Skip to main content

‪This is another clearinghouse diary for discussion and commentary about the ongoing nuclear disaster(s) in Japan.   For updated information on news and a timeline of the events following the March 11 Japanese Earthquake, visit the Mothership.  The Mothership is updated regularly and also provides a more extensive list of news and data sources, social media, crisis mapping and other relevant information.

If you would like to recommend this diary feel free to do so. All previous liveblogs published to the Japan Nuclear Incident group can be found here. The group also serves as an archive for Coverage@Kos. (For more details on this ongoing 24/7 breaking news resource and information on how to follow this @ Kos, please read below the fold.)

Photobucket

April 22, 2011 JST: Day 42 since the 11 March 9.0 Earthquake & ensuing Tsunami devastated the NorthEast Coat of Japan,leading to an International Level 7 disaster at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Latest News: Due to threat of long-term radiation exposure, residents of five towns & villages beyond 20-kilometer evacuation zone formally advised to leave within one month .... 20-kilometer radius now officially a no-entry zone  … TEPCO estimates 520-ton radioactive water dumped into sea ... Several Japanese women test positive for radioactive iodine-131 in breast milk with highest contamination case found 150 miles from Fukushima ... TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto compares possible No 1 meltdown  to “a state in which molten fuel accumulates like lava.”

Combined Sources: Kyodo, NHK, Fukushima Wiki Spaces,

Japan bans residents from remaining within 20-km of Fukushima plant

Japan imposed a no-entry zone midnight Thursday prohibiting residents from remaining within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to enhance control of evacuees amid continued fears of radiation leaks.

The no-entry zone came into effect following a meeting between Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato at the prefectural office on Thursday, in which Kan told Sato to upgrade the current evacuation instruction for residents in the area.

Sato, emerging from a 35-minute meeting with Kan, told reporters he had called on the premier to thoroughly explain the new step to the municipalities subject to the legally binding ''caution areas.''

TEPCO estimates 520-ton radioactive water into sea

Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive substances that leaked into the sea at the damaged Fukushima plant over six days from April 1st are estimated at 4,700 terabecquerels. This is 20,000 times more than the annual allowable limit at the complex.

At a news conference on Thursday, Tokyo Electric said it calculated the total amount of leaked water assuming that the leak began on April 1st. The leak of contaminated water from a pit of the Number 2 reactor was found on April 2nd and was stopped four days later using liquid glass.

The utility firm said that 520 tons of the high-level radioactive water is likely to have leaked into the sea during the period.


Japan Misses Early Opportunity to Deploy UAVs at Stricken Fukushima Plant

The Japan Times online revealed on Monday, April 18 that the U.S. government, through the Department of Defense, working with Lockheed Martin and manufacturer Kaman Aerospace, approached the Japanese government with an offer to supply an unmanned K-MAX helicopter with full support and 20 volunteer specialists to fly to Japan at short notice.

Industry sources have added that the unmanned rotorcraft, which has already undergone stringent cargo carrying tests with the U.S. Marine Corps, could have been deployed early to lift water or even cement above the leaking fuel rods as the Chinook crew were attempting to do, in a bid to try and cover them. With a sensor on the front of the remotely piloted aircraft, and with the operators controlling it from a safe distance, the early efforts to cover the rods could have met with significantly more success.

Flower message to cheer up quake survivors

The husband-and-wife owners of a cafe in Takamatsu City, western Japan, have created flower messages to encourage the country's recovery from the March 11th disaster.

A garden attached to the cafe, owned by Masayuki Inokuma and his wife Emiko, is carpeted with pink moss flowers. About 250,000 plants are currently in full bloom.

The pair created a 5x35-meter flower arrangement forming the phrase "Gambaro Nippon" or "Let's hang in there Japan".

The couple began planting the flower arrangement a week after the disaster to cheer up the survivors of the quake and tsunami in northern Japan.

In another arrangement, moss pinks are planted in the image of a bluebird, a symbol of hope and happiness to the devastated areas.

Photobucket

Fukushimia data as of 4/21 from daily Scribble Live  report (linked below)

TEPCO re-evaluation of results: translate.google.com 21 Apr 13:00 plant parameters: www.meti.go.jp 21 Apr radiation monitoring: www.meti.go.jp 21 Apr radionuclide measurement: www.meti.go.jp 21 Apr NISA Report 106: www.meti.go.jp 21 Apr NISA Report 105: www.meti.go.jp 21 Apr 16:00 JAIF Status: www.jaif.or.jp Georgia Japan data in English: translate.google.com

Photobucket

JNI Team Analysis

Dear JAIF, You Missed Some Spots by middleagedhousewife

OK, this is curious -- drywell, sup chamb rad readings.  h/t middleagedhousewife

Remember the datapage was reporting them through the 15th, then stopped reporting anything.  TEPCO, after the surge on Apr 8th stopped reporting the unit 1 drywell readings.  That hasn't changed.  

DOE cumulative radiation estimates are out h/t peraspera,

Top News Finds by JNI Team 4/21

Silver lining in sight for makers of solar panels h/t ricklewsive

"It's become clear we can't keep relying on nuclear power or fossil fuels," said Koji Toda, chief fund manager at Resona Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. "Still, solar power is too expensive for the vmarket to bloom without subsidies. It's easy to agree on the big picture but not so easy to determine who pays the price."



Temporary housing beset by lack of land / Government estimates 72,000 units needed for disaster victims, but only 395 completed h/t siri

While the government estimates that 72,000 units are needed for displaced residents, only 395 units had been completed as of Wednesday. The land secured so far is only enough to build 31,000 units.


U.S. warns radiation near crippled plant could exceed upper limit - The Mainichi Daily News

The United States has warned that radiation levels could exceed the upper limit on annual exposure set by the Japanese government in extensive areas around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The U.S. Department of Energy released the estimation as part of a hazard map on cumulative radiation in areas near the Fukushima plant created by an affiliate, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

The hazard map shows that the annual exposure dose of radiation could exceed 1 millisievert in some areas within an 80-kilometer radius of the plant hit hard by a massive tsunami triggered by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Photobucket

In Focus: Videos, Lessons Learned. Discussion. Information

Fukushima: Could A Similar Disaster Strike Closer To Your Home
Robots enter Fukushima plant buildings
Dr Helen Caldicott - Fukushima Nuclear Disaster-
http://www.robertlpeters.com/...
A New Time line of Disaster through 21 4 11

The Facts in Sequence of the Accident of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: Released by the Government of Japan. (Unofficial Translation. Dates and Times are shown in Japan Standard Time, or UTC + 9.)

Life, Death and Graphic Design: The Critical Role of Information Design in Emergencies

Graphic design helps people make decisions. This is a given to designers. We don’t often think about how vital it becomes in an emergency situation. Visual information guides our thinking process, helps us assess personal risk and gain understanding so that we can make informed decisions—decisions which can have a profound impact on our lives. They can mean life or death.

Peggy Cady has written a compelling article that explores the vital importance of information design to the public and aid workers during the disasters in Japan. Access or download an online PDF of the article (4.5 MB, loaded with information graphics and numerous links)here.

Lessons from Fukushima: The Risks, Realities, and Future of Nuclear Energy Chicago, IL &  Webcast  April 21, 2011,  4–6 p.m.

The panel includes Mark Peters, deputy director of Argonne National Laboratory (moderator); Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Hussein Khalil, director of the Nuclear Energy Division at Argonne National Laboratory; Robert Topel, the Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Distinguished Service Professor in Urban and Labor Economics, Chicago Booth School of Business, and director, University of Chicago Energy Initiative.
The 90-minute discussion is open to the public and will begin at 4 p.m. in the atrium of the University's Gordon Center for Integrative Sciences. For those who cannot attend in person, the event will be webcast through the University's website and Facebook page. A poster session will follow the discussion, with some of the leading scientists from Argonne displaying recent work on nuclear energy.

Photobucket

Please visit ROV #51: TEPCO Releasing More Info & Radiation for news, discussion and analysis of events prior to breaking news on from 18-21 April JST.

Regularly Updated Data Sources


@Kos: A database of temperature, pressure, radiation levels, etc readings over time can be found in: The Daiichi Database  This is an evolving diary that will be updated regularly.
Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF)
RSOS Emergency & Disaster information Services - Japan
EPA RadNet Map View & EPA's Radiation Air Monitoring
Scribble Live
Japan Municipal Water Charts  (in Japanese)

Photobucket

Best News Sources

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

Rules of the Road


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

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

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

Due to extensive coverage, Coverage@KOS is including diaries covering two-day periods. All coverage is then archived to the group page.

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

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

Remember when posting to the thread:  STICK TO THE FACTS. Source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.) Both the Mothership and the ROVs are for reporting and discussing the developing news. Neither space is for opinions or for editorializing on the subject of nuclear energy.

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Can you see the spin? I'm waiting for the cartoon. (9+ / 0-)

    Rover the Radioactive Robot.

    Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

    by Publius2008 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:53:51 PM PDT

  •  from Just Bob on hydrogen: Great link (18+ / 0-)

    The Bulletin

    Nuclear secrecy in context. In the initial hours after the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government and Tokyo Electrical Power Company issued statements reporting minor damage at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In the days that followed, government and industry officials reported the "venting of hydrogen gas", but that there was "no threat to health." This reassurance of health safety was echoed when hydrogen gas explosions occurred at the power plant.
    In fact, the hydrogen released is tritium water vapor, a low-level emitter that can be absorbed in a human body through simply breathing, or by drinking contaminated water. Tritium decays by beta emission and has a radioactive half-life of about 12.3 years. As it undergoes radioactive decay, this isotope emits a very low-energy beta particle and transforms to stable, nonradioactive helium. Once tritium enters the body, it disperses quickly, is uniformly distributed, and is excreted through urine within a month or so after ingestion. It produces a low-level exposure and may result in toxic effects to the kidney. As with all ionizing radiation, exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer.

  •  Why have we been talking about hydrogen? (13+ / 0-)

    This is a good article that deserves a full read:

    http://thebulletin.org/...

    Nuclear secrecy in context. In the initial hours after the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government and Tokyo Electrical Power Company issued statements reporting minor damage at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In the days that followed, government and industry officials reported the "venting of hydrogen gas", but that there was "no threat to health." This reassurance of health safety was echoed when hydrogen gas explosions occurred at the power plant.

    In fact, the hydrogen released is tritium water vapor, a low-level emitter that can be absorbed in a human body through simply breathing, or by drinking contaminated water. Tritium decays by beta emission and has a radioactive half-life of about 12.3 years. As it undergoes radioactive decay, this isotope emits a very low-energy beta particle and transforms to stable, nonradioactive helium. Once tritium enters the body, it disperses quickly, is uniformly distributed, and is excreted through urine within a month or so after ingestion. It produces a low-level exposure and may result in toxic effects to the kidney. As with all ionizing radiation, exposure to tritium increases the risk of developing cancer.


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

    by Just Bob on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:56:30 PM PDT

  •  Radioactive Clouds? (9+ / 0-)

    Can somebody to the news story on this?  It seems odd that we would be seeing greater levels of radiation now.  How radioactive are we talking about?  What levels were found in LA and where?  Is 150 miles away Tokyo?  The latest news section really needs to make things a bit clearer, that entry seems more likely to cause panic then convey useful information.

    http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests. Because your sig should include a link that will get it banned in China.

    by sdelear on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:56:33 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for doing this great work for us boatsie. (10+ / 0-)

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

    by HoundDog on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:00:30 PM PDT

  •  Do some of our resource links need updating? (7+ / 0-)

    For example, when I click on the Reuters link, I keep coming back to a list of blog comments, where if I click on the "latest" is takes me to the same comments from March 25, that's been there for over three weeks?

    Am, I doing something wrong?

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

    by HoundDog on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:09:43 PM PDT

  •  No way to check source of #1 turbine building leak (14+ / 0-)

    Even if they do find the source of the leak TEPCO and NISA disagree about whether the reactor vessel would withstand a strong earthquake.

    Radioactive water likely to hamper cooling effort - NHK WORLD English

    The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power facility plans to cool the reactors by filling their vessels with water. However, that process may be hampered by wastewater contaminated with highly radioactive materials.

    According Tokyo Electric Power Company's blueprint for bringing the troubled facility under control, the Number 1 and 3 reactor vessels will be filled with water up to the height of the nuclear fuel rods by the middle of July. This is aimed at cooling the reactors in a stable manner.

    TEPCO says that the water level has begun rising in the Number 1 reactor. It says water injected to cool the reactor vaporizes out of the reactor and then turns into water after being cooled inside the container.

    However, if the container has been damaged, then highly radioactive water may seep out.

    The utility needs to check the reactor turbine building for any water leakage from the building housing the reactor, but workers cannot enter the reactor building at present. However, the effort to identify the source of a leak is difficult because of radioactive water inside the basement of the turbine building.

    Work to move contaminated water from the Number 2 reactor is already underway. However, it's not clear when they can begin moving contaminated water from the Number 1 reactor.
    ...
    Friday, April 22, 2011 06:49 +0900 (JST)

  •  I read on HuffPo that there was another .... (8+ / 0-)

    ... earthquake higher than 6.0 today, but haven't read it anywhere else.  Don't rely much on HuffPo for anything much anymore other than celebrity female nip-slips, but I am curious about whether there was another aftershock today.

    Seems like aftershocks might be the most likely threat to greater problems now. Is that right?

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:14:13 PM PDT

  •  What "nuclear disaster" are you talking about? (4+ / 10-)

    Basically, people who know nothing at all about epidemiology or any other science have their heads up their asses thinking that the 25,000 people who died from a tsunami and a 9.0 earthquake all died from radiation poison.

    Actually the number of people who died thus far from air pollution is, um, zero.

    The number of people who die from air pollution every day is about 5,000 people, and ozone exceeds "regulatory limits" billions of person days per year.

    Number of person-days with maximum 8-hour average ozone concentration.

    Yet anti-science anti-nukes write nothing at all about either the deaths or the exceeding of regulatory limits.

    It's selective attention coupled with complete ignorance of epidemiology.

    The major deaths that will occur from Fukushima will be connected with the dangerous fossil fuel waste dumped to 1) replace the plants, and 2) the fuel generated to produce sob sister stories like this one.

    If nothing speaks to the fact that nuclear energy need not be perfect to be vastly superior to all the stuff that anti-nukes couldn't care less about, this would definitely be it.

    Basically, a 14 meter tsunami hit a nuclear plant head on, sweeping over a large amount of used fuel, and the death toll was miniscule in comparison to the number of people killed in buildings and cars.

    How come we don't have any "ban buildings" and "ban cars" diaries?

    The answer to my rhetorical question is in my sig line.

    Have a nice evening.

  •  Fukushima Daini evacuation zone reduced (17+ / 0-)

    No specifics are given as to why the symbolic gesture was made at this particular time.

    Japan says crippled Fukushima Daiichi's partner plant stabilised | Reuters

    Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:14am EDT

    (Reuters) - Japan's Fukushima Daini nuclear plant, the companion of the crippled Daiichi plant 10 kilometers away that is still leaking radiation, has cleared a key milestone toward stabilizing, regulators said on Thursday, although the outlook for a restart remains uncertain.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on Thursday it reduced the evacuation zone around the four-reactor, 4,400 megawatt Daini plant after engineers had repaired the cooling systems and maintained the plant in a "cold shutdown" for several weeks.
    ...
    Thursday's reduction of that zone to 8 km from 10 km was purely symbolic, however, as it remains entirely within the 20 km evacuation zone still in force around the crisis-hit Daiichi plant, where engineers continue struggling to restore cooling systems and staunch radiation leaks.
    ...
    An agency spokesman said further repair work was needed at the Daini plant but it had stabilized and partially met additional antiquake safety steps the government ordered on March 30.

    The volume of radioactive substances inside the plant's four reactors has fallen to less than one-100th the level soon after they were shut and heat from radioactive decay in fuels is under control, substantially diminishing the chances of a serious accident, the agency said in a statement.

  •  Prepping evacuations outside 20km zone (16+ / 0-)
    TOKYO (Dow Jones)--The Japanese government on Friday formally advised residents of all or part of five towns and villages outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to leave due to the threat of long-term radiation exposure.

    (snip)

    Edano said the government currently has no plans to make the evacuation advisory a legally binding order, and said residents have about a month to move.

    (snip)

    Edano also said that residents in several other towns and villages surrounding the plant should be prepared to evacuate in case the situation at the plant worsens sharply, and that pregnant women, the elderly, children and the infirm in these areas should consider evacuating sooner.

    Earlier this week, the Japanese government announced it was creating a formal ban on entry into the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant after some residents ignored pleas to stay away from the potentially hazardous area.

    http://e.nikkei.com/...

    "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." -- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

    by Siri on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:41:55 PM PDT

    •  That's confusing (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, rja, Into The Woods, mamamedusa

      It's both a formal ban and yet not legally binding? Having trouble parsing that information.

      It's very telltale that Edano is saying "in case the situation at the plant worsens." I've been out of the loop for two days. Has there been any specific information given as to why he might be thinking in this direction? Thanks Siri (or anyone else who knows).

      •  There are three kinds of evacuation orders (10+ / 0-)

        1) The government has made evacuation inside the 20 km zone mandatory. There are a lot of reports of people refusing to leave their homes. Property rights are very strong in Japan, and if people refuse to leave, there is little the government can do. It will not forcibly drag people off their land.

        2) There is an evacuation order that is an advisory for some areas outside the 20 km zone, such as Iitate and Namie. The government is strongly advising people in those areas to evacuate within a month, but the order is not legally binding. I suspect that by issuing this advisory the government has made it easier for farmers in those areas to apply for damages from TEPCO.

