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.
“A leak in and of itself is generally not considered a violation” – Radioactive leaks increasing at U.S. nuclear plants
Good source for info on radioactive isotopes in CA food and water. – UCB Food Chain Sampling Results | The Nuclear Engineering Department At UC Berkeley
Soil samples from 3 locations in Namie and Iitate taken between March 16 and 19 contain 3.3-32 Bq/kg of strontium-90. (NHK)
Those results must have gotten lost in the mail. Or maybe it’s a really hard test, IDK. In any case, this “would not have a health impact even if an idividual were to eat 1kg of the soil.” (quote from NHK)
- Strontium-90 was also found in plants 40-80km from the plant in Motomiya City, Ono Town, Otama Village and Nishigo Village. (kyodo)
- There is no regulatory standard in Japan for strontium food contamination. (NHK)
The science ministry says radiation levels in seawater off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture are the highest since it began monitoring them about 3 weeks ago. (NHK)
- “Radioactive cesium 25 times above the legal limit for consumption was detected Wednesday in young sand lance caught off Fukushima Prefecture, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.
- One of the sample fish had a level of cesium of 1…2,500 becquerels per kilogram about 500 meters off the city of Iwaki, and 35 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, it said. The limit is 500 becquerels under the Food Sanitation Law.” -ktodoSee More
- April 13 at 8:51pm · LikeUnlike
- 88.5 Bq/liter of I-131 30km off the coast at a MEXT sampling site. (NHK)
- “According to TEPCO, radioactive iodine-131 amounting to 220 becquerels per cubic centimeter, cesium-134 of 88 becquerels and cesium-137 of 93 becquerels were detected in the pool water. Those substances are generated by nuclear fission.”
- Temperatures taken above the pool by remote arm measured 90C degrees. Normal is about 30C. (NHK)
- 84mSv/hr. were measured at a point about 6 meters above the pool. (kyodo)
- “The work began Tuesday evening and an estimated 200 tons of tainted water was moved to a ”condenser,” where in normal operations steam from the reactor is converted into water, by 7:30 a.m. The utility known as TEPCO aims to transfer a …total of 700 tons of polluted water by Thursday.
- Eventually, the operator plans to remove a total of some 60,000 tons of contaminated water, found in the basements of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactor turbine buildings as well as the trenches connected to them, and to store it in nearby tanks and other areas.”
- “…a groundwater sample taken April 6 near the No. 1 reactor turbine building showed radioactive iodine-131 of 72 becquerels per cubic meter, with the concentration level growing to 400 becquerels as of Wednesday. The concentration level of cesium-134 increased from 1.4 becquerels to 53 becquerels.”
Billboard at Daiichi: “This month’s safety slogan: Be sure to check everything and do a risk assessment. Zero disasters for this year.”
VOA Correspondent Reaches Crippled Fukushima-1 Nuclear Plant
- That’s about $12,000.
- “It is the first search in the evacuation zone since the nuclear emergency began after the March 11th quake and tsunami. Fears of radiation have kept search teams away till now.”
“TEPCO collected wastewater samples from the No.1 and No.2 reactors on Wednesday, and found that radioactivity levels had increased dramatically during the past week.”
- More time needed to build tanks to hold wastewater
- ”According to TEPCO, 400 becquerels of iodine-131 and 53 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter were detected in the wastewater of the No.1 reactor. These levels are 6 times and 38 times higher than a week ago respectively. In the N…o.2 reactor, 610 becquerels of iodine-131 and 7.9 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter were detected. These levels are 17 times and 8 times higher than a week ago respectively.”
“The concrete modules are “showing significant cracking and degradation,” even though they were built in 1999 to last for 50 years, NRC said in the letter, which is dated April 7.”
Special note: “data of other nuclides are under examination”. WHAT OTHER NUCLIDES?
”In 2010, for the first time, worldwide cumulated installed capacity of wind turbines, biomass and waste-to-energy plants, and solar power reached 381 gigawatts, outpacing the installed nuclear capacity of 375 gigawatts…”
“The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which dispatches officials to power plants to oversee operations, and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, which advises the government when accidents occur, may be combined”
- Japan May Need to Restructure Nuclear Regulation, Lawmaker Says – Businessweek
- “The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan has failed to send designated experts to Fukushima Prefecture to look into the crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant even though a national disaster-preparedness plan requires …it to do so, many of the experts said Saturday.
