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This is another clearinghouse diary for the posting of additional news (with links to their source) and intelligent commentary about the ongoing nuclear disaster(s) in Japan.  

THE JNI coverage is for reporting and analysis of events in Japan following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and the meltdowns at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. It is NOT a place for editorializing or POVs on nuclear power.  

Please provide links to credible news stories.  

For older information on news and a timeline of the events following the March 11 Japanese Earthquake, visit the Mothership .  provides a more extensive list of news and data sources, social media, crisis mapping and other relevant information.

If you would like to recommend this diary feel free to do so. All previous liveblogs published to the Japan Nuclear Incident group can be found here.


Multiple 10-Centimeter Holes in Reactor 2 Containment Vessel at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

So says the Mainichi Shinbun reporters who must be reading the report submitted by TEPCO on May 23 and released on May 24.

Multiple 10-centimeter holes in the Reactor 2 Containment Vessel, and one 7-centimeter hole in the Reactor 1 Containment Vessel.

Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University was so right. The Containment Vessels' integrity has been long gone. TEPCO should have known all along, and all the experts, including Koide, must have known.
The original Tepco data recordings from the beginning of the Fukushima crisis are here

Quake victims offered easy-to-build wood structures

A maker of wooden furniture and houses is proposing easy-to-build temporary structures with the warmth of wood for people displaced by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Oak Village, based in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, has produced a prototype that can be put u...p in one day and costs roughly the same as prefabricated temporary housing.

UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser to visit Japan to discuss Fukushima and its aftermath. Details of a live on-line event.

Professor Sir John Beddington, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser will be visiting Japan from 28 May. During the recent crisis at the Fukushima Dai-iichi nuclear power plant, Professor Beddington held teleconferences with members of the British community, to provide his assessment of the nuclear incident, and the possible impact on human health. The transcripts can be found here.

Japan has belatedly admitted that reactors No. 2 and 3 at the Fukushima nuclear plant actually did have meltdowns following the earthquake in March.


Coverage from JNI team 5/23-24

5/24  Earthquake may have damaged unit 3 cooling system h/t  by procrastinator john

According to the Asahi Shinbun (Japanese) the pipes in the cooling system of unit 3 may have been damaged by the earthquake, before the tsunami struck. From the article:
According to TEPCO, after external power was lost due to the tsunami on March 11, at unit 3 another system [other than the Emergency Core Cooling System] cooled the reactor, but around noon on the 12th it stopped functioning. When they switched to using the high-pressure system after a drop in water level was detected the water level [in the reactor] rose for a time. Later, when battery power was used up, a valve needed to operate the system no longer could be opened or closed. The water level began dropping again and a major meltdown occurred.
During the operation of the high-pressure system, the pressure had been around 75 bars inside the reactor pressure vessel but dropped to 10 bars in about 6 hours. Normally it would be difficult to explain such a rapid loss of pressure and TEPCO hypothesized that the pressure may have dropped because of damage somewhere in the pipes that circulate steam. The outcome was that the change in pressure roughly matched the level that was actually measured, so it is believed that steam may have leaked from the pipes.

5/24 France's IRSN says 70,000 should be evacuated h/t by mahakali overdrive

Paris - Seventy thousand people living beyond the 20km no-go zone around Fukushima should be evacuated because of radioactivity deposited by the crippled nuclear plant, a watchdog said.
Updating its assessment of the March 11 disaster, France's Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) highlighted an area northwest of the plant that lies beyond the 20km zone whose inhabitants have already been evacuated.
Radioactivity levels in this area range from several hundred becquerels per square metre to thousands or even several million bequerels per square metre, the IRSN report, issued late on Monday, said.
Around 70 000 people, including 9 500 children aged up to 14, live in the area, "the most contaminated territory outside the evacuation zone", the agency said.
The dose under discussion is low, however, and I don't know about the IRSN. Still, they are concerned. So worth reporting.

And the other piece of great news today is (from Japan Times)
5/23 Facility for tainted water almost full h/t by evergreen2

"A nuclear waste disposal facility being filled with radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant will soon be full, Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials said Monday.
The operator, known as Tepco, plans to suspend the extraction operation until the middle of June once the facility becomes filled and until a new water treatment facility begins operating."
I'm a little brain-dead at the moment, but the article goes on to describe the various things they plan to do with all the water they're having to move in and out of the reactors.
"Meanwhile, the amount of contaminated water is expected to increase as the crippled reactors continue to leak and the rainy season sets in, possibly posing another challenge to stabilization work at the plant."

Cesium found in breast milk h/t by mahakali overdrive

Small amounts of radioactive substances have reportedly been detected in the breast milk of five women in Japan.
Online newspaper Japan Today said that in samples taken from 41 women across five prefectures, the tests found cesium in the breast milk of four women in Tokyo, Fukushima and Ibaraki, and radioactive iodine in the breast milk of a woman in Fukushima.
Safety levels of radioactive substances in breast milk have not been set by the Japanese government but readings -- 5.5 becquerels of iodine and up to 10.5 becquerels of cesium -- in all five cases were well below the safe levels -- 100 becquerels of radioactive iodine and 200 becquerels of cesium -- for tap water consumption by infants.

5/24  14 terabecq's of iodine/cesium found in ocean  h/t by mahakali overdrive

Japan has belatedly admitted that reactors No. 2 and 3 at the Fukushima nuclear plant actually did have meltdowns following the earthquake in March.
The statement on Tuesday by TEPCO, the operator of the power plant, means that all three active reactors at the plant suffered meltdowns.
Some nuclear experts have long believed that was the case.
In the meantime, 14 terabecquerels of radioactive cesium and iodine have been found in the sea near the plant, stoking fears that radiation could spread further in the Pacific Ocean.
As the situation deteriorates, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency that arrived in Japan on Monday has begun a 10-day investigation into the plant.


Fukushima - mysterious bright flashes with pink and blue camera pictures 5/21- fascinating .. thoughts?

This is Hudebnik's account of what he witnessed on Saturday 21 May 2011, with illustrations kindly researched by others on the forum.
I turned on the feed of the TBS/JNN live camera feed at 1005UTC (1905JST). It appeared normal and dusk was just beginning to fall. At 1006/1906 as I was directly watching the camera feed I saw a very bright white flash on the camera. It seemed to come from between reactors 2 & 3, roughly roof height. It was extremely bright, and the camera went into a
whiteout for several (5+) seconds. The effect was very like watching film of a nuclear test, an extremely bright and sudden flash emanating from an identifiable central point. At this point the plant buildings were impossible to see. After 5-10 seconds the bright white started to turn bright light pink, and the plant began to be visible again.


Coverage@Kos Diaires

Please visit JNI group page or Nuclear Free DK for diaries on ongoing situation in Japan


A 5-week competition in which teams build a demo and working concept for a game which addresses disaster mitigation.  “Building virtual disaster games takes you through the challenges of response to prepare you for when things actually happen ….  Register by June 10

Burners without Borders: Ongoing Reports on their work in Japan

Sculpture Workshop

Today I taught a class at a rec center in Kessenuma. The children and I made animals out of kami nendo. Afterwards they showed me lots of origami and then we hopped around like kangaroos. It was a really great time and it was wonderful to see their smiles. A big thank you to Tanaka-san from the Kessenuma Volunteer Center for helping me organize this project and acting as my translator

Regularly Updated Data Sources
@Kos: A database of temperature, pressure, radiation levels, etc readings over time can be found in:

The Daiichi Database: This is an evolved diary has stopped being updated regularly.

Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF)
RSOS Emergency & Disaster information Services - Japan
EPA RadNet Map View &
EPA's Radiation Air Monitoring
 Scribble Live
 Japan Municipal Water Charts  in Japanese  Needed???

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Best News Sources

Kyodo Nuclear News Feed
NHK Japan Live
Asahi on Facebook
Fukushima Wikispaces
WHO situation reports
METI Twitter Feed

Rules of the Road
Given the seriousness of this situation, please use this diary for posting information DIRECTLY Related to coverage of the developing news!

The"ROV" (a Remote Operating Vehicle) is a 'child diary' for liveblog coverage of major breaking news stories. (The term was borrowed from the Gulf Watchers coverage of the Deep Water Horizon crisis.)

To continue following and participating in the breaking coverage in Japan Nuclear Incidents series, click here and then click the heart icon underneath the profile picture to the Right. This will bring these diaries directly into your personal "stream."

Due to slowing news coverage, Coverage@KOS is including diaries covering a few day periods. All coverage is then archived to the group page.

You can assist us in including relevant diaries by providing links to any postings we may have missed to insure they are included in this coverage. Also, note below if diaries are being reposted to other groups so we can direct readers there as well.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

Remember when posting to the thread:  STICK TO THE FACTS. Source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.) Both the Mothership and the ROVs are for reporting and discussing the developing news. Neither space is for opinions or for editorializing on the subject of nuclear energy. The JNI team has decided that diaries which are not factual or which sensationalize this event are not included in Coverage@Kos.

