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Mothership 4has published . Please rec. and unrec  Mothership 3 coverage of the Japan Nuclear Disaster. Please Rec this diary, and this diary, only.  Unrec previous diaries in the series.    In general, try to use the ROV's for discussion and commentary.  This diary will serve as a reference and anchor point.

We are currently in ROV 14: Japan Nuclear Disaster by joanneleon

Previous ROVs
ROV 13: Japan Nuclear Disaster by joanneleon
ROV 12: Japan Nuclear Disaster by peraspera
ROV 11: Japan Natural/Nuclear Disaster Liveblog, ROV # 11. by Marcus Tullius
ROV 10: Japan Nuclear Disaster by ekyprogressive
ROV 9 - Japan Nuclear Disaster by Julia Grey
ROV#8 Japanese Nuclear Crisis by boatsie
ROV #7--Japan Nuclear Crisis - nota bene
ROV 6 - JAPAN Nuclear Disaster by middleagedhousewife
ROV 5 by Julia Grey
Rov 4  by Marcus Tullius
ROV3 by Marcus Tullius

Lets STICK TO THE FACTS. Please remember to source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.)

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Timeline

The CS Monitor is hosting a constantly updated timeline of events, beginning at 2:46 Friday 11 March when a 9.0 Earthquake was the initial shock in an ongoing crisis, magnified by the ensuing tsunami and the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power facility.

Currently, a power line has been successfully laid and connected to the No. 2 reactor at Fukushima according to the UN nuclear agency and water temperatures have cooled.

Despite water drops via fire trucks, helicopters, and water cannons radiation levels remain high, although they have dropped. About 300 workers are currently in the plant.

At least 3 reactors have had partial meltdowns.  

President Barack Obama announced he is ordering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a review of all US nuclear power plants as a result of the situation in Japan. The President also reassured Americans there is no risk of exposure to significant levels of radiation.

The situation is expected to take weeks to resolve.

Latest Stats as of early morning, Thursday 17 March Japan. (from RedCross International blogs
-2,000 people confirmed dead
-10,000 more people expected to be confirmed dead
-2,000 people injured
-530,000 people displaced, staying in 2,500 evacuation centres, such as schools and public halls
-24,000 people still completely isolated and cannot be reached
-1.2 million homes without power
-1.4 million homes without water
-4,700 destroyed houses
-50,000 damaged houses
-582 roads cut off
-32 bridges destroyed
• 102 countries and 14 international organizations have offered assistance

Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists: Interview (h/t hopeful skeptic)
• NYT: Q. and A. on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Plutonium In Fuel Rods: Cause For Concern? (part of NPR special coverage! h/t jamess)

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SOME HOTSPOTS @ KOS:
Plubius:Views From Japan: How Bad Is Fukushima?+
skywriter:The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists+
FishOutofWater: Feds Not Releasing Rad Plume Model Results+*
jamess: Big Oil, Big Energy, Big Nukes, Big Bucks+
FishOutofWater: 11,195 spent fuel rods stored at Fukushima+
nathguy: Fukishima 101+
Dr.Linda  Shelton simplifies the physics, chemistry and biology inNuclear Reactors 101
DarkSyde: Anatomy of the Fukushima nuclear crisis
FishOutofWater: TEPCO: "The possibility of re-criticality is not zero"
Vyan: Cool the Reactors with Cadmium!
GlowNZ: Japan Disaster Open Thread: The Earthquake and Tsunami
Nebraskablue: Helicopters to the Rescue?

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IN TRANSLATION: From Japan

Japan Earthquake 2011 Global Voices Online provides outstanding ongoing translations of articles and information from Japan, including:
Map of Quake Centers
Shelter locations
Tomomi Sasaki translation from Japanese to English: Infographic of Radiation & Effects on Human body translated from Japanese
• 
How can I help

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Media Coverage

Japan Tsunami – Live Streaming/AutoUpdates

NHK Japan Live:NHK Japan Live
Al Jazeera Japan Live: Al Jazeera Japan Live
AJ LiveBlog
Guardian UK:Updated every minute
France24 Live: France24 Live
Global Voice Online(Japan/English translation
ReutersReuters updated continuously

Twitter – Real Time Updates:
Global Voices Online Japan Twitter List

IAEA
WFP
Twitter #earthquake: Twitter #earthquake
Twitter #japan: Twitter #japan:
Twitter #tsunami: Twitter #tsunami
Japan's PM

Hashtags:  #JPQuake, #japaneq, #japantsunami, #ynwa, #japaneq

Facebook

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ACT!
• Plubius also has a diary on aid groups needing donations.
CS Monitor has a great list
• JapanVolunteers-  - donations, materials, volunteer opportunities and needs,  fundraisers, resource sharing

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Crisis Mapping

OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan is using Ushahidi to map crisis information. Volunteers can submit reports through a form or by tweeting location information along with the hashtags #jishin (earthquake), #j_j_helpme (call for help), #hinan (evacuation), #anpi (safety status), or #311care (medical support). The hashtag for people working on the service is #osmjp.

Google Crisis Response Maps(Layers available)
Ushahidi Local Reports Color Coded for Trusted Sources (Japanese/English)
Satellite Imagray
Media Monitoring Japan's Humanity Road

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Volunteers are needed to publish and queue up for subsequent diaries. To volunteer to host an ROV or the next mothership, please email to join the group. We will be able to queue diaries for publication throughout this crisis.

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

Start with the basics .. the Economist reports on the Japan Syndrome

...  Nuclear energy is produced by atomic fission. A large atom (uranium or plutonium) breaks into two smaller ones, releasing energy and neutrons. These neutrons may then trigger the break-up of further atoms, creating a chain reaction. The faster the neutron, the fewer break-ups it provokes. This is because an incoming neutron has to be captured to provoke fission, and fast neutrons are harder to capture. As a result, the chain reaction will peter out unless the neutrons can be slowed down sufficiently.

There also need to be enough fissionable atoms about for the neutrons to bump into—in other words, a critical mass. That is why uranium fuel has to be enriched, for only one of the two naturally occurring isotopes of the metal is fissile, and it is much the rarer of the two. In water-cooled reactors like the ones at Fukushima, the right combination of slow neutrons and enriched fuel leads to a self-sustaining process which produces energy that can be used to boil water, make steam and drive a turbine to generate electricity. Besides cooling the fuel (and thus producing the steam) the water also acts as a so-called moderator, slowing down the neutrons and keeping the reaction going.
So what happens when things cease to run smoothly, as when an earthquake interferes with the plant's systems? When designing reactors, engineers attempt to achieve what they call “defence in depth”. The idea is that if any specific defence fails, another will make good the shortfall. This is a principle that Fukushima Dai-ichi, the worst hit of the nuclear plants, has been testing to destruction. The defences have failed badly at all three of the reactors which were running at the time the earthquake hit.

