It has been Just over six months since a magnitude 9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In the hours following that incident, nuclear power protagonists filled the blogosphere, the news outlets, and other media with assurances that little could go wrong, that the reactors would be managed, that the disaster would demonstrate, once things had settled down, that nuclear power was, indeed, safe.

One of the first things Ana and I noticed, and we were not alone, is that some of the same stories … in some cases the same exact wording … was showing up in various places, as though planted by apologists for the nuclear power industry. But more worrying than that may have been the naivete of many who were seemingly very trusting of the nuclear power industry than they probably should have been, quite innocently. And, it was becoming increasingly clear that many members of the skeptics community had become convinced over the last several years that anti-nuclear sentiment was irrational, and that somehow this translated into a blind trust for the nuclear power industry being the most rational course. Today, six months after the earthquake, we know that three of the plants fully melted down. We have a rough estimate of how much nuclear material was released from a point in time a few days after the accident to the present, but for the first few days, the estimates are very poor and the amount being released was probably very high, because that is when the meltdowns were occurring. And, there is reason to believe that most of the radioactive material released from this plant was released (and is still being released) into the sea, pretty much uncounted.

The following is a non-comprehensive timeline of some of the events over the first several days of the disaster mixed in with selected comments on this blog, mostly just the very few updates in this series or related posts.

March 11:

9:45 pm local time: 10 mag earthquake hits. The reactors’ cooling systems are irreparably damaged by the earthquake.

10:15 pm: Tsunami hits Fukushima coast. Further damage occurs at the plant.

March 12:

~2:00 am local time, Reactor No 1 is in full meltdown. Most of the nuclear fuel from the reactor escaped the containment vessel and much of that is currently unaccounted for but is probably in the lower pressure vessel and somewhere in the lower parts of the reactor building or in the geological formations underneath it.

Structure over Reactor 1 blows up.

March 13:

Reactor 2 has probably melted down by now.

Partial Meltdown at Unit 3.

A meltdown isn’t apparently what really is to be feared. It wouldn’t mean that the reactor containment is breached, which would be really catastrophic. 3 Mile Island was a partial meltdown but not much radiation was released. So to the people asking about which direction the wind is blowing from Japan, calm down :)

“Bill Nye thinks the situation is much worse than the government would have us believe.”

March 14th plus or minus 30 hours, Reactor 3 fully melts down, unnoticed. Structure over Reactor 3 blows up.

It is generally felt by nuclear power apologists that it is fairly normal for the structures to blow up and there is no real meaning to it. In retrospect, it seems that the explosion of the structures was linked to the meltdowns.

March 15th

Explosion in the “pressure suppression room” damages Reactor 2′s containment system.

Reactor 4 fuel rods catch fire.

March 16th

Greg, I thought you were a more rational blogger than this; you are inadvertently feeding into the hysteria around this situation with the Fukushima nuclear plants by referencing shoddy media reporting. I suggest you and others here take a look at my blog post on the matter … Please take some time to read up on information regarding the Fukushima incident from reputable sources that understand the nuclear physics & engineering involved. Otherwise, you are merely feeding the hysteria.

March 18th

The upper half of the visible portions of those buildings (the parts that “got all blowed up”) are not part of the primary containment. The lower half of the building holds the primary containment. The upper portion is a storage/utility area that is more like typical building construction, whereas the lower portion is built to be far, far stronger. The destruction of the upper level in several of the buildings is a bit misleading as it really is not indicative of the reactor sections of the buildings. Probably a good comparison for you is the Metrodome: the badly damaged roof is not an indication that the Metrodome was destroyed (other than the roof, the rest of the Metrodome is virtually untouched). I think the current belief is that only building 3 has sustained damage to primary containment.

Currently, only radioactive decay is occurring, not a fission reaction. A fission reaction is bad because, not only does it make more heat, but it creates more radioactive isotopes, which will also decay and continue to create more heat.

Since I have a feeling you will read the previous sentence as me suggesting that “everything is fine,” let me be clear. That the reactors themselves have not become significantly worse over the last few days does not mean the situation is not tenuous. They could lose more coolant and still have a meltdown.

In the case of the reactors (even with the partially melted fuel rods), the presence of the control rods and the added boron all prevent this type of sustained reaction by interfering with the neutrons. The boron really poisons the reactions because it absorbs neutrons very well, which is why you might have heard about them seemingly putting boron into everything.
If the reactors go into (full) meltdown, there is a possibility of “criticality” where the molten mass of uranium/cladding/etc. happens to get in a shape where a fission reaction can be sustained, but I think most experts (even those leaning to the anti-nuclear side) would agree this is very unlikely.

I agree that there’s not enough data to know the probability of failure *precisely*. But we can certainly bound it. In something like 14,000 reactor-years of operation there have been three disasters. Maybe the actual rate is 1 in 1,000 years, maybe it’s 1 in 10,000 years. It’s not 1 in 100 years.

I repeat, there was and will *not* be any significant release of radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors.
By “significant” I mean a level of radiation of more than what you would receive on – say – a long distance flight, or drinking a glass of beer that comes from certain areas with high levels of natural background radiation….

Dr Oehman is in fact wrong. Partly. Because he’s talking about the wrong problem. He’s talking about the cores in reactors 1-3. When he says there won’t be a signifcant release of radioactivity from those reactors he’s (apparently) right. Even if the cored melt their way through the steel containment they would wind up as solidified masses on the concrete pan underneath the reactor. A radioactive solidified mass to be sure but one that is still well contained.

There really were no significant releases before late Monday. Oehmen’s article was an accurate snapshot of events up until late Monday.

The news agencies the world over are spreading panic and Greg doesn’t seem to be helping matters. I live in Japan, and it is breaking me heart watching my adopted home being torn apart. The last thing the people suffering here need is bollocks like this being spread.

March 18th:

re Daiichi 2 “The fuel rods in the core were fully exposed at one point.” is misleading: fuel is still in the reactor vessel, water level may have dropped enough to expose the rods in the reactor vessel, but the core is not directly exposed to the environment. re Daiichi report from the reactor operator indicates that fire was seen at the unit twice, but was out both times by the time crews arrived to put it out. Earlier report suggested fire may have been from small spill of lubricating oil?

There’s a blog going around on the internet that says among other things that there’s little need to worry about a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactors because they have “core catchers”, that is a large shallow concrete basin that would catches the molten core and spread it out so that the chain reaction slows down.

There’s a good blog at http://mitnse.com by the MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering department, which helps to give a realistic idea of what is going on and the risks involved. All I’ve read suggests that the media is overplaying the nuclear problems

…it’s very clumsy and unclever satire….

That is the worst trash ive ever read, how can this person still be on scienceblogs.com?? … If you drive a car, you can decide if you drive or not, no one can force you to drive…. Another example: If you are traveling by plane and an accident happens you are for sure 100% dead so are the other people, accidents in a car are different.

… and so on and so forth, with the denialism actually getting stronger (and shifting more towards issues of contamination) …

May 12th, TEPCO confirms the March 12 meltdown.

May 24th TEPCO confirms that plants 1, 2, and 3 all melted down and most of the nuclear fuel escaped form the reactor vessels.

What is interesting about this is not that those strongly expressing what turned out to be abysmally wrong opinions were eventually proved wrong by, well, events; Rather, it is most interesting that they were proved wrong before they had even formed their thoughts, we just didn’t know it yet.

OK, enough about the early days of the crisis, let’s look at Ana’s Feed, which covers the last several day. It seems that Radioactive Cesium is widespread, though the total amount spread about on the land is less in total amount than Chernobyl (but there are significant hot spots). It is now confirmed by one research team that the major explosion (see timeline above) were caused by hydrogen separated out from water by damaged fuel rods in the reactors.

More is now understood about the failures of spent fuel pools at Fukushima; Ventilation systems have not been working reliably, and TEPCO is still spraying water directly at No. 2 reactor, into the specific area where a bunch of post China-Syndrome/Meltdown fuel has accumulated … it isn’t really working; It has continued to be impossible to get people into the parts of the plant where they are needed to inspect, repair, and assess.

A survey of radioactive cesium from Fukushima at sea has been carried out. It will cycle across a major gyre passing first by the Philippines before returning towards Japan. Logs used to grow economically important mushrooms seem to have soaked up an undesirable amount of radiation.

The government in Japan has asked TEPCO to provide manuals prepared for handing disasters. TEPCO is stonewalling, providing only one of two manuals, with much of the text deleted. I suppose they didn’t think it would look like they are hiding things. There are other shenanigans as well.

When our own local plant (the one we drive by several times a year) was being inspected the other day, it was found that the pipes used in the fire suppression system had some blockages. I suppose it could be worse, but that is not good. Some time later this fall, the fate of the controversial aging Vermont Yankee plant will be known when a ruling is rendered following a trial that just ended.

And, much much more:

Ana’s Feed:

Newly Released TEPCO Data Proves Fairewinds Assertions of Significant Fuel Pool Failures at Fukushima Daiichi -Fairewinds video, August 26

http://fairewinds.com/content/newly-released-tepco-data-proves-fairewinds-assertions-significant-fuel-pool-failures-fukush

Difference Engine: Whole lot of shaking -Economist, Sept. 2

-DRENCHED and battered by Hurricane Irene, and facing a clean-up bill pushing $10 billion, residents on the east coast of America have understandably had more on their minds over the past week than the earthquake which struck the Piedmont region of Virginia a day before the tropical storm swept ashore. Yet, the shaking caused by so modest a tremor, at such distances from the epicentre, caught experts by surprise. In the long term, the Virginian earthquake could trigger a bigger shake-up in disaster precautions at nuclear-power stations in America than even the Japanese catastrophe at Fukushima.

-Based on seismic data from 1989, the NRC expects the number of events causing damage to a reactor’s core to be an incredibly minuscule 0.0000038 per year–equivalent to a reactor failing, on average, once every 260,000 years. However, reworking the numbers using seismic data from 2008, and computing the risk for the whole fleet of reactors in America being operated for the further 20-year extension being sought for their current licences, Mr Markey’s staff expect the risk to increase 7,000-fold to a probability of 0.026 per year–ie, one nuclear disaster somewhere in the country every 38 years. In short, another Three-Mile Island some time between now and 2049.

-If that is indeed the case, it is surely time for the NRC to embrace, rather than resist, the lessons of Fukushima in general, and North Anna in particular. Rightly or wrongly, NRC’s foot-dragging on regulatory reform has given the impression of favouring industry interests over public safety. That is neither in the best interest of the nuclear industry itself, nor the public’s need for cheap, carbon-free power.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/09/disaster-prevention

Iran plugs first nuclear power plant into grid -Reuters, Sept. 4

-Iran’s first nuclear power plant has finally begun to provide electricity to the national grid, official media reported on Sunday, a long-delayed milestone in the nuclear ambitions of a country the West fears is covertly try to develop atomic bombs.

-" The Atomic Energy Agency announced that atomic electricity from Bushehr power plant joined the national grid with a power of around 60 megawatts on Saturday at 2329 (1859 GMT)," the official news agency IRNA reported.

-Bushehr’s start-up comes with Russia pushing to revive talks between global powers and Iran about its separate uranium enrichment work , seen abroad as a potential proliferation threat since highly refined uranium fuels atomic bombs.

-Iran says it is enriching uranium only to lower levels suitable for power plant fuel or medical and agricultural uses.

-But it has also started shifting its most sensitive enrichment operations to a mountain bunker that would be better protected against a possible pre-emptive U.S. or Israeli military strike.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/04/iran-nuclear-bushehr-idUSL5E7K409Z20110904

Fukushima evacuees pessimistic about going home -NHK, Sept. 6

-NHK surveyed 187 people living in shelters or temporary housing in and outside Fukushima Prefecture nearly 6 months after the earthquake and tsunami and the start of the nuclear accident.

-Asked if their plans about where they will live have changed compared to right after the disaster, 26 percent of the respondents said they feel a stronger desire to go back to their hometowns.

-But 43 percent said they feel more strongly that they won’t be able to go home, while 11 percent said they’re resolved not to do so.

-Asked why they feel they won’t be able to return or wish not to, many cited what they saw on temporary return visits — run-down houses, deserted towns and high radioactivity readings in their homes.

-Many respondents apparently want the government to restore their land to its pre-disaster state if possible, or government support so they can move elsewhere. Asked what they want from the government, 43 percent said thorough decontamination of soil, and 19 percent said they want the government to purchase their property.

Fukushima residents need apt nuke crisis info to make decisions about future -Mainichi Perspectives, Sept. 7

-About a month after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began, I spoke to a man who had been forced from his home in the town of Tomioka — part of the crisis exclusion zone — and had evacuated to Saitama Prefecture. One thing he said has stuck with me ever since: "The things I want to know the most are, how much radiation is there on my property, and can I ever go home again? I’d like to know as soon as possible, so I can start thinking about the rest of my life."

