Saturday, May 14, 2011

Professor Kunihiko Takeda: "Teachers, Wake Up and Protect Children from Radiation!"

Professor Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University is a nuclear scientist known these days as one of the "nuclear sceptics" in Japan (he has been a "global warming sceptic", too), though he was a proponent of nuclear energy until mid 2000s when the government loosened the safety standards.

He has been highly critical of the government response to the Fukushima crises - Fukushima I Nuke Plant and radioactive contamination of air, water, soil, and ocean.

He's particularly angry, as any decent human being would, about the Japanese government's strange, bureaucratic willingness and insistence on exposing small children to the high level of radiation (20 millisieverts/year).

Here's his blog post on May 14 on the topic. I don't know and I haven't checked the factual basis for his comments, and the opinion expressed is his. (It's my quick translation, not necessarily literal. the original Japanese post is here.)

Kindergartens, primary schools turned into the places to receive radiation

I am calling out to teachers again.

Do you think your job is to teach children according to the daily curriculum?

Your duty is not "to teach according to the daily curriculum" but to educate children in the true sense of the word and help them grow healthy. And first and foremost in today's Fukushima, Kanto, and Miyagi, your duty is to protect children from radiation exposure.

Wake up!!

Pay attention not to the provisional instruction from the Ministry of Education but to the law (that says 1 millisievert per year, and children are 3 times as sensitive to radiation as adults). You are in the position to protect children's health.

School lunch:

I hear that they use "cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber, asparagus and beef from Fukushima" in school lunch in Yokohama City [in Kanagawa Prefecture].

What are they thinking?

It is good to help farmers in Fukushima, but that does not mean children should be forced to eat "contaminated vegetables". There should be other ways to help farmers.

People in charge of school lunch would say "it is safe", but that simply means "it is under the safety limit". If there is a bunch of spinach grown in Fukushima, and another bunch grown in Akita displayed side by side in a supermarket, would a mother pick Fukushima spinach?

Adults can choose what they eat, but children cannot. People in charge of school lunch should protect children like mothers would.

Use of school yard:

On April 14 in Kanagawa, iodine-131 was detected at 48,000 becquerels/square meters, and cesium-134 and cesium-137 were detected at 53,000 becquerels/square meters each on the surface of the soil with small gravels.

One month from the accident, radioactive materials had fallen on the ground, on the grass, and in the dust in the air as the soil gets kicked up.

Children are shorter in height than adults, and they play on the school yards. External radiation from the yards, and internal radiation from the dust they inhale. Children's radiation exposure is much bigger than that of adults.

But schools don't stop the use of the school yards.

They have school gyms. They could wash the floor and the walls of the gym clean to drastically reduce the radiation.

Why do school teachers want to expose children to radiation?

School events:

An increasing number of schools are going to places with even higher radiation levels for school athletic events, extracurricular activities, and school trips.

It is only natural for parents at this time not to want to have their children go to places with high radiation. Teachers should worry about the children's health instead of worrying about "breach of contract", "it had been planned before the accident" or "Ministry of Education would be upset if we cancel the event".

"If we cancel the event, it will inconvenience the other party", they may say. But which is more important, the inconvenience of the other party or the reduction of radiation exposure for children?

Swimming pool:

As usual, just like last year, the school athletic event will be held. As usual, just like last year, children will clean the school's swimming pool.

It looks like "as usual, just like last year", but there is one big difference.

That is, school yards and the water in the swimming pools weren't contaminated with radioactive materials last year. For children, radioactive materials are a poison.

Why do you take children to a poison? "We can't see a poison" say schools, but that's not what grown-ups should be saying.

Children doing push-ups on the dusty school yards. Their lips almost touch the dirt that has radioactive materials. If you are a teacher seeing this and if you don't think there's anything wrong with it, you'd better quit right away. You do not have aptitude to be a teacher.


After the Chernobyl accident, Germany disposed of cows [?] as beef that contained cesium-137 would not be fit for consumption and the half-life [of cesium-137] was 30 years even if the meat was burned.

In Switzerland, which was further away from Chernobyl than Germany, they fed cows and sheep with hays from the previous year, and moved sheep to the uncontaminated western state of Fribourg.

In Japan, they moved cows from near the Fukushima Nuke Plant to all over Japan, to 24 different prefectures. Germany and Switzerland adhered to 1 millisieverts per year. Japan is saying "you have to put up with radiation".

[Contaminated] milk is dangerous. In Chernobyl, thyroid cancer in children was caused largely by drinking milk tainted with radioactive materials.

Many mothers are suffering.

Schools that say "mothers are overreacting" are violating the law. Teachers, please study the law on radiation protection, and "clearance level". 20 millisieverts [per year] is in violation of the law.

Children in Kanto and southern Tohoku has already suffered a serious internal radiation exposure in March. They need a break [from radiation], even for a short while.

Please, they need a break!

(4PM, 5/4/2011)


It is said that there is no longer a primary school, or secondary school in Japan, where teachers are kind-hearted, straight-forward, and respected like they used to.

The society has changed, and parents do not respect teachers. Certain activities of the Teachers' Union may have something to do with it.

And now, schools are organized like a military organization with the Ministry of Education at the top commanding the schools and the schools receiving the orders.

But all these are the "adults' problems", and children should not suffer the consequence.

No matter how crooked the society is, no matter how harsh the treatment one receives, it is the human spirit that rise against it.

(Speaking of the Teachers Union, the incumbent Minister of Education, Yoshiaki Takagi, is a former union activist at Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Nagasaki Shipyard.)

More on the Worker's Death: It Took 2 Hours to Get to the Hospital

The man may have suffered a heart attack, but it sure looks he was practically killed by TEPCO and the Fukushima prefectural government.

