Monday, February 27, 2012

Fukushima: PM Kan telling Tepco to not pull out "Saved Japan"

[Fukushima NukeBlog Site Map ]

Mr. Funabashi said his foundation’s investigators had interviewed most of the people involved — except executives at Tepco, which refused to cooperate — and found that the company had in fact said it wanted a total pull out.
He credited Mr. Kan with making the right decision in forcing Tepco not to abandon the plant.
“Prime Minister Kan had his minuses and he had his lapses,” Mr. Funabashi said, “but his decision to storm into Tepco and demand that it not give up saved Japan.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

BBC wrap-up on Fukushima tragedy - could be worse than Chernobyl We Are Finished

And in the most ‘controversial chapter’ of the story, This World revealed that TEPCO sought to evacuate all of its employees from the plant. It was only through the persistence of the prime minister that a brave contingent of workers – the ‘Fukushima 50’ stayed.
‘If they withdrew, six reactors and seven fuel pools would be abandoned’, Kan told the programme. ‘Everything melts down.  Radiation tens of times worse than Chernobyl will be scattered.’
TEPCO forbid its employees from speaking to the press. However, a few broke ranks to speak out about their fears.
‘Many of us thought of running away, but there was no escape. If you actually ran you would be exposed to radiation.’
In the end a group of firefighters succeeded in spraying the plant with water, to stop the spread of radioactive material and cool the reactors. They brought the radiation down from ‘dangerous levels’ so that people could return to the plant.
But it remains to be seen whether the radiation expelled will affect Japan in the years to come. And as prime minister Kan warned at the end of the programme, ‘When the world has 1000, 2000, 3000 nuclear plants, can we call that a safe world to live in?’
Watch the full programme here. (not outside of uk)

News10 new results for fukushima
Beyond Fukushima Japan faces deeper nuclear concerns
Vancouver Sun
Dogged by persistent technical problems, it is designed to recycle spent nuclear fuel and partly address a glaring weakness in Japan's bid to restore confidence in the industry, shredded last year when a quake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi ...
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Fukushima could have been 'tens of times' worse than Chernobyl
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Last night's This World: Inside the Meltdown on BBC 2 was the story of the Fukushimameltdowns, told by the plant workers, residents living nearby who lost almost everything, and a prime minister 'who gambled with lives to avoid an even greater ...
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Bureau of Investigative Journalism
US Agency in Daze After Fukushima Disaster, Transcripts Show
TIME (blog)
(TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is seen from bus window during a tour for the media in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture on Feb. 20, 2012. Transcripts released this week by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reveal an...
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TIME (blog)
Scientists report back from Fukushima exclusion zone
Patterns of tsunami damage in areas such as Kesennuma, northeast of Fukushima, reveal wave behaviour that could be used to improve defences. The tsunami that crippled Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant almost a year ago was as formidable as ...
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Insight: Japan's nuclear crisis goes much further than Fukushima
Chicago Tribune
Related Insight: Japan's nuclear crisis goes much further than Fukushima Dogged by persistent technical problems, it is designed to recycle spent nuclear fuel and partly address a glaring weakness in Japan's bid to restore confidence in the industry, ...
See all stories on this topic »
Tepco Bailout Largest in Japan Since Rescue of Banking Industry
(9501) is set to receive a government bailout that may cost as much as 11 trillion yen ($137 billion) after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the largest in Japan since the rescue of the banking industry in the 1990s. Japan's government included 2 ...
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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review
Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Portal (blog)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. will try to stabilize contaminated soil in the Fukushima Daiichi's manmade harbor, while in the US the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made its first recommendations for new plant safety rules following the ...
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Walk to remember Fukushima begins March 3
The Daily News of Newburyport
SEABROOK — One year after the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, six organizations are co-sponsoring a "Remember Fukushima" walk, which will begin in Seabrook on March 3. Local residents are invited to join for an hour, ...
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Canada's nuclear industry needs to fight Fukushima fear, top executive says
Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — With the approaching anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a backdrop, Ontario's top energy executive is urging Canada's nuclear industry not to retreat in the face of renewed public skepticism. “While other jurisdictions may be ...
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Thyroid testing in children delayed after Fukushima due to worries that ...
Yasumasa Fukushima, head of the nuclear emergency headquarters' medical support division, says: “I don't know what specifically transpired at the time, but ultimately the parties involved agreed not to conduct further testing. Thinking back on it now, ...
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Blogs1 new result for fukushima
Lessons From Fukushima | FacilityBlog
By Heidi Schwartz
“80% of the airborne radiation released from Fukushima went directly over the Pacific Ocean,” explained Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), which initiated the petition. “Even so, the ...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fukushima Proves GE BWR Mark I is too dangerous

U.S. nuclear plants similar to Fukushima spark concerns

By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 8:41 AM EST, Fri February 17, 2012

Read the 1971 Atomic Energy Commission document (PDF) (it says that it can blow up and release bad stuff, not likely but it could happen)

