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

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

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

According to the IAEA:

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

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

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

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

Ana's Feed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From NISA's Seismic Damage Report (73rd release) regarding exposure of individuals or the Possibility on radiation exposure ï¼As of 15:00 April 4thï¼April 6 at 12:47am
1. Exposure of residents:

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

No. of Counts No. of Persons:

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

2. Exposure of workers:

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

3. Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What "safe" can mean on a good day.: Day Laborers Brave Risks at Japan's Nuclear Plants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Highly radioactive water leaking into sea stops: TEPCO

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

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

Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job

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

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

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

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

Japan: Nuclear crisis raised to Chernobyl level

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

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

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

Powerful quake strikes northeast Japan

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

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

Japanese officials had put the magnitude at 6.3.

International Atomic Energy Agency Summary for Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Thrilled to know radiation is decreasing; likewise INES level is increased to 7. hmmmm.......

Please do not lend any sort of respectability or credibility to the CRIIRAD anti-nuclear group and their senseless scaremongering over detectable but harmless levels of I-131 in Europe. As the UN's report on Chernobyl observed in that case, it is very possible for the fear of these events to be more harmful than the events themselves.

Carol: The INES level change reflects updated estimates about leaks in mid-March, not current events. I don't actually agree with the change to 7, but it is arguable that on radioactive release of iodine they may have met that particular criterion for INES level 7. Number of deaths or serious injuries from the plant problems is still zero, and some radiological chance of future disease - on a low probability basis - covers only the handful of workers who have picked up more than 100mSv exposure.

56.7pCi of Cs137 at 1cm distance is 0.00160454307870063uSv/hr. The only thing there that is news is how many people fail at grasping how small picocuries is.

I find it interesting that there are still people who don't take Fukushima seriously. I'm sure, though, that we've seen the last of any instance of a person putting their name to such statements.

@Joffan: CRIIDAD is saying what CRIIRAD is saying, and (whether you like it or not)is a part of the story. Do you have any helpful comments to share? I would like to know anything at all, for instance, about their sampling methods or source material.
With regard to accident assessment - yes, the Japanese have concluded that the release of radioactive materials at Daiichi meet "particular criterion for INES level 7". They have decided to call it what it is. How is it that you don't agree? Are you saying that you would write the rules differently? If so, please explain to us how you would propose to modify the survey. Nuke plants are aging all over the world - maybe next time we can describe disasters on the Joffan scale instead.
Finally, beyond what has already been mentioned by Stephanie Z, that is, that people have indeed already died (and spare us your rationalizations over why these folks don't count), you make some fairly certain statements about what most observers of the situation would describe as seriously uncertain. Readers of my feed will know, for instance, that up until very recently, workers did not carry individual dosimeters. Readers might also have noticed that workers report they are kept in the dark about their own personal exposure. How is it that you know more about the situation than the workers? Do you have information on cumulative doses for any beyond the "handful of workers who have picked up more than 100mSv exposure" that we know about? Last I heard, there have been more than 850 individuals involved in the work there. And what of internal exposure? How often has that been measured?

Jofan, how about this:

"I'd think that within another day or two the nuclear plants will be stabilized and all future possibilities known. "

You said that on March 12th

"They have been shutdown from criticality for four days now and the decay heat is reducing all the time."

March 12th.

" As soon as TEPCO recovers the ability to circulate water through the reactors, no further degradation would be feasible - barring another quake over 8.0 anyway, which would probably stop the skating event on its own without any other considerations. ""

Same day.

Looking for your revisions before you start telling us more stuff that you pulled out of your ass.

Regarding the levels of radiation in Europe, it may well be that this is not of any great concern at this time. Frankly, I'm not sure. It could be that we'll only see the removal of a few thousand toddler thyroids like at Chernobyl. In any event, I'm sure the situation is much worse for Japan than it will be for anywhere in North America or Europe. Nonetheless, I've seen no reason to attribute credibility to any particular source, or to deny it either.

Can anyone shed light on why generators were not immediately shipped to the plant when they went to battery power? Yeah, I know there was a lot of other stuff going on, but this seems to be one of those very high priority things. The H2 explosions only occurred after cooling had failed (obviously), and there was time to avoid the overheating in the first place.

Stephanie, I'd be interested in a source for that claim of deaths due to the evacuations.

Ana: What CRIIRAD is saying is false. Not sure how that makes it "part of the story". I pointed out why it is immoral to support fearmongering. The reason I don't think the Japanese are wise to call Fukushima at INES 7 right now is for the same reason - they are calling worst case on one piece of evidence that doesn't represent an immediate/current threat to the population, causing unnecessary fear.

OK Greg, fair enough, that's what I said on 12 March - before the hydrogen explosions - which of those statements do you disagree with? Clearly I was mistaken in the first one, but it's pretty clearly an opinion. The other two are true enough, but the third one is taking immensely longer to achieve than I expected, probably because I didn't appreciate the scale of the destruction wrought at the plant by the tsunami.

travc: It wasn't just the generators, on my reading of events. The tsunami also blocked access to or wrecked the major pumps, and much of the "circulation", if open loop flow can be called such, is using auxiliary equipment.

Travc, I think the capacity of the generators needed would not be an off the shelf item. Those pumps need a lot of juice. Roads, airport and ship docks were all trashed or covered in it so getting them there would be problematic. They hooked up the fire trucks already there to do cooling pumping as soon as the batteries were down. They had less than a day to work with.

Greg: Yeeaaahh, Dad and I tried to finish up these interviews on Saturday. We never expected we would carry them on even that long. Unfortunately, there has continued to be a need for these interviews.

I woke up this morning to several emails and comments asking my dad to comment on the upgrade. What's a blogger to do?

Fukushima is "static but not stable" and is very clearly a 7 on the INES scale, if not quite as bad as Chernobyl. However, a nuclear disaster doesn't have to be as bad as Chernobyl to be very, very bad indeed, and we are far from out of the woods at Fukushima.

I must say, this is a depressing- if important- topic to be blogging about over the past month or so. I am glad that now I feel I can at least return to some posts about my usual topic of interest-- rocks. I imagine my readership will drop off sharply as a result, but that's A-okay with me.

To those criticizing the INES scale - it is all about criteria and classification. The criteria is not (only) about how many people have or will die, but something else - the controls, barriers and safety provisions. As I see it, in Japan they succeeded better in protecting the population and workers than in Chernobyl, plus the plant design was better and so on. But the release has been significant and it has not stopped, and the controls and barries are STILL out of order.

On this opposite side of the globe, the Finnish radiation and nuclear safety authority seems to know it all and has already before commented how they know the situation better (!) than anyone else, now they commented the INES classification is not right. My faith in the Finnish authorities is really declining..