This bit of information from Mainichi Shinbun (5/14/2011):

 原発からの救急搬送を巡り、県災害対策本部と消防、東電の3者は原発事故後、約20キロ南の拠点施設ナショナルトレーニングセンター「Jヴィレッ ジ」(楢葉町)で受け渡すよう取り決めている。このため同7時35分ごろ業務用車両に男性を乗せ原発を出発、8時10分ごろ着いたJヴィレッジで、常駐医 師が心臓マッサージなどをしたが回復せず、同35分ごろ救急車に乗せられた。

As to medical emergency transfer from the plant, the Fukushima prefectural government headquarters that deal with the plant accident, the Fukushima fire department, and TEPCO decided after the accident that the handover [of sick and injured people] must be done at "J-Village", 20 kilometers south of the plant. Accordingly, the man was put in a TEPCO's vehicle at 7:35AM, and arrived at "J-Village" at 8:10AM. There, the doctors did the CPR but couldn't resuscitate the man. He was then put on an ambulance at 8:35AM.

The ambulance arrived at a hospital in Iwaki City at 9:07AM, and the man was pronounced dead at 9:33AM.

And why the handover at "J-Village"? It's for the safety of emergency medical crew.

And I have this sinking feeling that the TEPCO's vehicle carrying the man observed the speed limit and all the traffic lights along the way, since it was not an emergency vehicle. (The police might have issued a ticket for traffic violation.) It took them 35 minutes to cover 20 kilometers, so they did less than 40 km/hour, or 25 miles/hour.

The ambulance didn't seem to do any better. It took 30 minutes to cover the distance between "J-Village" and the hospital. Depending on which hospital - no one is saying - in Iwaki City, but the distance between "J-Village" and Iwaki City is roughly 28 kilometers. So the speed was 56 km/hour, or 35 miles/hour.

In Japan, ambulances announce to the cars and trucks on the road, "We are turning, we are turning..." Very polite, and very reserved in speed. But I'm sure there was a medical reason for going slower than the speed limit.

Even with 56 km/hour though, if the ambulance had come to the plant and took the worker to the hospital directly to Iwaki City, it would have arrived at the hospital in less than an hour, instead of 2 hours, and with a medical treatment provided in the ambulance.

The Self Defense Force also has this thing called "helicopter", but I guess that is reserved for VIPs like Prime Minister Kan and Nuclear Safety Commission chief Madarame, and we have to be worried for the safety of the SDF helicopter pilot.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Didn't Have Doctor on Site When the Worker Collapsed

The hospital to which the worker was taken on May 14 after he collapsed on the job thinks he died of a heart attack (myocardial infarction), according to Yomiuri Shinbun (3:04AM JST 5/15/2011).

Yomiuri continues:


According to the hospital, CT scan test and blood test indicated the possibility that the man suffered a myocardial infarction. "It is hard to believe the radiation exposure had anything to do with his death," says the hospital.


In the meantime, TEPCO disclosed in the press conference on May 14 that there was no doctor on site when the man fell ill and collapsed at about 6:50AM. TEPCO's Matsumoto said "Since we are entering the warm season, we will do our best to ensure the health of the workers."

 東電によると、医師については、福島第二原発に1人、作業員の活動拠点「Jヴィレッジ」に4人を、それぞれ24時間体制で配置しているが、福島第 一原発には、医師の被曝が懸念されることから、1人を午前10時~午後4時の6時間配置するだけだったという。搬送された病院は約40キロ離れていた。

According to TEPCO, 1 doctor is stationed at Fukushima II, and 4 at "J-Village" (staging area for Fukushima I Nuke Plant operation) on 24/7 basis. However, at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, 1 doctor is present only for 6 hours from 10:00AM to 4:00PM for fear of radiation exposure. The hospital to which the worker was taken is 40 kilometers from the plant.

So, what was that nice narrative yesterday by Mainichi Shinbun that the worker was taken to the doctor's office on site, when there was no doctor at the office?

CT scan and blood test? No autopsy?

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 1 Bldg: 2,000 Millisieverts/Hr at Southeast Double Door, 3,000 Tons of Water in the Basement

1,000 millisieverts/hour on the 2nd floor was bad enough. And this was supposed to be the reactor that was well on its way to stable cold shutdown.

From Yomiuri Shinbun and Asahi Shinbun, on 5/15/2011 (in Japanese):

2,000 millisieverts, or 2 sieverts, per hour radiation was detected inside the southeast double door of the Reactor 1 reactor building. Measurement was done by a remote-controlled robot on May 13. The location is where the pipe is that goes into the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV).

3,000 tons of contaminated water probably leaked from the RPV and the Containment Vessel was found in the basement of the reactor building (where the Suppression Chamber is). TEPCO suspects the water is leaking from the seams of the pipes that connects the Containment Vessel body and the torus-shaped Suppression Chamber.

Now, TEPCO's new plan is to circulate the contaminated water in the basement back into the RPV to cool the RPV.

Well, it was all farce, then; that TEPCO installed the air filtering system and claimed that the radioactive materials inside the Reactor 1 reactor building got safe enough (they were saying a few millisieverts to 10s of millisieverts/hour) for the workers to go in and start working.

Unless the "new normal" for Fukushima I Nuke Plant is to count the radiation in sieverts.

The so-called "water entombment" is officially dead now. TEPCO has poured over 10,000 tons of water inside the RPV. Now they say they've found 3,000 tons of it. Where's the rest, 7,000 tons?

Water Torture at #Fukushima: Reactor 3's Temperature Remains High Despite Added Water, and Contaminated Water in Reactor 2 Trench Is Rising

TEPCO is pumping 15 tons of water per hour into the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) of the Reactor 3, as the temperature inside the reactor remains elevated.