        3) There is also a third area where radiation levels are not currently high enough to warrant an evacuation, but they are near enough Fukushima Daiichi that--if there are further radiation releases--it may become necessary to evacuate on short notice. People in those areas are required to prepare to evacuate on short notice. I don't believe that the situation at the plant has worsened. Edano is just being cautious and realistic when he notes that the situation at the plant is not stable (this should be a note of caution to people inclined to think the crisis is over).

        The three areas are shown on this map (from the Asahi Shinbun). The brown area is zone 1, the green area is 2, and the blue area is 3.

  •  Corrections made: (10+ / 0-)

    1. I removed description of robots as "Fearless" (it was meant to be a joke ...)
    2. I took out all (as far as I can tell) news from the Energy site unless I could find another reliable source for it as primary source and then replaced the source.
    3. Removed all data and news feeds which were not up-to-date.

    If anyone finds anything else, I'll check in and fix later.

    If anyone has a really good news site they think should be included, please feel free to add. Most of the regulars here have access to the template and can edit.

  •  Very comprehensive Guardian article (17+ / 0-)

    on evacuation situation.

    Tens of thousands of people who were evacuated from near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant risk arrest if they return home, after the government declared the area a no-entry zone due to high radiation levels.

    Under the order, which goes into effect at midnight local time, people living within a 12-mile (20km) radius of the atomic plant will be given up to two hours to enter the area to collect belongings.

    (snip)

    The government has also extended the evacuation zone to several locations outside the 12-mile zone, including areas in which as many as 130,000 people had initially been asked to leave voluntarily or stay indoors. Residents in those areas will be given a month to evacuate.

    (snip)

    Yukio Edano
    "The plant is not stable," he told reporters. "We have been asking residents not to enter the area as there is a huge risk to their safety. We beg the understanding of residents."

    The no-entry edict prompted residents to rush back into the zone to grab as many belongings as they could before the order went into effect. Some wore white protective suits, facemasks or wet-weather gear they hoped would protect themselves from radiation.

    A stream of cars, windows closed, later left the deserted neighbourhoods crammed with clothes and valuables.

    "This is our last chance, but we aren't going to stay long. We are just getting what we need and getting out," Kiyoshi Kitajima, an X-ray technician who briefly returned to the hospital where he worked, told Associated Press.

    (snip)

    Under the order, people who enter the zone without permission face fines of up to 100,000 yen (£740) and possible arrest.

    Almost all of the 80,000 people living in the 12-mile zone have been evacuated, but some have refused to abandon their livestock or move from their homes into evacuation centres.

    (snip)

    Those living within three kilometres of the plant and other areas where very high levels of radiation have been detected will not be allowed to return, even for a short period, the Kyodo news agency reported.

    (snip)

    The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco], said last week it would take between six and nine months to bring down radiation levels and make the facility safe, a timeline some experts have described as optimistic.

    The article covers information about the conditions of the workers too. It's well worth the read
    Guardian - Fukushima evacuees face arrest if they return home

    "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." -- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

    by Siri on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:01:48 PM PDT

  •  Fukushima governor forbids reopening of Daiichi pl (14+ / 0-)

    Governor Sato's wording seems unequivocal.

    Fukushima gov. won't allow TEPCO to resume reactor operations | Kyodo News

    Japan, April 22, Kyodo

    Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Friday he will never allow Tokyo Electric Power Co. to resume operations at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

    ''A resumption of plant operations must be impossible,'' Sato told Masataka Shimizu, president of Tokyo Electric, known as TEPCO, who apologized for the nuclear emergency during their meeting at the prefectural government office.

    After the 15-minute meeting, Shimizu suggested to reporters he would step down at an appropriate time to take responsibility for the disaster.

    I accidentally posted this on the previous ROV. Apologies for those following along who have to read it twice.

  •  4/19 TIME article about evacuating Iitate (15+ / 0-)

    With a Month to Leave, a Japanese Village Weighs Options

    On April 12, the local farmers' association held a meeting and decided to put a hold on all new planting. It was the eighth time they had met to measure levels of cesium since the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant started sending radioactive material their way. “The farmers decided that we couldn't continue to plant for the safety of our country,” says Shoji Masatada, the manager of the local branch of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA). He calls it a “moral” decision; unlike other agricultural towns in the region, the farmers of Iitatemura have not been ordered to stop. They have, however, been ordered to pack. This agricultural hamlet of 5000 people, on the national tourist board's list of Japan's most beautiful villages, was one of the five communities outside the original 12-mile (20 km) evacuation zone informed by Tokyo that they may have to leave their homes within a month because high levels of radiation had been detected in their area. When exactly they need to leave – and for how long – are details that Iitatemura's residents and city officials are still trying to discern.

    (snip)

    Even when atmospheric radiation drops back down to levels safe enough for people to move back, the half-life of cesium, one of the radioactive materials detected here, is 30 years. Before farmers are able to go back to planting food here, the government must complete a massive decontamination of the soil. “We don't know when it's going to go back normal – or if it ever is,” says Masatada of JA.

    This is one of the few articles I've seen in the US media even mentioning the name of any of the areas with very high radiation outside the 20km zone.  Namie, another such town,  may be going through the same process, as they were also listed as part of the expanded evacuation zone.

    Iitate and Namie continue to have the highest radiation measurements in the MEXT data.  

    It was very sad to read in the TIME article that Iitate has been listed by Japan's national tourist board as one of the country's most beautiful villages.  It helps provide me with a little sense of how especially hard it must be for the residents to leave these places, possibly not to return...    

  •  Just released 100 microsievert+ data from Mar. (15+ / 0-)

    Bureaucratic finger pointing is ongoing as to the responsibility for the delay.

    Radiation over 100 microsieverts detected 2-3 km from troubled plant - The Mainichi Daily News

    Radiation levels of over 100 microsieverts per hour were measured at four locations 2 to 3 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from late last month, the science ministry said Thursday as it released such data for the first time.
    ...
    All four readings of over 100 microsieverts were taken in the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture, and about 2 to 3 km from the nuclear plant, with the highest reading of 124 microsieverts measured at a location around 2 km west-northwest of the complex.
    ...
    The ministry had not released data taken during the first period, saying the nuclear safety agency and the plant operator were responsible for measurements within the 20-km zone.

    The ministry did not disclose the data "upon instructions from the prime minister's office," a ministry official said.

    On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano denied issuing such a directive, telling a news conference, "I'm not aware of (such instructions)...No such instructions can be issued without my authorization."

    Edano said, however, he had received reports that the science ministry was measuring radiation within the 20-km zone around the plant.

    (Mainichi Japan) April 22, 2011

  •  "...since your career is already toast..." (15+ / 0-)

    Discussion of spent fuel pools...and careers enders.

    http://allthingsnuclear.org/...

    The tragedy at Fukushima Dai-Ichi involved many of the same concerns Don and I raised at Susquehanna. It appears that irradiated fuel in at least two of the site’s seven spent fuel pools has been damaged due to overheating.

    The media attention to our efforts to get the NRC to resolve the spent fuel safety issue made nuclear workers across the country aware of our concerns. I started getting calls from both colleagues and strangers asking if I’d champion their safety concerns. I distinctly recall one man telling me, “I don’t want to raise this safety concern and put my job on the line, but since your career is already toast, I thought you’d raise it for me.” I still had a job in the industry at the time, but I appreciated his point. Raising safety concerns in the nuclear industry invokes the gangplank more often than it involves the corporate ladder.

    Fortunately for me, Bob Pollard retired from the Union of Concerned Scientists in January 1996. Jim Riccio and Paul Gunter, who I’d met in 1994 during the campaign to call attention to the spent fuel pool problems, suggested I apply for the job. I did, and was hired by UCS. I’ve been working to get the NRC to resolve specific safety issues since then.


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

    by Just Bob on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:34:21 PM PDT

  •  Fukushima rice fields: 1/8th banned from planting (13+ / 0-)

    According to the Asahi Shinbun (Japanese) 1/8th of the rice fields in Fukushima have been banned from production because of high radiation.

    The banned rice fields amount to 10,000 hectares (about 10% by area), and they are owned by about 7,000 farming households (most farms in Japan are very small scale, by the way). Fukushima is the fourth largest rice producing prefecture in Japan with a yield of about 450,000 tons (the ban will reduce the yield by about 50,000 tons).

    Soil samples were taken at 113 locations throughout the prefecture, including 10 locations in Iitate Village and the township of Namie. Areas that had radiation levels of cesium over 5,000 Bq/kg were banned from production.

    Somewhere else--I can't find it now--there was a report of many farmers in Iitate who were voluntarily not planting crops even though they had not been banned from doing so. It is planting season, and farmers have to make a decision now about whether to plant, not knowing if their crops will be banned at some later date. To be on the safe side, many farmers near the affected areas are not planting.

    •  Duh! (10+ / 0-)

      The source I was referring to is the excellent comment by there but for fortune that I just read. Must be getting old...

    •  Good for them. (5+ / 0-)

      The government will cover their losses, won't it, even though they haven't been specifically prohibited from planting?

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 02:40:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The government will provide some compensation (9+ / 0-)

        but I don't think it will be very much. TEPCO is also likely to face many claims from people who lost their livelihood.

        Here is one brief mention of compensation in the Mainichi Daily News:

        There are those who refuse to leave the 20-kilometer radius, citing such reasons as responsibility for their livestock and the inconvenience and discomfort of moving at their old age, and efforts to convince them to evacuate are likely to continue. To ensure that those residents can receive the help they are entitled to under the law, it is the government's responsibility to secure evacuation shelters and compensation for them.
        This story is specifically about people who are now required to evacuate the 20 km zone around the plant, but it expresses the general principle that applies. It doesn't give any details about the amount of compensation.

        An article in the Asahi Shinbun (Japanese) explains that the first payments of compensation will be paid soon:

        On the 22nd the Kan administration strengthened its policy, urging TEPCO to make "preliminary payments" of damages to fishing operators and businesses in the area of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in cases where the Nuclear Power Damages Dispute Reconciliation Committee has made a preliminary decision. It is urging the payment of damages [now] to businesses that have made many claims because it will take time to resolve the incident.

        Concerning the payment of damages to fishing operators and businesses that have suffered damages such as not being able to deliver products due to the nuclear power plant incident, until now TEPCO has taken the position that "we cannot pay damages because there is no clear policy."

        (snip)

        It is possible to classify the preliminary payments as a part of the formal damage compensation under the Nuclear Power Damage Compensation Law.

        The government is "urging" TEPCO to do this, rather than requiring it to do so, but it will be difficult for TEPCO to resist. With the government on record in favor of paying partial compensation immediately, and with its compensation committee poised to make preliminary judgments, the pressure on TEPCO to start paying will be great.
  •  Helicopter water drop done to impress U.S. (18+ / 0-)

    The U.S. was unhappy with the Japanese because they weren't sharing information. Japan responded by using a helicopter to drop water in an ineffective attempt to cool one of the reactors supposedly leaving the U.S impressed. I am obviously missing the cultural nuances here but I would think the U.S. would have been happier with timely, full and accurate information.

    One would strongly hope that one of the lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster is that it is best to put national pride aside in a nuclear crisis, call in the brightest and the best experts worldwide and put a priority on releasing information. It would seem that will not be the case.

    Helicopter water drop was message of Japan's determination in nuclear crisis - The Mainichi Daily News

    On the morning of March 17, six days after the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, two Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) CH-47 transport helicopters set off from the GSDF's Kasuminome post in Sendai, carrying huge water buckets. Radioactive steam was rising from the No. 3 reactor at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, after water in a pool for spent fuel had boiled. The helicopters were on an unprecedented mission to drop seawater on the reactor to reduce the pool's temperature.

    Prior to the mission, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other government officials discussed a worst-case scenario.

    "If the reactor core is too melted, dropping water could cause a steam explosion," a government official warned. The Ministry of Defense took all the precautions it could to protect the helicopter crew from radiation and a possible explosion, having them wear lead vests underneath combat gear and placing tungsten boards on the floor of the aircraft. Officials decided to have the helicopters release water while making a flyby over the reactor, rather than while hovering above it.
    ...
    Ten minutes after the operation, Kan spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama by phone, telling him that self-defense forces and other workers were doing all they could to cool the reactors. Later the U.S. Department of Defense congratulated Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki on the heroic efforts of SDF personnel.

    The following day a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) delegation, senior members of the U.S. military in Japan, Japanese defense and foreign affairs officials, and other officials including those from the nuclear plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), quietly staged a meeting on the nuclear crisis. One U.S. official commended Japanese officials on the helicopter mission.

    Earlier, hydrogen explosions at the plant and the spread of radioactive materials over a wide area had created an image in the international community of Japan being left powerless, unable to control a runaway nuclear power plant. The Kan administration feared that Japan would be abandoned by the rest of the world, and hoped the helicopter mission would help the country overcome the negative images.

    "The release of water was a display to the U.S. We were showing them how serious Japan was," a high-ranking Japanese government official commented.

    The United States' agitation rose soon after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, as information on the state of the Fukushima No. 1 plant remained murky. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission dispatched an advance team to Japan immediately after a hydrogen explosion at the plant's No. 1 reactor on March 12, but according to several Japanese government officials, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency was hesitant to release information. The U.S. government could only guess what state the reactors were in.

    On March 14, radiation was detected among crew members aboard the USS Ronald Regan, a nuclear-powered carrier taking part in Operation Tomodachi. The vessel moved away from the Sanriku coast in northeastern Japan. Two days later, NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko announced that there was no water in the pool for spent fuel at the nuclear plant's No. 4 reactor, and in the predawn hours of March 17, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos advised U.S. citizens within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the nuclear plant to evacuate -- an area much wider than the evacuation zone set by the Japanese government. The developments appeared to be an expression of a strong sense of danger and distrust directed at Japan.
    ...
    The operation was favorably received by the U.S. government, but no subsequent helicopter water drops were conducted, as their effectiveness in cooling down the reactors was deemed to be minimal.

  •  U.S. nuclear expert stayed at Kan's residence (9+ / 0-)

    It sounds like if Japanese officials had their druthers they would have much preferred the U.S. to butt out of their nuclear crisis.

    asahi.com(朝日新聞社):U.S. nuke expert stayed at Kan's official residence - English

    A U.S. nuclear expert stayed at the Prime Minister's Official Residence last month to speed response to the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, government officials recently acknowledged.
    ...
    Washington urged the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan to allow the U.S. nuclear power specialist to stay at Kan's official residence when it contacted Tokyo in the immediate aftermath of the March 11 earthquake.

    Alarmed by the extent of potential hazards, the U.S. government apparently intended to expedite its response by obtaining information directly from the prime minister.
    ...
    Kan insisted that Japanese officials should tackle the crisis first. Some Japanese officials expressed caution about the U.S. overture.

    The officials suspected Washington wanted access to data on what was going on at the plant by inserting the U.S. expert into Tokyo's decision-making process, according to staff members at the prime minister's office.

    The refusal was received by Washington as a sign that the Kan administration was not serious about fighting the accident, a ranking official said.

    The Kan administration finally agreed to the specialist's stay after the government failed to bring the crisis quickly under control. The U.S. specialist stayed from March 22, when the Japan-U.S. task force was formed, until late last month.

    Among U.S. officials who attended meetings of the task force were Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Adm. Patrick Walsh, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and John Roos, U.S. ambassador to Japan.

    Goshi Hosono, a Lower House member and special adviser to the prime minister, presided as the leader of six teams of the task force.

    Akihisa Nagashima, former parliamentary vice defense minister, Tetsuro Fukuyama, deputy chief Cabinet secretary, and other officials attended.

    Representatives of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima plant, and officials from various Japanese ministries were also present.
    ...
    "The experiences of this accident should be shared internationally," Hosono said. "We will never spare our efforts to cooperate with other countries."

  •  High radiation levels at #2 ocean intake (11+ / 0-)

    If NISA is to be believed the steel plates and silt fence seem to be keeping the radioactive contamination out of the ocean.

    Radioactive level up at reactor water intake - NHK WORLD English

    ...

    The Nuclear Safety and Industry Agency says, however, there are no traces of highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from the plant.

    The Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 160 becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per cubic centimeter in samples of sea water collected near the water intake for the Number 2 reactor on Wednesday morning. The figure is 4,000 times the national limit and higher than the level detected on Tuesday.

    It's the same site where water contaminated with highly radioactive material was found to have been leaking into the sea on April 2nd. The leakage was fixed 4 days later.

    TEPCO says it also detected radioactive cesium-134 at 2,300 times the limit and cesium-137 at 1,600 times the limit on Wednesday morning. These levels are also higher than those detected on Tuesday.
    ...
    TEPCO says the levels of radioactive material are on the decline at the 4 monitoring points off the coast of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

    The highest level in the latest checkup for cesium-134 is 5.3 times the national limit at a point about 10 kilometers south of the plant.

    Friday, April 22, 2011 02:09 +0900 (JST)

  •  NRC says Fukushima is "static but fragile" (11+ / 0-)

    I hope TEPCO heeds NRC's advice, particularly on redundancy. NRC's fuel damage estimates are pretty much the same as TEPCO's.

    US NRC: Fukushima plant "static but fragile" - NHK WORLD English

    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are "static but fragile" in its latest assessment of the nuclear emergency.
    ...
    The report suggests that ongoing operations to feed the reactors with water could be affected by the occurrence of more aftershocks.

    It recommends a more diversified and redundant feeding system, along with the automation of operations involving large cranes and other equipment to douse the reactors with water.