Adela, thanks for the response regarding generators, but I don't think "it takes a lot of juice" is really a satisfactory answer. To be short about it, if they can manage 8+ hours of battery capacity, the power draw really can't be that high even if that 8 hours took buildings filled with batteries.

There are a lot of high-power generators out there. The particular ones I'm thinking of are about the size of a 1/2 length semi-trailer and are transportable by cargo helicopter (in fact, they are designed to be air-lift / drop in place capable). I've seen the same device with a different paint job used in a commercial setting (construction) a few times too. I'm guessing there was a lot of competing demand just then, but that was what I meant by "priority".

If they were using fire trucks for supplemental pumping before the explosions, I suspect something significantly worse than a lack of power was wrong. It will be very interesting to learn in detail what actually happened... if we ever do. Overall, I'm starting to think that power for the pumps wasn't the main problem since there are a lot of ways that could have been handled. TEPCO seems pretty incompetent, but not *that* incompetent.

BTW: Given the location of the plant, I wonder how close you could get a large ship... or hell, a bunch of tugs. The reason the pacific coast is favored for the plants is due to the deep cold water, so I'm guessing pretty close. Doing that in 8 hours directly after a tsunami would have been tough. Then again, the Navy (US and JSDF) was there pretty quick.

Travc, I'm trying to look up the power ratings for the pumps and the batteries in question but it's a information maze.
Wikipedia is pulling together a time line.
Quake is at 14:46. Tsunami is 15:41. "Batteries from other nuclear plants were sent to the site and mobile generators arrived within 13 hours...work to connect portable generating equipment to power water pumps was still continuing as of 15:04 on 12 March.[50] Generators are connected through switching equipment in a basement area of the buildings, but this basement area had been flooded"
It all cascaded out of control in under 24hrs.
I see that TEPCO did report a lot of things right away.

For Adela, and travc - regarding the timeline (based on info from NISA):

At no.1, seawater injection started via the Fire Extinguish Line on the 12th, at ~8pm - that's 5 hours after the explosion there, and 28 hours after TEPCO reported the "Inability of water injection of the Emergency Core Cooling System."

At no. 3, TEPCO announced loss of cooling function at ~5am, March 13. Fresh water injection to the RPV via the F.E. Line started at noon, the same day, was switched to
seawater a few hours later (until they ran out of seawater for a bit). The PCV rose "unusually" and then explosion occurred at ~11am, March 14th. Trucks started spraying from outside the now highly contaminated building on the 17th.

At no.2, after the explosion at no.3 on the 14th, the reactor water level "tended to decrease" and TEPCO announced a loss of cooling function. Seawater injection started there via the F.E. Line after 4:30pm, March 14th. The water level continued to decrease, the explosion happened at 6am on March 15th, and pressure then dropped in the suppression chamber.

In no.4, spraying of the spent fuel by SDF started on March 20.

My hunch about the cause of the apparent delay/disorganization/disability in the first days is pretty mundane: simple shock, plus a dose of common concealment. I think the earthquake caused significant damage (given reports from workers on site that day, I think it's even possible that containment was already compromised) and that managers simply could not process that what could absolutely never happen was so clearly happening. Also implicated to my thinking is the inevitable denial that sets in when one begins to message positivity. They were totally on top of matters there - - - until they blew up. Right? In reality, I imagine, they were simply out of control from the beginning, overwhelmed, and unable to communicate. But that's just my hunch. ;)

At the nuke plant near me, the battery back-ups are only capable of powering the systems for 4 hours...

I must say, this is a depressing- if important- topic to be blogging about over the past month or so. I am glad that now I feel I can at least return to some posts about my usual topic of interest-- rocks. I imagine my readership will drop off sharply as a result, but that's A-okay with me.

The thing is, Evelyn, it's rocks that got us into trouble to begin with! This whole plate tectonics thing, that's yours!

The articles on the day workers - wow.

Nina, @13:

the controls, barriers and safety provisions. As I see it, in Japan they succeeded better in protecting the population and workers than in Chernobyl, plus the plant design was better and so on. But the release has been significant and it has not stopped, and the controls and barries are STILL out of order.

The safety controls that would have prevented the whole incident in the first place were entirely out of order as well.

(earlier) http://throughthesandglass.typepad.com/through_the_sandglass/2011/03/ig…

Wikipedia is pulling together a time line.

What my co-author said regarding initial events and reasons for it. Also, you can look at the IAEA updates.

I think that ultimately, the pumps at these reactors were not hooked up to generators and restarted because they were broken and/or the places workers needed to get into to operate them were and/or are inaccessible because of debris and/or radiation. We never see a mention of this specific problem, but after a month we can infer it:

March 21: AC power is available and an electrical load check to pumps, etc. is currently on-going.

March 22: external pumps are being used to pump seawater into reactors

March 23: Concrete pumps being used to deliver high volume...

March 24: same

March 25: units 5 and 6 pumps have been running since electricity was restored, but were shut down briefly. But concrete pump trucks have still been used on the other reactors (seeing the trend here? We've stopped hearing about hooking up the pumps in situ and turning them on.)

March 26: Now the water is being pumped (fresh water in some cases) by a combination of ambiguous pumps (no mention if they are machinery from the plant or something brought in (fire trucks and concrete pumps

... and so on...

Most recently, mobile electric pumps are being used to pump water into reactors 1, 2, and 3. So still, there is no in situ cooling facility. In other words, generators can not solve this problem. Perhaps that was apparent to them at the time though this connection has not been made as part of their rhetoric as far as I can tell.


Is there a prize for most annoying commenter? Iâm going for it, if there is one. You and Ana seem impartial judges. Iâll wear the label with pride.

In response to, and in support of, Anaâs comments (havenât found anything sheâs written that I wouldnât call spot on), hereâs what Iâve been suggesting for the past three weeks:

March 25: âNow, I can't claim to be the nuclear expert that some of the commenters seem to be, so perhaps I'm misunderstanding the significance of highly technical terms like 'The source of the radiation seems to be the reactor core' (and this the reactor that utilized the uranium/plutonium MOX blend, no? But I ain't the technical expert on that.)

...let's call this a hunch, Tokyo Electric, the Japanese government, and the IAEA saw this coming by March 14. I'll double down. They had readings that told them containment failed at this core days ago. (Remind me why the NRC chair said people should move at least 50 miles away, a week ago?)

One more prediction-- the zone will never be expanded to Tokyo, even if the levels of radiation made it necessary--- that's just too much for any government to contemplate.
Expect endless reassurances that living in Tokyo is, and will forever be, safe.â

March 28: â I don't believe the leadership at Tokyo Electric is composed of well-intentioned people. Their history is replete with denying problems, and disclaiming responsibility. Like many large corporations, they priortize image management (and dividends)over human lives. They won't contain this, at all. I'm guessing the executives are still considering ways to convince the Japanese government to let them use reactors 5 and 6 (TEDCO needs to recoup these losses, after all).