Yomiuri Shinbun (1:11PM JST 5/14/2011):


TEPCO announced on May 14 that the temperature continues to rise in the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) of the Reactor 3, and TEPCO increased the amount of water being injected by 3 tons per hour to the total 15 tons per hour starting this morning.

That's 360 tons per day. (No need to remind the readers that the fuel inside this Reactor is MOX fuel.)

According to TEPCO's press release on May 14 before they announced the increase of water being injected, TEPCO was going to switch the water injection line from the fire extinguishing line that they had been using to the regular (repaired) feed water line, as they suspected a leak in the fire extinguishing line. However, the temperature continued to rise, and now they are using both lines and increased the amount of water from the fire extinguishing line.

In the meantime, the highly contaminated water in the trench from the Reactor 2 is RISING despite the water is being transported to the Central Waste Processing Facility.

According to Yomiuri Shinbun (in Japanese, reporting the press conference; 1:53PM JST 5/14/2011), the level of highly contaminated water in the trench from the Reactor 2 has risen 4 centimeters since the work to transport the water to the Central Waste Processing Facility started on April 19. 5,070 tons of water have been already pumped from the trench.

TEPCO is injecting 7 tons of water per hour to cool the RPV of the Reactor 2, according to the above Yomiuri article.

No need to remind the readers that the Suppression Pool of the Reactor 2 is damaged.

Friday, May 13, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: One Worker Died, Cause Unknown

From the tweet by NHK's Science and Culture Department (5/14/2011) about an hour ago:


A worker in his 60s who was carrying the equipment in TEPCO Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant fell ill today before 7:00AM today. He was taken to the hospital but later died.

東 京電力によりますときょう午前6時50分頃、福島第一原発の敷地内にある「集中廃棄物処理施設」で配管を切断する機材を運んでいた協力企業の60代の男性 が体調不良を訴えました。男性はいわき市の病院に搬送されましたが、午前9時半すぎに死亡しました。

According to TEPCO, a worker from a TEPCO's affiliate company fell ill at about 6:50AM (JST) while he was carrying the pipe-cutting equipment in the Central Waste Processing Facility in the compound of Fukushima I Nuke Plant. He was taken to the hospital in Iwaki City, but he died around 9:30AM.

東京電力によりますと男性に放射性物質は付着していな いということです。男性はきのうから機材の運搬作業を担当していたということで、きょうは午前9時まで3時間にわたって作業にあたる予定だったということ です。

There was no radioactive material found on the worker, according to TEPCO. The worker had been assigned to transporting the equipment since yesterday, and he was scheduled to work for three hours from 6 to 9AM today.

近くで働いていた作業員の話によりますと、現場では上下の長袖の下着の上に、防護服やマスクを付けて作業をしていて、暑さを訴える人が多く、きのう も1人が体調不良を訴えていたということです。東京電力によりますと今回の福島第一原発の事故のあとに復旧作業にあたっていた作業員が死亡したのは初めて で、東京電力などで当時の詳しい状況を調べています。

At the plant, the workers wear long-sleeve shirts and long underpants underneath the protective suits. They also wear masks. Many suffer heat exhaustion. According to the workers who were working near the worker who died, another worker had fallen ill yesterday due to the heat. It is the first time any worker died while carrying out the work to restore the plant, and TEPCO is investigating the situation.

Kyodo News Japanese (headline only) says he fell ill, and was unconscious when he was transported to the hospital.


A bit more details from Mainichi Shinbun (11:26AM JST 5/14/2011):

男性の同日の被ばく線量は0.17ミリシーベルトで、想定外に高い値ではなかった。放射性物質の体への付着はなかった。同7時過ぎに医務室に運ばれた時点 で意識、呼吸ともなかった。けがなどの外傷はないという。男性は13日から同原発での勤務を開始し、この日が2日目。勤務シフトは午前6~9時だった。

The radiation exposure of the worker today was 0.17 millisievert, which was not exceptionally high. There was no radioactive material on him. When he was carried to the on-site doctor's office at 7:00AM, he was unconscious and he was not breathing. There was no external trauma. He started to work at the plant on May 13, and this was his second day. His work shift was from 6 to 9 AM.


He was wearing the protective suits and the mask, and as part of the work to process the contaminated water [in the Central Waste Processing Facility] he was carrying the electric saw from the 2nd story of the facility to the 1st floor with a co-worker.


The facility is being used as the temporary storage for the highly contaminated water from the Reactor 2 trench and turbine building. Before the accident, this was the shared facility for the Reactors 1 through 4, processing the contaminated water from the reactors.

From TEPCO Presser on May 12 Part 3: "Probably the Same Situation in Reactors 2 and 3"

The water gauges for the Reactors 2 and 3 are not to be trusted, said TEPCO's Matsumoto in the press conference on May 12 (I watched the live-recorded video) when the company officially acknowledged the meltdown of the Reactor 1.

If the water gauges for the Reactors 2 and 3 have been overstating the water levels, just like in the Reactor 1, it is very likely that all three reactors have hardly any water inside the Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPV), and the reactor cores are likely to have been melted.

Just like Michio Ishikawa of Japan Nuclear Technology Institute said on April 29.

About the water gauges for the Reactors 2 and 3:

"They are probably in the same condition as that of the Reactor 1. The numbers the gauges are currently showing are not very trustworthy. We need to monitor carefully with other parameters like pressure."

Weak points in the RPV and Containment Vessel:

"The RPV has more than 100 small pipes running through the bottom. Any one of them could have been damaged. We cannot completely deny that the [melted] fuel itself damaged the RPV. The Containment Vessel also has pipes, and it is possible that they got damaged when the pressure rose or when there was a hydrogen explosion."

To confirm, TEPCO does not deny that the fuels have all melted and went down?

"We don't deny that. How much of the fuels have melted we cannot say for certain, but our understanding is that they melted, and didn't retain the original shapes, and moved downward."