- The commission has dispatched members of its secretariat to the prefecture since the crisis began the nuclear complex but a government official said, ”It seems a problem that none of the designated experts has gone to Fukushima. The matter should be examined in the course of post-accident fact-finding.”” -kyodo
“Edano … said at a news conference he cannot overlook that such mistrust is growing among the public, even if close ties between the ministry and the company are not affecting nuclear safety management.”
“…radiation levels in underground water in storage facilities for the Number 1 and 2 reactors were up 38 times the levels observed a week earlier”
In 2010, all forms of renewable energy provided 8.2 quadrillion BTUs of primary energy production in the United States, a little less than 11% of our total production of 74.9 quads. At the same time, nuclear power provided 8.4 quads, a little more than 11% of the total.
Radioactive material from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan has fallen in rain on major cities across the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency has also detected radioactive materials in milk, air and drinking water. The EPA and other government agencies continue to insist that they expected to see some level of radiation on US soil after the Daiichi disaster, and the current radiation levels are not a cause of public health concern. Truthout has identified gaps in the government’s data, however, and nuclear watchdogs are concerned that public officials are not telling Americans the whole story.
Millions of gallons of radioactive water have leaked from nuclear power plants throughout the U.S. since the 1970s, threatening water supplies in New Jersey and other states, an Asbury Park Press investigation found.
Milk from Little Rock and drinking water from Philadelphia contained the highest levels of Iodine-131 from Japan yet detected by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to data released by EPA Saturday
Some of the spent nuclear fuel rods stored in the No. 4 reactor building of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant were confirmed to be damaged, but most of them are believed to be in sound condition, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday.
VOA correspondent Steve Herman was the first of two American reporters to gain entry to the grounds of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi (‘daiichi’ means ‘one’ in Japanese) nuclear power plant on Wednesday. But the duo was permitted no farther than the main gate.
TOKYO — Angry residents forced from their homes near Japan’s tsunami-stricken nuclear power plant gathered in protest at the Tokyo headquarters of the plant’s operator Wednesday demanding compensation as the company’s president pledged to do more to help those affected by the crisis.
The U.S. government has told Japan that it can use a U.S. unmanned cargo transport helicopter to set up cranes to remove spent fuel rods from storage pools at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, Japanese and U.S. sources close to the matter said Saturday.
The K-MAX helicopter, developed jointly by Lockheed Martin Corp. and KAMAN Aerospace Group of the United States, is being considered to set up the huge cranes.
Here are the latest images from TEPCO of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in northern Japan, signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday.
The announcement came after a magnitude-5.9 earthquake jolted Japan on Saturday morning, hours after the country’s nuclear safety agency ordered plant operators to beef up their quake preparedness systems to prevent a recurrence of the nuclear crisis.
When Angela Merkel declared a moratorium on nuclear energy after the recent disaster in Japan, critics accused her of playing politics. Now she appears to be serious. A national summit in Berlin has laid out a six-point plan to move Germany away from nuclear power.
International Atomic Energy Agency Update
The IAEA has put off updates until Monday. The latest update is from Friday, the 15th.
Regarding the reactors and plants:
The transfer of contaminated water from the trench of the Unit 2 Turbine Building to the condenser started on 12 April and continued on 13 April until approximately 660 tonnes were transferred.
To minimize the movement of contaminated water to the open sea, temporary boards to stop water (3 steel plates in total) were installed on 13 April on the ocean-side of the Inlet Bar Screen of Unit 2.
Silt fences have also been installed in the inlet canal and in front of the Inlet Bar Screens of Units 1, 2, 3 and 4. On 11 April, a silt screen was installed at the southern end of the inlet canal. The installation in front of the Inlet Bar Screen of Units 3 and 4 was completed on 13 April and for Units 1 and 2 on 14 April.
As of 14 April, white “smoke” was still observed coming from Units 2 and 3. White “smoke” was also observed coming from Unit 4 on 14 April.
On 13 April, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) reported that the Tokyo Electric Power Compan (TEPCO) had begun to install a backup line for providing fresh water to the Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) at Units 1, 2, and 3.
In Unit 1, fresh water is being continuously injected into the RPV through the feed-water line at an indicated flow rate of 6 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with off-site power. In Units 2 and 3, fresh water is being continuously injected through the fire extinguisher lines at an indicated rate of 7 m3/h using temporary electric pumps with off-site power.
Nitrogen gas is being injected into the Unit 1 containment vessel to reduce the possibility of hydrogen combustion within the containment vessel. The pressure in this containment vessel has stabilised. The pressure in the RPV is increasing as indicated on one channel of instrumentation. The other channel shows RPV pressure as stable. In Units 2 and 3 Reactor Pressure Vessel and Drywell pressures remain at atmospheric pressure.
