Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 25: Elderly could build cooling system; radiation release and exposure concerns; fuel storage tank may collapse.

It is possible that the bottom will fall out of the Fukushima Reactor 4 spent fuel tank. Efforts are being made to shore up the concrete structure. There is no longer any doubt that those mysterious holes hypothesized, seen or not see, in some of the reactor vessels are for real. It is now established that three of the reactors at Fukushima melted down within hours of the earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO is going back and forth on whether or not any of the main reactor machinery was damaged in the quake. It may be that the hydrogen explosions were preventable had standard procedures been followed. There has been no progress since our last update on developing medium or long term cooling solutions. Radioactive water continues to suddenly disappear now and then, presumably as it leaks in an uncontrolled manner to the sea. Parents of children in the area are peeved that the "safe" radiation levels set for said children are the same as full-grown full-blown nuclear power plant workers. There are calls for increased study and sampling of radiation are coming from a variety of sources. Cattle and other livestock are being moved out of the area, contaminated dairy cattle sent to slaughter for food, and veterinary scientist are asking to commandeer or purchase cattle and other animals in the area to exploit a unique opportunity to study radioactive livestock.

Ana's Feed

Pensioners come forth for Fukushima - Deutsche Welle, May 18

-As the Japanese government and TEPCO struggle to bring the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant under control, a group of pensioners has decided to put their lives at risk to save younger people from radiation.

-"My acquaintances and I talked very intensively about the accident and about how we could help contain the disaster," explained 72-year-old Yasuteru Yamada who came up with the idea. "A functioning cooling system is indispensable," he pointed out. "But who is supposed to build it? Only people can do it. So why not us? Since we don't have such a long future ahead?"

-Yamada and his friends have now contacted 2,500 people in Tokyo and the surroundings. Some 450 people have already offered their help and 90 of them - all in their 60s - have agreed to work in the plant itself.



Fukushima "Worse Than Chernobyl" When It Comes To Oceans - Treehugger, May 20



Total 250 tons of radioactive water leaked into sea early May: TEPCO - Kyodo, May 21


20 terabecquerels of radioactive materials flowed out to sea - Kyodo, May 21


Harvesting of seaweed resumed in Miyako, Iwate Pref. - Kyodo, May 21


Temp agency fails to pay 100 mil. yen in wages to 1,000 workers - Kyodo, May 21


Fukushima radiation fails to deter dairy farmers - video - BBC, May 13

-In a radiation hotspot downwind of Japan's stricken nuclear plant, farmers explain why they can't leave their cows despite fears of contamination



APEC agrees to avoid excessive import restrictions - NHK, May 21

-APEC trade ministers have called on member countries to stick to international rules and refrain from imposing excessive import restrictions.



Death of nuclear plant worker highlights need for proper health management - Mainichi Perspectives, May 21

-The worker, who died of a heart ailment, was rushed to the power station's clinic at around 6:50 a.m. on May 14 after complaining that he felt sick. But only one doctor works at the clinic, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and workers cannot receive treatment there while the doctor is off duty.

-The incident prompted TEPCO to approach the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to have Kitakyushu's University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan dispatch doctors to the nuclear plant. The institution agreed to assign 19 doctors to the power plant from mid-May to the end of June to provide first aid treatment. Moreover, the university is set to dispatch about 80 medical practitioners to Fukushima Prefecture to conduct medical checkups on workers at the crippled plant as well as the Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant to see if they have had internal exposure to radioactive substances.



Nuclear plant workers suffer internal radiation exposure after visiting Fukushima - Mainichi News, May 21

-The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

-The revelation has prompted local municipalities in Fukushima to consider checking residents' internal exposure to radiation.

-...a total of 4,956 cases of workers suffering from internal exposure to radiation at nuclear power plants in the country excluding the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and 4,766 of them involved workers originally from Fukushima who had visited the prefecture after the nuclear crisis.

-...one worker at the Shika Nuclear Power Plant operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Co. in Ishikawa Prefecture returned to his home in Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 13 and stayed there for several hours. He then stayed in Koriyama in the prefecture with his family for one night before moving out of Fukushima. On March 23, he underwent a test at the Shika Nuclear Power Plant that showed his internal exposure to radiation had reached 5,000 cpm.

-The local government in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, has received inquiries about internal exposure to radiation from its citizens. In response, it is considering selecting infants and people working mainly outdoors and measuring their internal radiation exposure levels using whole-body counters, officials said.