h/t siri
Facts from from Nuclear Energy Institute Fact Sheet

♣ Used nuclear fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is stored in seven pools (one at each of the six reactors, plus a shared pool) and in a dry container storage facility (containing nine casks).
♣ Sixty percent of the used fuel on site is stored in the shared pool, in a building separated from the reactor buildings; 34 percent of the used fuel is distributed between the six reactor fuel storage pools, and the remaining six percent is stored in the nine dry storage containers.  There are no safety concerns regarding the used fuel in dry storage at Fukushima Daiichi.
♣ Used fuel pools are robust concrete and steel structures designed to protect the fuel from even the most severe events.  Pools are designed with systems to maintain the temperature and water levels sufficient to provide cooling and radiation shielding.
♣ The water level in a used fuel pool typically is 16 feet or more above the top of the fuel assemblies.
♣ The used fuel pools at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors are located at the top of the reactor buildings for ease of handling during refueling operations.
♣ The used fuel pools are designed so that the water in the pool cannot drain down as a result of damage to the piping or cooling systems.  The pools do not have drains in the sides or the floor of the pool structure.  The only way to rapidly drain down the pool is if there is structural damage to the walls or the floor

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (168+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33, Marcus Tullius, mahakali overdrive, Meteor Blades, Dreaming of Better Days, skod, Nebraskablue, Ignacio Magaloni, thegoodstraw, Siri, Steveningen, kumaneko, JekyllnHyde, weatherdude, Publius2008, citisven, ekyprogressive, ricklewsive, peraspera, Ky DEM, Kimberley, steelman, Situational Lefty, Gilmore, Lujane, joanneleon, kerflooey, BarackStarObama, Bule Betawi, icebergslim, pbearsailor, AshesAllFallDown, troutwaxer, conchita, Shockwave, egmacrae, myboo, evergreen2, Onomastic, exiledfromTN, Harry S, oceanrain, jeanette0605, Debs2, Pam from Calif, clarknyc, Quilldriver, MsGrin, high coup haiku, Lefty Coaster, Pam LaPier, justalittlebitcrazy, gobears2000, exsimo2, jennifree2bme, Gemina13, daveygodigaditch, DavidHeart, McMeier, Nulwee, howardfromUSA, Ekaterin, Simplify, HoundDog, kurt, begone, eeff, CcVenussPromise, createpeace, BachFan, Actbriniel, A Siegel, jeannew, leu2500, beach babe in fl, aitchdee, raines, petulans, politik, terabytes, possum, mofembot, bigjacbigjacbigjac, zhimbo, Librarianmom, David PA, SallyCat, wader, Ahianne, JupiterSurf, SeaTurtle, msl, barbwires, roses, PaDemTerry, DLisa, ehrenfeucht games, bear83, DemocraticOz, jcrit, PeterHug, Progressive Chick, Catte Nappe, BlueJessamine, koNko, indyada, binkaroni, mawazo, Earth Ling, veritas curat, bibble, Pithy Cherub, wonmug, Pat K California, jethrock, euterpe, be the change you seek, gchaucer2, TokenLiberal, Statusquomustgo, ferment, Moody Loner, marhya23, pgm 01, Bluesee, martyc35, Terra Mystica, nota bene, legendmn, Ice Blue, DoReMI, No one gets out alive, kevin k, carolyn urban, Book of Hearts, Jim P, blueoregon, BlueDragon, technomage, ninkasi23, birddog, emal, greenchiledem, gizmo59, Adept2u, JaxDem, GreyHawk, deha, Sapere aude, Lorinda Pike, cs, Hopeful Skeptic, Cliss, IndyRobin, churchylafemme, Russgirl, jamess, DontTaseMeBro, Mary Mike, drmah, priceman, mango, Mehitabel9, m16eib, aigeanta, SSMir, cosette, Morague
  •  "structural damage to the walls or the floor" (16+ / 0-)

    What goes up must come down .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:13:34 PM PDT

    •  Is it just me or? (21+ / 0-)

      When you are using helicopters to aid in control of a nuclear reactor you are swatting at flies with a noodle.

      One thing that I have not heard is a clear presentation of what the worst case scenario means long term.  Not in a panic sort of way; but a sober "what if" assesment of what we should be prepared to deal with if there is little that can be done.

      I say that not as giving up on the people on seen, but even if the actual plant goes completely wrong - aren't there still steps that need to be thought out now -  to limit the damage as much as possible to areas further out?

      "How can the United States be the Greatest Nation in the World and the only Super Power when its citizens hold bake sales to raise money to pay for life saving medical care?"

      by 4CasandChlo on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:41:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have been looking for the "water drop" video . (6+ / 0-)

        I wanted to see how they got that water inside the vessel from a distance .

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:47:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  worst case scenarios (15+ / 0-)

        IANANS but

        the spent fuel in multiple cooling pools boil off their water and catch fire/explode, spewing cesium, uranium, and plutonium dust and steam into the atmosphere.  this might already be happening to some extent, hard to tell.

        the greater risk is now seen in the pools because there is no containment structure once the water boils off.  although the MOX "mixed oxide" fueled reactor #3(?) has more plutonium and very deadly if it is breached.

        the reactors themselves should start to cool off after a week of SCRAM shutdown.  although who knows, if they are already partially melted, "re-criticality is still a possibility" and the non-ruptured vessels could still explode

        I'm glad they brought in some helicopters, tonight they will be assessing their effectiveness and plans.  god bless the poor souls who have to do the work.

        •  God Bless & Please Help The Poor Japanese People! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cliss, Russgirl, aigeanta

          Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Ghandi

          by rebel ga on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 02:42:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The re-criticality statement was about fuel pool 4 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aigeanta

          The reactors are likely out of the recriticality woods due to their continued ability to get water and boric acid into them.  The statement about re-criticality was referring to TEPCOs concerns about the fuel pool at unit #4.  It had boiled empty and the government had ordered them to put water in.  Their statement was in response to this order and made it clear that they needed to be careful in adding water because if they tried to introduce pure water with no boric acid that the water would serve as a moderator for the decay neutrons and allow them to start a nuclear reaction in the fuel pool.  These same neutrons in air are too fast and energetic to interact with the other radioactive materials.  The water absorbs this energy and enables the neutrons to interact.  Boron is a very effective neutron absorber.  By adding it to the water the criticality issue is no longer a concern.  I'm not sure if they made this statement because they were having trouble getting enough boron, or because they were being pressured to just use straight fire hoses with plain water or sea water.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 03:02:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Other countries gave TONS of boron (0+ / 0-)

            as much as they "could scrap together".

            Mutual co-operation for the good of all - goes a very long way... vs. our standard path of all for me, none for you.

            Good for them to get involved.
            Good for JPN and the World to listen and work together...

            We HAVE to get private control of these monster plants out of our government - we the people pay insurance, with money, our lives, and others lives.

            Cancer anyone?

            Time for a new plan for PEOPLE first.

      •  The helicopter drops looked useless (13+ / 0-)

        A mild rain falling on a volcano.

        Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action -1.75 -7.23

        by Shockwave on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:11:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My thoughts (5+ / 0-)

          exactly.

          "the Devil made me buy this dress!" Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones

          by BlueJessamine on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:17:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I Saw Snow, Maybe That Helped. n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Ghandi

          by rebel ga on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 02:43:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see why they don't use a fire boat (0+ / 0-)

          ifthe reactor are as close to the ocean as they appear to be  they could sail one into the docks along the plants. Those with a turbopump run by a jet engine, like the ones used to fight fires on oil rigs and such can throw water a long way, maybe ever far enough.