RPV temperatures remain above cold shutdown conditions in all Units, (typically less than 95 °C). In Unit 1, the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 197 °C and at the bottom of the RPV is 119 °C. In Unit 2, the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 150 °C. In Unit 3 the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 91 °C and at the bottom of the RPV is 121 °C.
On 14 April, a concrete pump truck, with a capacity of 50t/h, began spraying fresh water to the Unit 3 spent fuel pool. In Unit 4, a sample of the water in the spent fuel pool was collected for analysis.
There has been no change in status in Unit 5 and 6 and the Common Spent Fuel Storage Facility.
Regarding radiation monitoring:
On 14 April, depositions of both Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 were detected in 1 and 5 prefectures respectively. For both I-131 and Cs-137, the depositions detected were below 20 Bq/m2 at all stations.
Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures. The values have tended to decrease over time. For Fukushima, on 14 April a dose rate of 2.0 µSv/h was reported. In the Ibaraki prefecture, a gamma dose rate of 0.14 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 beyond 30 km from Fukushima Daiichi. On 14 April, the values in this area ranged from 0.1 to 21 µSv/h.
In cooperation with local universities, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)has set up an additional monitoring programme and measurements of the gamma dose rates are made in 54 cities in 40 prefectures. As of 14 April, the gamma dose rates were below 0.1 µSv/h in 45 cities. In 8 cities, gamma dose rates ranged from 0.13 to 0.17 µSv/h. In Fukushima City, a value of 0.42 µSv/h was observed.
Only in a few prefectures, I-131 or Cs-137 is detectable in drinking water at very low levels. As of 12 April, one restriction for infants related to I-131 (100 Bq/l) is in place in a smallscale water supply in a village of the Fukushima prefecture.
On 14 April, an IAEA Team made measurements at 11 different locations in the Fukushima area at distances ranging from 15 to 39 km, South and Southwest from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At these locations, the dose rates ranged from 0.3 to 2.8 µSv/h. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.16 to 2.5 MBq/ m2. The highest values were observed at distances of less than 23 km from the power plant.
NISA reported on 14 April that among approximately 300 workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 28 have received accumulated doses exceeding 100 mSv in the period related to this emergency. No worker has received a dose above Japan’s guidance value of 250 mSv for restricting the exposure of emergency workers.
Analytical results related to food contamination were reported by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on 14 April for a total of 50 samples taken from 11th to 14 April. Analytical results for all of the samples of various vegetables, mushrooms, fruits (strawberries), various meats, seafood and unprocessed raw milk in ten prefectures (Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Tochigi and Yamagata) indicated that I-131, Cs-134 and/or Cs-137 were either not detected or were below the regulation values set by the Japanese authorities.
On 14 April, the Prime Minister of Japan approved the lifting of restrictions on the distribution of kakina in Tochigi prefecture.
Meanwhile, at sea:
TEPCO is conducting a programme for seawater (surface sampling) at a number of near-shore and off-shore monitoring locations. (See Map 1: TEPCO Seawater Sampling Locations).
On some days, two samples were collected at the same sampling point, a few hours apart and analysed separately.
Until 3 April a general decreasing trend in radioactivity was observed at the sampling points TEPCO 1 to TEPCO 4. After the discharge of contaminated water on 4 April, a temporary increase in radioactivity was reported. Since 5 April, a general downward trend in the concentration of radionuclides in sea water for all TEPCO sampling points has been observed.
On 15 April, new data for TEPCO 1 – 4 sampling points have been reported. At all four locations, the concentration of both I-131 and Cs-137 measured on 12 April was below 2kBq/l.
For TEPCO 5 – 10 no new data have been reported.
MEXT Off-shore Monitoring Programme
MEXT initiated the off-shore monitoring program on 23 March and subsequently points 9 and 10 were added to the off-shore sampling scheme. On 4 April, MEXT added two sampling points to the north and west of sampling point 1. These are referred to as points A and B. (See Map 2: MEXT Seawater Sampling Locations).
The most recent results reported on 11 April showed that Cs-137 was only detected at MEXT 4 (below 100Bq/l). The highest concentration of I-131 (about 90 Bq/l) was also recorded at MEXT 4. For other sampling locations I-131 was reported at levels below about 15 Bq/l.
On 15 April, no new data from any MEXT sampling points have been reported. (see graphics here)