the figure provided in the article. In addition I 
  just learned that in addition to these atmospheric tests there were 137 
  underground tests in the Pacific at Mururoa. It's no wonder that 
  radioactive by-products of these tests are still widely distributed and 
  will remain with us for many years to come. They have even been detected 
  in very small amounts in post 1950s coral growth bans here in the 
  Florida Keys. The question is will cooling water leaking from Fukushima 
  become a problem as significant as fallout  from atmospheric testing. I 
  do not know but I hope we do not become overly hysterical. Gene


  No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
  ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
  E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
  University of South Florida
  College of Marine Science Room 221A
  140 Seventh Avenue South
  St. Petersburg, FL 33701
  <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
  Tel 727 553-1158
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