-...as of May 16, only about 1,400 workers have gone through checkups -- roughly 20 percent of the total number of workers. And only 40 of the workers have had their test results confirmed.



Radioactive debris hampers efforts to cool reactor - NHK, May 22

-Tokyo Electric Power Company on Friday found debris releasing 1,000 millisieverts per hour in an area south of the Number 3 reactor building. It is the highest level of radiation found in debris left outside.

-The company says it will expedite the removal of debris by using a remote-controlled vehicle so that it can bring the reactor under control by mid-July as planned.



Glitch halts nitrogen gas injection to reactor - NHK, May 22

-On Saturday afternoon, a TEPCO worker found that the device to inject nitrogen, installed outside the reactor building, was not working. Injection later resumed using backup equipment.

-The utility says data indicate that nitrogen gas had not been fed into the reactor for over 3 hours.

-But TEPCO says pressure inside the containment vessel has changed little, and there is no increase in the risk of an explosion.



Asian leaders visit Fukushima - NHK, May 22

-Wen and Lee were greeted there [Fuku. Pref.] by the Japanese prime minister.

-At the shelter, they ate cherries and cucumbers grown in Fukushima to demonstrate the safety of the local produce.

-The 3 leaders spoke with some of the evacuees there. Children jumped for joy when Wen presented them with toy Pandas.

-Lee presented the evacuees with paper fans bearing a message of encouragement, and listened to their concerns.

-The Chinese and South Korean leaders will attend a dinner party hosted by Kan in Tokyo featuring dishes prepared with ingredients from the affected areas.



Calls for rescue of abandoned pets in Fukushima grow louder as time runs out - Mainichi News, May 22



Kan to announce new energy program at G8 - NHK, May 22

-Under the program, the cost of solar power generation will be slashed to one-third of the current level by 2020 and one-sixth by 2030. Japan hopes to install solar panels on virtually all rooftops.

-The plan also envisions the construction of large-scale offshore wind farms and the full-scale introduction of next-generation biomass fuels in the 2020s.



TEPCO to install heat exchanger at No.2 reactor - NHK, May 22

-Workers of the Tokyo Electric Power Company entered the Number 2 reactor building last Wednesday to check radiation levels. But high humidity prohibited them from staying more than 14 minutes.

-The humidity is believed to be caused by the high temperature of the spent fuel pool and steam from the pressure vessel, which may have been damaged.



TEPCO didn't follow Fukushima emergency manual - NHK, May 22

-NHK has learned it is highly likely that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant did not follow the procedures to prevent a hydrogen explosion.

-The manual NHK has obtained shows that the pressure inside the vessel was close to the level that requires a venting operation 13 hours before the explosion occurred.

-But the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, did not start the operation until 6 and a half hours before the explosion, and the operation was carried out just one and a half hours before the blast because it was hampered by high-level radioactivity.



Water levels of stagnant water - NISA, May 23

-NISA has begun regular posting of data on water levels at each of the 4 damaged reactor's trenches, basements, and treatment facilities



TEPCO:Quake caused no major damage to reactors - NHK, May 23

-Tokyo Electric Power Company has found from its data that the March 11th earthquake caused no safety abnormalities at the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant until the tsunami came.

-TEPCO undertook its analysis using the available data and interviews with plant workers.

-The plant operator concluded the quake caused no major damage to the main piping and other parts of the reactors. TEPCO found no safety abnormalities at any of the reactors until the tsunami hit.



Kan denies having instructed TEPCO to stop seawater injection - Kyodo, May 23


IAEA experts arrive in Japan to probe nuclear crisis - Kyodo, May 23


New video shows tsunami damage at nuclear plant - NHK, May 23



Many residents still remain in Iitate, Kawamata - NHK, May 23

-Officials have been placing priority on evacuating households with infants and small children.

-But only about half of the 7,800 residents have followed the order one month after it was issued.

-Some residents remaining in the areas say emergency shelters are far from their work places and their children's schools. Others say they will lose their jobs if they move away.

-The officials say they will continue to urge the remaining residents to leave. But meeting the deadline will be difficult, as the evacuation order is not legally binding.



Work to reinforce No.4 reactor building begins - NHK, May 23

-Work began on Monday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to reinforce the structure supporting the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool.