12:05 PM PT: Unconditionally, Japan prescribed after the oil crisis of nuclear power.Since then the industry has corrupted the whole country, especially Fukushima operators Tepco. Politics, science and the media are complicit - a large-scale technology has infiltrated a democracy."

At least that's how google translate puts it.  Long article from Der Speigel which explains how nuclear power corrupted the Japanese political process.

Sat May 28, 2011 at 11:37 PM PT: Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power has restored the cooling system of the nuclear reactor and fuel pool at the No. 5 unit of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan, an official of the plant operator said on Sunday.

Tokyo Electric, know as TEPCO, said the cooling facility restarted at 12:49 p.m. (0349 GMT) and was expected to lower temperatures which had risen at the reactor and fuel pool after the cooling system stopped working late on Saturday.

Sat May 28, 2011 at 11:40 PM PT: Typhoon Songda weakened to a Category 3 storm off Taiwan, while a change in its forecast path cut the risk it will pass over Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

The eye of the storm was about 300 kilometers (190 miles) east of Taipei at 9 a.m. Japan time, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said on its website today. The typhoon’s path shifted south compared with the Center’s projections yesterday, and the storm is now forecast to pass along the south coast of Japan from tomorrow.

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Wed May 25, 2011 at 09:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Liveblog Group, Nuclear Free DK, and DeepKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This diary for ongoing coverage ... (10+ / 0-)

    Please follow JNI group as opposed to wrecking, thanks.

    Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

    by boatsie on Wed May 25, 2011 at 09:31:54 AM PDT

    •  I'll do both... I like multitasking (5+ / 0-)

      also, republished to The Nuclear Free DK ;)

      Thanks for the new ROV. Just about to go out and will be back later!

      •  I want to know what (5+ / 0-)

        happened to that "MegaTanker" that should have arrived at Fukushima a couple of days ago to take on the water from the waste facility. I figured it would help a lot (can hold a week's worth of pumping), could transport to Daiini and unload to their waste facility, then run it through their polishers (which are available and undamaged). The French also offered portable polishers, those could also be set up at Daiini for the job of removing contamination before duping the water back into the ocean. What they do with the resins is something to think about, but all this complaining about water build-up seems silly due to arrangements that have already been made to transport it elsewhere for processing.

        What's up with that?

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Wed May 25, 2011 at 11:32:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the wake of multiple meltdowns, (7+ / 0-)

          perforated vessels, and a flowing sieve of radioactive isotopes into the sea ...
          ... we are now informed that meltdowns aren't all that dangerous, the holes don't really matter, and the ocean is really really really big.
          So what's the worry?

          "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

          by Andhakari on Wed May 25, 2011 at 12:17:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah. Then why the f*ck (4+ / 0-)

            are they bothering? Just let 'em go, do a Chernobyl on what's left when they finish turning to gravel (after pressurized hydrogen explosions from the bedrock water table). No biggie...

            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

            by Joieau on Wed May 25, 2011 at 12:31:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They're half way there. (5+ / 0-)

              I think they've pretty much given up on collecting, storing, processing and whatever with the contaminated water. Their facilities are clearly inadequate and I don't see that they're taking any significant measures to rectify the inadequacies. It would cost too much and their company is worthless.
              So fuck the ocean and fuck whatever's downstream and screw whoever eats the seaweed, shellfish and fish.
              Will it be any different when this goes down in America? Regardless of liability limits, a clusterfuck like this will suck the assets out of a company faster than a banker can cash his bonus. And if/when this happens on the Great Lakes or any of the major rivers reactors are sited on what will the consequences be for the people and their environment?
              Well, at least we can strike the "it can't happen here" nonsense from the debate. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

              "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

              by Andhakari on Wed May 25, 2011 at 12:56:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The megafloat did arrive over the weekend (6+ / 0-)

          I don't believe they ever intended to transport the water with it though. The purpose was for storage. The last word I came across on the treatment facility the French were supposed to be working on put the estimate completion time at the end of June. The completion date keeps moving further out, btw.

          Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

          by ricklewsive on Wed May 25, 2011 at 12:45:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They've been running (5+ / 0-)

            something back and forth to Daiini, I figured masks, filters, supplies, samples, laundry, low-level (relatively speaking) trash, etc. It's 10 miles away on the coast, safely shut down, has operating systems and labs, etc. A hundred things Daiichi needs but doesn't have. I'm guessing they run all their samples not time-sensitive (like immediate, that and high-dose worker badges are probably processed on-site in a van or truck).

            The French offered the portable polisher/demineralizers in March, I haven't seen that they wouldn't pony up. They are the sub 'experts' pretty much in charge right now. TEPCO's just hiring the grunts, reporting the data, and taking the [corporate] heat. So the government doesn't have to...

            The MegaTanker shuttle could be accomplished with a hundred motivated workers, a couple dozen system engineers and some creative oversight. Daiini might have to bring in more tanks, but the transfer could keep up with what's going out after a week or two, maybe handle some trench water too.

            They must do something about the water situation, the ocean is being hopelessly polluted on a 24-7 basis. I don't like nukes one little bit, but I do know they could clean this water enough for release - well within 'normal' limits. Might take awhile, but they managed more than 3 million gallons at TMI, and that was 32 years ago. They've got even better resins these days. Tiny beads engineered chemically to present open binding sites for charged particles (cycled pos and neg). Regular small particulate filtration before it gets to the demineralizer.

            They can't clean it at Daiichi. They could do it at Daiini. Makes more sense to me than lots of things that they've actually done so far...

            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

            by Joieau on Wed May 25, 2011 at 02:43:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you Boatsie for putting this diary up! (5+ / 0-)

      I was getting a little concerned that the Rov#56 was getting a little tired.

  •  I asked in Nathguy's diary, but I'll ask here too (9+ / 0-)

    What's next... worst case, best case and most likely?

    Also, is that flash mentioned above similar to what Adept diaried about last night?

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Wed May 25, 2011 at 09:48:33 AM PDT

    •  That's incredible... I have no idea (8+ / 0-)

      but I do know that film and video of Chernobyl looked very similar. Unsure whether this is that. It was from a surge of radiation. This should definitely be watched carefully and comp'ed with any reported radiation spikes. And if anyone else has another idea, please weigh in.

      Thanks again, Magster.

    •  I'll play guess the scenario (8+ / 0-)

      First though I'd like to consider what I was looking at last night with an I'm not an expert so I can spout off my stupid head sentiment.   What I saw on unit 2 really did appear to behave like flame that eventually went out.  It did have intermittent smoking, however if you look at my kind of live blog about #2 when the thing cruised by I thought was a warship within 30 minutes the camera went dead.  Now I also saw on number 4 a burning that didn't appear to be flame.  As I recall the construction diagrams I think I saw it coming from where the fuel pools should be.  I think we were looking at atomic fission.  Straight out I think parts of the pool are experiencing off and on criticality and we were just looking at an active atomic pile.  I did a diary awhile ago Time to Revisit Chernobyl, that was a recap of the disaster from the perspective of the soviet responder in charge who killed himself.  Anyway he described looking down into the active pile and the light reminded me very much of his description.

      So let's play bad case.

      I see 3 atomic piles that have melted down and left the shape and configuration where normal nuclear engineering can manage them, and they did this long ago.  I didn't see them dumping any moderator like boran on the thing until about 3 weeks ago, and I think that's a train that you can't jump on in mid stream.  All 3 of those piles have been cooking for a month now, (remember when they were saying 1 had cold shut down?  BWAHAHAHAHHAH) so these atomic piles have now become a new substance on earth they call corium and they have melted down, meh into the basements? they have definately left the containment vessels (remember nuclear boy has a stomach ache? nuclear boy has shit like the facehugger monster from Alien and he has burned through his diaper, so the corium is now headed south to the water table, and it should get there if it will say in about a month or so and BOOOOOOOOOOOOOM thermal explosion when a substance a couple ticks off as hot as the sun hits a water table and you have 3 atomic geisers like old faithful except it goes off continuously as opposed to on the hour.

      That's just the fun with the reactors, want to talk fun with the fuel pools?  Take that scenario and put it in an open air environment nuclear boy never had on a diaper, and run it.  Let's add on to now the fuel has interesting geometries we get us a little criticality explosion like what happened at Khyshtem, so far I'd say the pools are probably cooking so hard no one who wants to keep their lives can work anywhere near them for more than 5 minutes.  Now they should have a line of say 20K people ready to get digging and see if they can't go under the entire thing with some sort of moderator tomb idea, it needs to be like a hoover dam effort, do you see anything like that? me either.  

      So in short we're fucked I don't know any theories billy bad ass enough to stop 3.75 been running away for 2 month nuclear reactors, so what i've decided to do is embrace it and use the potential scrambling of my dna to reorder it in X man fashion.

      Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

      by Adept2u on Wed May 25, 2011 at 10:44:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it hits the water table (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive

        what kind of water contamination will there be?  Would it just be an explosion or would it cause broader water contamination?

