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.


Ana’s Feed:

April 13th

“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)
i-1551636aeb04a751e47e20fc409ebff3-clickmetodownloadpdf.jpg

TEPCO confirms damage to part of No. 4 unit’s spent nuke fuel | Kyodo News

  • “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)

Workers continue to remove toxic water, cool spent nuke fuel pools | Kyodo News

  • “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.”

Groundwater radiation level at nuke plant rises: TEPCO | Kyodo News

  • “…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

April 14th

TEPCO to pay 1 mil. yen per household in provisional damages: Kaieda | Kyodo News

  • That’s about $12,000.

Search in 10-kilometer zone begins

  • “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…”

April 16th/17th

“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”

Additional Links

EIA: Renewable resources delivered 11% of U.S. energy production in 2010, just like nuclear power

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.

Radiation Detected in Milk, Air and Water – Is America Safe?

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.

Radioactive leaks increasing at U.S. nuclear plants

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.

EPA: New Radiation Highs in Little Rock Milk, Philadelphia Drinking Water

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

TEPCO confirms damage to part of No. 4 unit’s spent nuke fuel

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 Reaches Crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant

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.

Evacuees slam Japan nuclear plant operator

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.

U.S. offers unmanned chopper to help remove Fukushima spent fuel

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.

Spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi

Here are the latest images from TEPCO of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Radioactivity rises in sea off Japan nuclear 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.

Saying Goodbye to Nuclear: Merkel Takes First Steps toward a Future of Renewables

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)


Find all the updates and more here.

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Comments

  1. #1 daedalus2u
    April 17, 2011

    Greg, to answer your rhetorical question at the end of the other nuke thread; yes there still are questions about long term geologic disposal of nuclear waste, just like there are still questions about AGW, questions about the age of the Earth, questions about evolution, questions about the heritability of things like intelligence and height, and questions about whether tax cuts for the rich will create prosperity for the poor.

    That some questions still remain does not mean that many questions cannot be answered with extreme reliability. That some questions remain does not mean that the best course of action to take right now is to throw up our hands and say “no one knows so lets do nothing”, or “no one knows so lets teach the controversy”, or “no one knows so lets try it”.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2011

    daedalus2u: I can not imagine an alternative to geological caching. We are not disagreeing. (Well, I can, but it’ won’t work.)

    Joffan presented the situation as a closed case, which it is not. The nuclear industry has presented its case in the past, typically, as closed and it never was. It is not at all uncommon, and Fukushima is a great example, for an accident in the energy industry to occur, then to be followed by an understanding that the accident was, in a way, expected, but underrated as important or ignored or mitigation sidestepped by the industry. I assume the same thing will happen with geo-storage of nuclear material. I do not trust the nuclear power industry or the government regulators to not fuck up geological caching, and to a lesser extent I don’t trust the scientists and engineers to avoid convincing themselves that question are settled in order to appease their financial and regulatory masters (which are the same thing given that industry owns the regulators).

    Joffan’s statement was typical of the polarized and thoughtless pro-nuke rhetoric, as much of his commentary is, and I’m calling him on it, that’s a.

    I’ll point out the irony that may have been missed: Joffan produced a blanket disagreement with my characterization of the issue. My characterization of the issue was this: “We need geological storage of spent fuel. Period.” … Joffan’s strategy is to avoid being specific. And in doing so here, he’s disagreed with himself.

  3. #3 Keith
    April 17, 2011

    I don’t trust the scientists and engineers to avoid convincing themselves that question are settled in order to appease their financial and regulatory masters (which are the same thing given that industry owns the regulators).

    I so love that argument. Don’t have to do any serious questioning about one’s assumptions when all you have to do is claim the people who disagree with you are clearly bought and paid for by the people you oppose. You don’t even have to bother with wondering if those bought and paid for people might happen to be right. Because, clearly, only people who are bought and paid for (or else are amazingly ignorant about the Real World) could possibly disagree with your position.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2011

    Keith, I spend a fair amount of energy wondering if they are right, and I am not making an argument that people who don’t agree with me are dishonest or self-deluded or that they buy into biased rhetoric.

    Do you have any basis for making this accusation? I’ll be looking for your response.

  5. #5 Stephanie Z
    April 17, 2011

    Keith, are you suggesting that nothing like that happened in the current case? There’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. Or are you just looking for a reason to dismiss whatever you think Greg’s position may be on this?

  6. #6 Nina
    April 18, 2011

    I think the question about geological caching (as well as nuclear safety in general) is that it just is not possible to be prepared of something you have not thought about and calculated, or something you have dismissed as not plausible or probable… It is not about engineering skills or corruption.

