How Hemp Can Clean Up Radiation From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Hemp plants were shown to be effective in cleaning the soil around the site of Russia’s Chernobyl nuclear disaster and were even considered for use near Fukushima.
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    A field of industrial hemp. With the proliferation of legalization, hemp has garnered renewed interest from both the scientific community and from industry.

    A field of industrial hemp. With the proliferation of legalization, hemp has garnered renewed interest from both the scientific community and from industry.

    MINNEAPOLIS — The cannabis plant has myriad uses, from paper, fabric and even fuel that can be created from industrial hemp, to the many health conditions which benefit from medical marijuana. Here’s one more benefit to add to the list: removing toxic metals and even radiation from soil.

    The process of using plants to clean polluted soil is called phytoremediation. According to a 2014 report from Nation of Change’s Christina Sarich, two members of the mustard family are more frequently used in phytoremediation, but cannabis has shown some promise because of its hardiness to toxins and quick growth rates. Some have even considered using it near Fukushima.

    A group of representatives of Consolidated Growers and Processors, PHYTOTECH, and Ukraine’s Institute of Bast Crops experimented in the late 1990s with using industrial hemp, a form of the plant that’s high in fiber but low in psychoactive or medical benefits, near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, where a great deal of agricultural land is still unusable because of the presence of radiation and heavy metals still lingering from the 1986 meltdown.

    Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses.

    Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses.

    “Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find,” said Slavik Dushenkov, a research scientist with PHYTOTECH.

    In 2009, scientists from Belarus also experimented with hemp in areas polluted by Chernobyl. The disaster contaminated nearly 20 miles around the site.

    The Belarusian scientists noted that one added benefit of industrial hemp over other phytoremediation plants is that it can also be used to produce biofuel, potentially adding a second use for the crop after it removes toxins from the soil.

    “As with the Chernobyl incident, scientists are finding radioactive emissions and toxic metals–including iodine, cesium-137, strontium-90, and plutonium–concentrated in the soil, plants, and animals of Japan, but also now throughout the United States and all along the West Coast – from Canada to Mexico,” Sarich wrote for Nation of Change.

    Seshata, a freelance writer from the Netherlands who specializes in reporting about cannabis, noted several studies which showed hemp to be extremely effective at absorbing toxins like cadmium and heavy metals. However, she noted that the war on drugs limits study on the plant’s potential in the U.S.:

    “As a proven, valuable tool in the fight to repair human-inflicted damage to our soils and ecosystems, hemp could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of sites across the globe—it is estimated that in the USA alone there are 30,000 sites requiring remediation. As is so often the case, US restrictions on hemp cultivation preclude any large-scale operations from being implemented, and the contaminated sites are largely left unremediated, through lack of both funding and interest on the part of the government.”

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    • Promoted Pawn

      I just want to know, if you use MJ to remediate the radiation out of soil, then what do you do with the MJ plant? It’s now radioactive, right? So you can’t use it, and you can’t dispose of it either. What do you do, send it to the moon?

      • scottytreid

        Like they said in the article, turn it into bio-fuel and this is an article about industrial hemp, not MJ which is of the same family but with different properties. I suspect you did not read the article.

        • Knight Errant

          Yes, stupid, of course, they are the same family, so what? I suspect you are an azzhole, to make a supercilious reply to someone who just gave you new information.

          • Arik Vaughn

            I fail to see how insulting one another is going to further either of your collective intellects. Fire is not a direct catalyst in the emission of radioactive molecules. Being heavy metals a collection device would be needed to “catch” the radioactive minerals as they are left behind during the burning process.

        • Knight Errant

          PS Biofuel may still emit radiation when it burns. You’re not that bright.

      • Sean Taylor

        Read

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    • Lover of Truth

      If so the plant matter could be safely buried hence remediating the top soil for reuse.

    • Lover of Truth

      Not sure if it’s possible but if the hemp could draw the radioactive isotopes into itself the hemp could then be harvested and potentially buried somewhere safe. I’d like to hear any respectful comment on whether this is possible. A scientific background would be preferable.

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    • wmark

      Hemp may remove dangerous radioisotopes from soil. To do this, hemp would extract the radioisotope from the soil and incorporate it into its tissues. You have transferred the radioisotope from soil to plant, making the plant dangerous and needing isolated?

      • Evenbetta

        The article also said, “The Belarusian scientists noted that one added benefit of industrial hemp over other phytoremediation plants is that it can also be used to produce biofuel, potentially adding a second use for the crop after it removes toxins from the soil.”……. does anyone read?

        • Ralf Zabotskowitz

          We read well but what happens to the radioactive components now in the plant? They don’t just disappear. Burning radioacitve biodiesel wouldn’t be so hot.

        • scottytreid

          I suspect these are drug war propagandists. Probably have jobs that rely on the massive prison population in the USA.