        I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

        by AoT on Wed May 25, 2011 at 02:23:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Biblical contamination (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          evergreen2, mahakali overdrive

          I believe that is why they decided to burn the lives of the people they did in chernobyl.  I'm not familiar with the hydrology around Fukushima, but Chernobyl was over the water shed to the Niva?  River and the source of water to most of the Ukraine and a huge chunk of eastern europe.  I think they estimated if that had happened they would have had to dead zone the entire area.

          Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

          by Adept2u on Wed May 25, 2011 at 02:57:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Given that it's right next to the ocean (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            evergreen2, mahakali overdrive

            it seems like Japan could get off easy and not have a huge area polluted.  But I am not a hydrologist so I'm not exactly clear on how the pollution would flow.

            It's horrible that at this point we have to accept that an area around the plants is going to be uninhabitable for generation even under moderately bad scenarios.  I can't imagine that farmers in the Fukushima area are basically never going to be able to sell their crops again, even, by some miracle, the pollution isn't really bad enough to warrant not eating them.  The name alone will ruin their livelihood.

            I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

            by AoT on Wed May 25, 2011 at 07:21:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You really described it well, I think, Adept2u. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive, Magster, Adept2u

            Both your above post and this one. Thank you.

            I've been confused about the boron thing, when and where and how they've used it. Plus all the various jive they've been saying about whether or not the damage was done by the earthquake or the tsunami or whatever.  

            I noted your speculation about when the corium might meet the water table.  I'm assuming you know how shallow indeed it is. I remember earlier on reading of much concern that it could be explosive.

            I don't know what would be the various factors that would make it explode or make it just blow out into the ocean. I haven't come across any of that kind of ruminations lately, but maybe that's cuz nobody wants to ruminate about it these days.

            And also, I was reading just about a day and a half ago some folks were noticing what looked like a major spike in the radiation levels (or maybe it was temperature?) in Unit 1. I'm now wondering if maybe that had something to do with what you were seeing last night, not to mention what's in the video posted above (which I haven't watched yet).

            BTW Do you know about Uranium Boy? He's Hopi. I think you would find him quite interesting.

            I also posted above to MO that I think somebody should be monitoring that video feed 24/7.  I also explained why I don't want to do it.  

    •  Worst case? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, oldhippie, evergreen2

      Avoiding stuff I think is nearly impossible, like nuclear explosions and that stuff...

      WC: Unit 2 + 3 have melted like Unit 1.  Given a few more days they burn their way through containment, contaminating their respective drywells.  The concrete foundations present a suitable barrier and that's where the corium stays, forming an elephant's foot like Chernobyl.

      Problem is, workers can no longer enter the buildings to do anything.  Cold shutdown is impossible, unless you count flooding and reflooding buildings, which just puts more radioactive runoff into the water table.

      Around this time Unit 4 keels over due to structural damage, collapsing and spilling it's spent fuel into the open air.  It becomes lethal to approach any of the four reactors and dangerous to approach 5 and 6.

      Excessive measures are taken to entomb the site in concrete, in an absurd "top kill" method involving boron and concrete to basically bury the reactor buildings.  The bay is dammed off in an attempt to keep radioactive runoff from spreading further out to sea.  The site and a large surrounding area is permanently evacuated and the whole place is written off as the worst combination of natural disaster and incompetance.

      Everyone crosses their fingers that the foundation holds, and nobody drinks the groundwater anymore.

    •  This is now an experiment (4+ / 0-)

      Which is not being done in a lab. SO...who the fook knows.... ?

      I do hope it results in the US installing 100 gigawatts of solar and a 100gigawatts of wind.....

      While we wait a couple of 100 years to see how the experiment works out......


      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Thu May 26, 2011 at 06:15:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tokyo Radiation Levels (3+ / 0-)

    Facebook page by a guy going around the Tokyo area with a handheld Geiger counter. Interesting threads with people living in the potential danger zone if radiation starts spiking.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Wed May 25, 2011 at 10:30:22 AM PDT

  •  By containment vessel do they mean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldhippie, mahakali overdrive

    the RPV? That thing that was supposedly impossible to melt through.

  •  nothing new in here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ashowboat, evergreen2

    that I didn't diary this morning.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Wed May 25, 2011 at 11:06:08 AM PDT

  •  UCS has lots of updates (7+ / 0-)

    including a timeline on each of the reactors from analysis of published reports from David Lochbaum and David Wright.

    UCS all Things Nuclear Blog

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed May 25, 2011 at 01:21:00 PM PDT

  •  New leak feared (8+ / 0-)

    From Reuters:

    Radioactive water appears to be leaking from a waste disposal building at Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex, operator Tokyo Electric Power said on Thursday, in a new setback to the battle to contain radiation from the crippled power plant.

    The effort to regain control of the plant relies on pumping massive quantities of water to cool the three reactors that suffered meltdowns and storing the contaminated water in an improvised storage facility. Tepco officials said, however, that the water level in the storage facility had dropped, suggesting a leak.

    Environmental groups have focused on the threat to sea and ground water from the accident. Greenpeace said earlier this month it had collected samples of fish, seaweed and shellfish along the Fukushima coast that showed radiation levels above Japanese safety limits.

    Also from Reuters:

    Environmental group Greenpeace slammed Japan's "inadequate response" to the nuclear disaster at a quake-crippled power plant on Thursday as the plant operator revealed an apparent new leak of radioactive water.

    Greenpeace said seaweed had been found with radiation levels 60 times higher than official limits, raising "serious concerns" about long-term risks from contaminated seawater more than two months after the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami.

    Greenpeace said the radiation found in seaweed, fish and oysters collected near Fukushima earlier this month exceeded safety limits, suggesting that radioactive water could still be leaking.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Thu May 26, 2011 at 04:44:18 AM PDT

  •  The new long term nuke waste plan (5+ / 0-)

    ends up being another "shelter in place" plan. Fundamentally this looks to me like the fatal failure of the whole industry. No one has anything approaching a workable plan for what to do with the toxic results, whether it be from normal operations or catastrophic dis-assemblies. The answer seems always to be "just pile it up over there in the corner and someone will figure it out someday."

    When children engage in that sort of logic we call it magical thinking.

    From The Japan Times:

    The Atomic Energy Society of Japan is discussing a plan to make the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant a storage site for radioactive waste from the crippled station.

    Building a repository would cost several trillion yen, Muneo Morokuzu, a professor of energy and environmental public policy at the University of Tokyo, said in an interview Wednesday. The society comprises more than 7,000 nuclear researchers and engineers and makes recommendations to the government on atomic energy policy.

    "We are involved in intense talks on the cleanup of the Fukushima plant and construction of nuclear waste storage facilities at the site is one option," said Morokuzu, one of 50 people on a cleanup panel that includes observers from Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Thu May 26, 2011 at 05:35:13 AM PDT

    •  Looking for permanent underground storage (6+ / 0-)

      Interesting, the article describes the three existing Japanese storage sites:

      "As the sites are for intermediary use, the nation is still searching for a deep underground storage site for the waste, according to the World Nuclear Association. The selection is due to be completed by 2025 and become operational from 2035, the London-based association said."

      After having lived through the battles over WIPP and Yucca Mountain, especially given their geology, I'm having a hard time imagining a deep underground storage site in Japan.

      Good article, thanx!

  •  Angry Parents in Japan Confront Government (5+ / 0-)

    From The NYT:

    FUKUSHIMA CITY, Japan — The accusations flew on Wednesday at the local school board meeting, packed with parents worried and angry about radiation levels in this city at the heart of Japan’s nuclear crisis.

    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.

    The article goes on to discuss parents taking matters into their own hands and removing topsoil from school grounds themselves, with good results (reducing the radiation levels by 90%) and then wondering why government seems to be sitting on its hands.

    Also noted is the fact that there are areas in Fukushima City with radiation levels equivalent to evacuated areas yet no one is doing anything about it.

    The response from officials seems always to be no one knows what the real risk is, which seems odd since Japan and Ukraine have first hand experience with massive exposures to their populations.

    People are getting seriously pissed.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Thu May 26, 2011 at 05:48:58 AM PDT

  •  Breaking: Swiss Abandoning Nuke Power Too (5+ / 0-)

    Big deal... only Germany has done this so far...


    "After Fukushima we had to rethink our use of atomic power," Energy Minister Doris Leuthard told reporters in Bern, referring to the plant struck by an earthquake on March 11. "The goal is a clean, safe and secure energy supply."

    Switzerland, where 39 percent of energy production is nuclear, had already shelved two planned atomic power stations after the quake in Japan. Leuthard said the cabinet opted for a gradual shutdown of the country's nuclear plants, rejecting both their early closure and continued use.


  •  Elderly Japanese offer lives to rebuild Fukushima (7+ / 0-)
  •  UN Team to begin investigating Fukushima (6+ / 0-)

    A team of United Nations nuclear specialists from 12 countries has begun a week-long investigation in Tokyo into the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.  The team will compile a report on the world's second worst nuclear accident to be presented at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Authority in Vienna in June.


