Thursday, May 1, 2014

(OT) "Ultra" Mokugyo

Saw the picture on a tweet just now...

Mokugyo (木魚) is a wooden percussion instrument used in Buddhist rituals.

"Nice sound," the tweet says.

US 1Q GDP Growth Would Have Been Negative (-1%) Without Obamacare Spending and Heating

If you listen to NPR, you wouldn't know that.

And never mind that Obamacare simply "takes money out of one person’s pocket and transfers it to another person’s, potentially crimping the spending of the person or company bearing the higher cost burden".

And never mind that it's very hard to find doctors who do take Obamacare insurance...

From Wall Street Journal (4/30/2014; emphasis is mine):

Health Care, Heating Prevent First-Quarter Contraction in U.S. GDP

The U.S. economy might have shrunk in the first quarter if not for the Affordable Care Act and spending to keep out the cold.

U.S. gross domestic product expanded a paltry 0.1% in the first three months of the year, dragged down by falling inventories and weaker exports. Spending on housing and utilities, meanwhile, contributed 0.73 percentage point to the change in GDP while spending on health care added a hefty 1.1 percentage points, the highest figure on record.

If health-care spending had been unchanged, the headline GDP growth number would have been -1.0%,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Outlays on utilities are clearly a double-edged sword. First, the severe winter weather chilled activity in other areas of the economy. Second, households have limited budgets and might well have spent money buying other goods or services had they not been forced to boost their thermostats.

“Looking ahead, we expect consumption growth to remain stronger than in 2013, but we expect the contribution from goods consumption to rise and the temporary support from utilities and health care to gradually wane,” said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital.

The strong increase in health-care spending reflects that Americans — some of whom are newly insured — are visiting doctors and purchasing more medical products, said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Prices for health-care services rose more slowly than overall inflation in the first quarter, compared to a year earlier. That indicates utilization — not price gains — is driving the increased spending, he said.

“People who didn’t have insurance before can now go to the hospital and the doctor,” Mr. Furman said in an interview. “That’s good for the economy.”

The spending figure includes amounts spent on purchasing insurance as well as drugs, exams and other care.

The Affordable Care Act required most Americans to carry health coverage, expanded eligibility for Medicaid and created new health-insurance exchanges offering subsidized policies for many. Enrollment for private health insurance through federal and state exchanges has swelled to about 8 million, the White House said.

So far this year, that has increased incomes and encouraged more spending on health-care services. (The Commerce Department cautions that its figures may be heavily revised. Its latest estimate is based on Medicaid benefits and ACA insurance exchange enrollments; more complete information is expected before the final first-quarter GDP release on June 25.)

Clearly, though, the vast pool of Americans with new access to health care have been visiting doctors and hospitals in rising numbers. “That pent-up/hidden demand for healthcare was huge,” Mr. Shepherdson said. “Next question: How long will it last?”

The White House’s Mr. Furman said the Affordable Care Act should provide a “tailwind” to the economy for “the next year or two,” as more Americans gain health coverage.

The deadline to enroll in exchanges was March 31. Though it’s been extended for individuals who had trouble completing applications, some economists say the economic impact of the health-care law may well fade—at least until the next enrollment period.

The law could have negative consequences as well. The Congressional Budget Office said in February the law would reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs in 2021.

Another factor to consider: The Affordable Care Act, like all government spending, is funded either via taxes or borrowing. So it takes money out of one person’s pocket and transfers it to another person’s, potentially crimping the spending of the person or company bearing the higher cost burden.

Finally, one main goal of the law is to help contain health-care costs over the long term, allowing more resources to flow to other sectors of the economy. Much more data — and time — is needed to see if it’s successful on that front.

Oregon State University Researchers on Albacore Tuna off Oregon: "you would have to consume more than 700,000 pounds of the fish" to match annual natural background radiation

Probably not what many people want to hear, who have been busy petitioning their local governments on the US west coast about the danger of "high levels" of Fukushima radiation.

According to the press release by Oregon State University, the researchers at Oregon State University and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tested Pacific albacore tuna caught off the coast of Oregon between 2008 and 2012 and compared radioactive cesium levels, the first study to compare "before and after". The study is also the first to compare different parts of the fish.

The study seems to be the continuation of the study they published on October 2012.