-At the end of August — nearly six months after the March 11 earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami and the ensuing nuclear crisis — the government finally released a map showing radioactive contamination levels around the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. The government also said that there were some areas "where it may not be possible to return for a very long time."

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20110907p2a00m0na007000c.html

High dioxin levels found in disaster-zone rivers -NHK, Sept. 7

-The Environment Ministry says it does not think the discovery poses any immediate risk to human health, but it will continue to monitor the toxic chemical.

-The ministry checked the sea, rivers and groundwater for dioxins between May and July at 320 locations in 5 prefectures affected by the disaster. The ministry feared that harmful substances may have leaked from factories damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

-It found dioxins exceeding the safety standards at 6 locations in rivers in Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures and in groundwater in Fukushima.

-The high dioxin levels could be harmful if the contaminated water is ingested over a long period of time.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/07_08.html

Japan reeling as Fukushima logs suspect in mushroom radiation contamination -Enformable, Sept. 7

-Tree logs, used as a medium to grow mushrooms, have emerged as possible culprits for radioactive contamination. The farm ministry and the prefectural government are busy trying to come up with response measures.

-”This is the biggest crisis in my 60-year-long professional life,” said 78-year-old Chusuke Saito, who grows “shiitake” and Jew’s ear mushrooms in Fukushima city. Revenue has plunged to one-fifth the level before the March 11 disaster at his direct sales outlet. The wholesale price offered to the farmers’ cooperative has also been cut by half.

-Radioactive cesium exceeding the safety standard of 500 becquerels per kilogram was first detected in April in shiitake mushrooms grown on tree logs outdoors. More cases of radiation in Fukushima mushrooms were detected, and shipment bans were put in effect in 16 municipalities. The bans were still in effect as of Sept. 6.

-It was initially believed that cesium discharged from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had settled on mushrooms grown outdoors. In July, however, excess radioactive substances were detected in shiitake mushrooms grown indoors, indicating the possibility that cesium had been absorbed from contaminated tree logs.

http://enformable.com/2011/09/japan-reeling-as-fukushima-logs-suspect-in-mushroom-radiation-contamination/

Farm minister briefs locals on decontamination plan -NHK, Sept. 7

-Michihiko Kano visited Iitate Village in Fukushima Prefecture on Wednesday to check on experiments his ministry has been conducting since May to remove radioactive material from paddies and other fields.

-One experiment involved scraping topsoil from paddies, resulting in a 75-percent cut in radioactive cesium.

-Other experiments included stirring water that had filled a paddy and removing contaminated soil from the resulting mixture.

-The experiments have helped reduce the levels of radioactive cesium in the area from more than 10,000 becquerels to 2,000 to 3,000 becquerels per kilogram of soil — low enough for farmers to plant rice.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/07_33.html

Toshiba to expand overseas nuclear production -NHK, Sept. 7

-Electronics giant Toshiba will acquire an additional 20 percent of the US nuclear power plant maker Westinghouse Electric. This raises its share to 87 percent.

-Toshiba says it will increase its holdings by purchasing nearly 1.7 billion dollars in shares from US engineering and construction firm Shaw Group.

-Toshiba says it is also considering selling part of its Westinghouse stake to companies that could help it expand its nuclear business overseas.

-It says several companies have already expressed interest, particularly from emerging economies where demand for nuclear power is still strong.

Deer in Tochigi Pref. tainted with cesium exceeding gov’t limits -Kyodo, Sept. 7

Professor’s health warning over radiation in Tohoku produce sparks backlash -Mainichi News, Sept. 7

-A comment made by a university professor on TV that meat and produce from northeastern Japan would "ruin" people’s health has sparked a sharp backlash from a local mayor.

-Chubu University professor Kunihiko Takeda reportedly stated on a Yomiuri TV program on the afternoon of Sept. 4 that "eating vegetables and meat from the Tohoku region will ruin your health," and that "making agricultural products in Tohoku right now is a mistake."

-He made the comments during a part of the TV program devoted to expert answers to children’s questions, pointing to high radiation levels detected in the region and using the city of Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, as an example. When challenged by another participant on the program, Takeda reportedly replied, "I have no intention of withdrawing my comments."

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110907p2a00m0na004000c.html

Nuke holdout resolved to stay put -Japan Times, Sept. 7

-Vines creep across the empty streets of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, its prim gardens overgrown with waist-high weeds and meadow flowers. Dead cows rot where they were left to starve in their pens. Chicken coops writhe with maggots, a sickening stench hanging in the air.

-This once-thriving community of 16,000 people now has a population of one.

-In this nuclear no-man’s land poisoned by radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, rice farmer Naoto Matsumura refuses to leave despite government orders. He says he has thought about the possibility of getting cancer but prefers to stay, with a skinny dog named Aki, his constant companion.

-Nearly six months after the catastrophic quake and tsunami, the 53-year-old believes he is the only inhabitant left in this town sandwiched between the doomed nuclear complex to the north and another sprawling nuclear plant to the south.

-"If I give up and leave, it’s all over," he said. "It’s my responsibility to stay. And it is my right to be here."

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110907f1.html

IAEA to call for nuclear crisis team -Japan Times, Sept. 7

-The International Atomic Energy Agency will call on its members to establish an emergency team to respond to major nuclear accidents worldwide, part of an agency plan to enhance nuclear safety, according to a draft obtained Tuesday.

-The Vienna-based nuclear watchdog also plans to dispatch safety investigators within three years to all member countries who operate nuclear power plants, following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, according to the draft.

-The document is scheduled to be approved by a meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors to be held Monday to Sept. 16.

-During the June ministerial conference, Amano unveiled his plan to conduct snap safety inspections in countries with nuclear power plants. It would have covered about 40 plants, or about 10 percent of the world’s total, over a period of three years.

-But this plan has been watered down by opposition from some member countries, including those planning to build their first nuclear power plants. They regard Amano’s plan as too stringent, and the final draft of the plan specifies that IAEA inspections will be "voluntarily" accepted by member states.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110907a1.html

Kan: Nuclear crisis ‘man-made’ / Ex-PM says poor flow of info hindered N-plant accident response -Yomiuri, Sept. 7

-The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant should be considered a "man-made disaster," and poor communication with the plant’s operator hindered the initial government response, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

-In an exclusive interview, Kan also said he felt "very sorry" for residents of Fukushima Prefecture who would not be able to return to their homes for a long time due to the nuclear crisis.

-"There in fact were various opinions [regarding the safety of the plant] before the accident, but no well-thought-out preparations were made," he said. "In that sense, the nuclear accident should be considered a man-made disaster."

-Question: What do you think was the biggest factor behind the nuclear crisis?

Kan: All the crisis-management arrangements that had been made prior to the accident failed to function properly.

-Q: Do you wish you had responded differently to the crisis?

Kan: Nobody can be 100 percent perfect, but I believe I did what I should have done.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110906004963.htm

TEPCO submits heavily redacted copy of Fukushima nuke accident manual -Mainichi News, Sept. 7

-The House of Representatives Special Committee on Promotion of Science and Technology and Innovation had requested TEPCO submit two operating manuals — one each for accidents and severe accidents — through the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry (METI), but said Sept. 7 that it had received only the former document, which had itself been significantly redacted. The panel, chaired by Hiroshi Kawauchi of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said it needed the manuals and other pertinent documents on Aug. 26 to help probe the cause of the ongoing nuclear disaster, and has requested TEPCO to resubmit the manuals by Sept. 9.

-The 6-page manual for nuclear accidents TEPCO did submit was divided into four sections, including "main item" and "shift supervisor (deputy shift supervisor)." The document was, however, nearly unreadable because most of it had been blacked out. Even those sections left visible had holes, such as one sentence that read: "When reactor pressure rises, stabilizes the pressure at (redacted) Mpa by using an emergency condenser and other techniques, and report."

-According to the METI’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), TEPCO submitted them to NISA on Sept. 2 after seeking a guarantee of nondisclosure the day before. NISA rejected the utility’s request, but then simply delivered the TEPCO documents to the committee.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110908p2a00m0na022000c.html

Va. company picking up tab for uranium-mining tour -Bloomberg, Sept. 7

-A company that wants to mine uranium in Virginia is flying state legislators, local officials and residents to Canada to visit uranium mining and milling operations.

-The trip is one of several sponsored by Virginia Uranium Inc. as it lobbies to end a 1982 moratorium on uranium mining so it can tap a 119-million-pound deposit in Southside Virginia. The uranium deposit is believed to be the largest in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world.

-Project manager Patrick Wales said Tuesday that about 15 company representatives and their guests will travel to Saskatchewan in late September for the three-day tour. In June, the company paid almost $10,000 each to fly more than a dozen members of the General Assembly to France to visit a former mining operation. It was the second trip to France the company had sponsored.

-For legislators, the trips are permitted under state law and reported as gifts.

-Critics contend Virginia’s wet climate is unsuitable for uranium mining, which is primarily conducted in the arid West, and poses environmental risks to drinking water supplies and farmland.

-Virginia Uranium insists mining and milling, which involves the separation of ore from rock, can be conducted safely.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9PJNOMO0.htm

Oswego nuclear worker pleads guilty to falsifying worker safety tests -syracuse.com, Sept. 8

-An Oswego man has pleaded guilty to falsifying tests of safety equipment at the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, federal prosecutors announced this morning.

-Michael McCarrick, a former radiation protection technician at Fitzpatrick, falsified records relating to 32 nuclear plant workers, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said in a news release. The plea said McCarrick documented that the employees had completed tests to make sure emergency respirators were properly fitted and sealed, but no such tests were done.

-No known injuries occurred as a result of the falsified tests.

-McCarrick pleaded guilty to one count of a felony violation of the Atomic Energy Act. He could receive up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Jan. 10.

Japan Official Ordered Nuclear E-Mails, Inquiry Finds -NTY, Sept. 8

-Investigators concluded Thursday that a nuclear plant operator that tried to manipulate public opinion with fake e-mails was acting under instructions from a high-ranking local government official, adding a new twist to a scandal that has hampered Japan’s efforts to restart idled nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster.

-An independent investigative committee found that the governor of Saga Prefecture told the operator, Kyushu Electric Power, to send e-mails supporting the restart of two reactors at the company’s Genkai Nuclear Power Station. The company has already admitted to ordering employees to pose as regular citizens by sending e-mails during an online town-hall-style meeting in June over whether to allow the restart of the reactors.

-Despite the company’s admission, the committee did not accuse the governor, Yasushi Furukawa, of explicitly asking officials to send e-mails masquerading as coming from the public, but only of asking it to send e-mails. Mr. Furukawa has denied requesting any faked e-mails, saying a Kyushu Electric vice president misunderstood his remarks during a private meeting earlier in June.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/world/asia/09japan.html?scp=10&sq=fukushima&st=cse

Pakistani pleads guilty in U.S. nuclear export case -Reuters, Sept. 9

-A Pakistani national pleaded guilty on Friday in a U.S. court to conspiring to commit export violations in a scheme to illegally transfer nuclear-related materials to his home country from the United States.

-The Justice Department said Nadeem Akhtar, 46, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, a Washington suburb, entered the guilty plea at a court hearing in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

-Under his plea agreement, Akhtar, who owned a company called Computer Communication USA, admitted that he and his conspirators used the firm from 2005 through 2010 to obtain or attempt to get various nuclear-related devices and equipment.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/09/us-usa-security-nuclear-idUSTRE78865O20110909

Radiation expert says outcome of nuke crisis hard to predict, warns of further dangers -Mainichi Perspectives, Sept. 9

-The nuclear disaster is ongoing. Immediately after the crisis first began to unfold, I thought that we’d see a definitive outcome within a week. However, with radioactive materials yet to be contained, we’ve remained in the unsettling state of not knowing how things are going to turn out.

-Without accurate information about what’s happening inside the reactors, there’s a need to consider various scenarios. At present, I believe that there is a possibility that massive amounts of radioactive materials will be released into the environment again.

-At the No. 1 reactor, there’s a chance that melted fuel has burned through the bottom of the pressure vessel, the containment vessel and the floor of the reactor building, and has sunk into the ground. From there, radioactive materials may be seeping into the ocean and groundwater.

-The use of water to cool down the reactors immediately after the crisis first began resulted in 110,000 cubic meters of radiation-tainted water. Some of that water is probably leaking through the cracks in the concrete reactor buildings produced by the March 11 quake. Contaminated water was found flowing through cracks near an intake canal, but I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I believe that contaminated water is still leaking underground, where we can’t see it. Because of this, I believe immediate action must be taken to build underground water barriers that would close off the nuclear power plant to the outside world and prevent radioactive materials from spreading. The important thing is to stop any further diffusion of radioactive materials.