          To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

          by Bluehawk on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:29:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This relates to my statement above on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            yuriwho

            re-criticality.  They can't just suck up ocean water and throw it up there because it will cause the fuel in the fuel pool to start a nuclear reaction and generate even more heat and more problems - BIG problems as in an impromptu nuclear reactor that is open to the environment and uncontrollable.  The water they add MUST be borated for this reason.  Boron sucks up the excess neutrons and prevents a reaction from taking place.  That is the normal operation of the spent fuel pools - the boron is crucial.

            They also apparently have run in short supply, likely due to how much they've already been using in reactors 1-3 to keep them from having regions of melted fuel start reacting.  I read that S. Korea is sending them boron but it is still in the works.  So from this I gather that they need to use what they have judiciously at this time.

            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

            by kbman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:26:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I think the question was, what if? (12+ / 0-)

        I don't have any more than media-driven knowledge, but my understanding is that if any one of the bundles of rods burns its way through its container, it will burn into the ground, and that will make the whole area so deadly nobody can tend to the other bundles of rods, so they may all burn through their containers. Then they'll burn into the ground and start exploding and sending radioactive steam into the atmosphere. I have no idea what that might do.

        It's funny how nobody spelled out these entirely possible scenarios when our democracies were deciding about nuclear power. Why didn't we listen to the campus scientists and intellectuals?

        Oh, right. Reagan. Worked for GE before, and after, he was president. GE makes nukes. Damn regulations. Damn government. Better to lie and just do it, quick and dirty. Improves the bottom line. Welcome to the New World Disorder.

        Where are those scientists and intellectuals now?

        Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. -Carl Sagan

        by howardfromUSA on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 12:11:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have confused multiple issues ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emelyn, aigeanta

          First of all, they are all in the same container, the fuel pool.  Second, If a fuel pool fire starts, the problem is the nasty radioactive smoke billowing into the environment, not burning through the fuel pool.  Also, this would be much more a chemical burning event than a nuclear event.  As long as they weren't stupid enough to try to douse the fire with water there should not be criticality issues.

          It is in the reactor where there is a possible scenario of fuel burning through the reactor vessel and containment.  At this point in time this does not appear a likelihood.  Here's why, they are getting cooling water to reactors 1-3; the reactors are holding their water now, even at reactor 2 which had issues earlier they are able to get the water level to rise as it should with additions of water; the reactors have cooled significantly, both in temperature and also decay heat generation.

          And obviously the crisis is far from over.  If they can get the new power line fully connected and power up control systems and pumps at 1-3 that will ease my mind a good bit regarding the reactors themselves.  But even with offsite power restored, the fuel pools at units 3 and 4 are far from stable yet.  And even though the situation at #4 is the more immediate priority, the problem at #3 may be more of an issue soon.  There is no indication the pool #4 is not holding water, merely boiling it off and in dire need of more.  Pool 3 is losing its water too quickly to just be from steam loss and therefore appears to have a leak.  At least one saving grace is that the use of MOX fuel only began at unit 3 recently and therefore should only be in the reactor itself, not the spent fuel pool.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 03:39:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If this was in the disaster plan (5+ / 0-)

        submitted before licensing of a power plant it would never get built.
        Can't you visualize it: "Well, uh, we'll ask for volunteers to die squirting riot water cannons at the melt-down, and then we'll send in forest fire helicopters to drop a sprinkle of water over the blown-up reactor building."
        Yeah, sure it's under control. No problem.

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

        by Andhakari on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:33:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russgirl

        for a media that usually likes to scare us for ratings, they are being uncharacteristically mum on the topic.  Even Rachel Maddow pulled her punch on that question to the experts.

        My dour prediction from what I've seen and heard is:

        o the melting rods will soon make it too "hot" for any additional workers to be near them

        o the plant is abandoned and radiation from reactors and hundreds of spent fuel rods are left to disperse in the atmosphere

        o this will render most of Northern Japan "unlivable" -- meaning radiation will be at a level no one will want to come back

        o this may include Tokyo, depending on where the wind takes the radiation

        o If another explosion or two occurs, health-harming radiation may be dispersed beyond Japan

  •  Plume projection for U.S. (14+ / 0-)

    NY Times Plume project from Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Org

    It shows that there will be radiation hitting California by Friday March 18.  We just do not know how much.

    But to be clear all government sources are claiming it will be a negligible amount of radiation.

    Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

    by maxschell on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 09:47:30 PM PDT

  •  Food Chain (17+ / 0-)

    Even if all this radiation blows out to sea....it will still get into the food chain.  It doesn't magically disappear.  It will get into plankton, fish, eventually humans.  There's no escaping it.  Cesium, Strontium and Plutonium are the most concern because they are long lived.  Iodine will totally decay away in a few months.  We won't know the full effects of all this synthetic radiation we've been putting into the environment for the past 70 years for a very long time.   Hundreds or thousands of years into the future.  It could take 20 generations for new genetic diseases to arise due to radiation induced mutations.  Nuclear power - The Destroyer of Worlds.

    •  The half-life of Cesium 137 is about 30 years, and (8+ / 0-)

      is absorbed by the body and eco-systems as if it were potassium.

      The half life of one common Plutonium isotope is around 24,000 years.  

      That a lot of years to keep contained and guarded from terrorists.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 12:37:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doubt you'll have to guard it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rebel ga

        People don't exactly spend lots of time stealing contaminated soil from the Chernobyl area.  

        The main issues is there's now going to be a large swath of land unusable for food production of any sort.

      •  The longer the half-life, the less the danger (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rebel ga, drmah

        What half-life tells you is how fast the radioactive element breaks down into smaller, lighter elements, giving off radiation in the process.

        If an element has a short half-life, it is breaking down very quickly and giving off a lot of radiation.  So it is very dangerous to be in contact with.  The large amount of radiation overwhelms the body's DNA repair machinery.

        If an element has a very long half-life, then the element is much more stable and emits much less radiation.  I have held Uranium 238 in my hand because it has a long half life and isn't pouring out radiation.  A 24,000 year half-life means it's not that useful as a dirty bomb.

        But you're missing the point.  You don't store Plutonium for 24,000 years.  You put it back into a reactor and generate C02 free energy.

        •  Gamma vs. Alpha/Beta (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lilsky, ElizabethRegina1558, Cliss

          You can hold Plutonium in your hand because it's an alpha emitter.   The Alpha molecule can't penetrate your skin.  But Plutonium is one of the most carcinogenic/mutagenic elements because if you inhale or ingest it - it can become organically bound in your body and emit these alpha particles and damage the surrounding cells.  You can hold Plutonium in your hand, but if you inhale/ingest it...it's highly carcinogenic.  Plutonium mimics Iron in the body.  The body thinks it's Iron, so it causes liver cancer, lymphoma, blood cancers, etc.  Alpha and Beta Emitters aren't being given proper attention for their health affects.  Everyone seems to be concerned with Gamma.  But long term the infiltration of these alpha/beta emitters in the food chain will cause cancers and genetic diseases for years.

          •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)

            The poster you replied to was talking about holding uranium in his hand not plutonium.  


            The toxicity of plutonium appears to be greatly exaggerated.   It's not very well absorbed if you ingest it (<0.1%). And even inhaled particles don't seem to be too bad relatively speaking.  In some senses, the radium found in the soil is much worse since it's much more likely to be absorbed if ingested and it decays in part to radon which is inhaled. Historically, there have been small populations that have accidentally inhaled plutonium and I don't think many if  any of these individuals ended up dying due to the exposure.