This will be contained when the prime minister has had enough of being played, and does what Michio Kaku said at the end of last week-- sandbag the place, build the sarcophagus. Gorbachev was smart enough not to let the thing burn for another week.â

March 29: None of the load estimates for any nuclear reactor, anywhere, accounted for a 9.0 earthquake. Why assume that there arenât fissures in both the structure of the reactor buildings, and in the soils beneath? Because the land and buildings of Daiichi somehow acted differently, miraculously, than any other structure in any other earthquake?

Talk about favorable assumptions.
Why are we seeing radiation spikes in seawater? Because the materials are percolating through the soil, which has become more permeable from the effects of the earthquake, especially liquefaction.

As I mentioned in a comment to Greg several days agoâthe aquifer is the ballgame.â

Today: Since strontium is being found (or was found a week ago) 30km from Daiichi, with a half-life of 24,000 years, easily traveling through the water supply, and incredibly toxic and carcinogenic, Iâd say this nightmare is just getting started.

Expect 10 to 20 times more radioactive materials to be released in the next year than the past month, and expect it to be found in soil and water samples throughout Honshu. Get your numbers from Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists, not TEPCO or the IAEA.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 13 Apr 2011 #permalink

And now for something completely different, just for context:

(from: http://www.infowars.com/top-scientist-fukushima-meltdown-could-experien…)

âA British professor and expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation told Alex Jones today evidence points toward a nuclear explosion occurring at the Fukushima Daiichi complex. Two explosions at the plant in March were described as hydrogen gas explosions by Japanese officials and the corporate media.

Citing data collected by two Russian scientists, Professor Chris Busby told Alex Jones and his audience that the explosions at Fukushima were possibly nuclear. The Russian scientists, Sergey A. Pakhomov and Yuri V. Dubasov of the VG Khlopin Radium Institute in Saint Petersburg, examined data related to the explosion at Chernobyl.

Using ratios of the radionuclides Xenon 133 and Xenon 133m which they measured by gamma spectrometer, the Russians demonstrated that the Chernobyl explosion was a fission criticality explosion and not principally a hydrogen explosion as has been claimed.

âI believe that the explosion of the No 3 reactor may have also involved criticality but this must await the release of data on measurements of the Xenon isotope ratios,â he writes in a statement on Fukushima and Chernobyl emailed to Infowars.com.

Busby further notes that the surface contamination and of dose rates 60 kilometers out from the Fukushima site on March 17 exceeded that released at Chernobyl.

He explains in his statement that the damaged reactors at Fukushima âare now continuing to fission. It is hoped that there will be no separation of plutonium and possible nuclear explosion. I feel that this is unlikely now.â Short of an actual plutonium explosion, the reactors remain open to the air and will continue to âfission and release radionuclides for years unless something drastic is done.â
Dr. Busby noted a precedent for the dire scenario now unfolding â a nuclear explosion at a plutonium production reprocessing plant in the former Soviet Union in 1957.
The incident at the Mayak facility was the second-worst nuclear accident in history after the Chernobyl disaster. The explosion released 50-100 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste and contaminated a huge territory in the eastern Urals. The Soviets kept the explosion secret for 30 years. According to a report on the accident, about 400,000 people in the region were irradiated following the explosion and other incidents at the plant.â

By phillydoug (not verified) on 13 Apr 2011 #permalink

OK, first, I would love to see Daedelus2u analyze this idea of nuclear explosions at the plant, looking specifically at this radioisotope model.

Hydrogen explosions are what we expect. But I suppose that isn't always what happens. Also, how similar/different were the different explosions?

I somehow overlooked that Ana was offering to name a scale after me - woohoo! thanks Ana. Not exactly a very desirable scale, but you take what you can get...
I hereby declare that the Joffan scale extends the INES scale by removing the rating ceiling of 7, allowing the "ten-times-worse" criterion to apply for each further step up the scale. All other ratings are as already given under INES but the Chernobyl disaster becomes a 9.

phillydoug, you don't have to do much more than mention Chris Busby to make my shortlist of annoying commenters :-) . This is the same guy that insisted that depleted uranium dust from Iraq was posing a significant health hazard in Britain. He will say anything. However his speculation that the Fukushima explosion is nuclear is among the sillier statments he's ever made. His statement implies that the explosions arose inside the reactor vessel - I'm pretty sure we already knew enough to rule that out. (For interest I tracked down an extract of the Russian guys' paper, here. Hopefully their actual paper does cover the fact that Chernobyl 4 was NOT steady state before the explosion, and xenon poisoning was a major factor in the reactor instability.)

Joffa, Chris Busby certainly could be considered a liminal character, though he is not without qualifications and when dealing with an industry that is so closed and close-knit as the nuclear industry, it may not be unusual to find critics marginalized. In any event, I'm not aware that he talked about specific UK health effects, but rather, noted that UK (and US for that matter) routine detection could identify the use of depleted U in Kosovo and/or Iraq (both, I think). But perhaps you have a reference you can use to back up what you said. For the moment I'll take it as hyperbole.

Your last bit about Chernobyl is fun. You should throw in that people die in car accidents so Fukushima didn't really happen. But I do like the slightly more refined "watch the silly monkey" approach you've developed.

Greg: Yeah, I know. Stupid plate tectonics :-).

Actually, it's good that our planet is hot enough to drive plate tectonics. There's some ideas that plate tectonics is important for the origin/sustainment of life-- maybe I'll blog about that one day. Plate tectonics doesn't always make life easy for Earth's inhabitants, though.

First, they have zero data that any of the explosions in Japan were due to criticality. The Chernobyl explosion was known to be due to a prompt criticality from the get go, the description of how it happened was enough to know that it was a criticality event.

Second, a criticality event produces exponentially increasing energy until that energy is enough to change the physical configuration of the fissile material so that it is non-critical. In the Chernobyl event the energy release increased until everything got so hot that the vaporized bits expanded enough to make the assembly non-critical. In Chernobyl the bits that had to expand were the fuel and the graphite moderator. Both of those have very high boiling points, so they had to get very hot before they would vaporize and expand. Chernobyl was a prompt criticality, where unmoderated fast neutrons are sufficient to cause the chain reaction. Because it was a prompt criticality, the time constant for the exponential increase in energy is short so that the energy can still increase during the time it takes the components to move apart once they get hot enough to do so.

In Japan, the reactors are water moderated and still have water in them. If they were to become critical, they would first do so by water-moderated criticality. To have a prompt criticality of the Chernobyl type, you have to remove all the water and have enough fuel at a high enough density to cause criticality. If there was going to be a criticality event I think it would be like this one.