    The report estimates that 67 percent of nuclear fuel has been damaged at reactor No.1, 44 percent at reactor No.2 and 30 percent at reactor No.3.
    ...
    TEPCO has estimated the rate of damage at 70 percent at reactor No.1, 30 percent at No.2, and 25 percent at No.3.
    ...
    Friday, April 22, 2011 17:42 +0900 (JST

  •  another small quake (8+ / 0-)
    Magnitude    5.5
    Date-Time   

        Friday, April 22, 2011 at 15:25:19 UTC
        Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 12:25:19 AM at epicenter

    Location    37.224°N, 140.981°E
    Depth    35.8 km (22.2 miles)
    Region    EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
    Distances    18 km (11 miles) NNE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
    55 km (34 miles) ESE of Koriyama, Honshu, Japan
    74 km (45 miles) SE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
    200 km (124 miles) NNE of TOKYO, Japan

  •  Beginning to remove debris (12+ / 0-)

    http://www3.nhk....

    Tokyo Electric Power Company has started removing more highly radioactive debris from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as it battles to bring the damaged facility under control.

    The plant operator has been using remote-controlled machines since April 6th to remove rubble scattered around the compound by apparent hydrogen explosions.

    A lot of debris lying around the 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactor buildings has remained untouched due to high radiation levels.

    TEPCO says it started clearing debris from around the Number 3 reactor building using the machines on Friday.

    The wreckage near the building is releasing particularly high levels of radiation and has prevented workers from staying long enough to assess the extent of the damage. ...

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 09:18:34 AM PDT

  •  Lawmakers to explore alternative energy (12+ / 0-)

    http://www3.nhk...

    Japanese lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition camps will soon launch a study group to promote the use of alternative energy.
    ...

    The group includes former agriculture minister Masahiko Yamada of the main ruling Democratic Party. From the opposition camp, former secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party Koichi Kato and the Social Democratic Party's policy chief Tomoko Abe will take part, among others.

    The group is aiming to review Japan's energy policy that has been focused on the promotion of nuclear power, and shift it toward tapping natural resources such as solar and hydro energy.
    The lawmakers also plan to assess nuclear power plants across Japan to find out what damage could be done to them from earthquakes and tsunami.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 09:22:34 AM PDT

  •  Cost basis is not exactly honest (15+ / 0-)

    The Japan Times

    From the U.S. to Japan, it’s illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments have chosen to run the world’s 443 nuclear power plants with hardly any insurance coverage whatsoever.

    The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster, which will leave taxpayers with a massive bill, highlights one of the industry’s key weaknesses — that nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if plants go uninsured. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., had no disaster insurance.

    Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country.
    ...

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 12:14:34 PM PDT

  •  We have fallout data now for Fukushima (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, RWood

    Can someone please post the fallout data for Chernobyl and the nuclear bomb tests?

    I am curious how they compare.

    •  Technically speaking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Into The Woods

      IIRC fallout is not the term to be used.

      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 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 12:27:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  I dont recall a nuclear bomb going off (0+ / 0-)

          in Japan since 1945.

          AS one who grew up in the era public buildings having signs that read "fallout shelter".......

          And thats what your link says, no bomb, no fallout.

          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 Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:33:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What we are comparing are respective releases of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera, mamamedusa

        radioactive matter, correct?  Narrowly defined, fallout is from nuclear explosions.  But the term has been used in relation to Chernobyl even though the explosion was not a nuclear explosion but rather a steam explosion resulting from the nuclear accident.

        While the nuclear weapon explosions produced significant fallout, and the steam explosions at Chernobylthrew a significant amount of radioactive debris far up into the atmosphere that came down over a wide area as 'fallout' , the radioactive releases from Fukushima are more diverse and while the explosions that occurred at the Fukushima plant cast  some debris into the air, it is generaly assumed to not be anywhere near the extent or height of that which occurred at Cherynobyl.

        So far, the releases from Fukushima from the containment buildings and  presumed from the fires and confirmed releases of water into the ocean have contributed to Fukushima's diverse overall release of radioactive material.  

        The last release of information indicted that at least so far the release of radioactive material is significantly less than Cherynobly but TEPCO has said that it is still possible that Fukushima could exceed Cherynobly before it is done.

        We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

        by Into The Woods on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 10:44:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Contamination from Fukushima (4+ / 0-)

          is now blanketing the northern hemisphere and showing up in the southern (australia, new zealand). How is this different from Chernobyl in that respect?

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 09:47:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Slightly different non-nuclear explosion (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ricklewsive, Just Bob, mamamedusa

            that at Cherynobyl threw more of it up further into the atomosphere, but other than that not much.

            I think folks are getting cross-wise on the use of "fallout" because some (including the offered definition) restrict it's use to nuclear weapons' fallout.

            It may have been used that way in the past, but I don't think it is at all improper to extend it to this.  

            We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

            by Into The Woods on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 11:33:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Contamination works as well (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mamamedusa, Into The Woods

              if people prefer to restrict the term "nuclear fallout." Though you are right that nuclear fallout is just what it is, from plumes of radioactive isotopes released by either bombs or power plants. Most of the same isotopes, in greater numbers plus a few unique ones from a meltdown.

              The crap gets generated (by explosion or by fission/ meltdown), and it gets released to the atmosphere in plumes. Isotopes fall out of the plumes to contaminate the land and water, exposing people far from the bomb/reactor to point-blank irradiation of tissues over time. It's all contamination, and it's all fallout once it's here on or near the ground.

              Many isotopes concentrate in plants and animals. These can be released months or years later, so probably don't qualify as fallout, though it is contamination FROM fallout. Radioactive trees and shrubs, game and farm animals, crops, etc... Remember the Great Reindeer Culls after Chernobyl dumped enough for Laplanders to have to worry about the dose they got from the meat they ate?

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:49:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I grew up in the 60's (0+ / 0-)

          SO fallout means one thing, if we're talking scientifically and technically. One thing and one thing only.

          Yes of course, the word has been used in other manners, such as "political fallout".

          Using fallout in referencing Chernobyl or Fukushima is a literary vehicle, and to me...... means you've given up the scientific or technical parlance. At that point its not a term, but a word.

          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 Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 01:41:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even Respected Experts Are Using it More Broadly (0+ / 0-)

            When we were doing duck and cover and being told back then that "moving quickly away from the windows and down to the lunchroom" would somehow save us from the explosive power and radiation damage of nuclear warheads*, that was the useage.  

            Now, if it's good enough for folks like Dr. Alvarez, it's probably good enough for us.  While he might or might not use it in a scientific paper, he and others are using it to describe both Cherynobyl and Fukushima.  

            ...No matter how small the dose might be, it is disingenuous to compare an exposure to a specific radioisotope that is released by a major nuclear accident, with radiation exposures in every-day life. The FDA spokesperson should have informed the public that radioiodine provides a unique form of exposure in that it concentrates rapidly in dairy products and in the human thyroid. The dose received, based on official measurements, may be quite small, and pose an equally small risk. However, making a conclusion on the basis of one measurement is fragmentary at best and unscientific at worst. As the accident in Fukushima continues to unfold, the public should be provided with all measurements made of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima reactors to allow for independent analyses.
            ...

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            *Particularly ironic because I lived amongst the hundreds of ICBMs in the heartland of this country (away from major population centers but in the heart of the breadbasket of American that feeds much of the world) and that whole area would likely have gone up like the head of a match.  

            We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

            by Into The Woods on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 11:01:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Fukushima oceanic radiation impact unknown (12+ / 0-)

    http://www.onearth.org/...

    How are radioactive isotopes leaking from northeastern Japan's crippled nuclear plant affecting U.S. marine environments? The short answer so far: not much. According to a recent report prepared for Congress, Americans, including Hawaiians and West Coast residents, can rest easy at this point about excess nuclear glow from seafoods caught in U.S. Pacific Ocean waters.

    But the report also details many known unknowns about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster's ultimate impacts on marine environments, as well as the fish we love to eat. These open questions include: How much radioactive material will rainfall deposit into the ocean? Will radioactive elements accumulate in the marine food chain? Will migratory animals like Pacific tuna -- not known to be at all concerned with the nation-state boundaries we impose upon the ocean -- carry them into the U.S. food supply?

    --cut--

    But ocean waters covers much, much more surface area than land on this planet. So, the authors note, no one knows how this barely-radioactive rainfall will affect radiation levels in marine ecosystems.

    The conclusions regarding migratory sea animals, such as Pacific albacore tuna, are also qualified. "Barring a major unanticipated release, radioactive contaminants from Fukushima Daiichi should become sufficiently dispersed," reads the report, "...unless they bioaccumulate in migratory fish or find their way directly to another part of the world through food or other commercial products...[I]t is unknown whether marine organisms that migrate through or near Japanese waters to locations where they might subsequently be harvested by U.S. fishermen (possibly some tuna in the western Pacific and, less likely, salmon in the North Pacific) might be exposed to radiation in or near Japanese waters, or might consume prey that have accumulated radioactive contaminants.

    This is just out today but refers to an April 15th Congressional report; the link isn't working there, however.

  •  Visual inspection for SFP 4 (10+ / 0-)

    The Japan Times

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it will use a waterproof camera to see if the fuel rods in its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reactor 4's spent-fuel storage pool are damaged.
    ...

    The camera and other sensors will be attached to a crane truck that has been equipped with a long pumping hose to keep the pool filled so the fuel rods don't burn up and spread more radiation. Tepco said the spent fuel rods are probably 2 to 3 meters under the water now.

    Tepco wants to see if the 140 tons of water it's injecting every two days is sufficient to offset evaporation and leaks and keep the rods submerged.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 01:06:31 PM PDT

    •  They had to cancel the planned visual inspection (10+ / 0-)

      According to the Mainich Shinbun (Japanese):

      On the 22nd TEPCO measured the spent fuel pool of unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant using a remotely operated concrete pumping truck. The result showed that the temperature of the water has stopped rising at about 91° and that the water level is still low at about 2 meters over the top of the fuel rods. TEPCO explained that "we are injecting only as much water as the evaporated from the heat of the fuel rods."

      (snip)

      The results of water sampled from the pool by the concrete pumping truck on the 12th of this month showed the water temperature at 90°, which was higher than the 84° on the day before the explosion [on March 15], and while the water level was about 3 meters above the top of the fuel rods it was lower than anticipated. For that reason they investigated the water temperature and level again this time in order to check how effective water injection has been.

      Increasing the amount of water injected would increase the effectiveness of cooling the fuel rods in the pool, but the dilemma is that water contaminated with radioactive material would overflow [from the pool], so it cannot be done easily.

      It was planned to check the submerged fuel rods directly in order to photograph them and see how damaged they are using an underwater camera on the 22nd. But the operating environment the camera can be used in has an upper limit of 50° water temperature so they had to give up the idea of taking photographs.

      •  this confirms SFP #4 is leaking imho (5+ / 0-)

        Either it is leaking at a point two or three meters above the fuel rods (what is left of them, that is) or else it is leaking from lower at a rate that means they can't or won't put water in fast enough to fill it higher.  

        The statement about overflowing the pond seems fishy to me. Why not fill it to the top?   In fact, this whole report stinks.  They don't put facts together well, and for a reason.  That reason is to obfuscate the true magnitude of the problem/ disaster / situation.

        The basement has 5 meters of water in it.  We don't know for sure if that water is staying stagnant or not.   We don't know if the pool leaked it, or if the tsunami somehow is responsible.  We do know that is a lot of water, and it is radioactive waste that they currently have no way to dispose of.  (Radioactive waste is never truly disposed of, anyway - it is stored and then you hope for the best.)

        There are plenty of cameras that can be placed into housings that will withstand 90 degree water.  They give up too easily.   Will they try again  They dont say.  Pathetic.

        They are also admitting that until YESTERDAY, they had no real idea how much water was in the pond.  They also admit they have no real idea how much the fuel is damaged.  

  •  METI to take over TEPCO's PR (14+ / 0-)

    A fascinating story about the interactions between the Japanese Govt and TEPCO in the last few days:

    http://online.wsj.com/...

    TOKYO—Japan's government said it will increasingly speak for embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co., as six weeks of nuclear crisis at the company's Fukushima Daiichi power complex have generated sometimes-conflicting status reports from the government and Tepco.

    Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees the country's top nuclear regulator, said Friday said it will take a strong role within the Tepco public-relations arm devoted to disclosing reports on plant damage. METI will run Tepco's main daily status briefing, held each evening, though the company will still conduct some others on its own.

    --cut--

    "Who is the person overseeing this operation?" asked one reporter at a briefing earlier this month on Tepco's planned discharge of lightly radioactive water into the ocean. "Why can he not come here? Tell me his name. Who is it? Go up and find out right now. Go right now. Go right now."

    cont....

    •  WHO IS THE PERSON OVERSEEING THIS? (8+ / 0-)

      Best question so far... and a great follow up, too. "Why can he not come here?"  

      I would like to buy that reporter a drink, a cigar and a pulitzer prize.  The very most basic questions have never been answered during this whole catastrophe.

      Why was nothing done for the first four days regarding the spent fuel ponds?   Why was the venting delayed prior to explosions?  WHO IS THE PERSON who was in charge of these decisions then, and who is in charge now?  Why is TEPCO still in charge?  The list continues.  

    •  Great find! (8+ / 0-)

      That report is totally bizarre and at the same time it makes perfect sense. I guess it's a tacit admission that TEPCO is just an extension of METI.

      TEPCO is on its way out of business. It is unlikely to survive another year as a viable entity. METI could be doing this proactively in order to protect the nuclear industry as a whole.

      One thing I can't figure out is where the METI Minister, Banri Kaieda, fits into all of this. He is an extremely slick politician. He is a member of the Democratic Party of Japan, but he had close ties to Ichiro Ozawa (a powerful but rather corrupt member of the DPJ), so at first glance his profile is mixed. It's a safe that Kaieda is very ambitious, and he may be acting as a mediator between the various factions within METI (some of which are pro-nuclear and some anti).

      Here's a tidbit from a Financial Times article from last September:

      Dubbed by Naoto Kan, the prime minister, as the cabinet's "control tower" for economic policy, Mr Kaieda sees his role more modestly as that of a "co-ordinator" between Tokyo's powerful finance and trade ministries.
  •  Sunflowers hoped to clean cesium from soil (12+ / 0-)

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/...

    Japanese researchers who study space agriculture believe growing sunflowers will remove radioactive cesium from contaminated soil around the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, and are planning a project to plant as many of the yellow flowers as possible this year.

    They have invited people to sow sunflower seeds near the Fukushima Prefecture power station, hoping the sunflower will become a symbol of recovery in the areas affected by the nuclear crisis.

    --cut--

    After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, sunflowers and rape blossoms were used to decontaminate soil in Ukraine. Radioactive cesium is similar to kalium, a commonly used fertilizer. If kalium is not present, sunflowers will absorb cesium instead.

    If the harvested sunflowers are disposed of by burning them, radioactive cesium could be dispersed through smoke, which is why the researchers are considering using hyperthermophilic aerobic bacteria--used to produce compost--to decompose the plants. The decomposing process will reduce the sunflowers to about 1 percent of their previous volume, which will slash the amount of radioactive waste that needs to be dealt with.

    ...cont...

    Sunflowers as a symbol of hope for Japan seems so uplifting. I'd never heard of this before; I had heard of lichen and mushrooms used to clean up in Chernobyl only.

  •  "Fukushima Fifty" criticize inconsistent info (9+ / 0-)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

    The Fukushima Fifty represents around 700 workers, last I looked.

    Workers at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant claim to have been risking their health to battle around the clock in order to regain control following severe damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

    However, concerns have been raised over the fact that the Japanese government took a "special measure" to raise radiation exposure levels from the normal total of 100 millisieverts up to 250 millisieverts in order to deal with the current crisis.

    There were further claims that some workers were not being required to register their radiation exposure, which they feared could create future issues if health problems arose.

    cont...

    And they've just raised it from 250 to 500 (upthread post)...

  •  ICRP seems mostly satisfied (7+ / 0-)

    NHK English

    The chairperson of the International Commission on Radiological Protection says more checks are needed to measure radiation in the Fukushima area.

    Claire Cousins told NHK that the Japanese government's decision to raise the permissible level of radiation from one millisievert to 20 millisieverts per year is in line with the levels set by the commission when dealing with emergency situations.
    ...

    Cousins said Fukushima is not comparable to Chernobyl, noting that a far smaller amount of radioactive substances has been released.

    She says any effects will be minimal because people have been evacuated from most irradiated areas.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 04:50:24 PM PDT

  •  OT, but it's really slow and it's the weekend (7+ / 0-)

    This subject has caused probably all of us to spend more than a little time learning about and wondering what leads us to such problems and puzzling how do we go forward. It is a matter of energy, something we simply cannot be without in this world we've constructed.

    I just watched a NOVA episode on the subject. While any viewer would naturally react to whatever portion of the show goes against an already held belief ( I am guilty ), they appear to have done a very good job of producing a pretty objective report. If one can avoid the propensity to assign emphasis or favoritism on the part of the producers based on minutes devoted to or coloring of this or that, it's a good and informative episode.  I learned a few things.

    Power Surge, from NOVA

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 08:15:45 PM PDT

  •  Ttl iodine release in sea 100 million x safe limit (9+ / 0-)

    Thankfully, the cesium numbers aren't nearly as awful at 1.7 times the allowable limit and the iodine has a short half life.

    Kan Criticized as He Visits Fukushima - WSJ.com

    APRIL 22, 2011

    ...
    Details released Thursday by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of Fukushima Daiichi, provided firmer numbers behind a leak of radioactive water from the plant early this month that sent radioactivity readings soaring in the nearby ocean.

    Tepco estimated 520 tons of radioactive water leaked from the No. 2 reactor facility, containing a total of 4,700 terabecquerels radioactive material. The discharge had an iodine-131 concentration of about 100 million times the level Japan considers safe for release into the environment, according to Tepco.

    The release—roughly equivalent to one-fifth the volume of an Olympic swimming pool—is believed to have contributed to the elevated radioactivity readings earlier this month in the sea and in fish caught miles away from the plant. Radioactivity levels in the surrounding sea have since fallen.