    Mike Weightman, the British government's nuclear safety head and leader of investigation, outlined what he hopes to discover. "Our focus is to gather information, and use that information to seek to learn lessons so the world can improve nuclear safety," he said.


    And it only took them two and a half months to get there... very academically minded of them! I can already see that what "emerges" might have just a little possible bias, still curious to see what the IAEA finds.

  •  Fukushima to become a nuclear waste disposal site (6+ / 0-)

    Wait, what... WHAT?

    I thought there was no harm to your pets there and that if they got rained on, you should just gently wipe them with a wash cloth etc...

    Guess that propaganda went by the by.

    Holy cow.

    Japan's nuclear energy experts are considering a plan to turn the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant into a dumping ground for radioactive waste. The Dai-Ichi plant is the location of the first meltdown which occurred within 16 hours after the quake on March 11th.

    The Atomic Energy Society of Japan is considering the proposal but haven't yet informed local Fukushima officials about the bright idea.

    Storing the sort of high level nuclear waste that is proposed for the Dai-Ichi plant is a particularly difficult process that requires solidifying the materials into borosilicate glass and entombing it in large steel cylinders. There is also the matter of first making the Dai-Ichi plant safe for people to work at.

  •  14 new nuke plants scrapped in Japan + go solar (5+ / 0-)

    Japan has made some major renewable energy announcements recently. Prime Minister Naoto Kan recently announced that it would abandon its plan to build 14 new nuclear reactors in the face of this year's Fukushima tragedy. He said that his country needed to "start from scratch" and create a totally new energy policy and he said a focus would be placed on two things greens the world over love -- clean, renewable energy and energy conservation. Well, apparently, that may include a requirement to put solar panels on all new buildings by 2030.


    "Taking [Fukushima] as a lesson, we will lead the world in clean energy such as solar and biomass, as we take a step toward resurrection," Kan told reporters last month. He wasn't joking.

    The plan to make it compulsory to put solar panels on all new buildings is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming G8 summit in Deauville, France as part of a broader plan to increase renewables and energy conservation. On the first day of the summit, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is also expected to announce the country's plans to continue operating nuclear plants. Of course, after "confirming" their safety.

  •  TEPCO backtracks yet another story (8+ / 0-)

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- 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.


    "I decided to report the facts because of a probe conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and because various international appraisals are forthcoming," (the plant chief) Yoshida was quoted by a TEPCO official as telling the company.

    Lies due to knowledge of lack of International oversight. Ugly.

    •  whoops, i posted similar story below (8+ / 0-)

      It seems plant manager Yoshida has had more than one fight with his corporate bosses.  He is emerging as a significant figure at the center of the disaster, but one who did what he could in a bad situation and is under fire for being honest about how bad it all is.  

      This important NYT story told us about the fight over the timing of the venting, which seems driven by the desire for a coverup, frankly.  I also wonder if Yoshida is the whistleblower and is about to be "reprimanded" by TEPCO not for what they are saying (his actions as plant manager), but for his telling the truth.

      Within 12 hours of the quake, pressure inside the reactor had reached twice what it was designed to withstand, raising fears that the vessels that house fuel rods would rupture, setting a possible meltdown in motion. Such high pressures, as Bellona nuclear physicist Nils Bøhmer suggested, also made pumping additional cooling water into the reactor – something that was noted on the TEPCO log.

      According to the account of an anonymous source who spoke with the New York Times, Japanese government officials ordered TEPCO to ventilate, but TEPCO wished to continue weighing other options. Fukushima director Masao Yoshida wanted to vent as soon as possible, and engaged in a heated shouting match with TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto.

      Venting did not begin until 17 hours after the government ordered it – a whole day after the quake hit – and six hours after TEPCO management gave the go ahead, according to TEPCO logs.

      As efforts to manually open the vents at reactor No 1 failed because of spiraling radiation level, workers at reactor No 2 also tried to manually open its venting system. Pressure in the reactor did not fall though, so it was unclear whether the venting had succeeded the records show. At reactor No 3, manual attempts to open the vents failed, said the records.

      Because of the venting failures, the explosions began. The first reactor to explode was reactor No 1, on Saturday, March 12, followed by reactor No 3 on Monday. Next was reactor No 2 early on Tuesday morning.

      With each explosion, radioactive materials soared into the air, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of earthquake survivors living near the plant, contaminating crops and sending a plume of radioactive isotopes as far as the United States and Europe within days.

      •  Mark 1 comparable to Chernobyl reactor (5+ / 0-)

        From the article, just for those who incessantly assert there's no comparison:

        The GE Mark 1 design has been cited by Japanese and American engineers as being flawed from the its first designs on the drawing board, and is fast becoming in industry opinion the Western version of the fatally flawed Russian RBMK -1000, the reactor that exploded at Chernobyl.

        [my first blockquote on the slow and winding road towards Dkos authoring expertise]

      •  Actually that's not from NYT (6+ / 0-)

        It's from Bellona, which is a really interesting European site:

        The Bellona Foundation is an international environmental NGO based in Norway. Founded in 1986 as a direct action protest group, Bellona has become a recognised technology and solution-oriented organization with offices in Oslo, Brussels, Washington D.C., St. Petersburg and Murmansk. Altogether, some 75 engineers, ecologists, nuclear physicists, economists, lawyers, political scientists and journalists work at Bellona.

  •  New diaries by Joieau and nathguy.... (5+ / 0-)

    today that are both worth reading but look like they'll fall of the recent diary list in a couple of hours.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:39:13 AM PDT

  •  Typhoon Songda headed for Fukushima? (7+ / 0-)

    Regardless of the exact track of the typhoon, heavy rain is a certainty.

    There is a possibility that Songda will continue north and bring heavy rain to southern Japan over the weekend, with the possibility of rain lingering into early next week, including the area decimated by the tsunami and radiation release from a nuclear plant.

    Man oh man they can't catch a break.

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:26:15 AM PDT

  •  infighting!Plant manager v. executives re:seawater (6+ / 0-)

    This story hints at a struggle between on site managers and corporate higher ups.  As you will see, the details are lacking (severely, as usual - thanks TEPCO, thanks lapdog press) but as we say in Riddle, Arkansas, where there is smoke there is fire.  

    Kyodo news reports seawater injection was ordered to be halted by the "front office" but the plant's top hand ignored the order.  

    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.

    This may be bad blogging etiquette, but that's the whole story as posted on the web, and it is confusing and intriguing at the same time.  They are hinting at a three way fight where the government has stuck their nose in, too.  It's clear as mud...   did anyone see the so called "earlier story?"

  •  supposed webcam anomaly explained as cam fault (6+ / 0-)

    There was some interest in an artifact that looked something like an explosion on the webcam of the plant - at dusk, the screen bloomed white alarmingly.  

    It turns out this is just the webcam camera's setting being changed from day to night exposure settings.  

    Perhaps someone could amend the diary....  

    •  I'm thinking all the power people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, mamamedusa

      are off doing something else. :P

      •  I think I can edit the diary (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob, evergreen2, mamamedusa

        but it's not mine and so it seems totally off limits to me (I wouldn't want my diaries edited by another admin unless I gave permission in advance to).

        Just bring it to boatsie's attention when she gets back!

        And thanks to willisnewton for explaining this. I was so curious that I went and looked up the effects of radiation on different types of film, apparently something that was conducted in space, and generally it's more usual for it to increase the contrast (depending on the type of film). The white was strange. But this explains a lot.

        Now if we could just get to the bottom of the Loch Ness monster photos... ;)

  •  Siemens Ditching Nukes (7+ / 0-)

    Found this interesting tidbit in a Bellona article about the water leaks:

    The nuclear giant has decided in the wake of the Fukushima disaster that it will back out of nuclear power plant construction because of the nuclear market’s tarnished potential, anonymous sources with the company the Handelsblatt newspaper.

    Siemens, which originally planned to become the market leader in atomic power along with Russia’s Rosatom, is struggling with its about-face as snubbing its partner may lead to negative effects on the company’s business in Russia, the newspaper said.

    The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2009 on a proposed nuclear energy joint venture that would encompass everything from fuel fabrication to the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

  •  WSJ narrative of early hours struggles (6+ / 0-)

    This WSJ article is a few days old but it seems to lay out a plausible narrative for a lot of the early hours' action.  

  •  TEPCO called on bogarting radiation data (7+ / 0-)

    One surmises that that the accurate data TEPCO has chosen to share in a timely manner is a considerably shorter pile than what they are secreting away. Since the Japanese government doesn't seem in a hurry to toss anyone at TEPCO in jail no matter how egregious their behavior it seems odd that Edano would waste breath expressing his displeasure.