Which is a water-moderated criticality. This criticality even occurred in a tank and caused the solution to boil which then reduced the moderation and made the assembly subcritical and the reaction stopped. The total amount of energy released wasn't that much, it made the solution boil. Because the criticality was water moderated the time constant for the exponential energy increase is longer and so there is more time for that energy to change the configuration by making the water boil.

If you look at the comments in this post, they discount the Cl38 result as indicating irradiation of sea water because there was no detection of the other isotopes expected.


If there was a criticality event, the major risk would be to the workers near it. To have a criticality event you would need a lot of fuel, and that fuel already has a gigantic amount of fission products in it and is already producing a lot of heat and a lot of radiation. Criticality could only increase that until the water boiled away which removes the water moderator.

Greg, I responded but the comment is in moderation.

Evelyn, when you write about plate tectonics, include stuff about how life affects it. My hypothesis is that the difference between Earth and Venus is that Earth had life early on and Venus didn't.

When silicate melts form, small amounts of H2O increase the density. My hypothesis is that on Venus, plate tectonics subducted crust and the water that was on the surface got subducted and the higher H2O containing silicate melts were higher density and sank, while the lower H2O containing melts were lighter and rose. Eventually all the H2O on the surface got subducted into the mantle.

On Earth, sediments contained organic carbon, so as those sediments got subducted, H2O reacted with the carbon to form CH4 which is a gas and does not incorporate into silicate melts. The presence of carbon in sediments on Earth recycled the hydrogen back to the surface.

When the great oxidation event occurred, and sediments containing Fe2O3 and carbon were subducted, the Fe2O3 reduced to Fe and sank as liquid Fe while CO rose back to the surface.

The abstract Joffan linked to seems like legitimate analysis as far as I can tell.

What I think they are getting at is the change in the ratio of Xe133 to Xe133m depending on the energy spectrum of the neutrons doing the fissioning. In the Chernobyl case the âexplosiveâ fissioning was done by fast neutrons, in the 0.5 to 2 MeV. In Fukushima, there is no expectation of fissioning by fast neutrons.

Here is a paper analyzing Xe ratios for Pu239 and U235 explosive fissioning. They also give ratios for what is expected form a LWR and a FBR in figure 3.


Fukushima is a LWR. Chernobyl is a FBR. The explosive fissioning ratios are the bomb lines.

In the abstract Joffan found, what they are doing is looking at the expected ratio from continuous operation, (the FBR line), comparing it with the ratio from explosive fissioning (the bomb line) and then trying to figure out the ratio using the yields vs explosive yield from figure 1. When they do that, they get unrealistically high yields that they know did not happen. This lets them figure out that only a small fraction of the fuel at Chernobyl was involved in the prompt criticality. This is not unexpected because the time constant of the exponential increase is so fast. The prompt criticality at Chernobyl might have been over in a millisecond with the reactor being blow apart. A section of the core a few meters away might have been a few seconds from going critical (due to loss of Xe135) but it didn't because it got blown up first.

Using ratios of Xe133 to Xe133m is not something that would be useful in determining whether a criticality event occurred. The explosion was in the building, not in the reactor where the fuel was. If there was enough of an explosion directly from the fuel to destroy the reactor and the building through the containment vessel, the explosion would have been a lot bigger.

What about the several "neutron beams" reported (by TEPCO(?)), I read that they might be an indication of criticality? Well, not during the explosions, though.

I am very skeptical of the âneutron beamâ report. It was reported to be observed 1.5 km from the reactor and neutron beams can't travel that far in air without scattering. Neutrons are not easy to detect. Usually they are detected by being absorbed in something which then gives off ionizing radiation and the ionizing radiation is detected. If the âneutron detectorâ was exposed to ionizing radiation, such as by the helicopter flying through a cloud of radioactive xenon, that might cause it to give off a false âneutron detectionâ signal.

If the âneutron beamâ was from a criticality event, it would most likely be from a water-moderated criticality event and the neutrons would have even a shorter scattering distance.

There are some fission products that have delayed neutron emission, but they all have pretty short half lives, less than a minute. If there was a criticality event, and it did produce fission products that were released promptly, and those formed a plume and delayed neutrons in that plume is what was detected, there should have been much higher levels of other stuff that was not reported.

I don't think the report is credible.

You don't need anything more elaborate than flooding damage to set off the chain of events. I've seen what happens when when a whee bit of water meets industrial high voltage electrical. The white smoke is classic. It very simply can take out all power systems, backups and keep you from connecting in outside sources. I don't have a need to look for complicated causes when something simple and common is equally plausible. The generators came on after the quake so they couldn't have been that badly damaged. Then the wave hits. By the time the batteries drain your electrical has been sitting in flood water(debris and salt included) for over 8 hours even longer once the backups start arriving and before the hydrogen explosions hit. It helps to remember the sister plant Daini is hanging in there so the differences between the two could be significant yet also slight.

Wikipedia has been collating events from the same sources as you they just have been setting up a nice easy to eye scan charts and format all in one place. If you like you can help them keep it organized and cited properly.

BTW does anyone know for certain if the Landysh is getting sent? I can't find any updates on that.

Daedalus, good analysis and links, thanks. Your clarity is eniviable. I still have my doubts about the validity (or perhaps I should say completeness) of the Russian xenon isotope study, because their isotope imbalance doesn't really line up with the undoubted truth that only a fraction of the core was involved in the supercritical power excursion. After all it can't be that their detector only collected the gas from that part of the core.

Re Busby: In the sources I can find now, I can't see him explicitly raising health concerns about possible UK detection of uranium from Iraq (although why did he mention it at all?). So strike that one as deniable.

Re car accidents: We can debate public perception of different risks if you like, but I wasn't thinking of doing so.

Re Landysh: The latest I can see is this. I don't see why the Japanese would turn down the use of this facility.

Random talking point: Connecticut is proposing to tax their nuclear plant out of business. Reactions?

(although why did he mention it at all?).

?? Please explain why it should not have been mentioned.

?? Please explain why it should not have been mentioned.

It was a brief and trivial rise in background levels. Please explain why it should have been mentioned.

Would it be your policy to arrange it so that certain things are not said? Would this be systematic? Enforced? What would be the point of that? Its kind of an extreme position you are taking here. An uncomfortable one as well.

Nice twist, Greg, but I have no objection to Busby mentioning it. It is simply that I will infer things from his mention of a trivial event.

I'm glad to see you've recognized your error. A lot of people have been making that error lately. Almost enough in it to blog the issue.

Think about it this way: Say a volcano goes off in Japan and noticeable dust falls on Central Park. Would the person who mentions that as an amazing fact be doing something they should not be doing? Would geologists be saying "Why did she say that? She could have not mentioned the dust." No. The fact that shooting missiles around in Iraq produces a dust that you can detect in England is astonishing. (For several reasons ... that there is sufficient to detect at all, and that this kind of dust announces itself, as it were.)