"We don't deny that part of the melted fuels may have damaged the RPV and escaped the RPV."

Any further danger if the melted fuel did escape the RPV and into the Containment Vessel:

"We're assuming it is being cooled by the water in the Containment Vessel."

If it is still within the Containment Vessel, that is.

Repost: (Updated) #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 1's RPV Has Hardly Any Water

This is the reposting of the post that Google/Blogger wiped out in their maintenance mishap that is still on-going after 24 hours.


(UPDATE: MBS News has been updated (12:04PM JST) and it includes this bit of new information from TEPCO's press conference that just ended:


To prevent radioactive materials from further escaping into the atmosphere, TEPCO will start work on May 13 to cover up the Reactor 1 reactor building with cloth made of synthetic cloth.

As to the water level, it is "more than 5 meters below the top of the fuel rods" and "unmeasurable". (So, "more than 5 meters below the top of the fuel rods" is just an estimate.)


Murphys have never left Fukushima I Nuke Plant, and they are coming out from their hiding places.

After the workers braved the very high radiation inside the Reactor 1 reactor building and repaired the pressure gauge and the water gauge inside the Containment Vessel and the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), TEPCO is finding out that the number they've been reporting on the level of water inside the RPV that houses the nuclear fuel rods was very, very wrong, and there's hardly any water inside the RPV.

It also turns out that there is little water in the Containment Vessel that houses the RPV.

There goes the "water entombment" scheme. All the water that has been poured into the reactor has gone somewhere. Both the RPV and the Containment Vessel of the Reactor 1 have been breached.

From MBS Mainichi News (latest revision at 8:31AM JST 5/12/2011):


JNN's investigation has revealed that there is hardly any water inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) and the Containment Vessel of the Reactor 1 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The planned "water entombment" to cool the reactor would have to be vastly revised.

 1号機には作業員が原子炉建屋 の内部に入り、今週、水位計や圧力計の修理を行いました。圧力容器の水位は、これまで高さ4メートルの燃料棒が半分以上、 水に浸かっている位置を示していましたが、水位計を修理したところ、実際の水位は大幅に低く、水がほとんどたまっていないことが政府関係者への取材でわか りました。

Workers entered inside the Reactor 1's reactor building this week, and repaired the water gauge and the pressure gauge. The water level inside the RPV had shown that more than half the height of the fuel rods (4 meters) was under water. However, when the water gauge was repaired, the actual water level turned out to be so much lower that there was hardly any water in the RPV, according to the JNN's interview with a government source.

 燃料棒がむき出しになり、空だき状態になると水素爆発の危険が高まりますが、原 子炉の状態が安定していることから、燃料が 溶けて圧力容器の底にたまり、かろうじて水で冷やされている可能性もあるということです。また、外側の格納容器にもほとんど水がたまっていなかったという ことです。

If the fuel rods are exposed, there is an increased danger of hydrogen explosion. However, the condition of the reactor seems stable, so it is possible that the fuel rods have melted to the bottom of the RPV, and the molten mass is being cooled by the water at the bottom, according to the source. There was hardly any water in the Containment Vessel, the source also revealed.


The "water entombment" that was planned for the Reactor 1, in which the Containment Vessel would be filled with water to cool the reactor, will have to be revised now that the Containment Vessel is likely to be broken and leaking water. (May 12, 2:29AM)

MBS News is an Osaka-based broadcasting company (AM radio, TV).

So, here's a puzzle:

TEPCO has been pouring water into the Reactor 1 RPV to the tune of 6 tons/hour, 24/7: 144 tons per day, 1,008 tons per week, 7,056 tons for 7 weeks.

Now they find out that there is hardly any water inside the reactor.

Yet, neither the iRobot's Packbots nor the human workers have found leaks from the Containment Vessel in the Reactor 1.

Where has the water gone?

(h/t anon reader)

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Radiation on 2nd Floor of Reactor 1 Exceeded 1,000 Millisieverts/Hour

Or more than 1 sievert/hour.

When 7 TEPCO employees and 2 NISA employees entered the Reactor 1 reactor building on early hours of May 9 (JST), the act that released mere 500 million becquerels of radioactive iodine and cesium into the atmosphere, they measured the radiation level on the ground floor which was 600 to 700 millisieverts/hour at the highest spot.

Then on May 10, someone went upstairs to the 2nd floor for the first time since March 11, and measured the radiation there. It was so high that the Geiger counter couldn't accurately measure.

And TEPCO thinks the totally melted blob of fuel rods (uranium, plutonium) + cladding (zirconium alloy) + control rods (boron, cadmium, silver, indium) + stainless steel pipes + whatever was inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel = "corium" is being safely cooled at the bottom of the RPV.

From Mainichi Shinbun (5/11/2011):

経済産業省原子力安全・保安院は11日、東京電力福島第1原発1号機の原子炉建屋2階で、1時間当たり1000ミリシーベルトを超える高濃度の放射 性物質を測定したと発表した。1号機は冷却装置の設置に向けた準備を進めている。この数値は短時間での作業すら難しくする高い線量で、保安院の西山英彦審 議官は「冷却のための配管のつなぎこみ作業に影響するかもしれない」との見方を示した。

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) announced on May 11 that the radiation level exceeded 1,000 millisieverts/hour on the 2nd floor of the Reactor 1's reactor building at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. TEPCO has been preparing for the work to install the external cooling system inside the reactor building. This radiation level may be too high for workers to enter and work even for a short period of time. NISA's spokesman Nishiyama said the high radiation "may affect the work to connect the pipes for the cooling system."


The location that registered the high radiation level was near the valve of the emergency core cooling system. Measurement was done for 5 minutes starting 12:45PM on May 10 (JST), and at 1.6 meters from the floor the Geiger counter went overscale [and couldn't measure beyond 1,000 millisieverts/hour].


