Tag Archives: Japan Disaster

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 28: Mostly about contamination, of the sea, and around the world

There is an increase in reports of activity of scientists studying the extent and impacts of radiation spilled or otherwise transferred into the ocean from Fukushima. TEPCO, in the meantime, seems to have a need to put a lot more water, possibly decontaminated to some degree, into the sea. Similarly, there is a plan afoot to release previously sequestered air from Reactor 2, with filtering to lower contamination applied to the air before the building’s doors are opened. Venting began about four days ago.

Another report has been released confirming that not only did Reactors 1, 2 and 3 melt down, they also “melted through” (a.k.a. China Syndrome) to some extent, having breached their containment vessels. But TEPCO was quick to apologize. Earlier, we reported evidence that in the case of at least one of the reactors, nuclear material may have gone beyond the safety vessels designed to capture melt-through from the reactor vessels. This has not been confirmed. Or denied.

There is a lot more news on contamination, evacuation plans, mutant bunny rabbits, and the increasing cross talk between agencies regarding various issues in Ana’s Feed (below).

The IAEA has not released an update on reactor status for almost two weeks, so we can’t report that. We have little evidence, however, that any significant additional controls on the current situation other than releasing more radiation have occurred. Generally, when you read news reports over the last few days that say “things are improving but still bad” you should edit that in your head: “Things are … still bad” because there is not much changing on the ground.

Here is an interesting video with a simultaneous translation (right speaker English, left speaker Japanese) for those of you wishing to bone up on your foreign language, whichever that may be:
Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 28: Mostly about contamination, of the sea, and around the world

A Tale of Two Towers

We often drive on a stretch of Minnesota State Route 10 that runs from Elk River to Big Lake and eventually to a point past Saint Cloud that takes about an hour to drive on a normal day, and we see trains. The railroad track runs along this route, and during the hour it takes to drive it, we never fail to see at least one train in operation. Usually there are two or three. Often, maybe every tenth time, one of the southeast bound trains is carrying coal; Dozens and dozens of cars loaded with coal come down this track from somewhere far away, because there is no coal anywhere near here.

Continue reading A Tale of Two Towers

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 27: They should have seen the tsunami coming.

In terms of radiation fallout Fukushima is said to be approaching Chernobyl by at least certain measures, and the potential for Fukushima to be worse in terms of total radioactive material released is very real. However, the two disasters really can’t be compared sensibly because the circumstances of release, and the potential effects, are very different. It has become increasingly clear that the authorities involved in the initial construction of the plant should have considered the Tsunami risk as a serious factor, and this is not just because the Tsunami actually happened. The consequence of having one’s multi-reactor nuclear power plant swallowed up by the ocean are sufficiently dire that one would want to avoid even a small chance of it happening. Or so they are beginning to realize.

Now, not only is it clear that three of the four reactors suffered full-on melt-downs, it may also be the case that one of the reactors suffered a sort of “China Syndrome” wherein melted nuclear fuel burned itself through all of the containment vessels and through the floor of the reactor plant, to China. China is, in this case, an unknown distance below the surface of the reactor building, where the radioactive material sits now boiling off whatever water seeps down there and makes contact. That may not be exactly what happens, but steam pouring out of the floor underneath a reactor vessel full of holes seems to be a clue…

The level of highly radioactive water in the reactor plants is rising, except in association with reactor number 1. perhaps the “China Syndrome” effect there causes the water to boil off. Or, perhaps the water there is leaking out to the sea. Or, perhaps, no one has a clue.

It is now known that several people have indeed suffered internal radiation exposure, and the number of such individuals known is going up, as medical personnel are examining people. The tea is tainted. The government survived a no-confidence vote but Kan’s resignation is being called for. Questions are also being raised regarding the Independence of the International Atomics Energy Agency.

There are still concerns that the Number 4 reactor spent storage pool will collapse.

In short, since our last update, nothing good has happened by way of progress to contain or mitigate the situation, but quite a bit has been revealed about how bad the accident was at the time it first occurred, and the severity of damage to the reactors, especially 1 and 2, has become more apparent. And, the Japanese people are in the streets demanding action and answers. It has been a long time since Japanese were openly and vigorously protesting something. Which was, if memory serves, the construction of nuclear power plants.

Ana’s Feed

Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 27: They should have seen the tsunami coming.

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 26: “My head is full of question marks”

Even as the situation at the troubled Fukushima Nuclear Reactors … well, remains troubled … the post-game analysis of what went wrong and what could have been done better develops. It is becoming clear that the plant had no real plan for the event of a tsunami even though it was built at an elevation within that affected by historically known and documented tsunami waves, and there is post-hoc confusion and denial related to early screw ups in trying to avoid a meltdown in the reactors (which ended up occurring), for instance.

Highly radioactive water continues to leak out of at least one reactor vessel, and no real progress appears to have been made in securing cooling mechanisms or containing damage to the environment around the plant. The level of radioactivity at the ocean outlet of the plant has increased rather than decreased. It was news when a broken pump in reactor 5 was repaired, but Reactor 5 is stable and was quietly and uneventfully shut down until this pump broke and the reactor started heading for a meltdown (objections that these reactors can’t melt down in three … two … one …). It became especially clear over the last few days that the situation is very far from under control when a regionally typical tropical storm threatened the area and there was no plan for how to address flooding rains and winds or other inclement storm conditions.

Monitoring for radiation exposure of people, plants, landscapes, etc. continues within a climate of increasing uncertainty about the dangers of ionizing radiation. Cattle are being moved out of the area, the snow in the mountains near Fukushima is found to be radioactive, and junior high students are being urged to wear long sleeved shirts, just in case. The Prime Minister is facing a no confidence vote.

The estimated cost of the cleanup (and it is a bit early to estimate, but still..) is about four or five percent of Japan’s GDP.
Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 26: “My head is full of question marks”

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 25: Elderly could build cooling system; radiation release and exposure concerns; fuel storage tank may collapse.

It is possible that the bottom will fall out of the Fukushima Reactor 4 spent fuel tank. Efforts are being made to shore up the concrete structure. There is no longer any doubt that those mysterious holes hypothesized, seen or not see, in some of the reactor vessels are for real. It is now established that three of the reactors at Fukushima melted down within hours of the earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO is going back and forth on whether or not any of the main reactor machinery was damaged in the quake. It may be that the hydrogen explosions were preventable had standard procedures been followed. There has been no progress since our last update on developing medium or long term cooling solutions. Radioactive water continues to suddenly disappear now and then, presumably as it leaks in an uncontrolled manner to the sea. Parents of children in the area are peeved that the “safe” radiation levels set for said children are the same as full-grown full-blown nuclear power plant workers. There are calls for increased study and sampling of radiation are coming from a variety of sources. Cattle and other livestock are being moved out of the area, contaminated dairy cattle sent to slaughter for food, and veterinary scientist are asking to commandeer or purchase cattle and other animals in the area to exploit a unique opportunity to study radioactive livestock.

Ana’s Feed

Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 25: Elderly could build cooling system; radiation release and exposure concerns; fuel storage tank may collapse.

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 24: Reactor 1 did melt down, fission and cooling remain issues, worker dies, sarcophagi in Fukushima’s future.

The worker’s death was probably unrelated to the nuclear disaster, but it can’t help moral much at the crippled site. Fission and cooling still remain issues at the Fukushima plant. Although fission is not happening to any large degree, or possibly at all, there has been fission more recently than many expected, and there is still concern that the reaction could restart. Various attempts at introducing long term cooling solutions at the site have been less than successful. It is clear that at least two of the reactors will have to be covered by a protective overarching structure.

The reactor in unit one, which is now known to have experienced a meltdown several hourse after the earthquake, has shown no recent evidence of criticality and the engineers and regulatory authorities are fairly satisfied that the reaction in this unit is under control. However, stable and reliable has not been achieved at this reactor. Although nitrogen is still being injected at a precaution, H2 buildup is not happening and the pressure of the reactor vessel is being maintained at a safe level. The reactor vessel, however, is leaking radioactive material presumably through breaches in the container via the pump system’s connectors, and possibly from small holes that formed at the base of the vessel during the meltdown (there is concern, though this has not been verified, that some of the radioactive material from this vessel actually breached the foundation structure of the reactor building). Further leakage of radioactive material is expected and engineers and authorities are concerned about this.

Fission reactions are not occurring in Reactor 2, and overall the situation is more serious than that of Reactor 1, though cooling is more of a concern here. It is thought that the March 14 hydrogen explosion, thought at the time to have been a harmless and expected event, damaged the containment vessel, resulting in leaking. Containment of radioactive material at Reactor 2 has not been achieved. It appears at this point that the only way to achieve containment here is to cover the reactor area with a superstructure.

Fission reactions appear to be continuing at a low level in Reactor 3. Cooling in this reactor is not achieved, and pressure varies unpredictably. There is a crack in the primary containment of this unit. Aside from this crack the reactor pressure vessel appears to be leaking via broken seals at pipes. Radioactive material continues to be released from this reactor, and as with REactor 2, it appears that the only way to stop this is to build a super structure over the reactor.

It is not entirely clear that fission reaction are totally stopped or limited in Reactor 4. The fuel rods are thought to be intact and in position but there is some conflicting data suggesting otherwise. While the fuel assembly seem to be covered by water and cooling achieved make-shift, there is also a lack of data from this reactor via TEPCO.

Quite a bit more information is to be found in Ana’s Feed (below).

Regarding exposure to radiation in the vicinity, the International Atomic Energy Agency has this statement:
Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 24: Reactor 1 did melt down, fission and cooling remain issues, worker dies, sarcophagi in Fukushima’s future.

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 23: Exposures exposed, the hole in Reactor #1, and the sea around us …

There is a lot happening in Japan, and the situation at Fukushima remains pretty much out of human control. There is a nuclear incident at a reactor site other than Fukushima. There is still quite a bit of radioactive material leaking into the sea. The radiation levels in the crippled Fukushima plants is still high or even rising. There is information coming out now about radiation levels and exposure that was apparently kept secret earlier for fear of causing panic. And so on. Check out Ana’s feed (below) for numerous details and links.

One of the most important things to have come to light in the last few days is this: Early in this crisis the nuclear fuel in Reactor #1 melted down and created a hole in the containment vessel. This is something that was in fact indicated by the available evidence of the time but denied by many who felt it could not possibly happen. Several weeks ago there was a report of an eye witness account of a hole in this reactor vessel. This was put aside by many because it was felt that it could not possibly happen. Well, now we are being told that it happened. Reactor #1 truly melted down and breached its containment, and this reactor is now one of the more important sources of radioactive material at the plant, the radioactive water that is stopping workers from working there, and the radiation pouring into the sea.

There seems to be a fair amount of water that is disappearing from this melted down reactor, and no one knows where it is going.

It is also important to note that there are still concerns about a possible hydrogen explosion.