  •  RE Greg Jaczko (15+ / 0-)

    If he thinks it's time for someone to sacrifice their life for the greater good, he should get on a plane to Japan.  I'm sure the frightened exhausted people dealing with this clusterfuck would welcome anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and get dead.  Of all the stupid, unhelpful things a bureaucrat on the safe side of thousands of miles of ocean could say...

    A people who cannot correctly recognize their nation's problems will not be able to solve them.

    by peterborocanuck on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:06:52 PM PDT

    •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Empty Vessel, martyc35

      I would much rather have a bureaucrat says what he believes to be true, even if the truth is extremely bad news.

      Plus, anybody who is actually there and knowledgeable / skilled enough to potentially be deployed in a cleanup attempt almost certainly already knows how dangerous it will be.

      "You're miserable, edgy, and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."

      by Spider Jerusalem on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:26:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is NO reason for (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moira977, Dave925, saluda, martyc35, rebel ga

        anyone to deliberately take a lethal dose.   It's not as though if only someone could get that one valve open and save the day...

        A people who cannot correctly recognize their nation's problems will not be able to solve them.

        by peterborocanuck on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:32:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that is the suggestion (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Empty Vessel, johanus, MGross, rebel ga

          I think it's that the options are:

          1) Keep people on the ground in close proximity to the plant, working to get water on the exposed rods (which seems like it is more likely to be effective than dumping it from helicopters). These people may be able to cool the rods and prevent total meltdown, but take lethal doses of radiation in the process.

          2) Remove everybody from close proximity to the plant and rely solely on dumping water from helicopters. With this option nobody takes a lethal dose, but the long-term effects could negatively affect an much greater area and sicken exponentially more people should a reactor completely melt down.

          By no means I am a nuclear scientist. This is just the understanding I have from following the story so far.

          "You're miserable, edgy, and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism."

          by Spider Jerusalem on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:44:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  speaking of Jaczko... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, rebel ga

      have your seen this quote from him?

      "When you consider all of our backup cooling processes, containment vessels, and contingency plans, you realize that, barring the fact that all of those safety measures could be wiped away in an instant by a natural disaster or electrical error, our reactors are indestructible."

      (hope the levity is not out of order)

      •  Indestructible except when not. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nota bene, rebel ga

        Without the strictest engineering and procedural controls and highest standards of workmanship in operations and maintenance, accidents will happen.  Accidents will happen anyway.  That's why I've never been a fan of commercial power reactors in private hands, where disincentive exists  to spend the resources to resolve issues that threaten the machines in exotic and extremely unlikely scenarios (however much the people who work within such a system might struggle mightily to be accountable for their decisions and actions).  NOTHING is more difficult than winning an argument with a financial comptroller in a profit driven system.  I guess that makes me a filthy communist.

        A people who cannot correctly recognize their nation's problems will not be able to solve them.

        by peterborocanuck on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 12:24:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Radiation plume will hit California by Friday (9+ / 0-)

    "The forecast assumes that radioactivity in Japan is released continuously and forms a rising plume. It ends with the plume heading into Southern California and the American Southwest, including Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The plume would have continued eastward if the United Nations scientists had run the projection forward."

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    “If you nail together two things that have never been nailed together before, somebody out there will buy one” - George Carlin

    by steelman on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:31:51 PM PDT

    •  Next paragraph: it will be non-harmful (15+ / 0-)

      This was the pretty critical 2nd paragraph to the story that was not mentioned above:

      Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in 10 days, its levels measurable but minuscule.
      •  This can't be emphasized enough (11+ / 0-)

        How much radiation did LA get from above ground nuclear blasts in Nevada in the 1950s?

        The word is that you can't find any iodine tablets around here, people are hoarding them. No reason to make people more panicked than they are already.

        •  Radiation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard, Ice Blue

          Any additional radiation, even natural occurring radiation, is an additional risk, minute as that may be.  No reason to panic but also no reason to ignore the fact that more radiation tends to mean more cancer, statistically speaking.

          If the spent fuel with uranium and plutonium and other long-lived nucleotides start oxidizing, that's when I'll start worrying.  Unfortunately, eating more kelp or taking a KI pill won't do much to help there.

          Ask the Downwinders about the effects of atmospheric nuclear bomb test blasts.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

          by gmoke on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:56:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Atoms (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrismorgan, lotlizard, miriam, Cliss

            These Cesium, Strontium, Plutonium particles are blowing across the Pacific and some will reach California.  They will land on the ground and some will end up in the food chain.  What scientists need to research is how much Cesium, Strontium, or Plutonium does it take to cause cancer once you've inhaled or ingested it.  I don't think they really know.  One study showed a millionth of a gram of Plutonium is a carcinogenic dose.  There's probably tons of Plutonium being released in Japan.  A power plant makes 500lbs a year.  These alpha/beta emitters like Cesium, strontium and plutonium are not harmful unless you inhale or ingest them.  The Nuclear Industry mostly concentrates on the dangers of gamma radiation and not so much on the dangers of inhaling/ingesting alpha and beta emitters.   This is because cancers may not arise for decades if you inhale some Cesium.  Hard to blame the cancer on the nuclear power industry due to the latent period of carcinogenicity.

            •  There's reasons we stopped atmospheric testing, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lotlizard, drmah

              and one of them was health data from radioactive pollutants produced by nuke tests.  IIRC, there's actually some projections based on data from health effects (cancers mostly) in populations near and downwind from tests - albeit it is likely very difficult to control for significance of other causes, incluidng enviromental.  Still, it was thought significant enough that this was a driver for the atmospheric test ban.

              Something to think about perhaps?

            •  citation needed n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kbman
            •  This is WAY over the top in current circumstances (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              emelyn
              There's probably tons of Plutonium being released in Japan.

              The releases have been steam venting releases from the reactors.  To date there have not been actual fuel fires in any of the fuel pools.  The reported fuel pool fire was in reality an oil fire.  This has been confirmed by multiple reliable sources.  

              Aside from the radioactive gases in the steam releases, there has been little else escape to the environment at this point.  I'm not saying it is impossible that some plutonium has been transported out of the reactors given that the cladding on some of the fuel has been compromised.  But your conjecture is enormously overstated.  

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 04:35:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Spent Fuel Fires (0+ / 0-)
                The reported fuel pool fire was in reality an oil fire.  This has been confirmed by multiple reliable sources.  

                Hope you are correct (and would appreciate a source) but that's not what I heard at an MIT q and a session on the Japanese nuclear accident last night.   My understanding is that there have been something like three different fires in the spent fuel pools, the supposition is that much of the water has been evaporated or leaked away, and that the zirconium cladding may be breaking down.  At least, that's what I heard from the MIT community last night.

                Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

                by gmoke on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 01:37:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  At least not yet, unless the situation get worse (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miriam, steelman

        then I find these blanket asserts of NO IMPACT to be less certain. If there is a full meltdown and significant amounts of particles are thrown into the jet stream, it is not as clear as some people make it sound that all those particles would dissipate before reaching the US. Rain is relatively uncommon over the ocean. But, it would probably occur quickly this time of year when it hits the West Coast. So, that could precipitate some potentially dangerous substances that could then get bioaccumulated in things like milk and vegetables.