The radiation level of 600 to 700 millisieverts/hour was detected on the 1st floor of the same reactor building on May 9.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO To Put Cover Over Reactor 1 in June

"When it stinks, put the lid on it." (A Japanese saying)

TEPCO has released the image of the cover over the Reactor 1 reactor building. The work is to be commenced in June. The cover is supposed to reduce the amount of release of radioactive materials into the air.

OT: Google Screwed Up Big Time, Removed Posts from May 11

Blogger was not accessible for nearly 20 hours as the result of a big screw-up in maintenance which apparently removed the posts from May 11 for every Blogger user. Everyone in the whole wide world who uses Blogger.

My posts are gone too. Hopefully temporarily.

Even the unpublished drafts are gone. My feed readers are receiving posts from over a week ago.

Google claims it's making progress in restoring the posts, and "back to normal soon", but that tweet was 4 hours ago and they were saying the same 9 hours ago.

Google, meet Microsoft. (Or Adobe. Or [plug in your favorite villain]..)

Now Twitter is having some hiccups. Twitter, meet Google.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 3 Leaking Radioactive Water into Ocean

No one knew it was leaking until a worker found it on May 11. The amount of radioactive materials in the leaking water was far less than the pit water gushing from the Reactor 2 back in early April.

Reactor 3 uses MOX fuel.

(The photo is from TEPCO's Photos for Press page.)

From Asahi Shinbun (10:38PM JST 5/11/2011):

 東京電力は11日夕、福島第一原子力発電所3号機で取水口付近の汚染水を防ぐために設置されたシルトフェンスの外側の海水から、海洋に排出できる国の基 準の濃度の約1万8千倍のセシウム134を検出したと発表した。2号機から高濃度汚染水が流出したことがあるが、3号機で確認されたのは初めて。東電は応急の流出防止策を講じた。

TEPCO announced on May 11 evening that a high concentration of cesium-134 was detected in the seawater just outside the silt fence for the water intake area for the Reactor 3 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Cesium-134 was found to be 18,000 times the allowable limit for discharge into the ocean. It was the first time the highly contaminated water was found leaking from the Reactor 3. TEPCO carried out an emergency work to stop the leak.

 東電によると、11日午前10時半ごろ、作業員が3号機の坑道とつながっている作業用の穴(ピット)で、電線を通している空洞部分から高濃度の放射能汚 染水が流れ出ているのを確認した。ピットの海側部分にひび割れがあり、海に漏れていた。東電は空洞をコンクリートでふさぎ、午後6時45分に水の流出を止 めた。

According to TEPCO, at about 10:30AM (JST) on May 11, a worker found the water was leaking from the hollow ducts that house electrical wires in the pit that connects to the trench for the Reactor 3. The water was found to be highly contaminated with radioactive materials. There was a crack on the ocean-side of the pit, and the water was leaking into the ocean. TEPCO filled the ducts with concrete, and stopped the leak at 6:45PM.

 3号機取水口のシルトフェンス外側の海水は、ヨウ素131も1立方センチあたり96ベクレルで基準の2400倍だった。フェンス内側の海水はヨウ素 131が同190ベクレルで約4800倍、セシウム134は同1900ベクレルで約3万2千倍だった。ピット内は、ヨウ素131が同3400ベクレルで8 万5千倍、セシウム134は同3万7千ベクレルで62万倍だった。

The water outside the silt fence for the Reactor 3 water intake also had iodine-131 at 96 becquerels/cubic centimeter, which is 2,400 times the limit. Inside the silt fence, iodine-131 was detected at 190 becquerels/cubic centimeter (4,800 times the limit), cesium-134 at 1,900 becquerels /cubic centimeter (32,000 times the limit). Inside the pit, iodine-131 was detected at 3,400 becquerels/cubic centimeter (85,000 times the limit), and cesium-134 at 37,000 becquerels (620,000 times the limit).

 3号機のタービン建屋地下には、高濃度の放射能汚染水がたまっている。東電はその汚染水が流れ込んだとみている。東電原子力・立地本部の松本純一本部長 代理は「汚染水の流出はフェンスである程度は抑えられるが、完全ではない。最悪の場合は海へ流れ出る可能性もある」としている。

The highly radioactive water sits in the basement of the Reactor 3 turbine building, and TEPCO thinks this water leaked. Junichi Matsumoto of TEPCO said "The silt fence prevents the flow of the contaminated water to some degree, but it is not perfect. In the worst case, the contaminated water could flow into the ocean [outside the silt fence].

(Workers pouring concrete in the pit to fill the ducts. From TEPCO.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recriticality at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Japanese Researcher Says Nuclear Chain Reaction May Have Reignited Long After Tsunami Disabled the Plant

Tetsuo Matsui is a professor at University of Tokyo's Institute of Physics. On May 2, he submitted his paper titled "Deciphering the measured ratios of Iodine-131 to Cesium-137 at the Fukushima reactors" to, in which he says "The data of the water samples from the unit-4 cooling pool and from the sub-drain near the unit-2 reactor show anomaly which may indicate, if they are correct, that some of these fission products were produced by chain nuclear reactions reignited after the earthquake." (quote taken from his paper)

Chain nuclear reactions reignited = recriticality

That is what some of the non-mainstream researchers like Japan's Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University and the US's Arnie Gundersen of Fairewind Associates have been saying all along, that there may have been recriticality in some of the reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

Now the Japanese mainstream Tokyo University professor is saying it. TEPCO's and the Japanese government's acknowledgement can't be that far away. (And no doubt it will be presented as "it's nothing, it's safe.")

