Wednesday, February 5, 2014

#Fukushima I NPP Groundwater Bypass Plan: TEPCO/METI Prepare for Release of "Uncontaminated" Groundwater into Ocean

The word "uncontaminated" in the title above is in quotation marks, because there may be radionuclides left in the groundwater to be released, particularly tritium, even though it is the water drawn from the wells placed on the west side of the reactor buildings - i.e. before the groundwater enters the reactor buildings and gets contaminated.

From Jiji Tsushin (2/3/2014), after the regular press conference by TEPCO:


Fukushima I NPP targets set for releasing groundwater into the ocean, tritium less than 1500 Bq/L


On February 3, TEPCO announced the operating targets for densities of radioactive materials in groundwater to be relased into the ocean. The groundwater is drawn before it enters the reactor buildings and gets contaminated. The targets for cesium-134 and cesium-137 will be less than 1 Bq/L each, all-beta less than 5 Bq/L, and tritium less than 1,500 Bq/L.


The groundwater release is part of the plan to reduce contaminated water. The densities of radioactive materials are less than 1/4 of the legal limits for release into the ocean. TEPCO will talk with the local fishermen to obtain their understanding of [consent to] the release.


If the densities are above the operating targets, the release will be suspended and the water will be purified before the release resumes. For beta nuclides, TEPCO plans to purify until the density is less than 1 Bq/L, lower than the operating target.

And here's METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)'s effort in persuading the fishermen.

From Kyodo News (2/3/2014):

地下水バイパス稼働に理解求める 経産副大臣、全漁連に

Vice Minister of Economy asks National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations for understanding of the start of groundwater bypass


Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kazuyoshi Akaba asked National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations for understanding of the start of groundwater bypass, which is part of dealing with the contaminated water at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The groundwater bypass will draw groundwater and release the water into the ocean.


[Vice Minister Akaba said] METI will apply the operating standards that are stricter than the existing standards in radioactive material density in the groundwater that will be drawn, in order to mitigate concerns from fishermen.


The groundwater that leaks into the reactor building is one of the causes for increase in contaminated water. According to the groundwater bypass scheme, the water will be drawn before it gets contaminated. However, concerns for baseless rumors remain strong particularly among fishermen, which has prevented the scheme from being implemented.

I wonder how TEPCO is going to "purify" the water to less than 1Bq/L. My guess is dilution, particularly if it is tritium which cannot be effectively removed on a large scale.

But it probably doesn't matter, as one day later Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry says METI has already obtained "a certain level of understanding" from the fisheries co-op.

From Jiji Tsushin (2/4/2014):


Minister of Economy Motegi says a certain level of understanding from the fisheries co-op in dealing with the groundwater at Fukushima I NPP


In the press conference after the cabinet meeting on February 4, 2014, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi said [the ministry] has obtained "a certain level of understanding as to the necessity" of the groundwater bypass plan from the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Association in dealing with the contaminated water at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Vice Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba had met with Hiroshi Kishi, Chairman of the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Association on February 3 to explain the outline of the plan and ask for understanding.

So the National Federation of Fisheries C-op Association will bear down on the Fukushima Federation of Fisheries Co-op Association, who will then bear down on the local Fisheries Co-ops in cities like Iwaki. The local Co-Ops will bear down on individual fishermen, who will probably need little persuasion, as they are eager to resume fishing.

TEPCO/METI plan to release groundwater seems to be back on track, as if the ground contamination in the very area where the wells were dug for the groundwater drawing had never happened in August 2013.

Right near where the wells are, there are huge tanks, mostly riveted together and meant to last for no more than 5 years, that contain highly radioactive (mostly beta nuclides, not gamma) waste water after reverse osmosis (desalination) treatment. Several of the tanks in the area were found to have leaked this waste water although no one knows exactly how much waste water leaked or how it leaked, and the leak may be slowly finding its way towards the wells. The elevated levels of tritium have already been measured, although they are well below the operating target of 1500 Bq/L.

Locations of the wells for drawing groundwater for the groundwater bypass scheme, and the sample water analysis (from TEPCO, 1/30/2014): the highest contamination of tritium recorded was 1,000 Bq/L from No.12 well on 12/24/2013.

Latest measurement of contamination levels in the H4 tank area, located southeast of the wells (from TEPCO, 2/6/2014):

For more on the "RO Waste Water Leak of August 2013", click here.

Nuclear Regulation Authority is yet to approve the operating targets, so all is not yet clear for TEPCO/METI. It is muddled as ever as to who is in charge of regulating TEPCO on the Fukushima I NPP accident cleanup efforts. It is supposed to be NRA, but it is increasingly tied up with the evaluation of nuclear power plants under the new guidelines in preparation for the restart. It looks METI is there (as it has always been there) to give the plant operators like TEPCO a way out, a bypass around the regulators.


Anonymous said...

The 'dilute and pollute' strategy of desperation.

Anonymous said...

How I long for a cool liter of 1,500 Bq water. Uhh, No.

This looks like one of TEPCO's default concepts for your perusal. Look, they say, at how smashed up the piping is in the grounds around these reactors. They then proceed to prepare to level accusation of Baseless Rumoring at any who would question if they are 'diluting & polluting'.

