- ► 2016 (24)
- What you Need to Know
- Construction of a radioactive waste storage comple...
- 31,000,000 Bq/m3 of Strontium-90 measured at the n...
- Global consequences from Fukushima-like nuclear di...
- Radioactive Baby Teeth The Cancer Link -- A review...
- FREEDOM OF SPEECH THREATENED BY AREVA
- NRA signs off on TEPCO plan to release decontamina...
- Tepco suspends Fukushima No. 1 cleanup to probe fa...
- Expert: “It’s completely unsafe… impossible to rem...
- TEPCO’s Fukushima Folly
- Study: Fukushima plume spread worldwide, far excee...
- Regulators approve Fukushima wastewater drainage
- Plan OK'd for dumping Fukushima's water into ocean...
- Two workers die in accidents at Fukushima No. 1 an...
- What's wrong with the 'evolution' of force by poli...
- Dying Pacific Ocean?
- All 2014 Fukushima rice cleared radiation tests, t...
- Robotic system to fix Fukushima leaks... Deploying...
- Futaba town accepts interim storage facilities
- Fukushima released 13,000,000,000 times more neutr...
- Radioactive contamination level jumped over 57 tim...
- In the fourth winter since the nuclear disaster in...
- Number of injured workers soars at Fukushima No. 1...
- North Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada - Debris A...
- Radiation in the Ocean Food Chain, An Assessment o...
- ▼ January (25)
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Thursday, 29 January 2015
Construction of a radioactive waste storage complex in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma to start
They are part of the intermediate storage complex to be built in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma.
The government earlier planned to start moving the waste to the site by the end of this month. But it canceled the plan due to delays in purchasing land and building facilities.
The government now plans to start the transport by March 11th, the 4th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear accident in 2011.
The ministry says construction of 2 initial storage facilities, each 10,000 square kilometers, will start next Tuesday at industrial parks in the intermediate site.
The waste is to be kept there until intermediate storage facilities are completed. It remains unclear when their construction will begin, due to lack of progress in purchasing land.
Huge amounts of radioactive soil and other waste stemming from decontamination work have been kept in each municipality of the prefecture.
Municipalities are asking the government to provide a concrete schedule for transporting the waste.
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
January 27, 2015
On 1/27/2015, Tepco announced they measured high density of Strontium-90 from groundwater in the seaside of Reactor 2.
It was 31,000,000 Bq/m3. The sampling point was the boring well, which is the closest to Reactor 2.
This is the highest density measured from this boring well, which is 10% more than the previous highest record.
The sampling date was last December. No Sr-90 data of January has been published.
Source: Fukushima Daiichi
Study: Global consequences from Fukushima-like nuclear disaster; Many nations at risk of ‘great exposure’ — Transport of hot particles to US was especially effective during worst releases after reactor explosions — Radioactivity confined ‘close to surface’ due to seasonal factorsT. Christoudias and Y. Proestos of The Cyprus Institute, J. Lelieveld of Max Planck Institute of Chemistry (Germany), Dec 12, 2014 (emphasis added):
- We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents… We present an overview of global risks… [These] risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter [Fukushima crisis began with 10 days left in winter].
- The model setup was evaluated… using emission estimates from… Fukushima
- The risk posed from nuclear power plant accidents is not limited to the national or even regional level, but can assume global dimensions. Many nations may be subjected to great exposure after severe accidents.
- Our model shows increased surface-level concentrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the boreal winter months compared to the summer… Not only the expected risk magnitude is higher, but the geographical extent of the high concentrations of transported radionuclides is more pronounced towards the north… Horizontal advection [i.e. transfer] is more efficient in winter due to relatively stronger winds, and the concentrations are highest near the surface [and] surface level concentrations in the summer tend to be more localized in the emission region.
- Our results illustrate that accidents… could have significant trans-boundary consequences. The risk estimate [shows] increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east… This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface…It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents [for] emergency response planning on national and international levels.
