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View Diary: Breaking: Japanese Government takes over Fukushima cleanup (116 comments)

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  •  Iodine pills won't help (13+ / 0-)

    with this situation. Iodine 131 has a half-life of 8 days, was essentially gone within three months of the initial releases. Any new fission will produce more, but that's not the issue at this point in time.

    What's happening now are waterborne releases to the ocean. It was already the worst ocean nuclear pollution event in human history a couple of years ago, it's just worse now. Avoiding Pacific seafood is something we're probably going to have to get used to.

    Atmospheric releases are more dangerous to people far from northern Japan, your basic fallout scenario. Some contamination is still getting airborne from Daiichi, but not as much as explosions and fuel cladding fires were releasing early on.

    •  I guess the coming mutations (4+ / 0-)

      will foster an evolutionary spike? I could use another set of hands.

      Morbid humor, but what else is there?

      I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

      by pajoly on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 07:35:16 AM PDT

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      •  Heh. (8+ / 0-)

        I had two kids in diapers long ago, often wished I had an extra set of arms. Even figured out how it would work - sort of an X-shaped collarbone/shoulders deal, so they were all on the same plane. That would avoid the uncomfortable situation of having shoulders below the 'upper' arms, which is a fairly useless configuration if you don't happen to be an Indian goddess.

        I can give up eating tuna and salmon without too much trouble, but sure don't want to have to give up food (and water) in general. Meanwhile, maybe the Japanese government can corral some 'experts' that don't work for TEPCO/GE, get a handle on cutting off the 'busywork' contributions to the ocean pollution.

        There's no good reason I can think of to keep on pouring hundreds of gallons of water a day down the reactor blow-holes. The corium flows have already met the groundwater, and the scary hydrogelogic explosion scenario didn't happen. First because the corium had been in occasional contact with water all along and was moving slow, and second because the ground is so shattered that there's no way a big steam event could be highly pressurized. It's not hot enough to be actively melting rock it's in contact with. The earth provides good shielding, they should turn off the water, fill the holes with zeolite and boron-impregnated concrete, and get busy dealing with the other issues...

        •  I've wondered about that myself. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm guessing they don't know enough about the location and state of the corium to do much of anything.

          Contact of molten fuel with water and concrete
          Here's a Chernobyl picture that can give a conceptual image of what they may expect. I don't intend for this to be even remotely related to what they may find when and if they ever gain access to the basements:

          Whatever they do, eventually they will have to control or eliminate contact with water and allow gaseous releases. One would hope those releases could be filtered at some point.

          If they still have molten corium there's still the possibility of fission sputtering.

          The idea of pumping water for cooling was never going to be anything but a “machine for generating radioactive water,” Asmolov said. Other more complex methods, such as the use of special absorbents like thermoxide to clean contaminated water and the introduction of air cooling, should be used, he said. [...]

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

          by Just Bob on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 12:25:05 PM PDT

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          •  In my opinion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob

            waterborne releases are preferable to atmospheric releases - of which we've already had plenty - all of the northern hemisphere is contaminated, as is much of the south. We can avoid direct contact with contaminated sea water and sea life if we need to (and do some honest monitoring, always iffy in this day and age), but we cannot avoid direct internal and external exposures from contamination in the air, in the rain, in our drinking water systems, on/in the land and in our land-based food supply. That all comes from fallout due to atmospheric releases.

            The worst of it is the cesium and strontium, which will remain dangerous for 120 years or so, and remain detectable for about 300 years. Maybe by the year 2135 the human population on this planet will have learned some respect for the planet that gifts us with life. You never know.

            By the way, enenews also reports METI is saying that the flooded basements have compromised the reactor building foundations, that there's three times the total amount of cesium released from Chernobyl into those basements (and now getting out to the groundwater). And that the Russians agree that pumping more water in 24-7 isn't helping and should be stopped.

            It really was the hydrogeologic 'Big Bang' everyone was scared of early on, keeping the corium in regular water contact may have slowed progression of the flows significantly. I very much doubt it's the reason the facility didn't blow sky high when they did hit the water table - rather, any caprock there was between the plant basements and the groundwater table is too shattered to hold pressure. They covered the lagoon bottom with a techno-clay mixture last year, but now say the contaminated groundwater is coming up from the bottom now anyway... they're going to need to expand the seawall and close it in to catch what's coming, keep the heavy elements in. The lighter ones will get out, there's nothing to be done about that.

            I haven't seen steam coming from units 1 and 2, so if there's renewed fission at the 'fresh' surface in any of the flows, it's unit 3. It won't last long. At any rate, there's no need for coolant pumping from the back end now - it's just adding hundreds of tons of water volume a day to the overload.

            I know that putting too many 'experts' in a room is more a recipe for pie fights than for useful ideas, but I'm hoping Japan gets the help it needs from outside. Relegate TEPCO/GE's people to logistics and labor.

            •  When the seas die (0+ / 0-)

              we die.

              A lot of people only seem to have a "how does this affect me??" view of things. You can see this in posts above and below yours. So they think "well i'll stop eating fish".. the danger isnt that Joe's fish nugget will be radioactive.