        A lot of this also depends on how long a radioactive release goes on and the different weather patterns over that time. Under some scenarios, even if the Japanese do get some control back over these reactors, they would still keep releasing low level radioactivity for years. No matter how minute they claim those releases would be by the time they get to the West Coast, people certainly do not look forward to years of elevated radiation levels. I think they should have begun dumping cement and these damn things by now. It is not like they are ever going to be useful again.

        When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in Glenn Beck and carrying Sarah Palin.

        by tekno2600 on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 10:42:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hi boatsie, and thanks. (8+ / 0-)

    A suggested good addition to the Media Coverage list - minute-by-minute updates from experts, Japanese citizens/residents and other sources....

    Reuters dedicated blog page

    Just saw there that reactor 3 is heating up again.

    Imagine all the people living life in peace -- John Lennon

    by Quilldriver on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:46:55 PM PDT

  •  this is beyond what I could do, Boatsie (6+ / 0-)

    thank you!

    “I have one dollar in my wallet. That’s more than the combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank, and the Bank of America. That means somebody is gaming the system.” Carl Gibson

    by MsGrin on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:50:23 PM PDT

  •  At this point Worse than TMI2? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, drmah

    Hydrogen bubble occurred much sooner @ Fukushima, by the 4th day TMI had a hydrogen bubble, 5th day @ 3 mile the pumps came back on. TMI crisis was 5 days, March 28th to April 1st.

    End state TMI reactor core graphic:

    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 Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 11:37:54 PM PDT

  •  Now being reported live (20+ / 0-)

    On Japanese TV. The power lines have reached the reactor complex and they now have reactor #4 under complete control.

    Its looking better and better and all of the alarmists running around with their hair on fire (from 3000 miles away) will soon have major egg on their face.

    Typed live 240 km from the Fukushima reactors...no panic here.

    Come and take a look at my discussion forum: TheNewCurevents We are looking for new active members!

    by ProgressiveTokyo on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 01:59:26 AM PDT

    •  Very good news, if true (7+ / 0-)

      This hasn't reached the Western media yet.

    •  You're dreaming (4+ / 0-)

      When the U.S. Navy reports "low level" radiation 175 miles from the plant, you can be sure there is medium to high-level radiation beyond the plant boundaries.  (Radiation levels in modellng done for U.S. nuclear power plant emergency simulations tend to drop off significantly beyond 25-35 miles.) One does not have extremely high levels of radiation venting to the atmosphere that stops at the plant boundary.

      That said, Americans should not be worried that radiation will reach our coast in levels much above background.

    •  Good news, but you've still got cracked reactor (4+ / 0-)

      vessels, cracked containment structures, and fuel pools that may have been blasted apart in these explosions and spread massive amounts of very radioactive waste. Not that it isn't great if you have one reactor under control again, but it's a little premature to be talking about "complete control," "no panic," and "major egg on [the] face" of critics. First of all, this isn't about anyone having egg of their face. I find that comment very troubling, like this is some kind of contest between the beloved nuclear technology and all who dare to question it. I hope that is not what you are saying, because that is childish and stupid. There is no doubt that people will die because of this very foreseeable accident, numerous safety violations, fraudulent safety inspections, and incompetent response. None of these facilities will ever be usable again. If people want to talk about egg on someone else's face after all of this, I think there is something seriously wrong with them.

      When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in Glenn Beck and carrying Sarah Palin.

      by tekno2600 on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 10:59:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Read it as... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tekno2600, Cliss

        ...paternalistic and somewhat condescending also.

      •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluesee

        It is possible there is something very wrong with me. So who knows.

        Come and take a look at my discussion forum: TheNewCurevents We are looking for new active members!

        by ProgressiveTokyo on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 04:53:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Accurate Barometer? (0+ / 0-)

          It's possible that you are simply conveying an entirely different reaction from those who are actually dealing with it than what we are tending toward:  alarm.  And honestly, that may be attributable to the vast difference in cultures between here and there.  I remember reading "Shogun" being impressed with the alacrity with which the 17C Japanese responded to devastating earthquakes then.  If one is to believe the novel.

          It probably isn't unique to any activist-minded group with an agenda.  We probably appear alarmist to normal people, in the same way that batshit crazy people appear that way to us.

          My rebuke about condescension (if you care) is mild.  "Egg on face" is also mild.  But its good to be aware of biases.  It's also hard when its one's own.  I probably have no clue how I come off to other people, if I did I might change, but there ya go.

    •  Thought they hooked up reactor #2? (0+ / 0-)

      That being said, will the pumps work even with power, after the damage the facility has sustained?

  •  Greetings from Tokyo! (10+ / 0-)

    Not worried at all about the radiation. I think the lack of electrical generation capacity is the real problem.

  •  German newspaper ticker covering Japan disaster: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, rebel ga

    http://www.taz.de/...
    Headline at the moment:

    20 irradiated employees in Fukushima
    In recent days, 20 workers at Fukushima have been contaminated — which hasn't deterred others from volunteering to take their place. Meanwhile, Tokyo is running out of power.

    Overnight developments so far: The remaining force of 50 workers continue to fight with all their might against the threat of a core meltdown in being used. This link goes to the summary [in German]


    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 04:49:03 AM PDT

    •  Irradiated is not a descriptive word (0+ / 0-)

      It carries no meaning other than to say a person has been exposed to SOME radiation.  It doesn't say how much, and it doesn't mean there are health effects.

      Every time you get a dental x-ray, you've been irradiated.  Every time you fly in a plane, you've been irradiated.  Same with standing in sunshine.  

      •  True. The German word "verstrahlt" actually does (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drmah

        … carry a connotation of having received more radiation than they were supposed to or than was good for them. In English that's hard to convey in one word. The other commonly used one-word translation is "contaminated," but that's just as imprecise.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 04:23:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Headline of items from German newspaper ticker: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bule Betawi, Ice Blue, rebel ga

    [Times are given both in Central European Time, CET = UTC+1 = EDT+5, and U.S. Eastern Daylight Time, EDT]

    13:02 CET / 8:02 EDT: Russia completes air evacuation of over 50 of its citizens

    12:53 / 7:53: Liberal Democratic Party chairman suggests Japan must rethink its nuclear energy policy

    12:29 / 7:29: Army firefighting vehicles deployed

    12:11 / 7:11: Warning: possible large-scale power blackout in Tokyo (in the night between Thursday and Friday, as demand has significantly risen due to low temperatures)

    11:54 / 6:54: Water cannon deployment resumed

    11:52 / 6:52: Radiation hinders deployment of water cannon

    10:55 / 5:55: 23 injured in Fukushima atomic power plant — 20 with radioactive contamination (18 named by IAEA, one with very high radiation dose; plus two policemen)

    10:41 / 5:41: Hong Kong advises citizens to leave Tokyo

    10:18 / 5:18: China demands better official information policy

    9:57 / 4:57: Water level in reactor 4 unknown

    9:55 / 4:55: German federal chancellor Angela Merkel addressing the Bundestag: "The disaster in Japan is almost apocalyptic in scale. Words fail us."