-The government and plant operator TEPCO are trumpeting the operation of the circulation cooling system, as if it marks a successful resolution to the disaster. However, radiation continues to leak from the reactors. The longer the circulation cooling system keeps running, the more radioactive waste it will accumulate. It isn’t really leading us in the direction we need to go.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20110909p2a00m0na016000c.html

TEPCO Dumps 565-Page Report on Early Days of Crisis, Says No Re-Melting of Reactor 3 Fuel -EX-SKF, Sept. 9

-The company promises it will upload the English translation as soon as it is done.

-In the press conference on September 9, TEPCO released these charts as part of the evidence that there was no re-melt. TEPCO’s translation is just as bad as the man who pointed finger at TEPCO livecam, but I hope the charts speak volume:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/tepco-dumps-565-page-report-on-early.html

Fukushima disaster: it’s not over yet -Guardian, Sept. 9

-It was an email from an old friend that led me to the irradiated sunflower fields of Fukushima. I had not heard from Reiko-san since 2003, when I left my post as the Guardian’s Tokyo correspondent. Before that, the magazine editor had been the source of many astute comments about social trends in Japan. In April, she contacted me out of the blue. I was pleased at first, then worried.

-Reiko’s message began in traditional Japanese style with a reference to the season and her state of mind. The eloquence was typical. The tone unusually disturbing: "It is spring time now in Tokyo and the cherry blossoms are in bloom. In my small terrace garden, the plants – tulips, roses and strawberries – are telling me that a new season has arrived. But somehow, they make me sad because I know that they are not the same as last year. They are all contaminated."

-Reiko went on to describe how everything had changed in the wake of the nuclear accident in Fukushima the previous month. Daily life felt like science fiction. She always wore a mask and carried an umbrella to protect against black rain. Every conversation was about the state of the reactors. In the supermarket, where she used to shop for fresh produce, she now looked for cooked food – "the older, the safer now". She expressed fears for her son, anger at the government and deep distrust of the reassuring voices she was hearing in the traditional media. "We are misinformed. We are misinformed," she repeated. "Our problem is in society. We have to fight against it. And it seems as hard as the fight against those reactors."

-She urged me to return and report on the story. Five months on, that is what I have tried to do. Driving around Fukushima’s contaminated cities, Iwate’s devastated coastlines and talking to evacuees in Tokyo, I’ve rarely felt such responsibility in writing a story. Reiko and other Japanese friends seemed to be looking not only for coverage, but for an outsider’s judgment on the big question weighing on their minds: is Japan still a safe country?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/09/fukushima-japan-nuclear-disaster-aftermath

Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO Ready to Drive Carbon-Based Workers Even Harder -EX-SKF, Sept. 9

-TEPCO announced on September 9 that 6 workers entered the reactor building of Reactor 3 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and installed a water gauge to measure the amount of contaminated water in the basement. According to the company, the radiation exposure of the 6 workers was between 0.33 to 5.26 millisieverts. The measurement using the water gauge is set to start on or after September 12.

-… TEPCO also disclosed the plan to start removing the debris from the upper floors of Reactors 3 and 4. The work will start in Reactor 3 on September 10, and it will start in Reactor 4 within this month. Upper floors of Reactors 3 and 4 are littered with damaged ceiling panels and exterior wall panels, and it is hoped that the spread of radioactive materials will be suppressed by removing the debris.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-tepco-ready-to.html

Six Months: The Nuclear Refugees -Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9

-Since becoming self-appointed “nuclear refugees” in early July, Minako Ishigooka and her 14-month-old son have been living in a single room in a hostel in Naha, the prefectural seat of the southern island chain of Okinawa.

-Just a few blocks away, the city’s main commercial strip is bustling with vacationers, but Ms. Ishigoooka’s days are spent on mundane tasks like making meals for her son and taking him out for walks. After he goes down for the night, she sits at the inn’s communal computer until 2 a.m. to gather news about radiation on Twitter.

-She and her son have been to the beach only once but that doesn’t bother her. “At least here, I can let him play outside,” the 35-year-old mother from Tokyo says.

-Fears of flare-ups in the nuclear situation or worries about radiation contamination of food have driven some residents of cities hundreds of kilometers from the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi plant to seek new homes. Many of them are mothers with young children like Ms. Ishigooka — the group most vulnerable to the potential effects of radiation.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/09/09/six-months-the-nuclear-refugees/

NRC rejects quick restart at Virginia nuclear plant -Reuters, Sept. 9

-The 1,806-megawatt station has remained shut since it automatically tripped last month after the unusually strong 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 12 miles (19 km) from the plant in Mineral, Virginia.

-On Thursday, Dominion officials said Unit 1 could be "physically" ready to restart by Sept. 22.

-Dominion also said Unit 2 — set to begin a refueling outage in late September — could be refueled and ready to restart by mid-October.

-An official from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, however, noted that the agency’s special inspection team may be finishing work at the site around Sept. 22 and warned that more meetings will likely be needed between Dominion officials and the NRC to better understand the company’s plan to restart the plant.

-Dominion officials said it now appears the reactors shut when the earthquake caused a problem inside the cores at both units rather than from the loss of outside power to the plant as initially reported.

-"It looks like the (fuel) rods were going into the core prior to the transformer opening," possibly from a relay problem, a Dominion executive said.

-Dominion is still working to understand the "root cause" of the plant shutdown as multiple automatic trip signals from various indicators were received within seconds of the quake.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/09/utilities-operations-dominion-northanna-idUSN1E78724S20110909

Nuke regulators bring Yucca Mountain waste plan closer to death -The Hill, Sept. 9

-The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) acted Friday to end review of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, handing a victory to the Obama administration in its ongoing effort to kill the project.

-The NRC split 2-2 in failing to decide whether to uphold or reject a decision by its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), which last year rejected the Energy Department’s attempt to withdraw the license application for the Nevada project.

-But the NRC, citing funding constraints, instructed the ASLB to close out its work on the project by the end of this fiscal year, which is the end of the month.

-The Energy Department, while seeking to shut down the Yucca project, said it’s committed to finding a long-term solution to disposing of nuclear waste that’s piling up at the nation’s nuclear reactors.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/180655-nuke-regulators-bring-yucca-mountain-waste-plan-closer-to-death

Sea radiation ’3 times higher than thought’ -Yomiuri, Sept. 10

-The total amount of radioactive substances released into the sea as a result of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is believed to have been three times the initial estimate by the plant’s operator, according to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

-A team led by senior researcher Takuya Kobayashi estimated the actual quantity at 15,000 terabecquerels, including substances in polluted water and substances released into the air that eventually fell into the sea. Tera means one trillion.

-The figure is more than triple the estimate by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Also, the new estimate does not include cesium-134, meaning the actual total could be even larger.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110909005415.htm

Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Steel Frame for Cover for Reactor 1 Is Ready -EX-SKF, Sept. 10

-On September 10, the workers started to set up the panels. Soon, all you’ll get to see from Google Earth will be the Reactor 1 as if nothing happened.

-Looking at Fuku-1 Livecam video, the bottom third is already covered with panels.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-steel-frame-for.html

East Coast Earthquake: Twice What Nuclear Plant Designed to Withstand -ABC News, Sept. 10

-The 5.8-magnitude earthquake last month in Virginia caused about twice as much ground shaking as a nearby nuclear power plant was designed to withstand, according to a preliminary federal analysis.

-Parts of the North Anna Power Station in Mineral, Va., 11 miles from its epicenter, endured jolts equal to 26% of the force of gravity (0.26g) from some of the vibrations unleashed by the quake, said Scott Burnell, spokesman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

-An NRC document says the reactors’ containment structure was built to withstand 12% of the force of gravity (0.12g.) Dominion, the plant’s operator, says parts of the plant can handle up to 0.18g.

-Dan Stoddard, Dominion’s senior vice president of operations, said Friday that initial readings from the facility’s scratch plates and other monitors indicate its shaking during the quake exceeded its design, but he declined to give numbers. Dominion officials plan to brief the NRC today on those findings.

-Stoddard said the quake caused "no significant damage" to the facility, based on Dominion’s ongoing inspections. He said there were some cosmetic cracks in concrete and floor tiles and 25 of 27 vertical casks holding spent-fuel assemblies moved up to 4.5 inches.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/quakes-jolts-double-nuke-plants-design/story?id=14469070

Nuclear Experts Say U.S. Learned Nothing From Fukushima -Care2, Sept. 10

-Sunday marks the six-month anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis.

-In anticipation of that milestone, three leading U.S. experts held a news conference Friday to outline both what is now known in the wake of the Fukushima and where things stand for the nuclear power industry in the United States.

-The overwhelming opinion of the panel, which included Peter Bradford, former member of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Edwin Lyman, Ph.D., senior scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists and Dr. Andrew Kanter, national board president-elect, Physicians for Social Responsibility, was that major lessons from the Japanese nuclear disaster are in danger of going unheeded.

-The experts outlined eight concerns and lessons from this crisis that should guide decisions regarding the future of nuclear power in the U.S.:

http://www.care2.com/causes/nuclear-experts-say-u-s-learned-nothing-from-fukushima.html#ixzz1XziTgqbw

Costs, risks, and myths of nuclear power, NGO world-wide study on the implications of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station -pdf report, coordinated by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/resources/publications/costs-risks-myths/report.pdf

Japan anti-nuclear protests mark 6 months since quake -Reuters, Sept. 11

-Anti-nuclear protesters took to the streets of Tokyo and other cities on Sunday to mark six months since the March earthquake and tsunami and vent their anger at the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis set off by meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant.

-In one of the largest protests, an estimated 2,500 people marched past the headquarters of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company , and created a "human chain" around the building of the Trade Ministry that oversees the power industry.

-Protesters, marching to the beat of drums,called for a complete shutdown of nuclear power plants across Japan and demanded a shift in government policy towards alternative sources of energy.

-Among the protestors were four young men who declared the start of a 10-day hunger strike to bring about change in Japan’s nuclear policy.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/11/japan-quake-protests-idUSL3E7KB03H20110911

Nuclear experts discuss radiation in Fukushima -NHK, Sept. 11

-Nuclear experts from around the world have exchanged views on how to provide information about radiation exposure.

-Some 40 experts from 14 countries are taking part in the 2-day meeting in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture.

-An US epidemiologist, John Boice, said he does not think people’s health will be affected by the Fukushima accident. He said Japan prevented contaminated food from being distributed, unlike what happened after the Chernobyl accident.

-Boice said counseling and timely information are essential for those worried about radiation in food.

-There was also a suggestion that comparative data with other risks such as traffic accidents should have been made available.

-Makoto Akashi, whose organization is co-sponsoring the gathering, said he hopes to find ways to convince people that there will be no health impact from radiation from the Fukushima accident.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/11_18.html

Not enough whole body counters to go around -Japan Times, Sept. 11

-The health department in Kashiwa, a city in Chiba Prefecture with multiple radiation hot spots, has received numerous inquiries from worried residents wanting to find out their internal radiation levels.

-Kashiwa official Seiichi So meya says he understands their concerns, especially when it involves parents with small children, but he still has to ask them to wait.

-"We want to (conduct radiation checks) and are holding discussions with a radiation research institute, but there is no concrete plan yet," he said.

-There are at least 106 whole body counters in Japan, according to research by a government panel on helping victims of the nuclear accident. Power companies have 49 of the machines at their nuclear plants, although four at the leaking Fukushima No. 1 complex, another four at the Fukushima No. 2 plant and one of the two devices at the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture were damaged in the March 11 disasters and are out of commission. Hospitals and research institutes own the rest.

-Kazue Suzuki, a Greenpeace Japan official, has called for radiation checks using whole body counters to be carried out on everybody in Fukushima and its neighboring prefectures.

-"We checked the urine of 10 randomly selected people in the city of Fukushima, which is not designated as an area where residents have to evacuate, and all 10 of the samples were found to contain radioactive cesium. That’s a big warning sign," Susuki said.

-But municipalities outside Fukushima Prefecture haven’t been checking residents’ internal radiation levels and have no plans to do so anytime soon, claiming it is an unnecessary measure.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110911f2.html

Plugging leaks will end crisis, not cold shutdown: analysts -Japan Times, Sept. 11

-The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the crippled plant, are working to bring the three reactors into cold shutdown by mid-January.

-Cold shutdown means the temperature at the bottom of the pressure vessel, which holds the core, has been lowered to less than 100 degrees.

-This critical milestone, known as "Step 2" in Tepco’s road map for containing the crisis, would limit the release of radioactive materials from the plant to less than 1 millisievert per year, a level that poses no health risks.

-Since work at the plant is proceeding relatively smoothly, it appears likely the mid-January target will be met.