    Bad weather has blocked ocean readings on four of the past five days, but the levels of cesium-137—a long-lived radioactive isotope with a 30-year half life—was steady at 1.7 times Japan's allowable limit Monday, the last reading available.

    The leak came from a gushing crack Tepco discovered on April 2 and plugged on April 6. That discharge was separate—and in all, magnitudes more radioactive— from Tepco's announced move at around the same time to pump some 10,000 tons of water into the sea to make way for more-contaminated runoff from operations to cool reactors at the plant.

    Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission estimates the radiation that leaked into the ocean from reactor No. 2 is roughly equal to 1% of what it estimates has been released into the air since the crisis began March 11.

    Meanwhile, workers continued to make slow progress transferring highly contaminated water from the No. 2 reactor area to a nearby storage facility. Workers have drained more than 690 tons so far. Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said the initial plan of pumping out 10,000 tons of irradiated water is expected to be completed in 26 days.

    •  NISA disagrees w 520 ton figure (4+ / 0-)

      A later WSJ report about NISA taking over the PR work from TEPCO cites this 520 ton figure as a point of contention.  Given the overall credibility of TEPCO, I am assuming that NISA and others feel this estimate is low.  
      wsj article on PR

      A recent example of the lack of coordination came Thursday, when Tepco released its estimate of how much radioactive water had leaked into the sea earlier this month from the plant's damaged No. 2 reactor. Typically, NISA and Tepco release such data together. But the same day, NISA's Mr. Nishiyama said the regulator hasn't finished analyzing the data, raising the possibility of a revision.

      Mr. Nishiyama repeated that answer Friday, further casting doubt on whether NISA and Tepco would ultimately agree on the findings.

      Keep in mind this is one of several horrifically bad releases of radioactivity - one of the worst so far, that is - and the final estimate will be cited in court cases such as lawsuits from fishing industry lawyers, etc.

      This leak is from the primary containment of a reactor that has melted down, and suffered and explosion at the lowest level of the device, and also penetrated the secondary containment as well.  The so called "third level of containment" would presumably be earth's atmosphere.  This juice is on the loose, folks. TEPCO claims that they dumped some goo into a trench and some soil and so therefor it WAS "fixed."  I put emphasis on WAS, since there have been numerous earthquakes since that time, and TEPCO isn't really commenting about that.  I'm not sure if they have been asked directly if the leak is still "fixed" or not.  When and if the radioactivity levels detected in the ocean rise, TEPCO will be forced to amend their words but until that time they are pretending that things are all right in this area.  

      There is probably no functional way to fix the breach of the primary containment, (it exploded) and the secondary containment is still presumably breached as well.  What is supposedly stopping this deadly liquid is nothing more than the end of an open air trench, a stone's throw from the Pacific ocean.  THe visible open flow seems to be the only thing they can tell us was "fixed."

      Water has a way of flowing downhill....  seeping thru tiny cracks and flowing thru sand and soil, eroding anything in its path.  The fact that there may be less water flowing does not tell us that the water is less toxic.  In fact, less water in the trench just means that the water that is there is more concentrated in radiation.  

  •  do we have this one mentioned by gmoke (6+ / 0-)

    http://www.radiationnetwork.com/...

    or should i add? I can't recall if we have used it before....

    •  If we're listing that site (5+ / 0-)

      what about RDTN.org.  Radiation Network is basically US and give numbers in CPM.  I hate to say this but unless I start seeing counts in the milisev/hour range on RDTN.org I have a hard time believing that enough radiation is going to make it across the pacific to bump Radiation Network above background.  

      http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests. Because your sig should include a link that will get it banned in China.

      by sdelear on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 09:00:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have been monitoring (6+ / 0-)

        daily here at my homestead in western NC with my trusty Geiger-Mueller. It's now back down to relative background levels, with occasional self-explosive isotopes drifting through to shoot it up to .1 mrem/hr [millirem]. First week of April it was steady at .03 to .05 mrem/hr, .07 to .1 mrem/hr in the rain.

        Now, natural background here (not being downwind of any nukes other than Oak Ridge complex, and they're 150 miles away) is right around 30 mrem (~3.45 microrem/hr times 8760 hours in a year). Radiation from Fukushima at those early April levels would up that by at best a factor of ten, which is certainly NOT inconsiderable to me. The iodine component is certainly much less now, but cesiums and strontium (and God only knows what else with half-lives greater than a month) are still around, on the soil where our food is grown. It will get into the crops and be ingested, just as seaborne contamination will get into the ocean food chain.

        I am not very frightened of a general beta/gamma dose of .33 Rem a year, but then again, I'm 60 years old. If I had babies/young children or were pregnant I'd be very upset if my 'allowable limits' (by virtue of definitional game-playing on 'natural background') were to go up by a factor of ten while being assured by TPTB that it's perfectly safe. It's not.

        Even .1 Rem a year of internal point-blank destruction of cells and molecules inside the body ups the risks of cancer according to what damage is done. That's not something you learn from a chart, graph or spreadsheet divvying deceptive dose calculations amongst billions of faceless humans. It's something the individual learns the hard way sometime down the road.

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 10:39:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  more meta in email.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, mahakali overdrive, rja
  •  Reactor #1 water levels (12+ / 0-)

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/...

    At the Number 1 reactor, where fuel rods are believed to be the most seriously damaged, six tons of water are being injected every hour.

    TEPCO believes the water is vaporizing, then condensing in the containment vessel.

    The water level is now estimated to be about half way up the bulb of the dry well.

    It may be that this is simply inexact reporting, but if I understand the article they are injecting the water into the reactor and continuously venting steam into the containment vessel.

    Anything that can cook off 6 tons of water every hour is HOT.

     

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

    by Just Bob on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 09:36:40 PM PDT

    •  That report leaves me feeling uneasy (9+ / 0-)

      I wish I knew what the engineers know or at least what their assumptions might be.

      I can think of other possibilities.

      1. They are not intentionally venting into the containment. That would imply a reactor breach.

      2. The water is simply leaking out into some place other than the containment.

      3. There may be enough water in the containment that the containment is acting as a suppression chamber. That is to say, the rupture in the RPV is below the water in the containment and the steam is bubbling up through the water and condensing. I would think the pressure in the containment would otherwise be very high.

      Can anyone think of some more pleasant thoughts?

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

      by Just Bob on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 10:45:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The water is collecting in the containment vessel, (12+ / 0-)

        the suppression pool and below the suppression pool according to TEPCO in the video that accompanies your linked story. I found their explanation somewhat confusing so I did a transcript of what they said on the video that accompanies NHK's written story.

        Aside from that, it seems TEPCO and NISA are feuding over whether flooding the containment vessel will affect its ability to resist earthquakes. Nearly as I can tell neither are offering data nor opinions from earthquake structural engineers to support their respective positions.

        Steam has been emitted as injected water comes into contact with heated fuel. The vapor has subsequently found its way into the containment vessel.  Vapor has precipitated into water and is believed to have collected in the containment vessel. Yesterday Tokyo Electric Power Company said accurate data on the water level is not yet available.

        Water has collected at the spherical bottom of the flask-shaped containment vessel. The water level is gradually rising. Down below the suppression chamber is mostly full with water. Therefore, the area below is submerged in water. The sphere-shaped bottom half of the containment vessel is half full of water.

        Now this is a roadmap to raise? restoration from the accident. TEPCO plans to flood the containment vessel up to the top of the fuel for reactors one and three to achieve stable cooling reactors by July of this year.

        TEPCO believes the method will not undermine the strength of the stretcher. However, the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency says massive amounts of water may undermine the quake resistance of the stretcher and indicated studies to validate the strength is necessary.


        They didn't say anything about the suppression pool pipes on the video but maybe that is what the translator meant by the "stretcher" because I've never heard that word used before in conjunction with this crisis.
        The agency says it needs to check whether the suppression pool pipes can withstand higher levels of pressure from the extra water.
        Saturday, April 23, 2011 07:20 +0900 (JST)

      •  6 tons of water every hour comes to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, mamamedusa

        6 times 24 tons a day which equals 144 tons.

        This would be six to seven truckloads a day of water which sounds reasonable to me.  

        I would worry more about reactor number two which appears to have ruptured containment.  The containments in 1 and 3 are apparently sound according to Arnie Gunderson.

  •  30 workers exposed to 100+ millisieverts (14+ / 0-)

    I wonder if either the government or TEPCO has bothered to ponder the number of high-risk labor hours that will be needed before Fukushima is even at a safe cold shut down point. Neither seemed to have demonstrated a burning desire to see that workers are treated well or paid commensurate with the risks they are taking.

    Workers locked in battle at Fukushima, exposures to radiation rising | Kyodo News

    April 23
    ...
    One more worker is found to have been exposed to radiation of over 100 millisieverts, bringing to 30 the total number of people with that dosage or more while addressing the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the March 11 disasters, sources familiar with the situation said.

    Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. says workers and engineers exposed to radiation close to 200 millisieverts are switched to jobs facing risk of receiving lower levels of contamination.

  •  SFP 4 remains at 91C (8+ / 0-)

    http://mdn.mainichi....

    The company said that the pool's water level was also low -- just about 2 meters above the top of the fuel rods. TEPCO said the data, obtained by using a remotely controlled pumping vehicle on April 22, reflected the fact that it was limiting the volume of pumped water to correspond to the amount that had evaporated due to the fuel rods' heat.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on April 23 that it will pump an additional 140 metric tons of water into the pool in a bid to raise the water level by about two meters and cool down the water.
    ...

    Raising the amount of water into the pool will cool the fuel rods but results in an overflow of water contaminated with radioactive materials. TEPCO thus faces with a dilemma.

    TEPCO initially planned to photograph the fuel rods inside the pool using an underwater camera on April 22 to check for damage to the rods, but it dropped the plan because the camera could only withstand temperatures of up to 50 C.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:00:34 AM PDT

  •  Variations in radiation levels (13+ / 0-)

    As more data is accumulated the no-go, evacuation and tolerable zones are becoming more defined. I wish all these studies and readings were consolidated somewhere, but I suppose that takes time.

    Asahi Shimbun

    A study of radiation levels within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant revealed contamination levels in many locations would not currently pose a major threat to human health.
    ...

    Of 128 locations within the 20-km zone, researchers projected that annual radiation exposure would exceed 100 millisieverts in only 17 places.

    According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), annual radiation exposure exceeding 100 millisieverts poses dangers to health. Annual exposure exceeding 500 millisieverts is associated with a drop in lymphocyte cells in the blood.

    The worst-contaminated location had a radiation level that might expose individuals to more than 500 millisieverts in a year. But nearly half of the sample locations had radiation levels below the 20 millisieverts standard used by the central government as a guideline for issuing evacuation orders.
    ...

    Yutaka Kukita, deputy chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, told an April 20 news conference: "The reactors (at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant) continue to be in an unstable condition. We cannot ignore the possibility of radioactive material being emitted once again, so we decided to designate an area within a 20-kilometer radius as the no-entry zone for the time being."

    But Yoshiya Shimada, a project leader on medical radiation research at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, said: "There is almost no risk of cancer if the radiation exposure level is about 20 millisieverts. For the elderly, the stress from living as an evacuee will have a much greater impact on their health than the risks from radiation exposure. Rather than look just at radiation levels, a more flexible response should be adopted in the future taking into account social, economic and psychological factors."

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:19:36 AM PDT

  •  Another piece for the plan going forward (12+ / 0-)

    Asahi Shimbun

    Wind power can generate electricity up to that produced by 40 nuclear reactors, the Environment Ministry said April 21.
    ...

    The results show that even on the assumption that windmills are not continuously operational, they still have the capacity to produce electric energy equivalent to that generated by 40 nuclear reactors. Japan has 54 commercial reactors, generating nearly 30 percent of the country's electricity output.
    ...

    The ministry plans to propose the introduction of wind power generation and other natural energy source power generation as part of its rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:25:22 AM PDT

  •  An 11 country joint statement (10+ / 0-)

    "Never Again: An Essential Goal for Nuclear Safety" was reportedly delivered to IAEA and published by JAIF on their site but I cannot find it on either.

    Asahi Shimbun

    A group of 16 nuclear safety experts has issued proposals for preventing a recurrence of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident, saying that "relatively inexpensive improvements, detectable by more extensive analysis beforehand" may have prevented it altogether.

    The joint statement by experts representing 11 countries, including the United States, Russia, India and Sweden, was presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    In the statement titled "Never Again: An Essential Goal for Nuclear Safety," experts also recommended that future nuclear power plants be located away from "areas of extreme natural and manmade hazards." The translation of the statement was posted on April 19 by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum on its website with its original English version.
    ...

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:37:24 AM PDT

    •  Found something using Google.fr (france) (7+ / 0-)

      See if this helps:

      Never Again statement

      The best is the enemy of the good. --Voltaire

      by pateTX on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 08:38:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  apologist rhetoric from those who still want nukes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldhippie

      This is like a child molester saying he won't prey on third graders anymore, when he intends to switch to fourth graders.  

      There should be no "future nuclear power plants,' period.  Disasters such as this one show that the benefits are simply not worth the risks, and that the industry and government as a whole are unable to get it right.  

      •  I think comparing supporters of nuclear power (6+ / 0-)

        to child molesters is most unfortunate. If you would like to have this comment go away let people know that you would like to have it hide rated.

        •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rja

          most unfortunate.......

          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 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 12:10:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Trust me, I know much stronger language. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rja, peraspera

            I am trying to persuade  willisnewton, though, and thought gentler language might reach him. Apparently not.

            •  I appreciate the concern. (0+ / 0-)

              If you would like me to change the wording to, "criminal liars who attack children" or "repeat sex offenders" or something, I am open to suggestion.   But anyone who is in favor of this technology, which has a heinous record of death and destruction is clearly anti-social in my mind.  

              This statement from the industrialized nations is nothing less than a naked attempt to convince the people that "it can't ever happen again" now that we have "learned out lesson."  That's what they always say, and that is what criminals say when caught.  

              Feel free to hide my opinion, however as you all see fit. I respect this group and will defer to group consensus. I will not, however, change my opinion.  

              If you read what I wrote, I am not saying that nuclear energy supporters are "like" child molesters in any way other than their lying to get what they want, and using sophistry to get around the obvious fact that they are a danger to society.

              •  Without wading into the question of whether all (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                peraspera, ricklewsive, raoul78, rja, ebohlman

                nuclear supporters are liars (a broad claim) I will point vigorously to the group norm that these diaries discuss specifics of Fukushima, and that broader policy questions belong in separate diaries.

              •  I know people who support this technology (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                peraspera, Wee Mama, rja, ricklewsive

                specifically the modern iterations of it, which they believe should replace both the older versions (such as the type found in Fukushima and dozens of plants in the US) and also the coal plants that have their own significant health and safety impacts.  

                I don't find them to be anti-social and they don't lie to get what they want more than most people do.

                So while I'd rather see us announce like JFK did that we would make a national committment to achieve clean alternative energy independence within the decade and then back it like we did when we chose to go to the moon, I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen any time soon.

                So pending that announcement, we're going to live or die with what we've got.  And assessing the tradeoffs of the various available options should be done with the least name calling possible.

                And since we're going to have nuclear plants around for awhile, I'd just as soon they got serious about assessing and addressing the risks that exist.   So if they feel it's necessary to put out PR like this, in my mind it shows that they are at least taking this seriously enough to know that they need this kind of PR.  I'm hoping that if the pressure is kept up they'll also feel it's necessary to take beyond just PR, because now if it does "happen again" they'll have fed themselves to their own sharks.

                But anyone who is in favor of this technology, which has a heinous record of death and destruction is clearly anti-social in my mind.  

                We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

                by Into The Woods on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 11:50:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Google Earth map of all reactors from "Nature" (12+ / 0-)

    http://blogs.nature.com/...

    I've published in Nature tonight a GIS analysis I did with the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center operated by Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), looking at how many people live within certain distances of each of the world's nuclear power plants.

    It shows, for example, that two-thirds of the world’s power plants have more people living within a 30-kilometre radius than the 172,000 people living within 30 kilometres of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Some 21 plants have populations larger than 1 million within that radius, and six have populations larger than 3 million. One hundred and fifty-two nuclear power plants have more than 1 million people living within 75 kilometres. There's lots more other insights in the detailed data.

    The map illustrates clearly that any talk of evacuation is ill founded in many/most cases.

    I recommend using the desktop version of Google Earth and downloading the map. The plugin is buggy on my system.

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

    by Just Bob on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 01:14:33 PM PDT

  •  Highly radioactive debris found near #3 reactor (8+ / 0-)

    TEPCO: Highly radioactive concrete fragment found

    NHK World
    Sunday, April 24, 2011 00:23 +0900 (JST)

    Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says its workers detected radioactivity of 900 millisieverts per hour being emitted from a 30-by-30 centimeter concrete fragment, 5 centimeters thick, on Wednesday.
    ...
    TEPCO says the workers were exposed to 3.17 millisieverts of radiation during the clean-up and the concrete block has been stored safely in a container with other debris.

    The utility believes the contaminated fragment could be part of debris scattered across the compound as a result of a hydrogen explosion at the Number 3 reactor.

    •  Conversion to inches (6+ / 0-)

      That would be about 12" x 12" and 2" thick. I wonder where that came from?

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

      by Just Bob on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 04:49:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Worker removed 900 millisievert debris (9+ / 0-)

      I can understand not wanting to use one of the huge remotely operated shovels to remove the piece of highly contaminated concrete but there is no reason a Packbot could not have been used. If TEPCO continues to behave so foolishly in managing their precious workforce resources they are going to run out of workers long before the job is completed.