    9:29 / 4:29: Fukushima I reactors 1, 5 and 6 relatively stable

    8:12 / 3:12: Nuclear plant operator TEPCO finds volunteers it sought

    7:59 / 2:59: Radiation accident in Canada: "lightly" contaminated water released into Lake Ontario

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:28:41 AM PDT

  •  Al Jazeera has a Japan live blog today, March 17. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, IndyRobin, PeterHug, rebel ga

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:44:28 AM PDT

  •  Sarkozy, French nuclear industry expect to benefit (0+ / 0-)

    … from the disaster in Japan. Article (in German):
    http://www.taz.de/...

    Translation of headline:

    Nuclear debate in France

    Nuclear phase-out is taboo

    The French leadership is convinced that their nuclear power plants are the safest. In the Japanese disaster they see possible benefits for the nuclear industry in France

    Currently working on a translation of the entire article.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 06:45:41 AM PDT

  •  Tokyo Hackerspace Solar Lantern Project (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bule Betawi, poxonyou, LucyandByron

    http://www.tokyohackerspace.org/...

    "Our first course of action has been to order up the required parts for 150 solar powered LED lanterns. We will be assembling them here and shipping them up (or delivering by hand) to aid organizations. These lanterns provide just enough light so that people can feel safe at night without power, find their way in the dark, and maintain the sense of community. They charge during the day via the sun, and will help to light the way for 8 hours each night.

    "We also have on the way several geiger counters and geiger tubes, from which we will be making community sensors, in order to help to keep the public in harms way informed on a minute by minute and hour by hour basis. While the initial exposure has been low, our concern is the long term effects, food and water supply, and ground soil conditions over the next several months.

    "Or longer term projects include solar cell phone charging stations, low energy cooking equipment, internet, wifi, and laptop loans, and other technical concerns."

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:51:10 AM PDT

  •  Govt claims water drops were effective (0+ / 0-)

    http://english.kyodonews.jp/...

    "The utility said vapor rising from the partially destroyed No. 3 reactor building suggests the operation went some way toward cooling down the pool that could otherwise emit highly contaminated radioactive materials.

    However, no major changes were seen in radioactive levels at the plant immediately afterward."

    Meanwhile, US news reports only a little bit appeared to reach the target, most missed or was blown away by wind. Even if it all did hit the target, the amount of water being dropped was nowhere near the amount needed (see other diary about this water drop specifically).

  •  UK to charter flights out of Tokyo to Hong Kong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, drmah
  •  Germany moves embassy functions to Osaka (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, drmah

    http://english.kyodonews.jp/...

    NEWS ADVISORY: Germany to temporarily move functions of embassy in Tokyo to Osaka amid nuclear crisis

  •  Where is the edge of the radioactive plume? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra, Bluesee, Ice Blue

    The simulations done so far project the path of air currents from Fukushima.  But, where is the edge of the radioactive plume?  In an emergency such as this, authorities should be conducting field sampling to determine the edge of the plume so that the information can be used to update and revise protective action recommendations.  There is no evidence, however, that the Japanese authorities have done that.

    As a result, people who are still conducting outdoor activities in the area beyond 30 km from the plant might be at risk of receiving an unhealthy dose of radiation.  Even though the edge of the plume may have low levels of contamination, there typically are "hotspots" where radionuclides accumulate in a small are much more intensely than in the surrounding area.  Hotspots are most likely to occur within 50 miles of the plant.

  •  And this reactor was only driven by a.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nota bene

    little old lady to church each Sunday...
    http://www.businessweek.com/...

    Still using my fake name...

    by Rex Freedom on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 10:42:48 AM PDT

  •  Kucinich asks feds to shut down nuclear plants (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nota bene, rubyclaire, miriam

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich asks feds to shut down FirstEnergy nuclear plants

    http://www.cleveland.com/...

    Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 5:23 PM     Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 8:22 AM
     By Sabrina Eaton, The Plain Dealer

    In light of safety problems at Japanese nuclear power plants that have been compromised by natural disasters, Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shut down U.S. nuclear facilities run by "bad actors," including Akron-based FirstEnergy.

    In a March 16 letter to NRC Chairman Gregory P. Jaczko, Kucinich says Japan's failing nuclear power plants warrant a fresh assessment of U.S. nuclear catastrophe preparedness.

    He cites incidents as far back as 1985 at FirstEnergy's Davis Besse nuclear plant near Toledo in claiming that "operators of nuclear power plants with demonstrated poor safety records should not be allowed to continue to put the public at risk."

    "This conduct is the product of an inveterate, corrupt culture of long standing deceit and corner-cutting on safety," Kucinich's says of FirstEnergy.  "With such an abysmal record, they, and other nuclear power plant operating companies with poor performance records should not be allowed to continue to operate nuclear power plants."...

    •  go Dennis! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Art Garfarkle

      I hope he's determined to make a major issue out of this.

    •  why ask.....can't ohio just declare them persona (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Art Garfarkle, rebel ga

      non grata?

    •  So more C02 pollution then? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hopeful Skeptic, vets74

      Natural gas commercials have been running 24/7 on the news networks since the reactor problems began.   They are salivating over having all the nuclear plants shut down, to be replaced by shiny new natural gas power plants belching C02.

      The coal and oil companies are right behind them.  

      Now I have no problems punishing "bad actors".  If they aren't doing their jobs, find people who will.  But if all the nuclear reactors are shut down out of irrational panic, rest assured C02 emissions will skyrocket, and climate change will increase in pace.

      You need to weigh the very few who may get cancer from radiation against the billions living on the coasts who will be flooded out of their homes.

      •  Dennis asks the FEDS to shut down....yeah right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74

        like that's gonna happen......Boxer wants shutdowns in CA.........hey Barbara......you in live in CA....not me.

      •  Thank you,Westinghouse. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74, rebel ga
      •  Nuclear Power and Global Warming (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Art Garfarkle, Cliss

        Nuclear Power actually contributes to global warming.  I know that goes against what is the common wisdom today, but people aren't factoring in the entire nuclear fuel cycle.   Where do you get the fuel for power plants?  From the earth's crust.   You have to mine Uranium.   You have to burn petrol.  Releasing CO2.  Uranium mines are massive and they dig up tons and tons of rock and ore.  It's estimated 40% of all uranium mine workers have developed cancer due to exposure to radium and radon gas at the mines.  Then you have to chemically separate the uranium from all the rock/ore.  That's called Milling and it's very energy consuming and it's terrible polluting to the surrounding environment.  Then you have to Enrich the Uranium.  4% of all the electricity produced in the United States goes to enriching Uranium in Paducah, KY.  It's incredibly energy consuming.  They use 2 huge coal fired power plants to enrich the Uranium.   More CO2 is produced.  Also they use CFC gas to cool the uranium, which when it's released it destroys the ozone layer and is a more potent global warming agent than CO2.  CFC gas is actually banned under the Montreal Protocol, but the nuclear industry was grandfathered.  Then you have to build the massive nuclear power plant.  More CO2 produced.  Then after 40 years you have to store the nuclear waste for 300,000 years.  And I've only touched the surface of the dangers of the nuclear fuel cycle.

        •  Nuclear C02 is 1.7% of coal (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hopeful Skeptic, vets74, kbman

          Yes, CO2 is generated from the industrial processes needed to produce refined uranium.  But it is a bare fraction of burning fossil fuels.