-But Fukushima No. 1 will still have a long way to go before the flooded plant’s reactors are stable enough to be considered safe, experts warn. The main reason is the abundance of highly radioactive water.

-Before the Fukushima crisis can be said contained, the holes and cracks from which the water and fuel are escaping must be located and sealed. But this extremely difficult task could take years because the radiation near the reactors is simply too high to let workers get near them.

-"It’ll be too early to say that the situation has reached a stable phase even after Step 2 is completed," said Chihiro Kamisawa, a researcher at Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, a nonprofit group of scientists and activists opposed to nuclear power.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110911f1.html

Minami Soma residents clean streets for children -NHK, Sept. 11

-The city’s Masuda district is less than 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, and residents have been advised to be prepared to evacuate immediately when another emergency situation occurs.

-The elementary and junior high schools in the area remain closed.

-On Sunday, more than 30 people cleaned up a 500-meter stretch of a road that will be used by children when the schools reopen.

-They measured radiation levels as they washed the sidewalks with high-pressure equipment and removed dirt from the sides of the road with spades.

-Thanks to their efforts, radiation levels in some places have fallen from 3.6 microsieverts per hour to about one-third of that level.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/11_17.html

After Fukushima, mother fights to get her life back -Reuters, Sept. 11

-Even before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck knocking out the Fukushima nuclear plant, Aya’s life was a struggle.

-She had divorced her abusive husband and was left on her own to care and provide for her two daughters.

-Now, six months after she fled her home just 9 km (6 miles) away from the radiation-spewing plant, the 26-year old single mother is barely surviving. She has no job, languishes in hiding from her violent ex-husband in temporary housing and will probably never see her home again.

-"It feels like a hole has opened inside me. My home was so important to me and I felt safe there," said Aya who would not give her family name or disclose her exact location out of fear her ex-husband could find her.

-"It’s like time has just stopped. Ever since March 11, the time has stopped for me."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/12/us-japan-disaster-mother-idUSTRE78B08H20110912

Radioactive Yogurt in Miyagi Prefecture, 6.5 Bq/kg Radioactive Cesium -EX-SKF, Sept. 11

-According to the table below from the Ministry of Health, the yogurt was sold in Niigata Prefecture, and tested by the lab in Niigata Prefecture. The yogurt contained 3.4 becquerels/kg of cesium-134, and 3.1 becquerels/kg of cesium-137. It was made in Kami-machi in Miyagi Prefecture, about 135 km from Fukushima I Nuke Plant. But the distance doesn’t mean much, as the raw milk used to make yogurt could have come from anywhere and everywhere. (They do mix and match.)

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/radioactive-yogurt-in-miyagi-prefecture.html

Japan may create nuclear safety training institute -Japan Times, Sept. 12

-Japan will consider setting up a nuclear safety training institute to improve the quality of human resources involved in nuclear safety, according to an updated government report on the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

-The report, which will be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency ahead of its general conference later in the month, also said work to contain the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is proceeding steadily, but "several more months" are needed to bring damaged reactors to a state known as "cold shutdown."

-At the outset of a government meeting on Sunday to endorse the report, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said that the fight to contain the nuclear crisis is "still halfway."

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110912a4.html

Explosion at French nuclear waste plant -Guardian, Sept. 12

-An explosion at a French nuclear waste processing plant that killed one person and injured four others sparked fears of a radioactive leak on Monday.

-An emergency safety cordon was thrown around the Marcoule nuclear site near Nimes in the south of France immediately after a furnace used to melt nuclear waste exploded and caused a fire. It was lifted later in the day after France’s nuclear safety agency, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), said there was no danger to the public.

-Reports said the body of one male worker at the plant had been "found carbonised", but there was no evidence that the explosion had caused any radioactive leak, though the ASN admitted there was the "possibility of a leak of low-level radioactivity, but no shooting of radioactivity in the air". There was no information as to the cause of the explosion.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/12/french-nuclear-plant-rocked-explosion

Noda to appoint Edano as next industry and trade minister -Japan Today, Sept. 12

-Yukio Edano, the face of Japan’s government following the March tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis, was on Monday named as industry minister after his predecessor quit over controversial remarks.

-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda appointed Edano as the new minister for economy, trade and industry, replacing Yoshio Hachiro, who abruptly resigned late Saturday after a series of gaffes.

-In an early embarrassment for Japan’s new government, Hachiro, 63, resigned Saturday after only eight days in the job over comments deemed insensitive to evacuees from crisis-hit Fukushima.

-He provoked anger when he called the area around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant a “shi no machi” or a “town of death.”

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/edano-to-be-next-industry-and-trade-minister

Research on US nuclear levels after Fukushima could aid in future nuclear detection -TerraDaily, Sept. 12

-The amount of radiation released during the Fukushima nuclear disaster was so great that the level of atmospheric radioactive aerosols in Washington state was 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than normal levels in the week following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster.

-Despite the increase, the levels were still well below the amount considered harmful to humans and they posed no health risks to residents at the time, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

-The findings, published by a mechanical engineering professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering and researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), provide important insight into the magnitude of the disaster. They also demonstrate huge advancements in the technology that’s used for monitoring nuclear material and detecting covert nuclear operations around the world.

-"As the measurements came in sooner and at higher concentrations than we initially expected, we quickly came to the conclusion that there were some major core melts at those facilities," Biegalski said.

-"I remember being in the lab thinking, ‘Wow, if this is all true we have a far more bigger accident than what we’re hearing right now."

-The thought was confirmed by data collected by he and PNNL researchers. Their study reports that more radioxenon was released from the Fukushima facilities than in the 1979 meltdown at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania and in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Research_on_US_nuclear_levels_after_Fukushima_could_aid_in_future_nuclear_detection_999.html

Fukushima Reactors Now ‘Stable,’ IAEA Says -NYT, Sept. 12

-The reactors at Japan’s crippled Fukushima atomic power plant are now "essentially stable," the U.N. nuclear chief said on Monday, six months after the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century.

-Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the expectation was that a "cold shutdown" of all reactors would be achieved as planned.

-"The plant operator and the Japanese authorities have been working hard to regain full control of the situation and have made steady progress in the past six months," he told the 35-nation governing board of the Vienna-based U.N. agency.

-"The situation at the site remained very serious for many months. The agency’s assessment now is that the reactors are essentially stable," he added.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/09/12/world/asia/news-us-nuclear-japan-iaea.html?_r=3

Entergy, Vermont battle over nuclear plant’s fate -Reuters, Sept. 12

-Power company Entergy faced off against the state of Vermont in U.S. court on Monday to fight a landmark effort to force the closure of its aging nuclear power plant.

-In the first day of a three-day trial to determine the fate of the Vermont Yankee plant, Entergy’s (ETR.N) lawyers said Vermont politicians had infringed on the role of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which monitors the nation’s 104 commercial power reactors.

-New Orleans-based Entergy in April sued the state and Gov. Peter Shumlin in U.S. District Court, saying Vermont violated terms of Entergy’s deal to buy the reactor in 2002 by giving politicians the power to shut it.

-At issue is a law passed by the Vermont General Assembly in 2006 that New Orleans-based Entergy said put Vermont Yankee’s fate in the hands of elected officials rather than the state utility regulator, the Public Service Board.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/12/entergy-vermont-idUSN1E78717W20110912?feedType=RSS&feedName=utilitiesSector

NRC Staff Proposes Earthquake Hazard Reviews ‘Without Delay’ -Bloomberg, Sept. 12

-The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission should require power-plant owners to re-evaluate “without delay” their readiness to withstand earthquakes and floods, the agency’s staff said.

-The staff identified seven regulatory steps that have the “greatest potential for safety improvement in the near-term,” according to a Sept. 9 memorandum to the commission, released today. The actions include a review of seismic and flooding hazards and rules to help nuclear plants handle the loss of electric power to the site.

-An agency task force in a July report recommended 12 regulatory changes the NRC should make to improve safety at U.S. power plants after an earthquake and tsunami in March caused meltdowns and radiation leaks at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. The staff plans to prioritize the recommendations by Oct. 3.

-All of the task force’s “overarching recommendations, if adopted, would enhance safety and the staff agrees with moving forward with each of these recommendations,” according to the memo.

-"I really don’t see any of these recommendations that we should not move forward on,” NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said of the task force’s report during a Sept. 7 interview. “They’re all common-sense recommendations.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-12/nrc-staff-proposes-earthquake-hazard-reviews-without-delay-1-.html

IAEA states adopt nuclear safety action plan -Reuters, Sept. 13

-The U.N. atomic agency’s 35-nation board adopted a plan on Tuesday to strengthen global nuclear safety following Japan’s Fukushima accident six months ago, despite criticism from several states that the proposals had been watered down.

-The board of governors approved by consensus the eight-page document put forward by Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), setting out a series of voluntary steps meant to enhance standards worldwide.

-A governors’ debate on the issue underlined divisions between states seeking stronger international commitments and others wanting safety to remain an issue strictly for national authorities.

-"There were a number of critical voices," one diplomat said about the closed-door discussions, referring to states which made it clear they wanted firmer measures from the IAEA.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/13/nuclear-safety-iaea-idUSL5E7KD1IY20110913

GSDF holds emergency evacuation drill near stricken Fukushima nuclear plant -Mainichi News, Sept. 13

-The Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) and residents of the zone between 20 and 30 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant held an emergency evacuation drill on Sept. 12.

-The drill, held in preparation for any further large-scale emission of radioactive materials from the plant, was the first involving local residents. The GSDF held a similar drill without civilian participation in July.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110913p2a00m0na010000c.html

Inside Japan’s nuclear ghost zone -BBC, Sept. 13

-Nothing stirs in the empty heart of Tomioka, a community of 16,000 now reduced to the eerie status of a ghost town after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

-The shops of the main street are deserted, motorbikes and cars are abandoned, weeds push through gaps in the concrete.

-Vending machines selling drinks and snacks – always popular in Japan – stand unlit and silent.

-Tomioka lies just inside the 20km exclusion zone that was hurriedly enforced last March when a radioactive cloud escaped from the stricken power plant.

-We continually operate a Geiger counter – and though the radiation level rises slightly once we cross into the zone, it is even lower than we had expected.

-For the record, during the course of a three-hour visit – which we kept deliberately short to minimise the risks – the rate averages about three microsieverts per hour.

-We estimate our total dose to be roughly half that of a typical chest X-ray.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14887765

Japan plans floating wind power for Fukushima coast -Reuters, Sept. 13

-Japan will join the race to develop floating wind turbines to use in deepwater off its tsunami-stricken northern Pacific coast as it rethinks energy sources after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

-It aims to outpace the leaders in the sector in Europe, trade ministry official Masanori Sato said on Tuesday.

-"In order to take lead in offshore wind power, we want domestic studies and developments to take place and manufacturers to boost capabilities," said Sato.

-"From the viewpoint of supporting reconstruction and promoting wind power, we believe it is good to pursue research and development for offshore wind farms," he said.

-In the next five years, Japan plans to spend 10 to 20 billion yen to install six or more floating turbines off the northeast coast. It will work with firms including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries, Sato said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/13/us-japan-wind-idUSTRE78C41M20110913

Tepco creditors should share financial burden -Edano -Reuters, Sept. 13

-Creditors and shareholders of troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) should share in the burden of restructuring the utility as it grapples with huge costs from its crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan’s new trade minister Yukio Edano said on Tuesday.

-"The reasons for supporting Tepco with taxpayer money do not include protecting creditors and shareholders," Edano told a regular news conference.

-"Here, I am stating a general principle that they should shoulder a burden, which they would have to shoulder anyway if there were no such (taxpayer) support."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/13/tepco-edano-idUSL3E7KD22Q20110913

Radioactive Landfill: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Has Been Doing It Since May -EX-SKF, Sept. 13

-Yokohama City residents had just enough time to get organized very quickly and were able to halt (for now) the start of dumping of radioactive sludge ashes into the ocean in their final processing facility at the end of Minami Honmoku Pier on Tokyo Bay.

-Tokyo residents either did not have a chance to do so because they didn’t know, or they didn’t care.

-It turns out that Tokyo Metropolitan government has been dumping sludge from its water purification plants and burned ashes from the sewer sludge from the sludge plants in its landfill in Tokyo Bay at least since late May. The huge landfill is right near the Haneda Airport. (Photo from the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Environment)

-On June 3, Tokyo Metropolitan government announced the result of air radiation survey done on the landfill locations where the radioactive sludge and ashes were being dumped, and that’s how some people (mostly bloggers as far as I’ve found) noticed it and wrote about it.