-TEPCO's plan calls for building a new concrete structure under the pool to prevent its bottom from falling out. 30 steel columns will be set up on the second floor of the building to support the new structure.



TEPCO measures radiation above reactor buildings - NHK, May 23

-To take the measurements, it is using a small instrument attached to the arm of a crane pump that's about 50 meters tall.

-On Sunday afternoon, for about 20 minutes, the instrument measured radioactive substances in the air about 5 to 10 meters above the Number 1 reactor building. TEPCO will disclose the results of the analysis as early as Tuesday.



Coming Clean about Nuclear Power - Scientific American, May 23

-Regulators and industry have one precious moment to recapture the public's trust



Japanese Quake News - Environmental News Network, May 23

-A new NASA and university study of the March 11, 2011, Japan earthquake that included researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., provides the most comprehensive look to date at how Earth moved that day, unleashing widespread destruction and a devastating tsunami. The study of the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki quake, led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and published online in the May 19 issue of Science Express, details the first large set of observational data from this rare megathrust earthquake event.



Companies in no-go zone begin radiation checks - NHK, May 23

-...the government has allowed 9 companies in the village to continue operations on the condition that they monitor and report their workers' exposure to radiation.

-A local precision equipment maker began conducting worker radiation checks on Monday.

-Some 60 employees received instructions on how to use a radiation dosimeter. They then measured and recorded their radiation levels.

-The company's workers are to take exposure readings on a daily basis before going home from work.



Parents demand lower radiation limit for children - NHK, May 23

-On Monday, members of the group visited the education ministry and submitted a petition bearing more than 15,000 signatures.

-After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the government set the yearly limit for accumulated external radiation for children undertaking outdoor activities at 20 millisieverts.

-A ministry official admitted that the 20-millisievert yearly level is not necessarily an appropriate limit for children. The official told the group that the ministry wants to consider all possible measures to reduce radiation risk.



Contaminated water removal to be suspended soon - NHK, May 23

-About 47,000 tons of contaminated water has accumulated in the turbine buildings and utility tunnels...

-TEPCO is pumping a total of 14,000 tons of such water from the Numbers 2 and 3 reactors to the storage facilities. But one of the facilities is expected to reach its capacity in 3 days and the other in 4 days, forcing the transfer to be suspended.



Fukushima reactor had meltdown 3.5 hours after cooling system collapsed: U.S. researcher - Mainichi News, May 23

-According to the simulation, the reactor core started melting about 50 minutes after the emergency core cooling system of the No. 1 reactor stopped functioning and the injection of water into the reactor pressure vessel came to a halt. About an hour and 20 minutes later, the control rod and pipes used to gauge neutrons started melting and falling onto the bottom of the pressure vessel. After about three hours and 20 minutes, most of the melted fuel had piled up on the bottom of the pressure vessel. At the four hour and 20 minute mark, the temperature of the bottom of the pressure vessel had risen to 1,642 degrees Celsius, close to the melting point for the stainless steel lining, probably damaging the pressure vessel.

-TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, had tried to fill the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor with water, but it decided to abandon the plan after it discovered that a meltdown had occurred at the reactor.



Dairy cattle in Fukushima sent to slaughterhouse over radiation fears - Mainichi News, May 23



Results of environmental monitoring at each NPSs etc. - NISA, May 23

-NISA has begun posting data on environmental conditions of each of the country's nuke plants

-The readings at Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tokai Dai-ni plant are above normal



Meltdowns also at No.2, No.3 reactors - NHK, May 24

-The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says findings show that fuel meltdowns may have occurred at the No.2 and No.3 reactors within days of the March 11th earthquake. But it says both reactors are now stable at relatively low temperatures.

-The utility says a cooling system failure at the No.2 reactor 3 days after the quake led to a sharp drop in its water level.

-Workers tried pumping in water from a fire engine, but the injection wasn't enough and the fuel rods likely became exposed.



Tepco confirms extra partial fuel rod meltdown at plant - BBC, May 24

-Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant, has confirmed there were meltdowns of fuel rods at three reactors, after the earthquake and tsunami in March.



TEPCO still looking into emergency cooling system - NHK, May 24

-The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still unable to determine how long an emergency cooling system at the Number 1 reactor remained off after the March 11 earthquake.

