Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some ways to decontaminate radioactive drinking water

Note: I put a Japanese translation from Google Translate at bottom of page of quoted material. However, I'm not sure how useful it will be because after reading it in English I think it was already translated once from German. So a double translation usually messes up the meaning pretty badly. So, maybe someone that speaks German might take it from German directly to Japanese. I tried to go there to create a direct translation from German to Japanese but didn't understand enough to be even able to find the right article.

One of my readers sent me a link to this following internet page. I have no personal knowledge about it whatsoever. However, since it might have value to you if you live in Japan I thought I might post it here in case it helps regarding purifying tap water where you live. Begin quote. The source is listed at bottom of page of quotes.

Most methods and tools being recommended here on the Internet such as purification by filtration will not lead to your desired result of decontaminating “radioactive water”.
a) Radioactive contamination of drinking water in Japan at this point in time can come about in only two ways:
1) The source is actual surface water like lakes or rivers, possibly filtrated through river banks and thus came into contact with e.g. radioactive rain and/or dust. The Netherlands rely almost totally on water drawn from the Rhine and fed into the drinking water supply after conditioning.
2) The water may have been contaminated after production (e.g. in open cisterns/basins), which in effect is similar to bullet a1).
In all other cases it springs from groundwater (wells) and has often been concealed for years before being extracted again. As limnologists would say “groundwater” has an elephant’s memory, i.e. if you drop a can of used oil in a forest it may take ten years until you become aware of oil traces in your drinking water. This means that on one hand ground water wells should as a rule not yet show contamination from rain fall so shortly after a nuclear accident and on the other hand that when it appears further “down the road” all short-lived contamination should have decayed. This is by no means meant to downplay the issue.
So far I would have thought it unlikely to already find radioactive contamination in water that does not come from surface water or bank filtrate. If it should be true it would be alarming.
Now though, let’s assume it were true as authorities would rather hush up things than exaggerate them, thus let’s take some degree of water contamination for granted.
b) How can you reprocess radioactively contaminated (drinking) water so that it is (relatively) safe to use?
All radioactivity in (drinking) water can take only one of three forms:
1) It is in the form of radioactive hydrogen (called tritium, three times as heavy as normal hydrogen and emitting very weak beta rays, i.e. electrons, which, however, can damage your genome and cause cancer etc. when swallowed). When tritium has been released to the environment it will be incorporated in “heavy” water molecules. However, these are chemically indistinct from normal water, hence you cannot chemically separate radioactive water from normal water. You will have to live with tritium in your water and air (vapour) until it has decayed. With a half-life of approx. 12 years it will be down to one thousandth in about 120 years … All you can do (in theory) is move to another location where the tritium from “your” power plant has not yet reached (eventually the tritium will be evenly dispersed world-wide by wind and wave, however, then also the dosage of radiation will diminish reciprocally with its dilution). Or you “import” clean water (and add a pressurised air cylinder from a clean pristine source for good measure).
And don’t forget: once you’ve moved to another place there might be yet another malfunctioning nuclear power station around the corner – from the frypan into the fire … Help close down all nuclear power stations and so-called reprocessing plants!
2) The water could contain gases, esp. radioactive noble gases (like neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), radon (Rn)) Rather unlikely but for the sake of completeness we will mention them here. These can be driven out from the water by heating it to boiling temperature as hot liquids dissolve less gases than cold ones (with solid solubles, e.g. salts, it is vice versa with the rare exception of kitchen salt –sodium chloride- which hardly changes in solubility from almost zero to 100 degrees centigrade).
3) The main contaminants by far should be soluble solids, e.g. metal salts of e.g. radioactive caesium, rubidium etc. These can not be filtered e.g. by charcoal or any ceramic or paper filter with whatever fine pore structure since they are dissolved! You can only either try to demineralise that water (e.g. by reverse osmosis) or purify it by distillation thus leaving the radioactive solids behind (the condensed water in the lids of your pots consists of such distilled water droplets). A third potential method would be chemical precipitation. However, in order to know which chemical to use to precipitate the contaminant(s) with, you’d first have to analyse the water components. And in all probability the traces would be too small for normal analysis and if the salt etc. was determined then you might find there is no precipitant to go with it or it may have adverse side effects, e.g. be poisonous. So de-mineralisation or distillation it is.
These are the only three viable methods that might help in this predicament. Anything else is “snake oil“.
While activated charcoal does by virtue of adsorption delay the passage even of solved salts all these filtration methods are only really designed for capturing suspended matter. But what has been bank filtrated or springs from ground water wells is not a suspension, or at least no water utility would dare inject murky water into its system!!!
If anyone could translate this into Japanese – you are most welcome to post this anywhere if you attribute the source, and in any form and language!
See the German version here, if you are more comfortable with German:
And if so, you might also be interested in my collection of articles on the Japanese catastrophe, nuclear energy in general and what all this means for Japan and the rest of the world:
Do not use automatic translators – they will garble the meaning beyond comprehension!!! If you lose this texts precision you might as well drink the water “as is”.
I will not comment further on any other “alternative” purification methods as these have been sufficiently excoriated.
> Can you still use contaminated water for the following purposes (keep in mind, it is always a matter of how contaminated it all is!):