  7. #7 Joffan
    April 18, 2011

    Greg, I don’t really understand your “irony” paragraph. What “blanket disagreement” did I produce? Perhaps you misunderstood something I wrote.

    But yes, safe geological disposal of nuclear waste is a settled issue, as I illustrated previously. I do not believe that it is the only option available, although I’d agree that some geological disposal is probably needed as part of any disposal scheme.

    Meanwhile there is no particular evidence for continuing fission. Continuing heat production is not surprising, and the seriously messed-up inside of the reactors will make cooling circulation hard. Short-life fission products in the water of pool #4 takes a little more explaining, but I think the cross-contamination argument is orders of magnitude more likely than fission start-up, particularly since volatile elements predominate.

  8. #8 markson
    April 18, 2011

    unLike oil-leaking BP plc (BP.L) a year ago, disaster-whipped Tokyo Electric Power (9501.T) is mulling a fire sale of assets to help pay compensation claims against its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
    Still struggling to contain Japan’s worst nuclear crisis, Tokyo Electric, commonly known as TEPCO, is deciding which assets it can offload to help meet compensation that could very well exceed the $20 billion of claims BP received in the past year.

    About 60 percent of the 13 trillion yen ($156 billion) worth of assets on TEPCO’s balance sheet are nuclear plants and other fixed assets used in power production.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    April 18, 2011

    Joffan, I think most people would take “settled issue” to mean something different than you could possibly mean. Or, perhaps, you don’t think that there are valid open questions that need to be addressed before it is actually implemented. (Which are probably addressable.)

    Yes, the presence of short lived fission products as well as the frequent sudden large increases in fission products as well as the heat all suggest that fission continues off and on with unpredictability and irregularity.

  10. #10 daedalus2u
    April 18, 2011

    Greg, if you look at my first comment of this thread, I use analogy to other scientific issues that some people think are “settled” and some people think are not. I think that geological storage of nuclear waste is another such issue.

    People who think geological storage of nuclear waste is not safe enough don’t have any criteria by which they can be convinced that it can be made safe enough, just like the YEC don’t have any criteria by which there would be enough evidence for evolution.

    Nuclear waste has to be somewhere. Either it is left where is is now, or it is moved to a place that is safer. I think that there is no one who could demonstrate that putting nuclear waste in a stable form and putting it a km down in a dry formation of granite or basalt would not be safer than leaving where it is. Is such a place perfectly safe? No, but it is many orders of magnitude safer than where the spent fuel is now.

    If the waste remains recoverable, then if there is some decision in the future that such a storage site is insufficiently safe, then the waste can be removed, reprocessed and put into a safer form in a safer place.

    Leaving it in a recoverable state is not risk free either. Once it has decayed enough to handle (several centuries), then terrorists might steal it and turn it into dirty bombs or something. Future CAM quacks might decide that nuclear waste is good for people and take it out and start selling it.

  11. #11 phillydoug
    April 18, 2011

    Daedalus: “I think that there is no one who could demonstrate that putting nuclear waste in a stable form and putting it a km down in a dry formation of granite or basalt would not be safer than leaving where it is. Is such a place perfectly safe? No, but it is many orders of magnitude safer than where the spent fuel is now.

    If the waste remains recoverable, then if there is some decision in the future that such a storage site is insufficiently safe, then the waste can be removed, reprocessed and put into a safer form in a safer place.”

    This is an argument you seem to be having with yourself. For the fifth time, geologic disposal is the way to go, because no other option presently exists.

    Only you have suggested that anybody (me included, or Greg, or any other comment I’ve read) suggests waiting for a ‘perfect’ answer. That’s entirely from some recess in your mind, and you keep repeating it like a mantra.

    Where there is disagreement may be in our respective views of the degree of forseeable paths to containment failure, even in granite and basalt. But geologic disposal was never the dispute here (except as a convenient distraction for you, I suppose).

    Three weeks in, Daedalus, since I posed the question to you: how is anyone supposed to get at the rods at Daiichi?

    The ones exposed to the environment. The ones spreading radiactive materials in an ever increasing radius?(except in Joffan’s impermeable globe of paranoia)

    Helpful alternatives from daedalus? Still precisely zero.

    Number of times daedalus has suggested anyone questioning how severe the crisis is a ‘fearmonger’? Lost count.