People who are on the more concerned side regarding nuclear power would probably point out that we are entering an era where few new plants have been built and the 'fleet' of reactors is approaching a half-century in age. (Pro nuke people would do well to point that out as well). So, one might wonder: One "Fukushima" makes some dust that has no effect. Four or five Fukushima's" could ruin your salad. When fifty acres of grass in an affected area is munched on by the same cow for a month and her milk is made into cheese and fed to a child with a growing thyroid, only the most cynical would not think it should be mentioned.

That is what people are concerned about ... both people who run these aging plants with spent fuel storage on them that was never originally planned for and those who have always been distrustful of nuclear energy. Your tossing off remarks like "why mention that" is an increasingly archaic and inappropriate way to deal with this issue. But now, with your admission, you've taken one step out of the stone age. Good for you.

Greg, it also needs to be mentioned why spent fuel is accumulating in places it was never meant to be accumulated in. It is accumulating there because there is no other place to put it that is perfect and NIMBY.

daedalus2u: "Greg, it also needs to be mentioned why spent fuel is accumulating in places it was never meant to be accumulated in. It is accumulating there because there is no other place to put it that is perfect and NIMBY. "

Hmm, I would not blame the protesting people for this ( - and would YOU take it to YOUR backyard?). Shouldn't they have taken care of the nuclear waste processing issue BEFORE building the plant? It is not very responsible to accumulate dangerous waste in wrong places and blame the people for not giving their backyard as a waste dump.. But of course, that is exactly what nuclear industry does..

daedalus2u says: "Greg, it also needs to be mentioned why spent fuel is accumulating in places it was never meant to be accumulated in. "

Full marks for sticking with this, Ana and Greg - for a moment there, with Apathy being today's 'headline', I wondered whether you had become subject to the now almost complete MSM blackout on all things Fukushima and quite possibly Tokai?

Back to the spent fuel debacle, here's a Chinese take on some implications surrounding the present truly bizarre 'go slow' situation at Fukushima:-

"Is Japan's Elite Hiding a Weapons Program Inside Nuclear Plants?"

"Confused and often conflicting reports out of Fukushima 1 nuclear plant cannot be solely the result of tsunami-caused breakdowns, bungling or miscommunication. Inexplicable delays and half-baked explanations from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) seem to be driven by some unspoken factor.

The smoke and mirrors at Fukushima 1 seem to obscure a steady purpose, an iron will and a grim task unknown to outsiders. The most logical explanation: The nuclear industry and government agencies are scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants.

A secret nuclear weapons program is a ghost in the machine, detectable only when the system of information control momentarily lapses or breaks down. A close look must be taken at the gap between the official account and unexpected events."

Full article at http://en.m4.cn/archives/7235.html

How else to explain the apparent 'gross incompetence', tardiness and 'rearguard secrecy'?

Another aspect that needs careful research, IMO, is just how high was the tsunami at Fukushima and points south - g00gl comparative maps floating around the net seem to imply the majority of the wave force was further north, centered around Sendai

Caveat Lector or Carpe Scriptor?

daedalus2u: "Greg, it also needs to be mentioned why spent fuel is accumulating in places it was never meant to be accumulated in. It is accumulating there because there is no other place to put it that is perfect and NIMBY"

NIMBY is my middle name, when it comes to spent fuel.

Tell me the perfect places for radiactive waste. No seismic activity, ever? No sub-surface water movement, ever?

In an earlier comment, you casually stated that we just have to put all the radiactive materials from Daiichi 1km below the ground, once the materials are encased in concrete (still waiting to hear your theory on how we get at those materials to put them in concrete, but we'll set that aside for now).

So, just bury the casks 3280 ft below ground for-- I think you said 700 years (correct me if I'm mistating your numbers).


"In the French Rules, ALARA is applied as a principle in the criteria for a repository. The individual dose equivalents are limited to 0.25 mSv per year for extended exposure associated with events which are certain or highly probable. For a period of at least 10 000 years, the stability of the geological barrier must be demonstrated....

The 1993 EPA regulations stipulate that disposal systems for spent nuclear fuel, high-level and transuranic waste will have to be designed so that, 10 000 years after disposal, the undisturbed performance of the system will not deliver an annual committed effective dose of radionuclides greater than 15 mrem to any individual in the accessible environment.

The EPA regulations took effect 19 January 1994. Under them, the protection period has been lengthened from 1000 years to 10,000 years. The EPA noted that wastes placed in the disposal systems will remain radioactive for thousands of years. Results of EPA studies show that potential radionuclide releases resulting in exposures to individuals
would not occur until more than 1000 years after disposal because of the containment capabilities of the engineered barrier system."

Hmmm... why the discrepancy? My math isn't the best, but I think 10,000 is bigger than 700.

And the phrase 'stability of the geological barrier', means what to you?

"Applied principle 3 - Long-term environmental protection: The radionuclides released from the repository shall not lead to any significant changes in the radiation environment. This implies that the inflows of the disposed radionuclide into the biosphere, averaged over long time periods, shall be low in comparison with the respective
inflows of natural alpha emitters. The activity inflow should be averaged over long-term periods, i.e. 104 years or more, as it is not possible to determine accurately when releases or their peak values occur."

(from: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/21/us/court-orders-changes-in-nuclear-wa…)

"High-level radioactive waste is derived from the fission of nuclear fuel in commercial nuclear power plants and in military reactors. Some of the material is reprocessed to recover unprocessed uranium and plutonium.

Reprocessing causes a transfer of most of the radioactivity into acidic liquids that are later converted into solid radioactive waste. Such waste is extremely toxic and retains its toxicity for thousands of years."

(from: http://www.iaea.org/ns/committees/drafts/ds154.pdf)

"3.10. The selection of geological disposal provides good prospects that radiological impacts in
the long term will be low both in absolute terms and in comparison to any other waste
management options that are currently available. In general, a host rock and site will be identified
that give good prospects for the isolation of the waste from the biosphere and preservation of the
engineered barriers, e.g. low groundwater flow and a favorable geochemical environment over the
long term."


"Should the waste products escape the backfill barrier, the rate of migration in the groundwater through the geologic environment becomes of concern...

Tuffs from the Nevada test site contain natuarl zeolites and clays such as mordenite, smectite, cliniptilolite, and heulandite which are known for their high sorbtive capability. These sorptive properties are particularly high for strontium, cesium and barium...

These natural minerals have sorptive properties comparable to those of materials being considered for use as 'artificial' or engineered barriers to be emplaced around radioactivity stored in less sorptive media".