-Operating records at the plant show that the system turned on automatically 6 minutes after the earthquake, at 2:52 PM, and halted 11 minutes later, at 3:03 PM. The system was back on more than 3 hours later, at 6:18 PM.

-TEPCO says that based on hearing from workers, it has confirmed that the system was manually shut down at 3:03 PM.

-The utility firm says at this point it cannot determine to what extent the emergency system was functioning, and that it will continue investigating.

-The firm also said that data taken in the 30 minutes after the earthquake show no irregularities in all safety features of the Number 1 to 3 reactors such as emergency power sources and in major facilities of the plant.



SDP wants nuclear power plants scrapped by 2020 - NHK, May 24

-The opposition Social Democratic Party is proposing that Japan should scrap all nuclear power plants by 2020.

-It says domestic electricity needs can be fully covered by natural energy sources by 2050.



Govt to set up panel to probe Fukushima accident - NHK, May 24

-The 70-year-old Hatamura has been involved in probing serious accidents, including a 2005 train derailment where 106 passengers and driver were killed. He advocates "failure science" -- learning from past failures to prevent recurrences.

-Sengoku added that as many panel members as possible will be chosen among people who have not worked in atomic power related fields, in order to carry out an impartial investigation.

-The panel is to compile an interim report by the end of the year.



Toshiba to enter wind-power business - NHK, May 24

-Toshiba Corporation will enter the wind-power generation business through the acquisition of a major South Korean wind turbine maker.

-Toshiba is also negotiating with a US maker of geothermal power generators, aiming at a technology alliance.



Fukushima plant's Nos. 2, 3 reactors also suffered meltdown: TEPCO - Kyodo, May 24


FOCUS: Japan's plea to dispel radiation worries heard by neighbors - Kyodo, May 24

-Japan's desperate efforts to ease widespread concerns over its products caused by the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture have borne some fruit, as its important trade partners China and South Korea agreed to take a scientific-based approach for Japanese imports at a trilateral summit through Sunday.

-But it remains unknown whether such political initiatives will truly help restore confidence in Japan among people in South Korea and China, while the crisis at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture continues.



Agency gears up to retrieve device fallen inside Monju reactor - Mainichi News, May 24

-The Japan Atomic Energy Agency began preparatory engineering work Tuesday to set up equipment it will use to retrieve a device that fell inside the vessel of its prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju in Fukui Prefecture last August, agency officials said.

-The agency aims to
collect the cylindrical 3.3-ton device together with part of the vessel's upper lid by mid-June to get the reactor back to normal by autumn, allowing the resumption of a test run of the 280,000-kilowatt prototype, the officials said.



Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station - Unit 1 Parameters Related to Temperature - NISA release, May 24

-Temp. readings from key components, released with this note:

There is a possibility that some instruments may not indicate correct values as they have been exposed to the conditions beyond the usual atmospheric ones due to the

earthquake and the developments of the event. Taking into account the uncertainty of those instruments, the plants' conditions are judged in an integrated manner paying

attention to the trends of the change, using the information obtained through multiple instruments



NISA wants measures to stop seawater contamination - NHK, May 24

-Japan's nuclear regulatory agency has instructed the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to take additional measures to prevent further leakage of radioactive water into the sea.

-The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency ordered TEPCO to also survey other places at risk of radioactive leakage and take preventive action.



The Nuclear Disaster That Could Destroy Japan - Truthout, May 24

-A puzzle for our time: how is it possible for a person to be smart enough to make plutonium, and dumb enough actually to make it?

-The nuclear power plants in Japan are ageing rapidly; like cyborgs, they are barely kept in operation by a continuous replacement of parts. And now that Japan has entered a period of earthquake activity and a major accident could happen at any time, the people live in constant state of anxiety.

-There are large seismic faults, capable of producing earthquakes at the 7 or 8 magnitude level, near each of Japan's nuclear plants, including the reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. It is hard to believe that there is any nuclear plant that would not be damaged by a magnitude 8 earthquake.



Cattle moved out of evacuation area - NHK, May 24

-Katsurao village is helping livestock farmers move their animals as it aims to complete the evacuation by the end of May. More than 400 cows are still in the village.

-The transfer of about 170 cows from the village to neighboring Tamura City started on Tuesday.

-Earlier this month, small amount of radioactive cesium was detected in beef processed from cows carried from Katsurao Village to Aomori Prefecture.