> – cleaning a garden path for example,

Yes, but may I suggest: only if the path would be less contaminated than before. But before you breathe contaminated dust from a contaminated path by all means use contaminated water to keep it in place! This is what is already done at Fukushima – they spray water not only for cooling purposes but also to keep the contaminated dust or radioactice debris wet and in place!
> – personal hygiene,

Rather not! You would also absorb some contaminants through your skin, however small. However, if you need to decontaminate yourself from a greater dose than what is in your water, do wash it all down and reduce your exposure! Again – “contaminated” water may be heavily or only negligibly contaminated – use your best judgment! We are talking dangerously contaminated here! The situation in your region may not yet be so dire – so please compare to normal radiation levels from the past – traces of radioactivity may not always be dangerous, but are likely to rise with ongoing leaks and further rainfall adding to ground water supplies from contaminated sources above ground.

> – to wash dishes,

Well, if you dry well it would be better than becoming ill from mouldy dishes! Only if your water were excessively contaminated I wouldn’t. However, your utility will not pump such water and your spigot would be dry by then. When your plates and glasses are without water stains, then there is also no radioactive deposit from radioactive salts. Only if you leave stains – these are the radioactive salts, if you want to take a look at them!
> – laundry,

Weigh your options: if your clothes are contaminated they should be cleaned. The harder you spin dry the less water will still remain on your fibres and the more likely what little water then is left to dry will deposit less radioactive material than you just got rid of by rinsing and washing!
> – cooking?

If you use steam only, instead of cooking in boiling water (like a pressure cooker with a separation between the boiling water and vegetables) and e.g. your vegetables do not come into direct contact with the water – then the steam will be relatively “clean” as this is almost the same process as distillation described above. Also consider frying and other methods that can do away with water. Consider using bottled water if you want to stay on the safe side or if contamination is known to be at dangerous levels, since the spray in e.g. your pressure cooker will still deposit contaminants on your food, even if not in direct contact with the boiling water.
And for drinking, but esp. for your infants or if preparing infant formulas – use bottled water from a reliable brand!!!
And good luck …
If you want to make absolutely sure, this never ever happens again, not in your country and nowhere in the world, then you should also read:

How I brought down the Nuclear Industry in my Country – and how you can do it in yours …

Spread the word – feel free to e.g. repost/retranslate as long as you mention your source.
German overview article:
This is the English translation of the German original
“Radioaktivitaet in Trink- und Brauchwasser, Bedeutung, Beseitigung, Gefahren … das meiste funktioniert so nicht!”
(To be found here:

I also translated the above into Japanese below using Google Translate:

Google Translate

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English to Japanese translation