From The Physics arXiv Blog at Technology Review at MIT (5/9/2011):

Chain Reactions Reignited At Fukushima After Tsunami, Says New Study: Radioactive byproducts indicate that nuclear chain reactions must have been burning at the damaged nuclear reactors long after the disaster unfolded

..... Today, Tetsuo Matsui at the University of Tokyo, says the limited data from Fukushima indicates that nuclear chain reactions must have reignited at Fuksuhima up to 12 days after the accident.

Matsui says the evidence comes from measurements of the ratio of cesium-137 and iodine-131 at several points around the facility and in the seawater nearby. He has calculated what the starting ratio must have been by assuming the reactors had been operating for between 7 and 12 months.

He says the ratios from drains at reactors 1 and 3 at Fukushima are consistent with the nuclear reactions having terminated at the time of the earthquake.

However, the data from the drain near reactor 2 and from the cooling pond at reactor 4, where spent fuel rods are stored, indicate that the reactions must have been burning much later.

"The data of the water samples from the unit-4 cooling pool and from the sub-drain near the unit-2 reactor show anomaly which may indicate, if they are correct, that some of these fission products were produced by chain nuclear reactions reignited after the earthquake," he says.

These chain reactions must have occurred a significant time after the accident. "It would be difficult to understand the observed anomaly near the unit-2 reactor without assuming that a significant amount of fission products were produced at least 10 - 15 days after X-day," says Matsui.

So things in reactor 2 must have been extremely dangerous right up to the end of March.

The blogpost above includes some imprecise information that does not appear in the original paper. For those of you who want to read Matsui's original paper (9 pages with calculations), the link is this: was originally hosted at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is currently hosted by Cornell University. Researchers submit electronic preprints in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology and statistics, which can be accessed via the world wide web. In many fields of mathematics and physics, almost all scientific papers are self-archived on the arXiv. Though it is not peer-reviewed, there are moderators in each field who review the submissions. (from Wikipedia.)

(h/t あ)

Japanese Government Wants to Hold Trilateral Summit Opening Ceremony in #Fukushima City

Another "performance" from the Japanese government to show that Japan is on the "rebound".

I have a feeling that it's going to be, if that happens, an ultra-short ceremony, as I suspect Koreans and Chinese may not want to stay very long in Fukushima City, where the sewage sludge was found to be even more radioactive than the one found in Koriyama.

Kyodo News English cites tight security requirement for the premiers of the three countries as the reason that the ceremony in Fukushima City may not be viable.

Kyodo News English (4/11/2011):

Japan has sounded out China and South Korea about holding the opening ceremony for their trilateral summit later this month in the city of Fukushima, about 60 kilometers northwest of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to demonstrate Japan's reconstruction efforts following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.

But it could be difficult to arrange the opening ceremony in Fukushima before convening a full session of the trilateral summit in Tokyo on May 21 and 22 as China and South Korea have yet to respond to Japan's proposal, the sources said.

A Foreign Ministry source also said the plan may not be viable because the Japanese government would have to implement very tight security to enable Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak to visit the prefecture together.

Kan also plans to ask Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato to participate in the opening ceremony if it takes place, the sources said.

Kan has instructed the Foreign Ministry and the National Police Agency to arrange the opening ceremony at the Fukushima prefectural office or the governor's residence in the city on the afternoon of May 21, the sources said.

Under Kan's proposal, the three leaders would each make a speech during the opening ceremony before returning to Tokyo, they said.

The leaders are expected to deepen cooperation on the safety of nuclear power and disaster prevention at the trilateral summit in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated northeastern Japan, and the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The summit will be the fourth of its kind since the inaugural trilateral leaders' meeting in Fukuoka Prefecture in 2008. The three countries have since taken turns as host.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Videos of Spent Fuel Pools (Reactors 3 and 4)

TEPCO's "Photo for Press" Page has the videos of Spent Fuel Pools for Reactors 3 and 4 at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. The video for Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool was taken on May 8 according to TEPCO. The video for Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool was uploaded to TEPCO's site on May 8 early morning, so it could have been taken on May 7.

The Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 3 looks like a shipwreck. Let me know if you see a fuel rod in the Pool.

TEPCO also did the analysis of the water in Reactor 3 SFP:

You can download them yourself here for Reactor 3, and here for Reactor 4, or see them in Youtube videos:

Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool:

Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool:

Monday, May 9, 2011

PM Kan's Hamaoka Nuke Plant Shut Down Request Was Made Under Pressure from the US

Shigeharu Aoyama, former journalist and a current member of Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission who went in and took the ground-level video of Fukushima I Nuke Plant on April 22 and caused consternation at Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, appeared on Asahi TV on the morning of May 8 (Japan Time) and revealed that Prime Minister Naoto Kan requested that Chubu Electric Power Company shut down Hamaoka Nuke Plant because of a strong pressure from the United States since early April.

So much for Kan's words, that he was requesting the shutdown for the "safety and security of the Japanese citizens". (See my previous post on Hamaoka.)

The interest of the US, alleges Aoyama, is the safety of its base in Yokosuka, home to the US 7th Fleet, which is downwind from Hamaoka.

Aoyama said he himself received phone calls from both the US Defense Department and the State Department, and was told by the US officials: "We're just out of Fukushima. That Hamaoka..." (These are his words in English, in the video.)

Aoyama also revealed that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) did the estimate of power demand and supply in case of Hamaoka shutdown at the request from the government, but the Prime Minister didn't request to see the estimate before he made the "request" to Chubu Electric to shut down Hamaoka.

Well, METI bureaucrats didn't bother to offer, either.

As Aoyama said, the area that Chubu Electric covers has Toyota, Honda, and Suzuki, among other companies large and small. Oops.

The video is in Japanese. The talk about Hamaoka and the US pressure is right in the beginning.