There are attempts underway to install an effective cooling system at Reactor #1. It does not seem that any plans have been proposed that directly address the problem of the hole in the vessel.

Ana’s Feed:

Radiation leaks from fuel rods suspected at Tsuruga plant – Kyodo, May

-Leaks of radioactive substances from fuel rods are suspected to have occurred at a nuclear power plant in Tsuruga, the Fukui prefectural government said Monday, citing a rise in the level of radioactive substances in coolant water


Belated release of radiation forecast data – NHK, May 2

-The Japanese government is about to begin releasing data projecting the spread of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that it initially withheld for fear of causing panic.

-A joint task force of the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company says about 5,000 undisclosed bits of data will be released from Tuesday.

-Hosono said the task force withheld the information because some data were based on overly rigorous assumptions and feared it may trigger panic. But he said the task force now believes that panic can be avoided if it offers proper explanations on the projections. He also promised to promptly release all such data in the future.



Govt to screen contaminated debris – NHK, May 2

-The Environment Ministry has ordered municipalities near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to wait before removing radiation-tainted debris from the March 11th quake and tsunami.

-Vice Minister Hideki Minamikawa told reporters that his ministry wants to quickly carry out the checks to allow local authorities who clear radiation screenings to remove the debris as soon as possible.

-Municipalities located far from the plant are allowed to remove debris as usual.



Another gov’t prediction system failed in Fukushima nuke accident – Kyodo, May 3

-Japan’s system for predicting the volume of radioactive materials to be released into the environment failed in the wake of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant due to the power supply cut following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, sources close to the matter said Monday.


Gov’t assumed massive radiation exposure from Fukushima nuclear plant – Kyodo, May 3

-The government assumed a worst-case scenario of ”significant public exposure” to radiation when workers were struggling to bring a nuclear reactor under control at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant a day after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Kyodo News learned Tuesday.


URGENT: Seabed radiation 100-1,000 times normal level off Fukushima plant: TEPCO – Kyodo, May 3

-Radiation readings have risen to 100-1,000 times the normal level on the Pacific seabed near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said Tuesday.


Lab Experts Discuss Fukushima Crisis – Berkeley Lab

video – http://today.lbl.gov/2011/04/18/lab-experts-discuss-fukushima-crisis/


EPA ends special monitoring for Japan disaster fallout – Washington Independent, May 4

radiation sampling in recent weeks has shown fallout from Fukushima in rain, drinking water and milk, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it is returning to its regular program of quarterly sampling.

-During the stepped up sampling EPA identified radioactive iodine (I-131) in rainwater at levels that exceed limits for drinking water and in some areas milk was found to have more I-131 than allowed by EPA.

-Researchers at the Dept. of Nuclear Engineering at University California Berkeley have documented radioactive cesium in the topsoil in California, which has given rise to concerns that radioactive particles may enter the food supply.



Work for full restoration of reactor cooling system to start Sun. – Kyodo, May 4

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. will start work Sunday to install a new cooling system at a reactor of its radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said Wednesday.


Gov’t to determine if evacuees could return home early next year – Kyodo, May 4

-Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Wednesday the government will determine early next year if evacuees from the nuclear emergency in Fukushima Prefecture could return home.


TEPCO chief visits Fukushima again to offer apology – Kyodo, May 4

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu on Wednesday apologized for the crisis at the company’s nuclear power plant during his visit to the disaster headquarters of Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture.


TEPCO neglected radiation checks in building where two women absorbed high doses – Mainichi, May 5

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) failed to check the levels of radiation inside a key operation center at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant before two female workers were exposed to high levels of radiation there.

-TEPCO said it had been aware that the levels of radiation inside the building were high. But it then said, “We initially thought that way because the levels of radiation outside the building were high.” TEPCO started checking the levels of radiation in the building on March 24 — a day after it stopped female workers from working there.

-“We should’ve had workers wear masks earlier. I believe the fact that radioactive substances entered the building after the hydrogen explosion will be an important lesson for us. We want to assess the way TEPCO handled the situation as quickly as possible,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.



Govt to decide on evacuees return in early 2012 – NHK, May 5

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government will determine early next
year whether evacuees who live around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
plant will be able to return home.



Stabilizing cooling systems in Daiichi not easy – NHK, May 5

-A team of workers will enter the No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday for the first time since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

-The workers will set up a purifier for the radioactive-tainted air in the building. This is being done ahead of work to build a system to restore the cooling functions in the reactor.

-Even if workers manage to enter, radiation levels may remain high near where a water circulating system is to be installed. The workers may need to clean the pipes with water and contain radiation with lead sheets. They may also have to change some damaged pipes and valves, which could be time-consuming.



TEPCO to set up device to cool reactors – NHK, May 5

operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will start setting up a system around mid-May to help cool the facility’s No.1 reactor.

-It says once the new system is put into operation, it should lower the temperature of the fuel in the reactor to below 100 degrees Celsius within a few hours to a few days.



Tornado-hit Alabama nuclear plant opened to media – NHK, May 7

-A nuclear power plant in the southern US state of Alabama which was forced into an emergency shutdown of its reactors by tornadoes last month has been opened to the media.

-The head of the plant said workers are now reviewing safety measures at the plant, adding that the staff had learned from the Fukushima accident the need to prepare for a series of disasters of unexpected scale.



TEPCO hopes workers enter building for cooling – NHK, May 7

-A new filtering system that Tokyo Electric Power Company installed on Thursday continues to draw air from the No. 1 reactor building to remove highly radioactive substances and send it back into the building.

-The company hopes that the workers can enter the building on Sunday to install a water level onitoring device.



Cabinet finalizing framework for TEPCO nuclear compensation – Kyodo, May 7

-Cabinet ministers made final adjustments Saturday for creating a new entity to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. pay compensation over radiation leaks from its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, deferring an agreement to a session on Sunday or later.


TEPCO opens doors of troubled No. 1 reactor building – Kyodo, May 8

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the doors of the No. 1 reactor building connecting it to the adjacent turbine building at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were opened Sunday, paving the way for the utility to proceed with efforts to stabilize the damaged reactor.


Job seeker says ending up at crippled nuke plant not mentioned in ad – Kyodo, May 8

-A man who applied for the job of driver in Miyagi Prefecture has filed a complaint with a job placement center in Osaka’s Airin day-laborer district, saying he was made to work at the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, sources familiar with the case said Sunday.


Kan seeks that TEPCO compensate damage from unfounded radiation fears – Kyodo, May 8

-Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Sunday that compensation to be paid by Tokyo Electric Power Co. for the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi power
plant should cover all damage including that caused by unfounded
radiation fears.


Gov’t to mull fate of Daini plant without premise of resumption – Kyodo, May 8

-The government plans to consider what to do with a nuclear power station near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi complex without basing discussions on the premise of resuming operation of reactors at the plant, in deference to local people who have taken the brunt of the ongoing nuclear crisis, a government source said Saturday.


Cabinet ministers agree to demand further restructuring of TEPCO – Kyodo, May 8

-Cabinet ministers agreed Saturday to demand that Tokyo Electric Power Co. carry out further restructuring to secure funds for compensation payments over radiation leaks from its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials said.


TEPCO releases footage of No.4 reactor pool – NHK, May 8

-The video was taken on Saturday by a camera on the tip of a mechanical arm used to pour water to cool the reactor.

-The footage shows 1,535 spent fuel rods stored in racks and covered by water. It also shows debris and ladders damaged by an explosion that occurred after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. The shelves on the side wall have been destroyed.

-Bubbles are occasionally visible, as the water is boiling at a temperature of 84 degrees Celsius.



Radiation levels fluctuate in Fukushima schools – NHK, May 8

-The government has been closely monitoring radiation levels at schools in Fukushima since the troubles began at a nuclear power plant there. The latest measurements show that radioactivity has fallen below the safety limit at 2 schools, but one school saw it rise again.

-The education ministry says 2 straight days of declines in radiation levels allow schools to lift restrictions although the decision is up to the Fukushima education board and school principals.



Kan: Hamaoka shutdown “exceptional measure” – NHK, May 8

-Kan said he asked the Chubu Electric Power Company to suspend the Hamaoka plant because the science ministry predicts an 87 percent chance of a massive earthquake in the area in the next 30 years. He added that the time is imminent and he hopes the utility will discuss the situation and find the most appropriate solution.



High radiation in reactor building – NK, May 9

-High levels of radiation detected in the No. 1 reactor building at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may disrupt work to cool the reactor.

-700 millisieverts per hour were detected near the first floor, the largest of the places to be checked.

-The detected figure shows that workers would be exposed to a level that would exceed even this raised level in about 20 minutes.



TEPCO to formally seek gov’t support for damages payment – Kyodo, May 10

Tokyo Electric Power Co. chief will meet with government leaders
Tuesday to formally seek help in making damages payments in the wake of
the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, company
officials said.


Aerial fallout map confirms soil radiation levels – NHK, May 10

Japanese Science Ministry and the US Energy Department conducted a
joint aerial survey from April 6th to the 29th of the area within an
80-kilometer radius of the plant.

-Madarame also said the
situation at the power plant is stabilizing and that it is about time to
review ways to carry out daily surveys on the ground. He said the soils
could be tested fewer times but more meticulously with the aid of
aerial mapping.



High radiation may slow down TEPCO’s repairs – NHK, May 10

-The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it may need
to slow down some repairs at the Number one reactor due to elevated radiation levels.

-The tests yielded a maximum of 700 millisieverts per hour, thus workers can only stay in the vicinity for around 20 minutes.

-It will continue checking the levels but is worried that it may need to change plans depending on the results.



TEPCO finds another leak of radioactive water into sea – Kyodo, May 11

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it had detected another leak of highly contaminated radioactive water into the sea off the Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power plant but was able to stop the flow.


Radioactive water found in No.3 reactor pit – NHK, May 11

-Tokyo Electric Power Company says water containing radioactive material has been found flowing into a pit outside of the No.3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

-Workers could not confirm whether the water was leaking out into the sea, but they reported seeing froth near the water intake.

TEPCO says the concentration of radioactive Cesium in water sampled from the pit was 620,000 times higher than the safety limit set by the government. The utility also says it detected 1.5 milli-sieverts per hour of radiation on the surface of water in the pit, which indicates contaminated water may be leaking into the sea.



Gov’t: Burying contaminated soil into ground works – NHK, May 11

-The Japanese government plans to inform schools in Fukushima Prefecture that burying radiation-contaminated topsoil into the ground is an effective way to reduce its radiation level.



Japan’s probe into nuclear crisis to take about 1 year – Kyodo, May 12

-Japan’s forthcoming investigation into the causes of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant will take about one year, government sources said Wednesday.


Gov’t plans to supervise TEPCO management for over 10 yrs – May 12

-The government is planning to supervise for more than 10 years the management of Tokyo Electric Power Co., which has been struggling in the face of compensation claims following the crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.