1)これは、放射性水素(いわゆるトリチウムの形式では3回、通常の水素重く、非常に弱いβ線、すなわち電子、発光などが、しかし、あなたのゲノムと飲み込んだ原因がんなど)を損傷することがあります。トリチウムは、環境それにリリースされている場合"重い"水の分子に組み込まれます。しかし、これらは、化学的に通常の水からの不明瞭されそれゆえに、通常の水からは化学的に別の放射性水することができます。あなたはそれが減衰するまでの水と空気(蒸気)のトリチウムと一緒に暮らす必要があります。約半減して。 12年は約120年第千までされる...あなたは(理論的には)できることは、"あなたの"発電所はまだ(達していないからのトリチウムは、最終的にトリチウムがされる別の場所に移動され均等に世界に分散-風と波によって広いしかし、放射線のその後も投与)は、その希釈液を用いて相互に低下します。それとも、"インポート"きれいな水(と質を測るためクリーンな自然のままのソースからの加圧空気シリンダーを追加します)。とを忘れないでください:角を回って、まだ別の故障原子力発電所があるかもしれません、一度他の場所に移動した - 火の中にフライパンヘルプ近いすべての原子力発電所、いわゆる再処理工場がダウンから!
誰もが日本にこれを翻訳できれば - あなたは、ほとんどの投稿を歓迎します、このどこに、ソース属性場合は、任意の形式と言語で!あなたはよりドイツに慣れている場合は、ここでドイツ語版を参照してください:そうだとすれば、あなたは、日本の大惨事、一般的には核エネルギーの記事の私のコレクションの中で興味があるかもしれないこれは何を日本と世界の残りのための手段のすべて:
彼らは理解を超えて意味を文字化けする - 自動翻訳を使用しないでください!あなたはこのテキストの精度をあなたにも水を飲むことがありますが失われた場合"のようになります"。
> - たとえば、庭のパスを洗浄、
はい、しかし可能性があります私が示唆された:パスが以前より汚染されているだろう場合のみです。しかし、あなたはすべての手段で汚染されたパスからほこりを汚染された呼吸する前に、代わりにそれを維持する汚染された水を使用する!彼らは水をスプレーだけでなく、目的を冷却するためだけでなく、汚染された埃やradioactice屑ウェットと場所を保つために - これは、既に福島県で行われるものです!
> - 個人の衛生状態、
むしろない!また、どんなに小さくて、お肌を通していくつかの汚染物質を吸収する。あなたが水の中が何であるか、より大きい線量から自分自身を除染するかそれをすべてのダウン洗い、あなたの露出を減らす必要がある場合は、!ここでも - "汚染された"水が頻繁にまたは唯一の無視汚染されている可能性があります - あなたの最善の判断を使用する!私たちは危険ここ汚染話している!は、 常に危険なことができない放射能の痕跡が汚染された水の供給をグランドに追加する継続的なリーク、さらに降雨量と上昇する可能性がある - ので、過去から、通常の放射線レベルに比較してみてください - お住まいの地域の状況はまだありませんので、悲惨されない場合があります地上のソース。
>は、 - 、皿を洗う
さて、あなたはよく乾燥させる場合には、カビの生えた皿から病気になるよりも良いでしょう!あなたの水が過度に汚染されていた場合にのみ、私ではない。ただし、ユーティリティは、このような水をポンプで、あなたの蛇口はそれまでに乾燥される。お皿やコップは、水の汚れなくされている場合、その後も放射性塩から放射性預金があります。あなたは汚れを残している場合のみ - あなたはそれらを見てみましょうする場合は、これらは、放射性塩です!
> - 洗濯機、
> - 料理?
あなたが水(沸騰したお湯と野菜の間の分離と圧力鍋のように)沸騰などの料理ではなく、唯一の蒸気を使用している場合あなたの野菜は水と直接接触しない - その蒸気は、この蒸留は、上記とほぼ同じプロセスであり、"クリーン"比較的されます。また、水と離れて行うことができますフライパンと他の方法を検討してください。あなたは安全側または汚染が危険なレベルにあると知られている場合に滞在したい場合などにスプレーので、ペットボトルの水を使用することを検討しあなたの圧力鍋はまだ沸騰したお湯でもいない場合に直接接触して、あなたの食べ物の汚染物質を堆積されます。
や飲料が、ESPの。あなたの幼児や乳児の数式を準備する場合 - 信頼のブランドからペットボトルの水を使用する!
あなたは絶対に確認したい場合は、これは決してあなたも読んでくださいその後、あなたの国は、世界どこにもでは、再び起こる:私は国の原子力産業を倒さ方法 - とどのようにあなたにそれを行うことができます...
拡散言葉が - 例えば、お気軽に/ように、あなたのソースに言及限り再変換転載。ドイツの概要資料:
これはドイツの元の英語翻訳したものです"トリンク-ウントBrauchwasser、Bedeutung、Beseitigung、Gefahren ... DASのmeisteのfunktioniertので、nichtのRadioaktivitaet!"(ここで見つけることがするには: quote and translation from Google Translate.

Note: Since I don't read Japanese only English and French I cannot vouch whether this is a good or mediocre   translation to Japanese. However, it is my hope that it will be helpful to people in Japan to have this knowledge regarding the hazards of trying to purify radiated water.

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