Sea water has now been replaced with fresh water for cooling reactors, and, apparently, spent fuel storage pools. Work continues on restoring power and repairing cooling systems, but the cooling systems remain unrepaired. An interesting development overnight (overday in Japan): A very high radiation reading in Reactor 2 showed what apparently was high enough radiation to cause workers to immediately evacuate, as well as a high enough rate of short-lived radioactive isotope to make it a certainty that fission was happening, if not currently, within the previous few hours, and that radioactive stuff was leaking, according to the engineers, from the core.
Then, later, it was determined that the reading was a mistake. The person who took the reading ran away the moment the reading showed this high level. That may be because the workers who were injured in the radioactive “puddles” in Reactor 3 suffered those injuries in part because they did not believe the high readings they were getting. Policies and procedures were updated, we were told, so that would not happen again.
In the case of last night’s reading, however, it is normal that a second reading would be taken, but that did not happen because the first reading was so astoundingly high that, apparently, running away seemed to be the best thing to do.
At present, we don’t have any reports of new readings that are lower than the very high reading taken some time ago. What we have is the engineers deciding that the very high reading was too high to be believed. I’m not sure how to interpret that. Probably, it was just a bad reading.
Now that you have the necessary background, I give you Ana’s Feed and the usual links to recent news reports and commentary, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) update. Ana is asleep right now, and has not heard about the retraction of the high reading.
Ana’s Feed starting at about 9PM CT 25 March:
Kyodo news: On word from NISA, the highly radioactive pool of water in the turbine room of the no.2 reactor may be coming form the core.
- Some old tracks were repaired to allow a cargo train into the disaster area with 600 tons of much needed fuel. It got stuck on a hill and stalled for a few hours, but did make it eventually, and there are plans to run supplies in everyday. This will help the people to GTHO. So, that’s good.
- Kids in shelters are making models of the homes and neighborhoods they’d like to return to in Fukushima – playgrounds, amusement parks, bowling alleys… “It is comforting for adults to see this hope of the children.” (NHK)
- Speaking of 40 years – it was just the 40th anniversary of the Daiichi plant, TEPCO’s first. Some old head (whose name I missed) came out to say he was “very sorry that the events are happening on the anniversary.” :S
Levels of Iodine 131 in seawater keep rising – up to 1,850 times the legal limit now. -kyodo news
Radioactivity in water of turbine building for reactor no.2 is 10 MILLION TIMES higher than normal. (NHK)
- Samples contain some very short half-life materials. (NHK)
- Details on composition of water in turbine room no.1: PDF
- Over 1,000 millisieverts per hour found in water at No.2 reactor -kyodo news
- Some details on water sample of turbine room no.2:
- I-131, 13 million Bq/cm^3
- I-134, 2.9 billion Bq/cm^3
- Cs-134, 2.3 million Bq/cm^3
- …Cs-137, 2.3 million Bq/cm^3
- (NHK broadcast)
Yukio Edano, on Sun. morning talk shows, said that disclosure of information to residents has not been good enough. He calls on local governments to work with incoming NISA experts to make sense of the data for citizens, speedily, and to give them “a full explanation.” (NHK)
“…preparedness against tsunamis never became a priority for Japan’s power companies or nuclear regulators. They were perhaps lulled, experts said, by the fact that no tsunami had struck a nuclear plant until two weeks ago. Even though tsunami simulations offered new ways to assess the risks of tsunamis, plant operators made few changes at their aging facilities, and nuclear regulators did not press them.” source
(Ana’s Feed is a collection of Analiese Miller’s facebook status entries posted as she takes in the news live in Japan.)
Links to news stories and updates:
- Situation at Fukushima Daiichi brought under control days ago yet media outlets continue hysterical and unscrupulous attempts to frame the situation as a crisis.
- Japanese Rules for Nuclear Plants Relied on Old Science
- Residents question need for nuclear power plant
- Crowd-sourced radiation maps put the hivemind to work for public health
- Alabama Voices: Social structure helps Japanese confront tragedy
- Despite Three Mile Island and Fukushima, nuclear is still the way to go
- With improved safeguards, nuclear plants still practical
- Burials in quake-hit towns deepen Japan’s tragedy
- Germans and Italians march against nuclear power
- Huge jump in radiation inside Japan nuclear plant
- Pets stranded in Japan await their own rescue
- Japanese nuclear firm admits error on radiation reading
- Officials retract reports of extremely high radiation at Fukushima plant
IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (27 March 2011, 13:30 UTC) edited for brevity. Please note that IAEA information is usually several hours old compared to contemporary news reports, but is more carefully vetted and should be considered reasonably accurate. (source)
1. Current Situation
The restoration of off-site power continues and lighting is now available in the central control rooms of Units 1, 2 and 3. Also, fresh water is now being injected into the Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) of all three Units.
Radiation measurements in the containment vessels and suppression chambers of Units 1, 2 and 3 continued to decrease. White “smoke” continued to be emitted from Units 1 to 4.
Pressure in the RPV showed a slight increase at Unit 1 and was stable at Units 2 and 3, possibly indicating that there has been no major breach in the pressure vessels.
At Unit 1, the temperature measured at the bottom of the RPV [reactor pressure vessel, which hold “the core” … gtl] fell slightly to 142 °C. At Unit 2, the temperature at the bottom of the RPV fell to 97 °C from 100 °C reported in the Update provided yesterday. Pumping of water from the turbine hall basement to the condenser is in progress with a view to allowing power restoration activities to continue.
At Unit 3, plans are being made to pump water from the turbine building to the main condenser but the method has not yet been decided. This should reduce the radiation levels in the turbine building and reduce the risk of contamination of workers in the turbine building restoring equipment.
No notable change has been reported in the condition of Unit 4.
Water is still being added to the spent fuel pools of Units 1 to 4 and efforts continue to restore normal cooling functions.
… three workers who suffered contamination are still under observation in hospital.
2. Radiation Monitoring
Dose rates at the Fukushima site continue to trend downwards.
[see the IAEA site for details of IAEA radiation monitoring across the region.]
New data from monitoring of the marine environment, carried out from 24 March 22:55 UTC to 25 March 03:32 UTC about 30 km offshore, show a decrease in both caesium-137 and iodine 131. The contamination at these locations is influenced by aerial deposition of fallout as well as by the migration of contaminated seawater from the discharge points at the reactor. The measured radiation doses rates above the sea remain consistently low (between 0.04 and 0.1 microsievert per hour). The first results of model predictions received from the SIROCCO Group at the University of Toulouse are being assessed.
Recommendations relating to the restriction of drinking water consumption, based on measured concentrations of iodine-131, remain in place in seven locations (in one location for both adults and infants, and in six locations for infants).
As far as food contamination is concerned, samples taken from 23 to 25 March in five prefectures showed iodine-131 in unprocessed raw milk, but the levels were far below the regulation values set by the Japanese authorities. Caesium-137 was also detected in samples of unprocessed raw milk taken on 23 March in Chiba prefecture, but at levels far below the Japanese regulation values. Caesium-137 was not detected in any of the samples taken from 24-25 March in the other four prefectures.
For more information and essays about the Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Reactor problems in Japan CLICK HERE.