Concerned parents in Fukushima snap up free radiation dosimeters for children - Mainichi News, May 24

-On May 19, when the temperature hit this year's high of 30.3 degrees Celsius, elementary school students on their way home from school had their caps pulled low with masks covering their mouths. If children are seen walking outside without masks there is a tendency for their parents to be labeled irresponsible. Some children are even putting on long-sleeve sweaters and long trousers with gloves on their hands.

50-year-old woman from the Toyano district of the city of Fukushima, who has also measured radiation with a dosimeter several times, said: "Nothing has changed in the landscape here before and after the nuclear accident, but our lives have changed completely."



Kaieda holds talks with IAEA investigating team - NHK, May 24

-Kaieda said his government will fully cooperate with the team's investigations.

-Team leader Mike Weightman said his agency wants to make use of lessons from the accident to improve the safety of nuclear power plants across the globe.



Two damaged reactors may have holes in their containment vessels: TEPCO data - Mainichi News, May 25

-At least two reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant may have holes in their containment vessels, according to a report released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) on May 24, a finding that could hamper efforts to meet a government-sanctioned timetable to end the crisis.

-TEPCO, the operator of the troubled nuclear power plant, said in the report that meltdowns had occurred at the No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors. The report revealed for the first time the possibility of the No. 1 and 2 reactors having a hole about 7 centimeters in diameter and multiple holes about 10 centimeters in diameter in their respective containment vessels.

-The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the conditions of the reactors would not greatly affect the timetable to end the ongoing crisis. But Keiji Kobayashi, former lecturer at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said, "The roadmap is not based on the assumption that the pressure vessels are damaged. The government and TEPCO have been making desperate efforts to put the reactors under control as quickly as possible and are putting pressure on workers. It is absolutely out of the question to try to put the situation under control quickly in exchange for exposing workers to radiation and shortening their lives."



Fukushima Containment Chambers Probably Damaged, Computer Simulation Shows - Bloomberg, May 25

-Computer simulations of the meltdowns of three reactors in March indicates holes formed in chambers, the company known as Tepco said in a report.

-The analysis confirms what independent researchers have said occurred after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit the plant. The report to the government raises fresh questions about how Tepco, which took more than two months to acknowledge fuel rods had melted, is handling the crisis, a nuclear researcher said.

-"Unfortunately I can't find any consistency in the report," Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at Kyoto University, said by phone. "Tepco hasn't released sufficient radionuclide analysis of leaked contaminated water. Now they've confirmed fuel rods melted, they should also release more data including plutonium and uranium readings."

-Tepco has been struggling to cool reactors and spent fuel pools to stop radiation leaks, including using pumps and fire engines to get water into the reactors to keep fuel rods and spent fuel cool after the quake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems.

-Tepco's analysis shows the No. 1 chamber has one hole and the No. 2 unit has two breaches, according to a report filed to a Japanese nuclear watchdog. Cooling systems may have been breached at the No. 3 reactor at the site, Tepco said.



Quake may have damaged key piping at No.3 reactor - NHK, May 25

-Tokyo Electric Power Company has released data which suggests the March 11th earthquake damaged a critical piping system in the No. 3 reactor at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

-The utility said that analysis of pressure and temperature data from the days after the quake shows that the No.3 reactor lost its cooling system on March 13th. Much of its nuclear fuel likely melted down and collected at the bottom of the pressure vessel over the next 24 hours.

-The analysis also shows that piping in an emergency cooling mechanism, known as a high-pressure coolant injection system, may have been damaged by the earthquake. The system is designed to maintain the water level inside the reactor vessel during an emergency.

-Tokyo Electric says the drop in pressure is consistent with analysis which assumes the piping system had been damaged.

-The piping system is one of the plant's most important structures in terms of safety, and must be damage-proof.

-Tokyo Electric refuses to confirm, however, that the key piping system was damaged by the quake, and suggests that it is possible a gauge malfunction may be to blame for the data fluctuation.



Japan pledges full cooperation with IAEA - NHK, May 25

-Edano said it is extremely regrettable that the accident has caused worry and trouble around the world. He added that Japan is doing all it can to bring the plant under control, and that it has made efforts to disclose information with maximum transparency.