The result was that the amount of radioactive cesium in post-Fukushima fish was triple that of pre-Fukushima fish, "at the most extreme level".

From the paper's abstract, here are the numbers, in MILLIBECQUEREL/Kg (millibecquerel=1/1000 of 1 becquerel) in WET WEIGHT:

  • Cesium-134: 18.2–356 mBq/kg of wet weight

  • Cesium-137: 234–824 mBq/kg of wet weight

Expressed in more familiar Bq/kg,
  • Cesium-134: 0.0182 - 0.356 Bq/kg

  • Cesium-137: 0.234 - 0.824 Bq/kg

An unexpected side benefit of studying these fish was, according to the researchers, to better understand the albacore tuna migration, using radioactive cesium from Fukushima as a trace.

The press release by Oregon State University (4/28/2014; emphasis is mine):

Study finds only trace levels of radiation from Fukushima in albacore

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Albacore tuna caught off the Oregon shore after the Fukushima Daiichi power station in Japan was destroyed in a 2011 earthquake had slightly elevated levels of radioactivity but the increase has been minute, according to a newly published study.

In fact, you would have to consume more than 700,000 pounds of the fish with the highest radioactive level – just to match the amount of radiation the average person is annually exposed to in everyday life through cosmic rays, the air, the ground, X-rays and other sources, the authors say.

Results of the study are being published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

You can’t say there is absolutely zero risk because any radiation is assumed to carry at least some small risk,” said Delvan Neville, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “But these trace levels are too small to be a realistic concern.

“A year of eating albacore with these cesium traces is about the same dose of radiation as you get from spending 23 seconds in a stuffy basement from radon gas, or sleeping next to your spouse for 40 nights from the natural potassium-40 in their body,” he added. “It’s just not much at all.”

In their study, the researchers examined a total of 26 Pacific albacore caught off the coast between 2008 and 2012 to give them a comparison between pre-Fuskushima and post-Fukushima radiation levels. They discovered that levels of specific radioactive isotopes did increase, but at the most extreme level, they only tripled – a measurement that is only 0.1 percent of the radiocesium level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for concern and intervention.

The researchers tested samples of the albacore from their loins, carcass and guts and found varying levels – all barely detectable. The findings are still important, however, since this is one of the first studies to look at different parts of the fish.

The loins, or muscle, is what people eat and the bioaccumulation was about the same there as in the carcass,” said Jason Phillips, a research associate in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and co-author on the study.

The researchers next began looking at the radionuclide levels in different aged fish and found they were somewhat higher in 4-year-old albacore than in the younger fish. This suggests that the 3-year-old albacore may have only made one trans-Pacific migration, whereas the 4-year-old fish may have migrated through the Fukushima plume twice.

The majority of the 3-year-old fish had no traces of Fukushima at all.

Although it is possible that additional exposures to the plume could further increase radiation levels in the albacore, it would still be at a low level, the researchers pointed out. Additionally, as albacore mature at around age 5, they stop migrating long distances and move south to subtropical waters in the Central and West Pacific – and do not return to the West Coast of the United States.

The presence of these radioactive isotopes is actually helping us in an odd way – giving us information that will allow us to estimate how albacore tuna migrate between our West Coast and Japan,” Neville said.

Little is known about the migration patterns of young albacore before they enter the U.S. fishery at about three years of age, Phillips said.

“That’s kind of surprising, considering what a valuable food source they are,” Phillips said. “Fukushima provides the only known source for a specific isotope that shows up in the albacore, so it gives us an unexpected fingerprint that allows us to learn more about the migration.”

Other authors were Richard Brodeur of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and Kathryn Higley, of the OSU Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics. The study was supported by Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with continued support from Oregon Sea Grant.

The abstract of the paper "Trace Levels of Fukushima Disaster Radionuclides in East Pacific Albacore" (emphasis is mine):

The Fukushima Daiichi power station released several radionuclides into the Pacific following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A total of 26 Pacific albacore (Thunnus alalunga) caught off the Pacific Northwest U.S. coast between 2008 and 2012 were analyzed for 137Cs and Fukushima-attributed 134Cs. Both 2011 (2 of 2) and several 2012 (10 of 17) edible tissue samples exhibited increased activity concentrations of 137Cs (234–824 mBq/kg of wet weight) and 134Cs (18.2–356 mBq/kg of wet weight). The remaining 2012 samples and all pre-Fukushima (2008–2009) samples possessed lower 137Cs activity concentrations (103–272 mBq/kg of wet weight) with no detectable 134Cs activity. Age, as indicated by fork length, was a strong predictor for both the presence and concentration of 134Cs (p < 0.001). Notably, many migration-aged fish did not exhibit any 134Cs, suggesting that they had not recently migrated near Japan. None of the tested samples would represent a significant change in annual radiation dose if consumed by humans.