      I hope the Japanese government is looking seriously at bringing in some better people to manage this disorganized mess. TEPCO managers seem to miss few opportunities to demonstrate poor judgement.

      Radiation accumulation has slowed in Namie but one place is now over the evacuation limit.

      On a more positive note, they have the #4 pool cooled down some and the pool hasn't fallen apart.

      Workers locked in battle at nuclear plant; exposure to radiation rising ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

      Sunday 24th April, 06:20 AM JST
      ...
      Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said Saturday that a piece of concrete rubble with a high radiation emission of 900 millisieverts per hour was found near the plant’s No. 3 reactor and a worker removed it using heavy equipment.

      The worker who operated the equipment was exposed to 3.17 millisieverts of radiation, but officials of TEPCO said the dosage does not pose a major problem.

      The concrete piece, about 30 centimeters in both length and width with a thickness of about 5 cm, was found Wednesday and removed the following day and is currently being kept inside a container with other pieces of rubble, the officials said.

      While workers are removing rubble from the damaged plant using remote-controlled heavy machinery, the one emitting high radiation was removed directly using the equipment so as not to damage an important pipe located nearby, they said.

      TEPCO says workers and engineers exposed to radiation close to 200 millisieverts are switched to jobs that risk receiving lower levels of contamination.

      Such a policy has been applied to just one worker so far, after his reading rose to 198 millisieverts, according to the utility.
      ...
      At the No. 4 reactor building, the temperature of the spent nuclear fuel pool dropped from 83 C to 66 C after a four-hour process of injecting 140 tons of fresh water using a concrete pump truck, increasing the water level in the pool by 1 meter, TEPCO officials said.

      Separately, the science ministry said the cumulative dosage of radiation has exceeded the annual limit set by the government for evacuation at one location in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, about 30 km northwest of the nuclear complex.
      ...
      The ministry’s data showed the radiation level there reached 10 millisieverts after the first 12 days since the start of measurement, but it took 19 days for an additional 10 millisieverts of radiation to be detected.


      •  can someone do the math? (4+ / 0-)

        Should 140 tons of water raise the water level by one meter, or is the pool leaking?  Of course, we have not been told if the "math" was already done by TEPCO and that is just how much they think the water SHOULD have been raised, or if that is actually the water level or not.  

        I seem to be the resident cynic here, but I simply don't give TEPCO much credibility when they announce things like this.  

        The basement is completely filled with radioactive water, and the pool is said to be leaking.  Their roadmap calls for "support" to be added to the bottom of the pool, but they have not said why it needs it when others do not. They are clearly not giving the press a full understanding of what is going on here.  

        We've heard speculation about the fuel going critical, and evidence that seems to indicate the pool is cracked or leaking somehow.  What we haven't heard is straight talk about what is going on there.  

        •  It should take 121 tons of water to raise 1 meter (9+ / 0-)

          You can find the dimensions of the pool on this graphic. In the middle of the left column it gives dimensions of the SFP at unit 3, which should be the same as unit 4:

          the dimensions are 9.9 m x 12.2 m x 11.8 m = 1425 m^3

          to raise the level 1 meter add 9.9 m x 12.2 m = 120.78 m^3

          1 m^3 of water = 1 ton of water

          therefore to raise the level 1 meter add ~121 tons of water.

          Adding 140 tons of water should raise the level about 1.16 m (140/121 = 1.157).

          •  thanks pj! (3+ / 0-)

            I'm very grateful for your insights and hard work on this group, pj.  I've learned more from you than I have reading the MSM.

            Let's assume for a moment that the data from TEPCO is correct. What has been proved?  

            I'm left to speculate since TEPCO is seldom forthcoming with straight talk and details, but the remaining water, the amount over the one meter added,  -nineteen tons of water - is not accounted for. So 19 tons of water is either evaporating, too small to accurately measure in depth of the pool, or else leaking at that rate or slightly less.  Charitably and optimistically we can speculate now that the pool leaks less than 19 tons in one day, at present, which seems to be a good thing.  Is this a good assumption to make?

            It's likely they don't know themselves.  Until recently, it seems they couldn't accurately report the water level in general, or even confirm its existence.  Lowering a probe from the putzmeister into a tiny hole through the rubble is their only real means of measuring this pool.  We have yet to see acceptably decent photos of what this pool looks like, despite ample opportunity for better cameras to be employed.  I'm constantly amazed at how little TEPCO is showing and telling the world.  The combination of secrecy and ignorance is flabbergasting.  

            question to the group:
            What is the height of the original fuel rods in the pool?  Do we now have enough information to deduce a reasonable picture of what's happening here?  

            Questions for TEPCO, questions  to ponder/ speculate, look for clues regarding, questions that remain: What is the amount of rubble (non cooling volume) displacing the true capacity of the pool?  Is the pool leaking?  How much of the fuel melted?  Where is that fuel now?  Is criticality occurring?  Did the fuel melt thru the bottom of the pond and create a leak to the basement?  How thick are the walls of the pool, and how thick were the exterior walls and roof that are blown out?  Whose decision was it to do nothing for the first four days regarding this fuel pond?  Couldn't they have presumably formed a human bucket brigade and brought water from the sea starting one hour after the tsunami hit, and prevented the explosion that way?  Each worker and EXECUTIVE could have used his hard hat to bail water from the lagoon....  is this so ridiculous of a thing to contemplate, given what DID happen?  

            Why, precisely, both scientifically and practically (in terms of of leadership) did the explosion in this building occur?  Why are wall panels on a level lower than the operating floor blown out, and what does this tell us about where the hydrogen was coming from?  

            Why is the basement filled with 5 meters of water, and why did it take a month to find that out?  Where is this water going?  Is the temperature going down in the pond but up in the basement as fuel seeps down into the basement?  Is that a valid worry?  How do we rule that out?

            Can the rubble and gantry crane be removed from the top of the pool without destroying the integrity of the pool?  Can the fuel be removed without moving the gantry crane?  Can a recirculating system be devised and implemented so that the continuing fallout from "feed and bleed" will lessen?  Can that work happen soon?  What is the level of radioactivity at the surface of the pond currently?  How close can workers get to the structure without keeling over?  Why is there a plan to add "support" to this pool and not the others?  

            And last but not least, who is in charge and what is his name and why can't he attend a press briefing and answer questions?  

            •  I think the data from TEPCO is probably correct (6+ / 0-)

              They don't have a good track record, but in this case I think they are in a squabble with NISA (another organization I have a hard time believing). It seems that TEPCO and NISA are not longer joined at the hip (their interests have diverged), so we're getting different stories from them, which probably a good thing because we get to see more of the debate about options as they emerge. TEPCO has released the data in that context, so I think it is probably right.

              I'm working from memory so there are probably errors in my understanding, but I think the fuel rods are 4.5 m long. The depth of the water in the pool was 3 m over the top of the rods at the first measurement (roughly 7.5 m total), then 2 m over at the second (6.5 m). The level is supposed to be 7 m over the tops of the rods (11.5 m). If you go back to the graphic, you'll see that the pool is 11.8 m deep, so 4.5 m for the rods + 7 m over the tops = 11.5. which is about right. So in normal operation the pool should have about 11.5 m of water, and currently it has about 6.5-7.5 m of water. The water level is down by about 4-5 m.

              So what happened to those 4-5 m of water? The two explanations I've heard are 1) evaporation and 2) leaking. The fuel rods probably were exposed at some point, so they are probably hotter than normal, so evaporation is likely. Evaporation probably explains the drop in water level from 7.5 to 6.5.

              So why did they fill the pool up only to the 7.5 m level this time? The explanations I've heard are 1) the structural integrity of the pool is in question so it can't support a full load of water, 2) the pool may "overflow" if they fill it up (that probably means leaks above the 7.5 m level).

              I'm speculating, but they dumped a huge amount of water on the pool, and when they examined it the water level was about 7.5 m deep. Everything over that level probably leaked into the basement, so when they filled it up again, they stopped at 7.5 m to minimize leaks.

              Speculation, again, but if you look at TEPCO's response to flooding in the basements of the various units, it's clear they are alarmed at what is happening in unit 2, and worried about units 1 and 3. Water in the basement of unit 4 limits their options (they can't use it as a reservoir) but they aren't scrambling to find a place to put it. So I think the situation in the spent fuel pool is not as immediately dangerous as unit 2. For that reason, I don't think fuel has melted through the bottom of the pool. In that case the response would be very different from what we're seeing.

              I believe the "feed and bleed" approach applies to the reactor cores at 1-3, not to the fuel pools. As long as the spent fuel is covered in water it should not be giving off a lot of radiation. Working from memory again, I recall reading something yesterday in one of the Japanese papers about how they are trying out a new filtering system on water they are injecting into the spent fuel pool at unit 2. It may be a different unit, but the point is that they are starting to test filtering systems which will allow them, eventually, to cool the pools using recirculated water.

              •  I'm hoping they are testing the new powder (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Just Bob, rja, mamamedusa

                to treat contaminated water and that it works. It's a home-grown solution so the Japanese may be more willing to test it.

                I recall reading something yesterday in one of the Japanese papers about how they are trying out a new filtering system on water they are injecting into the spent fuel pool at unit 2. It may be a different unit, but the point is that they are starting to test filtering systems which will allow them, eventually, to cool the pools using recirculated water.

                Japanese Scientist Develops Powder that Can Clean Fukushima Daiichi Radioactive Water Faster Than Areva - Japan Real Time - WSJ
                French nuclear engineering company Areva SA will lend its services to treat the pools of radioactive water at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, lifting a crucial obstacle hindering repair efforts. But a Japanese chemist claims he has developed a powder substance in less than a month that he says could decontaminate the toxic water 20 times faster than the French method, thereby significantly accelerating progress toward the ultimate goal of cold shutdown.
                ...
                Tomihisa Ohta, a professor at Kanazawa University’s graduate school of natural science and technology, says his white powder, made up of an assortment of natural minerals and chemicals, would essentially capture the radioactive materials from the contaminated water in a process that could treat 1,000 tons of water in an hour. Areva’s treatment system can remove radioactive material from 50 tons of water an hour.
                ...
                Mr. Ohta said he reached out to Fukushima Daiichi operator Tepco and the government about a week ago when he finished developing the radioactive bent powder. Discussions are ongoing, he said. Relevant Tepco and government officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
                ...
                Mr. Ohta said the substance could be used to help cleanup efforts at Fukushima Daiichi immediately as soon as several water treatment facilities are built like the unit being erected by Areva. Researchers did not use radioactive substances in the experiment, but Mr. Ohta said he’s confident the powder would produce the same results regardless because the chemical properties are the same.
                ...

                •  Thanks for the source pera! (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  peraspera, Just Bob, rja, Wee Mama, mamamedusa

                  If that guy's powder works it will be great news. And you're right, if it's home-grown the Japanese may be more willing to use it.

                  The thing I was referring to was in a TEPCO press release:

                  From 1:40pm to 2:00pm on April 22nd, we injected fresh water to the spent fuel pool of Unit 3 from the fuel pool cooling and filtering system on a trial basis.
                  I guess I misunderstood the reference. Looking at a Japanese press release, it explains they were using the cooling and filtering system to inject seawater starting on March 23. Since then they've been injecting water into the pool from the outside, using the Hyper Rescue Team or the concrete pumping truck.

                  So the reference appears to be talking about trying to use the cooling and filtering system to inject fresh water into the spent fuel pool, not (as I misunderstood it) to start using a new filtering system.

                •  Zeolite - is part of the "powder" (4+ / 0-)

                  which was already dropped into the ocean in large quantities (read in a similar article last week).  They also dropped in tons of Boran (Borax) - from China early on.  

                  There are natural alkaline materials that will apparently decontanimate radiation - including the ability to take internally.

                  Not an expert - just read  a lot in trying to understand...
                  when there IS no understading of WHY humans are so hell bent on our own destruction?

                  Take care all Humans here - Corporations be damned...

              •  thanks - you answered my questions well (3+ / 0-)

                I do think the pool is damaged in such a way that water over 7.5 meters is leaking.  That makes the most sense of all the scenarios....

                How does a hundred or so tons of water 'evaporate' so quickly unless it is boiling somewhere?  How hot are fuel rods? .

        •  #4 pool has much more fuel in it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera, rja, mamamedusa

          than any of the others. Presumably that's why they're thinking of extra support.

          If you Google "headache brain tumor", you will come away convinced that your headache is actually cancer—Seth Mnookin

          by ebohlman on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:17:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The structure of the #4 pool was damaged (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rja, mamamedusa

            during a hydrogen explosion as well as it having the most fuel rods.

            Quake protection considered for No.4 reactor - NHK WORLD English

            The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is studying ways to increase earthquake resistance of the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 reactor.

            The walls of the reactor building supporting the pool were severely damaged by an explosion on March 15th.

            TEPCO is examining footage taken by an unmanned helicopter. The company plans to install several concrete pillars on the floor below that will support the bottom of the pool.
            ...
            The pool has the most fuel rods at the plant and a large amount of water has been evaporating. The company has been injecting water into the pool to prevent the rods from being exposed and further damaged.
            ...
            TEPCO says it will try to start the reinforcement construction as soon as possible because further strong aftershocks may occur.
            Sunday, April 24, 2011 14:21 +0900 (JST)

            Japan concerned about reactor strength as new quake strikes - Monsters and Critics

            Apr 23, 2011

            The operator also became more cautious about injecting water into the spent fuel pool of reactor 4 because of fears that the weight of the water might further damage the building, news reports said.
            ...
            TEPCO said excessive water injection could further weaken the structure of the building due to damage to the walls of the building supporting the pool during last month's hydrogen explosion.

            •  This is what causes "normal accidents" (0+ / 0-)
              The walls of the reactor building supporting the pool were severely damaged by an explosion on March 15th.

              I was reading more from  the US NRC about its spent fuel pool safety regulations and its assessment of new seismic risk.

              Learned that the GI-199 reveiw and initial assessment to integrate new data on seismic risk and evaluate against design, construction and operating standards at each of the US nuclear sites only looked at the reactors and their containment, not the spent fuel pools.

              Evidently the NRC is thinking about going back and taking a look at that issue as well.  

              And in all of the previous analysis I saw concerning spent fuel pools for BWR (which have their spent fuel pools elevated near the top of the reactor containment vessel, I don't remember any mention of the this particular threat - compromised integrity of the surrounding structure that holds up the massive walled structure of the spent fuel pool itself from potential hydrogen explosions from necessary venting.  (In fact, I don't recall mention of the risk of such explosions either come to think of it.)

              If the floor beneath the spent fuel pool is compromised, so is the spent fuel pool.  

              If the backup electricity (from diesel generators or batteries) is designed and installed to only be available to serve the reactor and it's cooling needs, the spent fuel pool is compromised. (Something else that exists in some plants, according to those older reports - in part because until the late 70s(?) spent fuel pools were not regarded as posing any danger of overheating or fires or re-criticality. )

              Failure to seek out, identify and consider the impacts of these kinds of interactions and failures to apply new science to old projects and out-dated regulations, are the type of things we need to work to eliminate, but also the type of things that to a certain extent are unavoidable given human nature and political process.

              So we need to do what we can to provide a strong safety net to catch what we miss.  

              We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

              by Into The Woods on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 11:20:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  JAIF - NHK World - Cattle in the restricted zone (8+ / 0-)

    2011-04-23 Earthquake Report 61 PDF(443KB)

    Tens of thousands of farm animals have been abandoned in the evacuation zone surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Many of them reportedly have already died.
    Fukushima Prefecture authorities say there were about three-hundred livestock farms with three-thousand cows, 30-thousand pigs, and 600-thousand chickens.
    A veterinarian who inspected barns and chicken coops on Friday last week, before the area was designated off limits, says almost all the chickens had died.
    He says about 70 percent of the pigs at barns with automatic feeders were alive.
    But most pigs in other barns were dead.
    Most of the beef cattle had been let out to graze, and were still alive. But about 60 percent of the dairy cows in barns had died.
    Farmers are asking government to allow them to take the animals out of the area, or permit them to take care of their livestock.
    Some farmers are requesting that they be allowed to euthanize the remaining animals.
    The agriculture ministry says, however, it will be difficult to allow people to enter the restricted area to euthanize or feed the animals.
    Saturday, April 23, 2011 04:39 +0900 (JST)

  •  TEPCO to install more wastewater storage tanks (6+ / 0-)

    NHK World
    Sunday, April 24, 2011 08:02 +0900 (JST)

    TEPCO to install more wastewater storage tanks

    TEPCO initially planned to install tanks with a capacity of 27,000 tons by the end of May. However, the company is now planning to construct 31,400 tons of storage capacity by early June.
    ...
    TEPCO says the radioactive water will be sorted into 3 levels of contamination --- low, medium and high --- and will be stored accordingly.
    TEPCO regards the high level wastewater as containing radioactive substances ranging from 100 to one million Becquerels per cubic centimeter.

    To store the highly radioactive water safely, the company plans to construct special underground tanks coated with material resistant to radiation and corrosion, which have a total capacity of 10,000 tons.

    •  The necessity of this storage was known (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob, rja, ricklewsive, mamamedusa

      weeks ago and there is no evidence that work has yet commenced. TEPCO seems to have no sense of urgency when it comes down to accomplishing work rather than talking about it.

      •  I would guess debris removal has to come first (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera, rja, ricklewsive, mamamedusa

        and according to the timeline they're making some progress on that:
        http://sky.geocities.jp/...

        If I were really diligent I would search that document for the word "intermodal" and present a total number of containers. ;-)

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

        by Just Bob on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 06:09:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More on those containers (5+ / 0-)

          While I may not be that diligent, someone is. ;-)

          Work started on April 6th to remove contaminated rubble, which had been obstructing the restoration process.

          TEPCO says much of the debris around the former office building has been removed, and it has started clearing the rubble around the Number 3 and Number 4 reactors.