Japan unlikely to build new nuclear plants after crisis, Kan tells FT - Kyodo, May 25


Soil contamination from Fukushima crisis comparable to Chernobyl: study - Kyodo, May 25


TEPCO claims it notified gov't of seawater injection plan at Fukushima plant - Mainichi News, May 25

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the crisis-stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, said on May 25 that it had informed authorities before it began to inject seawater into its overheating No. 1 reactor on March 12.

-During a Diet session on May 23, Kan denied news reports that the seawater injection was temporarily suspended for 55 minutes at his instruction, aggravating the nuclear crisis, saying the government had never been notified of the plan in the first place. "I couldn't say, 'stop' or 'go ahead' to something we were never notified of."



TEPCO: reactor damage includes holes - NHK, May 25

-The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says data analyses suggest damage to its reactors may have caused cracks and openings in the reactor containment vessels equivalent to a 10-centimeter hole.

-TEPCO said these results were obtained through data calculations, and that it has yet to confirm whether such holes actually exist.



Japanese Telecom Firm Softbank To Construct 10 New Solar Power Plants - Inhabitat, May 25

-With the recent earthquakes and tsunami devastating the eastern coast of Japan, Softbank is planning an "Eastern Japan Solar Belt" that would help revitalize the region. The project is expected to cost about eight billion yen ($97 million), with Softbank contributing 10% of the costs. The rest will be provided by local authorities.

-At a joint new conference, Son said he would work with local officials to launch a "Natural Energy Council" in early July to promote natural energy power generation.



Who Needs Nukes? Japan Plans a Massive Shift to Solar Power - GOOD blog, May 25

-The Japanese public is less enthusiastic about nuclear power these days. Responding to the Fukushima crisis and public concerns earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared the nation's plans for nuclear power expansion officially dead.

-The goals are realistic. The Prime Minister isn't promising a total end to nuclear or fossil fuel energy sources, but rather a massive and manageable shift away from them. Right now, solar, wind, hydro, and biomass only provide about 1 percent of the nation's electricity.



Many anxious Fukushima residents undergo radiation screening tests - Mainichi News, May 25

-An increasing number of residents here, feeling insecure about their health and discrimination against them, have taken screening tests for radiation, with a few of them found to have been exposed to levels of radiation higher than the legal limit.



DPJ calls to keep Fukushima cattle for research - NHK, May 25

-Veterinary scientists at Wednesday's news conference told reporters that the proposed research would be very valuable since almost no studies have been conducted on livestock continually exposed to low levels of radiation.



No. 1 reactor pressure vessel likely damaged immediately after quake - Kyodo, May 26


Radioactive substances detected in tea leaves - NHK, May 26

-Radioactive contamination has been found in tea leaves in Chiba and Gunma prefectures, about 200 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Similar contamination has been found over a wide area around Tokyo including Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Saitama and Shizuoka prefectures.

-The Chiba government on Wednesday requested tea growers in the 4 cities to voluntarily halt shipments, and asked dealers not to sell the tea produced in the areas.

-But 2 tea growers in Narita City reportedly shipped their tea leaves, and dealers sold some processed tea to local consumers.



Radioactive water transfer halted at Fukushima - NHK, May 26

-The utility stopped the work at 9 AM on Wednesday, saying it needed to work on power supply lines.

-It said when that work is finished it will resume the transfer of water from the Number 2 reactor, but not from Number 3, because storage facilities are nearly full.



Nitrogen injection into No.1 reactor stops again - NHK, May 26

-The plant operator says the stoppage caused only minor change in the pressure inside the containment vessel, and that there is no increase in the risk of a new hydrogen blast.

-TEPCO is trying to identify the cause of the problem.



TEPCO suspects new leak at Fukushima - NHK, May 26

-The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is inspecting a wastewater disposal facility for possible leaks, after finding that its water level had dropped.

-TEPCO suspended the transfer from the Number 3 reactor on Thursday to check whether the disposal facility could hold more water.

-It found that the water level at the facility had dropped by 4.8 centimeters over a 20-hour period, meaning some 57 tons of water had been lost.



TEPCO continued seawater injection at reactor without interruption - Kyodo, May 26

-Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday it had continued injecting seawater into its No. 1 reactor at its crisis-stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, reversing its earlier story that it had suspended the work after receiving information that the prime minister's office was concerned about it.

-The utility, known as TEPCO, said it learned of the move after questioning the head of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, who told company officials this week that he had gone ahead in continuing seawater injection into the No. 1 reactor despite the firm's decision to suspend the work.