Researchers at Stanford University and Stony Brook University published the study on Pacific bluefin tuna in June 2013, which revealed radiation exposure from natural radioactive potassium and polonium (alpha nuclide) is significantly greater than exposure from Fukushima-derived radioactive cesium.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

'Cui Bono' Over Ukraine: Monsanto Setting Up GMO Seed Corn Business in Ukraine

US President Obama sure works hard for biggest multinationals, as can be inferred from his recent sushi dinner with Japan's prime minister.

And Monsanto? His food safety 'czar', of all people, is a former Monsanto Vice President. Monsanto was also the winner of 27th Annual World Food Prize by the US State Department in 2013.

Several articles on GMO corn in Ukraine below, from the time the US was showing renewed interest in the domestic affairs in Ukraine, with Republican Senator John McCain greeting the head of one of the neo-Nazi groups and US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland handing out cookies to Kiev protesters in December 2013:

From Interfax Ukraine (11/5/2013; emphasis is mine):

Large Ukrainian agricultural associations have prepared draft amendments to the law on the state biosecurity system in creating, testing, transportation and use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) regarding the legalization of genetically modified seeds.

President of the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) Volodymyr Klymenko said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine that the relevant appeal to the president, the head of the Verkhovna Rada and the heads of parliamentary factions was signed by six agricultural associations.

"We could mull over this issue for a long time, but we, jointly with the associations, have signed two letters to change the law on biosecurity, in which we propose the legalization of the use of GM seeds, which had been tested in the United Stated for a long time, for our producers," he said.

According to the UGA president, currently the GM seeds of corn and soybeans are used in the country in spite of the legislative ban. Talking about the use of foreign experience in this field, Klymenko said that "we will never take someone's seeds and will never be able to study them, because this requires decades. Ukraine's way forward in this issue is either to agree or not to."

According to the expert, the United States produces about 75% of corn and 95% soybeans from GM seeds. The European Union banned the cultivation of GM crops, but GM products are imported and used, in particular, in animal breeding, added Klymenko.

From Bloomberg News (1/6/2014; emphasis is mine):

China Rejecting U.S. Corn as First Shipment From Ukraine Arrives

China continued to reject corn cargoes from the U.S. that contained an unapproved genetically modified variety while accepting a first bulk-carrier shipment of the grain from Ukraine.

Genetically modified corn and corn-derived products totaling 601,000 metric tons were rejected in 2013, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. A Panamax-sized shipment of non-genetically modified corn from Ukraine entered the country on Dec. 6, according to a statement dated Dec. 25 on the website of state-owned China National Complete Engineering Corp.

The quarantine agency’s newest figure cited by Xinhua was 56,000 tons more than it announced on Dec. 19, showing the government’s continued screening of U.S. corn and and dried distillers’ grains, or DDGS, for the unapproved insect resistanr MIR 162 gene. Net corn sales to China from the U.S. in the seven days through Dec. 26 dropped by 116,000 tons from the previous week, according to a report on the website of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

China National Complete Engineering carries out overseas engineering projects, often funded by Chinese government, according to its website. It began to market grain from Ukraine last year under a contract that became effective December 2012, according to the Dec. 25 statement.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture said in May 2012 the country agreed to finance $3 billion worth agriculture projects in Ukraine in exchange for terms including rights to sell Ukrainian farm products.

Ukraine may export 18 million tons of corn in 2013-2014, tying it with Argentina as the third-biggest supplier behind the U.S. and Brazil, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast in December.

From CNBC (3/18/2014; part, emphasis is mine):

...Now everything from an unstable currency to tight credit threatens the spring planting season, and the uncertain outlook for the Ukrainian economy is a longer-term threat to the prediction by some of the biggest agricultural companies that a future Ukrainian corn belt will rival the U.S. market.

Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont, said Michael Cox, senior analyst and research director at Piper Jaffray. Ukraine's growth is becoming even more important, as it will serve to counterbalance the South American farm markets, where overseas growth has been increasing in places like Argentina and Brazil for these companies.

..."It's the Western corporate farm operators that are pushing these new techniques,'' Cox said. "The U.S. has made this same transition. It took several decades, but that's as the technology was being developed. Since the technology and tools are readily available now, the improvement in yields could progress much faster in Eastern Europe.''

DuPont already has a corn seed production plant in Ukraine. Monsanto is building a $140 million seed plant that isn't open yet. Last week DuPont said in a regulatory filing that first-quarter earnings forecasts would be "challenged'' by the Ukraine crisis, which has caused delays in shipments of corn seed from its plant in Ukraine.

Here's Monsanto's current job openings in Kiev, Ukraine.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Reuters Columnist on Obama's Promise to Defend Japan in Territorial Disputes: "Creating False Expectations"

Another bogus "red line", I suppose.

Reuters' columnist Anatole Kaletsky's take on Obama's promise to defend Japan militarily against China over Senkaku Islands (that's how it is understood in Japan) is that the US president created false expectation he has no intention of actually fulfilling.

I see. So indeed China is Russia, and Ukraine is Japan, as Reuters Japan's article compared the other day (see my post on April 24, 2014 for the quote from the article).

From Reuters (4/24/2014; emphasis is mine):

Abe’s disturbing lack of focus

President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this week has focused mostly on Japan’s territorial disputes with China. On this issue, Obama seems to be repeating the same mistakes he made in Ukraine.

By creating false expectations of U.S. support for the Japanese position, the president is encouraging Japan to escalate its belligerent rhetoric. That, in turn, makes Chinese military action to seize the disputed islands more likely. Everyone knows that there is no chance of the United States going to war with China to defend Japan’s claim to four uninhabited lumps of rock.

Luckily, a military confrontation in the East China Sea remains highly unlikely because the Beijing government’s top priority is economic and financial reform. Unfortunately, this seems less true of Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attention seems to have shifted from economics to diplomacy and military matters — and financial markets have started to notice this disturbing change of focus. The clearest evidence can be seen in the relative performance of the Japanese stock market.

...The second reason for the Abe government’s new-found tolerance for an economic slowdown is directly connected to the rise of China. When Abe was elected in late 2012, his determination to revive the Japanese economy was significantly motivated by fears about China.

The worry was not that China had overtaken Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy and would eventually overtake the United States’ — even the most ardent Japanese nationalists see both these trends as inevitable. More troubling was growing evidence that China’s economic might was shifting the balance of interest in Washington from the traditional postwar friendship with Japan to cultivating better relations with China.

Given Japan’s dependence on U.S. military power, the shift of U.S. attention to China was alarming. Particularly to a fervent nationalist such as Abe, who has always cared passionately about winning Japan’s territorial disputes and rehabilitating its wartime reputation.

But with Obama’s words, the United States has now shown its willingness to antagonize China by promising to defend Japan unconditionally in any territorial disputes. These promises will almost certainly prove false in the event of a genuine military confrontation. But for the moment, they seem to have reassured Japanese politicians that Washington will continue to pay attention to Japan — even if it slides back into economic irrelevance.

(Full article at the link)

Japan's Nikkei Shinbun's article on April 29, 2014 by Nikkei's Washington Bureau is right on, which surprises me that they actually get it.

From Nikkei Shinbun (4/29/2014; part):

尖閣に日米安保適用 オバマ大統領の本心

Senkaku under US-Japan Security Treaty - President Obama's true intension


It would be an easy task, if he could do a favor to Japan with words only and receive a substantive gain in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in return. It makes one wonder, given Mr. Obama's words and deeds without gravity as symbolized (represented) by his handling of Syria.

Mr. Obama was all ready to go to war with Syria (backed by nuclear Russia) with youtube videos as evidence. Who needs gravity in this day and age?

'Cui Bono' Over Ukraine: Toshiba/Westinghouse for One, Selling More Nuclear Fuel to Ukraine, But Russia Says It May Lead to "15 Chernobyl Disasters at a Time"

The US's Westinghouse, 100% owned by Japan's Toshiba, will be selling more nuclear fuel to nuclear power plants in Ukraine to make up for the potential supply disruption from Russia.