    Gov't learns TEPCO did not fully disclose data on nuclear crisis - The Mainichi Daily News

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government learned Friday that Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, did not fully disclose data on radiation monitoring at the plant when it was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and began emitting radioactive materials, government officials said.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, after being informed about it by Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, said in a news conference that he had instructed TEPCO to sort the data, make it public, and make doubly sure that this would not happen again.

    Coming a day after he expressed displeasure over TEPCO's flip-flop over the injection of seawater into the plant's nuclear reactor, Edano said the government "cannot respond to this matter on the premise" that no more undisclosed information would come out.

    "There is a distinct possibility that there is still more," the top government spokesman said, urging TEPCO to accurately and swiftly report the truth to the government.

    Hosono also noted TEPCO's delay in revealing this fact, two and a half months after the nuclear crisis started.

    The government will look into how this happened, the two officials said.

    (Mainichi Japan) May 27, 2011

  •  Parents are getting a response (9+ / 0-)

    Yesterday I posted an article about the parents' protests at various schools in contaminated areas about the minimum "safe" levels the government settled upon. Parents complained the limits were too high and demanded officials addressed the problem.

    From Reuters:

    Japan will pay schools near the quake-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to remove radioactive top soil and set a lower radiation exposure limit for schoolchildren after a growing outcry over health risks.

    It [ Tokyo ] would also set a target of radiation exposure for children at schools of one-twentieth of the previous limit.

    "We will provide financial support to schools . for measures to deal with soil in school yards as a way to lower radiation levels for children," Takaki told a news conference.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:14:36 AM PDT

  •  TEPCO wanted to blame Kan for seawater orders (9+ / 0-)

    Here is another news story about the backtracking on the story about seawater injection - one that skirts a little closer to what was likely the truth. My speculation is that  TEPCO executives wanted to wait until the government gave the order to use sea water so that the damage would be a liability problem not for TEPCO but for the government.  

    Instead, the plant manager Masio Yoshida ignored the order to stop the injection since it was a stupid idea.

    Yet another take on the seawater fight here

  •  So much for regulation (6+ / 0-)

    Fukushima tsunami plan a single page from AP:

    Japanese nuclear regulators trusted that the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex were safe from the worst waves an earthquake could muster based on a single-page memo from the plant operator nearly a decade ago.

    In the Dec. 19, 2001, document -- one double-sized page obtained by The Associated Press under Japan's public records law -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. rules out the possibility of a tsunami large enough to knock the plant offline and gives scant details to justify this conclusion, which proved to be wildly optimistic.

    NISA, who had requested the report did nothing with it. "We did not look into the validity of the content."

    The document was not updated, even when advances in geology, earthquake and tsunami science, as well as the historical record of the area changed the assumptions of TEPCO's position. The utility had concluded that 8.6 was the largest possible earthquake that would drive a tsunami towards the plant.

    A little incongruity pops up here: the tsunami risk notes an earthquake potential more severe that the plant's earthquake design, yet they come away feeling comforted that they're all good with tsunamis, and don't have anxiety about earthquake survivability.

    NISA reportedly was in the process of modernizing it's perspective on tsunami preparedness and had asked for another estimate of preparedness last year. Unfortunately the way it works in Japan the agency cannot force operators to do such things, so the reports are voluntary on the part of the utilities. And clearly useless.

    When TEPCO finally did revisit tsunami preparedness last year, it was the most cursory of checks. And the conclusion was the same: The facility would remain dry under every scenario the utility envisioned.

    "There was an attitude of disrespecting nature," said Kobe University professor emeritus Katsuhiko Ishibashi, who has sat on government nuclear safety advisory panels.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri May 27, 2011 at 11:49:01 AM PDT

    •  NISA & TEPCO blew off expert tsunami warning (8+ / 0-)

      The AP article makes it sound as if TEPCO and NISA were just too lazy to keep with earthquake and tsunami science. That's horrendous enough but the truth is actually much, much worse.

      Yukinobu Okamura was hired by NISA as their tsunami expert advisor for a nuclear safety review. TEPCO and NISA stuck their fingers in their ears when Okamura specifically warned about the tsuanmi danger to Fukishima based on scientifically solid historical data. Okamura's work had been confirmed by other scientists before the time he made his warning at the safety review meeting.

      AP included only this information in their story while completely ignoring the fact that both NISA and TEPCO were very specifically warned by Okamura.

      In the nearly 10 years since the memo, advances in science have exposed the potential -- and precedent -- for huge tsunamis hitting Japan's northeast coast. Several studies showed that the Jogan tsunami of A.D. 869 went far inland in the area near Fukushima Dai-ichi. Other studies showed that the fault that erupted so violently was "stuck" and could produce the kind of truly massive quake it did.
      "We assessed and confirmed the safety of the nuclear plants,"TEPCO civil engineer Makoto Takao asserted as recently as a November seismic safety conference in Japan.

      They also printed this bald-faced lie. While the 2001 report may have reflected reasonable scientific data at that time both TEPCO and NISA were aware of the fact that historical scientific work on the A.D. 869 Jogan earthquake since 2001 provided very powerful evidence that the Fukushima plant was at great risk for a tsunami of the size that actually struck the plant.

      TEPCO spokesman Naoyuki Matsumoto defended the 2001 report as relying on what the company saw as the best data available, although he acknowledged that the size of March 11 tsunami had been "outside the imagination."

      Reporters seem to have no shame in publishing "outside the imagination" type of quotes. It is extremely rare that these statements turn out be anything other than outright lies wherever big money is involved, not just in the nuclear power industry. The truth nearly always turns out to be that industry and government regulators had been warned by credible experts that they were skating on thin ice with those warnings being habitually ignored for profit and political expedience.

      This is the WAPO article about Okamura warning NISA and TEPCO about the tsunami threat. There are others. Okamura's warning was documented in a transcript of the safety meeting.
      Japanese nuclear plant’s evaluators cast aside threat of tsunami - The Washington Post

      Wednesday, March 23, 7:30 PM
      TOYKO — A Japanese government agency that spent several years evaluating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant declared the facility safe after dismissing concerns from a member of its own expert panel that a tsunami could jeopardize its reactors.

      Yukinobu Okamura, a prominent seismologist, warned of a debilitating tsunami in June 2009 at one of a series of meetings held by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to evaluate the readiness of Daiichi, as well as Japan’s 16 other nuclear power plants, to withstand a massive natural disaster. But in the discussion about Daiichi, Okamura was rebuffed by an executive from the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, because the utility and the government believed that earthquakes posed a greater threat.
      “Research results are out, but there is no mention of that [tsunami] here, and I would like to ask why,” Okamura asked a Tepco official at the meeting, according to a transcript Azuma provided to The Washington Post.

      Initially, the Tepco official downplayed the danger, saying that the guidelines for Fukushima had instead factored in a far more recent earthquake, whose magnitude measured 7.9. Okamura pressed on, pointing out that the so-called Jogan earthquake of 869 knocked down a castle.

      “As you know, it is a historic earthquake,” the Tepco official said, dismissing its relevance.

      “I don’t know how that conclusion can be drawn,” Okamura said. “To have no mention of that, to me, leaves me unsatisfied.”

      According to the transcript, a NISA official ended the debate by promising to follow up. At the next meeting, the working group approved the Daiichi safety report that declared the complex’s safeguards sufficient.

      •  From your link (5+ / 0-)
        The resulting nuclear emergency raises questions: To what degree must regulators design expensive safeguards against once-a-millennium disasters, particularly as researchers learn more about the world’s rarest ancient catastrophes?

        “This is a question that addresses very much the political will of the country,” Brockman said. “The engineers will say, ‘You tell me what you want, we’ll protect it to that level.’ It’s just an issue of raising the elevation, building the retainer walls. The engineering can be done. You just have to give them the criteria.”

        I guess the answer might depend on political will if the body politic were to be asked the question in the proper form:

        How many pieces of the earth can we afford to leave uninhabitable in each millennium?

        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

        by Just Bob on Fri May 27, 2011 at 11:21:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fukushima not ready for bad weather (6+ / 0-)

    Fukushima not ready for bad weather

    TEPCO execs just now seem to be waking up the fact that Fukushima is subject to being hit by the type of nasty weather associated with typhoons. They've been spraying some of the area with a water-soluble resin spray that is supposed to keep the contamination from blowing around. I assume that is what the story is calling "anti-scattering agents." I've not seen any reports of how the water-soluble resin holds up to the soakings one would expect in typhoon season.

    I am afraid to guess what type of "covers' TEPCO is planning on installing in June. It is probably unreasonable to hope they might be something that a typhoon wouldn't rip to shreds and deposit somewhere other than the Fukushima plant.

    The Japanese government seems fond of whining about the way TEPCO is handling the Fukushima nuclear crises but seems curiously unwilling to put a boot firmly on TEPCO executives' necks.