-The Bureau of Environment announcement says the facility accepts "sewer sludge ashes and sludge from water purification plants are accepted if they are mixed with cement or if they are wetted". (下水汚泥焼却灰、上水スラッジは、セメント混練りや湿潤化したものを受け入れている) The Bureau also says that they pile dirt on top of the fill for "appropriate management" of the sludge and ashes buried there.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/radioactive-landfill-tokyo-metropolitan.html

Fukushima cesium contamination widespread but less than Chernobyl -Asahi, Sept. 14

-An extensive area of more than 8,000 square kilometers has accumulated cesium 137 levels of 30,000 becquerels per square meter or more after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to Asahi Shimbun estimates.

-The affected area is one-18th of about 145,000 square kilometers contaminated with cesium 137 levels of 37,000 becquerels per square meter or more following the 1986 Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union.

-The contaminated area includes about 6,000 square kilometers in Fukushima Prefecture, or nearly half of the prefecture. Fukushima Prefecture, the third largest in Japan, covers 13,782 square kilometers.

-The government has not disclosed the size of the area contaminated with cesium 137 released from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant. Cesium 137 has a long half-life of about 30 years.

-The Asahi Shimbun calculated the size of the contaminated area based on a distribution map of accumulated cesium 137 levels measured from aircraft, which was released by the science ministry on Sept. 8.

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201109130348.html

Cesium in Pacific likely to flow back to Japan in 20-30 years -Mainichi News, Sept. 14

-Radioactive cesium that was released into the ocean in the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is likely to flow back to Japan’s coast in 20 to 30 years after circulating in the northern Pacific Ocean in a clockwise pattern, researchers said Wednesday.

-Researchers at the government’s Meteorological Research Institute and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry disclosed the findings at a meeting of the Geochemical Society of Japan, an academic association, in Sapporo.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110914p2g00m0dm104000c.html

Hydrogen dissolved from water exploded at Fukushima nuclear reactor: experts -Mainichi News, Sept. 14

-The No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant exploded four days after the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, and experts believe the explosion occurred partly because huge amounts of hydrogen were produced in the process of water being dissolved by radiation in a boiling spent nuclear fuel pool.

-A group of researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency made an analysis of the hydrogen explosion at the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power station. The finding will be announced at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan meeting in Kitakyushu that kicks off on Sept. 19. Radiation dissolves water into hydrogen and other elements.

-When the explosion occurred, there were 1,535 fuel rods in the fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor, the largest number among the No. 1 to 4 reactors. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, the No. 4 reactor was suspended for regular inspections, but it lost power supply to the tsunami. The explosion occurred at the reactor on March 15, four days after the quake-triggered tsunami, because it lost cooling functions.

-In reference to the No. 1 and 3 reactors where hydrogen explosions occurred, hydrogen is believed to have been produced from damaged fuel rods in the reactors. But there was no serious damage to the fuel rods in the No. 4 reactor. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex, assumes that hydrogen entered the No. 4 reactor from the No. 3 reactor through a common exhaust pipe and exploded.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110914p2a00m0na012000c.html

Japanese Nuclear Plant Has Ventilation Malfunction, NISA Says -Bloomberg, Sept. 14

-A Japanese nuclear plant had a malfunction in its ventilation system, the country’s atomic regulator said. There was no radiation leakage outside the reprocessing plant northeast of Tokyo.

-Three ventilation units failed to restart for about 20 minutes yesterday due to a timer malfunction, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said in a statement today. The plant in Tokai village in Ibaraki prefecture is operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-14/japanese-nuclear-plant-has-ventilation-malfunction-nisa-says.html

Fukushima survey sparks call for allocation of personal radiation monitoring badges -Mainichi News, Sept. 14

-The National Cancer Center has called for radiation monitoring badges to be distributed to residents of Fukushima Prefecture following a survey on health workers that failed to find a correlation between their radiation dosages and the time they spent outside.

-On Sept. 13, the center and Mutsuko Watarai, an associate professor at Tokyo Health Care University, released the results of a radiation exposure survey on health workers in areas near the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. The workers were given radiation monitoring devices called "glass badges" to determine their radiation exposure. However, no correlation was seen between their exposure levels and the time they spent outside, suggesting that determining residents’ radiation exposure by simply asking when and where people were at certain times would be difficult.

-"Glass badges should be distributed to the people of Fukushima as soon as possible," said Takamasa Kayama, chief director of the National Cancer Center, indicating that the center would work to win understanding from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Fukushima Prefectural Government.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110914p2a00m0na013000c.html

Fukushima man opts to be guinea pig -Japan Times, Sept. 14

-Nobuyoshi Ito is skeptical of the reported effects of radiation from the leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. So skeptical, in fact, that he decided to put himself on the front line of radiation research.

-Ito, whose home in the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, is located a little more than 30 km from the power station, has ignored official recommendations to evacuate, and is instead standing his ground in a designated radiation hot spot to become a human guinea pig.

-"I never wear a mask and go about my chores in my regular everyday clothes," said Ito, 67, a former IT engineer turned farmer who refers to the radiation still being emitted by the plant’s stricken reactors as the "invisible tsunami."

-"There are two camps when it comes to the effects of radiation: the antinuclear folk, who tell us even a small dose of radiation is dangerous to human health, and others who say even much higher doses contain less cancer risk than that caused by such factors as smoking or even food. I decided to become a human guinea pig to help settle the argument."

-Ito is one of only nine residents left in the village, according to the local government — which has relocated its municipal offices outside Iitate.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110914f1.html

Expert panel starts discussing decontamination -NHK, Sept. 14

-An expert panel has begun discussing effective ways to remove radioactive materials from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

-Experts on radiation and soil pollution on Wednesday attended the first meeting of the panel set up by the Environment Ministry.

-Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told the panel that decontamination is Japan’s top priority, and that the country faces the challenge of decontamination on an unprecedented scale.

-In Fukushima Prefecture, municipalities near the plant have launched their own efforts to decontaminate buildings and soil.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/14_26.html

Sunflower Planting Hardly Did Anything to Reduce Radioactive Cesium in Soil -EX-SKF, Sept. 14

-Well, it sure looked pretty, a field of sunflowers, but if the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is to be believed, it did not do much more than looking pretty, and creating radioactive sunflowers that’ll have to be somehow safety disposed as nuclear waste.

-The farmland whose radioactive materials in the soil would exceed 5,000 becquerels/kg (limit above which the planting of rice is prohibited) is estimated to be 8,300 hectares [about 20,500 acres]. From the result of the experiments, in case of the farmland whose radioactive material density exceeds 10,000 becquerels/kg, it may be difficult to reduce the level down below 5,000 becquerels/kg unless the surface soil is removed. Between 5,000 and 10,000 becquerels/kg, there may not be other choices but removing the surface soil.

-If the surface soil is removed in 8,300 hectares, the amount of contaminated soil generated would exceed 3 million tonnes. The Ministry says it hopes to develop a technology to remove cesium from the soil so that the soil can be put back in the field.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/sunflower-planting-hardly-did-anything.html

Nuclear miscalculation: Why regulators miss power plant threats from quakes and storms -iwatchnews.org, Sept. 14

-The earthquake that shut down a Virginia nuclear power plant on Aug. 23, cracking floor tiles, a containment building, and shifting highly radioactive spent fuel storage casks, was more than twice as strong as the reactors were designed to withstand.

-Hurricane Irene also struck with unexpected intensity, threatening nuclear plants along the East Coast and shutting down a Maryland reactor after metal siding blew into high-power lines on a transformer.

-Earlier this year, other events considered improbable shook supposedly unshakeable nuclear plants: Japan’s quake and tsunami, unleashing disaster at Fukushima, historic floods along the Missouri River, unusually destructive tornadoes spinning through the South. One storm toppled transmission towers, knocking out power to the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama, which relied on emergency backup systems for five days.

-Repeatedly, unanticipated events have tested nuclear power plants in new ways — and challenged the assumptions of those who operate them and oversee them for safety. Just how well-equipped are U.S. nuclear plants to handle the unexpected? How prepared are operators and regulators to forestall disaster in the face of a threat beyond their expectations?

-Nobody knows for sure.

-Key findings:

Designers, operators and regulators of nuclear power plants believe they need plan only for events that are statistically probable – thus neglecting events that can endanger the public and the environment

Assumptions and calculations of risk are valid only if accident scenarios play out according to predictions. Those assumptions and calculations are sometimes flawed.

Reactor owners and safety officials argue the old "one-size-fits-all" rulebook approach is expensive and inefficient; allowing utilities latitude to estimate risks and respond accordingly saves money and eases regulatory burdens.

Risk-based safety programs lose effectiveness without aggressive regulatory oversight, safety experts say.

http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/09/13/6359/nuclear-miscalculation-why-regulators-miss-power-plant-threats-quakes-and-storms

Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Plant Struggles To Pay For Repairs From Flood Damage -House of Foust, Sept. 14

-The Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant that spent most of the summer surrounded by water does not have the money to pay for the flood repairs. The aging nuclear plant has seen the cost of fighting the flood and the now needed repairs go up and that has strained their comparatively small corporate coffers. OPPD will now have to borrow from other budgets and refinance their current debts in order to pay for flood repairs.

http://houseoffoust.com/group/?p=3095

NRC inspecting Monticello nuclear power plant -einnews.com, Sept. 14

-The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting a special inspection of Xcel Energy Inc.’s Monticello nuclear power plant in Minnesota.

-That’s after Xcel discovered blockage in part of the fire protection sprinkler system located outside of the reactor building.

-Xcel discovered the problem during testing and reported it to the NRC on Sept. 2.

-The piping supplies water from the Mississippi River to the sprinkler system in case of a fire in the building.

-Xcel says it assigned a staff member to constantly monitor the intake structure and is using an alternate line for sprinkler system water. The company also is cleaning the sprinkler system piping and expects to restore the system to service by the end of this week.

Trial over future of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant ends; ruling expected this fall -Washington Post, Sept. 14

-An Entergy Corp. lawyer argued Wednesday in the court battle over Vermont’s refusal to extend the life of a nuclear power plant that state lawmakers wrongly considered safety in blocking an extension.

-Kathleen Sullivan, an attorney for the New Orleans-based company, played dozens of audio clips in federal court from legislative committee discussions and floor debates to support Entergy’s argument that Vermont legislators stymied the extension for Vermont Yankee in Vernon for the wrong reason.

-Lawyers for both sides agree that federal law makes nuclear safety the sole province of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But the state argues that lawmakers used other reasons, including plant reliability and creating a better market for renewable energy, in voting down a bill that would have allowed state regulators authority to grant an extension.

-U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha heard the case without a jury. Wednesday was the third and final day. His ruling could some this fall.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/industries/trial-over-future-of-vermont-yankee-nuclear-plant-ends-ruling-expected-this-fall/2011/09/14/gIQA0STvSK_story.html

French Nuclear Watchdog Sought Safety Improvements at Blast Site -Bloomberg, Sept. 14

-The French atomic regulator repeatedly sought safety improvements at a nuclear-waste processing site owned by Electricite de France SA before this week’s explosion that killed one person and injured four.

-An investigation into the Sept. 12 accident at the Centraco plant in southern France “will show whether it had to do with the safety lapses we uncovered,” said Jean-Christophe Niel, who heads the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, or ASN.

-The plant in the town of Codolet wasn’t previously shut down because the ASN “felt the situation was moving in the right direction,” Niel said today at a Paris press conference.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-14/french-nuclear-watchdog-sought-safety-improvements-at-blast-site.html

Researchers say meltdown could have been avoided -NHK, Sept. 15

-A group of researchers says the meltdown of a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could have been avoided if water injection had been carried out 4 hours earlier than it was.

-Group leader Masashi Hirano says the damage to the fuel could have been avoided, and that he wonders why TEPCO did not start injecting water earlier despite difficulties.

-TEPCO says it doesn’t believe the operation was delayed, adding that workers did their best amid high radiation levels and other severe conditions.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/15_32.html

Plant workers fail to evacuate despite exposure -NHK, Sept. 15

-The workers were replacing equipment in the plant’s wastewater processing system on Wednesday.

-Their beta ray counter indicated levels above the evacuation benchmark of 5 millisieverts per hour, but the workers did not evacuate and continued repairs.

-The 4 workers’ level of exposure is believed to have been 9.5 millisieverts at maximum, which poses no immediate health risks.

-The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is looking into why the workers failed to leave despite hearing an alarm. It has also begun checking 17 other people who were working nearby for exposure to beta rays.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/society.html

Tepco to raise power charges up to 15% for three years -Japan Times, Sept. 15

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to raise electricity charges 10 to 15 percent for three years starting next April in an attempt to turn around its business, which has been rocked by the Fukushima nuclear crisis, sources said Wednesday.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110915a3.html

Government promotes solar power in idled farmland -NHK, Sept. 15

-Japan’s agriculture ministry has decided to ease regulations so that idle farmland can be used for renewable energy generation.