Never mind that Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warns on his Facebook (link from Huffington Post Japan article) about a danger of using the US-made nuclear fuel in the Russian-made nuclear reactors in Ukraine.

As the FT article below quotes the vice president of Westinghouse, Ukraine is now the third largest nuclear power operator in Europe after France and the UK, with 50% of electricity from nuclear power.

From Financial Times (4/11/2014; emphasis is mine):

Westinghouse extends nuclear fuel deal with Ukraine

Westinghouse Electric Company has extended a contract with Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, to supply fuel to plants until 2020.

The deal struck on Friday, valued at between $100m and $200m, will see the Toshiba-owned company supply 15 annual fuel supplies for initially two reactors, easing Ukraine’s dependence on Russia for fuel supplies as disputes between the two countries rumble on.

Russia has raised natural gas prices to Ukraine by 80 per cent and threatened to cut supplies altogether. This has left the government in Kiev to seek alternatives in order to diversify fuel supplies in its energy inefficient economy, as talks on importing gas from European markets via Slovakia drag on.

Mike Kirst, Westinghouse vice-president, said the group aims to be providing “roughly 20-25 per cent of Ukrainian nuclear fuel supply through 2020”.

The first supplies will be shipped to the South Ukraine nuclear power plant. Supplies to other Ukrainian nuclear reactors currently burning fuel from Russia’s TVEL will follow.

Mr Kirst described the deal as a “milestone” for Ukraine and Westinghouse.

“This contract would represent roughly between 5-10 per cent of our European fuel business. When you talk about a fleet of reactors that are 15, it could [reach] 20-25 per cent” of our business in Europe, he said.

Citing Ukrainian officials, Mr Kirst said Westinghouse fuel had proven less expensive for Ukraine “if you factor in” price and efficiency.

For Westinghouse, Ukraine is a big market. Mr Kirst added: “Ukraine is the third largest nuclear power civilian operator in Europe. France is number one. The UK number two. Now that the Germans have shut off much of their reactors, Ukraine moves into third. It is literally one of the largest markets in Europe, and very reliant on nuclear fuel getting about 50 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power.”

Here's The Voice of Russia, warning against Westinghouse's nuclear fuel (4/11/2014; emphasis is mine):

The use of US-made fuel in Ukrainian reactors may lead to 15 Chernobyl disasters at a time

Kiev is reducing cooperation with Russia in the field of nuclear power production and is going to sign a contract with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation of the United States for nuclear fuel supplies. Flaws have been repeatedly detected in Westinghouse-made fuel assemblies. Experts believe that the use of such assemblies will make Ukrainian nuclear reactors less reliable and may pose a threat to Ukraine’s nuclear safety.

Ukraine’s new authorities have clearly decided to ratchet down Kiev’s dependence on Russian nuclear fuel supplies and sign a contract to that end with the Westinghouse Corporation. But the move may result in a manmade disaster in Ukraine, since the nuclear power plants in Ukraine have been built from Soviet design an can safely operate only on the fuel made in the Russian city Elektrostal, says Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Natural Resources, Maxim Shingarkin, and elaborates.

"Every single reactor is normally built on the assumption that it will consume the nuclear fuel with specific characteristics, such as the amount of highly enriched uranium and certain thermal response. Any deviation may result in a nuclear accident. We can get as many as 15 Chernobyl disasters at a time, with a danger of such a scale to Ukraine, Russia and Europe that the entire world’s civilization will fail to cope with them".

Ukraine already signed a contract with Westinghouse, five years ago to be exact. US-made fuel assemblies caused problems in two generating units in less than a year. The assemblies began to bend themselves due to design flaws. But Ukraine managed to avoid a nuclear disaster then. Ukraine banned the Westinghouse-made nuclear rods from loading into its reactors. But the people currently at the helm in Kiev seem to be prepared to ignore the negative experience of using US-made fuel assemblies and to have them loaded into as many as three reactors at a time. This runs counter to the international nuclear safety and security standards, says the Chairman of the International Union of Atomic Energy and Industry Veterans, Evgeniy Akimov, and elaborates.

"This kind of experiment was made several years ago when Ukraine and the Czech Republic attempted to use US-made nuclear fuel rods. The results proved negative in both cases. The rods were removed, and the plants resumed the use of Russian-made fuel".