Nuclear fuel at Fukushima No. 1 unit melted after full exposure – Kyodo, May 12

-Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, revealed Thursday that holes had been created by melted nuclear fuel at the bottom of the No. 1 reactor’s pressure


Water likely leaking from No.1 reactor – NHK, May 12

-Tokyo Electric sent workers inside the building to adjust the water gauge of the reactor.

-The utility had suspected the gauge wasn’t working properly because the water level hasn’t been rising despite pumping in 150 tons of water daily to cool the reactor.

-On Thursday morning, it was found that the water level was more than one meter below the bottom of the fuel rods, suggesting a large volume of water is leaking into the containment vessel.

-The utility says it does not believe the fuel has completely melted and spilled through the bottom of the reactor. It adds that instead, the fuel appears to be being cooled inside the reactor.



New radioactive leak raises questions – NHK, May 12

radioactive water was found leaking into the sea from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday. It’s now been revealed that contaminated water levels in the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building were already alarmingly high by Sunday.

-Radioactive cesium 620,000 times higher than the government-set safety limit was detected from the leaked water.

-The company says it doesn’t know when the leak began, but that it will investigate if the monitoring of water levels was appropriate. The problem raises the question of whether the utility wasn’t able to prevent the latest leak.



TEPCO: Highly radioactive water flowed into sea – NHK, May 12

-Workers found that contaminated water was flowing from a pipe into a pit near the Number 3 reactor’s water intake on Wednesday morning.

-The workers then used a camera to film near the water intake pipe. They found contaminated water was also leaking from the wall of the pit into the ocean.

-The firm says it managed to stop the leak later in the day after it blocked the pipe and buried the pit in concrete.



35 Japanese reactors are soon to be out of line – NHK, May 12

-During the next few months, 5 more reactors will have to be shut down ahead of regular inspections.

-If the utilities decide to keep these 40 reactors offline for the time being, Japan will have about 75 percent of its reactors shutdown this summer.



Japan to cull livestock in no-go zone near Fukushima plant: Edano – Kyodo, May 12

-Japan will cull livestock and poultry in the no-entry zone within a 20-kilometer radius of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to difficulty in feeding them, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Thursday.


More Fukushima evacuees briefly return home – NHK, May 12

-Seventy people from 45 households from Katsurao and Kawauchi villages on Thursday became the second group among evacuees from nine municipalities in the no-entry zone to be allowed such visits. On Tuesday, the first group of residents from Kawauchi Village visited their homes.

-At a gymnasium, the residents put on protective suits and were given radiation dosimeters and walky-talkies. Then they were taken to their homes on buses.

-The residents had two hours to gather their valuables, belongings and check on livestock and take care of other matters.



Keidanren asks China to lift import restrictions – NHK, May 12

-The head of Nippon Keidanren, or the Japan Business Federation, has asked China to lift restrictions on Japanese agricultural imports based on fears of radiation following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident.

-He said Japan will provide China with accurate information about the situation at the plant so that China can avoid excessive customs screenings for Japanese farm imports.

-Yang said China hopes to actively support Japan’s reconstruction efforts and takes its request seriously. He added that China will keep following information from Japan and do all it can to help, based on Chinese import rules.



Japan stresses food safety to Hong Kong businesses – NHK, May 12

Japanese Consulate General in Hong Kong has held a presentation to ease
concerns about radioactive contamination in food from Japan.

-Those present raised a series of questions about the safety of nuclear power plants in Japan.



S.Korean radiation rules slash Japan food imports – NHK, May 12

-South Korea says it imported nearly three quarters less Japanese food in May after tightening its rules on radiation levels.

-The country’s Food and Drug Administration says average daily imports of food from Japan have fallen to 75 tons since the start of May, down 74 percent from April.

-Imports of vegetables and processed food from Tokyo, Fukushima and 11 other prefectures must now come with Japanese government certification showing that they meet safe limits for radiation.



Tepco admits nuclear meltdown at Fukushima plant – BNO News, May 12

-According to reports, several holes were found at the bottom of the nuclear reactor’s pressure vessel, where the melted nuclear fuel now threatens to leak out of.



Fukushima reactor has a hole, leading to leakage – Reuters, May 12

“One of the reactors at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has a hole in its main vessel following a meltdown of fuel rods, leading to a leakage of radioactive water, its operator said on Thursday.

The disclosure by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is the latest indication that the disaster was worse than previously disclosed, making it more difficult to stabilize the plant.”



Gov’t postpones decision on TEPCO compensation scheme – Kyodo, May 13

-The government on Thursday postponed a decision on a plan to financially support Tokyo Electric Power Co. in its massive compensation burden arising from the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi plant, as some ruling party lawmakers disrupted the process by arguing that the state’s responsibility in the payments should be further clarified.


Gov’t decides to aid TEPCO with new entity over nuke compensation – Kyodo, May 13

-The government said Friday that it will create a new institution to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. bear its massive compensation burden resulting from the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi plant and keep the utility under close watch to make sure that it squeezes out the costs by streamlining efforts.



Japan’s government approves Tepco compensation scheme – BBC, May 13

“Japan’s government has approved a plan to help Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco)
compensate victims of the crisis at its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant.

Payouts are expected to run into the tens of billions of dollars over the Fukushima nuclear plant breakdown.

The assistance could help Tepco avoid bankruptcy, but the overnment insisted it was not meant as a bail-out.”



Japan government agrees on compensation plan for operator of crippled nuclear power plant – Washington Post, May 13

The plan prevents TEPCO from setting a ceiling on liabilities. It also establishes a third-party commission to monitor and investigate the company’s management.

Shinichi Ichikawa, the director of equity research at Credit Suisse in Tokyo, said the plan needed to achieve three targets: maintain the stability of electricity supply, not rattle financial markets and ensure victims of the March 11 disaster would be compensated.”



Kaieda notes need to review Fukushima plant recovery road map – Kyodo, May 13

-Industry minister Banri Kaieda said Friday it is necessary to review the restoration road map unveiled last month for the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by its operators following the latest findings indicating a meltdown of the No. 1 reactor fuel.



Radioactive substance detected in incinerator ashes in Tokyo – Kyodo, May 13

-A highly radioactive substance was detected in incinerator ashes at a sewage plant in eastern Tokyo in late March, shortly after the start of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, metropolitan government sources said Friday.


NISA: no need to flood No.1 reactor – NHK, May 13

-An official of Japan’s nuclear safety agency has suggested that a nuclear fuel meltdown at one of the damaged Fukushima reactors means that filling the reactor’s container with water may be meaningless.

-The operator, TEPCO, said on Thursday that most of the fuel rods in the reactor are believed to have melted and sunk to the bottom of the reactor’s pressure vessel.

-TEPCO says the melted fuel has apparently cooled, even though much of the injected water is leaking through holes at the bottom of the vessel.



Hamaoka No.4 reactor shut down – NHK, May 13

-The operator of the Hamaoka nuclear plant in central Japan has completed shutting down one of its reactors as it begins suspending operations at the plant. The facility is being halted due to concerns over a massive earthquake that is forecast to strike nearby.



Radioactive water leaked while being transferred – NHK, May 13

-Tokyo Electric Power Company says an operation to transfer highly radioactive water pooled in the turbine building of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No.3 reactor caused contamination of the sea nearby.

-The utility company says 1,200 becquerels of radioactive cesium 134 were detected in one cubic centimeter of sea water near the water intake on Thursday. The figure is 20,000 times the state limit. 1,200 becquerels of radioactive cesium 137, which is 13,000 times the state limit, were also detected.

-The company admitted in a news conference on Thursday that prior inspections to prevent leaks were inadequate.



TEPCO searching for ‘missing’ radioactive water – NHK, May 13

-Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says contaminated water is apparently leaking from the No.1 reactor, which is in a state of meltdown.

-The utility says the leaked water is likely in the basement of the reactor building — still a no-go zone due to concerns over high radiation levels.

-TEPCO is considering using remote-controlled robots to check the situation, but says the wireless links needed to control them may not reach the basement and that it has to explore other options as well.



Radioactive cesium detected in tea leaves – NHK, May 13

-Radioactive material above designated safety limits has been detected in tea leaves harvested in 5 municipalities in Kanagawa Prefecture, neighboring Tokyo.

-The prefectural government checked samples of leaves harvested in 15 municipalities in the region.

-Officials say that samples from 5 of those were found to contain unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.

-They say 780 becquerels of cesium were detected in tea leaves in Odawara City, 740 becquerels in Kiyokawa Village, 680 becquerels in Yugawara Town, 670 becquerels in Aikawa Town and 530 becquerels in Manazuru Town.



Radioactive element detected in grass, vegetables – NHK, May 13

-3,480 becquerels of radioactive cesium were detected in one kilogram of pasture grass collected on May 5th in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture. The figure exceeds the state limit of 300 becquerels.

-Also, at two different locations in Nasushiobara City, 3,600 becquerels and 860 becquerels of radioactive cesium respectively were detected in one kilogram of pasture grass collected on May 3rd.

-The parsley had been shipped to a fresh food market in Niigata Prefecture, west of Fukushima.

-Niigata prefectural government instructed wholesale distributers to stop selling the parsley.



Energy Dept: US will help contain Fukushima crisis – NHK, May 13

-Referring to information offered by Japan right after the accident, Poneman said the US side had difficulty grasping what was actually happening. He said if US officials had been able to obtain data more quickly, they could have given better advice.

-Poneman said that even before the Fukushima crisis, the US had repeatedly urged Japan to ratify an international treaty over damage from serious nuclear plant accidents.
He expressed hope that Japan will ratify the pact soon.



Melted nuclear fuel casts doubt on credibility of TEPCO data – Mainichi, May 13

“Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said the latest data has more credibility than previous data.

But Tadashi Narabayashi, a professor of reactor engineering at Hokkaido University, said, “It is problematic that TEPCO kept releasing data as if the water gauges were functioning properly. I wonder what a road map based on such data really means.””



Fukushima schoolchildren’s radiation exposure estimated at half of upper limit – Mainichi, May 13

“Schoolchildren’s cumulative radiation exposure a year in Fukushima Prefecture would be about half the limit for their outdoor activities, if calculated under the current standards, according to the education ministry.

The finding has prompted the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to convene a meeting to seek advice from experts on whether the outdoor activities of schoolchildren in the prefecture should be restricted.”



Sewage plants in Fukushima perplexed over how to dispose of highly radioactive sludge – Mainichi, May 13

“On May 12, the government announced that highly radioactive sludge will be tentatively kept at sewage plants in the prefecture, while sludge with relatively low-level radiation could be recycled into cement and other material.”