JAMSTEC, Univ. of Tokyo, etc.: We show a numerical simulation for the long-range transport from the [Fukushima] plant to the US… Large-scale updraft [over] Japan from March 14 to 15 was found effective in lifting the particles [to the] jet stream that could carry the particles across the Pacific within 3 to 4 days [See study: On Mar. 15, Fukushima reactors emitted 100 quadrillion Bq of cesium into air — This one day was equal to total lifetime release from Chernobyl]… Some of the particles [had a] long-range atmospheric transport over — 10,000 km within 3 to 4 days… [R]adioactive materials were detected in that period over the east and west coasts of the U.S… In order for the particles to be transported with the jet stream, they must be lifted up from the surface boundary layer to the mid- or upper troposphere. Large-scale updraft was indeed observed… on March 14 through 15… [T]he westerlies in mid-March were thus particularly effective in the trans-Pacific transport of the radioactive materials…
Watch the numerical plume simulation here http://www.docin.com/p-773002550.html
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
In the 50's and 60's there was a campaign to collect baby teeth from people around the St. Louis area driven by local doctors, scientists and teachers:
"The idea for the study was hatched in the mid-1950s during the build up of the Cold War. By then, the U.S. and Soviet Union had tested hundreds of nuclear weapons. Prevailing winds carried the radioactive debris from the U.S. tests, many of which were conducted in the desert regions of the West, to St. Louis and farther east." [stl today article]
Using Grant Money these scientists decided to do the science:
"Funded by the U.S. Public Health Service and Leukemia Society of Missouri and Illinois, it entailed volunteers visiting schools, churches and PTA meetings, churches, libraries and dental clinics distributing registration forms. Parents mailed in their children’s baby teeth and information cards with names, addresses, birthdates and other information." [stl today article]
The St. Louis study collected baby teeth from locals in the St. Louis area. Based on the results of sampling those teeth authorities and some of the general public realized that strontium, cesium and other contaminates were falling from the sky and getting into our food supply. People were drinking contaminated milk. What the study found was frightening:
"The study found that children born in St. Louis at the height of the Cold War in 1963 had 50 times as much strontium 90, a radioactive isotope found in bomb fallout and at nuclear reactors, in their teeth as children born in 1950 — before most of the atomic tests. Results ultimately contributed to the signing of an international treaty to ban atmospheric nuclear weapons testing." [stl today article]
The concern that contributed to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty should have led to efforts to end the use of nuclear energy worldwide. What the study showed was frightening,...
but the news was contained. The teeth had been sampled, but many remained in boxes. They wound up in a storage room. To be rediscovered later.
"85,000 baby teeth in shoeboxes in an ammunition bunker at Washington University’s Tyson Research Center. The teeth, packaged in small envelopes, were among those collected in the 1950s and ’60s but never analyzed for radioactive strontium."
This has led to a follow up, epidemiological study found even more frightening data about the results of exposure to radiation.
"They were given to the Radiation and Public Health Project, which set out to advance the findings of the original study by looking at health effects on people who had elevated strontium 90 levels in their teeth as children." [stl today article]
What they found was a correlation between baby tooth radiation levels and later cancers and mortality.
"In 2010, Mangano and Janette Sherman published a study in the International Journal of Health Services. It concluded men who grew up in the St. Louis area in the early 1960s and died of cancer by middle age had more than twice as much strontium 90 in their baby teeth as men born in the same time and area who were still living."
Dealing with objections to the study
Of course people working in the nuclear industry jumped to defend themselves. When mainstream media published this story they usually interview Nuclear Power spokespersons who will say things like the study "confuses correlation with causation." But we already have evidence that radioactive substances cause mutations. That mutations cause cancers. We have that from the lab. Simple deduction shows that If a person is exposed to radiation (even small amounts) there will be mutations. Given there are mutations there will be cancers.
Correlation establishes Evidence of Causation
The next objection is that a healthy immune system will deal with most mutated cells and incipient cancers. The body normally uses Killer T Cells to "order" the mutated cells to self destruct. It takes an accumulation of mutations and specific cancer generating processes for cancer to develop. So merely being exposed to cancer causing substances doesn't mean that a particular mutagen caused a particular cancer. But laboratory evidence also shows that radiation impacts the immune system too. In severely radiated people they don't die directly from radiation in some cases but from leukemias, cancers and Radiation induced Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS). So again the causation can be deduced from laboratory evidence and simple logic.
Now whether these effects are non-linear or linear is a matter for argument. I personally believe that the numbers will suggest non-linearity (Chaotic rather than purely random or simply determined). Non linearity suggests that there are probably thresholds beyond which odds start rising exponentially, but also suggests that normal curves don't apply and that risk never falls to zero. In any case most of the arguments you hear from the officials are deceptive, simplistic and deliberately misleading. So I don't believe the authors really believe what they are saying themselves. And the results of the Survey described in the book "Radioactive Baby Teeth Cancer Link" support that theory.