          Lifecycle costs show that the entire nuclear fuel process releases 16g/kWh.

          It is 891g/kWh for coal, or 356kWh for natural gas.

          So if you'd rather put 891g of C02 into the air instead of 16, by all means, oppose nuclear power.

          http://www.world-nuclear.org/...

          •  Wait till this emergency demonstrates (0+ / 0-)

            that the fundamental design of nuclear plants is sound.

            A tiny amount of radiation gets released.

            I don't think that MSM will be able to commit truth about that.

            It would be like having to admit that Michael Moore is ALWAYS RIGHT about American politics and values.

            Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

            by vets74 on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 03:17:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Corpses May Be Off-Putting for the (0+ / 0-)

              Celebration of Design Soundness.  

              Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you should throw them back.

              by Into The Woods on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:51:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  synchronicity?-2.6 earthquake hits Northeast Ohio (0+ / 0-)

                http://www.wkyc.com/...

                YOUNGSTOWN -- A minor earthquake of magnitude 2.6 has rattled part of northeast Ohio.

                The Ohio Seismic Network says the 6:53 a.m. Thursday quake was centered on the west side of Youngstown and could be felt several miles away.

                No injuries or damage were reported. Coordinator Mike Hansen with the Seismic Network says the quake was the first recorded in Youngstown.

                A woman who lives about 10 miles from the epicenter tells WKBN-TV that she thought a metal folding chair was falling in her home.

                Kucinich Wants Nuclear Plants Reviewed (video) 1:57
                http://www.fox8.com/...

        •  Everything contributes to global warming (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman
          Nuclear Power actually contributes to global warming.  I know that goes against what is the common wisdom today, but people aren't factoring in the entire nuclear fuel cycle.   Where do you get the fuel for power plants?  From the earth's crust.   You have to mine Uranium.   You have to burn petrol.  Releasing CO2.

          Guess what every other energy production method we have does the same thing.  For coal and oil, you need to mine it or pump it, transport it around, process it, and then transport the finished product to a power plant.  And with coal, you get the added bonus that the uranium and thorium that contaminates it gets sent into the atmosphere as the coal is burnt.  Solar, wind, hydro, etc.  all requirement mining of materials, processing and then building the facilities to generate the power.  

    •  Not likely to happen. Once again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Art Garfarkle

      we are reminded of the dangers of nuclear, though we have been distracted from the dangers due to global climate change threats.
      The plants in Japan were hit with one of the greatest natural disasters of our time. Only a meteor hit would be worse. They nearly made it through. But the downside of accidents, even as improbable, are too much to risk.

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 02:11:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fukishima 101 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, souvarine

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    should i put this into the ROV diary?

    It's not the greatest, but i try to explain
    why the reactors failed....(IMHO)

    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 Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 01:16:43 PM PDT

  •  Would posting GMT time and date (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman

    when reporting a story or an event help keep us clear on which events are happening in what order?

    I think that the lack of synchronization contributes to readers' confusion.

    It's easy enough to time stamp, just type "current time GMT" in google and one can figure out what that means locally. For instance, here in EDT, I know GMT is 4 hours later. But the absence of a standard time reference for stories coming from Japan, reported by the BBC or CNN, etc really has my head spinning.

    Maybe it's just me with this problem.


    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 01:20:42 PM PDT

  •  Gallows Humor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga, skywriter

    "Responding to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sought Thursday to reassure nervous Americans that U.S. reactors were 100 percent safe and posed absolutely no threat to the public health as long as no unforeseeable system failure or sudden accident were to occur.

    From The Onion

  •  please watch this! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga
  •  US evacuation email to my son (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, rebel ga, mithra, poxonyou

    The US gov't will fly you to either Seoul or Taiwan, you don't get a choice, at your expense, if you can get to Tokyo. He took a ten day break from Sendai, and is heading back next week to continue work and help with the recovery.

    http://japan.usembassy.gov/...

    "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

    by shmuelman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 02:08:13 PM PDT

  •  Footage above Fukushima (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poxonyou

    I have not seen any translation but this footage was taken above Fukushima, on March 17, 2011.

    http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  Possible health consequences (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i dont get it, Cliss

    Just read this, written last March.  Of course, we're not yet at this level, but this is some sobering stuff.  Good thing we are bombarded with radiation all the time, otherwise I don't know what we'd do.

    http://mwcnews.net/...

    Another new term that came out of Chernobyl is: "Liquidators."  Liquidators are the people who went into the reactor to put out the fire, or flew over it -- people who put their lives on the line to save their families, their country, and our environment.  There were over 800,000 liquidators.  Now they are dying in droves, dying early, of cancer, heart disease, leukemia, and a general degradation of their body organs.  (That's what radiation does at the very least:  It ages you.)

  •  Rumor Control....the site has power....we watch. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga
  •  We have live radiation sensors inside Japan. (7+ / 0-)

    Accessible online:

    HERE

    These sensors show the radiation patterns, including for Ibaraki Prefecture to the south of Fukushima.

    Radiation is now running at 852 nanoGrays/hour which translates to less than 1 REM/year.

    Apparently the water drops and spray cannons are doing the job steadily. Radiation has fallen for a day now.

    Never tell it from corporatist media. As a guess, they're tied closer to the Oil Biz and Big Coal than to the engineering firms that build nuclear plants.

    Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 03:10:33 PM PDT

  •  Bulletin of Atomic Scientists diary (0+ / 0-)

    here

    This can be added to Mothership. I don't know how.

  •  I just read that this is probably (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poxonyou

    the end of nuclear energy.  It's just going to be too difficult for them.  The reason is because we're in such strange weather patterns/earthquake activity has increased dramatically.  

    Public opinion is expected to turn against it.  Let's hope so.

    •  I'm still hoping we can get through this without (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hopeful Skeptic

      a major release of radiation into the environment.

      And I hope it stimulates investment in clean energy research from multiple governments around the world.

      But I don't think we can afford to cut off nuclear at this point without burning more carbon.

      In medicine, it's sometimes better to use multiple drugs, each one slightly toxic, than to use one drug and be overwhelmed by its adverse effects. Losing one of your drug options is a bad thing.

      I think energy policy is similar -- we may not like the side effects of any one of the energy technologies we have, but we're better off using all them and getting smaller adverse effects from all of them than using too much of any one.

      And we're already burning too much carbon.

  •  here's a pretty good article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss

    about the Plutonium risks.

    from NPR, quoting the Union of Concern Scientists:

    http://www.npr.org/...


    I dream of things that never were  -- and ask WHY NOT?
    -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by jamess on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:19:46 PM PDT

  •  We're being lied to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss

    3 of the 4 reactors have been reduced to rubble and we're being led to believe that its not that bad?

    BULL FUCKING SHIT

    Those damn things EXPLODED.  Am I supposed to believe that those containment pools are still standing - let alone still have water in them?

    Not buying it for a microsecond.

    Call me a fucking skeptic.