  • U.S. OKs new nuclear reactors a year after Japan disaster
  • 23 GE Mark I reactors in U.S. share same design as Fukushima Daiichi plant
  • Many are aging, but have undergone safety improvements
  • GE says design is proven, reliable technology that is safe to use
  • (CNN) -- As the United States prepares to build its first new nuclear power reactors in three decades, concerns about an early generation of plants have resurfaced since last year's disaster in Japan.
    The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant -- the subject of a battle between state authorities and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over its continued operation -- uses one of 23 U.S. reactors built with a General Electric-designed containment housing known as the Mark I.
    It's the same design that was used at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three reactors melted down after the station was struck by the tsunami that followed Japan's historic earthquake in March 2011. The disaster resulted in the widespread release of radioactive contamination that forced more than 100,000 people from their homes.
    GE says the Mark I design has operated safely for more than 40 years and has been modified periodically to meet changing regulations. No nuclear plant could have avoided a meltdown after being swamped by a tsunami and losing power to cooling systems for an extended period of time, the company says -- and at least one expert CNN spoke to agrees.
    But concerns about the Mark I's ability to contain the consequences of a severe accident have been raised for decades, and critics say the Fukushima Daiichi accident shows it can't survive a real-world disaster.

    The structure was designed so steam that builds up in an overheating reactor can be diverted into a doughnut-shaped water tank known as the suppression pool, or torus, where it condenses back to water to reduce pressure inside the reactor containment building. That allows utilities to build a much smaller containment structure -- as little as one-sixth the size of those used at some U.S. plants.
    Stephen Hanauer, a former top safety official at what was then the Atomic Energy Commission, warned in 1971 that in an accident in which the core slowly loses coolant and overheats, the Mark I containment "would overpressurize. That could lose the torus water source, hence ECCS [emergency core cooling system] as well as leak out fission products."

    see rest of article

    Bergeron called the Mark I containment the smallest and weakest of those used in American plants. But he said the NRC "punted" in the face of industry resistance by calling only for utilities to install vents.
    As for GE, he said, "They got the rule book from the federal government, and they said 'This is all you have to design it for.' The real question is: What should have been done after 1979, when you found out the rule book was flawed?"

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Fukushima Firewood

    Yet more unanticipated fallout effects

    High radioactive content detected in ash from wood stoves

    February 11, 2012
    Ash from wood-burning stoves in Miyagi Prefecture has been found to contain alarmingly high levels of radioactive cesium.
    Up to 59,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram has been detected in samples from the northeastern prefecture, the Environment Ministry said Feb. 10.
    In late January, the ministry inspected logs and ash collected from private households in nine municipalities in the south of Miyagi Prefecture, close to the border with Fukushima Prefecture, site of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant....
    The radioactive content in the ash ranged from 1,180 becquerels per kilogram in a sample from Kakuda to 59,000 becquerels per kilogram in a sample from Marumori....

    Fukushima Unit 2 Endoscope

    Fukushima Unit 2 Endoscope



    First photos from inside Fukushima reactor released

    [picture shows these were pictures of the dry well, and camera was below the pressure vessel - if there is water, it's clearly no covering any fuel that's at the bottom of the pressure vessel]

    January 20, 2012
    The first photographs of the inside of a reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant taken since the March 11 earthquake show that the water level in the containment vessel may be lower than previously thought. Seven still images taken using an industrial endoscope in the No. 2 reactor were released on Jan. 19 by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.
    Steam in the containment vessel of the reactor and high radiation levels limited the clarity of the images, but they raise the possibility that melted fuel at the bottom of the vessel may not be adequately covered by water, according to one nuclear expert.
    ...White dots found on the images were likely the result of radiation, according to TEPCO officials. There did not appear to be damage to the piping in the images, but there were signs of rust. The peeling of paint on the inner wall of the containment vessel was likely the result of the sudden increase in the temperature soon after the accident, TEPCO said.
    ...The endoscope used was manufactured by Olympus Corp. and has a diameter of 8.5 millimeters and a length of 10 meters. It was inserted through piping on the side of the containment vessel and placed about two meters into the containment vessel.
    A total of 34 workers were involved in the operation, which took about 70 minutes. The maximum radiation exposure to the workers was 3.07 millisieverts.
    ...there is the possibility that the melted fuel that fell to the bottom of the vessel is not being adequately covered by water."