    Crippled nuke plant not prepared for heavy rain, wind - The Mainichi Daily News

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and strong winds forecast due to a powerful typhoon moving Saturday toward disaster-affected areas of northeastern Japan, according to the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.
    But some of the reactor buildings have been left uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO plans to launch the work to put covers on the destroyed buildings in mid-June.
    Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, told a press conference Friday that the current measures "cannot be said to be appropriate."
    (Mainichi Japan) May 28, 2011

  •  TEPCO releases more undisclosed data (7+ / 0-)

    It seems highly implausible that TEPCO accidentally overlooked data that indicated a 3,699 microsieverts per hour reading at the Fukushima plant.

    TEPCO releases undisclosed data on nuclear crisis - The Mainichi Daily News

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Saturday released undisclosed data on radiation monitoring at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant when it was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and began emitting radioactive materials.

    The highest radiation level found in the 1,509-item data was 3,699 microsieverts per hour at a building north of the No. 1 reactor at 3:55 p.m. on March 17. No case was found of the radiation level exceeding the highest published level of 11,930 microsieverts recorded on March 15.

    The release came a day after the government learned that TEPCO did not fully disclose the data on radiation monitoring at the plant and instructed it to sort the data, make it public, and make doubly sure that this would not happen again.

    (Mainichi Japan) May 28, 2011

    •  Fukushima in projected path of typhoon Songda (6+ / 0-)

      Despite the fact Songda is due to arrive in a couple of days TEPCO is still in the "thinking" stage of preparations. The U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center's graphic for Songda's projected path is not good news for the Fukushima plant. I added the link. It wasn't included in the Bloomberg story.

      Typhoon Strengthens, May Hit Fukushima Nuke Plant - Bloomberg

      Typhoon Songda strengthened to a supertyphoon after battering the Philippines and headed for Japan on a track that may pass over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant by May 30, a U.S. monitoring center said.

      Songda’s winds increased to 241 kilometers (150 miles) per hour from 213 kph yesterday, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said on its website. The storm’s eye was about 240 kilometers east of Aparri in the Philippines at 8 a.m. today, the center said. Songda was moving northwest at 19 kph and is forecast to turn to the northeast and cross the island of Okinawa by 9 p.m. local time tomorrow before heading for Honshu.

      The center’s forecast graphic includes a possible path over Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, which has been spewing radiation since March 11 when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. Three of six reactor buildings have no roof after explosions blew them off, exposing spent fuel pools and containment chambers that are leaking.

      “We are still considering typhoon measures and can’t announce detailed plans yet,” Takeo Iwamoto, a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co., said by phone when asked about the storm. The utility known as Tepco plans to complete the installation of covers for the buildings by October, he said.

      Japan is regularly buffeted by typhoons and tropical storms during the northwestern Pacific cyclone season. In 2004, eight cyclones passed over or skirted the country’s Tohoku region, where the Fukushima station is located, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The earliest was in May that year. The eyes of two storms passed within 300 kilometers of Tohoku last year, the agency’s data show.

  •  TEPCO lies about prez's sightseeing trip (6+ / 0-)

    TEPCO said that their president was attending to duties in his roles as chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan. It turns out he was sightseeing with his wife and secretary. One would think that the Japanese people would appreciate someone being in charge at TEPCO to deal with the nuclear crisis who is at least marginally acquainted with the truth.

    Doubts deepen over TEPCO truthfulness after president's sightseeing trip uncovered - The Mainichi Daily News

    Suspicions that Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is hiding information were heightened on May 27 with revelations that its president was not where TEPCO had said he was on the day of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

    TEPCO had claimed that on March 11 its President Masataka Shimizu was on a trip to meet with Kansai-area business leaders. The Mainichi discovered, however, that Shimizu was in fact sightseeing in Nara -- a discrepancy that TEPCO now refuses to discuss.

    According to sources close to the matter and the Nara Prefectural Government, Shimizu, his wife and secretary checked into a hotel in the ancient capital on March 10 for a two-night stay. The trio had planned to go watch a traditional event at Todaiji temple the next day.

    (Mainichi Japan) May 28, 2011

    •  facade begins to crack... corrupt liar, AWOL prez (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, peraspera, rja

      I'm AMAZED to read this story - not for the facts within, but because it made it to print at all.  TEPCO has run an effective stonewall campaign of silence, lies and misdirection for weeks.  

      The actions and inaction of the TEPCO president is a scandal.  After his weekday vacation, he then goes AWOL for several days, an act which we still know little about.  Then he is admitted to a hospital for an undisclosed collapse or illness of some sort.  

      It was reported elsewhere that there was a spat between him and the Kan administration over the request from Shimizu for military air transport being denied.  In other words, he phoned in for a free ride back from his vacation and Kan told him to take a hike.  

      The fact that two months down the line we still don't know who is in charge, who made the decisions in the early hours and why, and what Shimizu's exact role and whereabouts are is quite a statement about corporate power, media complicity and public relations in the modern era.  

  •  Very high radioactivity down 190 miles of coast (7+ / 0-)

    TOKYO — Japan has revealed radiation up to several hundred times normal levels has been detected on the seabed off the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a report said Saturday.

    The science ministry announced late Friday highly radioactive materials were detected in a 300-kilometre (190-mile) north-south stretch from Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture to Choshi in Chiba Prefecture, the Kyodo news agency reported.

    The ministry warned that the contamination could affect the safety of seafood, the report said, without giving figures for the radiation levels detected.


    They don't often say that safety is at stake. This is worth watching.

    •  WTF is going on MO (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rja, mahakali overdrive

      I'm feeling like i'm in an alternate universe where people really don't care about one another and

      Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

      by Adept2u on Sat May 28, 2011 at 07:41:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The person to ask about this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adept2u, Just Bob

        is Procrastinator John or a few other Japanese residents (where did Spideymike go?)

        I think this was breaking when posted (or else a week old; a little unclear due to the time change, too tired to look it up right this moment).

        TEPCO has been indicted by Kan but the Gov't itself doesn't seem to have the full ability to get the information that they request. There are all of these entanglements between METI and NISA and TEPCO that are as scandalous as what goes on in our political system and corporate lobbyist groups. Kan seems to be resisting and, since it publicly came out that TEPCO was lying to him about injecting water/not injecting water in the drywell, he hasn't seemed to like being played for a fool much.

        The little people aren't happy due to the economic loss. That's why their selling radioactive cows and tea: desperation (what else can they do? To paraphrase one farmer).

        Let me go check todays updates.

        Coastal waters are International but not sure if this falls into that classification; although it must. That may be why the IAEA is there. It is a cause of International concern, by law.

    •  This statement is kind of meaningless (0+ / 0-)
      TOKYO — Japan has revealed radiation up to several hundred times normal levels has been detected on the seabed off the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a report said Saturday.

      We have had here in the USA radiation levels several hundred times normal levels by various measurements.

      I understand that the normal level for I 131 should be zero.  So any amount of this isotope would be thousands or hundreds of thousands or whatever times normal.

  •  Typhoon weakens, changes course (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, rja, Just Bob

    Typhoon Songda weakened to a Category 3 storm off Taiwan, while a change in its forecast path cut the risk it will pass over Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

    The eye of the storm was about 300 kilometers (190 miles) east of Taipei at 9 a.m. Japan time, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said on its website today. The typhoon’s path shifted south compared with the Center’s projections yesterday, and the storm is now forecast to pass along the south coast of Japan from tomorrow.


    •  Torrential rains expected to wash nuke waste 2 sea (4+ / 0-)

      In a story titled "Fukushima Prepares For Heavy Rain" NHK news reports a lot of spin and happy talk from TEPCO PR people.  

      Please pardon my angry rant, which follows:

      Translated through a bullshit detector, it seems to tell us that the weakened typhoon is now a severe storm and will still be intense with high winds and torrential rains pounding the coast, and that TEPCO's mysterious and unaccountable PIC (people in charge) know that the basements are already flooded, and that material all over the surface of the plant will be washed to sea.  There is nowhere to pump the trenches and basements, and flood control gutters and storm drains are set to wash all the runoff into the ocean so that the buildings don't flood with any more radioactive waste than they already contain.  Some token and mostly ineffectual sandbags will be placed for cameras soon.  When the storm hits in earnest, all work will cease and workers will evacuate while the radioactive fallout shifts all around into new deadly configurations all over the site, undoubtably causing further delays in work, accidents and exposure to people and marine life.  The goo they sprayed around on some spots will increase the flash flooding and erosion of other spots since the impervious cover footprint is larger now.  None of this can be helped since the overall situation is FUBAR.  Nothing is reported on the status of replacement backup generators and the power grid is at serious risk.  Typhoon season is just beginning and none of the work to cover the earthquake, tsunami, fire, explosion and multiple meltdown damaged rubble stacks that once were buildings for nuclear reactors has been completed since a typhoon would just tear it off anyway.  The fallout is expected to spread inland in an unknown pattern as debris is blown towards population centers to the west and northwest, but monitoring will be difficult and left to the local governments at first.  If the past is any indicator, US spy planes and unmanned drones will comb the countryside attempting to measure the spread of fallout but no one knows how long that will take given the bad weather.  Only when the readings are known to the US Navy and Greenpeace will the government bodies of Japan (who have been thoroughly corrupted by the nuclear energy industry) report the findings to the public using sophisticated public relations techniques to minimize the bad news, aka truth.  The mainstream Japanese media will help disseminate this misinformation and spin while the actual decision makers remain unavailable and unaccountable to the people.  That is all.  