(h/t あ)

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO Adds Hydrazine to Water for Reactors 3 and 4 Spent Fuel Pools

According to Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese; 1:25AM JST 5/10/2011), TEPCO has started to mix "hydrazine" (N2H4) with the water that is being poured into the Spent Fuel Pools in Reactors 3 and 4 at Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

Hydrazine, I just learned, is:

... a colourless flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odor and is derived from the same industrial chemistry processes that manufacture ammonia. However, hydrazine has physical properties that are closer to those of water.

Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable, and is usually handled while in solution for safety reasons.

Hydrazine is used within both nuclear and conventional electrical power plant steam cycles to control concentrations of dissolved oxygen in an effort to reduce corrosion.

Corrosion? What is TEPCO afraid of that may corrode in the Spent Fuel Pools? The pools themselves? Racks? Fuel rod assembly? And why would they corrode?

(Where is Murphy?)

#TEPCO Opened the Double Door to Reactor 1, 500 Million Becquerels of Radioactive Materials Released (Estimate)

And that's nothing, says Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. It not only has close to zero effect on the environment (I suppose NISA is talking only about the environment around the plant, which is already very, very bad) but the amount is nothing, the agency says (if I paraphrase..): "Compared to the much bigger release when we let TEPCO dump the "low-contamination" water into the Pacific, it's nothing! This time the amount of radioactive materials (we're talking only iodine and cesium, mind you, don't ask us about strontium and plutonium) was only 1/300th of that dump."

(Oh by the way, NISA's spokesman Nishiyama's daughter works for TEPCO, allegedly.)

Kyodo News (12:34AM JST 5/9/2011):


METI's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency disclosed on May 8 that opening the double door between the reactor building and the turbine building of the Reactor 1 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant will release the total of 500 million becquerels of radioactive materials into the environment.


The amount of radioactive materials this time would be 1/300th of the amount released into the ocean when 10,000 tons of water with comparatively low-level contamination was intentionally released; there is no effect on the environment, according to NISA.

 東京電力は、今回の放出により第1原発敷地内で浴びる放射線量は、最大0・44マイクロシーベルトと推計。一方 で保安院は、緊急時迅速放射能影響予測ネットワークシステム(SPEEDI)を使い、海から内陸に向け秒速1メートルの東風が吹く場合、0・77マイクロ シーベルトになるとした。いずれも一般人の年間被ばく線量限度である1ミリシーベルト(千マイクロシーベルト)の千分の1を下回る値。

TEPCO estimates the added radiation because of the operation will be 0.44 microsieverts maximum within Fukushima I Nuke Plant. NISA, using SPEEDI, estimates 0.77 microsieverts of added radiation if the wind is from the east at 1 meter/second. Both numbers are lower than 1/1000th of 1 millisievert (1,000 microsieverts) which is the annual allowable radiation limit for the general public.

 保安院によると、5億ベクレルという総放出量は、放射性のヨウ素131とセシウム134、137の合計値。東電 が7日に測定した原子炉建屋内の放射性物質の濃度に、建屋の容積約2万5千立方メートルを掛けて総量を算出した。屋根が壊れている原子炉建屋上部の高さ約 29メートルの位置から、8時間かけて放出されると想定した。

According to NISA, 500 million becquerels is the total of radioactive iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium 137. The number was calculated by multiplying the amount of radioactive materials inside the reactor building that TEPCO measured on May 7 by 25,000 cubic meters (volume of the building). NISA assumed the radioactive materials to be released from the height of 29 meters (upper part of the reactor building) for 8 hours.

Since the pressure inside the reactor building is lower than the outside by design, when TEPCO opened the double door the cooler outside air got sucked in, and the radioactive air that was inside the building was pushed up and out of the building through the roof that had collapsed by the explosion on March 12.

And they chose to open the door at night, when the outside air was even colder. So the whole point of this exercise was to release as much radioactive air as possible out of the reactor building, it seems. They could have chosen to do it during the day when the outside air was warmer, but that wouldn't have pushed out as much radioactive hot air as they would have liked.

Meanwhile, Asahi Shinbun says the radiation level even after the air-filtering system had supposedly reduced it to a safer level still measured several 10s of millisieverts/hr up to 700 millisieverts/hr, and the workers were exposed to as much as 10.56 millisieverts radiation for the work that lasted 29 minutes from 4:18AM JST on May 9.

Seven TEPCO employees and two from NISA entered the reactor building to measure the radiation levels at various spots inside the building.

That doesn't sound low to me. But Asahi reports that TEPCO is going to remove the air-filtering system they just installed, and continue to have human workers work inside the reactor building to install the water cooling system

#Fukushima Prefecture Has 62 Sewage Treatment Facilities

According to the letter (in Japanese) from Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, to Akihiro Ohata, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, dated May 2, there are 62 sewage treatment facilities in Fukushima Prefecture.

So they tested 20. There are 42 more. Oh boy. The result of the test is here (in Japanese). Pages 4 and 5 are the sludge analysis; they tested only cesium-134, cesium-137, and iodine-131. (They should have tested for strontium and plutonium, too.)

In the letter, the governor of Fukushima shows much concern for the disruption of the sewage treatment in Fukushima, and demands that the national government come up with a safe way to treat radioactive sludge as soon as possible. He says it is absolutely necessary to be able to continue to process the sewage, radioactive or not. His concern seems to be about treatment, and safety for the treatment facility workers.

Ummmm... what about the radioactive cement that has been created out of your radioactive sludge and already been sold, governor? How about radioactive smoke from the incinerator? Or cesium released into the river after the water was treated? Along the way, the rivers into which these facilities release the treated water may be the source of someone else's drinking water or irrigation water for farming.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Now, Radioactive Sewage Sludge from #Fukushima City

Fukushima I Nuke Plant has been one big "dirty bomb".

After Koriyama City's sewage treatment center was tested positive for high level of radioactive cesium in the sewage sludge and slag and the sludge had been already sold (my post here and here), Fukushima Prefecture ordered the testing in other 19 similar treatment centers in Fukushima. 18 out of 19 centers were found to have high concentration of radioactive cesium.