“On May 1, the Fukushima Prefectural Government announced that 334,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected in molten slag after sludge was processed with high heat at a purification center in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. The finding was followed by the detection of radioactive cesium in sludge at 15 other sewage plants in the prefecture, as well as at one sewage treatment facility in Tochigi Prefecture, one in Ibaraki Prefecture, three in Gunma Prefecture and one in Niigata Prefecture. The Kanagawa Prefectural Government announced on May 12 that cesium was detected in sludge at four sewage plants in the prefecture, while the Tokyo Metropolitan Government disclosed the same day that up to 24,000 becquerels of radioactivity was detected in sludge incineration ash at three sewage plants in the capital.”


Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 22: When does the disaster end and the cleanup begin?

Worker exposure to high levels of nuclera radiation and the distribution of radioactive materials about the landscape and in possibly unexpected places are the stories of the week at Fukushima. Also, officials are wondering, how have the potential effects of a tsunami at Fukushima (and, apparently, it is possible to have a tsunami here) changed given that the reactor is now a series of large pools of highly contaminated water?

The power being supplied to cooling pumps at Units 1,2 and 3 had been switched back to emergency generators because the connections established several days ago need to be reworked. Subsequently, the supply was switched back to the off-site grid. Mysterious white smoke has stopped coming out of Reactor Unit 4 (about five or six days ago) but the smoke continues to be emitted from units 2 and 3. Water is still being pumped into reactors, and nitrogen is still begin injected to avoid a hydrogen explosion. Pressure and temperature readings at the reactors are still not what they should be for a cold shutdown.

Few people know it, but Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant once starred in a movie about how to build a nuclear reactor:
Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 22: When does the disaster end and the cleanup begin?

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 21: The chickens come home to roost edition

The reactors at Fukushima continue to be hotter than “cold shutdown” levels, and at least one reactor (#1) is probably leaking from the core containment vessel. Fission products in high amounts, high pressure, and high temperature indicate that something close to fission is still happening although an apparent lack of large quantities of short lived isotopes may indicate that it has been a while since extensive fission has occurred in the leaking reactor.

There is still concern over possible hydrogen explosions and unexplained “white smoke” continues to rise from several buildings on site.

There is now concern that the spent storage pool for reactor #4 is leaking, and there is concern that it will not be possible to apply as much water as needed to some of the storage pools for fear that they will collapse. In addition, there is concern that applying too much water to at least one of the rectors is causing structural decay of the building that will make it collapse if there is an earthquake.

There is real progress in hooking up the plants to outside power sources, and in fact, it will eventually be connected to redundant outside power sources. The degree to which this is completed is unclear.

Tens of thousands of domestic animals (chickens being the most abundant, but also cattle and swine) have died from neglect in the evacuation zone, and government officials are now starting the process of euthanasia on some of the rest of them. Local civic leaders have reached a state of depression and despair and collectively state that recovery of the affected communities is impossible.

One of the most interesting recent outcomes of this event (aside from the fascinating engineering and nuclear physics) is the call to prosecute judges that adjudicated the regulatory process early on in licensing of this and other nuclear power plants in Japan. The claim is being made that Judges sided with the Nuclear Power Industry on issues of safety. The reason this is so interesting is that Nuclear Power Apologists have used a number of techniques to support certain decisions related to Nuclear Power Plant design, construction, operation, and licensing which would likely be exposed and debunked as part of such an investigation and trial. This is a potentially very positive thing for those of us who consider ourselves rationalists and skeptics. A critical examination of how we integrate scientific knowledge and engineering with the development of energy policy in the broader context of political policy would be very productive.

And in doing so, it would be very important to re-examine Chernobyl. The current widespread belief regarding Chernobyl falls into two categories: 1) It was a horrid disaster in which thousands died and/or got cancer and 2) Nothing really bad happened outside the site of the fire itself. The former is the view of the anti-nuclear pole, the latter of the Nuclear Power Apologists. Neither is true. It will be necessary to get Chernobyl figured out and on the table as part of the process of examining Fukushima.

And now, Ana’s Feed:

Co-op sells banned spinach to consumers in eastern Japan – April 21, Kyodo
-A Tokyo-based cooperative has delivered spinach grown in the town of Tako, Chiba Prefecture, to consumers in three eastern Japan prefectures despite a government ban on shipments due to concerns about radiation, the Chiba prefectural government said Thursday.

Radiation over 100 microsieverts detected 2-3 km from troubled plant – Kyodo

  • Radiation levels of over 100 microsieverts per hour were measured at four locations 2 to 3 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from late last month, the science ministry said Thursday as it released such data for the first time.
  • All four readings of over 100 microsieverts were taken in the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture, and about 2 to 3 km from the nuclear plant, with the highest reading of 124 microsieverts measured at a location around 2 km west-northwest of the complex.

  • http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110422p2g00m0dm017000c.html

The Chernobyl deniers use far too simple a measure of radiation risk – The Guardian: Those who downplay the dangers of nuclear energy are wrong to focus only on dose.

  • “In his article on “the confusing world of radiation exposure”, readers’ editor Chris Elliott was right to point out that getting a whole year’s sunshine in an hour would fry him to a crisp (Open door, 4 April). Radiation dose rate is important. What he didn’t say is that “dose density” is important too.
  • The “sievert”, as Elliott says, is a dose unit for quantifying radiation risk. He did not add that it assumes dose density is uniform. “There are many kinds of radiation”, he says, but he does not mention how they differ. In fact, external sources like cosmic rays and x-rays distribute their energy evenly, like the sun; others, notably alpha-emitters like uranium, are extremely uneven in the way they irradiate body tissue once they have been inhaled or swallowed.”
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/20/chernobyl-radiation-risk-dose-density

Evacuation zone widened beyond 20km from Fukushima nuclear plant – April 22, Kyodo

  • The government on Friday added some towns outside a 20-kilometer radius of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to the list of areas covered by its evacuation directive, due to concerns over high cumulative levels of radiation.

Chernobyl: distorted reality and unanswered questions – April 21, 2011, Greenpeace Blog

  • “We have just returned after completing an important mission in Ukraine – taking around 70 journalists from 18 countries with us to Chernobyl, nearly 25 years after the nuclear catastrophe. It was one of the largest media trips Greenpeace has organized. These seasoned journalists asked critical and insightful questions, none of them easily moved.
  • But many of them were deeply disturbed by what they saw and heard – often by the mundane details that were mentioned matter-of-factly by the interviewees.”
  • http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/chernobyl-distorted-reality-and-unanswered-qu/blog/34371

Scenes from the Fukushima Exclusion Zone – Good Blog

  • “In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, photographer Donald Weber set out for the “exclusion zone” around the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Residents of this buffer area were forced to evacuate immediately after the tsunami struck, leaving an eerie abandoned urban landscape. Besides the military, Weber and his partner were, he believes, “the only other people to go to the exclusion zone and actually see what the reality is there.””
  • http://www.good.is/post/scenes-from-the-fukushima-exclusion-zone/

TEPCO president apologizes to residents – NHK, April 22, 2100

Reactor 1 water level concerns – NHK, April 23, 2011

  • The Japanese government has expressed concern about the structural strength of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant’s Number 1 reactor. It says the ongoing water injections may be making the vessel less earthquake resistant.
  • At the Number 1 reactor, where fuel rods are believed to be the most seriously damaged, six tons of water are being injected every hour.
  • TEPCO believes the water is vaporizing, then condensing in the containment vessel.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_05.html

Cattle in the restricted zone – NHK, April 23, 2011

  • Tens of thousands of farm animals have been abandoned in the evacuation zone surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Many of them reportedly have already died.
  • Fukushima Prefecture authorities say there were about three-hundred livestock farms with three-thousand cows, 30-thousand pigs, and 600-thousand chickens.
  • Some farmers are requesting that they be allowed to euthanize the remaining animals.
  • The agriculture ministry says, however, it will be difficult to allow people to enter the restricted area to euthanize or feed the animals.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_02.html

Tokyo Takes Over PR From Plant Operator – Wall Street Journal

  • “Tepco’s briefings have at times turned confrontational. “You guys lack accountability,” some reporters have shouted, eliciting apologies from Tepco spokesmen. “Who is the person overseeing this operation?” asked one reporter at a briefing earlier this month on Tepco’s planned discharge of lightly radioactive water into the ocean. “Why can he not come here? Tell me his name. Who is it? Go up and find out right now. Go right now. Go right now.””
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703387904576278511723462094.html

Periodic health checkups mulled for Fukushima residents – April 23, Kyodo

  • The Fukushima prefectural government is considering implementing regular health checkups of its residents, while examining the health of children in the long term, in the wake of the nuclear emergency there, its officials said Saturday.

TEPCO to cautiously inject water in No.4 fuel pool – NHK, April 23, 2011

  • Tokyo Electric Power Company has decided to be more cautious about the volume of cooling water injected into the spent fuel pool of one of its reactors.
  • This is due to fear that the reactor building might be further damaged by the weight of the water itself.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_12.html

TEPCO must not be allowed to resume reactor operations: Fukushima gov. – April 22, Kyodo

  • Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Friday he will never allow Tokyo Electric Power Co. to resume operations at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Workers locked in battle at Fukushima, exposure to radiation rising – April 23, Kyodo

  • Workers at a nuclear power plant damaged by last month’s earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s northeast continued battling to deal with radioactive water Saturday as their exposure to radiation is constantly increasing.

Kitazawa thanks special US nuclear rescue team – NHK, April 23, 2011

  • Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa has expressed gratitude to a special US military unit that has been dispatched to Japan to stand ready for an emergency at the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
  • Kitazawa visited the US Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on Saturday, where about 150 members of the special US force are standing by to respond to nuclear emergencies.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_13.html

Mayors see little prospect of rebuilding lives – NHK, April 24

  • An NHK survey of municipalities affected by the March 11th disasters has found that 60 percent of them see little or no prospect of rebuilding residents’ lives.
  • The mayors of 42 cities, towns and villages in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures responded to the survey conducted between April 19th and 22nd.
  • 8 mayors, including those of Iwate’s Yamada Town, Miyagi’s Watari Town and Fukushima’s Futaba Town said there is no prospect of reconstructing residents’ livelihoods.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_22.html

FEATURE: Judges tend to side with utilities in atomic power plant cases – April 25, Kyodo

  • The risk of an earthquake causing critical damage to a nuclear power plant has been the subject of lawsuits filed by local residents in various parts of Japan over the years, but to date none of these legal actions has led to operations at a plant being suspended.
  • The courts have been inclined to accept arguments that nuclear power plants are safe, citing the highly technical nature of atomic power generation. In light of the ongoing crisis at Fukushima, however, critics say the judges should be held accountable for abandoning their role to properly scrutinize such cases.

Anti-nuclear plant candidates secure some seats in local elections – April 25, Kyodo

  • A number of opponents of nuclear power plants won seats in the assemblies of host municipalities in Sunday’s nationwide local elections in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, including one candidate who drew the largest number of votes in his town.