  12. #12 phillydoug
    April 18, 2011

    (from: http://www.globalnews.ca/Robots+report+high+radiation+Japan+nuclear+plant/4633926/story.html)

    “Readings Monday from robots that entered two crippled buildings at Japan’s tsunami-flooded nuclear plant for the first time in more than a month revealed a harsh environment still too radioactive for workers to enter…

    Meanwhile, readings from a water tank in Unit 2 showed a severe spike in radiation that indicates likely damage to the fuel rods inside the spent fuel pool there, TEPCO officials said. That was the first indication of damage to those rods.

    The radiation was far higher than that measured in the spent fuel pool of Unit 4, suggesting the damage to the fuel in Unit 2 is greater…

    Traveling on miniature tank-like treads, the devices opened closed doors and explored the insides of the reactor buildings, coming back with radioactivity readings of up to 49 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 1 and up to 57 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 3.

    The legal limit for nuclear workers was more than doubled since the crisis began to 250 millisieverts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends an evacuation after an incident releases 10 millisieverts of radiation, and workers in the U.S. nuclear industry are allowed an upper limit of 50 millisieverts per year. Doctors say radiation sickness sets in at 1,000 millisieverts and includes nausea and vomiting.”

  13. #13 daedalus2u
    April 18, 2011

    phillydoug, if you agree that geological disposal of nuclear waste is a settled issue, why isn’t it being done?

    Who thinks it is not a settled issue and is still holding it up?

    If they think it is a settled issue and yet are still holding it up, what is their motivation to do so?

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    April 18, 2011

    These have been proposed as explanations:

    1) Picking Yucca Flats as a storage site torpedoed the credibility of those trying to do this.

    2) It is a strategy of the anti-Nuke lobby to force the fuel to stay on site in order to bring the individuals power plants to their knees.

  15. #15 daedalus2u
    April 18, 2011

    Greg, right.

    #1 It was politicians who made the Yucca Flats decisions based on political considerations, not engineers based on scientific and/or technical considerations.

    #2 That is what I have been saying, that anti-nuke activists are playing chicken with the health of people who live near nuclear plants.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    April 18, 2011

    Daedelus: #1 Exactly. Just like politicians putting a space launch system in florida and so on.

    #2: I’m not sure how much of an effect they really had, but probably some.

    One night the mayor of a small town near where I grew up had a fender bender. A big truck did not stop fully at a stop sign and did not have the right of way.

    The truck was an unmarked tanker. The cops showed up. THe mayor wanted to know what was in the truck. There was a big flap about it.

    It turned out the truck contained nuclear material being secretly transported. There was a rule that this sort of material transported through this area on a regular basis (having something do with the nuclear defnse system, not power, as I recall) would not be transported through the center of any of the towns. THe driver was taking a shortcut.

    That event, IIRC, swayed the local opinion about transport.

    There is no trust.

  17. #17 phillydoug
    April 18, 2011

    (from: http://www.tradesignalonline.com/charts/news.aspx?id=785316)

    “The water in the basement of the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is now five meters deep following frequent water-spraying with outside equipment to cool its spent fuel pool, the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Agency said Monday.”

    (from:http://www.globalnews.ca/Robots+report+high+radiation+Japan+nuclear+plant/4633926/story.html)

    “Readings Monday from robots that entered two crippled buildings at Japan’s tsunami-flooded nuclear plant for the first time in more than a month revealed a harsh environment still too radioactive for workers to enter…

    readings from a water tank in Unit 2 showed a severe spike in radiation that indicates likely damage to the fuel rods inside the spent fuel pool there, TEPCO officials said. That was the first indication of damage to those rods.

    The radiation was far higher than that measured in the spent fuel pool of Unit 4, suggesting the damage to the fuel in Unit 2 is greater…

    Traveling on miniature tank-like treads, the devices opened closed doors and explored the insides of the reactor buildings, coming back with radioactivity readings of up to 49 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 1 and up to 57 millisieverts per hour inside Unit 3.

    The legal limit for nuclear workers was more than doubled since the crisis began to 250 millisieverts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends an evacuation after an incident releases 10 millisieverts of radiation, and workers in the U.S. nuclear industry are allowed an upper limit of 50 millisieverts per year. Doctors say radiation sickness sets in at 1,000 millisieverts and includes nausea and vomiting.”

  18. #18 Joffan
    April 18, 2011

    Yucca Flat is the main bomb test site. Yucca Mountain is/was the proposed repository.

    Interesting story about the tanker though, Greg, and it’s revealing that even though there was nothing more to it than a traffic accident, people attach some mysterious extra significance to it. As told here, it does have a kind of urban myth feel to it, as I’m sure you’ll recognize.

  19. #19 jacob m
    April 26, 2011

    Hey I like your post. But if Japan is making or testing with new types of bombs then we mit want to try to kept up with them and start testing cause the rest of the world are doing it to.

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