-TEPCO had earlier said it began injecting seawater to cool nuclear fuel inside the reactor on the evening of March 12, one day after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, but that it suspended the work 21 minutes later before resuming it another 55 minutes afterward.


Gov't displeased with TEPCO's flip-flop on seawater injection - Kyodo, May 26


Farmers in 5 prefectures to demand TEPCO pay 10 bil. yen in damages - Kyodo, May 26


Children finding it hard to study by themselves at evacuation shelters - Mainichi News, May 26

-A 16-year-old high school girl commutes for an hour to her school in Ishinomaki from the shelter by bicycle as local railroad services have yet to resume operations. She says she can concentrate on her studies the most in the sheer silence after the shelter's 9 p.m. lights-out time, but she has been careful not to disturb other evacuees with the sound of her turning textbook pages and moving her chair.



IAEA team visits Tokai Daini nuclear plant - NHK, May 26

-On Thursday, a 20-member team visited the Tokai Daini plant, which is operated by Japan Atomic Power Company.

-The plant's only reactor shut down automatically after the March 11th quake. But a 5-meter tsunami disabled one of the plant's 3 backup sea-water pumps for cooling the reactor. The plant remains closed for a regular inspection.



Greenpeace calls for wider radiation monitoring - NHK, May 26

-Greenpeace said radioactive materials beyond safe limits were found in 11 types of fish, shellfish and seaweed, some of which are not on the government's checklist.

-It said a type of fish caught in Onahama Port in Iwaki City had 857 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, 1.7 times the safety limit.

-Radioactive iodine and cesium beyond permissible levels were also found in oysters, sea cucumber and seaweed collected from other ports in Fukushima Prefecture.

-Radioactive materials were also found in seaweed drifting in waters about 50 kilometers southeast of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

-Greenpeace said its data shows contamination spreading over great distances from the plant.

-The Fukushima prefectural government said contaminated seafood will never reach the market because fishing has been banned in nearby waters.



TEPCO admonished for sloppy radiation control - NHK, May 26

-Japan's nuclear regulatory agency has admonished the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for failing to prevent another case of workers being exposed to radiation.

-The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says 2 Tokyo Electric Power Company workers were exposed to 3 millisieverts of radiation, while doing clerical work at the plant over a period of about 10 days after the March 11th disaster. The figure is 3 times the annual permissible level.

-The two women had not been registered on the list of workers engaged in radiation-related operations.



Angry Parents in Japan Confront Government Over Radiation Levels - NYT, May 26

-A huge outcry is erupting in Fukushima over what parents say is a blatant government failure to protect their children from dangerous levels of radiation. The issue has prompted unusually direct confrontations in this conflict-averse society, and has quickly become a focal point for anger over Japan's handling of the accident at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, ravaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

-At issue are updated government guidelines that allow schoolchildren to be exposed to radiation doses that are more than 20 times the previously permissible levels. That dose is equal to the international standard for adult nuclear power plant workers.

-Adding to the anxiety, there is little scientific knowledge of the sorts of radiation dangers that Japan may now be facing. Scientists say readings in most areas are too low to cause immediate illness -- even among children, who are more vulnerable -- but they have a limited understanding of how low radiation doses over a long period of time can affect health.



Fukushima radiation monitoring map to be made - NHK, May 26

-Japan's science ministry has decided to draw up a map showing radiation levels in soil of Fukushima Prefecture, following the disasters at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

-The ministry is to start surveying radiation levels at more than 2,200 locations across the prefecture at the beginning of June.

-The ministry plans to survey every 4 square kilometers within 80 kilometers of the plant, and every 100 square kilometers elsewhere.



Fukushima farmers auction off their beef cattle - NHK, May 26

-Livestock farmers who have been urged to evacuate from areas near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant sold off about 400 heads of cattle at an extraordinary auction on Thursday.



In white suits and masks, Japanese from nuclear plant town dart into homes to grab belongings - Washington Post, May 26

-Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from towns near the plant soon after Japan's massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami flooded the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, which then began spewing radiation. Local officials and nuclear experts escorted several dozen of them back for a two-hour visit Thursday.

-"It was just like it was when the quake hit," said Anna Takano, a 17-year-old high school student from Futaba, home to the plant. "It felt very strange."

-Takano said she packed up as much clothing from her home as she could and then made a 10-minute visit to her family grave site.