The use of Westinghouse-made fuel in Ukraine may put out Ukrainian reactors out of operation, prompt a discharge of radioactive substances into the atmosphere, cause the whole of Ukraine’s electric power production system to collapse and trigger and environmental catastrophe in Ukraine and beyond.

The Voice of Russia may be exaggerating, for the fear (if there is fear on their part) of losing the nuclear fuel business in Ukraine. But Mr. Maxim Shingarkin's comment above rings true.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

#Fukushima Reactor 3 MSIV Room Investigation: No Leak from Feed Pipes, Says TEPCO

Now to the real, very serious problem at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and potentially far beyond.

Remember the highly contaminated water found leaking from the MSIV (Main Steam Isolation Valve) room in Reactor 3 in January this year?

The water contained high levels of radioactive cesium (1.7 million Bq/L of cesium-137) and all-beta (24 million Bq/L) that even TEPCO admitted it was not the water being injected into the reactor (treated water) and implicitly admitted that it was the water coming out of the reactor.

Without much fanfare or publicity, TEPCO did the preliminary investigation of the Reactor 3 MSIV room to identify the location of the leak on April 23 and inserted the report on the result in the Roadmap updated and announced on April 24, 2014. There has been hardly any press coverage since.

After reading and re-reading TEPCO's investigation report, I think I have adequately figured out what they are trying to say (and not say).

TEPCO's explicit conclusion: The leak is not from the two Feed Pipes, not from the two spare (reserve) penetrations.

TEPCO's implicit conclusion: The leak is from somewhere else, below the grating.

What's there, below the grating? TEPCO lists two potential leak locations that they will look into in May:

  • Main Steam Pipe; or

  • Main Steam Drain Pipe

And what TEPCO doesn't explicitly list?
  • Main Steam Isolation Valve (MSIV) itself.

To recap, MSIV is, according to Fukushima I NPP worker "Sunny":

MSIV (Main Steam Isolation Valve) is a huge valve attached to the main steam pipe that connects the reactor building and the turbine building. When this valve closes, it means there is some extraordinary incident happening in the reactor core. Conversely, one might say that it would be a problem if this valve did not close in such an incident.

When the reactor scrammed on March 11, 2011, the MSIV should have promptly, securely closed, without breakage, without leak. It is not supposed to fail. Implications for nuclear reactors around the world would be grave, if it did.

From TEPCO's Reactor 3 MSIV room investigation and the preliminary result of the April 23, 2014 investigation from TEPCO's Roadmap latest version (4/24/2014; PDF pages 268 to 281, English labels are by me):

Page 274:

TEPCO inserted a pan-tilt camera, an endoscope, and a dosimeter from Main Steam (MS) Process Monitors that go through the floor of the Air Conditioning Machine Room located right above the MSIV room in Reactor 3.

The diagram on the left shows the types of penetrations between the MSIV room and Primary Containment Vessel (PCV):

Above the grating (investigated on April 23),

  • Two spare (reserve) penetrations, marked "X-46, 47"

  • Two feed pipes, marked "A" and "B"

Below the grating (to be investigated in May),

  • Four Main Steam Pipes, marked "A", "B", "C", "D"

  • One Main Steam Drain Pipe, marked "X-8"

Page 275: Summary of findings

Preparation (April 21, 22): Drilled three holes for MS Process Monitors
Result of investigation (April 23):

Sound of running water: heard from the Air Conditioning Machine Room through MS Process Monitors

Survey by the pan-tilt camera:

  • There was no leak from the feed pipes.
  • There was no leak above the grating.
  • There was water on the floor below the grating.

Page 276: Feed Pipe A - no leak found

Page 278: No leak from spare penetration holes X-46 and X-47

Page 279: View through the grating - water seen flowing on the floor

Although there is no apparent leak above the grating, the pipes seen in the photos show stains and discoloration. Something did seem to have happened:

From TEPCO's photos and videos library, 4/14/2014:

Compared to the Reactor 3 MSIV Room, the Reactor 2 MSIV Room looks to be in pristine condition, both below and above the grating.

From TEPCO's photos and videos library, 4/16/2013:

I also remember anonymous workers at the plant saying they saw the first floor of the reactor building filled with steam, and that it could only be from the Main Steam Pipes. I think it was in the first or second week of the accident, but I don't remember which reactor building. It could have been Reactor 1.