And this regarding the closest thing we have to a 'perfect' site.

Nina is on the mark-- maybe the hazards shoulda been thunk of before creating the waste. But let's not pretend that acceptable solutions (perfect, you say) currently exist.

By phiullydoug (not verified) on 14 Apr 2011 #permalink

If Japan wanted nuclear weapons they could have them in weeks. The idea that there is a coverup at Fukushima to hide a nuclear weapons program is laughable. It is pure projection on the part of the Chinese.

You would never use a BWR like this to try and make plutonium for weapons. Japan already has fuel reprocessing facilities, what exactly would they need to hide?

The author suggests that reactor #4 was running âhotâ so as to enrich uranium. All this shows is that the author doesn't know jack sh!t about nuclear weapons. You don't enrich uranium in reactors, hot, cold, or lukewarm.

What does Japan need nuclear weapons for?

Yes, there is NIMBY in the spent fuel issue as well as in the location of power plants and everything else. I spent years producing EIS's for the power (including Nuclear) industry, waste water treatments, roads, toxic waste dumps, all of it.

However, the current fashion of blaming protesters for the current problem is off the mark. The anti-nuclear movement has been a factor in limiting development of spent fuel storage, but the US Gov and industry have the majority of the responsibility here. They did the same level of engineering and sensible planning on this as they did on placement of facilities for the space program: I.e., zero engineering and sensible planning and a lot of politics. Shame on them.

Now, maybe we can get something moving on this. Daedelus2u is right: Long term spent fuel rod storage should not be part of the safety responsibilities on most of these plants.

Greg: "Long term spent fuel rod storage should not be part of the safety responsibilities on most of these plants."

But the expense and the burden for finding a tenable solution lies with the industry, not the government--taxpayers shouldn't be underwriting the industry's failure to acknowledge they had no long-term solution for waste.

The government's role is one of oversight, not rubber-stamping poorly thought-through plans, or picking up the trash.

I very much want a solution to be found, but I'm concerned that only partial measures are possible. Every time I think about radioactive waste, much like the situation at Daiichi, I keep coming back to an episode of the X-Files:

Moulder is investigating in the New Mexico desert. He is caught in a wave of space-time distortion, caused by the military flying an extra-terrestrial craft. His consciousness swaps with that of a nefarious agent. Later, in a secret lab at Area 51, Moulder (in the nefarious agent's body), sees a lizard, partly phased into a rock, only its back legs and tail protruding. He turns to another agent and says "So how do we get the lizard out of the rock?"

The agent replies: "Who says we can?".

Daiichi, like the waste disposal problem, might be a lizard in the rock situation.

Who says there has to be a workable engineering solution in the next 100 years? Because we really want there to be one?

9.0 eartquakes followed by 15m tsunamis and then 1000+ aftershocks aren't supposed to happen. Find me a place where there will be no seismic activity, no change in soil and water dynamics, for the next 10,000 years, and I'm all for it.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 14 Apr 2011 #permalink

Phillydoug, for example Finnish bedrock is very stable..

( http://articles.cnn.com/2010-11-12/world/finland.nuclear.waste_1_nuclea…)

...but then again, planning 100 000 years ahead one must take into account events like the next Ice Age and to think what kind of symbols to put on the facility for the future generations / civilizations / aliens to understand the place is (still) dangerous...


phillydoug, the funding of nuclear waste solutions currently rests exactly where it should - on the users of the electricity. The fund stands at over 20 billion dollars. The action rests on the government because that is what they chose in the late 70s.

There is no dispute among those who have studied the matter that geological disposal is a safe option for nuclear waste.

The construction of a power plant with six nuclear reactors at Fukushima was deemed safe. By experts.

Joffan, the waste has to go somewhere and obviously geological disposal is the only way, but there are still open questions. Microbiological activity in the repository is an issue, as well as "physico-chemical surface processes affecting long-lived radionuclides as well as their colloid-mediated migration". Plus, the generation of gas and other issues are not well modeled at this point . How radioactive material will react with the rock it is placed in and how steel container corrosion products will interact with the host rock are not well enough understood.

I can give you a reference for that if you like.

@Joffan: Again, please provide any information you have about the veracity of claims by CRIIRAD. I'd take you at your word if it were golden, but from here it looks more, IDK --- yellowcake.

@daedalus2u: Thanks for all the fun links! I'm going to enjoy them when I wake up in the morning without a headache. :)

Also, what my coauthor said about generators not being the solution to the problem. Notwithstanding the singular focus of the public story in that first day regarding how, yes, power had been lost, but batteries and such were on their way!

Oh, and - what about that plan to shoot the industry waste out into space?

I wake up in the morning without a headache. :) [Double smiley face]

Oh, and - what about that plan to shoot the industry waste out into space?

Dropping it in barrels into the ocean works good too. We seem to have forgotten it is there (so it therefore does not exist) and when we do go looking for it just to check on it, it is often gone.

Joffran: "There is no dispute among those who have studied the matter that geological disposal is a safe option for nuclear waste."

There is no dispute among those who already think nuclear power is generally a safe and reliable option. Others who don't start with that premise look at geologic disposal and see all sorts of routes to catastropic failure, since the time scales for storage are so long.

Geologic disposal may be the only option we have, and the only option we're likely to have for the next few centuries. Don't confuse that with 'safe' or 'a good option'.

There is no rule that says among the options we have, at least one must be a really good option. What we have to choose from is a short menu of bad and really bad options.

"the funding of nuclear waste solutions currently rests exactly where it should - on the users of the electricity"

Frankly, I'd prefer waste disposal costs to come from the shareholders and executives of GE, Westinghouse, Exelon, etc. And while we're at it, maybe they can pay the per gallon rate for water that I do, instead of getting to stick intake pipes into the nearest body of water (a public resource) at no cost, or a fractional rate. Talk about subsidizing both ends! If they had to pay for water and disposal as an ordinary cost of doing business (just like Pizza Hut), nuclear would never compete with any other form of electricity.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 15 Apr 2011 #permalink

Only read today (not in the below article), that Michio Kaku studied under Edward Teller. Who knew?

