Friday, March 25, 2011

#TEPCO the Criminal Enterprise Didn't Bother to Share Radiation Information with Workers

(UPDATE) TEPCO has changed the story, and now says it was Reactor 2, not 1. See my update. At this point, does that matter any more? Probably not.


Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese, my comment in red; 12:49PM JST 3/26/2011) reports:

TEPCO had known about the high radiation level in the turbine building for the Reactor No.1 on March 18, six days before the three workers got exposed to high radiation in the turbine building for the Reactor No.3, but the company failed to warn these workers on before they started working in the Reactor No.3 turbine building on March 24. TEPCO admitted "If we had shared the information, the radiation exposure might have been prevented," and apologized.

[Apologized to whom? The workers, I hope? But probably more to the government for causing face-losing embarrassment.]

According to TEPCO's Fukushima Office, the radiation level was measured on March 18 during the work in the basement of the Reactor No.1 turbine building; it was 200 milli-sieverts, approaching the upper limit of radiation exposure for the workers at 250 milli-sievert.

The three workers started the work in the Reactor No.3 around 10:30AM on March 24. No one told them about the situation in the Reactor No.1.

[Excuse me, not just them. No one in the rest of the world wasn't told about it! According to my blog post from March 19, TEPCO said it was measuring 100 milli-sievert, not 200.]

In the Reactor No.3 turbine building, the water was 15 centimeters deep. There was no water the day before. The three workers worked in the water, knowing the radiation level had been low the day before and thinking that "the turbine building does not usually have a high radiation level. They ended up receiving the localized exposure to radiation. If the March 18 data [on the Reactor No.1] had been shared with the workers beforehand, it could have prevented them from presuming low radiation risk.

But wait, it gets better. TEPCO, after measuring high level of radiation in the Reactor No.1 water, they didn't bother to test it until March 24. They thought it was just sea water:

TEPCO thought it was the water from tsunami, and planned pumping the water out. As a preparation (or precaution), the company took a water sample on 9:30AM on March 24, and analyzed the sample: Radiation of 3.8 million becquerels per 1 cubit centimeter was detected, 10,000 times the amount detected in the cooling water of the reactor during normal operation.


For information on how deep the water is in each reactor, see my previous post.

TEPCO continues to pump water to cool the fuel rods in the Reactor Pressure Vessels, even though the pipes and valves connected to the Vessels may be leaking. TEPCO has no choice but do it, even if all it does may be to delay the eventuality (core meltdown).


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