Therefore in this case correlation verifies causation.
Most of these scientists and technicians base their arguments on the notion that there is a threshold below which mutagen exposure is harmless. This is based on a much criticized study from the 1950's, but it still gets cited. Anyway, the book "Radioactive Baby Teeth the Cancer Link" goes into detail on this:
- Book At Amazon:
- Radioactive Baby Teeth, Book
- Further reading:
- Example of arguments on the "linear no threshold" argument.
Friday, 23 January 2015
We will not allow ourselves to be gagged !
The South-East Antinuclear Coordination has just been informed last Tuesday January 6, 2015 that a defamation suit has been filed by Areva against them for a report that they published on their website, denouncing the nuclear lobby's penetration to the elected officials.
By such attempt to gag opposition, the nuclear giant intends to silence dissent at a time when the Areva group is in financial and industrial decay (having lost 52% of its stock market value, failure of its EPR in Finland, risky investments, its Mox sales declining, especially in Japan, in question regarding its foreign budget financing etc), at a time when incidents are increasing at its ageing nuclear facilities in France and that thousands of Japanese children and adults will die slowly in Fukushima, Japan, and elsewhere as in Niger.
The South-East Antinuclear Coordination, apart from any political party, bringing together concerned citizens acting for the immediate and unconditional cessation of the nuclear crime for public health reasons, denounces :
The fanatical ideological war that proponents of atomic destruction are waging against free thought and against the people, the arrogance and the imperialism of the nuclear lobby and of its ruling caste,
The populations health and life damages and the contamination of areas by radioactive releases in the air and in the water from each of the 125 civil nuclear facilities plus the military nuclear facilities on secret military bases located throughout the french territory. Damages deliberatedly done, and repeated daily, such as the manufacturing of the radioactive «depleted uranium» by Areva, used in weapons of war,
Neo-colonialist exploitation of Niger's workers and resources, as well as the radioactive contamination of the territories and of the Tuareg people and other people life in this country,
The infiltation of the State institutions, and of the elected assemblies by a private interests group and their ideological relay to impose a dominant order and a state of nuclear terror on the country and the plane.
The South-East Antinuclear Coordination calls to mind that there is no harmless dose of artificial radiation.
The South-East Antinuclear Coordination calls for solidarity :
All the persons freedom-loving, attached to the right of speech and criticism,
All the collectives, groups and organizations,
To oppose this attack on freedom of speech,
To send support emails to the South-East Antinuclear Coordination : firstname.lastname@example.org
To express their indignation to the authorities and to Areva by any way each person will define:
CAN 180 chemin de la Parisienne 84740 Velleron - France
Or thru the donation button on the CAN website :
Contact : email@example.com
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Japan's nuclear watchdog gave the green light to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant to discharge pumped up groundwater into the sea if radioactive substances in the water are within safety standards.
Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. will be obliged to remove radioactive substances in the groundwater at its decontamination facilities.
The water must meet certain criteria before it is released into the sea.
The conditions per liter of water are: that radioactive cesium is less than 1 becquerel; radioactive substances that emit beta rays are less than 3 becquerels; and the level of tritium is less than 1,500 becquerels.
Although TEPCO does not have the means to remove tritium at its decontamination facilities, the levels of contamination must be within safety limits.
The NRA said the volume of groundwater that flows into the reactor buildings will be reduced by one-half.
However, it remains unclear if the plan will be implemented as TEPCO is keen to get the approval of local residents, many of whom depend on fishing for their livelihoods.
The utility has been holding meetings with local fishery cooperatives since the summer to explain what it involved. Some members of the cooperatives seemed receptive to the plan, but others were not.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Thursday said it will suspend the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant until it completes safety checks related to two fatal accidents at its facilities in the prefecture earlier this week.
“The most important thing is to thoroughly conduct safety checks,” Tepco spokesman Shinichi Kawamura told a news conference in Fukushima.
Decommissioning the wrecked plant involves many processes, but “we can’t tell when we will finish the checks for all work at this point,” Kawamura said, adding that it won’t take weeks.