Fukushima Pref. to cull dying livestock in 20-km radius of nuke plant – April 25, Kyodo

  • Six Fukushima prefectural government workers dressed in protective outfits went into the no-entry zone within a 20-kilometer radius of the crisis-hit nuclear power plant in the northeastern Japanese prefecture Monday to begin work to cull starving livestock.

Monitoring rising temperatures – NHK, April 25, 2011

  • The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is carefully monitoring the situation at the Number 4 spent fuel pool, where the water temperature is rising despite increased injections of cooling water.
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says it will inject 210 tons of water into the pool on Monday, after finding on Sunday evening that the temperature in the pool had risen to 81 degrees Celsius
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/25_12.html

Fukushima restricts park use – NHK, April 25, 2011

  • Fukushima Prefecture is restricting the use of 5 of its public parks due to high levels of radiation, causing concerns among nearby residents and park visitors.
  • The prefecture announced on Monday that it would limit the use of the parks to one hour a day, as radiation readings at the 5 facilities were at or above the safety limit set for outdoor activities in schools.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/25_19.html

Rewiring starts at Fukushima Daiichi – NHK, April 25, 2011

  • Tokyo Electric Power Company is rewiring the power grid at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to secure the electricity supply in case of another strong quake.
  • The plant’s 6 reactors are now connected in pairs to external power sources. TEPCO began connecting the cables for the No.1 and No.2 reactors with the grid for the No.5 and No.6 reactors on Monday.
  • This is to ensure that if any one of the 3 outside sources is cut off, the others can be used to cool the reactors.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/25_21.html

Radioactive materials found in Japanese bird feed – April 25, Yonhap

  • Traces of radioactive materials have been detected in bird feed imported from Japan, though the concentration levels are below permissible levels, the government said Monday.
  • South Korea began checking animal feed imported from Japan for radioactive containments from March 29 onwards, after the Fukushima nuclear power station started releasing radioactive materials into the environment in mid-March. As of last week, 52 shipments totaling 390.3 tons of feed have been checked.

Govt was unaware of hydrogen explosion risk – April 26, 2011, JAIF

  • An advisor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan says no one in the government knew of the risk of a hydrogen explosion in the initial stages of the emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
  • Hosono said he was not aware of a single nuclear expert who warned of the risk of a hydrogen blast following the venting operation. He said nitrogen inside the reactor container was supposed to prevent such explosions.

Most Japanese reactors yet to have enough backups for stable cooling – April 26, Kyodo

  • Most nuclear reactors in Japan would fail to achieve a stable condition in the event that all regular power sources are lost, even though plant operators have prepared new backup power sources as well as electric generators following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kyodo News found Monday.

Japanese NGOs seek nuke-free society on 25th anniv. of Chernobyl – April 26, Kyodo

  • A group of 87 nongovernmental organizations in Japan reiterated calls to achieve a nuclear-free society on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, at a time when the worst nuclear crisis since is continuing at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Japan drawing on Chernobyl lesson in dealing with Fukushima: Edano – April 26, Kyodo

  • Faced with the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan is drawing on lessons learnt in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl blast, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday, on the 25th anniversary of the incident.

Radioactive water in No.3 and 4 reactors rises – April 26, JAIF

  • The utility company says the water level in the tunnel of the No. 3 reactor rose to 99 centimeters below the surface as of 6 PM on Monday. That passes the level at which TEPCO plans to remove the water, but it has yet to secure storage space.
  • The water level in the basement of the No.3 reactor’s turbine building also rose by 10 centimeters over 3 days.
  • The water level in the No. 4 reactor’s turbine building rose by 20 centimeters in 10 days.
  • TEPCO says water used to cool the No. 3 reactor could be leaking into No. 4 as their turbine buildings are connected.

TEPCO checks to see if water is leaking from No. 1 reactor container – April 27, Kyodo

  • The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex on Tuesday started checking to see if water is leaking from the No. 1 reactor container ahead of work to flood the vessel with water as a step to stably cool the troubled reactor.

Radiation monitors delivered to Fukushima schools – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • The education board of Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has handed out radiation monitors to local schools and kindergartens.

Radioactive water carried from No.2 reactor – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has said it is giving top priority to transferring highly contaminated water from the No.2 reactor.
  • But the firm has also found high levels of radioactive substances at the site of the No. 4 reactor.
  • Last Thursday it detected 8,100 becquerels of cesium 137 and 7,800 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic centimeter in the water in the turbine building’s basement. The radioactive levels were about 250 times higher than a month before.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/26_30.html

Big tank may be set up under Fukushima plant to store tainted water – April 27, Kyodo

  • Prime Minister Naoto Kan is considering setting up a big underground tank in the compound of the radiation-spewing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to prevent contaminated water from spilling into the sea, a fishery official said Wednesday.

TEPCO starts tests for more water injection – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun testing one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to see if it can move forward with its plan to submerge and cool the hot fuel rods.
  • The firm says robots on Tuesday detected radiation levels of up to 1,120 millisieverts per hour inside the No.1 reactor building. It says some contaminated water may be leaking from the reactor into external pipes.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/27_16.html

Radioactive topsoil removed from school grounds – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • The city began removing the soil on Wednesday at two of the 28 public elementary and junior high schools and daycare centers.
  • The removed soil is being kept under a cover at the school grounds until it can be moved to a landfill site.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/27_19.html

Woman at nuke plant exposed to excess radiation – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • A woman working at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was found to have been exposed to radiation of more than 3 times the legal safety limit.
  • She worked at the plant for 11 days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, and was exposed to 17.55 millisieverts of radiation. The figure is more than 3 times the permissible amount for women, which is set at 5 millisieverts per 3 months.
  • The woman may have inhaled radioactive material when taking off protective gear, as internal exposure of 13.6 millisieverts accounted for much of the total.
  • The limit for workers at the Fukushima plant was raised from 100 to 250 millisieverts per year after the accident to cope with the emergency. But the limit for women was left unchanged due to their child-bearing possibilities.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/27_18.html

Water may be leaking from No. 4 reactor fuel pool – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says water may be leaking from the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor.
  • More than 1,500 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool, the largest number at the site.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/27_09.html

Fukushima farmers protest near TEPCO headquarters – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • Farmers affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have demanded that its operator put it under control and compensate them as soon as possible.
  • About 200 vegetable and dairy farmers from Fukushima, Chiba, Ibaraki and other prefectures took part in the protest in front of the headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, in Tokyo on Tuesday.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/26_32.html

Science ministry releases Fukushima radiation map – NHK, April 27, 2011

  • Japan’s science ministry has for the first time released a map projecting estimated cumulative radiation exposure near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
  • The contour map shows the amount of annual cumulative radiation that a person would be exposed to by staying outdoors for 8 hours per day through March 11th, 2012.
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/27_10.html

A 100-Year Plan for Nuclear Waste – Technology Review

Japan nuke news 20: Tokyo Electric: “fuel may have melted”

Tokyo Electric officials have noted that they can not rule out the possibility that fuel rods in the Fukushima reactors have melted, at least to some extent. No one else, as far as I can tell, thinks that fuel rods have not melted. A Question that is more important than that of Tokyo Electric’s sudden revelation is, of course, are the fuel rods still melting? The answer is that they may well be.

As of a few hours ago, there is a 20 km offset no-entry zone around the Fukushima Power Plant. The evacuation zone has been reduced from 10 to 8 km. Coagulant continues to be injected into trenches to keep water from entering the sea, and water is being drawn from Unit 2 turbine building to be treated fof site. Water from the turbine building of Unit 6 was previously removed.

Electrical systems are being slow restored or replaced. Fresh wter is still being injeted inot the reactors in unites 1,2 and 3, and spent fuel rods are stll being sprayed in unit 4.

Nitrogen cas continues to be injected inot Unit 1’s containment vessel over concerns about hydrogen gas buildup. Pressure in that unit’s reactor vessel has been increasing, and temperatures are high there. Unit 1 remains “above cold shutdown conditions” and it is a reasonable guess that some fission is happening there. Something similar is probably happening in Units 2 and 3.

Ana’s Feed, Monday PM through last night:

Continue reading Japan nuke news 20: Tokyo Electric: “fuel may have melted”

Japan nuke news 19: Robots and reactors

Ana’s Feeed starting Sunday mid day through last night:

TEPCO press conf. (NHK): Since the accident, we have caused a huge amount of trouble and inconvenience to residents and anxiety to the greater population in general … Residents have been asked to evacuate and they would like to return home and we would like to assist the govt in planning for their return. Therefore, we release this plan:
To achieve cold shutdown in 6-9 months via 2 steps: 1) reducing radioactive material (3 months) and 2) controlling the release of radioactive elements (3-6 months)

  • 3 areas of focus will be: cooling, containment, and monitoring/decontamination
  • Breakdown, step 1): filling containment vessels of no.1 and 3 with water – sealing the leak in containment vessel at no.2 with “sticky cement” – injecting nitrogen to avoid explosions – restoring cooling systems for spent fuel pools – installing decontamination station to treat and reuse water. -kyodo
  • Kaieda: Gov’t to review evacuation areas after 6-9 months -kyodo
  • NHK commentator: “It is yet to be seen if things can progress as planned.”
  • An evacuated man: “TEPCO formed a six month temporary plan, but … there’s no solid foundation for this figure.” (NHK)

TEPCO chairman Katsumata mulling resignation to take blame -kyodo

  • Katsumata: TEPCO President Shimizu also mulling resignation -kyodo

Sec. of State Clinton visited Japan, met with Kan and govt, called Fukushima accident a ‘multi-dimensional crisis of unprecedented scope’ -kyodo

  • Kan tells Clinton Japan ‘will never forget U.S. support after quake’ -kyodo
  • Clinton: Japan can rebuild itself, have economic success for decades -kyodo
  • Kan thanks Clinton for U.S. ‘utmost’ help in disaster relief -kyodo

Opinion piece by PM Kan in the Washington Post: Japan’s road to recovery and rebirth

NISA news release detailing current efforts in: Zeolite sandbagging, anti-scatter resin spraying, remote rubble removal, and tsunami preparedness [LINK]

  • With this note: NISA directed General Electricity Utilities and other organizations concerned to consider the measures to ensure reliability on external power supply due to the temporary loss of external power supply at NPSs, etc. caused by ground faults in part of electric power system when the earthquake off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture occurred on April 7, 2011.

“His work is part of a young field called paleoseismology. Kerry Sieh, a pioneer in the specialty, says that the few dozen people who do this kind of work are usually doomed to be ignored.” [LINK]

Toshiba has released a plan for decommissioning its two reactors at Daiichi:

  • They estimate that it will take 5 years to remove the fuel rods from pools and reactors, and another 5 years to clear the land and remove the soil. They add that, depending on conditions inside the reactors (which are still uncertain), decommissioning could take more than 15 years. (NHK)
  • Hitachi says it will take 15 or more years to decommission its no.4 reactor. (NHK)

“The robot took photos inside the building [no.3] and measured radiation and oxygen levels as well as the temperature and humidity. The utility says it is analyzing the findings.”