-The government is promoting the use of alternative energy after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. But one of the challenges is securing enough land for solar power and other types of renewable energy.

-Ministry officials say they will revise a farmland law so that 400,000 hectares of idle land nationwide can be used for the power generation business.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/15_18.html

TEPCO spraying water directly into No.2 reactor -NHK, sept. 15

-The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun injecting water directly onto the spot in the No. 2 reactor where the fuel is believed to be located after melting down in the pressure vessel.

-As of 11AM on Wednesday, the bottom of the No.2 reactor was 114.4 degrees Celsius, compared to 84.9 degrees at the No.1 reactor and 101.3 at the No. 3 reactor.

-TEPCO thinks the temperature at the No.2 reactor remains higher because the injected water is not cooling the place where the melted-down fuel is located.

-On Wednesday, the utility began using pipes located above where the fuel is believed to be, along with an existing pipe, to diversify the coolant passages as the exact spot where the fuel is, remains unknown.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/15_05.html

Infants to be tested for radiation exposure -NHK, Sept. 15

-Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture has decided to include infants and small children in tests for radiation taken into their bodies.

-Since July, the city has been testing residents for internal radiation exposure, but infants and small children were excluded as the equipment did not fit them. It has been studying other test methods for them.

-A city-run general hospital, working with a Tokyo-based medical firm, has decided on a method to measure amounts of radioactive substances in urine and began accepting applications on Thursday.

-The new test will be provided free of charge for children 6 years old and under. Results will be mailed about 2 weeks after urine samples are received.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/15_24.html

Radioactive cesium from Fukushima on tour of Pacific Ocean -Telegraph, Sept. 15

-The scientists estimated that some 3,500 terabecquerels of cesium-137 was released into the sea directly from the plant between March 11, when the earthquake and tsunami struck, and the end of May. Another 10,000 terabecquerels of cesium fell into the ocean after escaping from the reactors in the form of steam.

-One terabecquerel is a trillion becquerels, the standard measure of radiation, and the Japanese government has set the permissible level of iodine-131 for vegetables and fish at 2,000 becquerels per kilogram (2.2lbs).

-The researchers believe that the cesium has initially dispersed into the Pacific from the coast of Fukushima Prefecture but will be taken to the southwest by the prevailing currents at a depth of around 1,300 feet. Just short of the International Date Line, the shifting currents will take the cesium close to the Philippines before it again turns north on the Japan Current.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8764117/Radioactive-cesium-from-Fukushima-on-tour-of-Pacific-Ocean.html

UN: Fukushima plant based on poor safety assesment -NHK, Sept. 15

-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has blamed the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northern Japan on its design which, he says, was based on poor hazard assessments of natural disasters.

-The secretary general released a 43-page report on Wednesday, after studying the March accident with UN entities including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.

-The report says it is necessary for nuclear power stations to strengthen their safety standards.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/15_26.html

Japan’s assumptions over possible nuclear accident ‘too modest’ -Mainichi News, Sept. 15

-The United Nations said Wednesday that Japan was "too modest" in assuming possible accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant before the earthquake-tsunami disaster crippled the facility on March 11.

-"The principal lesson of the Fukushima accident is that assumptions made concerning which types of accident were possible or likely were too modest," the United Nations said in a report released Wednesday on the nuclear crisis in Japan.

-"Those assumptions should be reviewed for all existing and planned reactors, and the possible effects of climate change should be taken into account," it said.

-Meanwhile, the report called nuclear power an important source of energy to meet the power needs of the world where some 2.4 billion people are currently living in energy poverty.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110915p2g00m0dm110000c.html

South Africa Delays Bids for Nuclear Plants on Safety Concerns -Bloomberg, Sept. 15

-South Africa postponed the opening of bids for its nuclear power-plant build program to next year because of safety concerns following the meltdown of reactors in Fukushima, Japan, South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-15/south-africa-delays-bids-for-nuclear-plants-on-safety-concerns.html

Mongolia bans external talks on nuclear waste storage plans -Kyodo, Sept. 15

-Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj has issued an order banning negotiating with foreign governments or international organizations on nuclear waste storage plans in Mongolia.

-The order came last Friday after overseas media reports said Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshiba Corp. and the U.S. Department of Energy were promoting such plans.

-As these plans have come under fire in Mongolia, the country’s government has denied that its officials have discussed or will discuss such plans with foreign governments or international organizations.

-The presidential order prohibits government officials from contacting foreign governments over such plans without approval by the National Security Council that comprises the president, prime minister and parliament speaker.

M6.2 earthquake hits northeast Japan; no tsunami warning -Japan Today, Sept. 15

-The operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, said the plant’s cooling functions were intact after Thursday’s quake and there was no change to radiation levels around the plant. The plant is about 130 kilometers northwest of the epicenter.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/m6-2-earthquake-hits-northeast-japan

Comments

  1. #1 Lyle
    September 16, 2011

    According to the USGS it was a magnitude 9. The biggest event recorded since instrumental recording was a 9.5 in Chile in 1960. The rupture there was 800x 70 km, while this years was 500x 200. Its not clear that anywhere on the earth there is a subduction zone big enough to make a magnitude 10, at this sort of rupture size the curvature of the earth will require some sort of transform fault.
    Note that the magnitudes of earthquakes this large are ranked on rupture area x slip.

  2. #2 Drachasor
    September 16, 2011

    My understanding is that the amount of radioactivity after the disaster is trivial. Yearly exposure would be less than you’d get if you flew to Japan from America once. This is literally nothing to worry about.

    There certainly was a lot of freaking out, such as people worrying over the drinking water when the average glass of water would maybe have one radioactive atom from the leak.

    I skimmed through what is posted above and I don’t see anything that contradicts any of that. Sure, the it was a disaster and it has made a mess. Sure, governments do have things they can learn from this. Even so, fossil fuels are still orders of magnitude worse.

  3. #3 Ana
    September 16, 2011
  4. #4 Ana
    September 16, 2011

    @Drachasor: From where do you get such an understanding?

  5. #5 Drachasor
    September 16, 2011

    From the math done during the leaks. XKCD did a rough example of various amounts of radiation as well. Experts back this up.

    Notice, no one is actually saying this is dangerous. The regulation levels are conservative to a very ridiculous degree. We’re talking about a level of ionizing radiation that’s less than background, and there’s not one drop of evidence it is dangerous until it is at least a couple orders of magnitude higher.

    Notice how any posts trying to make a big deal of the danger sometimes use relatively unhelpful units (particular if you are concerned about people being in the area), compare them only to government regulation (again, super conservative regulation), and never give a proper comparison to what is a dangerous amount.

    But let’s take a look at one example here.

    Near the end of the above they talk about 13,500 terabecquerels going into the ocean. No talk about how much area it covers. No talk about how much is likely to get into animal life. It’s a worthless, fear-mongering article. Now, let’s see how that might break down into the water. Let’s suppose that’s spread out onto 100x100x1 miles. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny part of the nearby ocean (especially given how 10k terabecquerels of the above was steam). That’s just 329 becquerels per cubic meter (yeah, I switched units). It’s nothing.

    As a point of comparison, the average human experiences 4400 becquerels just from the potassium 40 we have in us naturally.

    Of course, that sort of thing doesn’t really use a USEFUL unit like Sieverts which is more useful for measuring dangerous amounts of radiation for people. Nor do they talk about the actual health impact. Why? Because as best we understand the science, there is no health impact. In fact, there shouldn’t be or people in planes would be dropping dead of cancer left and right.

    There’s also a lot of horrible comparisons to Chernobyl. What made that leak so bad was how the uranium and plutonium were vaporized and leaked out. The cesium part of the leak was not a big deal at all. Naturally comparisons ignore this and act like the two are more directly equatable.

    Now, some of the workers did get exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation. That’s very unfortunate, but it is a very small number of people.

    Again, I am not saying there aren’t things to learn about improve Nuclear safety here. I AM saying that there’s a lot of hysteria over what amounts to hardly any radiation. Even factoring in disasters like this (and as disasters go this isn’t that bad), Nuclear power is still a lot safer than fossil fuels — coal plants release more radiation and coal and oil kill a lot more people with the pollution they release.

  6. #6 Ana
    September 16, 2011

    @Drachasor: From “experts”! And a webcomic!! “During the leaks…” Haha! Haha! Bwaaaaaaaahahahahaha… Oh, Drachasor – do you really count a scientific measurement of contamination and estimation of spread as a part of “hysteria”? Does that article end with ‘AND EVERYONE DIEEEEEEEEEEEZ’? No, I know you don’t know how it ends because you didn’t read it, since you’ve already got “the math” or whatever, so I’ll tell you – it does not! In fact, it describes models of disbersement just as you stomped your feet wanting. Does every article written about the disaster need to include a table about car crashes in order to be valid?

    BTW – totes disappointed that you did not talk about car crashes! That was in the memo!

    OK, and also, Drachasor, people dropping dead of cancer on planes? That’s what we would expect to see if nuclear radiation had an impact on health?

  7. #7 Marion Delgado
    September 16, 2011

    “And, it was becoming increasingly clear that many members of the skeptics community had become convinced over the last several years that anti-nuclear sentiment was irrational, and that somehow this translated into a blind trust for the nuclear power industry being the most rational course.”

    That’s well put, and what I observed, also.

    In general, the so-called skeptical movement is pretty much all about attacking environmentalists and pushing market fundamentalism. This despite their respective track records over the past 10-20 years. And the ones in the science blogs communities I think get a lot of pressure from “skeptics” to be “reasonable” and abandon renewable energy to show they’re “serious” about climate change. And who wants to be the bottleneck in fixing the climate/carbon mess, making the perfect the enemy of the good, etc.? Really, it’s extortion: nuclear power is the only solution we won’t block, so take it or leave it. But it’s nonetheless a very real situation.

    And in fact, there is a lot of vaporing that goes on around nuclear power. If people don’t stick to good science, then nuclear proponents can lump all opponents together as hysterical. To give 2 speciics, Helen Caldicott has never helped people wanting sound policy w/r/t nuclear power, because she doesn’t stick to good science on it. And the people panicking over radiation reaching the US are not only exaggerating the threat (except maybe from iodine), but some of the stuff I hear personally smacks of anti-vax hysteria and folk medicine.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    XKCD? The cartoon?

  9. #9 Neil Craig
    September 16, 2011

    The death toll from the unfortuante earthquake seems to have been reduced slightly from 25,000.

    The death toll from the catastrophic nuclear disaster remains at zero and seems certain to stay there.

    How dare apologists for the nuclear industry suggest that a death toll of zero makes it less than the worst disaster of the century? Don’t they know that actual death or damage is not a measure of such things. Anything with the word nuclear is inherently hundreds of thousands of times more disasterous than anything without.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    Neil, millions were killed in the Holocaust. Therefore the Virginia Tech shootings were of no consequence.

    The level at which you are annoying me exceeded your value as a commenter a very long time ago..

  11. #11 Lou Jost
    September 16, 2011

    Greg, your comment about many skeptical commenters being technophile denialists is very true. I agree with at least the first part of Marion’s statement as well: “In general, the so-called skeptical movement is pretty much all about attacking environmentalists and pushing market fundamentalism.” In Pharyngula I had the misfortune to agree with a writer who noted that most breast cancers are environmentally caused. The stats back this up: breast cancer in the US is 6-7x higher than in Japan for similar age cohorts, and Japanese migrants to the US quickly quickly acquire the local risk level. (Fukushima might change these stats….) Some of the regulars jumped on me with worse name-calling and ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments than on a Creationist site:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/catholic_compassion.php

    My first innocent comment was @31, then @105, 115 and onward. The name-calling begins at @100 and reaches a crescendo at @123:”The crackpots are here!!! I thought this guy would end up as a crackpot but decided to wait and see…It never takes long for them to start spouting lies….Next up, the conspiracy theories. Hey, crackpot, don’t forget the Illuminati, the Gray UFO aliens, and George Soros….You aren’t entitled to just make up your own facts but that hasn’t stopped you yet.” Another poster (@125): “I’m a professional scientist of 30+ years, and don’t like woo masquerading as science, as you pretended.”
    @128:”While rehashing your simple minded and faulty logic while ignoring any and all science posted that doesn’t feed into your delusions…Even for a crackpot you are boring. You have yet to start babbling about conspiracies and setting up strawpeople and brutally murdering them. I’m sure that is imminent though.” This continued, with my rebuttals, for another 50 comments.

    Nevertheless, the nice thing about the skeptical readership is that most of them are open to analyzing arguments. By the end of it, comments became more civil.

