Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(UPDATED) INES Level 1 Contamination at Fukushima II (Daini), Caused by the Spill of Contaminated Water from Fukushima I (Daiichi), Says NISA

UPDATE: These are the 20-liter plastic containers that transported the contaminated water from Fuku-I to Fuku-II. They are wrapped in plastic. That's spill-proof, isn't it? TEPCO claims the lid in one of the containers was loose. From METI's press release on 3/27/2012:

TEPCO transported 140 liters of the water after being treated by the cesium absorption towers (SARRY, Kurion) from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant to Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant for nuclide analysis, but somehow the water spilled and contaminated the buildings in Fukushima II.

Duh. Why TEPCO needed to transport a large quantity of contaminated water just for analysis, no one knows. The water contained maximum 700 becquerels/cubic centimeter of radioactive materials, so the 140 liters of this water could contain 700 x 1000 x 140 = 98 million becquerels of radioactive materials.

First, the overview of the incident from Jiji Tsushin (3/27/2012):


Contaminated water from Fukushima I for analysis spilled at Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant, says TEPCO


TEPCO announced on March 27 that the contaminated water spilled from the container and contaminated desks and corridors at Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant. The water contained radioactive strontium and other nuclides, and was brought from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant to Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant for analysis. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has instructed TEPCO to report the details, as the company is likely to have been in violation of the regulation that specifies how the contaminated water should be handled.


According to TEPCO and the NISA, contamination was found at 7 locations in the service building for Reactors 3 and 4 at Fukushima II Nuke Plant, on the desks and corridors. Maximum 700 becquerels per cubic centimeter of radioactive materials have been found from the locations of the spill. There is no worker exposed to the contamination.

"140 liters" information comes from the ad hoc NISA press conference on March 27 at 9:15PM (that's unusual these days).

More detailed information from the press conference, by Ryuichi Kino:

東電の発表では、汚染は206Bq/cm2 [sic] という話だったが、保安院の発表では、最高700Bq/cm3と聞いているとのこと。ただ、運んでいた量が全部で140L。なんでこんなに多量の汚染水を運んでいたのかは、今のところ不明。保安院によれば今回の漏洩量は少ないが場合によっては汚染された水のすべてが漏洩した可能性があり、その場合に想定される放射性物質の量などからすると、国際原子力事象評価尺度(INES)の対象になり、暫定でINESレベル1と判断しているとのこと。

TEPCO announced the contamination as 206 Bq/cubic centimeter, but NISA says max 700 Bq/cubic centimeter. Total amount of the water was 140 liters. It's not known why such a large quantity of contaminated water was being transported. According to NISA, the amount of leak this time was small, but depending on the situation the entire amount could have leaked. If that was the case, INES (International Nuclear Event Scale) should be applied to the incident because of the amount of radioactive materials that would have been released; consequently, NISA considers the incident as INES Level 1, on a provisional basis.


Another question. TEPCO touched on this spill very lightly at the 6PM press conference, and said there was only one contamination. But NISA says there were 7 locations that were contaminated. The spill happened at 12:42PM, and TEPCO didn't have the details at the press conference, 5 hours after. Too slow.

Kino also reports this was the second time TEPCO transported a large quantity of contaminated water from Fukushima I to Fukushima II.

(Additional information)

Kino also says that the contaminated water is routinely sampled by the affiliate companies (probably Toshiba, Hitachi, and other top-tier contractors) for testing at their facilities.


Anonymous said...

This immediately reminds me of the fact that they had contaminated water in the basement at Daini last year, the existence of which to my knowledge was never explained (couldn't have been fallout from Daichi since in the basement, couldn't have come from tsunami since it then wouldn't have been contaminated).


Anyway, how much water does one typically need for analysis of radionuclides?

Anonymous said...

Wait...they drove a truckload of contaminated water to Daini and spilled it all over "corridors and desks" ?
Wonder what might be happening down there at the silent Daini.

Any news from the race participants?