  • Robot used to investigate reactor buildings
  • “If successful, the condition inside the No.3 reactor building will be known for the first time since a hydrogen explosion occurred there on March 14th.” (NHK)
  • Readings from the robot, inside reactor buildings, first floor:
  • no.1: 10-49mSv/hr.
  • no.3: 28-57mSv/hr.
  • oxygen densities were around 21% “high enough for workers to enter” (NHK)
  • In these conditions, workers will receive their emergency-adjusted annual limits in 5 hours.

U.S. Nuclear Regulator Lets Industry Help With the Fine Print – ProPublica

Officials Demand Diablo Canyon Relicensing Be Suspended

Near the proposed Yucca Mt. nuke storage site: Hundreds of small earthquakes hit California-Nevada border, including magnitude 4.6

The Jap. govt. is “alarmed” at how foreign press is reporting on the situation. Offending footage on NHK highlights Busby on Russian TV, Ann Coulter on FOXNEWS.

  • A theater arts student who is running a watchdog blog wants us all to know that people wear masks in Japan to avoid pollen, not radiation. (NHK)

“The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says levels
of radioactive substances in seawater have risen again near the water intake of its No.2 reactor.” -JAIF

  • TEPCO says it detected 260 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter in samples taken on Friday. That is 6,500 times the legal limit. (JAIF)
  • The level of radioactive cesium-137 was also up in the same area. It detected 130 becquerels per cubic centimeter – 1,400 times the legal limit. (JAIF, April 16)

Tornado touchdown causes shutdown at Surry nuclear plant

The level of contaminated water in the tunnel of the No. 2 reactor continues to rise. (JAIF)

  • The level dropped 8 centimeters after about 660 tons of the highly radioactive water was moved into a turbine condenser. But as of 7 AM on Monday, the water had risen again, to a point 9 centimeters higher than before the transfer. (JAIF)

Nuke Agency: No. 4 reactor building flooded with water 5-meter-high -kyodo

Robots report high radiation at Japan nuclear plant as criticism grows over pace of response

Japan nuke news 18: Reactor facilities smoke, sputter. Fission continues?

Claims are being made that the situation at Fukushima is starting to improve, but there is no actual evidence of this. We probably (but not certainly) passed the point where nuclear fuel is likely to accumulate in such a way as to cause a major fission event or explosion, but there is still sufficient heat to cause, apparently, water to split into hydrogen and oxygen, or at least, there is concern of this possibility. (Hydrogen explosions have already occurred here early on in the crisis, and there is concern that this may happen again.) All of the basic safety systems are still not working, and radioactive releases to both the sea and the air continue to happen, and notably, to happen with no clear explanation that might give us an indication that engineers have the most basic information about what is going on here.

Either fission continues or very high levels of radiation are occurring in reactors 1,2 and 3, indicated by temperatures well above “cold shutdown” levels in the pressure vessels. There may be fission occurring in the spent fuel pool of Rector 4.

There is still “smoke” of unknown composition and meaning coming from units 2 and 3, and now it is also coming from Unit 4. They are still working on getting electricity and water lines in place. The IAEA has started to use the phrase “…there are early signs of recovery in some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation” in introducing their reports. They do not explicitly state what those signs are.

Continue reading Japan nuke news 18: Reactor facilities smoke, sputter. Fission continues?

Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 17: Fukushima is now officially “a Chernobyl”

The most significant news seems to be the raising of the level of this accident, on the international scale of how bad things get at nuclear power plants, to the highest level, which is also the level set for the Chernobyl accident. This does not mean that the Fukushima Disaster is the same as the Chernobyl disaster. They are different situations, different technologies, and different things going wrong. However, it is now official: On the scale from TMI to Chernobyl, Fukushima is officially Chernobyl. But different.

An earthquake on April 7th had knocked out power at the Fukushima reactor, and that was restored yesterday. A major effort is now underway to remove contaminated water from reactor buildings 1,2 and 3, taking water out of internal storage tanks to make room for highly contaminated water that will e stored on site. Nitrogen gas is being pumped into Unit 1’s containment vessel to avoid a hydrogen explosion. A fire has been reported from somewhere at the facility but apparently, it went out or was put out. Debris is being removed and water is being injected into various containers. Temperature levels in three of the units are higher than they should be, and pressure in unit 1 is lower than it should be indicating a leak.

According to the IAEA:

On 10 April, deposition of both iodine-131 and cesium-137 was detected in 7 and 6 prefectures respectively. The values reported for iodine-131 ranged from 6.3 to 920 Bq/m2 and for cesium-137 from 7.9 to 800 Bq/m2. The highest deposition was reported for both, iodine-131 and cesium-137, in the prefecture of Ibaraki. /p>

Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures, the values tend to decrease. For Fukushima, on 10 April a dose rate of 2.2 µSv/h, for the Ibaraki prefecture a gamma dose rate of 0.15 µSv/h was reported. The gamma dose rates in all other prefectures were below 0.1 µSv/h.

Dose rates are also reported specifically for the Eastern part of the Fukushima prefecture, for distances of more than 30 km to Fukushima-Daiichi. On 10 April, the values in this area ranged from 0.2 to 25 µSv/h.

There is still radiation offshore but levels seem to be decreasing.

Ana’s Feed

TEPCO plans to commence Operation Nitrogen Injection this evening. (NHK) April 5 at 11:27pm

This is in an effort to neutralize accumulations of hydrogen that will otherwise explode. They will start at reactor no.1, and if all goes well, will move on to nos.2 and 3. (NHK)

Japanese Pluto-kun plutonium is safe anime propaganda from mid 1990s h/t eddie April 5 at 11:54pm

  • “he aspires to be like dynamite, – safe for all mankind” !!! April 6 at 12:09am

â??”[NISA] said it ordered…TEPCO to keep monitoring the pit to check whether the water leakage has completely stopped…the water, which has lost an outlet, may show up from other areas inside the plant’s premises.” Highly radioactive water leaking into sea stops: TEPCO | Kyodo News April 6 at 12:35am

Govt considering safety of exclusion zone visits April 6 at 12:40am

“Some residents have submitted requests to visit their homes to gather belongings as it will be a long time before they can return permanently.” (NHK) April 6 at 12:40am

More than 1,400 schools and nurseries will be tested over two days amid anxiety among parents over leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. -BBC news April 6 at 12:42am

  • Officials say there should be no risk to children if they keep outside a 30km (19mile) exclusion zone. … “A lot of parents are very concerned and at the local authority offices we’ve been flooded by queries, so we are collecting data that is o…bjective and easy to understand, in the hope that this will allay some of those concerns,” said Hiroyuki Aratake of the Fukushima Disaster Emergency Centre. -BBC news April 6 at 12:42am

From NISA’s Seismic Damage Report (73rd release) regarding exposure of individuals or the Possibility on radiation exposure ï¼?As of 15:00 April 4thï¼?April 6 at 12:47am
1. Exposure of residents:

  • (1) Including the about 60 evacuees from Futaba Public Welfare Hospital to Nihonmatsu City Fukushima Gender Equality Centre, as the result of measurement of 133 persons at the Centre, 23 persons counted more than 13…,000 cpm were decontaminated.
  • (2) The 35 residents transferred from Futaba Public Welfare Hospital to Kawamata Town Saiseikai Kawamata Hospital by private bus arranged by Fukushima Prefecture were judged to be not contaminated by the Prefectural Response Centre.
  • (3) As for the about 100 residents in Futaba Town evacuated by bus, the results of measurement for 9 of the 100 residents were as follows. The evacuees, moving outside the Prefecture (Miyagi Prefecture), were divided into two groups, which joined later to Nihonmatsu City Fukushima Gender Equality Centre.

No. of Counts No. of Persons:

  • 18,000 cpm – 1
  • 30,000-36,000 cpm – 1
  • 40,000 cpm – 1
  • little less than 40,000 cpm* – 1
  • very small counts 5
  • (4) The screening was started at the Off site Centre in Okuma Town from March 12th to 15th. 162 people received examination until now. At the beginning, the reference value was set at 6,000 cpm. 110 people were at the level below 6,000 cpm… and 41 people were at the level of 6,000 cpm or more. When the reference value was increased to 13,000 cpm afterward, 8 people were at the level below 13,000 cpm and 3 people are at the level of 13,000 cpm or more. The 5 out of 162 people examined were transported to hospital after being decontaminated.
  • (5) The Fukushima Prefecture carried out the evacuation of patients and personnel of the hospitals located within 10km area. The screening of all the members showed that 3 persons have the high counting rate. These members were transported to the secondary medical institute of exposure. As a result of the screening on 60 fire fighting personnel involved in the transportation activities, the radioactivity higher than twice of the back ground was detected on 3 members. Therefore, all the 60 members were decontaminated.
    (6) Fukushima Prefecture has started the screening from 13 March. It is carried out by rotating the evacuation sites and at the 13 places (set up permanently) such as health offices. Up until April 2nd, the screening was done to 122,613 people. Among them, 102 people were above the 100,000 cpm, but when measured these people again without clothes, etc., the counts decreased to 100,000 cpm and below, and there was no case which affects health.

2. Exposure of workers:

As for the workers conducting operations in Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS, the total number of people who were at the level of exposure more than 100 mSv becomes 21. For two out of the three workers who were confirmed to be …at the level of exposure more than 170 mSv on March 24, the attachment of radioactive material on the skin of both legs was confirmed. As the two workers were judged to have a possibility of beta ray burn, they were transferred to the Fukushima Medical University Hospital, and after that, on March 25th, all of the three workers arrived at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in the Chiba Prefecture. As the result of examination, the level of exposure of their legs was estimated to be from 2 to 3 Sv. The level of exposure of both legs and internal did not require medical treatment, but they decided to monitor the progress of all three workers in the hospital. All the three workers have been discharged from the hospital around the noon on 28 March. At around 11:35 April 1st, a worker fell into the sea when he went on board the barge of the US Armed forces in order to adjust the hose. He was rescued immediately by other workers around without any injury and external contamination. In order to make double sure, the existence of internal radionuclide contaminant is being confirmed by a whole-body counter.

3. Others

  • (1) 4 members of Self-Defence Force who worked in Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS were injured by explosion. One member was transferred to National Institute of Radiological Sciences. After the examination, judged that there were wounds bu…t no risk for health from the exposure, the one was released from the hospital on March 17th. No other exposure of the Self-Defence Force member was confirmed at the Ministry of Defence.
  • (2) As for policeman, the decontaminations of two policemen were confirmed by the National Police Agency. Nothing unusual was reported.
  • (3) On March 24th, examinations of thyroid gland for 66 children aged from 1 to 15 years old were carried out at the Kawamata Town public health Center. The result was at not at the level of having harmful influence.
  • (4) From March 26th to 27th, examinations of thyroid gland for 137 children aged from 1 to 15 years old were carried out at the Iwaki City Public Health Center. The result was not at the level of having harmful influence.
  • (5) From March 28th to 30th, examinations of thyroid gland for 946 children aged from 0 to 15 years old were carried out at the Kawamata Town Community Center and the Iidate Village Office. The result was not at the level of having harmful influence.