Until they explain why there's 1500 Bq/L of tritium, ...

Anonymous said...

Course, what TEPCO really needs, is not a system for filtration of radiation, but a system for filtration of baseless rumours.

Anonymous said...

From a link off of enenews,

"TEPCO has been refusing to test for deep contamination. On December 20, 2013, NHK World reported that TEPCo finally started poking into these deep groundwater layers and found beta radiation in a 'layer 25 meters beneath the No. 4 reactor's well facing the ocean.' The value was 67 Bq/L or 67,000 Bq/m3 (note this is not strontium-90, but all beta). Fukushima Diary reported this was the first time TEPCo tested this deep. Fukushima Diary also noted that '[TEPCo] decided they won't analyze the groundwater of deep ground layer on the seaside of reactor1 and 2."

Strontiu-90 and ongoing fissioning, quite obviously well out of containment?

Anonymous said...

Anon above, I do not trust any site that exaggerates the number by multiplying by 1,000. That kind of number is never reported in cubic meter. That's to deceptive, and demagogy.

Anonymous said...

The Headless Tourist Visits Nikko
What the Hell, Only 31,000 Bq/Kg of Cesium

North of Tokyo, Exploring the Sacred and Scenic [and radioactive ?]

31,000 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium in Wild Mushrooms in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, Highest "Official" Measurement Ever

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

anon at 11:57PM, TEPCO's official announcements do not use cubic meter as a unit. It is either cubic centimeter or liter. That's how nuclides are measured, and it's not just by TEPCO.

Anonymous said...


It really matters not what units Tepco uses. They could be proffering measurements in Bq/cubic apples The FACT is that Tepco is unable to measure ANYTHING with any degree of honesty or reliability.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2, it DOES matter how these bloggers use a particular unit (m3) so that the Becquerel number gets exaggerated by 1000 times. More eye balls, more needless scare among uninformed English speakers. I'm just disgusted with these people.

Anonymous said...

Needless scare?

It IS pretty darn scary whichever way you want to count it.

160,000 times the legal LIMIT for Strontium 90 (and that's just this week, as the number will doubtless continue to increase many fold) DEMANDS more attention, more eyeballs, more informed discussion...

Unless of course you'd be happier with the sleepwalking masses just continuing to live their lives in blissful ignorance.

None of this was necessary. Nobody was going to die for the lack of nuclear power in Japan. But the hubris and greed of the few has created a one way road leading to the misery of the many.

Anonymous said...


Your disgust is misplaced. Try aiming your anger at those responsible for this disaster, not those trying to understand it.

Anonymous said...

From their one-nutted males that are tasked to rationalizing the dangers of radioactivity in their environment to their females with their forced vacuity of social relating that permits them to knowingly feed their children radioactive food, the Japanese people are truly Timing Out.

"February 06 2014

On January 29, 2014, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare(MHLW) released its December 2013 analysis of radiation (Cesium 134 & 137) in food. 32,605 food samples were analyzed by the MHLW. Of that, 24,652 samples are analyzed as “<25”, which is not meaningful for our analysis. We selected only food sample tests which showed a numerical result, and the labs are can provide sensitivity to a small number. The lowest result is 0.532 bq/kg.

We found that among food samples showing a value for Cesium (contaminated food), the average Cesium value (Cs134 and Cs 137) is still at a high level, 39.71 bq/kg. The long life Cesium 137 is also still high, at 29.17 bq/kg. The average in fisheries products was 18.42 bq/kg. The big shocker, though, was the average total Cesium contamination in all food, including fisheries products, where the food was over the Japanese limit of 100 bq/kg. This highly contaminated food came in at an average of 512.44 bq/kg, or over 500% of the Japanese legal limit.

Remember, though, that is still below the US limit of 1200 bq/kg, and those highly contaminated food samples, while they are toxic waste in Japan, would be considered ‘food’ in the US according to government contamination levels.

Finally, the highest food sample test score came in at a whopping 6000 bq/kg in boar meat. In Japan, wild boar is called “Inoshishi”. Wild boar stew “Botannabe” is (was?) somewhat of a delicacy in Japan."

A smidgeon of hope exists,

And btw, a Thank You from the World for turning off your nukes post-Fuku.
Therein is your path of hope.

Anonymous said...

Using a liter (litre) for volume measurements for comparison to radioactivity found, TEPCO was running out of zeroes and forced to switch to a greater volume method in a cubic meter. Soon it will be using cubed kilometers then finally unto parsecs.

Anonymous said...

Japanese love to prepare every part for use in a meal. Fish, they boil the bones for a soup stock and most other animal bones. Boiling bones releases the Strontium-90 to be consumed.

Anonymous said...

In the U.S. they love to "fouk" the brain of the media consumer. They first boil your regard with effervescent in-your-face face-fouking, then tell you they'll "let you", then sit back and allow you to do things that only UTTER FOOLS would do after such parameters have been so openly & honestly discussed in that 2-way communication.

Like eating their "radio-food" after "bilging" your regard,
" .. the US limit of 1200 bq/kg, .. toxic waste in Japan, would be considered ‘food’ in the US .. "

And as testing for such is hardly standard imagine the yakuza-like business relations that exist to get around publicizing such dangers.

"Radio-food", or quite simply, "FOUK U".

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