    •  You are wrong on each of your points (0+ / 0-)

      None of the 4 reactors have been reduced to rubble.  You need to distinguish between the reactor, the primary containment, the secondary containment, and then the space ABOVE the secondary containment.  The damages you see at units 1 and 3 appear to be confined to the space above the secondary containment building.  This is unquestionably the case for unit 4.  This is the refuel level of the plant.  If you refer back to the diagram of a BWR you will note that the top section of the building has a steel frame structure whereas the floor of that section and everything below is steel reinforced concrete.  The upper section of each building is where the hydrogen explosions happened.  If you look at the photos of the "rubble" you will note that below the level where the steel beams are located the walls are intact.  (At this point it would have been handy if the explosion at 4 had been a bit stronger so that it would have opened up more access for aerial water dumping.)

      That top level is used for refueling operations, is mostly a large open space, and does not have equipment that is required for control of the reactor itself.  It is quite likely that the venting was done directly to this space for several reasons - the lack of important equipment, the large volume which gives room for expansion/cooling, the desire to avoid having the radioactive steam condense in the main reactor building, and the fact that the light construction at the top provides a form of safety valve in the event of an explosion.  

      The force of the explosion had a much easier path by popping out the wall and roof cladding than blasting through the six foot thick SRC floor of the refuel level.  The fuel pool at each reactor is recessed into that floor and have the same construction.  They never were "standing" to be knocked down.  And given that by the time the pressure wave from the explosion hit the floor it had also ripped the roof off, there was no back pressure behind the wave to keep pushing it through the steel reinforced concrete and instead it reflected out the top.  This process is evident in the video of the explosions.  The reflection is the second wave of the explosion after the initial flash and pop.  This is also the energy that mangled the steel beams.  It looks ugly, but in the bigger picture the damage is relatively superficial.

      Not to say that there are not problems with the fuel pool at 3 and 4.  It is not clear whether the problem at 3 was caused by the explosion or the earthquake.  The problem at 4 was certainly due to the earthquake because in the absence of a leak the water should have remained deep enough to be effective for far longer than it was.  Given the relative energies of the unit 3 hydrogen explosion versus the earthquake I'd put my money on the earthquake as the cause.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:36:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cool heads need to prevail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hopeful Skeptic, kbman

    My advice to all is remain rational. Radiation from a nuclear plant core that is exposed is less dangerous to populations removed from the plant boundaries than, say, a toxic chemical plume from the Bhopal Union Carbide plant that killed many thousands, endangering 100,000 lives (IIRC).  Low-level radiation is ubiquitous (look-up radiation from brazil nuts, bananas, granite countertops, radon in natural gas, etc.) and dangerous levels will only occur in close proximity to the source.

    I remember when the entire city of Mississauga was evacuated (500,000 people) because a train derailed that had several cars of chlorine gas mixed with LPG cars. That's not saying a lot except that it all "depends" on the situation: dose, dose rate and toxicity.

    My point is WE ACCEPT RISKS AS A SOCIETY ALL THE TIME. There is no such thing as a risk-free existence. Airplanes crash. Cars kill 10's of thousands, yet we still get in our cars every day, we still fly... yet people smoke knowing it will kill them, we know that continuing to burn coal and other fossil fuels will result in the extinction of life as we know on this PLANET, yet we continue to burn fossil fuels at incredible rate. Think about it... yet we scream in horror about carbon-free energy that might cause localized harm once every 25-30 years somewhere on earth which eliminates toxic emissions measured in HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF TONS per year, year after year!

    Without examining hard facts about ACTUAL releases of radiation and TRUE health effects (LNT hypothesis for radiation health effects is BS, BTW, which is critical to ginning up the effects of Chernobyl by several orders of magnitude), we will be engaged in little more than nothing but fear and hysteria fueled by the media, fossil fuel corps and others that stand to profit from such hysteria. The best reaction is to demand that nuclear power be done better, and tested in a walk-away, pull-the-plug-on-all-systems scenarios... For example, small reactors can handle decay heat in a loss-of everything scenario MUCH better than a huge core. Moreover, molten salt reactors are implicitly safe and a superior method for civilian power as they are incredibly stable chemically, the thermodynamic mobility of the core with temperature creates automatic negative reactivity feedback, it can have toxic fission products removed continuously via online processing - all of which is possible because the core is FLUID. Extreme chemical stability (esp. with fluoride salts) means no fire risk or hydrogen production / explosions in event of total loss of control... A fluid core can be easily / automatically dumped into a safe configuration under the influence of GRAVITY alone... This case was pleaded by Alvin Weinberg, the guy who ran the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment in the 60s. He was involved in the early days of the LWR design, which fucked up at TMI and now at Fukushima, so he knew what he was talking about. He knew the design from the late 40s/ early 50s naval designs (predecessors of the civilian LWR power reactor design) had flaws and worked out a better way to do it in the 60s but was shut down. His entreaties for a novel safer civilian reactor design was rebuffed and his career terminated by the Nixon administration and here we are today. History has consequences.

    We need to test and understand how to do it better taking in all lessons since the 1960s, not give up the only hope we have to rid the world of all fossil fuels. LWRs are ANCIENT designs... this is like saying we should ban all air travel because of the Hindenburg or that personal computing is impossible because computers can be run only on vacuum tubes.

    Don't fall for hysteria... demand better instead. Reform the system that has throttled nuclear advancement for 40 years. We need innovation in this sphere more than ever. The future humanity and the planet depends on it.  The majority of fossil fuel use MUST BE ELIMINATED BY 2050 or we are f!kd far more than anything Fukishima can ever dish out in your worst nightmare.

    The more you understand about the physics of nuclear power the less fearful you become. The opposite can be said of global climate change.

    THINK!

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:34:13 PM PDT

  •  Went by CVS to pick up prescription, (In Calif) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel Q

    and the pharmacist was telling several people who had just walked in that they were out of Potassium Iodide.

    I asked the pharmacist if they've been selling the stuff and she said they have completely sold out.

    I was listening to NPR this morning. I wish I could remember the woman's name but she said much of the Potassium Iodide has been bought out here in the U.S., and the Japanese do not have enough now. Apparently the Japanese have been trying to order more as they're running out. The woman also said 1 in 4 people in Japan are over 66 years of age.  I didn't realize this particular demographic.

    •  Stupid f#cking American media (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman

      Over hyping the threat for ratings, then later tell people not to freak out and not to consumer Potassium Iodide. Idiots.

      Should be covering the disaster recovery efforts and encouraging people to donate to charity, not scaring them into wasting their money on (potentially dangerous) shit they don't need.

  •  Australia urges citizens to leave Tokyo - Kyodo (0+ / 0-)

    Australia upgrades travel advisory, urges citizens to leave Tokyo
    SYDNEY, March 18, Kyodo

    The Australian government on Friday directly urged its citizens to leave Tokyo and vicinity, in an upgraded travel advisory that alluded to concerns about radiation exposure for the first time.

    ''If you are an Australian citizen currently in Tokyo...and your presence is not essential then you should leave,'' Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said in an interview with Nine Network.

    He said the advice also applies to areas north of Tokyo on the main island of Honshu that were affected by last week's earthquake and tsunami.

    The latest travel advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cites ''disruptions to essential services, infrastructure damage, strong aftershocks and continuing uncertainty about the status of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.''

    It says Australians in Tokyo and affected areas ''should, unless their presence in Japan is essential, make arrangements to leave -– either to Southern Japan or elsewhere.''

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