From NISA on the Situation of the injured (As of 15:00 April 4th) April 6 at 1:03am
1. Injury in Unit 1 of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS due to earthquake on 11

  • – Two employees (slightly, have already gone back working)
  • – Two subcontract employees (one fracture in both legs, be in hospital)
  • – Two died (After the earthquake, tw…o TEPCO’s employees missed and had been searched continuously. In the afternoon of March 30th, the two employees were found on the basement floor of the turbine building of Unit 4 and were confirmed dead by April 2nd.)

2. Injury due to the explosion of Unit 1 of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS on 12 March

  • – Four employees (two TEPCO’s employees and two subcontractor’s
  • employees) were injured at the explosion and smoke of Unit 1 around
  • the turbine building (non-controlled area of radiation) and were examined by Kawauchi Clinic. Two TEPCO’s employees return to work
  • again and two subcontractors’ employees are under home treatment.

3. Injury due to the explosion of Unit 3 of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS on 14 March.

  • – Four TEPCO’s employees (They have already return to work.)
  • – Three subcontractor employees (They have already return to work.)
  • – Four members of Self-Defence Force (one of them was transported to National Institute of Radiological Sciences considering internal possible exposure. The examination resulted in no internal exposure. The member was discharged from the institute on March 17th.)

4. Other injuries
– On the earthquake on 11 March, one subcontractor’s employees (a crane operator) died in Fukushima Dai-ni NPS. (It seems that the tower crane broke and the operator room was crushed and the person was hit on the head.)

  • – Two subcontractor’s employees were injured during working at
  • temporary control panel of power source in the Common Spent Fuel Pool, transported to where were industrial medical doctors the Fukushima Dai-ni NPS on 22 and 23 March. (One employee has already returned to work and the other is under home treatment.)
  • – One emergency patient on 12 March. (Cerebral infarction, transported by the ambulance, be in hospital)
  • – Ambulance was requested for one employee complaining the pain at left chest outside of control area on March 12. (Conscious, under home treatment)
  • – Two employees complaining discomfort wearing full-face mask in the
  • main control room were transported to Fukushima Dai-ni NPS for a
  • consultation with an industrial doctor on 13 March. (One employee has
  • already returned to work and the other is under home treatment.)

From NISA on the Directive of screening levels for decontamination of radioactivity April 6 at 1:08am

  • 1) On March 20th, the Local Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters issued the directive to change the reference value for the screening level for decontamination of radioactivity as the following to the Prefectural Governor and the heads… of cities, towns and villages (Tomioka Town, Hutaba Town, Okuma Town, Namie Town, Kawauchi Village, Naraha Town, Minamisouma City, Tamura City, Kazurao Village, Hirono Town, Iwaki City and Iidate Village).
  • Old: 40 Bq/cm2 measured by a gamma-ray survey meter or 6,000 cpm
  • New: 1 μ Sv/hour (dose rate at 10cm distance) or 100,000cpm
  • equivalent

Japanese fishermen are demanding compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company for the damage to fish stocks caused by the company’s release of radioactive waste water into the sea. (NHK) April 6 at 1:56am

  • The head of the national federation of fisheries cooperatives, Ikuhiro Hattori, made the demand in a meeting with TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata on Wednesday in Tokyo. … Hattori later told reporters he feels nothing but anger and would …like to see all nuclear power plants in the country immediately shut down. He said fishermen would no longer cooperate in any way with nuclear power plant operators. (NHK)

If you read through those dense NISA postings, you might have noticed no mention of exposures of workers at the plant. “Injury”, yes – exposure, no. (They must keep that info somewhere else.) But from NHK we do get this: April 6 at 2:19am

After finding 526Bq/kg of Cesium-137 in launce off Ibaraki Pref., all fishing there has been ended. (NHK) April 6 at 4:19am

  • These fish are the major catch this time of year – they are dried and eaten in soy sauce – but “there’s no use in catching fish that won’t be sold.” (NHK)
  • Contamination is moving south, and the speed of dispersion is very low. (NHK)
  • Demand is high for fish from West Japan – prices have doubled. (NHK)

Pregnant women and small children with guardians will be evacuated to Fukushima City by the prefectural govt. from Itate Village if they wish to leave. (NHK) April 6 at 4:27am

Industry parts, manufactured in Fuku.Pref., are being tested for contamination. Business owners are overwhelmed with concern from customers. (NHK)

Vietnam has reached a significant agreement with Japan to purchase and acquire nuclear power technology. (NHK)

  • As a one party government, Vietnam does not have to contend with protest or opposition. Nuclear power is seen by the govt as a necessary requirement for economic growth. The power plants to be constructed will incorporate “the most advanced safety measures”. (NHK)

“Statement on Measures Responding to The Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Accident Caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake” LINK April 7 at 1:45am

  • “We are gravely concerned about this accident which can fundamentally undermine public trust in safety measures, not only in Japan but also in other countries.” -Japan Atomic Energy Commission

“…analysis from March to April found levels of radioactive cesium in soil 30 to 150 times higher than normal in rice paddies, farms and orchards…” Saturday at 2:13am

  • “The Japanese government says it will greatly increase the number of machines that test Japanese food products for radioactive contamination.”
  • “The government says the budget will finance the purchase of machinery to test for radioactive co…ntamination and assist local governments in facilitating the use of the testing machinery.” (NHK)
  • Foreign Minister Matsumoto will attend an emergency meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia on Sat. He will emphasize continued transparency with international community re: nuclear disaster, as well as the safety of agricultural products and will express thanks to all for aid. (NHK)

Edano: Fishermen whose marine products have been affected by the release of radioactive particles from the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should receive provisional compensation. -kyodo news
Saturday at 2:16am

  • Russia and China have now joined S. Korea in expressing concern about the release of radioactive water and the lack of information. Russia says it learned of the operation 2 days after dumping had begun. (NHK)
  • Water radiation levels rise north of nuke plant – I-131 rose from 600X on Tues. to 1,000X on Wed. to 2,800X maximum allowance on Thurs. “The government’s nuclear safety agency has instructed the Fukushima plant operator to review its monitoring activities, as the radioactive material is likely to be carried northward by ocean currents. The agency stressed the need to monitor areas of high radiation concentration more closely to clarify possible contamination of the ocean.” (NHK)
  • Over 8,000 tons of “less-radioactive” water has been discharged to date – the final 800 tons are set to be released tomorrow. Meanwhile, the highly contaminated water in the trench off no.2 has risen 10cm since the leak from the pit was stopped on Wed. but is still 94cm from overtopping. The source is still unknown. (NHK)

Edano: Our current standards for evacuation are based on a scenario of short-term spikes of radiation, but there are now areas where radioactive substances have accumulated. (NHK) Saturday at 2:20am

  • The govt. is looking into how to deal with these areas and will also consider the advice of other experts. (NHK)
  • â??”A US government nuclear expert says the United States advised its citizens to stay 80 kilometers away from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last month because of limited information.”
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/0…9_10.html
  • “A study of soil samples has revealed that as much as 400 times the normal levels of radiation could remain in communities beyond a 30-kilometer radius from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where explosions spewed radioactive materials into the atmosphere.” http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201104080169.html

24km from the plant, in Minamisoma City – many stores are closed, people are low on food and concerned, many have evacuated voluntarily already. (NHK) Saturday at 2:22am

  • Starting last week, a pick-up bus service has started taking people to an open but distant supermarket. Relief goods are being delivered to the elderly who can’t go out on their own – a woman, asked about why she has decided to stay says she has nowhere else to go. (NHK)

In the 7.4 aftershock, the Onagawa nuke plant in Miyagi Prefecture lost 2 of its 3 external power grids. There were also spills of radioactive water from the spent fuel areas of each reactor, and leaks found in 5 other places. (NHK) Saturday at 2:28am

  • Three of its reactors have been in cold shutdown since the Tohoku quake of March 11.
  • At the Higashidori nuke plant in Aomori, cooling function was lost for about an hour.
  • No new problems were observed at Daiichi and Daini. (NHK)
  • Analiese Miller A later report from kyodo news said 3 of 4 power supplies were lost at Onagawa, and added that a spent fuel disposal area in Rokkasho villiage (Aomori Pref.) lost external power for a time as well. LINK
  • â??”Utility firms are deploying power-generating vehicles as part of an additional backup effort, in case both the existing emergency systems and diesel-powered generators fail.
  • But pressure is rising on power companies to review their backup …plans to deal with such scenarios.” (NHK)See More
  • EPCO now reports that the surface temp. of the no.1 reactor rose from 223 C degrees to 260 just after the quake, but has fallen since to 240. The cause is unknown. (NHK)
  • A “device to control pressure inside a turbine building” was also damaged at the Onagawa plant. (JAIF)
  • Also at Onagawa, Tohoku Electric Power Company “added that blowout panels–devices designed to control pressure inside the buildings–were damaged at the turbine building of the Number 3 reactor.” (JAIF)
  • NISA spokesman Nishiyama said the requirement of one backup diesel generator at cold shutdown reactors is “not enough” – the agency is calling on plant operators to have at least two on hand at all times. (NHK)
  • â??”Nishiyama also displayed candor about the missteps and failures that precipitated the disaster, saying, ”We had said all along that (nuclear power) was absolutely secure thanks to its multiple layers of protection and five-layer barriers, and I believed this, but we brought this situation onto ourselves.”” -kyodo news
  • “Also Saturday, Tohoku Electric Power Co. said a human mistake apparently caused the only functioning diesel generator at the Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture to leak fuel, forcing the utility to stop it.” -kyodo news

“The unit’s commander says his team is working day and night along with the Self-Defense Forces to utilize their abilities to the fullest, and that their morale is high.” –US nuclear unit drill Saturday at 3:44am

  • 22,000 joint personnel, 50 ships and 90 aircraft are being used in an effort to find any of the 14,000 who remain missing – but efforts will not extend into the 30km evacuation zone. (NHK)

TEPCO will increase the purity of the nitrogen gas
injected into the no.1 reactor from 98% to 99.98%. (NHK) Saturday at 4:09am
“Nearly half of the nuclear fuel rods in the reactor are feared to be exposed — generating hydrogen that could explode if it reacts with oxygen.” (JAIF)
TEPCO says that “after injecting 413 cubic meters of nitrogen gas until 5 PM on Thursday, the pressure reading inside the vessel was 1.76, up 0.2 from before the injection started.” (JAIF)
U.S. Dropped Nuclear Rule Meant to Avert Hydrogen Explosions: “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed reactors to phase out some equipment that eliminates explosive hydrogen, the gas that blew up the outer containments of three reacto…rs at the Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. The commission says it judged that at the American plants, the containments were strong enough that the equipment was not needed or other methods would do.” (NYT) LINK