          Enough debris has been removed to fill 50 containers, and it is being kept in a field on the mountainside.


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

          by Just Bob on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 01:16:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  open air storage of nuclear waste, iow (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            oldhippie

            Contaminated rubble includes bits of fuel rods, presumably as well.  "Being kept in a field" means it is scooped up with a bulldozer and dumped on the ground elsewhere, kicking up dust and making the waste into airborne fallout.  Lovely.  

            One wonders if they bother to scoop some dirt over it when they are done.  A cat does at least that much.  

            •  I think you missed the (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ricklewsive, Wee Mama, peraspera, rja

              50 containers part.

              I'm to blame. I forgot to post the link:
              http://www3.nhk.or.jp/...

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

              by Just Bob on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 02:57:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  containers are for water (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                oldhippie

                I'm sorry I don't trust TEPCO when they say these things, and much is lost in translation as well.  Show me a photo of a field with fifty containers and I will be satisfied.  They could have two containers and use them to ferry radioactive rubble to the dumping place for all we know - one at a time gets filled as the other is hauled and dumped.  Also, the word container is awfully vague.  My lunchbox is a container.        

                I'm not trying to be difficult, but TEPCO has very little credibility here in my book.

                 

                •  The word isn't that vague if you read the thread (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rja, peraspera, Wee Mama, mamamedusa, oldhippie

                  Here they are described as intermodal containers:
                  http://sky.geocities.jp/...

                  This is an intermodal container:
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  Here they say:
                  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/...

                  The radiation levels one meter away are 1 to 2 millisieverts per hour.

                  I can believe that statement if the debris is in an intermodal container. I would have a hard time believing the radiation level of debris piled on the ground was only "1 to 2 millisieverts per hour" at 1 meter. If that were true they wouldn't need to use remotely controlled equipment to move it.

                  I don't know if I've convinced you, but I've shared all I know on the subject and provided the links.

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

                  by Just Bob on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:04:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  A map of the evacuation and pre-evacuation zones (6+ / 0-)

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 05:31:05 PM PDT

  •  Government considering underground barrier (9+ / 0-)

    around the Fukushima plant to prevent radiation from spreading through water in the soil.

    TEPCO thinks that suppression pools may be leaking but they don't seem to have a good handle on the sources of all the leaks.

    Japanese government considers underground wall to contain Fukushima radiation - Environment - MiamiHerald.com

    THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN
    TOKYO -- The Japanese government is considering building an underground barrier near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to prevent radioactive material from spreading far from the plant via soil and groundwater, a senior government official said.

    Sumio Mabuchi, a special adviser to the prime minister, revealed the plan Friday at the Japan National Press Club building in Tokyo. The plan is the first attempt to address the risk of contaminated water spreading far from the plant through soil.

    According to Mabuchi, the barrier would extend so far underground that it would reach a layer that does not absorb water. The wall would entirely surround the land on which reactors No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 stand.
    ...
    According to Tepco, it has poured about 7,000 tons of water into the No. 1 reactor's pressure vessel. The company said it believes almost all of that water is still inside the pressure vessel and the containment vessel. However, the firm said it has injected about 14,000 tons of water into the No. 2 reactor and 9,600 tons of water into the No. 3 reactor since cooling operations began. In both cases, the amount injected exceeds the about-7,000-ton capacity of the reactors' containment vessels.

    Tepco believes considerable amounts of water leaked from those reactors' containment vessels into their turbine buildings through cracks in pressure suppression pools and other routes.

    •  Caisson wall (8+ / 0-)

      They should be able to get some advice from Silicon Valley remediation firms. There are 40+ superfund sites there and I think at least 5 such barriers have been built.

      They're usually accompanied with extraction wells, treatment plants, and injection wells on the other side of the barrier.

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

      by Just Bob on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:06:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Given the rad readings from the dry wells (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ricklewsive, rja, mamamedusa, Joieau

      I wonder if this indicates that one or more cores are slowly melting their way through the core catchers and might end up in the ground.  

      http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests. Because your sig should include a link that will get it banned in China.

      by sdelear on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 08:53:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Note it is govt, not TEPCO who is acting here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mamamedusa, oldhippie

        If the government is thinking about building this, where is TEPCO's mind?  It seems to be elsewhere.  

        And yes, this wall,if completed and maintained for decades would be an ATTEMPT to keep a meltdown from spreading fallout to the surrounding prefecture via groundwater.  I'd love to see TEPCO present a map of the aquifers in the area, given all those fault lines that are near, and then reassure us that everything is "fine" and such a wall isn't needed.  

        It's also to keep the water that still is spilling out of #2's innermost core and out primary and secondary containment from entering the ground water supply even more than it has already done.  They better get busy soon, the leak is ongoing and all that holds it back is a trench and some goo they poured into the soil.  One heavy week of rain would possibly be more than enough to spread this deadly water all over the plant.  

  •  TEPCO: 10% chance of tsunami exceeding plans (14+ / 0-)

    Asahi Shinbun (Japanese) reports:

    2006 TEPCO Report: "10% chance in 50 years" of tsunami that exceeds hypothetical plans

    TEPCO predicted in a presentation at an international conference in 2006 that there was a "10% chance in 50 years" that a tsunami greater than anticipated in design plans might hit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.

    A research team led by the Safety Manager at Tokyo Electric's Nulcear Power Plant Production Headquarters investigated the height of a tsunami that might hit the Fukushima Nuclear Plant using a "probabilistic risk assessment" method and reported on it in July 2006 at a meeting in America of the International Conference on Nuclear Engineering.

    This is all over the blogs in Japan now. The news is not exactly new to us. See for example this Kyodo News story (h/t Magnifico) or this CNN story (h/t kurious).

    The sourcing is different this time, however. Earlier reports focused on a warning that Yukinobu Okamura made to TEPCO and the government in 2009 (based on research he did in 2004). This time the story focuses on the role of Toshiaki Sakai, a senior safety manager at TEPCO, and a report he made at an international conference in the U.S. in 2006. Here are some highlights from an article (in English) from two weeks ago:

    The tsunami research presented by a Tokyo Electric team led by Toshiaki Sakai came on the first day of a three-day conference in July 2007 organized by the International Conference on Nuclear Engineering.

    (snip)

    Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, some 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was a particular concern.

    The 40-year-old nuclear complex was built near a quake zone in the Pacific that had produced earthquakes of magnitude 8 or higher four times in the past 400 years — in 1896, 1793, 1677 and then in 1611, Tokyo Electric researchers had come to understand.

    Based on that history, Sakai, a senior safety manager at Tokyo Electric, and his research team applied new science to a simple question: What was the chance that an earthquake-generated wave would hit Fukushima? More pressing, what were the odds that it would be larger than the roughly 6-metre (20 feet) wall of water the plant had been designed to handle?

    (snip)

    Sakai’s team determined the Fukushima plant was dead certain to be hit by a tsunami of one or two meters in a 50-year period. They put the risk of a wave of 6 metres or more at around 10 percent over the same time span.

    In other words, Tokyo Electric scientists realised as early as 2007 that it was quite possible a giant wave would overwhelm the sea walls and other defenses at Fukushima by surpassing engineering assumptions behind the plant’s design that date back to the 1960s.


    (I know I've read this article at DKos, but couldn't find the comment when I did a search)

    The news here, for us at least, is not that TEPCO ignored warnings from its own people (we've known that for awhile). What's important is that this is now making big news in Japan. It's strong proof that TEPCO knew about the risks of a tsunami and did nothing. That is bound to have a big political impact (underscoring the failure of METI to regulate TEPCO properly) and a legal one as well (it will be easier to hold TEPCO legally liable for damages).

    •  In hindsight, TEPCO "knew" (9+ / 0-)

      because someone provided them with an assessment that indicated the parameters they used to design and build the plants were inadequate.  

      If we turn this into a narrative that only tells the story of bad people in TEPCO ignoring obvious warnings, we loose the opportunity to look at the larger narrative of whether the measure of "probabilities" used to approve both initial construction and decide on any needed upgrades to existing plants is sufficient under the circumstances.

      The fault that produced this 9.0 earthquake was not, on a probabilistic analysis, going to produce anything near that.  (The tsunami analysis is different because a significantly smaller earthquake could still have producd a tsunami greater than their specs assumed.)

      Earthquake experts have already said that this earthquake will mean many faults will need to be reexamined to assess the maximun potential magnitude.

      In the US we just had a new fault discovered in Arkansas.  

      What that tells is that maybe we should not focus solely on the 'bad apple' narrative, but also on whether we should be expanding the definition of what is "possible" that should be protected against.

      For instance, the zone for which US nuclear plants must plan for evacuation and notice is what, 10 miles?

      Given what we've seen in Fukushima and given the proximity of major urban areas to a fair number of our nuclear plants, is that a reasonable area to use or should it be larger?

      While we should not, cannot let anyone who deserves to be held accountable escape that accountability, we can and must also look at the systemic assumptions by which we regulate this industry and decide whether they need to be revised.

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 12:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. That's about as damning as it gets. (14+ / 0-)

    Thanks for fishing this stuff up. As little as I think of corporate attitudes and hubris, this one really drives the point home. Despite the magnitude of the potential consequences, nothing seems to move that corporate mentality beyond "just not on my watch." Risk is commensurate with gain, and clearly the folks gaining the most ( the company and regulators ) from that plant were willing to place the risk on everyone else for their personal gain.

    Once the risks were known that plant was no longer economical if the risks were addressed. The answer was simple: do not address the risks. Hope for the best. Not on my shift.

    #*F(^)!#~....

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 09:25:13 PM PDT

    •  Misclicked...this was in response to p. john (4+ / 0-)

      Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

      by ricklewsive on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 09:50:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How many other plants are under-protected (9+ / 0-)

      against having their emergency diesel generators disabled, or underprotected against the possible tsunami threat, or underproteced  against extended loss of outside power that lasts more than a few days but extends in a week or longer?

      If we assume that the other plants meet existing standards or that existing standards are adequate, we may face another situation like this when the next unexpected circumstance surprises us again.

      Can't remember who wrote it, but I read recently that with the number of instances in which our modern society has been surprised, the only surprise is that we continue to be "surprised" .  

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 12:48:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The True Battle of Chernobyl Uncensored (7+ / 0-)

    http://video.google.com/...

    I haven't seen this posted here.  Chernobyl was quenched with lead.

    This is a fascinating and disturbing video  

    •  OMG. Sure is quite disturbing... (5+ / 0-)
    •  Thanks for that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, rja, mahakali overdrive

      I'm going to save it since it will be gone soon.

    •   Required viewing, IMHO, and my rant of the day (6+ / 0-)

      A well produced doc, and a good incentive to read VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL, a great book it draws upon. But yes, it has been posted here in previous ROVs.  Keep posting it, however!  

      One thing that struck me is the SIZE of the mobilization and response of the SOviets, which seemed to match better the size of the disaster.  I'm not saying what they did was smart, or wise, or without horrific flaws but they certainly did MOVE to mitigate the disaster.  

      In contrast, we seem to have a very different approach by TEPCO - initially they had "fifty" and now they have around 300 workers, so they tell us.  I'm no expert, but if they had 3,000 I would feel like it was still too little of an army to fight the battle.  

      The government is letting TEPCO take the lead here, but thus far TEPCO hasn't done anything meaningful outside of the gates of the plant....  there are livestock and pets roaming the evacuation zone who are essentially mobile toxic waste dumps, and need to be killed not our of mercy alone but also to stop them from spreading fallout to other places.  One dead cow in a stream will create problems elsewhere, this is elementary.  In Chernobyl, armed helicopter gunships hunted stray dogs from the air.  Horrific, but justifiable given the dangers to public health.

      The race to keep the waste and melted fuel out of the ground water was an incredible endeavor in Chernobyl.  Here, we have witnessed some "liquid glass" being dumped onto a spot and some silt fences set up in the ocean, but not much else.  

      Even if it just for show, like the helicopter dumps, the leadership of this disaster mediation team might want to consider some gesture that unites the people more.  FDR had school kids collecting scrap metal and rubber not for raw material, but for pure propaganda purposes to unite the nation behind the "war effort."  Was this kosher, was this wise, was this duping the public?  I could argue a lot of ways on that one, but I can tell you one thing - it was EFFECTIVE.  

      The incredible thing about the Chernobyl story is that, like the film says, in many ways it was the last battle of the Soviet Union.  They fought it like they fought the fascists, with everything they had.  What does this disaster response say about Japanese society and the modern culture of a techno- democracy?  Food for thought.  

      During the BP Deepwater Horizon (still ongoing) disaster's height, I was somehow convinced that the public wanted to know whose hands were on the throttle when the vehicle crashed - who was the Casey Jones figure, in other words who rode the bomb to the ground like Slim Pickens in DR STARNGELOVE?  I'm not sure why I thought people would care, but I did, and I was surprised when Vidrine and Kazula did not become household names, and were not ever brought in and forced to testify.  Both were called, and one called in sick and the other sent his lawyer to plead the fifth, and that was that.  The banality of evil did not even produce an Eichmann figure for the public to vilify.  

      Here, we have had an AWOL CEO and literally NO FIGUREHEAD person who is "in charge" of the disaster mitigation team, and no real reporting at all on who made the non-decisions of the first four days of this disaster - like the reporter shouted the other day - why can he not come down and talk to us?  Bring him here bring him here."  

      I'm continually stuck by how bloodless and impersonal this has all been.  It's either a milestone in social development or else a giant PR victory for the guilty parties.  Looking thru history, what other examples are valid for comparison and study?  Bhopal?  The Titanic? A pandemic?  I'm curious what others here think.  Perhaps this is not the venue, but then again I can't think of a better one.  

      In any case, what we have here is a twin disaster - one is a multiple nuclear meltdown disaster and the other is a crisis of leadership.  At least these two things seem to match.  

      •  I'm thinking we are seeing the difference (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, mamamedusa, rja

        Between political people and business people.

        Business people are often secretive, non-communicative, money oriented, bean counting, greedy, unable to think of the common good and used to being dictators in their companies. They don't often inspire loyalty, and there is no reason they should. After all, money is the goal of business.

        Political people, on the other hand, may be secretive, but they are communicative. They may be greedy, but need to look good (or no one will elect them) so will at least try to do the right thing. They are used to having to be held accountable by the public, so they know what has to be done to make it better, and how to inspire loyalty in people with something other than money and dictating actions.

        That's why so many businesses fail when it comes to protecting the common good: they are not set up for that. Business is for making money, not doing the right thing. It's difficult to change those gears for people who have spent their entire lives focused on more and more money.

  •  Contamination at 150 plant locations (8+ / 0-)
    TEPCO's contamination map shows radiation levels at 150 plant areas
    TOKYO, April 24, Kyodo

    A contamination survey map drawn up by Tokyo Electric Power Co. shows the radiation levels at about 150 locations inside the utility's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to information obtained Saturday by Kyodo News.

    There is no link in the above story but this might be the map in question. The map labels are in Japanese but the color coding allows one to see the amount of radiation.
    Measurement data in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station premises | Toukyoudenryoku

    Measurement data in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station campus
  •  Plans to shore up #4 spent fuel pool (12+ / 0-)

    The video that accompanies the story has some footage of the plant but I don't know if it's the new footage mentioned in the story. There is also a simple graphic showing where the spent fuel pool is and where they plan to shore up the bottom of the pool.

    Oddly, they talk about damage to the spent fuel pool's walls but there is no mention of how they plant to fix those.

    Quake protection considered for No.4 reactor - NHK WORLD English

    ...
    The walls of the reactor building supporting the pool were severely damaged by an explosion on March 15th.

    TEPCO is examining footage taken by an unmanned helicopter. The company plans to install several concrete pillars on the floor below that will support the bottom of the pool.
    ...
    The pool has the most fuel rods at the plant and a large amount of water has been evaporating. The company has been injecting water into the pool to prevent the rods from being exposed and further damaged.
    ...
    TEPCO says it will try to start the reinforcement construction as soon as possible because further strong aftershocks may occur.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011 14:21 +0900 (JST)

    •  re: spent fuel pool "Walls" (3+ / 0-)

      Not sure if this is what they actually mean, but the walls they are speaking about could be the exterior walls on the level that the fuel pond sits in, which is to say the level below the operating floor with the gantry crane and reactor cap.  They are not necessarily speaking about the sides of the pool itself.  On the other buildings no exterior walls are so damaged below the level of the operating floor.  

      This is speculation on my part, but doesn't this suggest that the hydrogen was generated at a lower level than the top of the pool?  

    •  Has anyone here ever poured concrete? (5+ / 0-)

      Having put out this press statement they must now proceed to attempt this.
      The nicest thing to say is that any such attempt will be heroic.
      What is attempted will not automatically succeed.

      This is not going to even start with the 10,000 yen a day stiffs ($120) they've been exploiting. No shortage of skilled labor with the mentality of firefighters, willing to die to accomplish the job. Total shortage of skilled labor willing to die for liars and fools. They'll need a complete new management team to start.
      The NHK text once more says no immediate threat to human health. Inside Unit #4. OMFG.

      •  no immediate threat means you die next week:( n/t (4+ / 0-)
        •  They're desperate. (3+ / 0-)

          This support scheme is ridiculous.
          The only reason to talk about such measures is you are 100% certain the thing will fall down if you don't try something. This scheme has very little hope for success. We'll see if they start work on it.
          Lying to the public and to your workers does not enhance the odds of success.

          •  desperate times call for desperate measures (3+ / 0-)

            Looking at the recent NHK video, I think they are worried that the south side of the entire building is lacking in cross bracing support above the operating floor level.  Then, below the operating floor level there are additional large wall panels that are destroyed.  This building, from an engineering standpoint is a house of cards, I'd imagine.  

