Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Japan to Stop Using SPEEDI to Decide Whether to Instruct Residents to Take Potassium Iodide Pills

Instead, the decision will be made using the air radiation levels and the water levels inside the nuclear reactors.

In other words, when (if) they do distribute the pills to citizens who may be affected by a nuclear accident, it may be too late. If the last year is any indication, such data will be released several weeks to several months after a nuclear accident happens.

As to the water levels inside the reactors, it's a joke. TEPCO and NISA insisted there was water inside the Reactor Pressure Vessels until mid May.

But no matter, that's what the Nuclear Safety Commission under Dr. Haruki "Detarame" Madarame has decided and is duly reported by NHK.

NHK conveniently omits the now-known fact that the SPEEDI simulation data was there from the beginning. The politicians and the bureaucrats, in their petty turf war, couldn't make any use of it. They even had three sets of simulation from three different entities - the Ministry of Education, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and TEPCO, from the beginning of the accident. Everyone decided to drop the ball all at once.

How did they manage to do that? Asahi Shinbun's "Trap of Prometeus" has an excellent coverage on that (part 1 here, part 2 here).

From NHK News (1/4/2012):


In the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the system to forecast the dispersion of radioactive materials didn't function, causing the confusion as to what to do with the potassium iodide pills to avoid radiation exposure in the thyroid. So the Nuclear Safety Commission has decided not to use the system any more to instruct residents to take the pills; instead, the air radiation levels and other indicators will be used.


In a nuclear accident, in order to decide whether to take potassium iodide pills to prevent thyroid irradiation, the national government is to use the data from the simulation system to forecast the dispersion of radioactive materials, called SPEEDI, and to instruct the residents.


However, in the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, this system did not function and the national government and the Fukushima prefectural government did not make a decision [on whether to instruct residents to take the pills], causing confusion in the municipalities affected on what to do with the potassium iodide pills. The working group at the Nuclear Safety Commission has determined that it is doubtful that SPEEDI data will be used for a quick response in the future and therefore the SPEEDI system won't be used in determining the need for the administration of the pills.


Instead, the Commission is considering using the data such as the air radiation levels and the water level in the reactor. Further, the levels to instruct the residents to take the pill will be revised based on the prevailing international standards. For 1 year-old, it will be an equivalent dose of 50 millisieverts at the thyroid, which is half of the current level. The working group will further consider the numbers and will make a suggestion to the government by March.

WHO's standard for 1-year old is 10 millisieverts.

(I sent a tweet to NHK Kabun (culture and science), telling them the article is false about SPEEDI. I was surprised when NHK Kabun marked my tweet as "favorite".)

Speaking of potassium iodide, there are tweets from the residents in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture that they just received an envelope from the city that contained potassium iodide pills. They are wondering why, and wondering if Reactor 4 is as safe as TEPCO has said after the water level decrease in the Skimmer Surge Tank.


kintaman said...

It is ALREADY too late!!!

jmdesp said...

Between the lines, what I read is that the bureaucrats simply did not trust SPEEDI at all. I can imagine what happened in March : "I understand nothing to this crap, but it's going to scare the shit out of everybody in Iitate and even in Fukushima-shi since the line extends straight there, and I'm certainly not going to risk my carrier because of those stupid eggheads who got it wrong anyway. We're just going to ignore that and stuck to the dead stupid concentric circle, how can the radiation propagate any other way than a circle, anyway ?"

Before you laugh, remember that this is the end result of systematically dissing anything the scientists say. They frequently say a low level of radiation isn't that dangerous, and you hate it, but in March they were also saying Iitate would get spillover, and they were right.

Anonymous said...

Speedi makes carbon based "experts" look stupid, carbon based experts kill Speedi.

Is was all over the end of the 2011 reflection TV programs that PM and co. and TEPCO have the Speedi report very early on but then decided Speedi was not accurate (because things couldn't be that bad right??).

Allen pedro said...

great blog you can use the google translate gadget instead of writing in two languages thanks

mikeintokyorogers said...

Google translate gadget could never translate as well as you do... Of course, you already know that

Anonymous said...

Its already too late. KI pills work if you are not already "topped" off with Iodine radiation in the thyroid. And its for children, more than adults-for adults over 40 the cancer probably will not occur in your lifetime of 70 some years.

You can not take those tablets for the rest of your lives, the use is to get the gland to uptake safe iodine/KI-then LEAVE the area. Believe the tablets are being sent out now because they are expiring. What a stupid thing to until expiring..then send out to keep from "wasting" them.

Anonymous said...

"You can not take those tablets for the rest of your lives, the use is to get the gland to uptake safe iodine/KI-then LEAVE the area. "

Then they would claim the citizens would not have known what to do with those things attached to their lower legs. Those things called 'the feet'.

Kind of like the bureaucrats implying that we don't know what to do with a brain function at our disposal. A function called memory. And a function called deduce.

Lena said...

Anonymous said...

The couriers of bad news were often killed in old time. Now they are trying to kill also the software. That´s human progress^^

Anonymous said...

This is so stupid it ain't even funny. What if the next accident does not involve a reactor? What if the reprocessing plant at Tokai-mura catches fire, or goes boom?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@jmdesp, they trusted enough to send out an official to measure at particular locations. They just didn't bother telling that to the PM that they disliked.

Atomfritz said...

"They just didn't bother telling that to the PM that they disliked."
Sometimes I think that the custom of seppuku wasn't that bad at all.
Times have changed. So many people without honor, and not a single one seppuku.

Atomfritz said...

But probably many with artificial finger limbs...

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