Iodine -129 – A Growing Radiological Risk

One of the many problems with the official government maps and press releases is that they do not mention radioactive Iodine 129, which has a total lifetime of 150 million years. Not only is this long lived radioactive Iodine 129 dangerous to thyroids, just like it’s short lived cousin, it also gets poured out of melting down reactors at a rate that is about 31 times that of the short lived radioactive cousin, Iodine 131. The nuclear industry propaganda machine likes to focus only on the short-lived Iodine and ignore the long-lived one, which has serious implications for the future of the human race.

Iodine-129, although a result of nuclear fission in reactors, also occurs to a small extent in the upper atmosphere due to the interaction of high-energy particles with naturally-occurring xenon.

“This is very amazing to me, having been working in the radioactive xenon monitoring field for about 17 years now. This was astounding to me… You can see background levels around 0.1 mBq/m3… Note the peak concentration we saw was in the range of 45,000 mBq/m3 — so that is 450,000 times our background level. For me that’s astounding. We never have ever seen anything even close to that. So the concentrations went up and up and up every day, and so that was quite amazing to see this 7,000 kilometers away from the event. I only show some of the data here, but it actually persisted for weeks at very measurable levels, and filled the entire northern hemisphere and mixed into the southern hemisphere,” reports one of the researchers on ENE news.

Iodine 129 decays into radioactive Xenon 129 sometime during its 16 million years. It is important to realize that radioactive Iodine does not disappear. It transmutes as it decays into other radioactive elements, such as radioactive Xenon gas, which can be inhaled easily, and which causes lung cancer.

Once inhaled, Xenon gas decays into solid radioactive Cesium, which is also cancer causing. Then radioactive cesium decays over the next 300 years into other more dangerous, radioactive elements, finally ending with the toxic heavy metal lead, which is extremely toxic and deadly even in small amounts.

Some types of radioactive xenon is produced from nuclear fission. Other isotopes of xenon are produced by beta decay meaning heightened world levels of xenon are a symptom of numerous other types of radioactive particles decaying in the broad environment. 131mXe, 133Xe, 133mXe, and 135Xe e some of the fission products of both 235U and 239Pu

“Due to its long half-life and continued release from ongoing nuclear energy production, Iodine-129 is perpetually accumulating in the environment and poses a growing radiological risk,” the authors of a study at Dartmouth point out.

It is important to note that I-129 was already present before the Fukushima Daiichi accident owing to atmospheric nuclear testing held in the 1950s and 1960s, and later, discharge from spent-nuclear-fuel reprocessing plants.

Iodine-129 has leaked into groundwater at nuclear weapons production locations, including the Hanford Site in Washington State. Meanwhile, France and England — which produce large proportions of their electricity via nuclear power — are reprocessing spent fuel and disposing of vast quantities of iodine-129 simply by dumping it in the ocean.

Ocean disposal of iodine-129 appears to have resulted in massive increases of radionuclide concentrations. Currents carry the British and French iodine-129 northward, and a 2003 Danish study found concentrations in the Kattegat strait between Denmark and Sweden increased six fold between 1992 and 2000. Concentrations of iodine-129 in some Arctic waters are 4,000 times their pre-nuclear era levels.