On Monday, a 55-year-old subcontractor hired to work at the Fukushima No. 1 plant fell into a 10-meter-deep water tank during an inspection Monday. He was taken to a hospital but died the following day. Although the man was wearing a safety belt, he did not appear to be using it at the time.
On Tuesday, a subcontractor in his 40s died at the nearby Fukushima No. 2 plant after his head got crushed by an object during a concentrator inspection. The object was supposed to be held in place by a crane.
Kawamura said Tepco wants to pinpoint potentially unsafe places at the site, improve employee safety habits and ensure the procedures they are performing are safe.
For instance, Tepco will check whether adequate safety steps are being taken when handling heavy objects.
Since decommissioning work often requires the use of special industrial tools, workers must follow the required procedures to ensure their safety, Kawamura added.
The suspension will not affect the fuel-cooling and water-filtering operations, the utility said.
Source: Japan Times
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Expert: “It’s completely unsafe… impossible to remove 100s of radioactive materials” — 1,200 radionuclides, only 62 reduced
January 21st, 2015
TV: Gov’t approves plan to ‘drain’ Fukushima nuclear waste into ocean — Professor: Monitoring necessary to detect ‘worrisome signals’ —NHK, Jan 21, 2015 (emphasis added): Regulators approve Fukushima wastewater drainage — Japan’s nuclear regulator has approved a plan by [TEPCO] to drain filtered wastewater from the firm’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant into the sea… The firm also plans to reduce the level of radioactive material in the water before releasing it into the nearby Pacific. On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulation Authority approved TEPCO’s plan to install drainpipes and a pumping system and to reduce the level of radioactive cesium-137 to less than one becquerel per liter.
NHK Transcript, Jan 21, 2015: Japanese regulators have approved a controversial plan by [TEPCO]. They say TEPCO officials can flush filtered waste water into the ocean… Fisherman: “We can’t trust Tepco… If they proceed with their plan the situation will surely go back to how it was before. I’m worried the government and Tepco will act to suit themselves.”
Wall St Journal, Jan 21, 2015: Japan’s nuclear regulator has officially called on [Tepco] to work toward discharging low-level contaminated water… just two days after a worker fell into [a tank] used to store contaminated water… Tepco is using a processing system [that] is unable to take out the tritium [and] is reluctant to release it into the ocean to avoid… criticism from neighboring countries and some nations with a Pacific Ocean coastline… there is no detailed study about tritium’s long-time effect on animal genes. Mamoru Takata, a Kyoto University professor and expert on radiation’s long-term effects, said monitoring would be necessary to detect any worrisome signals.
TEPCO: [ALPS] is designed to remove most remaining radioactive contaminants
TEPCO (pdf): (ALPS) — Removal capacity: Reduce 62 nuclides below the density limit
Asahi Shimbun in Jan. 2012: “To prevent a further contamination of the sea [Tepco] plans to remove about 1,000 kinds of radioactive materials from water”
Japan Atomic Energy Agency (pdf), Feb 2014: TOPICS Fukushima — [W]e carried out detailed calculations… for 1,200 radionuclides, and the results were incorporated into a database.
Dr. Gordon Edwards, court-certified nuclear expert, Aug 8, 2014 (50:00 in): It can’t be dumped into the ocean, because it’s completely unsafe because of these fission products. They have built over 1,000 large tanks, huge tanks… that contain this very, very radioactively contaminated water. At the moment they’re trying to filter out these fission products… It’s impossible for them to remove all those hundreds of radioactive materials. They know how to remove about 62 of them, but there’s other ones that they cannot.
January 20, 2015
Fission Stories #180In early August 2014, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that its latest analysis revealed the meltdown of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi was worse than previously estimated.
Recall children’s books with dots and numbers? Children connect the dots to reveal pictures of clowns and puppies and spaceships and such.
TEPCO is essentially painting pictures using very few dots with no numbers. They keep running computer studies that put numbers almost randomly on the few dots they have to see what picture emerges. “Lo and behold” to quote a professor I had in college, different pictures emerge.
TEPCO doesn’t know when the Unit 3 core damage began
Or how much of the reactor core was damaged.
Or how and when the damaged core relocated after melting.
Or how, when, and where the molten burned through the reactor pressure vessel.
Or how it moved after it fell onto the containment’s concrete floor.
And they don’t know how much water, if any, was on the containment floor when the molten core joined it.
TEPCO fills in these information gaps with guesses. And they keep revising their results because they keep revising their guesses.