In any case, Dr. Kaku is less sanguine about Daiichi than nuclear advocates still seem to be:

(from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/democracy-now/fukushima-daiichi_b_848770…)

âradiation is continuing to leak out of the reactors. The situation is not stable at all. So, you're looking at basically a ticking time bomb. It appears stable, but the slightest disturbance -- a secondary earthquake, a pipe break, evacuation of the crew at Fukushima -- could set off a full-scale meltdown at three nuclear power stations, far beyond what we saw at Chernobyl.â

*** ***
âAMY GOODMAN: What about the evacuation zone? Is it big enough?

DR. MICHIO KAKU: It's pathetic. The United States government has already stated 50 miles for evacuating U.S. personnel. The French government has stated that all French people should consider leaving the entire islands. And here we are with a government talking about six miles, 10 miles, 12 miles. And the people there are wondering, "What's going on with the government? I mean, why aren't they telling us the truth?" Radiation levels are now rising 25 miles from the site, far beyond the evacuation zone. And remember that we could see an increase in leukemia. We could see an increase in thyroid cancers. That's the inevitable consequence of releasing enormous quantities of iodine into the environment.â

(from: http://filamimage.com/blog/2011/04/15/nhk-update-fukushima-daiichi-nucl…)

Friday, April 15, 2011 07:46 +0900 (JST)

Radiation levels in underground water rise

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says radiation levels in underground water gathered in so-called sub-drain pits rose by up to 38 times during the past week.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is working to remove contaminated water from the basements of the turbine buildings and tunnels. The contaminated water is hindering efforts to restore the reactorsâ cooling systems.
TEPCO said that in its monitoring on Wednesday, it found 400 becquerels of iodine-131 and 53 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter in the No. 1 reactorâs sub-drain pit. These levels are 6 times and 38 times higher than a week ago respectively.

In the No.2 reactorâs pit, 610 becquerels of iodine-131 and 7.9 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter were detected. These levels are 17 times and 8 times higher than a week ago respectively.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 15 Apr 2011 #permalink


âRPV temperatures remain above cold shutdown conditions in all Units, (typically less than 95 °C). In Unit 1 the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 206 °C and at the bottom of the RPV is 119 °C. In Unit 2 the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 167 °C. In Unit 3 the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 92 °C and at the bottom of the RPV is 119 °C.â

(from: http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=16155414&PageNum=0)

âRadioactive underwater concentrations in No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have increased 17 times in one week, the Japanese nuclear safety agency said on Friday.

Experts believe the reason is an ongoing leak of contaminated water from the turbine room of the crippled reactor.

A total of around 60,000 tons of contaminated water is believed to be flooding the basements of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactor turbine buildings as well as trenches connected to themâ

The cores are hot, so you have to cool them. The water then gets hot in the other sense of the word. The buildings and soil underneath are sieves, no longer containers.

And dumping bags of zeolites into the sea is going to clean this up? Like sawdust on the oil on your garage floor?

(q.v.: http://en.rian.ru/news/20110415/163539117.html)

By phillydoug@msn.com (not verified) on 15 Apr 2011 #permalink

Right, you couldn't be more clear. Your priority is to punish people you don't like, rather than to allow them to make the world a safer place by putting dangerous stuff in a place that is safer than where it is now.

Phillydoug, by what twisted logic are you thinking that electricity users should NOT pay for the cost of production - including the environmental costs like waste disposal - as part of the price of electricity?

The spectacle of Kaku parading his fearmongering (eg. radiation levels are not rising 25km from site; thyroid cancers are not "inevitable", etc.) has depressed me enough to choke off commentary for the rest of the day. I'll wear a black armband in memory of academic integrity.

Daedalus: "Your priority is to punish people you don't like, rather than to allow them to make the world a safer place by putting dangerous stuff in a place that is safer than where it is now."

Reading comprehension slipping? Here's what I said, verbatim:

--Geologic disposal may be the only option we have, and the only option we're likely to have for the next few centuries. Don't confuse that with 'safe' or 'a good option'.

Not sure how that became me 'not allowing' the heroic few to make the world safer.

You seem to take any contrary position as 'punishment'. Is that why you only hear echoes of what you already think in what you read?

By phillydoug (not verified) on 15 Apr 2011 #permalink

Joffan: "The spectacle of Kaku parading his fearmongering (eg. radiation levels are not rising 25km from site; thyroid cancers are not "inevitable", etc.) has depressed me enough to choke off commentary for the rest of the day."

Then I feel like I have performed my public service for the day. If I post Kaku clips from YouTube, would you continue your ritual mourning for academic intergrity tomorrow, too?

I'm not sure I could script a better parody of a stubbornly ignorant and uncaring nuclear advocate than what you display in your posts.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 15 Apr 2011 #permalink

phillydoug in response to Joffan pointing out that

"the funding of nuclear waste solutions currently rests exactly where it should - on the users of the electricity"

You disagree and say:

âFrankly, I'd prefer waste disposal costs to come from the shareholders and executives of GE, Westinghouse, Exelon, etc. And while we're at it, maybe they can pay the per gallon rate for water that I do, instead of getting to stick intake pipes into the nearest body of water (a public resource) at no cost, or a fractional rate. Talk about subsidizing both ends! If they had to pay for water and disposal as an ordinary cost of doing business (just like Pizza Hut), nuclear would never compete with any other form of electricity.â

You couldn't be more clear. You want to punish the shareholders and executives of GE, Westinghouse, Exelon, etc more than you want to safely deal with nuclear waste.

You do understand that your fantasy of punishing the stockholders of GE is a fantasy that won't happen. The stockholders of TEPCO have been completely wiped out. Maybe the Japanese government will bail them out, maybe not. The US government bailed out the financial industry because to not bail them out would have destroyed the US economy.

Why do you hate the people who live near nuclear power plants so much that you want to hold them hostage to punish the people you hate even more?

Unless there is a perfect solution that you agree with which is good for 10,000 years, long past when spent fuel will decay to uranium ore type radioactivity levels and until that perfect solution is agreed to by everyone, you want the existing spent fuel to stay were it is, in spent fuel cooling pools on dozens of different reactor sites.

You want people living near nuclear power plants to accept what ever risk there is now from the indefinite delay until there is a perfect solution.

Sorry to disappoint you phillydoug; Kaku will only work once.

@Ana; CRIIRAD are not quite as bad in their claims as the article in your link portrays, but they are still making out that there is a problem when even by their own analysis, there is not. Their assessment talks about possible intake exceeding a level called "trivial", by considering (officially non-potable) rainwater as the sole source for drinking; but in order to do so, they suppose several weeks of intake at current levels of the only detected radioisotope, I-131. Of course this is impossible, because the I-131 will be at a one-sixth the level in three weeks time, due to decay. And the "trivial" level they are discussing (10µSv/yr) is one-hundredth the level where the dose reaches the official limit for public consumption (1mSv/yr), which itself has a huge safety factor in it. So, yes, they are still trying to making something (scary) out of nothing.

because the I-131 will be at a one-sixth the level in three weeks time, due to decay.

That's great news that they stopped radioisotopes from coming out of Fukushima. I had not heard that. Fantastic!

Greg, two points:
1. Down to one-sixth is worst-case assuming a continuous resupply of iodine-131 out of Fukushima. This is because iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days; three weeks is 21 days; 0.5^(21/8) = 0.162, just under one-sixth. No more I-131 is being produced at Fukushima; it's all decaying away.
2. Energy.Gov, The Situation in Japan, slide 6 on April 7 update, "No measurable deposit of radiological material since March 19" - pretty much indicating that the airborne releases had stopped then. Useful maps too.