              The danger is far larger. Radical changes in the food supply can lead to war, massive ag changes that radically increase pollution. This will eliminate entire branchs of life on earth. And introduce radical genetic change across thousands or millions of species. And something ive tried to explain to both nuclear and gmo advocates.. genetic changes cross species. That means that some of those genetic changes may cross into the human genome.. and permanently. Even if no human were affected by the radiation (though we know they were and are.

              Humanity will blow this off and eventually erase this from memory while at the same time learning to accept it as "normal" sadly. Because that's what we do. And why were are in the growing crisis we are. i fear the world my niece will grow up to

              A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

              by cdreid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:59:08 PM PDT

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    •  In NY I can avoid Pacific seafood. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, Joieau

      Throughout the Pacific Ocean though, ... those poor people.

      On the other hand, with the other legion of poisons we're dumping into the Ocean and the overfishing, it might not be long before eating Pacific seafood simply isn't an available option for anyone.

      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 11:19:18 AM PDT

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      •  Not to dminish the badness... (0+ / 0-)

        But, the Pacific Ocean is 714 million cubic kilometers of water.  1 cubic meter is 1000kg=1 metric ton a single cubic kilometer is 1000 meters on a side equaling 1 billion cubic meters.  So, 714 million billion metric tons of water in the Pacific. 7.14 x 10^17 metric tons.  There is apparently 1760 metric tons of fresh and spent fuel at Fukushima.  Most of which is in the storage pools still.  But, let's say we are dealing with the entire amount fully dissolved into the Pacific Ocean.  That would be 1 part in 4 x10^14.  Something like 1 part in 10 billion.

        Considering we are not talking about the entire radioactive contents of the plant entering the ocean.  The concentration will be smaller.  The main concern needs to be biologically active radioactive isotopes.  Strontium is particularly concerning because it is chemically similar to calcium. Cesium is a concern because of its chemical similarity to Sodium.  Therefore, these can concentrate in apex predators.

        ON the other hand you shouldn't be eating apex predators anyways.  They are usually not sustainable and full of mercury.

        Finally, there is this....

        Yes, it is bad that radioactive isotopes are leaking in the Ocean.  Is it a catastrophe for Pacific Rim fishing, highly unlikely otherwise we should be talking about the catastrophe that has been going on for the last 50 years.

        •  Well, the entire Pacific Ocean doesn't (0+ / 0-)

          flow past Fukushima's coastline. If we're to use that measure, add in the Atlantic Ocean, the Great Lakes, and the ocean of Europa for all the relevance of that point.

          What does happen is there are currents which run through the offshore, where the radioactivity concentrates as it flows from the site. Then what doesn't sink moves along the currents.

          What sinks gets in the bottom of the food chain, and then as things eat the lower items in the chain, it concentrates upward. What doesn't sink gets eaten or breathed by fish, higher on the chain, straight off.

          So it is that California found higher levels of radioactivity in Blue Fin Tuna, and specifically radiation traceable to Fukushima, than ever recorded before.

          In every single Tuna. Canada and Alaska have also noticed increased radioactivity, and it seems an entire species of fish has suddenly disappeared in the northern section of the currents from Fukushima past Russia, Alaska, and Northern Canada.

          We have no existing model of how radiation dilutes in an Ocean; nor how it concentrates in food sources. The Pacific Ocean's affected areas were just made the test tube. Neither Nature nor Humanity had a vote on that.

          Fish caught mid-Pacific have already shown 10x increase of Cessium.

          We know that new elements will be generated for the next human generation or three to be added to the mix.

          The "it will all dilute in the Pacific Ocean" is nonsense once you think about it. Best we let that excuse die of its silliness.

          Since the main elements all tend to attack, at the least, the immune systems of living things, we can expect that the other toxins we add will have an even  greater effect than they would without Fukushima.

          Insults to a body are cumulative, after all. That's why the "less damage than a banana or an x-ray" notion is just stupid, because the banana/xray/absorbed strontium-90 (say) taken together are more dangerous than any element in isolation.

          Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

          by Jim P on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:50:40 PM PDT

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          •  You missed a couple of problems.. (0+ / 0-)

            A few logical inconsistencies.  Either it is a problem for the entire Pacific Rim in which case considering at least a significant fraction of the entire Pacific must be considered or it is localized in someway, in which case claiming the entire Pacific Rim is at risk is not true.

            Secondly, you neglected the dumping of much larger amounts of radioactive material over the last 50 years.  So, the experiment has been done.

            We are dealing with a complex and chaotic system and way too many variables to really understand.  There is definitely a concentration of radioactive isotopes off the Fukushima coast.  And, fish move, currents move.  Clearly, stuff ends up in the Pacific garbage pile and stays there, so that could cause some concetration.  It is very hard to tell what the actual end result will be either way.

            And, finally it is bad, no one should be let off the hook for dumping bad things into the environment, if for no other reason than if everyone did it there would be no chance of getting by.  This led me to an interesting idea. The punishment for environmental dumping/damage should be proportional to the damage if everyone did it, rather than proportional to the actual damage done by the particular incident.  Proportional to the incident, makes environmental damage a cost of doing business. Proportional to if everyone were to do it makes the penalty sufficient to discourage the activity.

      •  Seafood (0+ / 0-)

        isnt the problem.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:59:50 PM PDT

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