Our TakeawayI choose not to play rate-a-guess. It would take me away from helping my nephew finish his connect-the-dots drawing. Only seven numbers remain to be connected. While it resembles a race car now, it might yet turn out to be a giraffe. Or maybe even a kitten.
Before I decide which TEPCO picture I most prefer, they are going to have to fetch more dots and put real numbers on as many of them as possible.
At some point in the next few years, TEPCO will maneuver a robot into the reactor area. That will reveal what the former reactor core looks like now. This information won’t answer all the questions, but it’ll number several more dots to support a meaningful analysis of what happened when.
Until then, TEPCO is just keeping their computer jockeys busy. They could get results of similar value using Ouija boards—and it would reduce their carbon footprint.
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists
Study: Fukushima plume spread worldwide, far exceeding the hundreds of miles mentioned previously — 100 Quadrillion becquerels of Cs-137 released tops Chernobyl
“Implicates radiological hazard at distances otherwise overlooked”January 21st, 2015
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (pdf), University of Florida College of Medicine, Weill-Cornell Medical College, etc. (2014):
- The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident is an example of a contemporary nuclear plant accident with serious implications.
- The Fukushima NPP accident has had health implications due to the high levels of radiation released and vast area over which the radiation has disperse.
- The significant radiation release, as likened to Chernobyl, reflects the context and severity of the Fukushima accident.
- The level of 137Cs that was released is likened to Chernobyl levels, with 100,000 TBq released.
- Radioactive plume dispersion occurs worldwide, far exceeding 300 miles previously mentioned. This should implicate radiological hazard at distances otherwise overlooked.
- Radioactive plumes from the Chernobyl accident containing 131I caused benign and malignant thyroid nodules to develop, especially in children within a 310 miles radius of the incident.
- The current recommendation is for KI [potassium iodide] availability to people 200 miles from a NPP. Plume radii for nuclear events have been shown to exceed 300 [miles]. Extension of KI availability to 300 miles only further underscores the inadequacy of current preparedness plans.
- In regard to KI prophylaxis, TEPCO utilized 17,500 KI tablets for 2,000 onsite workers… with one individual receiving and taking 85 tablets.
- Radiological plumes containing 131I cause benign and malignant thyroid nodules to develop within a 300 mile radius… This necessitates KI pre-distribution to all schools, hospitals and other of-interest sites extending 300 miles from any nuclear reactor. Evacuation or sequestering is impossible in congested urban areas… There is currently virtually no compliance with [the] 20 miles radius KI pre-distribution law, section 127 of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. In fact, there is little compliance with the 10 miles Ki pre-distribution radius law in the United States.
- Japan did not utilize KI for prophylaxis of the general public, acknowledging it was not prepared to act accordingly.
TEPCO officials plan to pump up contaminated groundwater through wells built around structures housing the plant's damaged reactors. The firm also plans to reduce the level of radioactive material in the water before releasing it into the nearby Pacific.
On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulation Authority approved TEPCO's plan to install drainpipes and a pumping system and to reduce the level of radioactive cesium-137 to less than one becquerel per liter. It also agreed with the firm's policy of starting the drainage system gradually.
The regulator asked the utility to ensure that no wastewater leaks and to fully disclose measurements for radioactive material.
Tokyo Electric said it will not drain filtered wastewater until local residents agree to the plan.
The timing of such agreement is unclear, as local fishermen are worried that rumors of tainted seawater would affect their business.
The call on Wednesday comes just two days after a worker fell into one of the hundreds of tanks used to store contaminated water at the plant during an inspection, a fatal accident that has refocused attention on the need for improved safety measures and a longer term solution for the huge amounts of water in storage.
“Tokyo Electric Power must consider whether it (storing the water) is really necessary,” said Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, at a regular board meeting Wednesday. “It is surely harmful if it leads to the death of workers.”
The regulator discussed Wednesday a draft timetable for action by Tepco to address risks at the plant that sets out a 2017 start for discharging the water. The draft is likely to be approved next week.
The International Atomic Energy Agency already recommended more than a year ago that Tepco consider releasing water with low level tritium contamination in a controlled way so that it could focus on other issues.
A Tepco spokesman, speaking after Mr. Tanaka’s remarks, said the company wasn’t currently considering releasing the water into the ocean.