No more I-131 is being produced at Fukushima; it's all decaying away.

Great, they fixed it! This means they can go in there and put the pipes back and stuff. Maybe they can get it working again soon. Japan can certainly use the electrictiy.

"No measurable deposit of radiological material since March 19"

Ooops. Todays' IAEA report indicates that on April 14th there was deposition detected. I guess "Energy.gov" report of a couple weeks old is not really the best place to get your information.

But I'm glad to know the crisis is pretty much over!

This must be from some other nuclear power plant, or perhaps a natural occurrence of some kind:

Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in northern Japan, signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday.

Of course, that's just leaking, so I suppose it does not matter. Hey, more leaking = less to have to store later, right! This is ALL good news!

IAEA is a good update, but the levels are tiny. While I'll agree that the airborne releases are not completely stopped, the substantial releases of the first week or so have stopped.

Yes, there is still water contamination. But the topic I was responding to was airborne contamination reaching other countries.

Yeah, and you were definitive and it was the basis of an argument you were making and you were wrong. Why? As in why do you not care if you always get it wrong? Is your point to make little snippets stating certain things you wish were true on the Internet so they'll be there to support some fantasy that you would like to be part of the consensus?

The think is, there is nothing wrong with being wrong ... if you are, well, wrong. But if you know what is going on and you misrepresent, which is very clearly what you are doing, then you are not helping at all. All you are doing is ensuring that an already polarized argument remain polarized. I'm thinking there must be some reason you do that. Who do you work for again?


"You want people living near nuclear power plants to accept what ever risk there is now from the indefinite delay until there is a perfect solution."

Nope, I want people to have realistic sense of what the options are, not idealizations. Perhaps I should be using shorter words.

Store the waste using the technology we have available.

Because that's what we've got.

Don't offer platitudes and reassurances based on false premises. Geologic disposal does not ensure that people won't suffer harm from radioactive contamination in the future. It simply doesn't. The hazards are greater than the industry portrays them.

If we accept that this is the technology we have, but that it is a temporary fix (by temporary I mean a few hundred years), maybe we won't complacently keep making more highly toxic waste that we can't do much with, and work on finding a process to render the stuff truly inert. As I said, though, there is no rule that says such a solution actually exists, waiting to be found.

And since this is the fourth time I've said use the techonlogy we have (geologic disposal), your argument that I want to 'prevent' anything is looking more like a big waving strawman in your anterior cingulate gyrus. (I'll let you look up why I locate your particular boogeyman there.)

I think at this point you may have forfeited your right to use the terms 'demagogue', 'strawman', and 'hyperbole'. You and Joffan are particularly notable in your profligate use of extreme terms, denigration of those that disagree with you, and spurious claims-- quite a trifecta.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 17 Apr 2011 #permalink

@ Joffan: "1. Down to one-sixth is worst-case assuming a continuous resupply of iodine-131 out of Fukushima. This is because iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days; three weeks is 21 days; "

No kidding? ;-) However, you avoided mention of the _biological_ half life of iodine-131...


Joffan: "by what twisted logic are you thinking that electricity users should NOT pay for the cost of production - including the environmental costs like waste disposal - as part of the price of electricity?"

I thought it was called free-market capitalism.

If you want to make money from a commodity, you bear the costs and risks up front, and if you can get people to buy it at a price that covers your costs, plus a profit, you've got a going concern. If not, you don't look to hide and offset true costs by getting subsidies from taxpayers.

And if 'users' should pay (Ayn Rand just drips from your every pore, doesn't she?), how about nuclear producers get charged as 'users' of water, and the land that will be used to store their waste, at market rates? You know, pay your rent and utilities, like everyone else?

What economic model did you have in mind?

By phillydoug (not verified) on 17 Apr 2011 #permalink


"Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in northern Japan, possibly signaling new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday.

The announcement came after a magnitude-5.9 earthquake jolted Japan on Saturday morning, hours after the country's nuclear safety agency ordered plant operators to beef up their quake preparedness systems to prevent a recurrence of the nuclear crisis."

(from: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/17/japan-plant-owner-at-least-9-month…)

"It would take three months to bring down radiation levels and restore normal cooling systems at the plant, Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., told reporters.

An additional three to six months would be needed before the reactors reach their cold shutdown point, he said."

At least six to nine months until cold shut-down is achieved ( and that's TEPCO's estimate, for what that's worth). Meaning continuous improvised cooling through at least the fall, if not into next year. With no more problems (like not spraying the spent fuel pond at reactor 4 for a day and a half... Oops!). And no more distractions, like aftershocks, power failures, major spikes in radiation levels that force evacuation.

I think Dr. Kaku has a better grasp on the reality of how precarious the situation is than any of the nuclear advocate commenters here.

And yes, Joffan, the radiation levels are increasing beyond 25km. Except in your world. But things are much different in that place, anyway.

By phillydoug (not verified) on 17 Apr 2011 #permalink

aldo; for practical purposes, the biological half-life of iodine is long enough to be irrelevant in considering the effect of iodine-131. Iodine stays in the body for long enough that any iodine-131 taken up can be regarded as decaying in the body.

By contrast, biological half-life is definitely relevant for considering dose from radioisotopes with longer half-life.

Greg; I don't think I was misrepresenting anything, in the context of a discussion about releases that affect other countries. The current releases are tiny. On the other hand, you were definitely misrepresenting the link I put up on geological disposal. And my musing on Busby's motives. And my calculation on I-131 decay. So look to your own eye, brother.

Joffon, I paraphrased Science Daily piece almost exactly as written and quoted directly. I did not misrepresent anything. Do you disagree that geological disposal is the only way to go? Do you disagree that the experts in this area have identified a number of open questions? Or are you seriously trying to tell us that there are no open questions.

Again, whom do you work for again? Seriously.

Greg, portraying opportunities for extending our understanding of waste in geological disposals as "open questions" - a phrase which was neither present nor implied in my link - misrepresented those topics as lessening the consensus that geological disposal is a known safe route.

I have no idea why you are playing the rather tired "shill" argument. But I do appreciate the effort that you and Ana put into continuing to follow this topic.

Actually, Joffan, you had portrait the issue by tone and implication as settled and problem free. If you want to let that sort of thing stand, start a blog, don't use mine for that purposed. There is a commenting policy which you have clearly not read.

I'm sorry if you find the shill argument tired! You must get it a lot...

I do wish you would step back and consider for a moment that it is just possible that you are sitting on one end of a very polarized argument, in a very important debate, which is only harmed by this polarization.