  •  Taiwan finds Iodine contaminated fish (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, rja, Just Bob, oldhippie, splashy

    What troubles me most about this isn't the amount -- it is pretty low -- but that should the situation escalate (with the water in the reactors now undrainable), it establishes how far some of these fish can swim and how far this material can go.

    Taiwan is about 2400 miles from Fukushima according to Google maps and 1413 miles according to another website (I'm not clear about the discrepancy, but either way, it's far).

  •  Rac 5 lost cooling, lots of radiation in the sea (5+ / 0-)

    TOKYO, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Cooling system at a reactor of the crippled Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant stopped from Saturday, the plant's operator said Sunday.
    Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the pumps to cool the nuclear reactor and fuel pool have stopped at the No. 5 unit, and the operator is now working to switch to backup pumps to restore the cooling system.

    When a worker at the plant became aware of the problem at 9 p.m. Saturday, the temperature of the reactor stood at 68 degrees Celsius and that of the fuel pool at 41 degrees Celsius.

    They had risen to 87 degrees Celsius and 44 degrees Celsius, respectively, by the time TEPCO began work to restore operations shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, it said.

    Japan’s science ministry has detected extraordinarily high levels of radioactive cesium in seafloor samples collected off Miyagi and Ibaraki Prefectures. [...]
    Radioactive substances were found in all locations, including those off Miyagi and Ibaraki Prefectures, which had not been previously investigated.

    Radioactive cesium 137, measuring 110 becquerels per kilogram or about 100 times the normal level, was found in samples collected from the seabed 30 kilometers off Sendai City and 45 meters beneath the surface. [...]

    [Professor Takashi Ishimaru of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology] said monitoring must be stepped up over a larger area, as radioactive materials in the seabed do not dissolve quickly, and can accumulate in the bodies of larger fish that eat shrimp and crabs that live on the seafloor.

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Sat May 28, 2011 at 07:38:58 PM PDT

    •  Reactor 5 status confirmed or updated elsewhere? (4+ / 0-)

      This is a serious complication on the already beyond hope situation.  I'm very curious if there are other news outlets confirming the loss of cooling at #5.  

      It's especially troubling to read that "TEPCO plans" to fix it.  When TEPCO is quoted using those words (in translation) it seems to mean they have NOT done what is necessary, and they are either not willing or not able to do it anytime soon, if ever.  

      •  Reuters has it too (3+ / 0-)

        Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

        by Adept2u on Sat May 28, 2011 at 09:19:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  new reports #5 cooling lapsed, hidden, restored (5+ / 0-)

          Japan Times reports

          The seawater pump in the cooling system for the Fukushima power plant's No. 5 reactor broke down Saturday evening, prompting repair crews to install a backup pump on Sunday afternoon, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
          Tepco discovered the pump had stopped at 9 p.m. Saturday but didn't announce it to the public until Sunday morning.
          The beleaguered utility said it notified the local and central governments of the situation on Saturday evening.

          In any other situation, at any other reactor site, this would be reported as a serious accident.  Here, it's practically good news.  The temperatures were relatively low, and are dropping now.  

          The temperature of the core and the fuel pool had reached 93.6 degrees and 46 degrees, respectively, by noon Sunday compared with 68 degrees and 41 degrees at 9 p.m. Saturday.

          The backup pump kicked in at 12:31 p.m. Sunday, and the temperature of the core had been brought down to 83 degrees by 1 p.m., a Tepco spokeswoman said by phone later Sunday.

          The temperature must stay below 100 degrees to maintain cold shutdown status.

          The brazen lack of regard for the press and the public's right to know what is happening continues.  TEPCO's mysterious PIC (people in charge) decided to wait until daylight to begin work replacing the pump, according to their PR guy.  None of these decision makers were available for questions or comment.  Nor do we know their names, hierarchy and safety records.  

  •  looks like its time for a new ROV, huh? (3+ / 0-)

    would that it weren't bad news. Damn. I'll get on this tomorrow...

    Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

    by boatsie on Sat May 28, 2011 at 11:36:19 PM PDT

  •  TEPCO apologizes about no typhoon preparedness (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashy, Just Bob


    "We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings," a Tepco official said on Saturday.

    "We apologise for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain," the official added.

    Tepco has been pouring anti-scattering agents - such as synthetic resins - around the damaged buildings of reactors one and four.

    But some of the buildings still remain uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions soon after the quake and tsunami struck.

    A special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticised Tepco, saying that the current safety measures "cannot be said to be appropriate".


    •  Does TEPCO have the manpower (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive

      To do anything at the site?  I get the feeling that the people willing to risk death are dead, and those willing to go in for high pay have reached lifetime max does.  It seems like TEPCO has plans but is unable to translate plan into action. From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests.

      by sdelear on Sun May 29, 2011 at 09:19:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not lack of manpower but lack of will, incentive (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive

        What is motivating TEPCO to do ANYTHING at all here?  There is no profit in it, and they are a for-profit corporation that has essentially been bankrupted by the costs and liabilities they face.  

        Soon, the government will have to bail them out, and they can go on their merry way in reorganizing another energy company from the ruins.  

        The obvious thing for them to do is to go through the motions of looking like they care until they can slip out the back door.  The president of the corporation, the man most responsible for the success or failure of the enterprise has already slinked off to retirement.  He should be in jail awaiting trial for criminal negligence, corruption and pollution but instead he is probably back on holiday with his wife and secretary just like he was (and lied about it) on the day the earthquake hit.  

  •  The Plan goes out the window (6+ / 0-)

    Even though TEPCO is the last to realize/admit it. From The Japan Times:

    Stabilizing the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant by the end of the year may be impossible, senior officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday, throwing a monkey wrench into plans to let evacuees return to their homes near the plant.

    The confirmation of core meltdowns hitting reactors 1 through 3, accompanied by breaches to the critical pressure vessels that hold the nuclear fuel, has led officials to believe that "there will be a major delay to work" to contain the situation, one official said.

    Tepco, the plant's operator, announced on April 17 its road map for bringing the troubled reactors into a cold shutdown within six to nine months.

    Even though the fuel in the No. 1 reactor was later found to have melted through the pressure vessel, the utility said as recently as May 17 that it did not see a need to revise its projections.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sun May 29, 2011 at 03:28:48 PM PDT

    •  I think TEPCO believes its own PR (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blissing, rja

      Which is scary.  If TEPCO can't accept the situation, then they are unlikely to make progress towards resolving it.  Eventually the plant will achieve stability, though I'm having trouble seeing how that happens without a major steam explosion. From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests.

      by sdelear on Sun May 29, 2011 at 08:27:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More on Reactor #5 "Near Boiling" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, Blissing, rja

    The seawater pump in the cooling system for the Fukushima power plant's No. 5 reactor broke down Saturday evening, prompting repair crews to install a backup pump 15 hours later on Sunday afternoon, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.


    Unlike reactors 1 through 4, No. 5 is less at risk of meltdown because it was not damaged by hydrogen blasts as some of the others were and because workers managed to restore external power to its cooling system.


    The cause of the pump's failure was not immediately known but was likely caused by seawater fouling some of its parts, Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told a news conference Sunday morning.

    By noon Sunday, the core had reached a temperature of 93.6 degrees and the fuel pool had reached 46 degrees, compared with 68 degrees and 41 degrees, respectively, at 9 p.m. Saturday.


    Still, Matsumoto admitted that "it might have been better" to notify the media sooner about the pump's failure.


  •  Typhoon adds to the water problems (5+ / 0-)

    To no one's surprise the big rains are creating even more problems with the bad water at Daiichi.

    Water levels in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant increased dramatically on May 29 and 30, raising fears of radioactive water leaking from the site.

    The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), said the water level rose 19.8 centimeters over the 24 hours to 7 a.m. on May 30, 18 times the increase over the previous 24 hours.

    Another interesting twist is they now admit the groundwater is not isolated from the reactors buildings' lower levels:

    In the basements of the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors' turbine buildings, in particular, there is evidence that the pools of contaminated water are not isolated from the surrounding groundwater. Water levels in those buildings do not drop when water is removed.

    As long as water is flowing from the surrounding groundwater into the contaminated water, because the level of the groundwater is higher than that in the basements, the threat of substantial leaks is not considered acute.

    Not acute, but in all probability inevitable. Note: in TEPCO-speak, not acute has come to mean they haven't looked or haven't released the data yet. The water issue seems to have become unsolvable as far as I can determine. As they remove dirty water more groundwater flows into the contaminated spaces making it a project without end. I'm sure no one in the industry ever ran a model where endless streams of water drained into mix with the chaos. It more or less makes a shambles of any estimate of the amount of water that will need to be decontaminated.