Contaminated water has been a constant headache for the operator of the plant since the triple meltdowns in March 2011. A large amount of groundwater is flowing into the site, adding 300 to 400 tons to the amount of highly contaminated water at the plant on a daily basis.
Tepco is using a processing system to remove radioactive material from the highly contaminated water, but the system is unable to take out the tritium. Tepco has been storing the tritium-contaminated water in about 1,000 tanks, but is reluctant to release it into the ocean to avoid adding to tension with local communities and criticism from neighboring countries and some nations with a Pacific Ocean coastline.
But the power company is close to running out of space to build new tanks at the plant and workers are increasingly under pressure to juggle their other duties with the ever-increasing workload of tank management, prompting the IAEA call in late 2013.
Tritium is considered one of the least harmful radioactive materials at nuclear plants. Water contaminated with tritium is discharged from plants elsewhere in the world after dilution.
However, there is no detailed study about tritium’s long-time effect on animal genes. Mamoru Takata, a Kyoto University professor and expert on radiation’s long-term effects, said monitoring would be necessary to detect any worrisome signals.
Plan OK'd for dumping Fukushima's water into ocean after treatment
The plan is one of the measures aimed at curbing the amount of contaminated water building up at the seaside complex. But it remains uncertain when the operator may actually release the water.
Local fishermen have registered strong concerns that dumping the water will heighten consumer apprehension about marine pollution, and TEPCO has said it will not release the water unless it obtains consent from the locals.
The company plans to treat water pumped up through 42 of its wells at a water treatment facility at the plant. After treatment, the water will be temporarily stored in tanks to check whether the amount of radioactive materials left in it is within levels deemed safe for release into the sea.
According to TEPCO, the amount of radioactive water at the complex is believed to be increasing by some 350 tons every day as fresh, untainted groundwater is seeping into reactor buildings and mixing with toxic water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Separately, TEPCO is running a groundwater bypass that is aimed at pumping up untainted groundwater before it mixes with radioactive water. Since the earthquake- and tsunami-triggered disaster, the operator has dumped such water into the Pacific numerous times after confirming its safety.
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Two workers died Tuesday in separate incidents at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and the nearby No. 2 complex.
The fatality at No. 1 was first there since March, although there has been a rise in the number of industrial accidents at the site as Tokyo Electric Power Co. stepped up cleanup efforts and brought in more workers.
Tepco has said at least 40 workers were involved in accidents at No. 1 from last April to November, prompting labor inspectors last week to call for thorough preventive measures.
The utility has routinely pledged to improve work conditions at the site.
A 55-year-old worker at No. 1 fell into a 10-meter-high water tank during inspections Monday. He was taken to a hospital but was confirmed dead in the early hours of Tuesday.
Later, a worker in his 40s at the No. 2 plant, which escaped severe damage in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, died after equipment fell on him.
In a statement, Akira Ono, manager of the No. 1 plant, expressed sorrow for the death of the first worker, who was not named but was identified as an employee of construction company Hazama Ando Corp.
“We are deeply sorry for the death of the worker and express our deepest condolences to the family,” Ono said. “We promise to implement measures to ensure that such tragedy does not occur again.”
Hazama Ando had no immediate comment.
The number of accidents at Fukushima No. 1 has almost doubled this fiscal year to 55. The increase came as Tepco ramped up cleanup efforts and doubled the number of workers at the site to nearly 7,000.
In March, a worker died after being buried in gravel while digging a ditch.
Tepco has been widely criticized for its handling of the cleanup. Until last year it struggled to contain leaks of radioactive water from hastily built tanks at the site, and it has repeatedly promised to improve working conditions.
Most workers inside the plant are contract laborers hired by multiple layers of construction companies. Reporters in 2013 revealed widespread labor abuses, including workers who said their pay was skimmed and that there was little scrutiny of working conditions.
“It’s not just the number of accidents that has been on the rise. It’s the serious cases, including deaths and serious injuries that have risen,” said Katsuyoshi Ito, a local labor inspector overseeing Fukushima No. 1. “We have asked Tepco to improve the situation.”