  12. #12 Drachasor
    September 16, 2011

    @Drachasor: From “experts”! And a webcomic!! “During the leaks…” Haha! Haha! Bwaaaaaaaahahahahaha… Oh, Drachasor – do you really count a scientific measurement of contamination and estimation of spread as a part of “hysteria”? Does that article end with ‘AND EVERYONE DIEEEEEEEEEEEZ’? No, I know you don’t know how it ends because you didn’t read it, since you’ve already got “the math” or whatever, so I’ll tell you – it does not! In fact, it describes models of disbersement just as you stomped your feet wanting. Does every article written about the disaster need to include a table about car crashes in order to be valid?

    Um, what? I just said that XKCD had a nice chart going over magnitudes in a rough manner. That’s completely separate from my comment about experts.

    I am not saying the measurement of the spread and contamination is part of the hysteria. I am saying the presentation of it is. The data presented in the post above is not presented in a very useful way. It gives no real indication of the level of radiation and whether it is actually dangerous — which it isn’t.

    Let me ask you something, does “contamination” matter if it gives no health or other risks?

    BTW – totes disappointed that you did not talk about car crashes! That was in the memo!

    I don’t know what you mean by this.

    OK, and also, Drachasor, people dropping dead of cancer on planes? That’s what we would expect to see if nuclear radiation had an impact on health?

    This is what we’d expect if LOW LEVELS OF RADIATION had an impact of health. The Fukushima leak is comparable to this.

  13. #13 Stephanie Z
    September 16, 2011

    Neil, a couple dozen people died during the mandated evacuations of the area. Nice of you to dismiss them.

  14. #14 informania
    September 16, 2011

    Dear clown, a triple melt-down without negative healthimpact?! You must be insane or a big fat liar, my guess is the latter.

  15. #15 Neil Craig
    September 16, 2011

    Stephanie while in no way doubting that your allegation represents the standard of honesty normally to be expected of all “environmentalist” claims you will understand if i ask for a primary link proving that unusual claim. If it is in any way you will certainly be able to supply it quickly.

    (I would also point out that if it were true it would proof, since the amount of radioactivity released was so low and temporry to be close to natural background levels in some places [except infinitely more temporary] it woyuld be strong evidence that the anti-nuclearists fear campaign has been more destructive than radiation itself – a phenomenon also clearly displayed at Chernobyl.

    However lets not get ahead of opurselves – I await Stephanie’s alleged evidence)

  16. #16 Drachasor
    September 16, 2011

    Informania, if all you have is insults, then what makes you think your case is so good.

    There’s a very good reason nothing quoted cites experts talking about health hazards from the radiation. In fact, what is posted by Greg Landon shows a dozen or more comments by experts about how there are no health risks.

    Again, I am not saying that this wasn’t a disaster (for one, the nuclear plants being ruined is quite significant). I am just saying that people are overreacting to the release of radioctive material. I am also reminding everyone that nuclear power is still a lot safer than fossil fuels — and I’d add that renewables are not close to a point where they can fully replace all of our power needs.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    Two workers died in the plant at the time of the earthquake/tusami, one later of, I think, “natural causes.”

    What Stephanie may be referring to is the 77 elderly that died during or over three months after the evacuation. They were old so an estiamted 25 of them (which seems fairly high to me) would have died anyway.

    I’d like to note, however, that while radiation is interesting and important, I’ve hardly ever discussed exposure on this blog, and it is not in any way highlighed in our updates, other than the part where we report a heavy sampling of whatever is on the Internet and coming from TEPCO and other official sources. If they talk about radiation, we mention it.

    I do think that having three uncontrolled meltdowns and areas that are too hot to go near for the forseeable future is a huge problem, despite NPA’s insistence that somehow it isn’t. Radioisotopes in the environment will certainly prove to be a problem as well but I have no idea how much of one.

    Drachasor, as I have stated before: Nuclear power is serious business, and anyone who knows me would assume that I’m very concerned about climate change related to fossil carbon being released in large quantities into the atmosphere in very inefficient ways. Nuclear power, however, should not be operated in the hands of individuals and institutions who are capable of building nuclear power plants, for instance, within a known tsunami flood zone, on major faults, etc.

    Nuclear power supportrers by and large and people in the industry as a group have done a very good job.

    A very good job at losing my trust, and the trust of most people.

    I’m all for gun ownership, but I don’t think they should be placed in the hands of people who can’t be trusted with them. Same with this dangerous technology.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    Oh, and the link to the nursing home related deaths: http://tinyurl.com/3c7kasb

    There may also be an XKCD cartoon about it, not sure.

  19. #19 Stephanie Z
    September 16, 2011

    Looking at the articles on the 77, I think those are after the 25 I’m talking about: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20044591-503543.html

    Neil, did you have a citation for your claim of a death toll of “zero”? Not that I’d want to doubt your credibility or anything. Or more importantly, for your claim that people would be just fine if they hadn’t evacuated?

  20. #20 Raging Bee
    September 16, 2011

    I am just saying that people are overreacting to the release of radioctive material.

    We’re not just reacting to the release of radioactive material; we’re reacting to the incessant falsehoods coming from the people in charge of the power plants and their supporters/apologists. All of the people telling us there’s nothing to worry about have been consistently and repeatedly proven wrong already, almost literally from day one. They simply cannot be trusted to manage dangerous technology, or to keep the public informed of matters affecting our lives.

    I really want to be pro-nuclear, and I really want to think it’s a viable alternative to fossil fuels. But the people who design, build, operate, and advocate for nuclear power have proven time and again that they have nothing like the level of competence and integrity necessary to make it work for the people.

    I also thought the Japanese could do nuclear power more sensibly and honorably than America’s self-infantilizing business class. This recent disaster proves I was wrong. And if the Japanese can’t do it right, who can?

  21. #21 Raging Bee
    September 16, 2011

    …you will understand if i ask for a primary link proving that unusual claim.

    …says the hypocritical bigot who still hasn’t provided any links to prove his claims about AGW or the untrustworthiness of people who are “paid by the state.”

  22. #22 Drachasor
    September 16, 2011

    I do think that having three uncontrolled meltdowns and areas that are too hot to go near for the forseeable future is a huge problem, despite NPA’s insistence that somehow it isn’t. Radioisotopes in the environment will certainly prove to be a problem as well but I have no idea how much of one.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a “huge” problem. But yes, certainly it’s a problem, and a bigger problem in a place like Japan where land is at a premium.

    On what basis are you coming from when you say radioactive isotopes will certainly be a problem? As far as I know there’s no evidence of that. You’ve provided no evidence of that either as far as I can tell from this blog post. Yes, radiation is above a certain regulated limit in the soil, but this is notoriously conservative as are most policies about radiation — which I will grant is generally a good thing.

    Even taking into account disasters like this, new nuclear power plants are far, far, far preferable to new coal or oil plants. Do you disagree with that? Heck, there are even newer, better designs, like thorium-based plants, though traditional nuclear power is certainly quite safe. I’d rather have disasters like this once every couple decades or more than the untold millions who die early from fossil fuel pollution (and no, that’s NOT an exaggeration).

    That said, I agree we can learn from disasters like Fukushima. We can build better, safer reactors. I only point out that the reactors we DO have are already very, very safe. Even the Fukushima disaster shows that it was built pretty well, especially considering it wasn’t designed to handle damage of that magnitude.

    But yeah, let’s ignore that and freak out about nuclear power. Let’s make it so governments feel forced to keep using far worse power sources that are thousands of times more dangerous. That sure makes a lot of sense, right?

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a “huge” problem.

    Interesting. I wonder what the people in Fukushima think of your opinion. I would even say that having a nuclear power plant on your books that was going to cost a certain amount and make a certain amount of energy turn into a liabilities this large is a huge problem.

    On what basis are you coming from when you say radioactive isotopes will certainly be a problem?

    Well, they are a known health hazard and the places where they are need to be handled specially and the places they are leaking need to be handled specially and so far both situations are to varying degrees out of control.

    Are you trying to suggest that radiation is not ever a health hazard?

    Even taking into account disasters like this, new nuclear power plants are far, far, far preferable to new coal or oil plants. Do you disagree with that?

    Under no circumstances is a nuclear industry that builds plants like this and allows this sort of thing to happen ever, in any way, OK. Comparing coal and nuclear is hardly the point.

    … it wasn’t designed to handle damage of that magnitude.

    It was not designed to handle that level of earthquake and it wasn’t designed to handle a tsunami, yet it was placed in one of the more earthquake prone regions of the world below the known historical high point for tsunamis.

    That would be a flaw in the way nuclear power is utilized that makes it a huge problem.

    I didn’t learn much from Fukushima. I was expecting Fukushima. But yes, I do hope others have learned.

  24. #25 Marion Delgado
    September 16, 2011

    Neil Craig’s death toll comment just leaves me gob-smacked. Is there really someone out there who thinks a lot of the Fukushima workers won’t die EARLY? I guess if you make it off the field you’re not a casualty of the battle, even if you die a week later Stateside.

    By that criterion, hardly ANYONE died from Chernobyl. Or, you know, AIDS/HIV. Or smoking. Or asbestos. And the things that do kill people immediately, like cars or guns? Not the fault of the car or gun, obviously, they’re neutral and it’s the poor drivers and reckless gun owners, etc.

    It’s a hermetic system, the denialist world.

  25. #26 Marion Delgado
    September 16, 2011

    This: http://boingboing.net/2010/08/27/bananas-are-radioact.html is the best explanation of the (severe) limits of the would-be-snarky banana equivalent dose. That said, if people are simply talking about radiation in a purely quantative way (which you have to do often, but it needs to be intermingled with qualitative and state information or you won’t know what, if any, health hazards are involved), then it’s probably a helpful thing to bring up. so people think in terms of Roentgens and Sieverts and not just rads and millirems.

  26. #27 Ana
    September 16, 2011

    Let’s not forget the suicides, or this guy: http://houseoffoust.com/group/?p=2485

    A question for the experts: How many alpha particles would I consume if I ate a banana on an airplane?

    Finally, let’s give the Drachasor a minute of our time to look at the chart put out by XKCD on March 19th and notice how unhelpful the context really is. I won’t mention the wrongness of the numbers because the author concedes “a lot of mistakes”, but hey, there’s pretty colors and warm fuzzies and that good ol’ apologist admonition about the “actual disaster” of the tsunami: http://blog.xkcd.com/2011/03/19/radiation-chart/

  27. #28 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    OK, Ana, good idea, let’s give XKCD a minute or two.

    The first thing I notice is that the brown chart on the lower right is the part of the diagram that includes, at its lower limit, the radiation worker’s one year dose of 50 mSv, and at its upper limit death and stuff. I think it is fair to put aside sleeping with a banana or flying an airplane over the Colorado Plateau and focus on that one area. Note that the lowest one year dose clearly linked to increased cancer risk is 100 mSv, and that the diagram shows that two of the Fukushima workers got ca 180 mSv. So if we are counting “casualties” (including injuries) that would put Fukushima on the chart of accidents with likely injuries (aside from the dead people and stuff).

    XKCD’s chart tops out at 50 Sv per hour, standing next to the Chernobyl reactor. That’s a lot of bananas.

    In August, the hourly level of radioactivity at Fukushima was 100 sV/h. So if you were a human standing around in those hot spots of Fukushima, the spots where workers wearing protective clothing were running past as fast as they could, that would be … well, worse than slipping on Woody Allen’s Sleeper Banana.

    Outside the plant, near debris piles, the hourly rates in August were 1,000 mSv per hour. That maps on to the XKCD chart as twice as much as the amount to cause radiation poisoning, though less than the severe kill-you-right-away kind. But way above cancer-causing levels.

    In one report from RPI readings in the vicinity of the plant varied contantly, but reached 1000 mSv and occassoinally 10,000 mSv frequently, with a sustained level between 100 and 500 mSv. That was July. Let’s see what that is on XKCD’s chart: Fluctuating between cancer and radiation poisoning. Good thing it’s mostly fluctuating.

    The same study showed that at outlying locations, in mid march onwards, radiation was not fluctuating much but ran from 10 to 100 mSv in some areas continuously. This would be in the evac. zone away from the plant. If people live in that evacuation zone for a year, they’ll be at some risk, and there are now known to be hot spots therein, so some people would be at much much higher risk. That’s just from standing around, and does not count injestion or breathing in or incorporating into tissue radioactive dust and crap.

    In the air above the ground, over a large plume running about 30 kilometers from the plant and several kilometers wide, the long term exposure ranges from 10 to 100 mSv, confirming the above cited measurements.

    The conclusion of that study is that people, dozens or low hundreds, will be at very high risk for cancer.

    Here’s the thing: That cancer effect is after everyone is evacuated. The fact that evacuating people from a contaminated area saves them does not make the radiation safe. And it indeed amounts to a significant impact. (See this: http://goo.gl/IFscQ)

    So yeah, nice chart! Fukushima was/is a very very bad disaster, when you think about it.

    http://goo.gl/IYYW1
    http://www.ans.org/misc/FukushimaSpecialSession-Caracappa.pdf

  28. #29 Ana
    September 16, 2011

    Thanks, Greg! I think you meant to say 10sV/h in August at the plant, but since that was the buried needle capacity of the gauges, maybe! Lots o bananas, either way.