            One possible meaning to the pie in the sky plan is that they want to make the outer structure tie together better, in order to help the building itself withstand the coming earthquakes.  ANother possibility is that they are planning a concrete sarcophagus or entombment like Chernobyl, but are trying to ease the public into the idea with "limited hangout" press releases like this one.

            Another possibility is that they fully expect the outer walls to collapse soon and just want to pour a giant slab for the pool to be left standing atop when it all crashes down, or they tear it all down...   One way to recover the spent fuel seems to be to find a way to get at it by tearing down everything that is in the way and dragging it into the yard, like kids tearing down a pile of bricks with a grappling hook from ten feet away.  They may have to do it that way if workers can't enter the skein of rebar and twisted I beams to cut them loose and attach them to cranes before they are lifted away like a game of careful pickup sticks.  This may not be possible, which leaves us with the pile o' bricks and kids with a grappling hook scenario.  

            Take a look at that huge green gantry crane that is lying directly over the fuel pond and tell me what a good way to get the fuel out is.....   damfino.  

            Another scary possibility is that they hope to add a solid block of concrete under the pool because the fuel is burning, or has burned, through the floor of the pool and this is the reason the basement is flooded five meters high with highly radioactive water.  Such a block was constructed under the fuel pile in Chernobyl since it was melting down towards the groundwater.  

            Who knows?  They all sound horrible.  And TEPCO isn't telling the world the whole truth.  

            •  You're asking simple basic questions (4+ / 0-)

              The right kind IMVHO.
              How do you handle something that's already broken?
              Very carefully.
              'Simply' inserting posts, jacks, columns under the SPF floor only creates new stress risers. It will break faster.
              'Floating' the whole thing in fresh concrete is a construction task that would require divine intervention. Legions of biorobots are not going to build that form or pour that 'crete without destabilizing what they're trying to salvage. Locating a swimming pool 50 feet deep up in the air was nuts and now we pay.

              Reinforced concrete can sometimes be surprisingly flexible. Nuclear plants feature redundancy. I am impressed that much original concrete, even out of position concrete, at Chernobyl is still bearing weight.
              I am also impressed that those onsite think  SPF#4 is an action item. I don't know what's going to fall first or where or how it's going to fall but it would seem someone there  knows something. If they don't have any ideas what to do about it better than what they're showing us they have nothing.

              If SPF#4 falls, the difficulty level for any work onsite goes up exponentially. All the other buildings, reactors, and SPFs will be lost. What then? This question should have been asked before groundbreaking.

              •  entombment or sarcophagus -freedom of choice (4+ / 0-)

                Of course you are right that you can't reasonably expect to do construction on a rooftop swimming pool without risking a lot -especially when the building exploded and is covered in radioactive debris.  It's insane.  And yet, they MUST do something...  it seems like whatever they try they should also be building a secondary containment around the entire structure - above ground and below.  These other risky ideas are likely to fail with tragic results for workers and the environment both.  

                The size of that  outer containment structure would lead one to think, why not go ahead and surround all four reactors?  Maybe this is what the government is leaning towards when they talk about a caisson wall, etc.  This could be just the foundation for the sarcophagus....  the one they will end up building on borrowed money when their economy fails.  

                If I had to make a plan, it would look like this:  An underground wall keeps the ground water "safe", and each building gets entombed from above in concrete.   I would make a circulation system for #4 that uses the basement as the fuel pond - the fuel is going in that direction eventually anyway.

                Each building would be entombed from above, and cranes would attempt to remove spent fuel but only where it was possible to do it safely.  (more complexities here TBD)

                On the outside it would look, and be as unsafe, as Chernobyl all over again.  But it would be big, and it would be all-encompassing.

                What's frustrating to me is knowing that TEPCO is still in charge, since in reality they have little motivation to fix anything - they are just going through the motions until the government takes over.   It's 100% clear they don't have enough money to pay for the mediation needed.

                •  Orders of magnitude (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive, peraspera

                  You're thinking much larger than I've been. Groupthink and the endless problem-of-the-moment foreshorten the mental outlook. Nothing as large as you're projecting is on deck. Wouldn't matter much if you had it right.
                  I'm leaning towards the clock ticks and basically nothing happens unless and until one of these suckers blows. Perception management has worked for these guys stunningly well for a long time. Why do actual physical work?
                  It's out of the news. Even the wonks are yawning. If it all ended now (won't) it would be a non-event, like Windscale. In fact it could get a lot worse and still be a non-event.

                  A complete sarcophagus can't be erected before all the explosions are done. If something as large as you're talking were to be done, the groundwork may as well start now.

  •  Hmmm.... (7+ / 0-)

    The Ibaraki reporting station at Tokai No. 2 Power Station has stopped reporting ( "under survey" ) to SPEEDI. I have no checked the SPEEDI reads for a couple days. The plant there is in cold shutdown ( Page 3 ) as of noon April 24th, but had reflected elevated readings presumably because of it's proximity to Fukushima. The levels had been coming down since the big releases. I have no idea if this is a technical thingy or what.

    Here is a little snippet found in a search. It was posted yesterday. I have no idea if this is credible. Note, this station was supposed to be conducting a drill that was announced a few days ago but i have information on what that plan was. It's possible whoever posted this confused something.

    The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said a cooling system pump stopped operating at Tokai No. 2 Power Station, a nuclear power plant, in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. ==Kyodo. Category. Society · Urgent · Japan quake …

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:02:27 PM PDT

  •  Japanese government to censor reporting (11+ / 0-)
    "The Japanese government says that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumors, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send letters of request to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality."

    http://yro.slashdot.org/...

    I'm guessing this means that things are bad at the plant.  I'm just wondering if things are worse than we think they are.

    http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests. Because your sig should include a link that will get it banned in China.

    by sdelear on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:36:15 PM PDT

    •  The embedded link (5+ / 0-)

      http://japanfocus.org/...

      There seems to be some people who want to return to normal in an area that isn't normal. That is worrisome.

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

      by Just Bob on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:10:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Read the source (12+ / 0-)

      It doesn't have anything to do with breaking developments at the Fukushima plant.

      The slashdot report is based on an article by Makiko Segawa. The article is about how people in Fukushima don't trust the mainstream media in Japan, which is related to the point about government control over the media, but you seem to have missed the point Segawa was making. Here's an important section of her article:

      Now the Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government’s policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public. A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

      What the article is talking about is the unhealthy way that most news agencies support the interests of the government, and for the most part Segawa is complaining that no one takes online and non-trad media outlets seriously. It is not a surprise that METI is behind the effort to control information, since that agency is the one in charge of regulating the nuclear industry.

      If you go to the Shingetsu blog you can find an article from April 20 about censorship by Segawa that gives some background:

      Similar measures have been contemplated by the Ministry of Justice for many years. Indeed, an official of that ministry tells the SNA that such authority had existed until 2005, was abolished under a Koizumi cabinet, and has been on the agenda for restoration since last year.

      “It is not something that just came up suddenly,” the official says.

      (snip)

      The US government has long been pressing Tokyo for some years to adopt more intrusive laws over the internet, suggesting that these sorts of measures are absolutely necessary in the struggle against international terrorism and cybercrime.

      Things are worse than you think, but not at the Fukushima plant.
      •  holy shit... (8+ / 0-)

        so let me see if i get this right...

        The Japanese government has created a joint team composed of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to censor information released to the public????

        so they are going to control all media? would this mean that -- for example the Greenpeace report on radiation which so countered the official report and lead (it seemed to me) to the govt raising from 5 to 7 just prior to the release of this data ... combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster -- this information would NOT be available to the Japanese public?

        And that kyodo news for example would be censored?

        •  I'm not sure of the implications (14+ / 0-)

          but they ain't good.

          Two things came to mind right away. First, METI is involved so I don't like it. They act like they know what's best for all of us, but their interests differ completely from mine so what is good according to METI is not good in my book. METI involvement in this really stinks. (Digression: Did you notice how NISA is now supervising TEPCO's press releases? The official word is that TEPCO kept screwing up and had to make revisions, but something else is going on; I think METI and NISA have thrown TEPCO under the bus and are acting to protect their interests and the interests of the nuclear industry).

          Second, what is the legal basis for activities of this team? I have no idea, but the possibility of little to no oversight is a huge problem. I doubt they will censor Kyodo, which is a big main-mainstream agency that is not even a little dangerous to the government. They are likely to go after muckraking bloggers or whistle blowers. I haven't written about this, but some of the best articles I've read in Japanese newspapers were following up leads that good bloggers had run down. Blogs are effectively pushing trad media sources to run stories they would not otherwise touch.

          If you check out Segawa's article on the Shingetsu blog (link here, forgot to link last time), you can see what they are probably aiming to do:

          With little fanfare or media attention, the cabinet of Naoto Kan resolved on April 1 to adopt a policy authorizing the National Police Agency and Prosecutor’s Office to track down “harmful gossip” on the internet and expose the authors without having to seek a judicial order or specific permission from political authorities.

          (snip)

          As the SNA [Shingetsu News Agency] has previously reported, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication has been sending “letters of request” to internet providers demanding that they delete “immoral” information from websites. It is now understood that this action has been based on the Kan cabinet’s April 1 decision.

          (snip)

          Yukio Yamashita, a lawyer who specializes in computer affairs, points out that one aspect of the authority desired by the government is to demand that internet providers preserve data and records that are uploaded and not to inform customers when the authorities request personal information about them.

          This means that even much data that is erased by private individuals will be stored without their knowledge to assist possible police investigations in the future.

          (snip)

          Most civil liberties groups and other independent critics are skeptical about this alleged need, pointing out that the concentration of too much power in the hands of government authorities itself poses serious risks to the public welfare in democratic societies.

          (snip)

          What the Kan administration is doing, under the pretext of fighting "rumors" about Fukushima, is going forward with a really insidious attack on privacy. You have to figure that ultimately, as in the U.S., they are going to use these tools to suppress individuals who oppose the politics of the government.
  •  question to clarify (9+ / 0-)

    A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

    •  Here is the official announcement of the policy (8+ / 0-)

      From the webpage of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

      There is a link to an official report, and an appendix to the report (p. 2) has the following:

      Cabinet Secretariat, National Police Agency, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

      Incorrect information about the nuclear power plant disaster and the earthquake, including rumors and false reports that have inflamed the concerns of the people, have been spreading by word of mouth, e-mail, and electronic bulletin boards and have increased the disruption in affected areas. In order that people not be misled by rumors and false reports such as these, the concerned agencies will work together to take steps to warn people widely to be careful.

      Concerning rumors and false reports on the internet in particular, the agencies in involved will, in addition to ascertaining the actual situation about rumors and false reports, endeavor to warn internet users to be careful, to insist that site administrators take appropriate measures including the voluntary removal of material that violates the law or public order and morals, and to provide reliable information to users.

      Moreover, the national government and other public bodies will endeavor to provide trustworthy information through all forms of media.

      In addition, the nation and other public bodies will, by using private social media, take steps to respond by acquiring authentication,* thereby ensuring the reliability of social media as a source of information and preventing the spread of rumors and false reports on the internet.

      * I think this refers to authentication of users.
      •  Violates "...public order or morals..."??? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera, Just Bob

        Well, by that fluid and subjective criteria, they could:

        "...insist that site administrators take appropriate measures, including the "voluntary" removal of materials..."

        While indeed accurate information is necessary for the good of all concerned-the information disseminated by the government and the company since the beginning of the crisis have at times contained "misinformation" that was corrected when independent information contradicted that misinformation.  Do they really believe it's in the best interests of their people to only hear PR tweaked information; do they really believe that people will believe and trust that information--or the people delivering it?

        There have been "rumors" and "false information" communicated since the beginning of mankind, but suddenly now the Japanese government has decided that this is so problematic that they need to "protect" their population from hearing rumors and false information--as defined by...?....? someone in the government?  

        Somehow, their stated concerns about the welfare of the people don't ring as true as they probably hope.  However, if their main concern is protecting the government and the politicians in the government, they have apparently noted that authoritarian governments use censoring media as one of the first steps toward achieving that goal.

        It will certainly make their "press" conferences much easier for their official spokesperson to have only softball questions and an audience of stenographers.

         

  •  a beyond chernobyl event per gmoke .... (7+ / 0-)

    Chernobyl: 25 Years Later
    Date:  Tuesday 4/26/2011
    Time:  9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Organizer:  Davis Center Staff ( Davis Center Staff )
    9:00—9:30 AM
    Welcome and Introductions
    Cris Martin, Davis Center

    9:30—11:00 AM  
    Lecture: History of the Chernobyl Disaster
    Igor Lukes, Professor of International Relations and History, Boston University

    11:00—11:15 AM
    Break

    11:15—12:45 PM
    Lecture: Ecological Consequences of Chernobyl Disaster
    Paul Josephson, Professor of History and Chair, Colby College

    12:45—1:30 PM
    Lunch Break

    1:30—2:30 PM
    Lecture: Chernobyl’s Impact on Local Life and Politics
    Tammy Lynch, Independent Researcher

    2:30—4:00 PM
    Lecture & Discussion: Nuclear Power in the 21st Century
    Matthew Bunn, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

    5:00—7:00 PM
    Opening Reception: Photo Exhibit, “…the day the Ferris wheel stood still…”
    Tania D’Avignon, Photographer
    The exhibit, sponsored by Harvard’s Ukrainian Research Institute, will be held in Fischer Commons in the Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA.

    Location:  CGIS South, Room S450, 12 Holyoke St., Cambridge, MA
    Phone: 617-495-4037

  •  a new rad monitoring source per gmoke (7+ / 0-)
  •  Video of complete translated NISA briefings (7+ / 0-)

    The videos include questions from the press. There isn't much in the briefing on the 25th but the one on the 22nd more info. h/t Danuta at the Physics Forum.

    Top - Japanese Governments Internet TV

  •  Chernobyl expert draws parallels with Fukushima (10+ / 0-)

    Asmolov points out the nationalistic arrogance of declaring nuclear plants safe as well as the problem of people in government not acting as leaders who focus on facilitation for the technical experts during the response to a nuclear disaster.

    Russian nuclear scientist says Fukushima disaster was predictable - The Mainichi Daily News

    A Russian nuclear scientist who took part in emergency responses to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster finds one thing in common between what Japanese and former Soviet Union authorities used to say -- their nuclear power plants were absolutely safe.

    Vladimir Asmolov, a scientist who was working at an atomic energy research institute in the former Soviet Union at the time of the April 26, 1986, explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, recounted the disaster during a recent interview with the Mainichi Shimbun.

    On the heels of the Chernobyl disaster, Asmolov took part in everything from emergency responses to drawing up preventive measures. At that time, authorities lacked sufficient knowledge about such an accident, but a government commission was set up and all the country's energy was expended under a solid chain of command, according to Asmolov.

    To that effect, Japan's response to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has not been appropriate, Asmolov claims. He says nuclear accidents are like a war and that "a few technical guys must have full responsibilities and power" while "the government must assist."

    "The decision making must be done close to the facility. It is impossible to manage the crisis from the office of the prime minister," he said.
    ...
    Although Asmolov and other experts visited Japan following the Fukushima accident to give advice to Japanese authorities, they wouldn't listen until several days later. This reminded him of his experiences during the former Soviet Union days.

    (Mainichi Japan) April 25, 2011

  •  Japanese robot to be deployed at Fukushima (8+ / 0-)

    I'm sure that Japanese national pride was took a hit because they have been using foreign robotic technology at Fukushima. However, I wonder if it has occurred to anyone that it might be a good idea to put nationalism aside and have the best of Japanese robotics engineers collaborate with engineers from other countries who have experience designing robots to operate in nuclear contaminated environments.

    asahi.com(朝日新聞社):Japan readies own robot to probe crippled nuclear plant - English

    2011/04/24

    Recognized as the world leader in robotic technology, Japan will finally deploy its own robot at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after relying on U.S.-made versions to do all the work.

    The Quince, equipped with an arm, a camera and sensors, is set to survey radiation levels, temperatures and other conditions inside reactor buildings.
    ...
    "TEPCO wants to use overseas robots because Japanese-made products do not have experience (in disaster scenes)," said Shigeo Hirose, a professor of robotics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

    The Quince has been improved to deal with the accident at the Fukushima plant. The distance over which it can be operated wirelessly has been extended to two kilometers, and the robot can now be used through a cable link as well.

    The disaster rescue robot moves on five caterpillar-like crawlers via remote control. Its main body measures 66 centimeters long and 48 centimeters wide.

    It was developed by Eiji Koyanagi, vice director of the Chiba Institute of Technology's Future Robotics Technology Research Center; Satoshi Tadokoro, a professor of robotics at Tohoku University; and other researchers.
    ...
    In 1983, a project to develop an inspection robot started following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. But it ended in 1990 after about 20 billion yen ($244 million) was spent.

    Another project to develop a robot for a nuclear accident started after a fatal accident at JCO Co. in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1999. After several billion yen was spent, the project was ended in one year on the grounds that the government did not want to give off a mistaken impression to the public.

    •  More possible Japanese robot entries (6+ / 0-)

      Sadly, again, there is no mention of teaming up with U.S. and European robot companies who do have experience with shielding.

      Japanese robots await call to action | The Japan Times Online

      Saturday, April 23, 2011

      Japanese robots await call to action

      Japanese robots designed for heavy lifting and data collection have been prepared for deployment at irradiated reactor buildings of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power station, where U.S.-made robots have already taken radiation and temperature readings as well as visual images at the crippled facility via remote control.

      At the request of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Tmsuk Co., a robot builder based in Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, has put its rescue robot T-53 Enryu on standby at a dedicated facility in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, about 170 km southwest of the power plant in Fukushima Prefecture devastated by the March 11 magnitude-9.0 quake and tsunami.