Source: Japan Times
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255641 Review
[Majia writes] Consensus holds that Fukushima constitutes the greatest radiological release into the ocean ever to occur. According to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, levels of radioactive cesium reached more than 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter in early April of 2011.[i] The World Nuclear Association suggests that 169 Petabecquerels of Iodine-131 equivalent were releases into the ocean from Cesium-137, Cesium-134, and Iodine-131from March 26 to September 30th.[ii] This figure does not include March releases into the atmosphere, which the World Nuclear Association calculates at 1020 petabecquerels from March 12 to March 31, 011. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) described Fukushima as the world’s worst nuclear contamination event ever for the ocean,[iii] reporting that from March 21st to mid-July 27, 27.1 petabecquerels of cesium-137 contaminated the ocean. One peta becquerel is equivalent to a million billion becquerels, or 10^15. [iv]
Atmospheric and direct ocean releases occurring as contaminated water spilled from reactors into the ocean caused radionuclide levels to spike offshore. Woods Hole scientist Ken Buessler revealed (12/12/2011) that Fukushima cesium-137 radiation in the sea near the plant peaked in April 2011 at 50 million times above normal levels (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2011/12/12/fukushima-ocean-radiation-was-50-million-times-above-normal-but-no-threat-scientists/).
In a separate interview with Straight on October 28, 2011, Ken Buesseler stated that Fukushima was by far the greatest accidental release of radiation into ocean waters, the magnitude of which in April 2011 was over one hundred times Chernobyl’s contamination of the Black Sea.[v]
These comments reflect concerns based on ocean emissions during the first few months of the disaster. Ocean contamination did not however end in the first months of the disaster. The releases of radioactive water from the plant into the ocean have been, in this writer’s opinion, ongoing because of the need for continuous cooling of melted reactor corium and the inability to effectively de-contaminate cooling water.
Reactors 1 through 3 have been continuously cooled since March of 2011 with water injections. The World Nuclear Association reports that by the end of March 2011 all water storage tanks – the condenser units and condensate tanks – around units 1 through 4 were full of contaminated water pumped from the buildings.[vi] Tepco built a wastewater treatment facility to decontaminate the water but has struggled with decontamination and storage given the volume of water being pumped into the reactor buildings and the level of contamination. During the summer of 2011 Tepco installed concrete panels designed to seal water intakes of units 1 through 4 in order to prevent contaminated water from reaching the ocean. In October 2011, Tepco installed a steel water shield wall between the units and the ocean.[vii]
Yet, despite these efforts ocean contamination has continued because the site is literally saturated from the ongoing water injections. In 2012, Tepco reported water injections as follows: five tons per hour at Unit 1reactor; seven tons per hour at unit 2; seven tons per hour at unit 3.[viii] No information was provided about any water injections into unit 4 or the common spent fuel pool. At 456 tons a day of water going into the units, we can expect substantial ongoing leakage into the ocean. In November of 2011,Tepco admitted that its filtration system at the plant dumped more 11,000 tons of water contaminated with cesium 134, 137, and Iodine 131 into the sea.[ix] Tepco stated that it had been spraying about 70 tons of water around the Daiichi compound a day since early October and that water in some trenches measured at 10,000 millisieverts an hour, which is 10 sieverts an hour, a fatal dose.[x]
Ken Buesseler speaking in March 2012, described the data from his international research cruise off Japan that took place in June 2011:
Despite the announcement in December that operators of the power plant had achieved cold shut down, we know they are still using tons of water to cool the reactors and that not all the water has been collected or treated. As a result, the ground around the site is like a dirty sponge, saturated with contaminated water that is leaking into the ocean.He noted that other scientists had confirmed his 2011 findings of radiation levels 400 miles offshore Japan. He pointed out that little was known about radiation levels at seafloor levels but evidence exists that marine sediments are collecting radioactive contamination at higher concentrations than in the water. He said that little information was available about the radiation levels of groundwater.
He tells the public that information about the extent of releases of contaminated water are lacking:
Other measurements show trends that are more worrisome. Levels of radioactivity found in fish are not decreasing and there appear to be hot spots on the seafloor that are not well mapped. There is also little agreement on exactly how much radioactivity was released or even whether the fires and explosions at the power plant resulted in more radioactive fallout to the ocean than did direct releases of radioactivity caused by dumping water on the reactors to keep them cool.[xi]The Mainichi reported on April 3, 2012 that “Cesium up to 100 times levels before disaster found in plankton far off nuke plant” and that the “high concentration of cesium, which is believed to derive from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, suggests that radioactive substances that have leaked from the complex are spreading extensively in the sea.” http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120403p2a00m0na009000c.html
Cesium-134 deposits in marine snow gathered 2000 kilomters away from the plant at depths of 5000 meters measuring 1,200 Becquerels per kilogram indicate that radiation contamination from Fukushima spread far and wide.