“[TEPCO] plans to enclose a seawater intake for the No. 2 reactor at the plant with seven steel sheets and a 120-meter-wide ”silt curtain” near the intake and two other locations nearby.” –Workers begin installing enclosures to prevent sea contamination | Kyodo News

What “safe” can mean on a good day.: Day Laborers Brave Risks at Japan’s Nuclear Plants

The move comes as the Fukushima prefectural government has urged Tokyo to accept imposing such an area in light of some residents temporarily returning on their own to the evacuation zone to take out belongings despite radiation fears.” –Gov’t may make evacuation area near nuke plant off-limits to residents | Kyodo News Sunday at 4:13pm

  • Prime Minister Naoto Kan has told the governor of quake-hit Miyagi Prefecture that the central government will build 70,000 temporary houses as quickly as possible. (NHK)

The Japanese govt. is considering raising the assessment of the accident at Daiichi to “most severe”. -kyodo news 17 hours ago

  • I think this means it would become a 7 on the scale of 1-7, the same as Chernobyl.
  • It’s been a month since the earthquake, and even now TEPCO does not know when the situation will be under control. (NHK)
  • It’s estimated that radiation releases so far amount to 1/10 of the total from Chernobyl. LINK
  • “Kyodo said the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission had estimated that at one stage the amount of radioactive material released from the reactors in northern Japan had reached 10,000 terabequerels per hour for several hours, which would… classify the incident as a major accident according to the INES scale.
  • Kyodo did not say when the big increase in radiation had happened but quoted the commission as saying the release had since fallen to under one terabecquerel per hour.” (AlJazeera)
  • “Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission says that abnormalities in a reactor suppression pool were to blame for the release of large amounts of radioactive substances at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
  • It said much of the radiation was releas…ed during the 2 days after the suppression pool, connected to the No. 2 reactor, began showing problems at 6 AM on March 15.
  • The commission said that radiation is still escaping and the amount is rising marginally, but that the volume has dropped considerably since the crisis began.” -kyodo
  • TEPCO chief takes upping of nuke crisis severity ‘extremely seriously’ -kyodo

â??“The science ministry says the amount of radiation accumulated over about half a month in some areas of Fukushima Prefecture has exceeded the permissible level for a whole year.” (NHK) 17 hours ago

  • In Namie Town, 30km NW of the plant, 14,480microsieverts have accumulated over 17 days. In Iitate, 40km NW – 8,440. (NHK)
  • The average exposure from natural sources worldwide is 2.4mSv/year. (kyodo)

The evacuation zone has been expanded
by the govt to include Katsurao Village, Namie Town, Iitate Village and some parts of Kawamata Town and Minami Soma City. (NHK)
Edano says that residents will have a month to find new places to live. Others in the 20-30km zone (specifically Hirono and Nahara) should prepare for a possible emergency order, and should find ways to evacuate on their own. All schools in the area will remain closed. (NHK)

CRIIRAD to the people of France (and Europe in gen): watch what you eat.Radiation risks from Fukushima ‘no longer negligible’ | EurActiv 13 hours ago

Links inside to updates on more US contamination, and to the EPA’s new “open data system.”: Radiation Detected In Drinking Water In 13 More US Cities, Cesium-137 In Vermont Milk

  • In Lourdes 4.59pCi and in Clansayes, 56.7pCi by your conversion IF the comma in the Euro. measurements take the place of our decimal.

There were a couple of big aftershocks today in Japan – all workers are evacuated to safety at the moment at Daiichi. Power was lost for about an hour, earlier. And there was a fire reported at reactor no. 4 which is now reported to be extinguished. 10 hours ago

  • TEPCO reports no change in radiation levels around the plant. (kyodo)
  • “TEPCO said the fire at a box that contained batteries in a building near the reactor was discovered at about 6:38am and put out seven minutes later. It was not clear whether the fire was related to Tuesday morning’s earthquake. The cause was being investigated.” (AlJazeera)

Fukushima Prefecture has decided to measure radiation levels at 2,700 locations and disclose the data amid growing concern about radioactive contamination. (JAIF) 10 hours ago

  • Many residents have demanded information on the radiation levels in their communities … task force will measure radiation levels at 2,700 locations in 55 municipalities, except for those within a 20-kilometer radius of the power plant. The levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in soil will be analyzed in some areas. Seventy prefectural employees will carry out the work between Tuesday and Friday, and will disclose the results to residents. (JAIF)
  • One farmer in the area estimates losses of $60,000 – tons of veggies have been piled up to decompose in a field – some of the spinach was “top of the line,” he says, “it’s so depressing.” (NHK)

The “special sheets” talked about earlier and intended for use as a cover of the damaged reactors might be ready by September. (NHK) 9 hours ago

TEPCO suspects a “possible leakage” of gas in the no.1 containment vessel as pressure has not risen as expected during the nitrogen injection process. (NHK) 9 hours ago

News Release from NISA: “Wrong descriptions have been found in our materials uploaded. We apologize for and correct these as follows.” –Corrections of “Measuring points of reactor pressure of Unit 2”, “Values of reactor pressure of Unit 8 hours ago

  • The entire history of post-quake reactor pressure measurements have been revised upward for no. 1, downward for no. 3.

Asked at a news conf. about the future of energy production in Japan, PM Kan speaks specifically about solar technology, says “We should reconstruct the community in a way that is kind to nature.” (NHK) 7 hours ago

  • With regard to reconstruction, Kan expresses his desire to rebuild with a mind to preventing future disaster, with respect for nature, and with kindness and caring for the weak. (NHK)


Highly radioactive water leaking into sea stops: TEPCO

Tokyo Electric Power Co. succeeded in stopping highly radioactive water from leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant early Wednesday, while saying it is considering injecting nitrogen to prevent a possible hydrogen explosion from occurring at the No. 1 reactor.

The highly toxic water, confirmed to have been flowing from around a seaside pit located near the No. 2 reactor water intake on Saturday, stopped at 5:38 a.m. after the plant operator injected some 6,000 liters of chemical agents, including what is called water glass.

Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job

KAZO, Japan — The ground started to buck at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and Masayuki Ishizawa could scarcely stay on his feet. Helmet in hand, he ran from a workers’ standby room outside the plant’s No. 3 reactor, near where he and a group of workers had been doing repair work. He saw a chimney and crane swaying like weeds. Everybody was shouting in a panic, he recalled.

URGENT: Radiation leakage may eventually exceed that of Chernobyl: TEPCO

The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it is concerned that radiation leakage at the plant could eventually exceed that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

”The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl or exceed it,” an official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Japan: Nuclear crisis raised to Chernobyl level

Japanese authorities have raised the severity rating of their nuclear crisis to the highest level, seven.

The decision reflects the total release of radiation at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which is ongoing, rather than a sudden deterioration.

Level seven previously only applied to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, where 10 times as much radiation was emitted.

Powerful quake strikes northeast Japan

TOKYO — A powerful earthquake struck near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Tuesday, shaking buildings in Tokyo. No tsunami warning was issued and no damage immediately reported.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 6.0 and hit less than 11 kilometres (7 miles) below ground, 70 kilometres south of Fukushima city in the prefecture of the same name.

Japanese officials had put the magnitude at 6.3.

International Atomic Energy Agency Summary for Today

The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) today issued a new provisional rating for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the IAEA International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).

The nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi is now rated as a level 7 “Major Accident” on INES. Level 7 is the most serious level on INES and is used to describe an event comprised of “A major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures”. Japanese authorities notified the IAEA in advance of the public announcement and the formal submission of the new provisional rating.

The new provisional rating considers the accidents that occurred at Units 1, 2 and 3 as a single event on INES. Previously, separate INES Level 5 ratings had been applied for Units 1, 2 and 3. The provisional INES Level 3 rating assigned for Unit 4 still applies.

The re-evaluation of the Fukushima Daiichi provisional INES rating resulted from an estimate of the total amount of radioactivity released to the environment from the nuclear plant. NISA estimates that the amount of radioactive material released to the atmosphere is approximately 10% of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which is the only other nuclear accident to have been rated a Level 7 event.

Earlier ratings of the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi were assessed as follows:

On 18 March, Japanese authorities rated the core damage at the Fukushima Daiichi 1, 2 and 3 reactor Units caused by loss of all cooling function to have been at Level 5 on the INES scale. They further assessed that the loss of cooling and water supplying functions in the spent fuel pool of the Unit 4 reactor to have been rated at Level 3.

Japanese authorities may revise the INES rating at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as further information becomes available.

Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 16: Radioactive leaks? It’s a feature, not a bug!

Welcome to the “I’m starting to get cynical” edition.

The situation at Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Plant reached an impasse over the least few days. Two or three of the reactors are in a situation where cooling is being kludged, the reactor fuel rods are damaged and have melted but the details are unknown, storage pools are not being safely managed, unexpected fission events keep occurring despite the widespread belief that this can’t happen, and no one knows what to do because no one can see what is happening because of the more immediate problem: There is a deposit of very dangerous highly radioactive water within the plant in places that make it impossible for engineers and technicians to enter.

Meanwhile, radioactive water has been leaking form the plant. A huge blatantly obvious crack in the plant’s foundation was “noticed” quite recently and blamed for the leak. Attempts to fix the crack at first failed then apparently worked well enough to determine that this crack is not the source of the leak. Tracer stuff has been placed in the plant to see if a route between the plant and the sea could be identified. So far this has not worked. The engineers at Fukushima have no clue whatsoever how water is leaking into the sea, or which water it is, or how to stop it. But, that’s OK because they have a plan B: Dump the water into the sea on purpose! Then, the leak will be a feature, rather than a bug!
Continue reading Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 16: Radioactive leaks? It’s a feature, not a bug!

Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 15: Water leaking into sea via crack, and concerns over hydrogen buildup

i-56d9c13b4cea955a375fea272b817891-CRACK15964750-thumb-250x334-63383.jpgDespite the deafening silence from TEPCO regarding questions over a physical breech in Reactor 2, it is now generally being considered that there is a breech in reactor 2. It is not clear if it is a hole in the containment vessel of some kind or just some disconnected or cracked pipes. Experts are estimating the percent of fuel in the reactors that were active at the time of the quake that has been damaged as fairly high (over half). The most significant news over the last several hours is probably the identification of a major route by which radioactive water is leaking from Reactor 2 into the sea. This is a 20 cm wide crack in the concrete foundation of the reactor building. TEPCO claims that it will fill the crack with concrete.

It also appears that there are raised concerns about hydrogen buildup in reactors 1 and 2, and efforts are being made to avoid an explosion from this hydrogen.
Continue reading Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 15: Water leaking into sea via crack, and concerns over hydrogen buildup