    • Jane Peters

      I wouldn’t use hemp for that. The radiation could mutate its genome. And these mutant genes could then mix with other hemp/marijuana strains from around the world. I think Fukushima should just be abandoned for as long as it takes to get back to normal. Whether that’s twenty years or a thousand years.

      • Corey M Callahan

        You are very, very stupid. Please put down the bong and go outside. Take a breath of fresh air, it probably wont help but none the less. At least you will save yourself from saying completely stupid things.

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    • Inquisitive66

      I don’t know if it would be great for remediation, Unless you “harvest” the plant matter and remove it from the environment , you only delay the problem.
      However there are a couple things to consider:
      1) Wherever you plant hemp the medical/recreational cannabis cannot grow. Hemp chokes out weed.
      2) The root system & growth rate would be good for emergency soil retention until other plant life can be established. This would be good for holding soils after fires or floods.
      3) It could be an acceptable fuel replacement for corn based ethanol, or restoring soils after the ecological damage caused by this poorly thought out farm policy

    • Robert Platshorn

      http://ow.ly/TdgQ5 USA alone there are 30,000 sites requiring remediation. Hemp Inc owns the largest hemp decorticator in N. America. Poised to lead the hemp revolution. It’s for real. I just spent 6 days with company CEO Bruce Perlowin.

    • Ashley Baroczy

      What will clean the ocean? Thousands and thousands of gallons of radiation laced water spill in to it everyday. Poisoning plants and sea life. Of course no one talks about that. People think it’s been taken care of. The clouds firm from water vapor off the ocean, bringing radiation rain to North America. Where is Greenpeace in all of this?

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    • Amaya

      Gee I guess Hemp as well as pot plants are proving to be more beneficial than the reefer madness crowds want you to believe.

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    • Cathy Fortin

      So will the absorbed toxins be released into the air when the plant is used as biofuel?

      • january37

        When the plants are used, as fuel or to eat or just to fertilize the soil, the radioactive isotopes will be released to the air, our bodies or the bodies of new plants. Nice try — but this just kicks the can down the road.

        MANKIND CANNOT HANDLE NUCLEAR POWER! at this stage of our development. What can you do with tons of material that will beam radiation for 100,000 years and can’t be handled by chemical means?

        We have not even scratched the surface of this problem, yet our highly paid scientists are busy developing materials for bombs and new ways to create waste from nuclear reactors. To stop making nuclear waste would be a start. Yet new nukes made in Russia, China, Canada and the U.S. are being built.

        Chernobyl, Fukushima, Santa Susana, TMI, Kyshtym, Church Rock, WIPP: all this unspeakable filth is continuing as a problem. BUT we aren’t dealing effectively with this — and, in fact, the accident that beams the most radioactivity, Church Rock, is almost unknown because it happened on Native American lands and wasn’t a big, spectacular explosion. It was “only” a big, spectacular release of uranium mine tailings.

        Our kids, grandkids, great grandkids, great,great grandkids (if we are still a species by then) will not be thanking us for this problem,

      • Ralf Zabotskowitz

        Yes.

    • Virginia Baldwin

      Because of its many uses, and especially because of its medicinal uses, the Zionist cabala outlawed it. They don’t want people to be healthy because it isn’t profitable for them. Growing hemp would decrease the demand for lumber – another lucrative income for them and a way to deforest the country.

      • besommer

        Considering that Israel has one of the most advanced Medical Cannabis programs in the world, your comment is not consistent with reality.

        Otherwise, I don’t recall Zionism even being around in 1937 when the Marihuana Tax Act was passed. Are you saying that William Randolph Hearst and the du Pont family were Zionists?

        • nrob

          http://www.herzl.org/english/Article.aspx?Item=544…..Yep, Zionisim was around
          Contents >> Zionist Congresses >> First Zionist Congress: Basel 29 – 31 August 1897
          First Zionist Congress: Basel 29 – 31 August 1897

        • Virginia Baldwin

          http://www.naturalnews.com/050828_marijuana_Big_Pharma_natural_remedies.html

          Why Big Pharma hates legalized marijuana; painkillers, chemotherapy and psych drugs could be made obsolete

          When certain politicians and so-called health experts bellyache over the legalization of cannabis, it’s not because they’re worried about the children. It’s because cannabis is arguably the safest and most widely effective natural medicinal herb in existence, and its widespread acceptance would immediately render obsolete the gamut of pharmaceuticals that make the establishment drug barons (and their bought-and-paid-for lackeys in Congress) filthy rich.

          No longer would the general population need to rely on side effect-laden painkiller drugs, psych meds and other deadly pharmaceuticals for relief from their chronic ailments — cannabis would replace all this and more, providing true healing to the masses for pennies on the dollar. Because cannabis is a plant that anyone can grow, it also threatens the centralized power structures that control modern medicine, not to mention the for-profit prison industry that banks on incarcerating non-violent drug offenders.

        • Yvonne Forsman

          everything you need to know about the Zionists (not to be mixed with Jews in Israel) http://www.iamthewitness.com/DarylBradfordSmith_Rothschild.htm