Lack of certainty about the extent of initial and ongoing atmospheric and ocean releases of radiation from the plant complicates extrapolations of effects. Tepco has provided no concrete information about the extent of damage to the nuclear fuel in the reactors and pools. Mr. Yastel Yamada, a retired engineer and founder of the volunteer Fukushima Skilled Veterans Corps commented that the fuel from the reactors may possibly be in powder form.[xii]
The radiation contamination of the Pacific will be an ongoing problem. One study that modeled dilution declines of Cesium-137 published in Environmental Research Letters predicted that after seven years the “total peak radioactivity levels would still be about twice the pre-Fukushima values” off the coastal waters of North America”[xiii]. That study did not factor in ongoing contamination.
The risks from contaminated ocean water are not restricted to marine and coastal life. Long-lasting radioactive isotopes, such as Cesium-137 and Plutonium-239, will bio-accumulate in marine life in the same fashion that mercury bio-accumulates currently. Marine animals at the top of the food chain and birds that feed on marine life will become highly contaminated radioactively. The Canadian Museum of Nature notes that orcas are often considered toxic waste when they die based on their high toxicity.[xiv]
Furthermore, contaminants in the ocean do not necessarily stay in the ocean....
The Pacific Ocean was imperiled before Fukushima: what have we wrought?
[i] Cited Hiroko Tabuchi. Fears Accompany Fishermen in Japanese Disaster Region The New York Times (2012, June 25): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/world/asia/fears-accompany-fishermen-in-japanese-disaster-region.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120626
[ii] World Nuclear Association Fukushima Accident (2012, September last update), http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
[iii] Fukushima nuclear pollution in sea was world's worst: French institute. Japan Today Oct. 28, 2011 - http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/fukushima-nuclear-pollution-in-sea-was-worlds-worst-french-institute
[iv] “Fukushima Disaster Produces World’s Worst Nuclear Sea Pollution. The Maritime Excective (2011, October 28) http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/fukushima-disaster-produces-world-s-worst-nuclear-sea-pollution.
[v] Alex Roslin http://www.straight.com/article-491941/vancouver/what-are-officials-hiding-about-fukushima?page=0%2C2
[vi] World Nuclear Association Fukushima Accident (2012, September last update), http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
[vii] World Nuclear Association Fukushima Accident (2012, September last update), http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
[viii] Sep 1 2012 TEPCO reports drop in water injection rate at N-plant. Yomiuri (2012, Sep 1), http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120831004812.htm
[ix] Robert Mackey and Ravi Somaiya (November 1, 2011) 14 Japanese Official Drinks Water From Fukushima Reactor Buildings. The New York Times By ROBERT MACKEY and RAVI SOMAIYA http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/japanese-official-drinks-water-from-fukushima-reactor-buildings/
[x] Robert Mackey and Ravi Somaiya (November 1, 2011) 14 Japanese Official Drinks Water From Fukushima Reactor Buildings. The New York Times By ROBERT MACKEY and RAVI SOMAIYA http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/japanese-official-drinks-water-from-fukushima-reactor-buildings/
[xi] Ken Buessler What Fukushima accident did to the ocean By Ken Buesseler, Special to CNN March 11, 2012 http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/10/opinion/buesseler-fukushima-ocean/index.html
[xii] “I Don’t Know What Would Happen”: Fuel from Fukushima reactors may be powder — If so, work almost impossible (AUDIO). Enenews (2012, ) http://enenews.com/dont-happen-future-fuel-fukushima-reactors-be-powder-work-almost-impossible-video/comment-page-1#comment-291586Mr. Yastel Yamada, a retired engineer and founder of the Fukushima Skilled Veterans Corps
Uploaded by: OccupyUkiah Filmed: July 30, 2012 Uploaded on: Sept. 27, 2012
[xiii] Erik Behrens1, Franziska U Schwarzkopf1, Joke F Lübbecke2 and Claus W Böning1 Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima Erik Behrens et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 034004
[xiv] Canadian Museum of Nature. Diving in (2011, March 3), of http://nature.ca/explore/di-ef/wcef_tfw_e.cfm.
Source: Majia's Blog