    I have not heard any mention of the reactor buildings' sump systems for control of ground water for some time but the last word was they were quite contaminated too so there's no way to pull water away from the buildings without a very robust water treatments system in place. If they tried they will just pull water out of the buildings' lower levels into the surrounding soils anyway, which is hardly an improvement.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:28:55 PM PDT

  •  Nuclear, the drug (5+ / 0-)

    There is a very good article in the NYT today detailing how the government and nuclear industry in Japan worked out the economics of nuclear plants to addict the economies of the communities hosting nuclear facilities. It was all carefully crafted to insure the communities reaped huge economic windfalls as the plants were built, but the subsidies and taxes fade with time making it almost essential the communities advocate for more reactors or experience very painful declines.

    Worth the read.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:56:48 AM PDT

  •  It's official: TEPCO now junk (6+ / 0-)

    As per usual, a day late and a dollar shortin the ratings:

    Standard & Poor’s downgraded its long-term credit rating for Tokyo Electric Power Co by five notches to junk status Monday, saying it remains uncertain whether the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant would be smoothly bailed out by the Japanese government.

    The downgrading of the utility’s long-term debt rating to B-plus from BBB came as TEPCO is struggling to come up with funds to cover compensation payments over the crisis at the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, which has been crippled since the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. S&P said in its statement that while the government has announced a plan to help the company compensate victims, the details of the scheme remain unclear and lender banks will likely be forced to restructure TEPCO’s debt.

    The government is being quite crafty in handling the capitalists with the hot potato known as TEPCO. The government has said it would make sure the people affected by the out of control Daiichi plant were taken care of, but it was simply stating the obvious. The banks and lenders took that to mean that they were the people in question. TBTF and all that. But it's looking like government might have meant actual people.

    The government is still not itemizing the financial commitment it will make, leaving TEPCO and it's big creditors to hang out there in the uncertainty. In the meantime the markets are realizing that Kan has no intention of doing a U.S. style milk-the-little-to-please-the-big and is degrading the company and it's debts. Without a blank check from the government to insure all that debt it is losing value on a daily basis.

    The bankers early on tried the Big Talk about not being willing to accept losses on their TEPCO debt, but by delaying, the government is letting the markets go right ahead and impose those loses in the free market way. The bankers are in the very unhappy situation of two choices:
    -- walk away and write it all off just to get out, or
    -- they can see their investments as too large and will have to do what it takes to recover something on their portfolios. When you're in this big that means continuing to lend to insure the company continues, and to write down the debt to allow the economics to make sense.

    Capitalists just hate it when their glorified free economic system bites them in the ass.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:24:09 AM PDT

  •  Scientists estimate ecological damage at Fukushima (6+ / 0-)

    Two months after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a nuclear crisis in Japan, French scientists report that wildlife near the stricken power plant may have received radiation doses that far exceed safe levels for sensitive species (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es201637c).

    The analysis, conducted by Jacqueline Garnier-Laplace and colleagues from the French Institute of Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, is the first assessment of the ecological consequences from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

    Garnier-Laplace and her colleagues reconstructed radiation doses for wildlife near the plant based on radioactivity measurements made by Japanese researchers on March 31 of three radioisotopes: cesium-134, cesium-137, and iodine-131. A radiation dose, measured in milligrays (mGy), is the amount of energy that an organism absorbs from the decay of radioactive material.

    The dose that an organism can tolerate varies significantly between species, Garnier-Laplace says: In general, invertebrates can withstand radiation doses that are 100,000 times greater than most vertebrates can. In an earlier study, she and her research team used data from published field studies to determine that 0.24 mGy per day is the highest dose rate that most terrestrial and marine ecosystems can endure. Above that rate, sensitive species begin to die.


    A must-read IMHO...

  •  The first improvised cooling system is running (6+ / 0-)

    From NHK World:

    The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started operating a system to effectively cool water in a spent fuel pool in the plant's No.2 reactor building.

    The pool's temperature is around 70 degrees Celsius, apparently producing steam that has filled the building and resulted in a humidity level of 99.9 percent. [ never mind the blown out suppression pool ]

    The new system is to pump water out of the pool to a heat exchanger and return the water to the pool as coolant.

    SFPs in #1 and 3 are scheduled to get their systems in June. It'll be interesting to see how effective the new system is.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:56:35 AM PDT

  •  Soil levels match Chernobyl's dead zone now (!) (7+ / 0-)

    Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near Japan’s crippled nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a “dead zone” remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.

    Soil samples in areas outside the 20-kilometer (12 miles) exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels a square meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government.

    Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 square kilometers (230 square miles), according to the report. The extent of contamination shows the government must move fast to avoid the same future for the area around Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant as Chernobyl, scientists said. Technology has improved since the 1980s, meaning soil can be decontaminated with chemicals or by planting crops to absorb radioactive materials, allowing residents to return.


    Also of note...

    Soil samples showed one site with radiation from Cesium-137 exceeding 5 million becquerels per square meter about 25 kilometers to the northwest of the Fukushima plant, according to Kawata’s study. Five more sites about 30 kilometers from Dai- Ichi showed radiation exceeding 1.48 million becquerels per square meter.

    When asked to comment on the report today, Tokyo Electric spokesman Tetsuya Terasawa said the radiation levels are in line with those found after a nuclear bomb test, which disperses plutonium. He declined to comment further.

    The entire article is a MUST READ. I would repost it all but obviously can't due to copyright issues.

  •  Fukushima plants have been leaking oil into ocean (4+ / 0-)

    Oil was leaking into the sea from heavy oil tanks for reactors 5 and 6 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday, adding the spill may have been ongoing since the March 11 quake and tsunami.

    Tepco said workers at the site saw an oil slick floating on the sea at 8 a.m. Tuesday near the intakes of units 5 and 6.

    The oil slick is believed to be 200 to 300 meters long.


  •  Unknown boom sound at Fukushima (7+ / 0-)

    TOKYO May 31 (Reuters) - A loud noise was heard outside a reactor building at Japan's quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as the operator of the plant cleared away rubble, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said on Tuesday.

    There was no change in radiation levels at the plant's monitoring posts and no one was injured, a Tokyo Electric official told reporters.

    Some people at the plant suspect that a gas cylinder in the rubble may have been damaged and made the sound, the official said.


  •  TEPCO rebuked for worker safety violations (6+ / 0-)

    (big surprise, I know)...

    The health ministry on Tuesday ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. and a partner firm to correct practices regarding their failure to prevent workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant from being exposed to radiation.

    The order, issued by the Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry in connection with the firms' violation of the Labor Safety and Sanitation Law, was made retroactive to Monday.

    According to the ministry, TEPCO and Kandenko Co. allowed some employees to work at the plant without wearing dosimeters. The law requires operators to ensure workers wear dosimeters on the job.


    The rest of the article lists other grievances. It also includes something I'd not read before about not giving potassium iodide to some workers. That's very, very dangerous and negligent as well.

    •  Related: Workers pass safety limits for radiation (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Magster, ricklewsive, Just Bob, rja, mamamedusa

      This is the first time on record...

      (Reuters) - Two workers at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant may have exceeded the government's radiation exposure limit, the plant operator said, adding to concerns about health risks for those fighting the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

      If confirmed, it would mark the first cases of excess radiation exposure among the hundreds of emergency workers who have struggled to bring Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi plant under control after it was wrecked by a massive earthquake and tsunami two and half months ago.


      Measurements of external exposure and radioactive iodine in their thyroid glands suggested that the two male workers, one in his 30s and the other in his 40s, had surpassed the maximum set by the government of 250 millisieverts over the life of the control and clean-up project.

      Exposure to 250 millisieverts of radiation is equivalent to more than 400 stomach X-rays. That is below the level for acute radiation sickness. Experts are divided about the long term health effect but agree higher levels of exposure correspond to higher risk of cancers.


  •  Joleau found a new TEPCO live web cam (5+ / 0-)

    Comment by Joleau

    Fuku-Ichi Live Camera stream

    That web page has a "Location Chart summarizing video" which shows the location of the camera and it's field of view.

    It is closer and  clearer than the TBS live web cam, which is only showing gray at this moment..

  •  Putting up a new ROV... feedback on updates? (0+ / 0-)

    What do you guys think is the lede story now?

    I'll add Joieu's new TEPCO live cam.

    Should the title concern ecological damage estimates?
    More worker safety reprimands?
    Soil radiation now on par with Chernobyl's dead zone?
    IAEA says more oversight needed?

    (that's here:

    Something else?

    1st to reply gets the title topic pick! :)

  •  ROV #58 is up here (link) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    That was a coding nightmare. Sorry. For some reason, after I cut and paste from my .doc file (which I always do), it converted ALL of my punctuation marks to weird characters, including the link quotation marks. I had to manually recode the entire thing in a combination of UBB and html in the browser window. Took almost two hours!

    If I screwed anything up, just feel free to fix it (other admin). Thank you.

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