What a surprise.

At one facility in Horikawa-machi in Fukushima City, 446,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium were found. At Koriyama, it was 26,400 becquerels per kilogram.

They say they'll have to find out where the sludge has gone. And at one of them, the facility in Fukushima City above, radioactive sludge may have nowhere else to go but spill into the river as soon as May 20.


Koriyama City is 59 kilometers west of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and Fukushima City, prefectrual capitol, is 62 kilometers northwest of the plant. (Distance with the calculator at this site.)

Koriyama alone sold 928 tons of radioactive sewage sludge in 50 days to Sumitomo Osaka Cement. I hate to think how much total that these treatment facilities in Fukushima may have sold.

Are other prefectures testing their sewage treatment facilities and tracking the shipment? I don't think radioactive fallout stops at the Fukushima border...

From Asahi Shinbun (12:58AM JST 5/9/2011):

 福島県郡山市の下水処理施設の下水汚泥などから高濃度の放射性セシウムが検出された問題で、県は8日、福島市の施設の汚泥からも、より高濃度の放射性セ シウムが検出されたと発表した。県内の19施設を調査した結果、18施設で検出。原発事故の影響が県内の広範囲に及んでいる可能性をうかがわせる。

Following the detection of high concentration of radioactive cesium in the sewage sludge at one of the sewage treatment centers in Koriyama City, the Fukushima Prefectural government announced on May 8 that even higher concentration of radioactive cesium was found in the sewage sludge at a treatment center in Fukushima City. 18 out of 19 facilities tested for radioactive materials were found to have radioactive cesium, hinting [here you go, Asahi's understatement No.1] that the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident is affecting a wider area in Fukushima.


The Prefectural government will track where the sewage sludge from the facilities has been shipped. The national government is still in the process of establishing the standard for treatment of the radioactive sewage sludge [understatement No.2; the national government was caught, again, flat-footed], so the Fukushima prefectural government will decide how to treat and dispose the radioactive sewage sludge. Sewage treatment facilities in Fukushima have stopped processing the sewage sludge, and if the national policy on the radioactive sewage sludge is not forthcoming, that will result in further delay in sewage treatment

 郡山市の県中浄化センターでは4月30日の調査で、汚泥から1キロあたり2万6400ベクレルの放射性セシウムを検出。その後、19施設を調査した結 果、福島市の堀河町終末処理場の汚泥から同44万6千ベクレルの放射性セシウムが検出された。郡山市の別の施設でも汚泥から高い値を検出。いわき市の施設 では、原発事故前は検出されなかった汚泥の燃え殻から3万5700ベクレルを検出した。

At a sewage treatment plant in Koriyama City, 26,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected on April 30. After conducting the testing at 19 facilities, 446,000 becquarels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected at a facility in Fukushima City (Horikawa-machi final treatment center). They also found a high concentration of cesium in the sewage sludge at another facility in Koriyama City. At a facility in Iwaki City, 35,700 becquerels per kilogram of cesium was found in the incinerated sludge [slag?].


As to the high level of radioactive cesium at the Horikawa-machi facility, the Fukushima prefectural government thinks it is because of the higher percentage of rainwater at the facility.


According to Fukushima City that manages this facility, they have stopped the dehydration treatment and shipment of the sewage sludge after the news of the Koriyama treatment facility, and the sewage sludge is being stored in a container at the premise. Fukushima City says, "Unless we resume the treatment, the container will be full by May 20, and the sewage sludge has nowhere to go but spill into the river."

#Fukushima Crisis? What Crisis? EPA Stops Special Monitoring of Radiation in the US

Now, you get to know how radioactive your water and milk is once every quarter, like the good old pre-Fukushima times.

They don't even test fish. I'm sure they are so ready when the highly contaminated water from Fukushima reach California as early as next year.

From EPA's announcement on May 5, 2011 (emphasis is mine):

Last updated on Thursday, May 05, 2011 at 2:45:37 PM.

Due to the consistent decrease in radiation levels across the country associated with the Japanese nuclear incident, EPA will update the daily data summary page only when new data are posted. Historical daily data summaries will continue to be accessible from this webpage.

After a thorough data review showing declining radiation levels related to the Japanese nuclear incident, EPA has returned to the routine RadNet sampling and analysis process for precipitation, drinking water and milk.

As always, EPA's RadNet system of more than 100 stationary monitors will continue to provide EPA scientists near-real-time data on the slightest fluctuations in background radiation levels. Due to the consistently decreasing radiation levels, EPA is evaluating the need to continue operating the additional air monitors deployed in response to the Japan nuclear incident. EPA will continue to analyze air filters and cartridges from all air monitors as they arrive at the laboratory and will post the data as available.

In accordance with normal RadNet protocol, EPA will be analyzing milk and drinking water samples on a quarterly basis and precipitation samples as part of a monthly composite. The next round of milk and drinking water sampling will take place in approximately three months.

It is important to note that all of the radiation levels detected by RadNet monitors and sampling have been very low, are well below any level of public health concern, and continue to decrease over time. EPA continues to work with federal partners to monitor the situation in Japan and stands prepared to accelerate radiation sampling and analysis if the need arises. Data will continue to be available on EPA's public website.

This blog has a post about the RadNet monitoring in California, where EPA relies on volunteers to collect filters because it fits their lifestyle. And their "near real-time" data is probably 1 week turnaround time, as the filters get mailed to Alabama.

(One commenter to my blog, Robbie 001, says the RadNet was out of service during the initial plume. EPA's special radiation monitoring, sure enough, didn't start until March 17.)

Now, there's another US government agency that has gone very quiet on Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident: the NRC. What are they up to?