Arma Geddon said...

"Corridors and desks?" WTF?? Is there some drunk staggering around saying 'fancy a drink?' As always, such bizarre, mind-buggering news from this ludicrous cuntry.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Well, this was the country where workers were carrying uranium in buckets while smoking a cigarette.

Anonymous said...

Hmm 140L wow, that's a lot of water to be transported for 'testing'.

Some points I do not understand are:

1. Why use a single 140 litre tank and not 7x 20 litre tanks. If you have a single large tank you need heavy equipment to move your water around, but broken up into many smaller ones it is easier to transport and saver, since not all would spill.

2. Does it really say 'on the desk' in Japanese? I mean literally 'on top of the desk' or more like on the leg of desk? 'on top' is hard to imagine though from a single 140l tank.

3. How come nobody was contaminated? I mean did that container slowly empty drop by drop over a day or did it topple over????

Very strange indeed..... TEPCO can tell whatever story it wants to , nobody can check ever.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 3:44PM, it was indeed transported in 20-liter containers, as Kino says.

The original Japanese does not specify what part of the desk was found contaminated. It just says "on the desk".

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. I seem to have misunderstood the efficiency of the water treatment and mistakenly thought that they were removing the radionuclides from the water. This is treated water isn't it?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 5:38PM: The contaminated water from the turbine bldg basements first goes through either SARRY or Kurion to have cesium removed, and the water spilled this time in Fuku-II is this water. SARRY/Kurion only removes cesium but leaves just about everything else.

The water then goes to the reverse osmosis for desalination, and removal of other gamma nuclides. After that, the treated water still contains a large amount of tritium and beta nuclides. This water gets recirculated into the reactors for cooling.

What leaked at Fuku-I after the reverse osmosis is the concentrated waste sludge part.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making things clear. Do you happen to know how much radioactive sludge has been accumulated to date and how it will be disposed of?

Anonymous said...

anon 3:44 again - thanks for clarification arevamirpal!

So these 7x 20 litre tanks are probably the standard plastic ones that are used in Japan for chemical waste as well.

One possibility would be that TEPCO brought them separately to Daini, like every week one container to 'check' it there.

It is still not very clear for me how much spilled. If more than 20 litre spilled it would be difficult to understand, since it has been in 7 separate canisters. On the other hand it stated: 'at 7 locations contamination was found'. So we have 7 canisters and 7 locations of contamination - could be a coincidence.

Still strange that nobody got contaminated.

If they would still use Arevas system they would get rid of the other nucleids as well if my memory is right. I hope in the end they will pass all the stored water through Arevas system before they dispose of (I mean leak) it into the ocean. Up to my understanding Arevas system converts all heavy metals into their sulfides (just bubble H2S though the water - a standard method in analytical chemistry) and thus they precipitate out (form a solid, since sulfides are pretty insoluble in water).

Anonymous said...



accuracy : Hashizume Bun, the 80-year-old author of "The Day the Sun Fell: I was 14 years old in Hiroshima",was less than 1.5 kilometers from the hypocenter of the explosion.


Anonymous said...

Uhmmm, why is all that nice water just sitting there doing nothing in those plastic containers when it could be making money... dilute it and rebottle as a health drink.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 3;55AM, if you post that on every single post, Google will soon mark you as SPAM.

Atomfritz said...

Possible reasons for salvaging this big quantity of water (caution, wild speculations!):
-Animal testing (what happens with animals drinking it after spills?)
-Human experiments (like in USA, introducing radioactive substances into unwitting people)
-Providing an explanation for the Daini basement contaminations ("Oops! Sorry, I just poured away the foul water dispenser's water into the basement")
-Less ethic purposes (dirty beta drinks or bombs, conventiently not detected by border control's gamma detectors)

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I'll ask Kino if he has any info on why TEPCO was carrying this much water just for testing. It's very peculiar.

Anonymous said...

Does not look well sheilded for an unknown but
radioactive sample in the picture.

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