Families of tsunami victims visit no-entry zone - NHK, May 26

-People who lost family members in the March 11 quake disaster are visiting the no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to offer prayers for their loved ones.

-They came to a pick up location, carrying flowers and fruits as offerings, and left for the no-entry zone wearing protective gear. They are allowed to stay in the areas for only about 90 minutes.



Switzerland to phase out nuclear power - BBC, May 26

-Switzerland has become the first European country to announce plans to phase out nuclear power, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

-The Swiss government said the country's five nuclear power stations would close gradually over the next 20 years.


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More like this

So I'm guessing that's a 'no' on guided tours of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex?

Seriously, when do we declare this is worse than Chernobyl?


By cairne.morane (not verified) on 26 May 2011 #permalink

Mike: "Seriously, when do we declare this is worse than Chernobyl?"

Excerpt from my comment on May 18:

"5% of the core of one reactor released by a 'steam explosion' at Chernobyl... three meltdowns, multiple explosions, multiple fires (including at spent fuel ponds, which are also compromised) at Daiichi...

it's evident that situation is considerably worse than at Chernobyl."

No shortage of folks have been saying this since March (I can take no credit for being ahead of the curve).

Of course, the nuclear advocates and major media don't consider those pointing out the obvious-- that in every respect Daiichi is worse than Chernobyl, and will have much more severe health and environmental effects-- to have the credentials or expertise to be taken seriously.

Celebrated physicists can be called ignorant fearmongers, and entire scientific institutions can be dismissed for 'having an agenda' if they fail to repeat the nuclear mantra, so forget about an NGO like Greenpeace or the Union of Concerned Scientists.

See the pattern?

By phillydoug (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink


"Peter Karamoskos, a Nuclear Radiologist and public representative on the Radiation Health Committee of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency argues in âDo we know the Chernobyl death toll?â that despite uncertainties about the numbers, âThe weight of scientific opinion holds that there is no threshold below which ionising radiation poses no risk and that the risk is proportional to the dose: the "linear no-threshold" (LNT) model.â

Drawing on the 2006 report of the Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation (BEIR) of the US National Academy of Sciences. Karamoskos points out: âThe ⦠view that low-level radiation is harmless, is restricted to a small number of scientists whose voice is greatly amplified by the nuclear industry (in much the same way as corporate greenhouse polluters amplify the voices of climate science sceptics).â

He continues:

There is general agreement that about 50 people died in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl accident. Beyond that, studies generally don't indicate a significant increase in cancer incidence in populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout. Nor would anyone expect them to because of the data gaps and methodological problems mentioned above, and because the main part of the problem concerns the exposure of millions of people to very low doses of radiation from Chernobyl fallout.

For a few marginal scientists and nuclear industry spruikers, that's the end of the matter - the statistical evidence is lacking and thus the death toll from Chernobyl was just 50. Full stop. But for those of us who prefer mainstream science, we can still arrive at a scientifically defensible estimate of the Chernobyl death toll by using estimates of the total radiation exposure, and multiplying by a standard risk estimate.

The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates a total collective dose of 600,000 Sieverts over 50 years from Chernobyl fallout. A standard risk estimate from the International Commission on Radiological Protection is 0.05 fatal cancers per Sievert. Multiply those figures and we get an estimated 30,000 fatal cancers. A number of studies apply that basic method - based on collective radiation doses and risk estimates - and come up with estimates of the death toll varying from 9000 (in the most contaminated parts of the former Soviet Union) to 93,000 deaths (across Europe). Those are the credible estimates of the likely eventual death toll from Chernobyl.

Claims that the death toll was just 50 should be rejected as dishonest spin from the nuclear industry and some of its most strident and scientifically-illiterate supporters.

Karamaskos then turns to Fukushima, observing that

Nuclear industry spruikers will insist that no-one is at risk from low-level radiation exposure from Fukushima. The rest of us will need to wait some months or years before we have a plausible estimate of total human radiation exposure upon which to base an estimate of the death toll. To date, radiation releases from Fukushima are estimated by the Japanese government to be 10 per cent of the total Chernobyl release.

Needless to say, the view that low-level radiation is harmless is completely at odds with the current situation in Japan - the 20 km evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant, restrictions on food and water consumption in Japan and restrictions on the importation of food from Japan."

By phillydoug (not verified) on 28 May 2011 #permalink