  29. #30 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2011

    Right! Thanks for the correction. 100 would be a lot.

  30. #31 Lou Jost
    September 16, 2011

    Don’t forget biological concentration of some contaminants as they go up the food chain. The dusting of contaminants in a given area might be very sparse, but cows eating the grass are gathering up the contaminants over a wide area, and could accumulate some of those contaminants in their fat, and then it gets into the milk, and does damage to people. The same concentration happens to fish in the ocean.

  31. #32 Neil Craig
    September 17, 2011

    So as expected, Stephanie’s claims, which, from the reaction to them by ecofascists here certainly does represent the very highest standard of honesty to which ecofascists aspire, are a pack of lies.

    The primary source “proving” “a couple of dozen deaths” from radioactivity turns out to be a tertiary source, quoting a British newspaper with a bad reputation, even by the standards of the British media for lying on this subject claims 11 deaths in the area, all from hypothermia rather than radiation.

    “According to the British newspaper, most of the patients were comatose and 14 of them died soon after being discovered. Japan issued an evacuation order for the area surrounding the Dai-ichi plant as the possibility of a meltdown increased in the days following the quake and tsunami.

    Another 11 elderly Japanese — residents of a nursing home slammed by the tsunami — were found dead by security forces, apparently having succumbed to hypothermia.”

    Their deaths, assumi8ng there is a primary source for this, were not only not due to radiation but to their carers running away because of a fear of radiation which obviously proved false.

    As I said.

    The 2 who died because of the tsunami hitting Fukushima died because of the tsunami hitting not because it was a reactor. 2 out of nearly 25,000. Were a single one of the people here implying I have a lack concern for the dead in any slightest degree honest or in any slightest degree concerned about human life they must have posted, eklsewhere, at least 10,000 postsw about the other deaths.

    I am prepared to seee links to those.

    However it is obvious that more than 99.9% of ecofascists have not done so and are wholly corrupt, lying, filth with absolutely no concern for human life.

    I look forward to apologies from Stephanie etc etc. and an acknowledgement that they will never, ever, under any circumstances suggest that any “environmentalist” story is in true without overwhelming evidence from a sceptical source.

    At least I look forward to it from any “environmentalist” who believes they can aspire to any trace of honesty.

  32. #33 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2011

    rom the reaction to them by ecofascists here certainly does represent the very highest standard of honesty

    Why do I have to keep telling you to tone down your insults?

    Were a single one of the people here implying I have a lack concern for the dead in any slightest degree honest or in any slightest degree concerned about human life they must have posted, eklsewhere, at least 10,000 postsw about the other deaths.

    In this series of over 50 posts, the first several address the larger issue. Then, Ana and I focuses on Fukushima because there was so much misinformation being spread, and then sustained this in part because people had been losing interest. It really is not our responsibility to check with you as to what we should be writing about or providing links for.

    However it is obvious that more than 99.9% of ecofascists have not done so and are wholly corrupt, lying, filth with absolutely no concern for human life.

    Again, you need to tone down your rhetoric,beginning immediately.

  33. #34 Ana
    September 17, 2011

    @Lou Jost: Good point. Combined with the persistence of some radionuclides, biological concentration will continue to be a problem. The milk in CA is still (or again) testing positive for cesium: http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/2174

  34. #35 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2011

    Now, I want to see this for cheese. And mother’s breast milk of a mom who eats a lot of this cheese and drinks this milk.

  35. #36 Stephanie Z
    September 17, 2011

    That British newspaper with the bad reputation Neil refers to? The Guardian. But it’s fine when he wants to chalk those deaths up to radiation panic–for which he doesn’t provide any links despite being asked for them.

    It really isn’t fair to say Neil is being insulting when he’s talking about honesty and dishonesty. He just hasn’t got a clue what either means.

  36. #37 g724
    September 18, 2011

    The relevant point of comparison is to other baseload energy sources. And the numbers in relation to coal are 20,000 – 24,000 deaths in the US every year due to respiratory illnesses caused by coal combustion. This doesn’t even begin to consider the expected megadeaths due to climate change.

    The onus is on the opponents of nuclear energy to find ways to make renewables viable for baseload power, and then to upgrade the transmission grid to bring that power to areas without sufficient sun, wind, or other renewable energy sources. At present it would appear that utility-scale solar thermal plants are potentially viable in this regard, and that mechanical power storage may be viable for wind. Whether either of those are sufficient to replace fossil fuels remains to be seen.

    Nuclear accident casualties are “tragic,” but tragedy doesn’t even begin to describe what we’re heading for if we cut nuclear out of the energy mix before renewables can take up the load.

  37. #38 Lou Jost
    September 18, 2011

    The lesson of Fukushima is not that nuclear power is inherently bad but that the people who manage these projects tend to be liars, and lying about nuclear power can have serious consequences.

  38. #39 Neil Craig
    September 18, 2011

    So Stephanie is continuinmg to maintain that “dozens” of people died because of the evacuation of the Fukushima zone. I have to accept that as representing the pinnacle of honesty to which she, or any “environmentalist” not willing to call her a liar ever aspires. I trust Greg will not insist on anybody havinmg to ace[pt it as anything other than a total and deliberate lie.

    Assuming Greg to be acting honestly in calling for courtesy, he must be about to tell Steph that it is improper for her to say that I am totally dishonest when I say that Fukushima killed nobody. Lou equally should try some factual arguments, if he has one, rather than merely calling nuclear workers “liars”.

    If Greg or anybody else wishes to enforce politeness a/or a reliance on facts I would be entirely in favour. If thuis is pure hypocrisy and he means anybody on his side is free to engage in any lie and obscenity while he censors even the simplest facts, as he has previously, that is another matter.

  39. #40 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2011

    g724, you are totally missing the point. You have categorized the world into two groups: Those who want to promote the nuclear industry we have now and those who are opposed to it. That has allowed you to put the onus of climate change and other things on the latter.

    There is no good energy.. All energy production and redistribution is messy in one way or another. Fukushima demonstrates that nuclear, as it is currently done, is not clean, and the Becker Plant that leaves crap on my car every day demonstrates that coal, as it is currently done, is not clean.

    Right now, for the most part, coal emits a nasty effluence bit by bit every day and it has costs. Nuclear does not. Every now and then, nuclear makes a whopping big mess instead. What if it was the other way around: What if a meltdownproof nuclear technology existed that emitted enough radiation as background globally so that most people living near cities were having a contstant mamogram while eating a banana, but coal was perfectly clean in its emissions but the new clean technology would occasionally blow up catastrophically causing the location of the plant to be drenched in very nasty very expensive to clean up toxic sludge?

    I am very very pro nuclear technology. I love nuclear technology. I want nuclear technology to replace coal.

    And at the moment I’m pretty sure that eight out of ten nuclear power plants should be shut down over the next few years.

    Once you’ve gotten your head around that, perhaps you’ll be able to get up out of the foxhole and stop fighting a made up war that your NPA keepers have arranged for you to fight.

  40. #41 Al Freeburne
    September 18, 2011

    Thank you Greg for the great posting and information you have provided. Its unfortunate that there will always be those among us that are so greedy and stupid you cannot tell them anything nor will they ever learn. The nuclear waste problem is not solvable either on the front end or the back end of the problem.It may well be that mankind has no business producing radioactive elements that don’t normally exist on our planet. Very few other creatures will shit their own nest and none will do it for something as fleeting as money.

  41. #42 Stephanie Z
    September 18, 2011

    Neil, I don’t even have to call you dishonest when you misquote me in the same comment thread as my original comment. Everybody can see for themselves. Nice of you to display it blatantly, however.

    Now, about those citations showing no one would have died if they hadn’t evacuated?

  42. #43 Lou Jost
    September 18, 2011

    “Lou equally should try some factual arguments, if he has one, rather than merely calling nuclear workers “liars”.”
    Excuse me, did you read any of the news items in Ana’s feed? TEPCO spewed out lies for months.

  43. #44 Mike Mellor
    September 18, 2011

    I wonder how this page qualified for scienceblogs.com? Irrational-emotionalblogs would be a better home for it. Lots of bad thinking both sides of the debate, obscuring the few good factual points raised. Now will everyone please get a copy of “Straight & Crooked Thinking

  44. #45 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2011

    Mike, that’s a pretty general statement. Do you have any specific points about what has been said which, if noted here, might cause us to think you are not just hawking a book in a spammish fashion?

  45. #46 Neil Craig
    September 19, 2011

    Greg will doubtless wish me to acknowledge that Stephanie’s claim that I lied when she said dozens of people died at Fukishima represents the very highest standard of honesty to which she ever aspires and indeed the very highest standard to which any alarmist not dissociating themselves from it aspires (including you Greg).

    On the other hand

    post 13 from Stephanie

    “Neil, a couple dozen people died during the mandated evacuations of the area.”

    So not actually at all truthful then.

    Greg I will also leave your remarks to prove your maximum honesty too.

    “There is no good energy”
    “I’m pretty sure that eight out of ten nuclear power plants should be shut down”
    &
    “I am very very pro nuclear technology. I love nuclear technology.”

    Having some experience of discussion with “environmentalists” I have regularly run across anti-nuclearists who claim to be nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers etc who, from the authority of their alleged qualifications, oppose nuclear. Repeatedly I have found they have not even basic schoolboy knowledge of the subject.

    Perhaps, Greg while becoming a climate scientist you also did a minor in nuclear physics?

  46. #47 Greg Laden
    September 19, 2011

    Neil, did you just tell me that I can’t have a valid opinion about nuclear energy use without an advanced degree in the subject? And your advanced degree in the subject of climate change is from what institution … :) … ?

  47. #48 Stephanie Z
    September 19, 2011

    Neil, I said you misquoted me. My comment saying so is still there for everyone to read. You did misquote me. Everyone can see it for themselves. This isn’t hard–unless you’re putting an awful lot of energy into showing someone making very simple statements is as dishonest as you are.

  48. #49 Al Freeburne
    September 19, 2011

    Unfortunately for the nuclear power industry and its supporters, they are their owm worst enemies. The last six months have been nothing short of a litany of nuclear accidents, mistakes, shutdowns, miscalculations, etc. Nuclear power is doomed as a viable source of energy. It cannot be made safe or clean and should be crushed like the nasty, vile, bug that it is.

  49. #50 Neil Craig
    September 20, 2011

    “Neil, did you just tell me that I can’t have a valid opinion about nuclear energy”

    No Greg I didn’t. If you care to read the post you will see that I merely said that anti-nuclearists regularly claim an obviously false authority to oppose nuclear. Your obviously false authority for opposing it is claiming you syupport it.

    As you know Greg I have never claimed a degree, advanced or otherwise, in climate change, however you feel it so important that anybody with credibility have one I ask you to let us know where you got yours?

    Al Freebnurne’s claim represents the closest to accuracy the anti-niclearists aspire to. In fact in the last 6 months, or indeed 10 years, not a single person has died from nuclear reactors, whereas by [producing nearly 20% of the world’s electricity, ot has kept 10s of millions of people alive. Assuming Al to be merely stupid rather than dishonest and assuming he ignores all the lives saved he must be on record as having claimed that every other industry in the world where no more than zero people have died has equally “been nothing short of a litany of nuclear accidents, mistakes, shutdowns, miscalculations”.

    I would really like to see li8nks the where he, being in some way honest, has said this about the fluffy toy industry or the infinitely more dangerous wind turbine “industry”.

  50. #51 Neil Craig
    September 22, 2011

    I see Al is unable to give a single instance when he has stated his alleged beliefs in any cuase other than anti-nuclear Liddism.

    I take it from that that he doesn’t actuall believe a word he writes.

    I note, also, that greg does not dispute that I simply did not “just tell me that I can’t have a valid opinion about nuclear energy” but that his claim to be an enthusuastic supporter of nuclear was risible. I note also that he does not appear to be claiming a “minor iin nuclear physics” and though still claiming to be a “climate scientist” who receives not one cent of government money still refuses to verify.

    Dies anybody now suggest, with evidence, that the nuclear industry is not as safe as the fluffy toy industry and far safer than the windmill or “organic” food, or other “environmentalist” scams?

  51. #52 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2011

    Neil, you are mistaking people ignoring you for people agreeing with you.

  52. #53 Neil Craig
    September 23, 2011

    No I am copnsidering people refusing to answer with evidence as evidence they, including yourself, are unable to answer with evidence.

    Theoretically I could be wrong and it is just that every single alarmiost has the evidence but wants to keep quiet about it. This would be a major tactical change.