    The Asahi Shimbun
    The Asahi Shimbun
    • The Asahi Shimbun
    • An endoscope image shows the inner wall of the containment vessel on the left and scaffolding used for inspection work. The white dots are caused by radiation. (Provided by TEPCO)
    • An image of the pipe through which the endoscope was passed through to enter the containment vessel. The white object running vertically through the image is part of the equipment used to measure temperatures. (Provided by TEPCO)
    • Piping is visible from an endoscope image of the inside of the No. 2 reactor containment vessel. (Provided by TEPCO)
    • Signs of rust are visible on the surface of piping within the containment vessel. (Provided by TEPCO)
    • Peeling paint on the inner wall of the containment vessel takes on a scaly look likely due to the high temperatures and humidity. (Provided by TEPCO)
    • The inner wall of the containment vessel on the left with part of the equipment used to measure temperatures showing as a whitish object through the center. (Provided by TEPCO)
    • Piping along the upper part of the containment vessel (Provided by TEPCO)

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Fukushima Radiation Sickness

    [Fukushima NukeBlog Site Map]

    Mayor lost body hair and has nosebleed

    Fukushima women losing their hair — Resemblance to chemotherapy? (PHOTOS)

    On Radiation Sickness in Japan
    From Paul Langley’s Nuclear History Blog: “The Radiation Mimetic Chemicals and Atomic Radiation”
    What is being reported today among the Fukushima affected civilians is none other than the same metabolic syndrome the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki knew as Bura Bura disease, caused by internalization of radioactive substances. It is a disease of cumulative dose accretion caused by chronic internalization of radioactive flecks. In my opinion.
    There is something occurring in the radiation affected areas of Japan which is very similar to the environment of cities which have been attacked by atomic bombs. It is unlike the experience of Chernobyl in degree. It is the synergy between radiation and chemicals of a particular class. The class of chemicals involved was, at one point in time, called “the radiomimetic chemicals”. The outcome of the synergy is a much greater impact on the health of the afflicted people than would be the case if one or other agent of harm (radioactive material or radiomimetic chemicals) were …
    Report Comment

    eports: Fukushima women losing their hair — Resemblance to chemotherapy? (PHOTOS)

    Published: January 3rd, 2012 at 9:58 am ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article Email Article
    Fukushima women are losing their hair, Fukushima Diary, December 31, 2011:
    [... A] woman posted the hair of her old friend (42) from highschool. She says that she always wears a wig but once she takes it off, it looks horrible.
    The blogger woman and her friend both started losing her hair from October. Only within 3 months, it became like this.

    [...] My Japanese blog readers sent me the link to her blog some time ago. I read the posts, researched the response to her blog from people I trust on the net. I have little reason to doubt this is a fake, she sounds sincere, though it is my personal judgment and I could be wrong. [...]
    • Probably [...] early 40s
    • Live in Minami Soma City [within 25 km of meltdowns]
    • She was a high school teacher until 2 years ago, and now she teaches children at her home
    From the entry on 12/31/2011, on her friend’s hair
    A very good friend of mine since high school just dropped by to say hello. We occasionally talked over the phone about my head (balding and hair falling off) and her condition. She’s 42 years old.
    She came wearing a wig. When she took it out, I had no words to say.
    She evacuated (after the accident) to the inland area near the Fukushima-Miyagi border. But when the reactors were exploding and when the vent was being done, she was right near by (in Minami Soma). [...]
    She and I both started to lose hair in large quantities starting October. This is the head of a healthy, 42-year-old woman. She is quite active, and she works.
    Can you believe it? In 3 months she has lost so much hair. Now you understand why I wanted to cut my hair short to 3 centimeters long. Right now, I have more hair than her, but if I had kept it long I would have lost much more hair. [...]

    Minami Soma Woman

    Minami Soma Woman

    Chemotherapy Patient
    See also:

    Mayor lost body hair and has nosebleed

    Mayor near Fukushima: “I’ve lost almost all body hair from chest down” — “Nosebleed hasn’t stopped”

    Published: February 12th, 2012 at 9:58 am ET
    By ENENews
    Email Article Email Article
    [...] I [Ugaya] asked the mayor [of Futaba-machi, Katsutaka Idogawa] who was doused with “dust from Fukushima I Nuke Plant”, “Did you think it was dangerous?” He answered, “Even today, I think “We’re finished”.” “What do you mean?” I asked. He said “Nosebleed hasn’t stopped.”
    “Nosebleed hasn’t stopped. If I blow my nose it bleeds. Sometimes the blood drips. I don’t know what’s going on, whether the nose is too dry.”
    “Ive lost almost all body hair from chest down, all the way down to the legs. I noticed it when an old man sitting next to me in “sento” (public bath) said to me, “Hey your skin’s smooth like a woman.” Pubic hair remains. It’s uncomfortable without body hair, because my underwear clings to the skin.” [...]
    Read the report here

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Fukushima Daini #2 Nearly Melted Down - Had power

    Unit 2 hit by 9 meter vs 13 meter tsunami.


    FUKUSHIMA--The Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant was "near meltdown" after being hit by tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11,


    Plant chief Naohiro Masuda, in charge of plant operations since the crisis, told reporters Wednesday, "The No. 2 plant almost suffered the same fate as No. 1 [which led to a severe crisis]."
    On March 11, a 9-meter-high tsunami struck the No. 2 plant, while the No. 1 plant was hit by a 13-meter-high tsunami. The tsunami caused the No. 2 plant's seawater pumps, used to cool reactors, to fail. Of the plant's four reactors, three were in danger of meltdown.

    Luckily, one external high-voltage power line still functioned, allowing plant staff in the central control room to monitor data on internal reactor temperatures and water levels.