      Enryu (rescue dragon) was developed in the aftermath of the magnitude-7.3 Great Hanshin Earthquake that hit the Kobe area in 1995. Designed to engage in rescue work, the remote-controlled robot has two arms that can lift objects up to 100 kg. It has "undergone training" at the Kitakyushu municipal fire department in Fukuoka Prefecture.

      Tmsuk President Yoichi Takamoto said, "We don't know what we can do at a nuclear power plant until we give it a try, but we do believe we can do something about removing rubble" from explosions that have blocked human operations around the plant.

      Satoshi Tadokoro, a Tohoku University professor specializing in robots used for disaster operations, said, "Japan doesn't have any military-use robots, but it has technology on a par with the United States."

      Tadokoro said a plan is under way to employ at the power plant a highly mobile research robot that he was involved in developing.

      In early April, the Robotics Society of Japan and other related organizations jointly set up a task force and sent engineers to the government's project team that is brainstorming with Tokyo Electric Power Co. about how robots may be used at the plant.

      But given the urgency of the mission and circumstances, European and U.S.-built robots with a proven track record in military use and nuclear plant accidents have drawn attention.
      ...
      While the Enryu is ready for its mission to remove rubble at the stricken plant, the biggest challenge is combating the spread of radiation.

      University of Tokyo professor Hajime Asama said, "Mobilizing a robot without any consideration (for radiation) could complicate the situation and may even hinder work."

      •  100kg doesn't sound like "heavy lifting" to me (5+ / 0-)

        100kg is only about 220 pounds, but it can lift 100kg with a single arm, so maybe that can be doubled if the robot body can support that.

        It has a big brother
        Enryu T-53 Robot Is Boss

        The T-52 can lift 1100 pounds with just one hand, now that’s heavy duty. The T-53 can only raise 220 pounds per arm. Another addition to the T-53 is that it has removable “claws”. So you can change the instruments it uses so the T-53 can do multiple jobs.

        Tmsuk Co.,Ltd. History of Robotic Development English page

        2007

        New rescue robot "T-53 ENRYU" launched

        The new rescue robot T53 Enryu was produced for rescue work at disastrous places where rescue workers cannot go into. T53 is the 3rd generation tmsuk rescue robot. It is a successor technology of T52 Enryu in 2004. tmsuk has worked closely with national fire department to develop T53, which thus has been embedded with much desired functions.
        T53 is made more compact than the previous rescue machines. It has maximized maneuverability for emergency operations. Furthermore, the synchronous robot arm systems have sophisticated motion control capabilities of operators.


      •  good quote in that article re canceled program (6+ / 0-)
        Some prototype robots developed in the process have been put on display at Sendai Science Museum. A museum employee said of the halted development initiative, "It was like stopping premium payments for a nonrefundable insurance policy."
  •  Moving companies refuse service to evacuees (7+ / 0-)

    to protect their employees. I would suggest this task be delegated to the government officials and TEPCO execs who ignored warnings that Fukushima was vulnerable to tsunamis. After they are done with that they should pitch in to take on the most dangerous work at TEPCO's radiation spewing plant.

    Movers turn away evacuees / People told to relocate get cold shoulder from moving firms : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

    Many residents in Fukushima Prefecture who have been told to prepare for evacuation have been refused service by moving companies, it has been learned.
    ...
    "Out of consideration for our employees' safety, we can't let them take on those jobs," an official of one moving firm said.
    ...
    "We were told to evacuate, but we can't. Are [the moving companies] just going to abandon us without offering help?" said a 50-year-old woman of Iitatemura, which is within the designated zone.
    ...
    Iitatemura's village administration office has received inquiries from other residents seeking advice after being turned away by moving companies.

    "This isn't a problem the village office can deal with. It's the policy of these companies. We want the central government to do something," a village official said.

    "I want the central government or someone to give us proper support so we can move. If the situation is left as it is, people will be left behind in the evacuation zone," the woman said.
    ...
    "We don't let our workers go in the zone where evacuations are planned, or anywhere within 30 kilometers of the plant, because of safety considerations. However, if the prefecture and local authorities combine to make a request, we'll look at what can be done," said an official of Nippon Express Co., based in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

    Yamato Home Convenience Co. in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, also expressed concern for the safety of employees.
    (Apr. 25, 2011)

  •  TEPCO pay cuts; 50% for top execs, 20% for staff (8+ / 0-)

    UPDATE 1-Crisis-hit Tokyo Electric to cut top exec pay by half | Reuters

    Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:18am EDT

    Tokyo Electric Power said it would cut the total compensation of its president, chairman and other top executives by half as it grapples with the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at its Fukushima Daiichi plant.

    The company, which is seeking government help to foot a massive bill to compensate local citizens and businesses surrounding the plant, said it would also cut the annual salary of general staff by 20 percent.

    The wage reductions are part of a broader restructuring that is expected to include job cuts and asset sales, and could be announced as early as this week.

    According to a company filing, the average total compensation of 19 internal directors was 37 million yen ($452,074) in the financial year ended in March 2010.


  •  The animals must die (8+ / 0-)

    Kyodo News

    Six Fukushima prefectural government workers dressed in protective outfits went into the no-entry zone within a 20-kilometer radius of the crisis-hit nuclear power plant in the northeastern Japanese prefecture Monday to begin work to cull starving livestock.

    While there is no legal stipulation involving slaughtering livestock in the area which has been restricted because of the nuclear accident, the prefectural government decided to kill the animals for public health reasons, local officials said.

    According to a livestock hygiene service center in the prefecture, the workers will conduct activities in Minamisoma's Odaka district, where 887 cows, 80 horses, about 6,200 pigs and around 260,000 chickens were raised as of October last year.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:27:49 AM PDT

  •  A stinging commentary (9+ / 0-)

    The Mainichi Daily News

    What has stood out at the countless press conferences by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Cabinet Office's Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) of Japan that I've attended in covering the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, is the rampant use of cliches such as "unanticipated state of affairs" and "unprecedented natural disaster."

    The excuses made by the organizations involved go to show that so-called nuclear power experts have no intention to self reflect or admit their shortcomings. It was this self-righteousness -- evidenced over the years in the industry's suppression of unfavorable warnings and criticisms, as well as in their imposition of the claim that the safety of nuclear energy was self evident -- that lay down the groundwork for the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
    ...

    Nuclear safety regulation in Japan is ostensibly covered under a "double-check" system, but in practice, the system has not functioned sufficiently. Since both those in a position to be checked and those in a position to do the checking come from the same establishment, they are motivated to take action that will protect their common interests. As for NISA, there's a fundamental structural problem in that it is but an arm of METI, the government ministry in charge of promoting nuclear power generation.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:42:48 AM PDT

  •  Evacuees get home visits of five hours (8+ / 0-)

    The Japan Times

    The government will allow those who evacuated from the 20-km radius no-go zone around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to visit their homes for up to five hours, officials said Monday.
    ...

    The temporary visits will be limited to five hours to keep radiation doses to 1 millisievert or less. Only one person will be allowed to return per household, excluding those under 15 years old and the elderly.

    The government has also decided to ban them from bringing out food and farm animals. Authorization to remove cars and pets is still being discussed, officials said.


    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:00:45 AM PDT

  •  SFP requiring more water? (10+ / 0-)

    NHK World

    The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is carefully monitoring the situation at the Number 4 spent fuel pool, where the water temperature is rising despite increased injections of cooling water.

    Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says it will inject 210 tons of water into the pool on Monday, after finding on Sunday evening that the temperature in the pool had risen to 81 degrees Celsius.

    The utility firm had earlier limited the amount of water being injected into the pool to 70 tons a day, saying the weight of the water could weaken the reactor building, which was already damaged in last month's hydrogen explosion.

    On Friday, TEPCO found that the pool's temperature had reached 91 degrees, so it began injecting 2 to 3 times the amount of water.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:13:53 AM PDT

  •  Just a blurb in Kyodo (7+ / 0-)

    Hopefully a more detailed story to follow. There have been at least two nuclear plants that have had backup generators either fail or are out of service for one reason or another. Many of the plants have been having drills since Fukushima blew up. They might be finding issues.

    Kyodo News

    Most nuclear reactors in Japan would fail to achieve a stable condition in the event that all regular power sources are lost, even though plant operators have prepared new backup power sources as well as electric generators following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kyodo News found Monday.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 10:16:42 AM PDT

    •  Japanese media ignoring protests (5+ / 0-)

      There hasn't been a single article in the Japanese press about the protests. I haven't been watching tv, but if it's not in the papers it's probably not on the tv either.

      What's interesting to me is that as I was looking for other information yesterday I ran across at least a dozen or so mentions of the protests on various blogs. Planning for the protests was clearly being carried out online.

      Anti-nuclear sentiment is very strong in Japan now, and it's interesting to see that the press is totally ignoring the protests.

      There is an interesting, if tangentially related, article in today's Japan Times about the failure of the judicial system to protect the interests of the people.

      Suits to halt atomic plants have all failed

      The risk of an earthquake causing critical damage to a nuclear power plant has been the subject of lawsuits filed by residents in various parts of Japan over the years, but to date none of these legal actions has led to the actual suspension of a plant.

      (snip)

      The courts have been inclined to accept arguments that nuclear power plants are safe, citing the highly technical nature of atomic power generation. In light of the ongoing Fukushima crisis, however, critics say the judges should be held accountable for abandoning their responsibility to properly scrutinize such details.

      (snip)

      Perhaps the greatest amount of public attention is being focused on Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka nuclear plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture. The power plant was built in a region where a major quake is anticipated, given the history of cyclical quakes in the Pacific off the coast of the region.

      Residents sued to suspend reactor operations at the plant.

      (snip)

      Yoshika Shiratori, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which is now pending in the Tokyo High Court, said: "So far, residents and scientists have pointed out the risks, but courts have never paid serious attention. The judicial branch bears a great responsibility for not preventing the accident in Fukushima."

      The government faces a tricky problem in dealing with all of the vested interests that support the nuclear power industry and all of the anti-nuclear sentiment in society. It looks like the government is ignoring the problem of popular opposition, hoping it will go away, and the media is largely complicit in the silence.
  •  Sharp rebuke of Fukushima from Chernobyl Responder (8+ / 0-)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

    In a rare interview on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl on Monday, Col-Gen Nikolai Antoshkin said he was shocked at how poorly Japan had coped with its own nuclear disaster.

    "Right at the start when there was not yet a big leak of radiation they (the Japanese) wasted time.

    And then they acted in slow-motion," he said.

    --cut--

    Gen Antoshkin said he thought the Japanese were simply unable to cope on their own. "It is clear that they do not have enough strength or means. They need to ask the international community for help," he said. "I think the Japanese catastrophe is already more serious than Chernobyl. The main thing is that they do not allow it to become three, four or five times more serious."

    cont...

  •  Atmospheric Radiation Higher than Reported (8+ / 0-)

    unsure if this was already posted but don't recall it...

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/...

    Data released by the government indicates radioactive material was leaking into the atmosphere from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in early April in greater quantities than previously estimated.

    Radioactive material was being released into the atmosphere from the plant at an estimated rate of 154 terabecquerels per day as of April 5, according to data released by the Cabinet Office's Nuclear Safety Commission on Saturday.

    The NSC previously estimated radiation leakage on April 5 at "less than 1 terabecquerel per hour."

    --cut--

    This would mean 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances would be released into the atmosphere from the plant during the coming three months, according to simple calculations based on the estimated emission rate as of April 5.

    cont...

    It continues to explain that this is why a 7 was awarded on the INES events scale.

  •  WHO do you trust? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ricklewsive, peraspera, rja

    http://www.smh.com.au/...

    In the early days of nuclear power, WHO issued forthright statements on radiation risks, such as its 1956 warning: ''Genetic heritage is the most precious property for human beings. It determines the lives of our progeny, health and harmonious development of future generations. As experts, we affirm that the health of future generations is threatened by increasing development of the atomic industry and sources of radiation.''

    After 1959, the organisation made no more statements on health and radioactivity.

    What happened?

    On May 28, 1959, at the 12th World Health Assembly, WHO drew up an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. A clause of this agreement says the WHO effectively grants the right of prior approval over any research it might undertake or report on to the IAEA - a group that many people, including journalists, think is a neutral watchdog, but which is, in fact, an advocate for the nuclear power industry. Its founding papers state: ''The agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity through the world.''

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

    by Just Bob on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:54:50 PM PDT

    •  You can't trust anyone anymore. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob, peraspera

      Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

      by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 04:59:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They realized that eugenics was racist. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Just Bob
      In the early days of nuclear power, WHO issued forthright statements on radiation risks, such as its 1956 warning: ''Genetic heritage is the most precious property for human beings. It determines the lives of our progeny, health and harmonious development of future generations. As experts, we affirm that the health of future generations is threatened by increasing development of the atomic industry and sources of radiation.''
      After 1959, the organisation made no more statements on health and radioactivity.

      What happened?

  •  Nuclear safety? Read and weep. (5+ / 0-)

    Most reactors in Japan yet to have enough backups for stable cooling

    Most nuclear reactors in Japan would fail to achieve a stable condition in the event that all regular power sources are lost, even though plant operators have prepared new backup power sources as well as electric generators following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kyodo News found Monday.

    The possibility of a failure to secure the safety of the reactors is because the backup power sources do not have enough capacity to operate all of the devices needed to keep the reactors cool.

    Many reactors still effectively have no alternative power source should emergency diesel generators fail to work, as was the case at the Fukushima plant after it was hit by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11. ....

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:03:14 PM PDT

  •  Water in #3 & #4 buildings rising, no place to put (5+ / 0-)

    TEPCO seems woefully unprepared to handle all the water they have been using to cool fuel on the site. Either the will or intelligence seems to be lacking in their leadership to address even blatantly obvious potential problems. TEPCO is going to end up falling off the knife's edge they have been walking if they don't start taking proactive steps.

    Radioactive water in No.3 and 4 reactors rises | NHK WORLD English

    ...
    The utility company says the water level in the tunnel of the No. 3 reactor rose to 99 centimeters below the surface as of 6 PM on Monday. That passes the level at which TEPCO plans to remove the water, but it has yet to secure storage space.

    The water level in the basement of the No.3 reactor's turbine building also rose by 10 centimeters over 3 days.

    TEPCO says a survey last Thursday found an increase in the density of radioactive substances in the water in the basement of the No. 4 reactor's turbine building.

    The company says the levels of cesium-134 and 137 increased about 250-fold and iodine-131 increased about 12 times compared with one month ago.
    TEPCO says contamination of this level requires them to prioritize the transfer or disposal of the water.

    The water level in the No. 4 reactor's turbine building rose by 20 centimeters in 10 days.

    TEPCO says water used to cool the No. 3 reactor could be leaking into No. 4 as their turbine buildings are connected.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 07:54 +0900 (JST)

    •  TEPCO has no motivation to protect ocean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera

      They seem to be  acting like they want this waste to drain off into the pacific ocean 'accidentally' and "beyond their control' etc.  Its certainly cheaper to get rid of it that way.  

      I fail to see why they are allowed to be making decisions and leading the efforts to mitigate the effects of this disaster.  They can't afford to fix it, they don't possess the money or the credit  or the credibility to acquire either.  

  •  NEW ROV. WRECK THIS GUY UP (3+ / 0-)
  •  7 women with slightly contaminated breast milk (0+ / 0-)

    out of 23 women surveyed. I expect the women are finding cold comfort in government assurances that the low level of contamination should not pose a health risk to babies.

    The Kan administration is trying to blow off his nuclear advisor's resignation as a misunderstanding over radiation levels that are being permitted. That seems implausible as Toshiso Kosako is a professor of antiradiation safety measures at the University of Tokyo's graduate school.

    The workers who received close to the now permissible 250 millisievert level of radiation are suffering radiation burns. These were apparently the workers who were contaminated with radioactive water who were improperly equipped and for some yet unexplained reason, ignored their dosimeter warnings because they thought they were malfunctioning.

    The Japanese people seem to be unhappy with the way PM Kan is handling the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

    Japan Calls Nuclear Adviser's Exit a 'Misunderstanding' - WSJ.com

    Japan's chief government spokesman said Saturday that the resignation by a senior science adviser over radiation safety limits for schools around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was over a misunderstanding, while Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the government's handling of the situation.

    Separately, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said two workers who received radiation burns from highly radioactive water in an incident March 24 have received close to the legal annual limit of radiation.

    The resignation Friday of University of Tokyo Professor Toshiso Kosako was another embarrassment to the Kan government over its handling of the long-running nuclear-plant crisis. Government officials had described Mr. Kosako at the time of his appointment in mid-March as an expert in the field of radiation safety.
    ...
    Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to the prime minister on the nuclear crisis, also said the government went through "the most proper" process in line with the advice from Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission. He added that Mr. Kosako's resignation was accepted on Saturday.

    A new opinion poll showed that the Japanese public is not satisfied with the government's handling of the crisis. The survey by Kyodo News found that 76% of respondents said that Mr. Kan was not exercising sufficient leadership and 24% said that the embattled prime minister should resign immediately. Mr. Kan had been suffering from low support ratings before the March 11 quake and tsunami although there had been some improvements in the initial weeks after the disaster.
    ...
    Tepco also said Saturday that two workers, both burned by highly radioactive water, had received close to the 250-millisievert level but hadn't exceeded it. One worker was put at 240.80 millisieverts and the second at 226.62 millisieverts.
    ...
    Separately, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said a tiny amount of radioactive iodine have been found in the breast milk of seven women in Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures although the amount does not pose any health risk to babies.

    The amount found ranged from 2.2 to 8.0 becquerels per kilogram of iodine-131, far below the 100 becquerel per kilogram stipulated in the government's safety limit for milk and dairy products. The results were found in a survey of 23 women the ministry carried out from April 24-28.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site